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

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Rymart, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    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 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif. 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.
     
  2. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    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
     

  3. 300win

    300win Well-Known Member

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    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!
     
  4. abinok

    abinok Writers Guild

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    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.
     
  5. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  6. Roll-Yur-Own

    Roll-Yur-Own Well-Known Member

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

    I agree with Lerch, Try accubonds &amp; 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.

    Roll-Yur-Own
     
  7. captdavid

    captdavid Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  8. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    so the myth is exactly that, a myth.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Its no myth. They pencil through ribs and yet destroy an entire shoulder if you hit the shoulder bone. I personaly gave the 190 SMK 2 chances from the 308 and will never use them on game again.

    The game we harvest deserves more than a couple of unexpanded bullets through the ribs only to be desimated by a shot to the shoulder that destroys 90% of the edible meat found there becuase we were to stupborn to use a "hunting bullet". No I am not here to debate SMK's for hunting. Given the right bullet, with the right caliber, at the right velocity, on the right game, they work great. The 190 SMK in a 308 at 300+ yards on deer is NOT the right combo.

    You owe it to that deer worthy of your tag to harvest him cleanly and resposibly.
     
  9. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    As background information, and as a reply to capt david, I'll offer the following:

    For the most part, this area is very open. It is likely that the available shots could be long. Sometimes there is absolutely no cover between you and the deer for a 1000 yards or more. They will only let you get so close. The area I scouted yesterday was burnt by a fire a few years ago and is basicly one large grassy meadow (fairly short grass at that). The deer are often spread out over a large area, which means lots of driving (road hunting) and glassing, followed by a short walk/stalk to get into a shooting position. The response to capt david is that I do plan to pack all the 'sand bags and rests' with me, along with the 12 lb rifle, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. The extra accuracy and higher ballistic coefficients of the SMK's may make a difference at these potential longer ranges, especially with wind drift.

    I'm still skeptical about the 190's possibly 'pencil holing' a nice buck, and leading to a long tracking job. I do like the idea about uniforming the metplate to open up the hollow point a little. If I get the time I would also like to work up a load with the accubonds, but wonder if my time is better spent practicing with what I already know shoots well. I still wonder if the terminal ballistics of the 175 gr SMK would be any better than those of the 190?

    Thanks for all of the great advice. Please keep it coming. I forgot the camera on yesterdays scouting trip, but will try to bring it on the next trip. We saw deer, elk, antelope, moose, coyotes, and wild horses. I saw a couple of deer that I think will be shooters when they come out of velvet, and one that was definately a shooter. In total, I saw about 30 bucks yesterday.
     
  10. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    that is your experince, but only yours. I have had the same thing happen to me with SMK's and I have seen them open up nicely into a perfect mushroom. I have seen a 125gr BT shot at nearly 4000fps hit ribs on both sides of a whitetail and leave a less than 1" exit wound. Anything can and will happen.

    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. I personnaly love accubonds, amax's, and wildcat bullets but none of them are gonna preform 100% perfect all of the time.

    Fishry,
    If the SMK is what shoots lights out I would spend the remainder of your off season precticing as much as possible with that bullet until you feel 100% confident with it. and then when the time comes to make the shot let that 190gr bullet slam into the deers shoulder blade and I think you will be happy with the results.

    good luck
    steve
     
  11. 300win

    300win Well-Known Member

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    Lots of great points here on both sides of the line. Lerch is very wise in saying shoot what you have confidence in. If you lack any faith in what you are shooting you are asking for trouble. Also it is true no matter what bullet you shoot success is not garunteed. If you shoot enough deer with any given load something you can not explain will happen. Captdavid also has a good point, a hunting rifle that can shoot .5 moa is deadly. .25" groups are great but if a better hunting bullet shoots .5 consistantly I would put my money on the hunting bullet. Now another problem is you want to shoot to 1000 yards with a 308. That rules out the 165-168gr bullets. Talk to the guys who shoot palma or f class. A popular saying is the only way to get a 168 to 1000 is in the pickup. I have shot the 168 gr bullets to 1000 with success but you are right on the edge and you have to push them hard. Now you are back to the 175, 178 or 180 class bullets. It should also be said the 155 palma bullets get to 1000 but are lacking energy sure kills and the wind drift is greater. But it may be worth looking at 155 berger vld or the 155 lapua bullet and run the numbers. I shoot 175 smk's out of my ar10 style rifle and make hits at 1130 yards on steel all day long. I have done the same thing with this rifle and 178 a max (muzzle velocity of both loads is 2750). Hope this helps.
     
  12. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    Fishry, why carry sand bags shoot from a bi-pod.......Check out the group That Shawn Carlock shot at 1276 yards from a bi-pod............

    Bi-pod much simpler and very accurate.......
     
  13. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    If I consistently got around 0.50 MOA with one of the hunting bullets that I tried, I would go that route, but could only do that with the 168, 175, and 190 gr SMK's. I was only able to get the Hornady's and SGK's to around and inconsistent 1.0 MOA, and even at that the 165 -168 gr bullets that I tried seemed to get worse as the distance got greater (at a faster rate than the 175's and the 190's to be specific).

    At this point, I don't know if I would actually take a 1000 yard shot with the 308. The conditions would have to be perfect and I would still be concerned about the retained energy at that distance. I would feel more comfortable with a 600 to 800 yard shot. Essentially, I'm not going to be looking for a long shot, but may need to take one with the layout of this area so thats what I'm practicing and preparing for. Oh, and I'm definately going to be using a LRF.
     
  14. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    jwp475,

    Good point. I'm still working on my bipod shooting skills. Maybe I'll be there by hunting season. If I need to go very far from the truck to set up for a shot, then maybe it'll have to be the bipod and a rear bag. I do like the looks of the Stoney Point tripod with the rear support ... maybe next year for that. The shooting bags are filled with walnut shell media, aren't too heavy, and work well for me.