Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 02-08-2007, 23:58   #1
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223 vs 7.62x39 - Which is the stopper?

This has undoubtedly been hashed over here repeatedly, but I can't find any threads on it - so here goes: which is the better combat/defense round in the Mini 0 the 223 or the 7.62 x 39? Which has the best downrange ebergy retention? And accuracy?

I would really appreciate your opinions. I presently own a wood stocked stainless mini 14, and love it. But I am also looking at a blued mini 30 with black folding stock, mint. This would be ideal for me in border work, especially the non-reflective blued finish.

Please, boys, fire away.

Border Fox
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:14   #2
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I don't understand your question. If you own a 223 already, then go ahead and buy the 30. In my life I've bought shoes, cars, houses and many other things that were a mistake, but never a gun. I still own just about every gun I ever bought and on those rare occasions where I did let one go, I regret the decision. The only way to win in the debate over 223 vs. 30 is to own both.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:37   #3
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Border-
.223 Rem would get the nod, in my eyes. It is a higher velocity cartridge; albeit launching a smaller, lighter bullet. 7.62x39mm, while a heavier bullet, is not the long-range champion, either.
.223 Rem, loaded w/ sufficiently heavy bullets, can be a respectable long-range performer. 7.62x39mm, with careful handloading, can be a decent performer as well. Steve4102 has proven that much. The problems arise from the need to handload 7.62x39mm to extract it's best performance, as factory loads seem to follow the military-type ball loadings. .223 Rem is available in a plethora of factory loadings, from 35 grain prairie poodle poppers, to 80 grain match-ready ammo, making it a boon to non-hand loaders.
The main thing here, however, is if your rifle is sufficiently accurate to take advantage of these loadings at the ranges you expect to be shooting.
Out of the box, sadly, most mini's aren't capable of the precision needed for true long range accuracy. Being a mini, and taking full avail of this bbs, one can use some of the info and vendors listed here to produce a wonderful shooting mini, .223 Rem or 7.62x39mm.
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Old 02-09-2007, 09:19   #4
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I guess the best thing is to get both and see which one you can hit with at a given distance. Both are viable calibers and could do the job but if you can hit what your shootings, its a bad choice.
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Old 02-09-2007, 20:06   #5
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The best stopper is always the "well placed" bullet. That said, study the ballastic charts and draw your own conclusions based on bullet selection, commercial loads availability vs if you are an experienced hand loader then study your available components.

Between the .223 and the .30, I believe when you consider all the factors you will pick the .223. The Corbon .223 with the Barnes X bullets will be very difficult to beat in this debate.

Again, If you can't place your bullet properly you might as well use a sling shot.
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Old 02-10-2007, 00:39   #6
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I have heard stories for years that our military guys, after a few engagements with the enemy, often wind up preferring the 7.62x39 for its greater stopping power. This is because they felt the .223 was "not enough" in close-up situations such as buildings and tunnels in Viet Nam. I've been hearing the same thing from Iraq - that our guys will use an AK if they can get their hands on one.

All this has been started by my finding a used mini 30 in a gunshop. It's blued, has the plastic factory folding stock, flip-up peep sight, plus muzzle brake. Very new condition. In my hands the folding stock seems a bit awkward compared to the stainless Mini 14 with wood stock that I already have now. I am very tempted to just go ahead and buy it, but I wanted some input from someone who has had experience with both cartridges.
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:38   #7
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I have a Mini-30 and I shoot 5.56 out of a Savage bolt action and a Daewoo AR-100. It comes down to bullet construction and velocity for the intended use.

The 7.62 with expanding bullets (Winchester, Cor-Bon) is better at punching a double caliber hole through a deer or hog and leaving a blood trail. But this is not the quick terminal performance that you want to protect your life.

90% of 7.62x39 ammo doesn't expand at all.

There is finally a 7.62x39 loading that does fragment however, Wolf Military Classic HP manufactured by Uly. But even that doesn't disrupt tissue as well as the 5.56 loads.

5.56 55-75 gr FMJs fragment and leave much nastier AND larger holes. It might not penetrate 20" but unless you expect to be charged by a raging Rosie O'Donnell you don't need that much penetration to get to the vitals.

