Game Kings, SSTs, or Ballistic Tips.


December 5, 2012, 08:20 PM
I have been loading all three for a while now, I usualy use whichever shoots the best in a given rifle, but one rifle groups as good as I can shoot it with all three so my normal practice does not apply. If whitetail deer and smallish feral hogs were your only game which would be your prefrence? The Game Kings and SSTs are 140gr (2750fps) and the Ballistic Tips are 120s (just over 3,000fps) range from 30-300yd.

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Nico Testosteros
December 5, 2012, 08:38 PM
I guess I'd have to flip a coin. If all 3 shoot equally well I don't think theres much difference between the three. I don't think the deer or hogs will know the diff.

December 5, 2012, 11:11 PM
Anyone got a three sided coin? LOL I have used the 120 BTs on game before at 100fps lower speed with impressive borderline nasty results, but I think these will have the least penetration (not that that has been an issue yet) The Game Kings I think will have the most penetration given that they are 140gr and don't have the uber fast expanding tip, as an added bonus they are also the cheapest to shoot at $0.27 a pop not that I would compromise on game performance for a few pennies. The SSTs have a reputation for nasty fast expansion and the highest BC of them all (.458 vs .495 vs .520) I have shot hundreds of them but have never used one on game, though I have loaded them for friends before in other calibers and have yet to have a complaint about having to track anything.

Art Eatman
December 5, 2012, 11:25 PM
I started using Sierras way, way back when. Since they always worked as I expected and hoped, I've never bothered with anything else. 20 yards to 450 yards, bang/whop/plop.

December 5, 2012, 11:40 PM
Sierras or a rem corloc for me they have been getting it done for a long time and will continue to do so. A BT at high valocity and close range very explocive 300 yds different story.

December 5, 2012, 11:47 PM
I load Serria Game Kings in every rifle caliber I handload for. They are generally the most accurate bullets I have ever seen, and in my 30-06 they will make a mess of a deer if you don't keep it behind the shoulder. The soft tissue damage is impressive to say the least, the last one had a hole large enough to put your fist through. Some have said that they are too soft for deer hunting and core/jacket separation is a major issue, but that has not been my experience with the 165gr 30 cal version (2830fps). I hope the 140gr 6.5mm is every bit as good. I like big exit wounds, so if I ever have to track something a good blood trail will lead the way. Never lost an animal yet and hopefully never will.

December 5, 2012, 11:55 PM
Sierras or a rem corloc for me they have been getting it done for a long time and will continue to do so. A BT at high valocity and close range very explocive 300 yds different story.
I used to think so too, but I tried them a while back and I have had nothing but through and through shots even at close ranged 270 WSM speeds! (3300fps) Raking shot an a deer at 80 yd went in 10" behind the shoulder and went out the neck, dropped on the spot probably 28" total penetration. I try Noslers in all my rifles too, some group well with them some don't, my 270 WSM and 308 favor them in 130 and 168gr.
Too many good bullets on the market nowadays, makes choices really hard on OCD people like me :)

Lloyd Smale
December 6, 2012, 07:04 AM
Ive used both bts and sierras for about 90 percent of my deer shooting for over 30 years. Both work real well and for me anyway id let the gun decide.

December 6, 2012, 07:33 AM
I also generally use what shoots best for me in a particular gun. Of the bullets you mention, I'd go with the Sierra GameKing.

A bullet that's I think is a real sleeper is the Remington Core-Lokt. For such cheap and a little ugly bullets they shoot VERY well for me in a 270 Winchester and give excellent performance on deer, crows and groundhogs.

December 6, 2012, 06:38 PM
No Core-Lokts around here except 180gr 30 cal and 100gr .257" I have thought many times about ordering from Midway but they are always out of stock when I am ready to order. Been thinking of trying the new Speer Deep Curl, bonded bullet performance at interlock prices. Not that I need that much for deer, but I like the value in that.

December 7, 2012, 01:04 AM
I'd have to go the LGS to check for sure, but I think the SST's were the cheapest of bunch per bullet for my .270. I really like Nosler bullets, but they were at least a third more money and didn't perform any better than the SST's.
The only Gamekings I have shot were 140's, and my rifle loves em. That's what got me interested in the 140 Partitions I loaded for this deer season. Truth be told, the one shot I took at a deer this year was a pass thru neck shot that probably didn't require a premium bonded bullet.
One of my hunting partners exclusively loads SST's in his 7mm-08 and swears by them on all shots out to 300 yards.
I'm not sure I will continue to load partitions once I run out of the 40 or so I have left.
The 130gr SST's are a flat shooting, economical round out of my .270.
The longer I write this, the more I keep changing my mind.
Good luck with whatever you choose.

