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View Poll Results: Nosler Ballistic Tip vs Hornady SST
Nosler BT 26 45.61%
Hornady SST 31 54.39%
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Old May 7, 2014, 11:28 AM   #26
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Thanks for the replies.

Thanks for the replies. I've decided I'm going pick up a couple of boxes(yes, I'm one of those lowly malcontents who doesn't handload). BTW I don't intend to shoot deer in the shoulder, but if there's a shot that requires me to shoot through the shoulder I would like my bullet to hold together enough to get the job done.
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Old May 9, 2014, 09:55 PM   #27
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"always" and "never" are difficult to justify when referring to bullet performance.
Like I said, I've shot several deer with 165 BT from my old 30/06. At this point, I've not found reason to complain about penetration at any distance from 40-400 yards even on shoulder shots. There WILL be significant meat damage in my experience.
On the subject of shoulder shots: this is a viable option unless you're using a pip-squeak round. Some places I hunt I need the deer down right there. Sometimes a big buck doesn't offer the picture book broadside presentation. Either of these plus numerous other scenarios justify the loss of some shoulder meat to ensure killing the animal quickly and/or assuring simpler/easier retrieval.
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Old May 10, 2014, 06:48 AM   #28
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I can't take this poll....

I have yet to shoot a deer with the Hornady SST in 30-06.

I can speak from personal experience though.

Shooting the Federal Premium with the 165gr. Nosler ballistic tip in 30-06, I have never had to track a deer. They were always laying right where I shot them.
One deer, I didn't realize that he was slightly quartering away. When bullet hit, picked him up, and threw him down, literally. I watched it through the scope.

Nice entry hole. No shoulder on opposite side. Blew it apart.
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Old May 13, 2014, 02:24 AM   #29
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ballistic tips

I've no experience with SST's, and have only handloaded ballistic tips (no factory ammo).

Based on that, I can tell you that the B-tip 130/270, and 180/.30 (in a .308) has been an extremely accurate slug for me in a Rem 700 (.270) and a Savage hog rifle and Savage Scout in .308. They have been good killers, but are a "soft" bullet, so to speak, and will shed a good percentage of weight if recovered from an animal. Somebody will write in and tell us how much soon I bet. At least one scribe has called the b-tip the "ideal" deer bullet.

The early 180/.30 B-tips were a bit soft,and supposedly Nosler toughened them up a bit for those folks who might take on an elk. I have little doubt that a contemporary 180/.30 b-tip would punch through an average deer at the shoulders. I actually like the early, soft 180's for whitetails, but the old solid base, 100 pack slugs are near impossible to find these days. I have not shot any 150 or 165 b-tips at deer.

The 130/.270's behaved very sedately for me, I think one reason being that the impact velocities were low due to longer range and broadside lung shots with no real bone encountered. With the 22" tube on my rifle, I could not break 3000 fps at the muzzle (2875 +/-) with my best accuracy load, and at 200 yds or so, the bullets did not expand dramatically at all. But they did result in very dead deer. I did recover one of these longish .270's, a quartering away shot. The slug was just so much chewing gum ahead of the off shoulder, with an entrance at the onside diaphragm. Another very dead deer.

There's a lot of internet chatter about the b-tip being too soft and resulting in lost game. Got a buddy that slams them regularly. But much of that I think is bad shooting.
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Old May 13, 2014, 08:41 AM   #30
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I'm with bamaranger. I shot the old Nosler Solid Base Boattail 130 grainers in my 270 until Nosler quit selling them. Because they were so accurate, I transitioned to the original Ballistic Tips, which were even more accurate. They were, I think, messier on the receiving end than the old SBBT was, but they killed the deer at least as well. I sure didn't call Nosler to ask that they toughen up the bullet, but I didn't mind that they did. The tougher one works just as well on deer, and it really is an extremely accurate bullet. I've killed hundreds of deer with BT's. If it didn't work as advertised, I would quit using it.

I think that I just might have 20 or so old Nosler 130 gr SBBT's in an original box. I quit using them when I couldn't buy more, so I never used up all I had.
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Old May 14, 2014, 03:04 PM   #31
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I've read a lot of reviews at , midwayusa, cabela's etc., and generally the consensus is that the Nosler ballistic tip is very explosive / non-penetrative, like most ballistic tips, while the SST seems to be "tougher than the average ballistic tip" - a bit more penetrative and a good balance of penetration and expansion (though by no means as penetrative as a true premium bullet).