Due to the new Wolf/ULY HP loads, if I needed a gun to do double duty for deer/hog hunting and defense I'd choose the 7.62x39.

If big game hunting isn't needed and I wanted to drop predators and coyotes right now (key point, instead of bleeding out) I'd choose the 5.56.

Last edited by Bigfoot; 02-10-2007 at 01:50.
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:43   #8
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Originally Posted by my1911s View Post
I don't understand your question. If you own a 223 already, then go ahead and buy the 30. In my life I've bought shoes, cars, houses and many other things that were a mistake, but never a gun. I still own just about every gun I ever bought and on those rare occasions where I did let one go, I regret the decision. The only way to win in the debate over 223 vs. 30 is to own both.
My thoughts exactly.
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:47   #9
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Originally Posted by Border Fox View Post
All this has been started by my finding a used mini 30 in a gunshop. It's blued, has the plastic factory folding stock, flip-up peep sight, plus muzzle brake.
I was under the impression, that all factory folding stocks were wood & metal; only aftermarket folding stocks were plastic (synthetic).
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:14   #10
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The 5.56 is a much more lethal rnd., than the 7.62X39 on humans.

Don't believe me, go read the Ammo Oracle, on AR 15.com
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Old 02-10-2007, 16:32   #11
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Is it a good price for the mini 30? If it looks good and they are asking a decent price, go for it!
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Old 02-10-2007, 19:05   #12
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Sticks -
The folding stock doesn't have a brand name on it, and it appears identical to the factory full length synthetic stock I saw on a stainless mini 30 about two years ago. It still could be after-market, but looks factory to me.

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Old 02-10-2007, 19:12   #13
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You guys are swinging me away from the 7.62 with your information. Don't get me wrong, I am totally happy with my mini 14, but I have been wanting on in blued (non-reflective) finish, and maybe a folding stock for better compactness. Happened to see this one in 7.62, and got to thinking about the many second-hand stories I've heard about our troops often ending up prefering the AK and the AK round. I can understand preferring the AK over the AR-15 in some ways, but the larger round was something I want to know more about.

So, have any of you guys on this thread ever had or used a gun in 7.62 ?

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Old 02-11-2007, 08:58   #14
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border fox, i use my mini-30 on whitetails in mich. with 150 gr cor-bon loads. very accurate & they drop them just as well as my buddy's 270. i just can't take shots at the distance he can. with the right ammo & practice for shot placement i would not want to be on the receiving end of either round.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:06   #15
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You should understand that no one cal/bullet is going to be best for all situations. If you are looking for a reason to justify the purchase of the AK round, don't. Just buy the gun. Many prefer the AK type because of its reliability not its overwhelming stopping power. Some prefer the AK just because it is different.

Bullet construction and terminal performance at this time gives a strong edge to the .223. Placement is still the most important factor. Neither round is more of a "one shot" stopper than the other.

Just like real estate, it's "location", "location", "location".
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:21   #16
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The 5.56 M193 is better in fmj loads than most any 7.62x39 fmj's as a man-stopper when there are no intermediate barriers to be defeated based on all I've read.
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Old 02-12-2007, 16:16   #17
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I would have to disagree with Bigfoot about 7.62 round expansion, the soft point winchester does well, or did for me. actually the core and jacket seperated - this was the 125 gr. soft point. a frontal shot on a large doe I took went nearly the length of the animal, I took a chest shot which missed the spine, heart, and pretty much followed the gullet channel. what a mess when I field dressed. I found the lead core stuck into the pelvic bone and used my metal detector to find the jacket in the gut. I took the shot at last light at about 60 yds. deer went about 30 yards and dropped thrashing but didn't get up. I suspect lack of air did it in relatively fast. I have no doubt a chest shot in the vitals would do much damamge. I would recommend a better quality bullet than the Winchester, maybe a Speer or Nosler and use 150 gr. It's reasonably accurate with a scope, the iron sights ain't much - but the Ranch was designed with built-in mounts. I'm doing some accuracy improvements to mine, hope to tighten the groups up to say - 2"-3" at 100 yds. I have shot some Mini-14's that were some better than that also had scopes mounted and good rounds.
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Old 02-12-2007, 21:01   #18
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Nice. I always like reading deer/hog hunting stories using Mini-30s like mine. Good job.

