Hornady SST or Sierra Gameking for whitetails


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BudgetBucks1
December 29, 2013, 11:45 AM
I am going to load some new hunting rounds for my 30.06, probably in 150 grain as I have had success with that grain in various brands. I have a box of Sierra GK 150's and was going to find a load for that round but after doing some research it appears that there are mixed reviews on this round exploding and leaving no exit hole. I live in the thickets of NC where the woods are tight. Never shot a deer over 80 yards. I need a good blood trail to recover deer in the thickets. I shot a bear with my muzzleloader this year using Hornady SST rounds and I shot a doe with my father's .35 Remington with SST rounds three days ago. Both left huge entry and exit holes. I could put my fist through the exit hole in the doe. I am very impressed. I am wondering what your opinion is. Should I switch to the SST rounds in my 30.06?

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TNBilly
December 29, 2013, 12:33 PM
In my experience either one makes no difference, they're pretty similar in construction and performance! That said no problem with either so long as shot placement is what it should be and you don't expect to kill the animal by busting thorough the shoulders. If you expect the odd shot then you should think bonded or partition type bullets. Bottom line again, if the SST's have worked olak then any of Hornady's interlock type bullets or any of Sierra's Gameking or Prohunter bullets will work the same IMHO.

courtgreene
December 29, 2013, 12:50 PM
I've used both and both have worked. Granted they weren't .30 cals, but the gameking was a .224 cal and it worked PERFECTLY. I've switched to interlock hornady in a .308, and it's 150 grn. I recommend them. I know it wasn't one of your choices, but it penetrated well and that sounds like what you want the thing to do. I've also had no trouble with Combined Technologies bullets (Nosler) in the .30 cals. I HAVE had trouble with Nosler Ballistic Tips blowing up, but they still die and usually after not running far. I say that to say that if you decide to get the Combined Technologies, make sure you're getting that and not a standard ballistic tip. I like all of the above. It just depends on what your gun shoots the best.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2013, 08:17 PM
In my '06, 52.5 grains of 4064 behind the 150-grain Sierra has given me sub-MOA groups for forty forevers, and has worked on some two dozen tagged bucks--none of which ever needed trailing/tracking.

Lennyjoe
December 29, 2013, 08:51 PM
Same here with Gamekings, but in 165 grains and IMR 4350.

BudgetBucks1
December 29, 2013, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the reply. I might as well stick with the Gamekings. Sounds like they worked well for you guys.

Lloyd Smale
December 30, 2013, 07:06 AM
if anything the ssts are abit more violent in expansion. I did some crop damage shooting the year with my 300wsm wth a 22 inch barrel. It might have a 150fps more velocity then your o6. I used the 150 sst because thats what the gun shot best. that bullet did massive damage on whitetails even out at 300 yards. It hard to make judgement on a bullet with only maybe a half a dozen kills but it left me thinking i might want to try something else.

TIMC
December 30, 2013, 09:32 AM
Going against the grain here, I much prefer the SST's for my hunting bullet in 30 cal. Hard hitting, great expansion and more DRT shots than I have with any other bullet.

BudgetBucks1
December 30, 2013, 09:37 AM
Lloyd Smale, out of the half dozen deer that you killed with the SST, how far did they run before expiring?

BudgetBucks1
December 30, 2013, 09:38 AM
TIMC, did most of your SST's exit?

Arkansas Paul
December 30, 2013, 10:18 AM
I've shot deer with both. It don't matter. They wouldn't have known the difference.
Both are great whitetail bullets from what I've seen.

LeonCarr
December 30, 2013, 10:55 AM
Use the Sierra Gamekings. Match grade accuracy and excellent terminal performance.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

interlock
December 30, 2013, 02:43 PM
Both are great bullets that expand pretty quickly. At the short ranges you will be shooting it could be worth considering stepping up in weight.

Interlock

TIMC
December 30, 2013, 03:23 PM
TIMC, did most of your SST's exit?

Yes, very seldom do I not see exit wounds even at ranges past 250 yards and still retain excellent expansion at those distances. The one down side is when trying 2 for 1 shots on pigs. There doesn't seem to be enough energy left to take down a second animal even at shorter ranges on the pass through but I can live with that. I have had the same results using 150 and 165 grain bullets.

On my AR in 6.5 Grendel I am running the 129 grain SST's with excellent results as well.

