match bullets for hunting?

Discussion in 'Big Stuff -- 6.5mm, 7mm, 30 Cal' started by jpspeeddemon, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. jpspeeddemon

    jpspeeddemon

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    43
    i was curious, what do match bullets do when hitting a deer? i have a 6.5x284 and plan to use it on whitetails this fall at ranges from 200-500 yards. is there a differemce between SMK and Bergers, Amaxs or Scenars because i know sierra recomends not using them for hunting but does anyone have experience using them?
     
  2. M700

    M700

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    824
    There may not be any faster way to open up a vigorous debate on a gun forum than by asking that very question! :)

    Here's a bit on it from my perspective:

    Berger has recently been promoting their VLD match bullets as excellent game bullets, and from what I've read, as well as from what a few of my buddies tell me, I'm not at all hesitant to give them a try. They seem to penetrate a couple of inches, then expand like crazy, creating a huge wound channel inside the chest cavity of the game animal. Sounds like pretty much perfect bullet performance on deer sized game to me.

    Sierra Matchkings have been used by a number of hunters over the years with some amazing success. They've also failed miserably. I think this inconsistency is what prompts Sierra to warn hunters against their use. From what I've seen, and gathered, they do particularly well if they're driven hard by a powerful rifle, and can be especially effective if they tumble. A number of long-range specialist hunters have used them with great success for decades. A number of guys have tried them, and found that sometimes they'll essentially pencil through without opening up at all, and other times they'll darned near blow up on impact. With the right setup I think they're a viable hunting bullet.

    The Hornady A-Max generally expands quickly, and kills fast. I know a young fellow who contracts out killing problem animals, and sick animals. He's one heck of a marksman. He uses the A-Max exclusively on animals up to and including elk, and swears by it. It has produced instant death and incredible wounds in his hands. He does take a lot of CNS shots, but claims it also works well when placed in the heart/lung area. From his results, and the results of others I've spoken with, I'd have to say that the A-Max qualifies as a hunting bullet.

    I played with Sierra Matchkings as a hunting bullet 10 - 12 years ago and wasn't impressed,except for the accuracy) but that may have been because my little .308 Winchester wasn't driving them hard enough for optimal results on game.

    Since then I switched back to hunting bullets of proven accuracy: Nosler's ballistic tip is likely at the top of my list, it often shoots as well as a match bullet, but expands well on game. I haven't tried the Nosler Accubond, but it's supposed to be more of the same with better weight retention. Sierra's good old Gameking SPBT bullets work very well for me, and are within a smidge of being as accurate as their match bullets in my hunting rifles. Have a special soft spot for their 160 and 175 grain SPBT bullets from my 7mm Remington magnum. Nice, really nice, combination.

    There ya go... That's about the extent of my input. On some forums this question has led to some real nasty debates, I trust the posters here will display a little more maturity.

    Regards, Guy
     
  3. BarryL

    BarryL

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    81
    I can only speak of personal experience. I took a black bear at a tad over 300yds with a 240gr. Sierra out of a 300 WM. The bullet exited in 4 different places but also dropped the black in his tracks.
     
  4. aixenmemphis

    aixenmemphis

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    73
    I second that on the Sierra Game King. I have used them exclusively in my 243 and 270 for about 3 years now on Texas whitetail and they are very accurate and deadly. I find the SPBT to provide a little cleaner kills than do the HPBT on the animals I have shot.
     
  5. sewwhat89

    sewwhat89

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Messages:
    238
    I use the 175 SMK in my 300 RSAUM for hunting with a MV of 2950. I took a doe last year at 300 yards, and the bullet left a credit card sized exit hole. I shot her through the lungs, and she went about 40 yards down the ravine. Blood trail was not an issue as there was blood and lung coming out both sides.

    I have some 190 and 220 SMKs loaded up in my 300 WM along with some 190 Bergers for use this season. I will not hesitate to take the shot with any of these bullets. Placement is more important as it makes no difference what bullet or caliber you shoot if you can't hit your target.
     
