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

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Unread 07-10-2006, 03:58 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: colorado
Posts: 110
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

Sounds like you have a great combo! Try shooting some wet phone books at 50 and 500 yards. It is not the same as game but will give you some ideas as to its potential. Don't forget coyotes either. The post mortem exam can teach you a lot. If this is a no go, try the 178 A-MAX. They will expand.
AR-10T in .308 & .243 both 24"
700 LA 7 WSM 30" 5R
AR-15 Rock River lower, WOA 26" varmint upper
Savage/ Broughton 23" .308
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Unread 07-10-2006, 04:09 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north dakota
Posts: 100
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

One thing no one has brought up is why this 308 is so picky. For the most part the 308 will shoot any quality bullet under an inch. A 10 or 12twist will shoot about any bullet you want. It sounds like you tried quite a few bullets. If you are getting good groups from smk's you can rule out technique or something mechanical such as a harsh trigger. It is almost painful not to get good all around accuracy from a 308. If it was my hunt, I would go with the 175 smk just for the higher velocity and better ballistic curve. Try to shoot them at 2700fps or a little faster and you will have a great long range load. Put the bullet where it belongs and game will drop. Pick your shots, if a good buck is standing in a large clearing at 800 yards let one fly.In a case like this you will poke a hole through the vitals, the deer will run a couple hundred yards and lay down. Now if that same buck was standing on the edge of a cornfield at dusk, the smk would not be the bullet of choice. Now that buck may be dead within 30 seconds of being hit but how far and which way did he go in this track infested cornfield with no snow? That is real world horn hunting not a tv show. A bullet is just a tool and no tool can fix everything. If there is a bullet that works great at all ranges on all game I hope some one will tell me about it. But I probaly could not afford it!
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Unread 07-10-2006, 04:41 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,088
Re: 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).


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IMO, you have answered your own question!

Either you can shoot past 400 with 190 SMK OR you limit your maximum shot even if a world record deer shows up!

Any time you are worried about your projectile, arrow, rock, or bullet then you better be sure of your target. Hit bone no larger than a rib on the way in and try for a large bone on the exit side. Not always possible, but very often is. Yup, that means no head or tail on shots, but if you want those then you better be shooting a bonded or monolithic bullet anyway!

There is one more option that you may not have considered. IF, I wrote IF the POI is within a reasonable distance at 200-300 yards then take both bullets. Anything closer than 300 yards may require a snap decision and a quick shot, so use your bonded bullet here and they are in the rifle all of the time. Anything much longer and you are going to be setting up with a range finder, bi-pod rear rest, etc, anyway so these won't be quick shots. At the same time slip a 190 SMK round into the chamber as your Ace in the hole! You will feel 100% confident when the trigger breaks and that is a huge part of the game, IMO [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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Unread 07-10-2006, 06:21 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Posts: 3,740
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

YOu just cant say that they all pencil through, and I cant say that they will all open nicely and form a perfect mushroom, nothing happens the same 100% if the time.

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My point exactly!

They are just toooooo inconcistent.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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Unread 07-10-2006, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Reno, OK
Posts: 1,497
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

I agree but i havent seen a bullet yet preform 100% consistant all of the time. I ve seen BT's fly straight through with out opening up and I ve seen them stop on the shoulder blade.

if we ever find one that does the same thing everytime i guarantee you i will be shootin them. From what I have seen i really like the trophy bonded bear claw bullets, to bad they are flat base

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 07-10-2006, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 181
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

Boy, this is some good stuff! So many directions that I can go. Here is a what I think I have learned so far:

- The 190 SMK should work if the shot is placed well.
- 'Placed well' seems to mean into a shoulder, preferrably the off-side shoulder, although there doesn't seem to be a consensus on this.
- If I bump the velocity of the 190 SMK up I'd probably be better off (no pressure signs yet, so I might try this).
- Or I could try IMR4064 for more velocity. OK I'm already moving this direction since I loaded up some loads with the IMR4064 a while back, but haven't had time to try them. I expect the accuracy will be there, but in my experience the IMR4064 has been overly temperature sensitive, which is fine for target shooting. (Already tried Varget, rifle doesn't seem to like it).
- All things considered the 190 SMK/308 combination appears to be borderline.
- There may be some benefit to trimming the metplate on the SMK's
- The 175 SMK's may open up a little better than the 190's.
- I would be better off with a magnum rifle for the longer shots...Hmmm, maybe I should take the 338 Lapua. Actually, until the McMillan A-5 comes in and the rifle gets 'GA Precisioned' and braked, I don't think it will be up to the task.
- I could pack the rifle with a magazine of 'less accurate' hunting loads in it for potential shots under 300 yards and swap to the 190's for a potential longer shot, but would need to confirm zero's for this.
- It is very important that I am confident with whatever load/bullet that I shoot and, overall, shot placement is more important than bullet construction (but both matter).
- Using a bipod is more practical under field conditions than packing sand bags and a rest, especially if I could shoot half as good as Shawn.
- 1000 yards is 'pushing' it for any bullet combination with the 308.
- The Nosler Accubond seems to be the most recommended bullet for my circumstances. Given this, I ordered some last night and will try to work up a load that I am 'comfortable' with before the season (IF I have time and IF they shoot well).

Some people have recommended that I try this-or-that and work up a load, which is helpful and appreciated, and at some point I will likely take all the advice. For some reason, I'm just not comfortable loading up some rounds, shooting a ladder test, picking the high velocity node and going with it (my impression of typical load work up). For me to be comfortable enough with a load to hunt with it, I need to do all that and then possibly try some different seating depths and neck tensions to 'perfect' the load. Then I test and re-test the load under varying conditions to ensure that it is consistent from day to day and week to week. Sometimes I make some adjustments. During this time I like to document where the CCB shots and the cold bore shots hit at different ranges and temperatures and compare these to the 'follow-up' shots. I like to verify my drop charts under field conditions, all the way out to where I may actually take a shot (including up-and-downhill angled shots), and including taking enough shots at distance to get a 'feel' for making accurate first shot wind calls. Although I carry a 'cheat sheet', I also like to have my drop tables memorized out to 600 yards for the bullet I'm using, this can help if I need to make a slightly hurried shot. I'm sure all this sounds somewhat obsessive, but that is what it takes for me to feel 'comfortable' with a load, and that takes time.

As far as my rifle being picky, I never thought of it that way, but I guess it could be. I've tried 3 different powders with it and it liked two of them (RE15 and IMR4064). I've tried 6 different bullets with it and it liked 3 of them (168,175,190 smk's).

Did I miss anything? Thanks again for all the great advice. Also, keep it coming, I'm not trying to close out this post just yet.
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Unread 07-10-2006, 07:05 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north dakota
Posts: 100
Re: Bullet Worthy of a Once-in-a -Lifetime Trophy?

If you spend all that time becoming familiar with your chosen load just go hunting and GETRDONE! Because having confidence and being well practiced is what makes it happen. Lerch, I believe our boys in the sand are shooting the 175smk these days.They retired the 172's a while back in favor of the sierra. The 77gr smk are being shot from the 5.56. The longest shot ever made with the 308 was made by one of our counter snipers in Iraq. Not positive but I think the range was 1230 yards. The longest shot ever made in combat(by the 308). Great job! If I can find the article I will post it.
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