I recently purchesed a box of hornady's 165gr sst custom ammunititon from fleetfarm at a great price. My Browning BAR (30-06)shoots dime size groups 100 yards I love it. However there is alot of stories of lack of penetration some have found no internal locking ring to keep the bullet from seperating, some even think that its too soft for whitetails. Where I hunt here in north Minnesota shots are 100 yards or less and the deer I see range from 80lbs field dressed to 170lbs. Hornady says this is a deep penetrating bullet. But those who have used this I seek your personal stories and working knowlege of this round.
I personally wouldn't hesitate to shoot deer with them. My buddy has shot the 165 grain SST Superformance load out of his 308 and it's performed wonderfully on coyotes and 3 mule deer does. That load out of his 308 should be shooting about the same velocity as your 06 custom loads. He had complete penetrations through all deer with shots ranging from 300 to 500 yards.
I've heard of some guys who have had bullet failures with the SST but I've seen Accubonds come completely apart on a cow elk shoulder and they supposedly "never" come apart. I think if you shot 100 deer with the SST you might see one or two bullet failures, but then again you might have none. Shoot em up.
You heard one positive. Now I will respond with this. I used the SST in my 30-06 several years ago to shoot a mulie and one cow elk and shot the rest at the range because they were crap! The buck was quartering to me slightly at about 100 yards and I put the bullet right on the right front leg. The buck went down fine, but when I walked up to him he had an entry hole the size of a softball and no exit wound. The bullet blew up completely and nothing but fragments was found when I did a close examination during gutting. The cow elk was shot broadside at 125 yards right at nightfall off my camera tripod. She took off like nothing had happened and by the time I found her in the morning I had lost over half the meat because of warm weather. Of over 100 animals I've shot since I started hunting in 1953 that is the only animal I've had go over 25 yards and the only one I have ever lost meat from! The autopsy on her showed that I had hit her perfect and the bullet had blown up completely on the near side rib. The near lung was a mess, but there was absolutely no penetration beyond that point. I immediately changed to their BTSP in both my 30-06s and my 25-06 that I use for antelope and have shot about a dozen animals with them and will never go to another bullet. Every animal has been dropped in it's tracks with one shot with them at distances of 100+ to 311 yards with great penetration and bullet expansion. I would throw those SSTs at paper targets and go to the SP or BTSP bullets in a heartbeat if I were you. This buck was shot at 174 yards in Wyoming this year with a handload 150 grain BTSP using 59.7 grains of IMR 4350 in a pre64 Model 70 and the shot cut his heart in half and he never twitched. I also shot a doe antelope for meat at 125 yards with my Ruger M77 using the same powder (50 grains) and a 117 grain BTSP. The shot was broadside through the lungs and she took one step and down for the count.
I've heard the BTSP and the SST's shoot to very similar points of impact. Have you found this to be true?
Sorry you had back luck on two animals. Were you shooting the 165 SST's when you had bullet failure? It makes me wonder if different lots are tougher than others, or why some people have no problems with the same bullets shooting lots of animals and others claim perfect bullet performance on all the animals they've shot.
I personally know people who refuse to shoot Bergers at big game due to bullet failure they've experienced on multiple animals, but all animals I've shot with them have been DRT. It confuses the hell out of me as to why some guys have good luck with a certain bullet, and others experience nothing but trouble.
I have found that they shoot to almost the same POI and so do the Interbonds that are the go to bullet for elk IMHO! I was using 150s on both the animals I mentioned because I couldn't get 165s at the time and just stayed with the 150s with great performance. I would probably go up to the 165 or maybe the 180 Interbond in my 30-06 if I ever decide to shoot another elk. I think part of what you have mentioned is the distances the animals are being shot. It seems that the SSTs may be best for long distance shots at maybe 300 yards or more where the velocity is slowing down some and allows the bullet to penetrate and expand while at shorter distances they seem to explode violently when the velocity is a lot higher. That is the only explanation I can come up with to explain why some love them and why I had such poor performance at shorter ranges with them. Anyway, I have enough SPs and BTSPs in both calibers now to reload them for the rest of my life because I like them so well for all ranges and sizes of animals!!!
Many shooters have a real hard time understanding the design of particular bullets. SST's are not controlled expansion bullets. The polymer tip opens them up very quickly by design. Therefore you should not be aiming at the point of the shoulder. But if you use traditional aiming points, or take a high shoulder shot you will be just fine. They are a very good bullet IMO and shoot very well in my 30-06 also. My son shot a nice mule deer buck this year with the 150 grain SST's. At 200 yards the bullet impacted right behind the near shoulder leaving a small entry hole and breaking a rib on the way in. It penetrated completely leaving about a 1 inch hole through the offside shoulder. The lungs were mush.
If you are one of those hunters that can wait and pick their shot then you will be very happy with SST's. If however yo are one of those that has to instantly shoot regardless of shot angle, etc then you will be more happy with a controlled expansion bullet that will get good penetration through bone and long angled shots.
Excuse me Mr. Expert, but Hornady touts their SST for both rapid expansion AND deep penetration. That is why I believe what I stated in my last post may be correct as far as how they react at various distances. Incidentally, if I shouldn't have shot that buck with them where I did, why would I want to shoot him high on the shoulder where there is still a lot of bone? Also, with over 50 years shooting big game and never having lost an animal that I shot, I don't think I need to hear from you that I didn't know what I was doing and should have more patience to wait for the perfect shot, LOL!!!