December 8, 2012, 10:54 PM
ballistic tips absolutely grenade animals. I use them for added insurance and they have paid off but they also cost me a shoulder and back strap in the last week.

December 8, 2012, 11:52 PM
ballistic tips absolutely grenade animals. I use them for added insurance and they have paid off but they also cost me a shoulder and back strap in the last week.
Yeah I know, I try really hard to keep any tipped bullet behind the shoulder if possible.

December 9, 2012, 11:07 AM
Game Kings, SSTs, or Ballistic Tips.


They all work fine. I don't use SSTs, but Game Kings and Ballistic Tips have never failed me. The 150 .30 caliber BT at 2800 fps has WAY more penetration than the BT haters will give it credit. I've shot one animal from butt to neck, full length of his body, and didn't recover the bullet. He was a bang/flop. Lost a little of the ham, not much. A 7mm 150 Game King exploded on a doe's shoulders, all of the off side and most of the on side, at 50 yards driven at 3200 fps MV. It happens. Just chili meat and I got a nice buck that same hunt, so I wasn't wanting for chili meat. :D

December 9, 2012, 11:30 AM
I've used all of them in my swede. I now use the 140 SST's because the BC is almost identicle to 140 SMK's so I can use the same load and range card for both. I only run mine at 2513 fps. so I'm not concerned with them "grenading", as some like to say. I think the tipped bullets got a baad rap because hunters were over gunned for close shots. The last deer I shot with a 120 Gameking was maybe 40-50 yards away. The bullet entered behind the shoulder and completely exploded inside the rib cage. I never found any of it. I literally poured his heart and lungs out whenI dressed him out. I did not view this as a bullet failure. The buck was down. By the way hello from a fellow 6.5X55 disciple.

December 9, 2012, 03:29 PM
They got a bad rap from the early Ballistics Tips that really were not much more then an over sized varmint bullet. They changed the design back in 1998 but now there are still enough people pushing them to ultra magnum speeds to keep the bullet blowup hype alive. I keep them below 3050fps in everything buy my long ranged gun and have never had any issues with their perpetration. I am sure I won't have any issues with the SST either seeing as it is even slower and heavier then the Nosler.
Loaded up a box worth of each, whichever one puts um down the fastest will be my go to round. Now time to fine tune my 308 :)

December 12, 2012, 12:15 PM
I'm one who doesn't like Ballistic tips for hunting critters that I want to eat afterwards. As you said, the originals were all varmint bullets but even the 2nd gen. ones blow up animals if you are too close. Trouble is you can't have it both ways unless you shoot Nosler Partitions which always perform regardless of the distances.

I shot a 180 lb. 8 point with a .338-06 with a 200 gr. Ballistic Tip and his entire chest cavity "exploded" and sent pieces of ribs, heart, and lungs throughout the surrounding muscle. Very little of that deer was salvageable.

December 12, 2012, 12:32 PM
Older ballistic tips earned a reputation for too much expansion and too little penetraton. Nosler addressed that issue and they are a tougher bullet now than they were a few years ago. I put a 150 gr BT from a 30-06 @ around 3000 fps completely through a 260 lb bear a few years ago. Range was around 60 yards so it was moving pretty fast. Left a 2" exit hole and dropped him in his tracks.

I haven't shot anything with either of the others, but have used them at the range. I'd say the Game Kings are the tougher bullet that will probably give the greatest penetration, with the SST's the fastest expanding and the BT's in the middle. Nothing at all wrong with any of them as long as you understand how they work and how to use them.

December 12, 2012, 03:24 PM
With any cup and core bullet I am inclined to think that they should be kept under 3k fps impact speeds. Anything faster then that like my WSM I will be loading with Partition/TSX/Accubond bullets. I so no reason why any of those would fail to expand or sepereate at 2,000-3,000fps impact speeds. I will say though that Ballistic tips are known to be caliber sensative, some seem to be more fragile then others. 7mm for example.

