favorite long range hunting bullet?

Dr. John

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2002
just curious as to what bullets people are using for long range shooting/hunting. I currently shoot a 300 RUM sendero. loading 190gr sierra Match Kings. I have heard that even though the SMKs are for target, they work very well for hunting. I have never tried these on game. I was thinking of Swift A-frame, Trophy bonded bear claw, Barnes Triple-X. opinions. also, just curious, if you are using the SMK for hunting, what is the performance is something is shot at shorter ranges?
Dr John

I use all kinds of bullets but most of the critters I've killed in the past half dozen years have fallen to the Sierra MatchKing. The MatchKings have accounted for hundreds of deer (crop damage and regular hunting), dozens of hogs, TNTC (too numerous to count)groundhogs, squirrels (1 tough bugger), coyote, Black bear (7' square), moose (3). All the bullets I've used seem to kill animals and I can't really say one kills better than the other in the way I use them.

Here's a thread with some pictures of hogs recently killed with the SMK.
I have killed a bunch of deer and groundhogs with 168 SMKs in my .308 (out to 300 yds on deer, about 500 on 'hogs). They seem to work just fine. I am working-up a 300WSM rig for some across-the-spinach-field hunting on whitetails, and have no intention of trying any bullet but 220 SMKs.

I cant believe that you guys are using match bullets on game animals.. shame on you..
Hornady Interlock, Hornady SST. Nostler Balistic tip. Sierra Game King. all good deer bullets. for bigger stuff, Nostler Partition, Norma Vulkan, Lapua Mega.
It is illegal to use match bullets on Game in Europe.
Hello Pete,

Match bullets perform quite properly on game when they are, of course, used within certain parameters.

I use 100 grain Sierra MKs in a 25/06 on antelope every year and have yet to have a failure or anything even close to a failure.

I do not, however, take any shots under 400 yards and I shoot broadside lung shots.

Impact velocity must be considered. This is why I don't use MKs for close in shooting because the velocity is too high and unpredictable deformation/fragmentation may occur. At extended ranges, the MKs perform very much like Partitions (which I use a lot in conventional hunting scenarios), do at long range.

Bullet placement is the key to success and match grade bullets definitely decrease the chance of a miss when wind is in the equation. And it is ALWAYS in my equations!

If premium hunting bullets were indeed better for long range hunting then I would certainly use them as the one shot kill is always my goal.

And match grade bullets have allowed me to be consistent in terms of this goal.

Dr. John,

Considering the quality of the bullets that you have mentioned, I would use whichever bullet shoots best in your rifle.

What makes the Matchking so popular around here for hunting? Two things -
1. They often ARE the most accurate bullet in many rifles and
2. They do have a terminal performance record that surprises most of the other hunters who have not tried them on game yet.

(They also have a fairly high BC which makes them more suitable for looong range.)

75 gr Amax and the Hornaday Amax line,, used to be the sie and hornaday match line ,but not anymore!

[ 03-29-2004: Message edited by: gj ]
Responding to the title of this thread...
My favorite LRH bullet is the Cauterucio. I use the 156 in the 7mm. It has a .615 BC and great on game. The 176 has a 750 BC, but requires a 7 or 8 twist to stabilize. I wish Cauterucio made 30 cal and bigger but now he only make his VLD's up to 7mm.
Pete, have you ever tryed the SMK bullet on big game? If you have not then your comments about them have no value. The SMK, SST, and BT are my bullets of choice.
Here are my thoughts on bullets for what they are worth - which is about zip!
Considerations for long range hunting are accuracy, high B.C. and terminal performance. Matchkings and Nosler competitions offer accuracy and usually very good B.C.'s so they retain velocity well. Despite the nay-sayers, they also offer good terminal performance - there is more than ample evidence from guys here.

Are they the best hunting bullet? I would suggest that the new Hornady Interbond, Nosler Accubond and Swift Scirocco have them beat for all-around terminal performance, virtuall matched for B.C. and if your barrel likes them, nearly equaled for field accuracy. Which of these sharp plastic tipped bonded boat-tails your rifle will prefer is unknown, only your barrel will make that decision.
We killed a bunch of deer this year with bonded bullets - and match bullets. All died with one shot if the bullet was placed properly.

How about the older Speer, Sierra and Hornadys. I would not hunt with Sierras in the smaller calibers, they are too much like the Nosler Ballistic Tip and SST for meat mangling particularly if the shot is relatively close. Farther out they are less wasteful and more likely to perform well as far as not sheading their cores.

Hornadys have proven very consistent game killers for us, so have Speer hot cores.

The high-dollar bonded bullets like A-Frame and Trophy Bonded are simply not as accurate as the newer bonded styles. They are designed and sold for different hunting purposes - they are 95% retention bullets, intended for big tough jobs. If I wanted to hunt with either I would buy Federal Factory loads, particularly High Energys. Probably cheaper than trying to find a good load considering the cost of a box of 50 bullets.

That leaves Barnes and WInchester Failsafes - they are surprisingly accurate, getting better every year. The new Barnes Triple Shocks and XLC's are really accurate shooting bullets - if your barrel likes them they will shoot sub 0.5". They killed a bunch of deer for us this fall also with excellent terminal performance all the way out to 700 yards.
Great information Ian.
You mentioned the Barnes having excellent terminal performance at 700 yards. What was the bullet size and estimated impact velocity? I have found some remarkable accuracy from the TSX, but I have concerns with using them at lower velocities where they may only pencil through.
I have had great sucess with the Swift Scirroco and Barnes XBT. I can ususally get one or the other to shoot well enough and never have to worry about terminal performance especially at close range.

Most bullets work pretty well at longish range but up close the match type can blow up with not enough penatration.

Have to deal with a little more copper fouling but what would life be with out compromises.
Excellent question. I regret making that statement, it is missleading. My buddy put a wounded deer down with a Barnes 168 at just over 700 yards and the bullet killed it cleanly. He put it through vital organs and the deer died quickly.
Bottom line is that I know that the Barnes bullet does not open up significantly at 600 yards in the .308 when we shoot a clay test medium. If the impact velocity is higher, as from a magnum I am confident that the bullet would open at 6 and 700. You made an excellent point, I should have been more careful so that I did not insinuate that the bullet is a saticefactory hunting option at that distance.
We recovered a Ballistic Tip from the same distance, also from a .308 kill and it was barely opened up. This kind of experience makes me believe that the .308 is just about out of steam at 700, particularly if it does not disrupt an easily opened Ballistic Tip jacket. Interestingly the .308 does kill very convincingly at 5-600, we get good exit wounds.
I agree with your concern, you are correct.
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