  6. EricStecker

    EricStecker

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    229
    The extensive testing and significant number of animals taken to date has proven that the Berger VLD is very consistent in the area of accuracy and terminal performance. Many who were hesitant to use them are very impressed when they do,ask John Barsness of Handloader).

    To see for yourself what the Berger VLD can do on big game contact Andrea Cobos at 714-447-5456 or andrea.cobos@bergerbullets.com. Tell her you want the free hunting with Berger DVD. This DVD is 30 minutes of kill after kill. During most of the kills you will see listed the cartridge, bullet, muzzle velocity and distance.

    I will not say that the other bullets do not work. I will say with great confidence that the Berger VLD will shoot accurately at any range and will produce the same terminal performance on animal after animal that you can bet your hunt on.

    Regards,
    Eric
     
  7. ANDY5

    ANDY5

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    118
    It is not fair for the animal to use sierra match kings. I did it once when I was foolish. This is after I knew that too much vel. would make the 6mm bullet disintegrate sometimes. I blew a 6" piece of hide and meat from the pumpkin on a nice black tail buck, no doubt he died probably of gangrene. No way for one of Gods creatures he put here for us to eat to die. I will always feel bad for that animal. When we hunt or harvest whichever you do it should be instant death. That is shot placement, good distance, and proper bullet selection. Just my opinion and experience doesn't count for much. Although I hope it makes it a faster death to all the animals hunted out there.
    andy5
     
  8. olympian

    olympian

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    205
    I have heard a lot of guys admit to being very fond of AMAX bullets in hunting situations, especially when driven at magnum velocities.
     
  9. PAshooter20BR

    PAshooter20BR

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    245
    I shoot deer with a 7mm 162 A-Max, if your shooting whitetails it is the ticket...never had one not fall over - head or lungs there wont be any tracking.
     
  10. 65BR

    65BR

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    371
    http://jacksonrifles.com/vldvarmints.htm

    My 6br, 105amax double lunged broadside nice doe, 400 yds, went maybe 25 yds after stumbling a flop or two. Nice exit.

    Another deer, DRT, spine, 200 yds, instant disintegration.

    Another, DRT, head shot, 42 yds.

    2815 mv. I continue using it, oh, coyote 175 yds or so, DRT-head shot, another about 65 yds, chest shot, DRT.

    Not to mention a racoon and a bobcat. Yes, my buddy cooked the coon, and the bobcat was mounted, bullet lost most energy inside animal raking from rear ribs forward out the opposite shoulder, nickel exit, beautiful for a mount, little hide damage.

    So far, 100% kills, all but the one, DRT every animal. Will keep using, select shots of course when needed, accuracy great. Had 3 under half inch at 330 yds, from a Ruger #1. Not bad.
     
  11. mysticplayer

    mysticplayer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    613
    If you would like more info on this topic, visit longrangehunting.com. More info they you will ever need or want.

    Yes, some match bullets can work wonderfully for hunting. I prefer the poly tip of the Amax as I know that tip WILL initiate expansion on contact. Very interested to try the 180gr 7mm Bergers given how well they fly.

    Yes, there have been problems where a match bullet has grenaded or failed to expand. In general, LOWER impact velocities is desireable. Match bullets usually have thinner jackets then standard hunting bullets.

    Decide on how far you plan to shoot to and what that impact velocity will be. Then decide the amount of penetration you will need vs the size of game. Pick one of the many bullets that fits your parameters.

    In general, LR hunting is about broadside shots on non excited game. Here the properly placed match bullet works like a charm at extended distances.

    Just don't pop one through the shoulders at 50yds going 3000fps then wonder why it just went splat...

