Hunting with Sierra Matchking?


November 19, 2010, 03:56 PM

Can you hunt and get good expansion with Sierra Matchking 168 Grains HP 2200? Or is it simply for matches?

Thank you

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Hondo 60
November 19, 2010, 04:39 PM
I don't hunt, but can't see any reason why you couldn't.

November 19, 2010, 04:42 PM
Sierra has this as part of their description of the Matchking 168gr.

Although some of these bullets have been used for hunting, Sierra recommends them for target shooting only.

I'm sure they will punch holes in game, but being an ethical hunter, I'm sure you would not want to take the chance of wounding an animal to have it run off and die without harvesting it, because the bullet did not perform properly.
I'm a firm believer in using bullets designed for the job.


November 19, 2010, 04:51 PM

Match bullets are not intended to perform on game.

The jacket is not drawn with expansion in mind, the HP is very small, and the boat-tail core is not attached to the jacket in any way.

If it does expand, the core is going to squirt out of the jacket.
If it doesn't expand, you are in effect, shooting FMJ bullets at game animals.

In either case, the result may result in a Series of Unfortunate Events.

About now, several folks are going to post that they use them successfully on everything from mice to moose.
But I sure wouldn't.


November 19, 2010, 04:52 PM

I shall not use those bullets to hunt indeed. I will use the usual pro hunter 150 grains.

November 19, 2010, 10:13 PM
Sierra also makes Gamekings.
I'm quite certain they have a reason for doing so.

November 19, 2010, 10:27 PM
Long ago I shot a big Wyoming antelope doe with a 7mm Matchking at over 175 yds (230 paces in open sage brush). She went down in a heap. I don't think there was any meat I harvested that didn't have bullet jacket or lead in it. Match jackets are very thin by design.
I determined that match bullets can be effective killers but maybe not such good hunting bullets.

November 19, 2010, 11:08 PM
US army snipers use matchkings. They do not "expand" but they do yaw and fragment. That said I don't think they will do nearly as well as Gamekings that really are designed to kill game anamals very quickly. Burger makes a better ultra long range high BC hunting bullet. They fragment in the front but the rear portion stays intact very well, kind of a controled fragmentation round if that makes any sence.

November 19, 2010, 11:18 PM
I don't think there was any meat I harvested that didn't have bullet jacket or lead in it. Match jackets are very thin by design.

+1. Only deer I have ever completely ruined was with matchkings. I was on a cull hunt, riding along with the land owner's 14 year old son. We segregated a nice 8 point into a 2 acre pen for the youngster, and the kid levels his .220 swift & makes a shallow attempt at cutting the deer's throat. The now panicked, injured deer is bolting along the high fence, flat out, running back & forth betweeen each end of the pen. The kid, bless his heart, empties the ruger to no avail.

Summoned to action, I level my 7mm mag (165 gr matchkings) on the post where the deer is making his turn at each run of the fence. He is flat out, so I am not going to get a clean shot. He is trying to get through the fence and is getting really cut up. I level at the post & wait for any blur of fur to enter the edge of the scope. It does, I fire, and the 8 point piles up in a heep, DRT.

When we approach the animal, we cannot find the entry wound easily. Field dressing showed the bullet entered the left rear hip & the ball joint was a grenade. The lower intestin was minced, and the contents along with most of the lower organs were liquified. Thousands of little shards of bone & bullet fragments carried the waist into most of the meat this animal had. The shoulders might have been salvageable, but the smell & mess were so extreme we elected to not make the attempt. It was ruined, and we tagged it, then buried it.

November 19, 2010, 11:18 PM
I expect eastern whitetail will drop like a rock if you hit them in the vitals with ANY .30 caliber bullet.

Is it the match bullet the best choice?... no.

Is it adequate?... oh yeah.

November 19, 2010, 11:38 PM
Gamekings do just great on game, hence the name. My gamekings group nearly as well as the matchkings from my 7mag., and I have never ruined game with them. MUCH better choice.

November 20, 2010, 01:07 AM
I think the 168 smk has a 165 sgk to provide a hunting bullet that matches the trajectory and POI of the smk. Sierra would be the best source to confirm that. Maybe some one on here has tested it.

November 20, 2010, 02:00 AM
I'm a big fan of the 30-06 and Sierra bullets.
I practice with 168gr MatchKing bullets and load 165gr GameKing bullets for Deer.
Both use the same powder charge and there's no need to change the settings or sight-in on your scope.

IMO it's a win-win combination and I'm happy with both...

November 20, 2010, 06:56 AM
The only .30 caliber match bullet I can heartily recommend for deer hunting, is the Hornady 178gr Amax bullet. Excellent accuracy and expansion.


November 20, 2010, 06:18 PM
Same church, different pew.

I shot some .224 77 gr Sierra Matchkings at some water filled plastic bottles a while ago and was surprised to find a 22caliber entry hole and a 22 caliber exit hole. The bottles were virtually undisturbed otherwise. I expected the bottles to at least knocked over.

On the other hand, 50 gr. varmint bullets shot at similar muzzle velocities as the 77 SMK loads would explode the bottles.

I realize this is not really the same as the 30 caliber, but it has convinced me to use hunting bullets for hunting and save the target bullets for paper punching.

FYI, the 77 SMKs were shot in a 20 inch AR and the varmint bullets shot with a 24 inch 221 Remington Fireball.

November 21, 2010, 01:51 PM
Those Gamekings are some very good bullets. They are almost as accurate as the Matchkings. Give them a shot, you won't be sorry.

November 21, 2010, 02:30 PM

Stick to matches with the 168 SMKs, flip to 165 GameKings (SGK) for hunting.

I shoot the classic match load for 168s in my Remington 700 and M1A. That load consists of a 2.80 inch OAL, 41.5 g IMR 4895, and a 168 SMK. The hunting load is the same powder and powder load, but 2.75 in OAL and the 165 SGK.

I find the two loads statistically equal under 200 yards and statistically close enough between 200 and 300 yards.

Happy hunting,

November 22, 2010, 06:17 PM
I read somewhere that match bullets have a (tiny) hollow point because it's easier to manufacture than a closed point while maintaining the required consistency. As rcmodel noted, it ain't there for expansion, and in fact expansion simply isn't part of the bullet design.

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