Duane M
December 12, 2012, 08:24 PM
I have had a lot of success with both the ballistic tips and the Sierra Game kings. The last eight deer I shot were with the Game Kings 165 grain 30/06. What I like about them is they don't run away. It has been bang flop with them. I've had deer run a hundred yards with the ballistic tips. The chest would be mush but they still ran. Usually no exit wound. I never lost a deer with them but it seems the game kings work a little better for me.

December 13, 2012, 01:48 PM
All three bullet types will Work fine. The ballistic coefficient is realatively moot at distances less then 300 yards. Bullet construction is paramount.

If you want high ballistic coefficients, go with Bergers 140gr VLD (6.5dia) BC= .612, .313 G7. They open up fast, kill great! But are expensive.
This high BC is fairly useless unless you plan shooting past 300. Target shooters may disagree. For thier purposes, they drift less (significantly).

December 13, 2012, 02:16 PM
Tried the VLDs, they do not group as well (yet) in my 6.5x55. I am always trying other bullets but Nosler, Serria, and Hornady are my go to bullets. Affordable, accurate and deadly.

December 13, 2012, 03:28 PM
Having Bergers not shoot well is very rare! At least in my rifles. Bergers can be attrocious if you use a bullet that is too long for your rifling twist rate. Had that happen! Lol!
Some rifles wont shoot thier Tangent Ogives unless the bullet is seated within.010"-.030 of the rifling.
But the loaded round might be too long to function through the magazine.

All in all, it sounds Like your on the right track anyhow.

December 14, 2012, 09:59 AM
Tried the 140gr Burgers at several lenghts with my favorite 140gr charge 46.5gr RL-22 which works reamarkably well with every other bullet in that weight. No luck, mind you not bad for most rifle standards about 1.5" but for that Tikka that is awful sloppy. I know some benchrest guys that use those bullets but they all use more RL-22 then I ever dare cram into one, up to 5gr above published max!

December 15, 2012, 03:25 PM
All the Nosler BT's I have used have been well below the 3000 fps mark, 2600 fps with a 180/8mm and 2500 fps with a 7mm/150 (both old mausers).
They have worked well, in like a pencil out like a silver dollar. I have used 162 SST's @ 2400 in the 7mm mauser on targets, not on game (very accurate).
I haven't taken game past 175 yds, I think just about any hunting bullet will do it's job at reasonable range (300 and less) and velocity (3000 and less) at deer sized game.
It's a matter of what your gun shoots best, which brings confidence, practice also helps. Elk & bear (black) are certainly a different class, requiring much more bullet for the bone mass.
Magnums will certainly reach out much farther, and some much faster, thus requiring a better constructed bullet, ie; Partition, A-frame, TSX, or any of the bonded bullets as well, etc...

December 15, 2012, 03:47 PM
I am a fan of SSTs for target or hog hunting only. Last season, I shot a hog with an A-MAX bullet. Now I know why they are not considered a hunting round. Superb accuracy but massive fragmentation and expansion. Looked like I could fit a tennis ball in the back of the hogs skull. I cannot deny their accuracy but they utilize extremely thin jackets. I would stick with the gamekings which are definitely more well constructed than BT bullets.

December 15, 2012, 07:08 PM
You do know that the SST and A-Max are two totaly different bullets right? SSTs have a heavier much more tapered jacket and a "locked" core, while the A-Max has a paper thin jacket. While the SST is also a fast expander it does hold onto enough mass to keep going while the A-Max explodes like a varmint bullet. Not all tipped bullets are the same, none of my Nosler Ballistic Tips have failed to go through and through yet.

Duane M
December 15, 2012, 08:09 PM
Kachok. I was wondering what size deer are you shooting and how far away are they. I find the ballistic tips do not penetrate through and through. Our deer are around 200 lbs and usually I'm shooting around 25 yards. The ballistic tips fragment and do not exit. The chest is mush but no blood trail to speak of. They run off maybe 20 to 50 yards. The Sierra however do exit most times. For example one broke in half and left two small exit wounds.

December 15, 2012, 10:54 PM
When your hitting at 100 yards or less, unless your using a TSX, a solid, or a bonded bullet, your likely to have explosive expansion. I've had Gamekings do that. My initial velocity is mid-range, and I have the possibilty for shots that are longer here, so I don't really worry about that. But as I posted prior, even if it doesn't exit, as long as you have pureed the heart and lungs your bullet didn't fail. They don't tend to get far when no blood or oxygen is pumping.

