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Old July 8, 2011, 07:28 PM   #1
flintlock.50
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Hornady 30 cal SST for elk?

Any thoughts on Hornady's SST bullets for elk? I shoot a .30-06 and figure I'd use either a 165 or 180 grain bullet. The 165s have proven to be very accurate in my rifle.

I have some Nosler Accubonds and Partitions, but they are so danged expensive I don't want to get in the habit of using them. From what I read, the SST seems to be a good tough bonded bullet.

Thanks!
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Old July 8, 2011, 08:20 PM   #2
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I've known guys that kill elk with pointy sticks (bow and arrow), so I suspect that any good bullet, placed properly will do the job. Although I've never hunted them, I did ask a guy once where was the best place to shoot an elk. He told me "as close to the pickup as possible."
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Old July 8, 2011, 08:28 PM   #3
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Good story Dennis. Reminds me of the time I went rabbit hunting & almost bagged me an El Camino. I was about 11 and the owner of the El Camino got a little excited with my aiming (hey, they rabbit was running!).
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Old July 8, 2011, 08:52 PM   #4
flintlock.50
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I asked because I read on another thread recommendations to use a "good strong bullet" or "premium bullet". Accubonds and Grand Slams were mentioned specifically, maybe some others too. My rifle likes Hornady SSTs and they are cheaper than Noslers or other premium bullets, so I'd hate to have to work up another load. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:01 PM   #5
T. O'Heir
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"..."as close to the pickup as possible."..." That a moose and it's close to the road. snicker.
"...either a 165 or 180..." Go with the 165. The .30-06 loves 'em and they'll kill any game you care to hunt. Bit less felt recoil vs a 180 too. Don't think the bullet style really matters.
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:05 PM   #6
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I just received my order of 180 grn Hornady Spire Points. They have almost as good a BC as the SSTs but are supposed to hold together better. At $25/box they are the same price as the SSTs.
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:06 PM   #7
Scorch
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From what I read, the SST seems to be a good tough bonded bullet
SSTs are not a bonded bullet, they use the Interlock ring on the interior of the jacket to retain the core. If you want a Hornady bullet that is bonded, you will need to go to the Interbond. Nosler partitions and Accubonds are pretty darn good.
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:28 PM   #8
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Here is my recommendation for bullets in .30 calibers. If you use 180 grain cup and core hunting bullet for elk you will be fine. I prefer premium bullets if you go 165 grains of less. That way the retained weight of the bullet will be about the same in the end.

If you don't want to shoot Accubonds for practice get the Nosler Ballistic tip bullets. Usually they are very close to the same as far as loading and accuracy goes. Check out getting your bullets from Shooters Pro Shop, they sell Nosler factory 2nds and you can pick up good bullest for 1/3-1/2 the price. I haven't noticed any difference in how they shoot vs. the factory first.
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:36 PM   #9
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flintlock, I shoot a .30-06 as well. Going elk hunting this fall, and I just ordered some Hornady SST 180gr shells. I was looking at the ballistic charts, and you can do no wrong with them.
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:37 PM   #10
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I dont have the 30-06, But used a 270win last year with 130 GR. SST ON a spike Elk @ 150yrds. dropped him like a stone So you should have no problem with 165's just do your part & stay close to the truck
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Old July 8, 2011, 10:11 PM   #11
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I was an elk guide for 9 years and have either taken myself or watched over 100 elk taken. I am also a student of terminal ballistics so I do have some experence. I prefer Nosler Partitions. I shoot everything from coyotes to buffalo with them. I have seen some collosal bullet failures. I never have shot the bullets you ask about but bonded bullets are a great leap forward. Normal cup and core bullets work fine if broadside lung shots are taken. However I seldom had an elk coopereate in standing broadside. Many were taken at difficult angles that required tough bullets with deep penatrating capabilities. I know they are expensive but elk hunts are far more expensive. Sight in with the bullet weight you want and when satisfied simply switch to a premium bullet and shoot 3 rounds at a target to comfirm shot placement. Remember elk are big and dont need benchrest accuracy to achieve a sucsessful hunt.
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Old July 8, 2011, 10:31 PM   #12
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I agree with 30-30remchester on this one. I have seen several elk taken and some wounded that would have died quickly had the correct bullet been used. Practice with the cheap stuff and shoot a few of the premium loads to make sure it is on target at the ranges you will be hunting at. Elk are big and tough. If you stick with the SST use the 180 grain. If you get bonded core you can use the 165's. You need penetration to kill an elk quickly and to do that the bullet must be large enough or strong enough to get through hide, bone and both lungs. That's almost 2 feet of material on a large trophy size elk.
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Old July 8, 2011, 11:34 PM   #13
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Do NOT use the SSTs.
Trust me on this.
I have hunted elk and guided hunters for MANY years and I have seen them fail several times.
They won't hold together.
Use the Partitions or the bonded bullets!
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Old July 9, 2011, 05:58 AM   #14
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Accubond is the bullet I'd go for in our 3006, as for weight I'd let the range decide. Also if I were to be shooting at some longer ranges, I'd spring for some Sirroco's, but that's just me!
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Old July 9, 2011, 08:31 AM   #15
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Try some of the GMX bullets
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Old July 9, 2011, 09:26 AM   #16
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I use 150 SST on deer and they are excellent.
I wouldnt be scared at all of using your bullets on elk. We've killed MANY elk with 165gr bullets with no problems, just never tried SST's.

