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Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

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Unread 07-08-2006, 12:00 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 215
Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

Ok, I'm not trying to start up the SMK for hunting debate again, but I do need some help here.

I have been planning to use my Tikka Master Sporter in 308 for deer and antelope hunting this year. It absolutely loves the 190 gr. SMK's (sub 0.25 moa) and likes the 175 gr. SMK's (usually sub 0.50 moa). I've tried to work up a "respectable" hunting load with this rifle, using the 165 gr SST's and 165 gr SGK's, neither of these shot nearly as well as the SMK's (about MOA, but opened up past 400 yards).

Until recently I was planning to just use the 190 gr. SMK's for the hunt and place my shot well (as always). I'm not much of a trophy hunter and usually end up bagging a fork-horn or small four point.

Now here is the twist...I drew a tag in one of the premier trophy buck areas for the state [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]. I am going to put a lot into this hunt and would like to shoot a buck near or over 30" wide. This is definately do-able in this area.

So here is my dilemma:

(1) This means that the body size of my animal will likely be larger than I had originally planned for.
(2) I could get a shot that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
(3) The shot may be very close, or more likely in this terrain, very far.

So what do I do here? The accuracy of the 190 SMK out of this rifle is exceptional. I am very familiar with the ballistics (drop and wind judgments) for this load. I obviously want to make a clean kill, but do not have much on-game experience with the SMK's. I have heard that the 190 gr SMK out of a 308 is not an ideal hunting combination (something about the bullet weight and the lower velocity). Is this true? Why? Would the 175 gr SMK be that much better? Any other suggestions?

Note that I will probably not have much time to work up, develop, and practice with a new load at this point with work, a summer trip/vacation coming up, then scouting, then antelope season, then archery season, then more scouting (rough life, I know).

My loads are as follow:

190 gr SMK, 41.0 gr RE15, BHA Brass, Fed 210M primers, 2.867" OAL, ~ 2510 fps.

175 gr SMK, 42.6 gr RE15, BHA Brass, Fed 210M primers, 2.851" OAL, ~ 2565 fps.
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Unread 07-08-2006, 12:22 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Reno, OK
Posts: 1,497
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

If your rifle likes the 190's then shoot them. I have seen SMK's work damn well on whitetails so the myth is exactly that, a myth.

You will be working at fairly slow velocities so bullet expansion may be a problem. I would still recommend the accubonds or BT's since the polymer tip promotes better expansion but as long as you get a exit wound or cause severe internal disruption you will have your trophy.

The 190 will retain a good amount of thump at extended range so you might wanna target the onside shoulder blade to disable the animal and promote bullet expansion. IF the game is very large tuck that bullet just behind the shoulder and trust your own shooting ability. A hole through either the lungs or heart will drop anything given time, period.

good luck and bring us some pics when you get er done!!!

take it easy
Steve Elmenhorst
Third Generation Shooting Supply
"Products for shooters, by shooters"
monday-friday 8:30-5:30 CST
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Unread 07-08-2006, 08:00 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north dakota
Posts: 100
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

I have shot around a dozen deer with the 190 smk out of a 300 win mag. At a muzzle velocit of 3150 they just poke holes and that is the simple truth. But they shoot great and when they hit the shoulders they will do the job. I am afraid at 308 velocities you may be disapointed. Dont get me wrong I am a big fan of the smk and 308 but to me they are not a good hunting combination. I have taken alot of deer with the 308 and 168 a max and 165 ballistic tip. Both provide good expansion at longer ranges and have a much better ballistic curve. There is also the heavier a max and ballistic tip if you prefer. You dont want your once in a lifetime set of horns leaving you a blood trail that ends after 100 yards. What ever you choice have a great time and good luck!
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Unread 07-09-2006, 08:30 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 877
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

Ill second what others have said... the 190SMK will do it just fine. The situations in which the 175SMK is better from 308, would be one in which targets were at an unknown range... and no method of range finding was readily avalable. its got a flatter trajectory at closer ranges than the 190 and the drift diferance (again at closer ranges) is virtually identical. If there will be a range finder along, I wouldn't give the 190s a second thought. If not, the 175 will offer a slight advantage in trajectory at close range... but again... the 190 will work fine.
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Unread 07-09-2006, 09:44 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

I shoot alot of deer with the 175gr SMK out of a 308 at ranges out to 618yds (longest) and they have always work great even on our smaller deer down here.
I typicaly use a meplat uniformer on all my round and I think this may add some assastance in the bullet opening up.

I have also goten great results from the Hornady 178gr
A-max with a noticable differance in expansion ,the A-max has a thiner jacket theirfor it expands faster. I believe that the A-max would be the better bullet if the ranges are going to be long 600yds+

But like it was mentioned before I would be cautious of the 190gr SMK at the lower 308 velocities unless you open the tip up a little bit to give it a head start at expansion
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 07-09-2006, 10:04 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 630
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

Fishry, I couln't get accuracy I liked from SGK's or Horndady's either.

I agree with Lerch, Try accubonds & Nosler BT's. I would try in this order:

1. Nosler A-bonds
2. Barnes TSX
3. Nosler B-Tips.

I love the AB's and you don't need to go with the heavy bullets, you could go with 150's or 165 and get more velocity from them.

I would be surprised if you couldn't get a 165 AB to shoot 1/2" in your gun.

Best of Luck.

Member 7MM STW Club
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Unread 07-09-2006, 12:52 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 48
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

I'm not particularly a long range hunter. 300yds is about my max. I shoot sporters. I find it hard to believe that, under hunting conditions without all sorts of sandbags and or rests, one would ever notice the difference between a .25" and a one inch gun. Remember a gun that shoots a one inch group at 100yds is only 2" from the POA at 400yds. I would use 165gn BTs, SSTs or GKs they are made to perform at these speeds. capt david
"It's not how hard you hit 'em, it's where you hit 'em." The 30-06 will, with the right bullet, successfully take any game animal in North America up to 300yds. Get closer!
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