I was generalising about how hunting bullets work and why they don't work as well as fragmenting bullets for defense. I wouldn't want to shoot a dangerous guy and have him continue to function as long as your deer did. I want him down right there.

My second point was that most 7.62x39 HPs would do far less damage than your Winchester bullet did. Use that cheap imported stuff for plinking only.

I think Border Fox has seen the light here. And a great place to ask it IMO because we arn't pro this or that caliber since our Minis come in both cartridges. In a nutshell, although a larger diameter bullet is an advantage, bullet construction and it's terminal performance trumps it.
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Old 02-12-2007, 23:45   #19
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Well said, well put. I think after reading this I am satisfied with my mini 14 for border work, but I probably will put a down payment on the mini 30 I described tomorrow to lock it up. That way I'll have both. I also wanted a mini in either caliber in a black folding stock and blued (because it's non-reflective) finish for border applications.

I have heard and read a lot about how Americans have come to like the AK better than the AR or M-16 for its rugged strength and simplicity, but I believe that you get even better reliability in the mini and it's American made. The last time I shot a friend's AK, an ejected case got lost in the receiver and it took us half an hour to find it and dig it out. I have put a LOT of round through my mini 14 and have never had a single problem of any kind.

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Old 02-14-2007, 00:35   #20
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Lots of "scientific studies" show the 5.56 as more lethal, however since the 5.56 has come out our troops have said time and again the 5.56 punches right through people in close combat. That is vietnam somilia Iraq and Afganistan. I tend to believe the soldiers. In Mugudusu in 1993 the Delta guys were placing good hits on the people but it took 5-6 rounds to stop them The guys put them down with 1 well placed 7.62 round. This is talked about in Blackhawk down very well. With ball ammo the 7.62 is a better stopper.

Now lets talk expanding rounds. That is what you should carry if you are going to use it for self defense. The 5.56 is a tremendus stopper with a good expanding round in the right place. The 7.62 is as good or better with expanding rounds, but finding expanding rounds for it may be more costly and harder. Either one will do the job well. Just get good expanding ammo so you put it down hard the first time.
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Old 03-09-2007, 23:29   #21
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Originally Posted by Border Fox View Post
This has undoubtedly been hashed over here repeatedly, but I can't find any threads on it - so here goes: which is the better combat/defense round in the Mini 0 the 223 or the 7.62 x 39? Which has the best downrange ebergy retention? And accuracy?

I would really appreciate your opinions. I presently own a wood stocked stainless mini 14, and love it. But I am also looking at a blued mini 30 with black folding stock, mint. This would be ideal for me in border work, especially the non-reflective blued finish.

Please, boys, fire away.

Border Fox
OK, here’s my thoughts on this issue:

Let’s look at the ballistics:

First of all for this discussion, I am using the bullet velocities as defined in the Sierra Edition 5 manual for the 7.62x39 cartridge fired in a mini-30 and a 223 cartridge fired in an AR-15 (the closest information I could find that would match the ballistics of a mini-14).

Note: most velocity data listed in other sources is for bolt action rifles and these velocities are higher and not equivalent to gas operated mini actions.

In addition, all velocities listed below are for the Sierra listed hunting loads which are the highest velocities available with good accuracy based upon the testing at Sierra.

Also, all bullet trajectory data listed below is for bullets zeroed at 200 yards. All trajectories listed below are from the Big Game Info Web site (http://www.biggameinfo.com.