The ONLY time we've ever had problems knocking down an elk was with Nosler ballistic's. Those POS barely made it thru the hide before coming apart. I will NEVER use Nosler again. The cheaper Speer, Sierra and Hornady are all I'll shoot. Never had a performance problem, but the cost is WAY more worth it.


Actually, now that I think about it, all I shoot is home cast boolits anymore. Those are way more fun and I'm extremely happy with the performances I've been getting.
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:45 PM   #17
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The SST is not a bonded bullet, and is not designed for tougher game (such as Elk).

Use something else. Even the Remington Core-Lokt is a tougher bullet, than the SST.
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:57 PM   #18
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Yes, elk are big and demand an adequate cartridge and bullet. I have a friend who spent many years in Africa after he retired. He was an eye doctor, and dissected many of the animals he or others killed.
After several hundred head of big game he concluded that the Barnes X was the best bullet available. Before he started using them he used Nosler partition bullets exclusively. He found some of the highly touted bullets did not live up to expectations. Once a magazine that he sometimes wrote for, after asking him to do some testing, refused to publish his article because the bullet, from an advertiser, did not get a good review. That was the end of that relationship.

I have no experience with the bullets mentioned, but why skimp on bullets when you get a chance to go elk hunting. The cost of the bullets is miniscule when compared with the total cost of the trip. Get the best and don't look back.

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Old July 9, 2011, 04:23 PM   #19
.300 Weatherby Mag
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I will NEVER use Nosler again. The cheaper Speer, Sierra and Hornady are all I'll shoot. Never had a performance problem, but the cost is WAY more worth it.
You can't blame Nosler.. You did not use the right tool for the job.. Shooting an Elk with a Sierra Gameking will produce similar results..
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Old July 9, 2011, 05:39 PM   #20
flintlock.50
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OK. The consensus is that I should use something sturdier than an SST on elk.

BTW, I've had good luck with SSTs on antelope and whitetails. The only time I had any severe destruction was when the bullet hit bone, but isn't that normal? The first picture below shows the exit wound of a deer I shot with a 165 gr SST at 50 yards. Not much tissue destruction here and the deer didn't go 15 ft!



The next pictures show the inlet and exit wounds of a doe I shot at 62 yards. The small dark spot between her ear and eye is the inlet wound.


I expected an impressive exit wound after hitting bone, but this surprised me. (Not much meat damage though!)