    Jerry
     
    284winner likes this.
  12. 65BR

    65BR

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    371
    Great advice, that is why even though I had a broadside at the 42 yd doe, I head shot her, NO chances since it was about last legal light, and I wanted zero tracking. I have no doubt on any broadside/lung shot, longer range w/in reason better penetration. Hit bone like I did the spine....1-2" of penetration, that's it-shrapnel all the way, nothing left! But, I did place my shot and got an instant kill, can't beat the accuracy, but one MUST know limits. If I were cull hunting, I might hunt larger game than deer, as I would head shoot perhaps, maybe wanting a MKHP or Berger instead for assured penetration, but on deer with shot placement, or under that sized game the Amax has impressed me.

    Believe a bbl maker was who told me of someone using like a 6mm/284 with 107's on elk, head shots of course-deadly too! Cull hunting btw.
     
    Blackthorn likes this.
  13. rem40xb1

    rem40xb1

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Messages:
    132
    I have used Berger VLD bullets in 6.5 30 and 6mm with great results on Elk, Deer, Antelope Very accurate and very deadly at all ranges Ross
     
  14. Rustystud

    Rustystud Site $$ Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,411
    I want say I am an expert on this topic but I load ammunition comercially for numerous professional hunters and I also manage the whitetail deer herds on 5 large farms that are in a deer managemnt programs,each allowing the special harvesting of over 150 deer per year). Over the last 35 years I have personally observed over 3000 deer having been harvested. I have seen deer shot with everything from 22 rimfires to 458 Lotts, handguns, from 38 specials to 500 Smith and Wessons, and muzzle loaders from 32 caliber to 68 caliber.

    There are many factors to consider but I see a common superiority in several of the high velocity centrerfire bullets. I prefer a round with consistent controlled expansion I also like an exit wound. Currently I my opinion the Swift Scirocco and the Nosler Accubond are the best bullets for hunting on the market hands down. The other polimer tipped bullets have too thin of jackets and are not consistent performers. The Partition bullets also come in with high marks but not as good as the Scirocco or Accubond. When they shoot well and expand as designed the Barnes triple Shock X bullets are good bullets. However if they hit bone they may or may not expand reliabiably.

    I have tried both Hornaday and Sierra target and hunting bullets and find neither are consistent,Jacket Core separation).

    I respect Eric Stecker highly and have never used Berger bullets on game. I may try some 6mm 105 VLDs, 6mm 108s and some 30 caliber 210s this season. Speaking without any experience using Bergers, I would tend to think the Berger Target bullets are going to be superior target bullets and inferior to the Swift Scirocco and the Nosler Accubond in the field hunting.

    Eric can you elaborate on the jacket/core bonding process with the Berger bullets. I have personally found J4 Jackets to be too thin. Both the Nosler and Swift bonded bullets have stab swaged jackets, that have tapered thickness and solid bases. They both have electro/chemical jacket/core bonding. They both have polimer tips for high BCs with less distortion.

    I know with the Scirocco IIs they have a new softer more malable jacket. This also increases the ductability of the bullets.

    Rustystud
     
    JimT, seymour fish and Gtscotty like this.
  15. rem40xb1

    rem40xb1

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Messages:
    132
    Rustystud is correct when he said the Scirocco and Accubond are the best bullet overall for hunting. It is rare when you get a exit hole with Bergers VLD bullets. Shot placement is very important when you use J4 jackets. You should shoot for the lungs and not take shots at animals that are quartering where you need deep penetration. My wife shot a Moose this year with a 30BR and 150 accubonds. The bullet did exit after going through both lungs and hitting a rib. I would not use a 30BR on a Moose without a Accubond or Scirocco bullet. Bergers kill very well but you must place your shot. Ross
     
  16. EricStecker

    EricStecker

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    229
    Rusty,

    You clearly have a ton of experience with many hunting bullets except for Bergers,by your own admission). I believe you to be very knowledgeable and capable of estimating potential outcomes. However, we must agree that they are estimates and capable of error.