However, NEITHER are what I would dub "premium" - To me, "premium" means a bonded or partitioned bullet that penetrates extremely well. Cheap soft points and ballistic tips alike are lumped together as "non-premiums", since they perform roughly the same on an terminal ballistic basis (albeit with the BTs slightly better externally).

If you want premium, go with an Interbond, Accubond, Accubond LR, Partition, TBBC, etc. The Interbond from Hornady is a neat concept because it has the same BC as the equiv. SST - just costs more due to the bonding / performance.
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Old May 14, 2014, 03:27 PM   #32
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There's no way I can say this without sounding like a snot. But... you've read a lot of reviews and based your opinion of Ballistic Tips on what you've read. I've shot a lot of deer with them and based my opinion on what happened. Yes, they are destructive, though I wouldn't call them explosive. I shoot deer in the lungs (95% of the time) and the deer die rather quickly. I most always get a through-and-through and a good blood trail if they go more than 40 yards. As for whether or not they are a premium bullet, I don't really consider them so. I consider the Gameking and the Ballistic Tip to be similar. And I'd put the CoreLokt in that same group. Way back when, I used the CoreLokt quite a bit before I started reloading.

So yes, I'm a fan of the Ballistic Tip. I can't compare it to the SST since I don't have any real-world experience with them. I have some loaded up for the grandson's 308 but he'll grab my 260 and scamper into the woods with it. The only thing I can say about Ballistic Tips in the 260 is that the 120 grainers are better at putting big pigs and deer down than the 100 grainers are. The 130 grainer in the 270 puts them down even faster than the 120's in the 260.

I have found that the Ballistic Tip varmint bullets are nowhere near as tough as the hunting versions. Anything less than about 100 grains is going to be a varmint version of that bullet. I had to quit shooting big pigs with the 55 gr BT's, because they got into the briar patch before they died. Not good. But...I can surely tell ya that if you want to knock a coyote flat, use that 40 gr BT in your 223 or your 22-250 or 220. It's like a laser beam.

Last edited by 603Country; May 14, 2014 at 03:34 PM.
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Old May 16, 2014, 01:44 PM   #33
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I've used both on game, they both work well and perform almost identical. My vote goes SST because they're cheaper and shoot very well.
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Old May 17, 2014, 02:10 AM   #34
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How does ballistic tip (180 gr / 308) will perform on hogs / boars? 200 pounds or more?

For shoulder shots, can an exit wound and blood trail be expected?
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Old May 18, 2014, 09:47 AM   #35
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Jolly1, probably not. The Acubond however would be more realistic for pass-through shots on a hog....and then there is the Partition which would have a better chance than all three...
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Old May 18, 2014, 10:39 AM   #36
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I was thinking the same. Just needed confirmation. Thanks!
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Old May 18, 2014, 12:26 PM   #37
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If you want pass thru, then hooligan's suggestions are good. Many years ago I shot a hog of around 400 pounds. Used a 270 and a 130 gr Nosler Ballistic tip (the pre-toughened version). It was a medium power load with 4064. Killed the hog on the spot, but the bullet ended up in that slab of gristle or cartilage on the far side of the hog. Just recently I shot a 250ish pound boar with my 260, using a 100 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip. Had to shoot him twice to keep him from reaching the briar patch, and only one bullet exited the hog. The first bullet was well placed and would have killed him, but he'd have died in a thorny place I did not want to enter. So if you want superb accuracy, go with the Accubond. If you want superb penetration, go with the Partition. I shot through a medium sized sow with a 60 gr Partition in my 223, and it went, for lack of a better term, long-ways.
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Old May 20, 2014, 03:10 PM   #38
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I don't think it matters much . If buying factory ammo use the one that's more accurate. I have trigger time with both . Still use NBT in a 308 and sst in my 7mm. Had to many quick kills with both. never had a deer move any more than 2 or 3 steps almost all heart lung shots and a fee neck shots. never shoot for the shoulder. Almost never have a pass thru. Shots from 20 feet to 410 yards. Had some frag fairly well with both but mostly heavily expanded with 75% weight retained. The 308 are both 125gr loaded down and 150gr nbt at 2800fps for both , 7mm 139gr sst at 3210fps. For hogs I would use a accubond in a heavier for caliber bullet. 165 in 30 cal and 150gr in 7mm.
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Old July 15, 2014, 01:11 AM   #39
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You may have different results with the heavier bullet. However, I've killed 2 deer while using 95gr SSTs in my .243. The first was a 25 yard broadside shot with perfect placement behind front leg. Entry hole .243". Exit hole .5-.75". Watched it bleed out as it ran about 25 yards and crashed. This was a small 110lb cull buck (Oklahoma deer).

