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Old September 23, 2012, 05:23 PM   #1
brokenanew
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OLD SMK VS AMAX debate. My experience

Well first I want to ask a couple of questions
1: Can the A-Max be an effective hunting bullet?
2: Why cant the SMK be used for hunting application? Hollow point suggests good expansion.


Well I went to the range with some loaded amax using rx15 (just been my most accurate powder for all my .308 loads. It sure is dirty though!)
I have long held that 168 gr SMK shoot best thus far. Averaging .58" groups in my .308 Remmy 700 VTR. (stock is bedded and barrel floated).
best loads for both are
42 gr Rx15 Win cases, fed match primers seated at mag length- 168 SMK
43.5 gr Rx15 Win case, fed match primers seated mag length- 168 AMAX

SMK average .58"
I have not shot enough of the Amaxs yet to get a good average but the 2 groups with that load average .54"
Ill shoot a few more groups with that load of Amax's to get a better reading but at this point theres not much advantage of one over the other.

Amaxs cost less but require a bit more powder to get the accuracy so price is somewhat offset.

If Amaxs are better for hunting I will probably just switch to them altogether if more groupings show an average of equal or better group size.

Thoughts?
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Old September 23, 2012, 05:59 PM   #2
5R milspec
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OK there are many who will use the SMK for a hunting bullet and many who say no.Me if my load is accurate I'll use it for I know the bullet will make it mark.

Now the A-max is as good if not better to me than a NBT bullet.One they fly like a papper bullet because they are.Two they have a poly tip just like a NBT does so they work just like on.

So now its up to what bullet you will use.
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Old September 24, 2012, 08:12 AM   #3
Marco Califo
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Sierra does not recommend MK for hunting

Those bullets are designed only for accuracy on targets. Not for expansion or mass retention. Read reviews by shooters who use them. No one uses them for hunting.
Your logic indicates inexperience, read much more.
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Old September 24, 2012, 11:31 AM   #4
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They make great dangerous game bullets. The extremely thin jackets and soft, frangible cores make them ideal for charging elephants.

Now if targets and varmints are your thing, you want a real solid bullet that will ricochet and take out any competitors who might have a better score than you.

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Old September 24, 2012, 06:48 PM   #5
5R milspec
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many do use thew A-max for hunting deer sized came just as I do.No it's not a large game like one suggested above.The poly tip makes the A-max work jjust like a Nosler Balistic Tip been there done that.This is why I psted to this forum.

Again it's just my opinion and what I do it will be up to the OP to what he wants to do.I will even say that placement is a must for any type of bullet.
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:55 PM   #6
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The terminal ballistics between the SMK and the AMAX are negligible. Thin gilding metal and rapid expansion caused by the open tip or poly tip means fragmentation happens at normal hunting velocities. At normal 308 velocities this fragmentation can happen at ranges beyond 300 meters.

So yes, they will kill things you shoot them with, bullets tend to do that. However, fragmentation leads to blood shot meat, and I don't want to bite into a venison burger to spit out a chunk of lead. We don't mind using BTHPs in our sniper ammunition because you aren't worrying about meat damage...

My advise? Buy a better bullet for hunting, even the lowly Speer Hotpour bullets, Rem Corelokts, and Winchester PowerPoints will have better weight retention than any of the match bullets on the market. And if your rifle can toss a match bullet that tight, there is no reason to accept anything less than MOA from a hunting bullet.

If you want to keep your ballistics the same between your match load and hunting load, get some "Combined Technologies" Ballistic Silvertip bullets. The BC is close enough that you won't notice a difference.

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Old September 26, 2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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Jim got it....

Jimro's right on this one. brokenanew, I was in the same boat, starting with 168 Amax's for my previous .308s then switching to 175 SMKs. Now I'm going back to the Amax's as I think they shot better for me.

I researched using target bullets for hunting too, because accuracy makes sense. But as Jimro said,
Quote:
fragmentation leads to blood shot meat
Target bullets fragment, great for snipers/varmint/pest control, but not for useable meat. Unless your planning on consistent head/neck shots on deer, you'd be better off with proper hunting bullets. Berger claims their VLD's are good for hunting, but it's the same problem of fragmentation. A fragmenting bullet will cause more bleeding, but also more spoiled meat.

I've found the perfect load for my setup (Savage Precision Carbine) with the Barnes LRX 175gn (.4-.7 MOA). With 42.5gn IMR 8208XBR, seated to Ogive 0.010 off the lands, this is good for 2655fps & 2739 ft/lbs. I will use that for hunting and the 168 Amaxs for target.


