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Old February 11, 2018, 05:18 PM   #1
morgaj1
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Sierra GK HPBT Performance on Whitetail

I see a lot of discussion about what bullet to use for deer and thought I'd share my perspective. I am partial to a good cup and core bullet for deer and usually find that a Sierra of some sort (SBT, HPBT, or Pro Hunter) will shoot very accurately in each of my rifles.

I bought my 10 year-old son a Ruger American rifle in .243Win and installed a Leupold VX-1 on it. Oddly enough, it is the cheapest rifle in the safe, but is also the most accurate. We worked up loads over the summer and found that Sierra GK 100gr SBT over Ramshot Big Game shot 0.5 MOA and Sierra GK HPBT 85gr over IMR4064 shot 1MOA. My son felt like the 85gr HPBT was softer recoiling, so that's the load we used. We loaded up 100 rounds and sighted it in 2" high at 100 yards. He shot 90 rounds of this load as practice and could consistently shoot 1.5"-2" groups at 100 yards.

I'm proud to say that he took his first deer this year with that gun/load. It was a 110lb doe at around 175 yards. He made a great shot, especially for a 10yo, right behind the shoulder. Bullet passed all the way through, leaving about a 2" exit wound. She ran about 20 yards into the woods and fell dead. We didn't need it, but there was plenty of blood to trail.

This is consistent with the performance that I have seen over the years from cup/core bullets on deer and hogs. I have gotten this performance from Hornady Interlock, Speer Hot Cor and Sierra. However, I find the Sierra's to shoot most accurately in my rifles.
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Old February 11, 2018, 07:52 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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I've used that 85-grain bullet since it first was produced. In the 1990s, Federal loaded it, and it was as tight-grouping as my handloads. (I've used my father's handloads; 3031.)

I've tagged some two dozen bucks with that load, but only (mostly) neck shots or cross-body heart/lung shots. I'm somewhat dubious about penetration for angling shots.

What it does to poor innocent coyotes is truly obscene. Same for feral house cats as well.
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Old February 11, 2018, 09:47 PM   #3
Mobuck
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The Sierra HPBT GAMEKING is a decent medium game bullet if not pushed too hard. I used a 25/06 reduced load(about 2500fps) with the 90 grain HPBT GK for my blind Son to take a big Wisconsin buck. I'd tested the load and bullet performance on a couple of MO whitetails and found it adequate at the expected range. I'd expect the same bullet to literally grenade at full 25/06 velocity.
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Old February 12, 2018, 09:06 AM   #4
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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To be quite honest I've never read of anyone's 243 no matter the manufacture that weren't tack drivers. Little difference in bullet brands or their grain weight they all group near cloverleaf looking on target when shot out of a 243. (providing good glass is mounted) Living this far away from California. Sierra brand isn't as popular here as it is elsewhere in the West. Nosler & Hornady rule the roost in this neck of the woods.

I'm pleased to read your son got his first deer. As read it sounds like you and the kid found a sweet spot in accuracy for that 85 gr reload. Especially happy to read you & son share some quality time together not only afield but also at the reloading bench. "I wish others would consider doing the same" Enough said on my part. So here's my suggestion:

Like all good daddy's do. Give your son that American. But ask your wife for her input before doing. Done "Just to keep peace in the family"
Good topic & posting. thanks morgaj1.
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Old February 12, 2018, 09:12 PM   #5
Don Fischer
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For your blind son? How does that work?
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Old February 13, 2018, 04:00 AM   #6
bamaranger
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HPBT GK

Some Sierra literature describe the 6mm HPBT GK as a somewhat "hard" bullet. That's good, because that is likely what allows it to be a 6mm HP, but perform as well as folks advise on deer size game. The slug is widely discussed as a deer bullet on some other forums, and all press if pretty favorable.