The 2nd was a large (for NE Ok) buck which dressed at about 140lb. He was 176 yards out quartering toward me and was down hill a bit. The shot entered just above and inside the shoulder between shoulder and neck. He dropped instantly then got up and moved about 10 yards where he crashed. No exit wound.

On the first one, I didn't find the heart when I field dressed him. On the second, one lung had a 1 1/2" hole shredded through it. I did not find the bullet on the second deer. We also did not find any bullet fragments while processing. That sucker just dissentegrated.

In my experience, the SSTs open VERY rapidly. If you're shooting through the rib cage or soft tissue, I would say go for it. But, if you hit solid bone like shoulder blades of hogs, vertebrae of any animal, etc, I think you'll blow out a large surface wound and the animal will get away. I'm going to Remington CoreLokt after these SSTs are shot up. I may go ahead and by CoreLokt for deer and keep my SSTs for yotes.
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Old July 16, 2014, 11:26 AM   #40
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I shot this doe with 165 grain Nosler BT out of a 30-06 from about 60 yards. The entry hole was behind the shoulder on the other side. The exit hole in the shoulder you can see in the pic.

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Old July 16, 2014, 07:08 PM   #41
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Appropriate bullet...

Smit & Wesson--Some years back I did a bit of comparing. Wanted a plastic tipped bullet, as the Sierra Game Kings (lead tipped) had a tendency to flatten their noses on the front of the magazine, under recoil. In a mag with, say, 5 rounds, by the time #5 was up to bat, it had a completely mashed nose. The SGK's were fine for accuracy, and had no trouble putting down deer. But, there was that nose damage. Wasted a few rounds every year, pulling and discarding their bullets.

Long story short: I settled on Nosler Accubonds. Penetration of the fabled Nosler Partition; accuracy of the Nosler Ballistic Tip. Hard plastic nose that doesn't deform in the magazine under recoil. Best of all worlds, in a hunting bullet for most N. Amer. game, IMHO.

Accuracy which I have fine-tuned is > 1 moa. Have stopped at that point, because this isn't a target load--The bullets are far too expensive! The loads could be further tweaked if more accuracy were desired...

Have since kilt deer with NA's in 6.5x55, .300WSM, and 8mm Mauser. All bullets penetrated through, making a surprising mess as they went, including one body-length pass-through. Haven't shot a deer through the shoulder structure, though.

The 200 grain 8mm is, I think a bit of overkill for deer (how can a deer be "over-dead"?) but one load was desired for both deer and hogs, to hit a big hog like the Hammer of Thor.

Anyhow, consider the Nosler Accubond.
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Old July 16, 2014, 08:27 PM   #42
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Smokey Joe, interesting that you should mention being worried about deformed tips. I used to think that way too. Then, I saw an experiment done by someone where they took a known load (with a known average accuracy) and started experimenting with how much they could deform the bullet before it started affecting group size. What they found really surprised me.

They found that you could do pretty much anything you wanted to the tip and it hardly budged the group size. They even smashed some to a cockeyed angle and it didn't change much. However, if you damaged the base of the bullet the groups would start to open up dramatically.
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Old July 16, 2014, 09:41 PM   #43
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Deformed tips...

Doyle--I've read reports of similar results as those you mention. Did anyone ever check the change (if any) in the bullet's terminal behavior, with a deformed/non-deformed tip? Just askin'.

Agree that damage to the BASE of a bullet will promptly wreck its accuracy. The cloud of gas emerging from the muzzle immediately behind the bullet, must be exactly symmetrical all the way around, or it knocks the bullet off course.

As for my own use, for now, I like the results with Accubonds for hunting, and do not plan to shop around. I don't happen to hunt grizzlies, AK brownies, or polar bears. (Although an Accubond out of a big magnum might work well there too, but that's outside my ken.)
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Old April 7, 2020, 06:32 PM   #44
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I shot a good size mule deer with a 150gn SST out of 30-06, muzzle velocity ~2,750. It was about 110 yards, uphill at about a 45-degree angle. Just as I squeezed the trigger, it stepped and turned. The bullet hit the flank, went all the way through the upper leg bones and out through the top of the backbone. The exit hole was about an inch and a half. So, I would say it handled bone well and didn't blow up. The deer fell in the snow and slid all the way down the side of the mountain, and ended up just in front of me. It was DOA from very quick blood loss. I thought the performance was excellent.
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Old April 8, 2020, 06:43 AM   #45
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I shot a lot of deer with Noslers in ND, from 75 yards to about 700 yards. I used 165 grain in my 30-06. I had to learn precise shot placement with them as they are VERY destructive. I consider them a "death ray" on deer, every one was a boom, flop.