I do try to keep muzzle velocities at 2600+ fps on my .308's, that seems to keep them flying straight and true. I have been using the SST's for quite a few years now and have take a lot of deer and hundreds of pigs, nothing else I would rather use.

Arkansas Paul
December 30, 2013, 03:43 PM
Yes, very seldom do I not see exit wounds even at ranges past 250 yards and still retain excellent expansion at those distances.

That's what they're designed to do. The ballistic tips and SSTs are designed to expand at long ranges where velocity has dropped off. They will actually penetrate more at 250 than they will at 50, where velocity is still up there. At those high speeds they come apart nearly upon impact.

Lloyd Smale
December 31, 2013, 06:56 AM
Lloyd Smale, out of the half dozen deer that you killed with the SST, how far did they run before expiring? they knocked the cork out of the ones i shot. Very simular to ballistic tips or sierra prohunters. they do damage when they hit so pick your shots carefully.

Buzsaw
December 31, 2013, 09:43 AM
I like SST but a bad shot will tear up a lot of meat. Very hard hitting deer round, but don't use it on elk.

Tony k
December 31, 2013, 11:00 AM
Like Buzzsaw says
I like SST but a bad shot will tear up a lot of meat. Very hard hitting deer round, but don't use it on elk.

I agree except I use them on elk (but when I run out of SSTs, I'm switching to some type of bonded bullet. I don't trust the SSTs for anchoring shots on bigger animals).

I'd use the game kings if you already have them and already have a good load worked up.

The SST is an unbonded boat tail ballistic tip. The Game King is an unbonded soft point spitzer (right?). Are you really going to see significant exterior or terminal ballistic performance differences at 80 yards or less? I'm thinking not much.

Maybe the difference you saw in blood trail and exit wound was the difference between a big bore ML versus a .30 cal rifle rather than SST versus Game king.

All the animals I've shot in the past five years have been with either 130 or 140 grain SSTs in .270. Mostly muleys, but also elk, bear, and antelope. Except for a bear I shot on the run,they've all been one shot DRT. Mostly behind the shoulder shots, but also a couple neck shots as well. They generally blow a gaping hole on the exit side unless you hit a large bone, then they just come apart like most other unbonded bullets. They work well with proper shot placement, but despite the marketing hype, they are not magic death rays.

jmr40
December 31, 2013, 09:44 PM
Deer ain't hard to kill. Most any bullet fired from a 30-06 will work. It is when you are using a gun borderline for the game hunted where bullet choice starts to become important.

Bullets like the SST and Gameking expand rapidly, but don't give great penetration. Not an issue on deer. This type of bullet gives dramatic quick kills on even very large game. If you get a broadside shot into vitals.

On larger game they are a poor choice from bad angles. I'd use them on elk, but would have to pick my shots very carefully.

pigger
January 1, 2014, 01:07 PM
for myself i would like to never see an exit wound, an exit just means lost energy!

Art Eatman
January 1, 2014, 06:00 PM
The Sierra 180-grain should be plenty good for an angular shot on an elk.

I was messing around one day, shooting at the hanging steel plate at 500 yards. By comparative depth of the bullet marks in the steel, the 150s barely dented to 1/16th. The 165 HPBTs to maybe an eighth at most. The 180 SPBT was about 3/16ths, with a bit of splashback of the beginnings of a crater.

TwoWheelFiend
January 3, 2014, 11:09 PM
I don't think the deer will care which one you shoot him with.

nathan
January 4, 2014, 10:52 PM
They advise to aim for the head or neck if less than 50 yrds . If shot throught the broadside, it might explode and not penetrate. A wounded deer can run a long ways and be loss. If 100 yrds or so, the SSTs and Nosler BTs will be deadly .

hardluk1
January 14, 2014, 03:16 PM
I have close to 20 years using the SST bullet in 308 and 7rm . I use a lite bullet drive hard and always shoot for the heart lung shot and almost never have a pass thru shot but those have been with the 308 and 150gr sst . Low chest right behind the legs shots always work well. I hunt by my self mostly an hate looking for deer and with the SST 150gr for the 30 and 139gr for the 7mm I have never had a deer take more than a couple steps . Shot them from 20 feet to 420 yards. I don't care if I get a little meat damage from time to time but I hate looking for deer. And I like hunting in the rain so blood does not last long .