Therefore, based upon the Sierra manual and the ballistics tables listed at the Big Game Info site the following information is presented:

Mini-14 ballistics at 50 yards (Hornady V-Max Bullets):
BW____BC______Drop___Velocity____Energy_____Drift_ ___Opt Wt
40g___.200_____.4”_____3144fps____878 ft/lbs___.3”_____75 lbs
50g___.242_____.5”_____2996fps____997 ft/lbs___.3”_____101 lbs
55g___.255_____.7”_____2815fps____968 ft/lbs___.3” ____101 lbs
60g___.265_____.7”_____2774fps____1025 ft/lbs__.3”_____115 lbs

Mini-14 ballistics at 100 yards (Hornady V-Max Bullets):
BW____BC____Drop___Velocity____Energy_____Drift___ Opt Wt
40g___.200___1.3”____2902fps____748 ft/lbs___1.3”___59 lbs
50g___.242___1.5”____2802fps____871 ft/lbs___1.1”___82 lbs
55g___.255___1.8”____2637fps____850 ft/lbs___1.2”___83 lbs
60g___.265___1.8”____2605fps____904 ft/lbs___1.2”___95 lbs

Mini-14 ballistics at 200 yards (Hornady V-Max Bullets):
BW_____BC____Drop____Velocity____Energy______Drift ___Opt Wt
40g____.200____0.0”____2455fps____535 ft/lbs___5.6”____35 lbs
50g____.242____0.0”____2437fps____660 ft/lbs___4.9”____54 lbs
55g____.255____0.0”____2304fps____648 ft/lbs___5.0”____56 lbs
60g____.265____0.0”____2286fps____696 ft/lbs___4.9”____65 lbs

Mini-14 ballistics at 300 yards (Hornady V-Max Bullets):
BW____BC____Drop____Velocity___Energy______Drift__ __Opt Wt
40g___.200___-7.2”____2052fps___374 ft/lbs___13.6”____21 lbs
50g___.242___-7.4”____2103fps___491 ft/lbs___11.7”____35 lbs
55g___.255___-8.4”____1996fps___487 ft/lbs___12.1”____36 lbs
60g___.265___-8.5”____1990fps___528 ft/lbs___11.8”____43 lbs

Mini-30 ballistics at 50 yards:
BW____Brand_____BC___Drop___Velocity____Energy____ __Drift___Opt Wt
110g___V-max___.200___1.7"____2259fps___1246 ft/lbs___.3”____209 lbs
125g___TNT_____.242___2.0"____2128fps___1257 ft/lbs___.3”____226 lbs
150g___SST_____.255___2.3”____2007fps___1342 ft/lbs___.3”____273 lbs

Mini-30 ballistics at 100 yards:
BW___Brand____BC____Drop___Velocity___Energy______ Drift____Opt Wt
110g__V-max__.200____3.1"___2122fps___1100 ft/lbs___1.4”____173 lbs
125g__TNT____.242____3.6”___2010fps___1121 ft/lbs___1.4”____190 lbs
150g__SST____.255____4.0”___1917fps___1225 ft/lbs___1.2”____238 lbs

Mini-30 ballistics at 200 yards:
BW___Brand____BC___Drop___Velocity____Energy______ Drift____Opt Wt
110g__V-max__.200___0”____1862fps_____847 ft/lbs____6.0”____117 lbs
125g__TNT____.242___0”____1786fps_____885 ft/lbs____5.8”____134 lbs
150g__SST____.255___0”____1746fps_____1015 ft/lbs___4.9”____180 lbs

Mini-30 ballistics at 300 yards:
BW____Brand___BC____Drop____Velocity___Energy_____ _Drift____Opt Wt
110g___V-max__.200__-13.2”___1625fps____645 ft/lbs___14.4”___78 lbs
125g___TNT____.242__-14.5”___1581fps____693 ft/lbs___13.8”___93 lbs
150g___SST____.255__-15.5”___1586fps____837 ft/lbs___11.5”___135 lbs

From the above data, I can draw the following conclusions about the 223 and the 7.62x39:
-The heavier the bullet the greater the energy and the heavier the game that can be taken.
-The maximum game weight that the 223 can humanly take at any distance is 115 lbs.
-The maximum game weight that the 7.62x39 can take is 273 lbs.
-At 200 yards the difference in trajectory between the 223 and the 7.62 x 39 is 2.2 inches (when both guns are zeroed at 200 yards.) where the mini-14 has the advantage.
-At 200 yards the 7.62x39 can humanly take game up to 134 lbs using standard weight (125g) bullets, the 223 can only take humanly game up to 56 lbs at 200 yards using the standard 55g bullet.
-Neither rifle seems to be able to take man sized game humanly at 200 yards using standard ammo (125g/55g bullets).