Last edited by miykael; September 26, 2012 at 06:39 PM.
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Old September 27, 2012, 10:29 AM   #8
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Thanks Jim and Miykeal and others. Helpful stuff

Marco- "Your logic indicates inexperience, read much more" -not so helpful. I have about 3 years experience shooting. 1 year reloading and am fairly adept with dynamics regarding powders and casings. Bullets, not so much yet. Hence my posting. Sometimes its a bit counterproductive to state the obvious. Thanks anyway. Ive never hunted but thought it would be good to have a load in case I decided to start.

Jim, Miykeal, What do you think about the Hornady 165 SST's. I found that 44gr Varget to grouped at .625" ! whaaa? That was unexpected. But That was only one group to compare powder charges accuracy. I haven't done more to get an average. Probably a higher average. But still. Ill have to play with them further to evaluate how different point of impact is compared to my SMK or A-max load (both are very very close to each other)

If I was to hunt it would be on smaller white tail and the pesky wild boar population we have around in my area. My whole region is heavily wooded. Its rare to find an open shot of more than 300 yards thats just not cleared farm land.

Truth is my rifle is picky. It will throw rounds as far as 2" spread sometimes until u find the right load but when u do its pretty. Ive heard the VTR is bullet picky....I would confirm that. Ive tried many others like Noslers and Speers and didnt shoot worth a darn. It will shot the 150gr federal walmart junk at right about 1MOA. Not bad. In fact Ive got a couple of boxes sitting back for hunting use if I decide to. But wanted something heavier for that crazy boar hide.
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Old September 27, 2012, 01:26 PM   #9
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Ideas

broken, those are great groupings with SST's. I had a REM700 SPS Tac that shot a best group of .3MOA (not consistently but that's amazing for an entry level, off the shelf tac rifle). Of course it was with handloading.

The way I look at rifles now is completely different that a few years ago, when I got into the way of the gun Personally, for a combo target/hunting rifle:
  1. Know the twist and stick to 1 weight that's best. 1 for hunting, 1 for target. If you're rifle shoots 1/2MOA with 168's amd 1MOA with 175s, why use 175s? Us target/precision guys like the same for hunting...it's not that the animal knows, it's that we do...OCD If you want to go way heavier or way lighter than what your rifle shoots best, get a different caliber or twist. A deer won't know the difference between a 175 & 150. My rifle's 1:10 and loves the 175 Barnes LRX (& TTSX 165/168), which will take anything in North America down, depending on distance and shot placement. Off a bipod, I'd rather shoot .5MOA with my .308 than 1-2MOA with a magnum...unless there's a charging Grizzly involved
  2. Always measure to OAL at the Ogive. This means investing in a OAL gauge & comparator. Hornady's is good for the job.
  3. Measure to better than a 1/10 grain powder with a digital scale. I found a great one on Amazon for under $60, that measures to 2/100 grain. It works great for me. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00
  4. Neck size (or FL with a custom die to your chamber, worth it for long run)
  5. Always Chrono. The low cost Stoney Point is a good enough rifle rest, without one, or at least a bipod, consistent aim point will be off.

Find your ideal load and bullet seating using this method, it works: http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/...g-vld-bullets/
IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE SAME POWDER LOAD AT EVERY WEIGHT RANGE. THIS ISN'T A SPEED TEST ONLY ACCURACY. YOU CAN WORK ON SPEED AFTER. JUST USE A POWDER LOAD THAT YOU KNOW IS CONSISTENT.

Your rifle is a 1:12 twist so theoretically it should shoot best with bullets under 168gn. So, I would try 150, 155 and 168 Amaxs. I found IMR 8208 XBR better than Varget for consistency (although slightly less speed) and it's temperature insensitive. It's my preferred powder now.

I would use the Interbond's (for lead bullets) over the SST's as they will be closer to the Amaxs. Amaxs will fragment on game, so if you're planing on eating what you shoot, I wouldn't use it (unless you stick to head/neck shots). Plus you said that your area is heavily wooded - bad for target bullets contacting branches as their internal makeup is different than hunting bullets (ask Hornady).

All the best.

Last edited by miykael; September 27, 2012 at 05:36 PM.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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Brokenanew,

If you can keep those SST's under MOA at all ranges you plan to hunt I'd say you've found your hunting load. The SST's have 2 "interlock" rings between the jacket and the core (if you include the ring caused by the cannelure).

My bullet of choice for hunting with a 308 is the 165gr Barnes TSX since I want one load for both deer and elk and it hits "close enough" at all ranges verses my 168gr BTHP loads that I don't have to change ballistics in my head. I bought a box of them years ago, and eventually ended up loading them for friends who did a lot more hunting than I did, I actually still have some of my original batch left (I shoot a lot more than I hunt).

Good luck hunting.

