You know, I am not sure what happened on the first buck. I doubt the amax failed as they are reliable in the expansion department. I also dont think I hit any bone. I too am leary of their perfomance when bone is involved. The ribs and brisket area of a sitka
blacktail isn't very stout. If I had too guess, I would say that a front on shot leaves a small vital zone for a 155 grain bullet at only 2840 FPS. If there were more horsepower involved, perhaps it would have been differant. I will say that if I am ever tempted again with a frontal shot, the bullet will be placed through that white patch under his chin. I shot a Dall ram under the chin like that through the throught and neck because thats all I could see and he rolled over in his bed. That was also with a 308 medium velocity load.
Not trying to start any arguments but after harvesting a few wolves and a blacktail with the AMAX, I am quite a bit more pleased with the performance of the AMAX's over the SMK's. For my own experiances, I have got very reliable expansion with the AMAX and not so much reliability from some of the SMK's, bearing in mind that under certain circumstances I have got SMK's to expand perfectly.