I've used these last two pictures as graphic emphasis to young shooters why you must ALWAYS make safety your number one priority. (Just today at the range folks were getting ready to go downrange. I asked one young shooter if his rifle was clear. He said, "Yeah, the safety is on." We corrected that IMMEDIATELY!)
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Old July 9, 2011, 11:15 PM   #21
roberto mervicini
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I love hunting. Never hunted elk... only moose, black bears, caribou and deer.
After one year of preparations, finally hunting season arrive ... and usually is over with one or two shoots! After all the sacrifice, investment in equipment, outfiters and time, dont I want to use the best bullet to achieve success ?
I use Nosler Partition in many of my hunting cartridges, it never fail.
But on all honesty I admit I also hunted successfully with Hornady SST and before them with Spire, always 180 grain when loaded in .30 caliber.
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Old July 10, 2011, 05:04 PM   #22
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So I have a question then for those of you who have experience like Wyosmith. What was used before companies like Nosler came out with their premium bonded bullets? Were shots more limited or something? Were people not pushing them as fast? I ask because I honestly do not know. I am not a life long hunter and have only started hunting in the past decade, and have only harvested with archery gear. I just got into shooting just over a year ago.
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Old July 10, 2011, 05:40 PM   #23
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Were shots more limited or something?
The simple reply is Yes. Yesterday's bullets were simply copper jacketed. Before that, they were unjacketed lead. The advantage of today's bonded bullet is that you can push it faster/farther and therefore get good performance at greater distances. It also makes "marginal" shots more effective. A shot into a body part that previously would have resulted in a long day of trailing blood has a better chance of getting a quick kill.
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Old July 12, 2011, 07:51 PM   #24
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Doyle is correct.
In the days when I was a boy (and before that,) bigger game was usually shot with bigger (heavier) bullets. Even today, the old fashioned bullets in the older shells work wonderfully. Like the 220 grain Hornady 30 cal in a 30-06, and so on.
The question was specifically about the SST bullets from Hornady. They are about like the old Remington Bronze Points. Highly accurate, but not very tough and they come apart on impact.

Having a bullet hold it's weight is very important. I earn a large part of my living making muzzleloading rifles and it's what I have the most notoriety for.
I am a bit of an authority on them. (No bragging intended, but I am just stating a fact)
They have worked VERY well for many hundreds of years on big game.
Why?
Because as a rule, larger game was shot with larger calibers which means heavier bullets, and the velocity of those balls was only about 900 to 1600 FPS on impact, so the balls would never break into dozens of pieces like many modern bullets.
The range at which a muzzleloader is used is not long in comparison to a modern magnum.
But don't kid yourself. If you have never seen an elk, moose buffalo or big bear hit with a .62 or .66 caliber round ball, you would probably be surprised at how fast the big flintlock arms will put an animal down!
Those that have seen it know exactly what I am talking about here.

A 300 Magnum with a Barnes X bullet of about 220 grains will get to an animal much faster, and fly much flatter, but as soon as that bullet hits it starts to slow down, and about 50% of it's speed is reduced by the act of the bullet doubling in diameter. So if it hits at 2400 FPS and the 220 grain bullet hold ALL it's weight, it's going about 1200 FPS 3" inside the animal.

Compare that to a ball of 340 grains that hits at 1400 FPS and slows down in the animal less (if cast from a hardened lead alloy,) so for about 1/3 of it's travel through the animal (about the first 5-7 inches of penetration) it's going faster then the X bullet! And it weights 120 grains more. And it's about as big going in as the 300 mag bullet is coming out.

See the point?
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Old July 13, 2011, 07:37 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyosmith
Compare that to a ball of 340 grains that hits at 1400 FPS and slows down in the animal less (if cast from a hardened lead alloy,) so for about 1/3 of it's travel through the animal (about the first 5-7 inches of penetration) it's going faster then the X bullet! And it weights 120 grains more. And it's about as big going in as the 300 mag bullet is coming out.
He's right. Back in the day I became enamored of charcoal burners and hunted almost exclusively with a .54 caliber caplock rifle. The load that I used for hunting was a 230 patched ball over 90 grains of ffg powder. I never put it over a chronograph, but I suspect it was traveling at 1200-1400 fps. I shot several deer with that rifle and they were all one-shot kills. Guys would ask me about the rifle and I'd tell them that my ball started out larger than their bullet was after it had expanded. Every deer I shot with that rifle was through-and-through and I didn't have to track them at all. They lay down and died right there.

Today we've got better powder and we drive bullets faster. Some of the powders the companies are coming out with are really interesting. I've been playing with Alliant's new Power Pro 2000 MR and it pushes the .308 to a whole nuther level. I was shooting 150 grain SST bullets yesterday and getting velocities of over 2950 fps from my completely stock Remington 700.
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