In addition, I will also draw the following conclusions:
-Multiple bullet types are available for both cartridges thus negating any bullet type advantage to either cartridge.
-A tricked out gun may shoot differently than a standard off the shelf gun; however, if all things remain equal the above information should be valid.

If I have mis-typed any of the above information, I will defer to the Sierra manual and the BigGameInfo web site. Thanks.

Last edited by perryak47; 03-10-2007 at 00:18.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:03   #22
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As has been said in previous posts;bullet constuction and shot placement are the most important factors to consider.That being said-a person needs to find bullets designed for the velocities intended for it's use.For you .30 cal shooters-sierra makes/made a 125 gr soft point that did very well above 2800 fps with expansion,speer makes a 130 gr hp that performs the same at a little lower velocities,and speer for certain and others make 100 gr-110gr bullets for the m1carbine that should work for close in shots(<200yds)with explosive results as these were designed to be driven at much slower velocities.
I shoot my 7.63x39 from a sks and am completely satisfied with the results-but I dont use it for hunting unless it's the only gun available,other wise it's just a door gun(front door,back door)
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:53   #23
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Paper ballistics don't always translate to real world results. Case being that I have used the Ruger Mini 30 on several types of game so I'll give some examples. 1. A young spike deer (legal in my area) shot at about 70 yards with 123gr Remington CorLokts, 7.62x39mm. Huge blood splatter on the ground where the deer was standing along with a bunch of lung tissue. Found the deer about 200 yards away, both lungs were jelly. 2. A big 9 nine point shot at about 150 yards away with a 100gr Remington CorLokts in 243. Hit in the same manner yet no blood loss on the ground, lungs were still jelly, and the deer went about 12 feet. 3. A big 8 point in the rut hit in vitals with same 100gr corlokts, deer bowed up like he'd been gut shot and tried to take off. I put a second shot thru the vitals as well with same 123gr corlokts breaking the off side shoulder. My bullet was higher and barely touched the upper portion of vitals while the 243 hit the lungs and took out almost all of'em. 4. One big black dog that was robbing my rabbits cages. Hit at about 100yds with same 123gr corlokts in the back end, I just made a bad shot trying to ruch the situation. Second shot hit far back as well but broke the backin and he stopped right there. His front legs were still under him so I placed a followup shot to the vitals and he was done. I didn't examine the body just drug it off, but I can say that there was alot of blood loss.

For stopping power I would choose the 7.62 over the 223 any day. Being that I was in the military and fired both, at short and long range, I'd still choose the 7.62 over the 223. I have fired 7.62 out of the M60 at ranges up to a 1000yds on vehicle size targets and it will do the job. That was firing the M60 as a sinlge shot, not on full auto. In a boltgun the 7.62 is even more powerfull but that another story.

Being that you mention you are on the border I would look into getting a Springfield Scout in 308. Then you have the punch up close as well as far away.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-12-2007, 16:57   #24
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Buy both and be happy with both because there's always a better rnd for particular purposes. Why not the 30-06,.308 or 7mm ? You'll make yourself nuts and go broke on your way to the looney bin. I like being able to carry more .223 ammo. pound for pound than the 7.62 x 39mm but the penetration of the 7.62 can't be ignored either.
Metalhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2007, 17:54   #25
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Next time out hunting with my M-30 I'll use some well-dialed in handloads with better bullets than the Winchester soft-point. But I have no doubt that had I hit the heart/lung juncture or spine the big doe would have dropped. The toughness of wildlife constantly amazes me. I've been using a side-lock muzzleloader .50 cal for all my hunting last few years except for hogs with my Ruger Old Army but won't hesitate to go after hogs with my M-30 and good ammo, i.e. Hornady, Speer, Nosler, etc. 150 grain slugs. Shot placement is the key if the power is there to begin with.
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