New to 300 blk, and I am curious to the limitations of the cartridge as far as to what weight can I sling at what speed to give maximum penetration to larger game without obliterating half the animal?
Matt86, you’ve asked a question that is tough to answer because of the many options available to shoot the same cartridge from and in a way that leaves it open for a lot of wounded and unrecoverable animals. Kinetic energy is a mystical number that is pointless in shooting live things. Shot placement and bullet construction are far more important.
To answer your question, as you wrote it;
A 150 grain solid match bullet at 2300 fps or an 85 grain solid at 3000fps will both have well over 1700 pounds of kinetic energy at the muzzle. Both those speeds are possible from an 18” barrel.
If you shoot your game in a fleshy part like the lower part of the neck, away from the spine, you will get a complete pass through with little or no damage to any tissue. Next best spot would be to gut shoot them. The problem with that shot, is the animal is more likely to die in a few days or weeks, instead of survive like the neck shot.
The effiency of the bullet to dump the available energy, is the real question and matching that to the target is the problem. If a bullet passes through, it may not release very much of it’s energy and may not be effective at all. Same thing applies if it only penetrates the skin and flattens on the shoulder bone, it has dumped 100% of its energy and accomplished nothing.
Bullet recommendation for an 8” barrel on 100 pound deer may be completely different than a 16” barrel and a 300 pound hog.
The cartridge can be loaded to pistol, or a low to medium powered rifle. You would be hard pressed to get a 223 and an 85 grain bullet to 3000 fps. But a 308 caliber bullet of that weight will not have the flat trajectory of a 223 at 2800 fps.
Lots of choices and things to think about, knowing the purpose will define the answers.
Not sure I gave the answer you were looking for, but it is the answer to your question. Maximum speed, 3000 fps with an 85 grain bullet or 2300 fps with a 150 grain bullet will both have maximum energy. The 150 grain will offer more penetration and with proper shot placement you could get a complete pass through. 100% penetration on a bull moose is possible at the right distance with the right bullet, with little to no tissue damage. Not sure that is what you would actually want.
The others have made very good suggestions to insure a successful, ethical harvest of an animal. I have given you the raw numbers hopefully between the two you can make some good choices.
Welcome to the fun.