Mark in GA
January 14, 2014, 08:07 PM
Neither!

If going with a cup and core bullet, my best success and most consistent performance has been with the Flat Base Hornady Interlock Softpoint. Their boat tails can work too, but my best accuracy nearly always comes with the flat base. They seem to hold together better to me, but I don't have anything scientific to back that up. Just my personal experience.

Interlocks and the 30-06 or 308 for that matter are a match made in heaven. Actually, for that matter they have also worked perfectly for me in 243, 260, 270, 7mm-08, 280, 7mm Mag, 308 and 30-06.

Mark in GA

ldlfh7
January 14, 2014, 10:53 PM
Any 30 cal bullet weighing 150 gr will do the job. Don't over think it. Corelokts work great and have forever.

22250Rem
January 17, 2014, 09:12 PM
I'd just use whatever 150 gr. bullet my barrel preferred, accuracy wise. Shot placement is paramount. I will admit that my favorite .30 cal. 150 gr. hunting bullet is the Nosler Accubond. My barrel loves 'em and they work real good on game.

juk
January 18, 2014, 09:54 PM
I took a 90 lb whitetail just yesterday with a 165 gameking SP out of my 308. She was quartering away and facing downhill. The shot was about 40 yards or so. This is a mild load with only 43 grains of IMR 4064, but the bullet did its job. It blew a 2" entry hole through the right rib, punctured a lung, cored the heart, and exited just inside the front left shoulder. BANG, jump, flail, flop. Realistically though, almost any hunting bullet would have done the same. The 165 HP Gamekings are a different breed though. The deer I have seen taken with those are just gruesome. One in particular was a straight on broadside shot through the boiler room. 30 cal entry hole, baseball sized exit wound. Could have stuffed a basketball in the actual wound cavity.

GooseGestapo
January 20, 2014, 09:06 AM
re original post:
Hornady dosen't make SST's for the .35Rem. Those would have been FTX.
My experience with the FTX and SST's (.25,7mm,.30) haven't been good. (failure to expand, complete penetration on game actually recovered with no apparent expansion).

I much, much prefer the Sierra's. I've killed over 200 deer with Sierra's over the past 38yrs. .22, .25, 270,7mm, .30's,35's, .375 and have confidence with Sierra's.
I've had notable failures with Hornady .243, 7mm, .338, and .35's.

Such that I won't use a Hornady on a $$$$ hunt. Sole exception is the 200gr FTX in .338ME. It has performed acceptably on deer, so I'll chance it for elk. Otherwise, I'll lopp off some of the nose of a Nosler 210gr Partition or buy some Hawk 200gr FN. If in big-bear territory I'll use some factory 250gr Corlokts. I've had excellent performance from the CorLokts if not consistent accuracy...

BudgetBucks1
January 21, 2014, 08:45 AM
Thanks for all the input. Sounds like alot of good experiences from the Sierra gamekings. I already have a box of 100 of them so I think I'll just plan on using them. Season is over here in NC so I won't be able to try them on game until November.

Lloyd Smale
January 30, 2014, 07:18 AM
for myself i would like to never see an exit wound, an exit just means lost energy!

What exactly do you think that energy is doing for you. Do you think its knocking that deer down?? Not a chance. If you want to know exactly how small the effect of the energy of a bullet is suspend a 100 lb bag of corn or grain and shoot it with your rifle. the bag will barely move. It sure wont move enough to translate into knocking a deer off its feet. Give me an exit wound EVERY time. One episode of tracking a deer with only a small bullet sized entrence hole will cure you forever from hating exit wounds. Energy means about nothing when it comes to killing. About all it is is a way to rate power levels of differnt calibers and its actually a poor way to do that.

pigger
January 30, 2014, 09:14 AM
As I said, I prefer no exit!!!! I don't think it's about moving your target or knocking it off it's feet. (Lloyd Smale, If you want to know exactly how small the effect of the energy of a bullet is suspend a 100 lb bag of corn) And how do you think that the energy of that bullet has no effect on that animal? I sure would like to know! I do agree that some people need an exit wound!! I just feel like that if the bullet passes through you have not used all of the potential the bullet has to offer.

ldlfh7
January 30, 2014, 10:30 AM
...

Art Eatman
January 30, 2014, 11:30 AM
Argh! Enuf!

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