December 15, 2012, 11:00 PM
^Tracking is pretty easy here, as opposed to thick, wet areas.

December 15, 2012, 11:35 PM
Born and raised in the midwest ( escaped in 08 ). My brother and I hunted in IL, IA, and MO. If you make a bad shot, then yes, tracking could be a little bit of a chore. We never had it happen, but we did help a landowners son track a badly wounded doe once. That was something I'll never forget.

December 15, 2012, 11:56 PM
Kachok. I was wondering what size deer are you shooting and how far away are they. I find the ballistic tips do not penetrate through and through. Our deer are around 200 lbs and usually I'm shooting around 25 yards. The ballistic tips fragment and do not exit. The chest is mush but no blood trail to speak of. They run off maybe 20 to 50 yards. The Sierra however do exit most times. For example one broke in half and left two small exit wounds.
Deer around here run from around 140lbs for your average doe to low 200s for a decent buck. Most of mine have been shot inside 100 yards but a few are further out then that. A 120gr 6.5mm has a reasonable SD (about like a 165gr 30 cal) I have never had an issue with penetration with them at 2900fps muzzle speeds though this year I switched to a tighter shooting RL19 load moving just over 3000fps. All shots with them thus far have been broadside and right behind the shoulder, they leave a nice exit wound with plenty of blood too, not that any tracking has been needed. I have found bullet fragments in the far side rib cage but as long as the bullet exits I am not worried about that.
What gr Ballistic Tips are you using in your 06? I load 168gr BTs for mine though I have not tried them on deer yet since my 165gr Game Kings have given me spectacular downright excessive performance.

Duane M
December 17, 2012, 09:53 PM
I was using 150 grain Winchester silver ballistic tips. I may have that name mixed up a bit but you probably know what I mean. I never lost a deer, the chest was mush but they did run. I love the game kings. I shoot 165 grain Sierras in my 3006. I've been lucky so far. They haven't run. One ran about 20 yards. Sounds like your shooting good size deer as will. The one I shot this year was just under 200 lbs field dressed.

December 18, 2012, 11:50 AM
The older silvertips are not the same as Nosler Ballistic Tips though they are VERY often confused, the true Ballistic tip has a heavy tapered jacket that keeps the bullet together. The old silver tip was nothing but a thin jacket soft point with an aluminum cap protecting the point from deforming under recoil. The Winchester Combined Technology Ballistic Tip is the same as the Nosler only with an "anti-fouling" coating. I have never used Silvertips, they are known to be on the fragile side, but real Ballsitic Tips have always performed really well, Nosler does not put their name on junk IMHO, then again neither does Serria.

Duane M
December 18, 2012, 02:16 PM
OK Kachok I get it. I thought the Ballistic Silver tips were the same. They are good bullets and I never lost a deer. I got a good buy on the Sierra's and bought 10 boxes. Ammo is expensive in Canada and I couldn't pass up $8.00 a box for the game kings. Walmart was moving and I made an offer to the manager and he accepted. So instead of $35.00 I got them for $8.00. Like I told him I'll take all you got. So far I love them. So anyway I was just surprised that you were getting those results with the ballistic tips. My results were great but different. Like it's been said many times dead is dead. My nephew shoots a 303 with 150 grain Federal soft points and the deer he shoots are dead as well. My brother shoots 308, 150 grain Remington Corelokt. He loves them. So I guess it's what your rifle shoots best. Probably all the soft points work well. Thanks Kachok, happy hunting and Merry Christmas.

December 18, 2012, 02:19 PM
Just to clarify, yes I do know the difference between an A-max and an SST. Although the SST is a sturdier bullet construction wise, they have always fragmented in the live game that I have shot(deer@150lbs, hogs up to 250lbs.). Winchester BST has been my prefered factory load for hunting in my 280 remington but my reloads group much better and the lower velocities I load to make for a little less recoil which my shoulder appreciates especially after a 5 or 6 hog day.

December 18, 2012, 02:49 PM
Every lead core bullet I have ever used fragments some, while some do more then others as long as I get through and through and am not tracking I am happy with the results. When you say your SSTs fragmented do you mean complete seperation or just some of the front portion of the bullet? Did they fail to get full penatration? What caliber and weight? On all tipped bullets I stick with rather high (.240+) SD bullets since I expect them to shed at leasd 25% of their weight.

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