Many of us are hunters and some are combatants. We all know that if a bullet hits a hard object, it can be deflected in a completely different path than the one it was traveling before the hit.

A question we want to test today is this: Are some bullets more resistant to being deflected than others?

Sometimes a deer will be behind a brush and only allow a narrow area for a hunter to place a bullet through. Even then, that bullet may hit a branch. Some old deer hunters used to say, "Those high velocity spitzers will be deflected by branches, but not my old .45-70. It's a brush-buster!"

Are they correct? Or all bullets effected by hitting branches? Or are some heavy bullets really "brush busters"?

We will use this set-up. I obtained a cardboard box that a king-sized mattress came in. We will set it up about 10 yards behind our target.

The target will consist of a paper target over a set of 1/2 inch wooden dowels, spaced so that the bullets cannot go between them without hitting at least one.

Notice the dowel set-up.

Notice the dowel set-up.​

We will fire from about 50 yards into the dowels and see where the bullet ends up on the cardboard, which is 10 yards behind them.

First I will shoot through the paper target without the dowels present to mark where the bullet strikes the cardboard with no branches in the way.

As a side note, my two 4 year old grandsons saw this after I built it and asked me if they could play with it.

I let them and they had such a great time, I plan on replacing the dowels and letting them play with it after the shoot.

Hundreds of dollars worth of electronic toys, and they think dowels and a wooden holder is the best toy they've ever seen.

I then marked the place the bullet hit on the cardboard and covered it with a orange dot. This is where it will hit with no bullet deflection.

Then we will replace the dowels and shoot through them and see if it moves the point of impact on the cardboard.

40-2First, we will try the .223 from an AR15.

Tman's on the rifle. The round is M-193 Ball.

Tman's on the rifle. The round is M-193 Ball.​

You can see where it cut through a dowel.

You can see where it cut through a dowel.​

Here's the impact on the cardboard. About 4 1/2 inches high and traveling sideways.

Here's the impact on the cardboard. About 4 1/2 inches high and traveling sideways.​

How about a 55 grain JSP?

It also cut right through a dowel.

It also cut right through a dowel.​

It was about 1 1/2 inches low and also slightly sideways.

Not as far off line as we expected.


Let's try a big boy.

I will shoot my Remington .308, first with a round of 165 grain JHP.


Here's the shot.

Here's the shot.​

About 1 1/2 inches low and to the right.

Not much deflection.

40-10Let's try a Spitzer, a Sierra GameKing with a plastic nose.

40-11It cut the dowel just fine.


Here's the result.

Here's the result.​

About an inch low and right. Not enough to matter much.

Let's try the buffalo rifle, the Shiloh Sharps .45-70 Long Range Express.

40-14We'll try a round of Remington 300 grain SJHP.


Here's the result.

Here's the result.​

It hit about 2 inches low left.

Let's try a cast 510 grain RN Lead, Gas Checked.

40-17It cut the dowel off.

40-18The deflection was less than 2 inches.

40-19Lastly, we will shoot brianksain's Remington Tactical 12 Gauge Shotgun and a Remington Slugger slug.

40-20It was sighted for 100 yards and hit about 4 1/2 inches high left on the sighting target.

40-21In other words, the dowel did not move it much.


Here's the offended dowel.

Here's the offended dowel.​

Lessons learned:

  1. Light weight, fast bullets like the .223 were knocked off their axis and deflected more than heavier bullets. In fact, it was flying sideways after 10 yards.
  2. The .308 was not deflected as much as I would have thought. Not enough to miss a deer 10 yards behind the brush.
  3. The .45-70 plowed through the dowel without much deflection.
  4. The 12 gauge slug shrugged off the dowels and went right on to the target.
  5. I brought a much larger piece of cardboard than I actually needed. I expected to see "feet" of deflection, not inches.
  6. It sure is hot in Texas today. We were leaking water like a couple of rain clouds. Come on Fall.
But even when it's hot, it's still fun to shoot stuff.