    What I am going to say next is meant in the interest of educating you and others reading this thread and in no way is a personal attack on your judgment. Your statements are consistent with many who make the same mistake in assuming how the Bergers behave before trying them or after shooting them on small game and thinking that small game is all that they are good for.

    We took John Barsness,editor of Handloader) with us to New Zealand so that he could test Berger VLDs for hunting. Before we started hunting he felt as you do that the Berger VLD is accurate for sure but as a hunting bullet he was more than skeptical. After 30 animals were taken,from goats to red stag bucks) and inspected,most with well placed shot and some with poor shots) John's opinion of Berger VLDs on game had changed completely to the point where he called them "the best deer killing bullet he had ever seen".

    We are getting report after report of hunters who have tried the Berger VLD for the first time and are amazed by how consistently and quickly it puts game down. It is true that our bullets typically do not produce an exit hole. Exit holes are good for tracking wounded game. If the game falls where you shot it or really darn close then what good is an exit hole. Exit holes also mean that some of the energy was spent outside the game. This seems less than ideal.

    The Berger VLD works by penetrating 2" to 3" into the animal,also through bone) before it starts to expand. Once it starts to expand the Berger VLD will shed 60% to 90% of its weight as shrapnel into the surrounding organs. This produces an amount of internal damage that cannot be matched by bullets that retain their weight. This massive internal damage does two things. First, it puts the animal into shock,putting it down instantly in most cases). Then, due to the massive amount of damage the animal bleeds out very quickly resulting in a loss of blood pressure, organ failure and death. This process is much faster and more humane than the process caused by bullets that penetrate through an animal like an arrow.

    You asked me to elaborate on the jacket/core bonding process. That will be easy since there is no bonding process. The Berger VLD that are being used all over the country to take game,and to date have not lost one animal) are exactly the same target bullets we have been making for years.

    It was discovered by a hunting TV show that they are more consistently lethal on game up to caribou size than any other bullet that had been shot by these TV hunters before. The bang flop result was so consistent that they switched to Bergers exclusively due to the much better footage they got with the animal going down fast.

    My suggestion to all hunters is to give the Berger VLD a try. I have talked with enough hunters to know that there are very few who do not have a "bullet failure" story. If you try them and they don't put the animal down fast you can be the first to make such a report on the Berger VLD.

    Based on the massive amount of testing in media and on game I can comfortably put Walt's, Berger Bullets and my reputation on the line that the results are not "good shot placement only" or marketing BS but rather true blue results that as a hunters you all are going to have to experience for yourself before you too become believers as John B. and many other hunters have.

    Regards,
    Eric
     
  17. Rustystud

    Rustystud Site $$ Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,411
    Eric:

    Thank you for your reply. I have shot literally hundreds of whitetails with a .223 with a Hornaday 55 grain SX in the lungs. Yes, they drop like a hammer with no exit wounds. These deer are shot for management purpose and usually are small. The shots are carefully placed. I have shot hundreds of deer with a .300 Win mag with Nosler balistic tips, Nosler Partitions and Sierra 165 grain hollow points. I have a customer who shoots hundreds of deer every year with 180 grain Sciroccos. He has shot more than a 1000 deer in the last 10 years with out a loss. He was introduced to the Scirocco by Ian McMurchey a Canadian Shooting writer.

    I also hunt trophy deer, elk, moose, and black bear. A few years ago while at the Shot Show my friend Steve Hornaday gave me a box of Interbonds before they were on the market. I loaded them up in a 308 Winchested and shot them through a Remington model 7. The first deer was shot quartering at 40 yards. The bullet did not exit and when recovered it had a core jacket seperation. I shot seven more deer that week and all dropped like a hammer hit them in the head. Then I had a shot a a real trophy quartering both toward and away from me. I shot this 200 plus pound deer through the shoulder. I could tell that the off shoulder was broken as the deer went down and then scooted around on its chin before getting up on three legs. I could not get a second shot because of a jam caused by my having leather work gloves on and trying to catch my spent brass.
    This was a 150 class, 200 pound deer that was lost and never found. I looked for that deer for several hours for 12 days even using tracking dogs. I took one of the bullets and hemi sectioned it and found it had a air pocket between the core and jacket. I Hemi sectioned another half dozen finding all had the air pocket. I switched to Sciroccos and have not lost a deer since. In my experience almost any bullet will kill a deer under ideal conditions and shot placement. Bullets kill with two principles one being physogenic shock and the other being hemoragentic shock. In my hunting experience the trophy animal may not give you the ideal shot. In that case I want a bullet that will remain together and travel from stem to stern as well as through an ideal heart lung shot.

