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Penetration/Controlled Expansion Hornady 250 gr SST

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by RPRNY, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    The Hornady .452 250 grain SST used in factory slug loads, sold as a sabot bullet for muzzle loading, used in the factory 450 Bushmaster load and tagged as FTX in Leverevolution rounds seems a pretty versatile bullet. I have been loading it in 45 LC and 454 Casull for my H&R break action based carbine and it shoots paper very nicely.

    Recently on another forum (SGW), the performance of that bullet has been heavily criticized by people with not only good ballistics knowledge but real field experience - including one respondent who butchered 100 donated deer and did extensive necropsy work digging SST/FTX bullets out of deer shot multiple times with this bullet. Another respondent critical of the SST was Ed Hubel, who certainly has an informed basis for an opinion.

    The criticism seems to be essentially that it is too fragile, the core is insufficiently bonded to the jacket and as a result suffers from rapid fragmentation on contact at high velocities and overly rapid expansion, ergo poor penetration at medium velocities and spotty expansion at lower velocities.

    I would be interested to hear the views here and any anecdotal evidence to support or disprove these theories.
  2. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    i've never heard of Ed Hubel. Mine is a self informed opinion. i've used the 250 grain SST/Shockwave to kill about 20 deer and a couple hundred wild hogs. Never had a wounded deer or hog get away. Yeah, that bullet is sometimes criticized, usually by the shoot em in the guts crowd or by those in the pockets of "premium" bullet makers.

    If you think the 250 grain SST/Shockwave is too fragile there is the 250 grain TC Bonded Shockwave. That bullet may not expand on small deer and hogs.

    This hog weighed over 300 pounds field dressed and was 19" through the shoulders. The 250 grain SST, driven by 100 grains of Goex 3F Pinnacle, hit the hog just behind the shoulder. The bullet broke a rib going in and broke two ribs exiting. Boar went about 80 yards, hit the ground, kicked for about 45 seconds and expired.

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

  4. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Well-Known Member

    I don't know too awful much about the .452 SST. I use the TC shockwaves for my ML's and Lighfields for my sluggers. What I DO know it the SST in .284 does have a problem with close in shots at full power 7mm.08 loads. Had a couple blow up on shoulders on white-tail. Still recovered both deer but it was a hell of a mess. Had to track them both a LONG ways and put a neck shot in them both. I switched to Interlock and not had a problem since.

    I do know a couple guys around here that use the 12 gauge Hornady slugs and never had a problem so far. And as most know, the deer in this neck of the woods are pretty darn big. My opinion is this, if the guy had 100 deer that were KILLED by said bullet, how is it there is a problem? If they didn't perform then the deer wouldn't be there for him to check, correct?

    Now as far as Mr. Hubble, he builds some very interesting cartridge based HUGE bore rifles and has extensive knowledge on slugs but I would not go so far to say he is the end all of knowledge. I live in a shotgun only state and have a vast network of friends around here and see hundreds of deer every year taken with various slugs. One of the most common used here is the Remington Buckhammer slug. Followed by lightfield then the Hornady slug. My 2 rifled barrels just prefer the Lightfield over them all.
  5. plumberroy

    plumberroy Well-Known Member

    I saw one sabot round out of a muzzle loader fail. Deer was recovered because I handed him my rifle . One is too many !! I won't use pistol bullet sabots Every failure I have head of were close shots. It isn't hard to push pistol bullets to failure. some .357 125 gr. jacketed h.p. will come apart in the air at 2000 fps at 2400 fps seirra .357 jacketed hollow point explode a groundhog with no clear exit hole
    This knowledge is from my can you turn a 35 remington lone eagle pistol into a varmit gun experiment :evil: yes you can
  6. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    Thanks to the responders. This is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to generate - people talking about real world personal experiences. I have not used the Hornady SST either in 45 Colt or 454 to hunt yet - just built that carbine and, shooting smoothbore shotgun as I do, stick to Brenekke. There does seem to be a recurring experience of high velocity premature fragmentation. I don't know that it will put me off but I will certainly keep experimenting with other bullets for my Colt / Casull carbine.

    I didn't mean to suggest Ed was the font of all knowledge, something he would likely blanch at. He has however done a lot more ballistics work on slugs than I or anyone I know has, so his opinion carries some weight with me. As for the deer butcher, she didn't suggest that the some hundred deer she examined were all shot with SSTs. She simply noted multiple cases of multiple shot deer where SSTs were recovered and also noted several overly fragmented low penetration shoulder shots. Interesting but by no means very scientific or statistically significant. As noted above, plenty of deer are successfully harvested with SSTs every year. But since I am not the world's greatest marksman or a greatly skilled tracker, I try to remove those variables that I can with the goal of rapid, low meat destruction kills.

    In any event, I think the whole shooting community, and the manufacturers get something out of discussions like this when real world examples are presented and discussed.
  7. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Well-Known Member

    My experience-I shot the SST's and Shockwaves with my ML for the 1st couple of years, 4 deer all with a 45 cal hole going in, a 45 cal hole going out, dead deer nonetheless. All were shot at various ranges to 140 yards with 110grains of T7. I switched to Speer 45 colt Deepcurls, not as accurate as the SST's. They shed their lead upon impact but it looks like a grenade went off inside. All have been bang-flops since-

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