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Old September 29, 2012, 07:54 AM   #11
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I haven't messed with the Sierra's, but with the A-max I can testify to the fact that if your impact velocity is over around 2700fps you going to have a mess to deal with. That said, I have loaded and shot hundreds of the 140gr .264 dia. A-Max's out of my daughters 6.5x55 with awesome results on both deer and hogs. The kicker is they are only starting out with a MV of 2550fps. I have also loaded and shot the 182gr .284 out of my 7mm RM loaded to 2800fps at the muzzle and out at 250 - 350yds they are still a bit rambunctious. In a .308 I have loaded and shot the 155gr A=Max at a MV of 2450, and it does wonderfully on even close up shots to deer and hogs. No big issues, and no bloodshot meat with behind the shoulder shots.

Now like I mentioned IF you keep your velocities down the A-Max has proven for me to be a decent hunting bullet in several calibers, but these were used after trying a multitude of other bullets and loads and then these simply being the ones with the best overall accuracy, with the parameters I needed them to be. I can easily shoot plenty of "better" bullets in everything but the 6.5, as it simply will not shoot anything else I have tried in the past dozen or so years of working on it. But that one is a limited example, and it was recently found to shoot he factory loaded Privi 139gr to best the A-Max and is now what we shoot in it.

In 95% of my other rifles I simply load and shoot the Rem CL's as they were cheap when I purchased them and they have been found to shoot very well in the rifles I have. Besides that, they simply work time and time again, but I still have to do my part.
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Old September 29, 2012, 08:13 PM   #12
brokenanew
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Quote:
I found IMR 8208 XBR better than Varget for consistency (although slightly less speed) and it's temperature insensitive. It's my preferred powder now.
Yeah Ive heard this is a good powder. May try it. But have had a hard time talking myself out of using the Rx15 for most my target stuff. But may try it in replacement of the Varget used in my SST load.

Quote:
Know the twist and stick to 1 weight that's best. 1 for hunting, 1 for target. If you're rifle shoots 1/2MOA with 168's amd 1MOA with 175s, why use 175s?
Si. I never shot heavier than the 168's. Though some with the 1/12 twist have claimed that the 175's do just as well. May try a box some day for kicks just to see if it can handle it.

Quote:
Always measure to OAL at the Ogive. This means investing in a OAL gauge & comparator. Hornady's is good for the job.
Measure to better than a 1/10 grain powder with a digital scale. I found a great one on Amazon for under $60, that measures to 2/100 grain. It works great for me. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00
Neck size (or FL with a custom die to your chamber, worth it for long run)
Always Chrono. The low cost Stoney Point is a good enough rifle rest, without one, or at least a bipod, consistent aim point will be off.
I have a good bench rest. I use a good frankfort (I think its called) digital powder measure.
I don't have a chrono yet. I never load for speed. I find that the middle of the road powder charges is usually more accurate so I roll with that. But if I get a new bullet I try the whole range.
Help me understand why its important to need a chrono.
I have OAL gauge. I just load for mag length anyways. I have played with the OAL with the SMK and found that the mag length actually preformed the best. It was a lot of jump but I'm glad it worked. Weird... honestly. I also have a comparator. I'm ashamed to say that I can solve a rubiks cube in less than 3 minutes but I cant figure out how to use that comparator....

Thanks for the info!

Last edited by brokenanew; September 29, 2012 at 08:18 PM.
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Old September 30, 2012, 12:43 AM   #13
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The chrono just helps for the really OCD types.

1. Let's you figure out energy (more useful for hunting rounds).
2. Gives you an idea of fps spread on different loads or within groups at the same powder load. If all your rounds are at the same Ogive OAL and you've separated by bullet weight & bullet ogive variation, then it's interesting to see the effect on velocity (pressure) variation.

Personally, I like to know velocity/energy for the different powder levels, plus it's a nice check to see this compares to powder company, ammo manufactuer specs. Plus I had big differences is velocity spread with my expensive Lapua brass (worst case was up to 30-40 fps, with the TTSX) but the once fired Lake City was perfect (under 10 fps).

I've had great groups before doing the OAL-ogive, chrono etc but even if you don't chrono the OAL-ogive test makes a big difference and can save wasted shooting (barrel life). The comparator and measuring chamber is really easy (I had mine for over a year before I finally used it). Now I wouldn't load test without it.

I can't really focus and might sound all over, just had baby number 2 recently...

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Old September 30, 2012, 10:46 AM   #14
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just to add your 1;12 barrel is not limited to just the 168-175gn bullets.With propper loads it can shoot the heavier bullets.Most will say not to but it has and can be done.I have a 5R with the twist of 1:11 .25 and shoot the heavier bullets.As of now I will be trying a 185gn Berger Hybrid for my hunting load and maybe my long range load.
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:20 PM   #15
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Don't complicate the obvious

From Hornady's site:
A-MAX® NOW featuring AMP™ bullet jackets!
Designed by match shooters for match shooters. With an ultra-low drag tip, our A-Max match bullets feature an aerodynamic secant ogive that delivers flat trajectories with excellent uniformity and concentricity. Find out more...
•Rapid, explosive expansion with limited penetration.
•Recommended muzzle velocity range: 2000+ fps.
•These bullets are not recommended for hunting


Sierra is not specific; however, I would consider MatchKing and ProHunter as telling the tale.