The only ones I had trouble with were the Ballistic Silvertips, moly coated. Lost velocity, lost accuracy, they act like FMJ's. I was not happy.
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Old April 9, 2020, 08:49 AM   #46
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On the other end of the spectrum, I used a Nosler ballistic tip in a 7.62x51 mmR combination gun made in 1892, subsonic at the muzzle to take a large doe.

The bullet expanded in to the classic day lilly shape even at that paltry velocity. It did massive damage and was captured in the opposite side hide of the deer.

All reports that it holds together at supersonic velocity seem to be true but amazingly they work at handgun velocities too. I am sold on them.

Note: 7.62x51 mmR is an old black powder cartridge that is for all you can measure it so close to 30-30 Winchester that you simply can’t tell the difference. Don’t put a 30-30 Winchester cartridge in an old rife, it obviously will blow up.
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Old April 9, 2020, 09:26 AM   #47
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Only experience with the SST in a 7x30 Waters.

Have never had to fire a second shot when hunting wild hogs.

Excellent performing bullets with consistent expansion.
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Old April 9, 2020, 12:02 PM   #48
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I shot allot of NBT over the years at white tail. Early on I found the best use for such bullet was limited to: back of the head or into the necks white patch under the animals jaw. Anyplace other and the bullet blew up fragmenting in any and all directions irregardless of distance. I do shoot a very hot cartridge in my 270 and I assume velocity creates allot of the problem with such profile bullets. As of last year I decided to for-go using the NBTs on thin skin animals although I have no intention to slow my 270 cartridges velocity. Just by changing the ballistic tip bullet and replace with the same bullet weight and pointed lead tipped should resolve the awful damage I seen. I come to believe such ballistic tip's are uniquely designed for varmints ~nope not deer or anything harvested for human consumption. So

My suggestion. Shoot all copper or jacketed advertised for >your hunting game need.
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Old April 9, 2020, 12:21 PM   #49
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I"ve used both. I used 30-06 165 grain NBT to take an 11 point Mule buck at 230-ish. It was a poor (high) shot on my part as I was aiming downhill but not accounting enough for lack of drop. it's right shoulder was toward me. The NBT chopped the spine, blew up, continued through the off side backstrap ruining a lot of that but the core kept together enough to break the left side hip bone. I found him and finished him not far off from where I hit him.

I also shot a cow elk with a 165 gr NBT. it was a very short shot which probably the only reason it worked. I woudn't ever do that again. I was younger and dumber about bullets.

That said, NBT 165gr flew like darts to 200 yards (the farthest range I have to shoot--and where i put my 30-06 scope zero). I shot them from both a Winchester 70 (post 64) and a Mauser rebarreled with a modern Browning 30-06 barrel. NBTs like both. 1/10 twists both, I believe.

I've used the 123 gr SST in 6.5 Grendel when chasing antelope. Both the cartridge and the game are very different, so take that into consideration. They seem to leave a very substantial hole. They've been accurate to 100 yards from 2 different 6.5 Grendel uppers that had 1/7 twists. I would take them hunting any day for up to deer.

If you're chasing deer, either would work, I think.
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Old April 10, 2020, 12:25 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Smith and Wesson View Post
I've decided to get some premium deer ammo for my 30-06 and have narrowed it down to the Nosler Ballistic Tip and the Hornady SST. Accuracy is the same, so I'm focused primarily on the performance of each on game. Which of the two is tougher? I'd like to be able shoot through a deer's shoulder without the bullet turning into a grenade so toughness isbthe primary deciding factor. So there you have it, if you wanted a deer bullet that could go through a deer's shoulder without fragmenting would you choose the Nosler BT or the Hornady SST?
Honestly, neither.
Nosler Accubond and Swift Scirrocco II are your tipped bullets for bone busting.
You did say you want premium ammunition. A Ballistic Tip and a SST are nothing but tipped cup and core. Absolutely nothing premium about either one. The Ballistic Tip us actually Noslers lowest end hubting bullet. SST is close to the bottom of the Hornaday ladder.

Last edited by reynolds357; April 10, 2020 at 12:32 PM.
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