I have also read where the .30/165 version is a stout bullet as well and suitable for bigger game like elk. I've not used the slug in the .243, but have worked up loads with the .30/165 for an '06, and found the slug very accurate.
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Old February 13, 2018, 04:40 AM   #7
NHSHOOTER
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I have used the 85 HPBT 6mm to shoot a few deer and they performed very well. Shot a doe at 150 yds and it did pass thru leaving a decent blood trail. Deer went about 30 yds..They are very accurate in both of my 243's..Ruger 77 and Weatherby S2
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Old February 13, 2018, 06:10 AM   #8
cptjack
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A plus for sierra. ,did a test using jack conners load only 270 win ,used identical loads ,brass, but tested accuracy of SGK ,vs hornady interlock ,and Speer core look, all shot good ,Sierra took top honors ,hornady next, and Speer last ,
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Old February 13, 2018, 07:54 AM   #9
Mobuck
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"For your blind son? How does that work?"
I designed an "assisted sighting device" allowing a sighted assistant to aim the rifle while the blind person holds and fires.
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Old February 13, 2018, 09:32 AM   #10
Rifletom
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Sierra bullets are now in Sedalia, Mo. Since late 80's-early 90's. Should be able to find them.
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Old February 13, 2018, 07:52 PM   #11
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I could not agree more with the OP. Closing in on 170 deer and antelope killed, I remain a traditional cup-and-core bullet fan.

Premium bullets only really seen come into their own for extreme range, or when you ask a cartridge to do something it wasn't designed for.

Example A: .243 or .257bob on elk. Here I like a deep puncher like a Nosler Partition, or Swift A-frame.

Example B: Using the .300 RUM as a brush gun for whitetail. Here a tougher bullet may be in order due to impact velocity.

Example C: Ringing the last bit of trajectory out of that .300 or .30-378 for long range hunting. I see why fast opening, high B.C. premiums like Ballistic Tips, etc. are the way to go.

YMMV, but for meat in the pot from 25 to 500 yards, with standard to bottom end magnum cartridges (say about...6.5CM to 7mm Rem...roughly), make mine a cup-and-core.
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Old February 13, 2018, 07:58 PM   #12
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Mobuck,
A BIG high five for your son, and for you as a Father! You guys do what it takes, whatever it takes. You, sirs, are an inspiration.
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Old February 14, 2018, 04:35 PM   #13
Paul B.
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"I have also read where the .30/165 version is a stout bullet as well and suitable for bigger game like elk."

Back in the mid 70's I loaded some of those 30/165's up for my 30-06. A friend and I were driving up along a ridge when I spotted a coyote about 200 yards out. Had my friend stop the truck and took a shot. Hit that poor "yote" and saw what looked like a piece fly off. We walked over and there was a two piece coyote. Damage was quite extensive considering it was supposed to be a tough bullet. Fluke? I dunno. Decided to not gamble on that bullet. I shot the rest of those reloads at rock and other targets of opportunity and went back to the 180 gr. Sierra Pro-hunters that I was used to using.
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Old February 14, 2018, 11:23 PM   #14
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Those bullets back in the mid 70s had paper thin jackets. We had some bad hunting experiences with them around 1975 and caused us to stop using Sierra bullets. Well, there was another incident that sealed the deal.

I am guessing that Sierra has made some progress, but other hunters I have conversed with swears that Sierra is years behind the times as far as hunting bullets are concerned.

I wouldn't know since it has been more than 40 years since I have used any.
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Old February 16, 2018, 12:02 PM   #15
Bbear
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I've taken some game with the 165 SGK - mainly whitetail and one cow elk. Worked every time. I'm using them now in a 308 and my 358 Win. Used the 358 win to take a young axis buck and doe as well as one nice big axis. All complete pass throughs and only the big axis went anywhere - about 20 yards.
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Old Today, 08:37 PM   #16
reynolds357
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Most expanding (not exploding) bullets are good enough for Whitetail.
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Old Today, 09:14 PM   #17
gw44
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Well started using Barnes bullets 10yrs a go, I will never go back to cup and core bullets !!!
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