Part of hunting is supposed to be our concern for cleanly dispatching our quarry with materials designed and manufactured for the purpose. I've read a lot of "if it's accurate, I'm using it" positions on this site. I consider it shameful.

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Old October 1, 2012, 10:26 PM   #16
Marco Califo
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Sierra is specific

Quote:
Sierra is not specific;
Sierra is specific. This warning appears on every page of the 308 article with a Matchking bullet. Furthermore, note the absence of a hunting load: this was from the 168 gr HPBT; Sierra does not make a hunting bullet for that weight.

"Accuracy Load RE-15 42.0 2600 2521
Sierra does not recommend MatchKing bullets for hunting applications."

This is from the 180 grn page where the loads apply to both MK and hunting bullets.
"Powder Grains Velocity Ft. lbs.
Accuracy Load Viht N540 39.5 2400 2302
Hunting Load RE-15 41.3 2500 2498
Sierra does not recommend MatchKing bullets for hunting applications."
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5R milspec View Post
many do use thew A-max for hunting deer sized came just as I do.No it's not a large game like one suggested above.The poly tip makes the A-max work jjust like a Nosler Balistic Tip been there done that.This is why I psted to this forum.

Again it's just my opinion and what I do it will be up to the OP to what he wants to do.I will even say that placement is a must for any type of bullet.
Statements like this make me shake my head and give anti-gunners more to work with.

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Old October 3, 2012, 03:57 PM   #18
5R milspec
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Again I will post to why the A-max is just as good as the Nosler Balistic tip.From day one I used the Nosler and I have never found a complete bullet from a deer.All I have found is small pieces if any at all.Now with that said many hunters around my neck of the woods use the Nosler Balistic Tip for hunting with great results.( same as I did ) Latter in life came the A-max and got me to thinking to what if this bullet will work.Well Lord and behold it does.

So I ask you again to why you think it should not be used as a hunting bullet.The two bullets work just the same.I have yet found any pieces of an A-max in a deer just as the balistic tip from Nosler,but still end up with a dead deer right in the tracks it ounce stud in.Yes,I too read the label but have choose to over look it.Just because one puts on a label not to use it for hunting does not mean it can't be used.( Example) a fork lift has a posted weight it can lift,but this doen't meean it cannot lift more.It's just a posted legal statement so you cannot sue them from saying yes,it's a really great hunting bullet but find it not to be.

It's all based on experience and this has been my experience with the A-max bullet.So again I say its ok to use from my experience.So its up to the OP to what he wants to do.He asked I answered just as you but I have experience to offer useing the bullet as he asked.
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Old October 4, 2012, 12:22 PM   #19
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The "Ballistic Tip" line comes in two flavors, one for "varmints" and one for "big game." The "Big Game" variety had a thicker jacket for good weight retention, the "varmint" variety didn't. Some folks didn't mind using the "varmint" bullets on big game, and got the "explosive" results that 5R describes.

Like I wrote before, all bullets are lethal, there is no question that shooting stuff will kill it. As far as bloodshot meat goes, if you want to get more meat then use a bullet that holds together better than a match bullet.

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Old October 15, 2012, 05:47 PM   #20
brokenanew
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Well went to the range again. Thought I would update the debate as far as accuracy goes. Ive decided I would not use either the SMK or the A-Max for hunting. I will keep my SST load but may try the Interbonds instead. I would love to tr Bergers or Barnes but they are expensive

4-shot groups
A-Max load .275" best, average= .57" Had one group that went weird. Barrel was reeeeally dirty and COLD (not hot, cold) -1.3" I wanted to actually test POI vs SMK and shot 2 hours later without cleaning. So dirty and cold

SMK averaged .62" but was more consistent, meaning no super tight groups and no large ones. Never had a group smaller than .344 for any day at the range

O and I dont touch noslers anymore, they dont shoot worth a darn in my rifle for some reason.
My SST 165gr shot 2 groups, 1 at .55" and 1 at .688" so the SSTs seems to be as accurate as the other two in my rilfe

1 federal walmart 150gr cheap stuff group- right at 1"

POI: Sighted in for SMK ,A-Max seemed to shoot about 1" to the left of the SMK and the SST shot about 1" to the left of SMK as well. The federal cheap stuff shot about 1" high of SMK

ALSO, I loaded up rounds measure at OAL and O-give length and turns out that for both the a-max and SMK the ones measured with OAL, not O-give preformed much better..... weird?

I understand that when I shoot game, I want it to drop dead with little meat damage. I dont want to put the game through more pain then necessary so I will stay with bullets designed for hunting
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