Re: Why do you use SMK bullets for big game?
I've used SMKs on critters at short to medium range (near touching the barrel to a lasered 439 yards) and I can find no fault with their performance as I use them. I'd say I've killed well over 300 deer with various SMKs, throw in a couple black bears at about 3 to 7 yards (175SMK .30 cal, one from a 308 Win and the other from a 300 WSM), 3 moose (one at about 175 yards and another at 439 with the third being near 440 also.)(300SMK .338 cal, 338 RUM and 338 Lapua.) These are all one shot kills.
There is an exception in that I don't have faith in the performance of the .264 142 SMK based on a single incident on a broadside deer.. Either I missed (a vey rare event only to be attributed to gear failure [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] (for real)) or the bullet failed to impress the deer!!?? I later switched to shooting the deer from brisket to rump with this round and it killed well.
I've shot many multiples (two deer with one shot) with the .243 107SMK and .30 cal 190SMK on depredation. These shots were usually dual broadside lung and in one instance dual broadside neck. These were smallish deer but some up to about 100 pounds each. I say this to let folks know that based on experience I felt confident that in those cases that bullet would make it through the first critter and well into or through the second.
I have found the bullets in various states of disarray from the classic Sierra "GameKing" mushroom shape with slipped jacket to only small flattened bits of lead and shards of brass jacket and the classis base "button". I have not once found a SMK that was bent or broken as if snapped during tumbling. The vast majority of the bullets exit the critter and escape to parts unknown. (Where ever bullets go once they completed their task.)
On the MatchKings I've recovered I'd say they seem to be consistent in performance and appearance with the GameKing and it's flattened (mushroomed) shape with core slippage to the bits and pieces associated with too much bone and bullet velocity.
The only regret(s) I have about using the SMKs is that it requires that I constantly justify it's use to various outfitters, bullet experts, target shooters, PETA members, law enforcement officers, WalMart "greeters", Nuns and anyone else able to type or speak english (American English, not that British nasal gibberish [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]).
All-in-all they work for me and I have no need to change. The caveat being that one must ensure the bullet gets to the intended target (critical organ(s)) and not flatten on a gigantic bone before entry, miss all vital organs, pass in close proximity to the critter without actually entering it, stay in the barrel, stop in an obstruction before getting to the critter or simple fall on the ground due to utter exhaustion from excessive flight times.
The SMKs are fine bullets, they have their limitations (just as the Sierra GameKing) and I personally believe that many of the "examples" given of poor performance are just the standard "I (or whomever) made a poor shot but I (or whomever) am unwilling or not proficient enough to recognise it as my error so I'll lay blame on the bullet(s)".
Yes, I've dug MatchKings out of the berms at the rifle range and I've picked they up off the hard packed ground after shooting that particular bullet over a mile and I've seen the fractured, bent and simply scuffed examples some of these represent but I have never witnessed this from a SMK bullet recovered from a large critter.
The only bullet I have ever recovered from a critter that was "a little dented and bent" was a Speer .30 caliber 125 grain TNT that I dug out of a cull deer that I shot. The load was subsonic and fired through a suppressor hitting the deer after about 150 yards of flight... Even this bullet's "substandard performance" resulted in a dead one-shot-kill deer.