    I would like to see some balistic test on the Berger bullets. Your own comment indicated that the the Bergers did not exit and exhausted their energy inside their quarry. I like an exit wound for two reasons one being hemorage the other for the pnuemal throax,colapased lungs). If a deer can't breath it can not run.

    I stated that I have not tried the Berger Bullets in a hunting scenario. However I have explained my concerns. I will agree with you and my friend Walt, that Berger Bullets are the best comercially produced target Bullets period.

    You have given the shooting public the go ahead to try Berger VLD bullets for hunting. I hope they do as good as you say. I like humane harvest. But I will also want to hear all the results and I will pay attention to bullet failures due to poor bullet placement and the vitals not being reached and tissue damage. I like to eating my deer and don't like waste due to tissue damage. I also like being able to shoot one bullet from mice to moose.

    Again Eric thank you for your keeping us informed on the quality and performance of the Berger bullets. I will continue using them to kill targets. That is good because I shoot more targets than deer.

    Rustystud
     
  18. Mark Casias

    Mark Casias

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Just to clarify long range elk hunting with a 264 or any 6.5 is as good or better then the smaller 30s meaning the 308 30.06 even the 300win with factory amo.a6.5x55 at 550yd has more ftlbs then 308 and at 750yd has more ftlbs then the .06 with a 150 grain bullet a 264 at a grand runs right with the 300 win due to the high bc. It seems that there is a lot of guessing as to the smk.some say it's hard and won't expand others say to soft being an outfitter specializing in elk I've seen hundreds shot with about every bullet and cal out there.if the smk is to soft stay of heavy bone if to hard hit bone its all about placement and knowing what your bullet does .bergers vlds hunting are a glorified match bullet that works great.as for const.on game with smk hitting a big game animal broadside going in between ribs in and out there won't be much of a wound channel with any bullet I like a expanding bullet at long range and harder bullet at closer heavier bone animals.fullcoppers on elk size game at mid range I fill are the best even in small cal.and about any fast expanding bullet on deer size game at all ranges.i hope this helps
     
  19. kris bassett

    kris bassett Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    229
    I can vouch for the A-Max on mule deer. Also the ELD on mule deer and elk.
     
  20. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    521
    Any large game that receives a double lung shot, regardless of bullet design, will generally be found dead inside of 100 yards, usually less.

    I think the problem with match bullets occurs when you hit bone. Their lightly constructed jackets might not be enough to keep the bullet together and get penetration to vital organs.

    I've only used match bullets to hunt with one time. After missing the first deer I shot on I realized my scope was loose so I needed to re-zero. I only had 5 rounds so I had to run to town (small town) and get some store bought ammo. This tiny grocery store only had 1 box of .308 and it was Hornady Match.

    I re-zeroed my rifle and headed to the stand for an evening hunt. Had a nice buck come out at 100 yards and I took a high double lung shot. Bullet passed though without much expansion and he ran (as they typically do) but there were lung pieces on the ground and a lot of blood. I found him piled up about 75 yards from where he was hit.

    I guess the bottom line to my story is yes, match bullets can be effective, but you have less margin for error. I like to give myself the best chance for a clean kill so I use proven hunting bullets, spend time at the range developing loads and observe their effect on the deer I take.
     
    Gtscotty likes this.

Share This Page