Proper placement with the right bullet and adequate energy would have made the difference.
Already answered. Long ago. After watching several hogs and deer run off after being hit right in the bread basket leaving us with long and difficult tracks because there was so little bleeding due to the fact the bullet never exited I learned my lesson.
Pardon me I was looking at the SST. There is no 140gr interbond in 6.5.
You know I don't even carry a ballistics calculator or weather meter and I manage to kill much smaller targets than deer at that range and beyond with the .260 shooting 130gr interbonds and siroccos so I don't see where such a crutch is necessary. If you are however using field calculations then having the proper variables entered eliminates the guess work.
So? That's why you have a ballistics program.
I can only think of one word that is really fitting for the use of a 6.5 at over 1,00yds on anything bigger than coyotes with any bullet, and that is "irresponsible".
No the key is using a bullet that is going to perform consistently and reliably at any range you pick within the practical limitatios of the caliber.
Before I'd use the Amax in the scenarios you describe I'd either go to the Scirocco or Berger Hunting VLD's. Much better choices of bullets.
I've got a very large 3x4 freak of a buck I've been watching for the last few weeks. If The shot presents itself my ambush set up will have me shooting him at between 800-1080yds. If he's under 900 I will use the .260, and if beyond I will use the 300 Rum. Both will be loaded with the Sciroccos and I have 100% confidence that the bullets will do the job even if I get a direct strike on the point of the shoulder.
At the same ranges I'm getting nice 1.5-2" exit holes on coyotes consistently and the doe I shot at 600 two weeks ago with the .260 gave similar results.
Shoot what you want. I don't care, but I will continue to recommend that quality hunting bullets be used in hunting situations to anyone who asks because that is what they are designed for.
Okay, so let me get this straight, I am irresponsible for shooting a deer at 1000 yards with my 260 but you are A-okay at 900 yards with your 260? This considering that my bullet will be flying faster due to the higher BC, allowing for less drop, less drift error, more ft lbs, and more expansion?
I am also irresponsible for shooting a target bullet for long range shots even though they expand better at those distances and cause more damage but you are just fine shooting sirocco's to 900 yards even though the velocity in a 260 is nearly 300 fps below what Swift recommends for proper bullet expansion?
I wonder what all the hunters did before the days of premium bullets where all they had were standard jacketed lead filled bullets. I am surprised my Dad and Granddad ever killed anything.
Shooting hogs, which are about as tough on a bullet as you can get in the US, is completely different than shooting antelope, deer, and even elk in many respects. Not sure I would use that experience to determine performance on thin skinned animals.
In addition, I don't aim for the point of the shoulder nor do I ever want to hit the point of the shoulder. If I do hit there I was way off target. Ideally this happens in a very small percentage of shots, less than 5% for sure. So why would I pick a bullet that may make 5% of my shots possibly more successful instead of choosing a bullet that performs better on 95% of my shots.
Also, do I understand correctly that you do like the VLD hunting bullet, which is designed to blow up internally but don't like the frangbile A-max? The A-max and Berger have more in common IMO than the Berger and premium bullets do, as far as killing performance and bullet performance. The A-max and Berger both shed most of their weight and throw shrapnel in all directions. The benefit the A-max has over the Berger past the velocity limit of 1800-1900 fps is that the A-max will still expand and shed weight well past this 1800 fps where the VLD will not. Here is a good thread regarding shooting a bullet past its velocity limit. http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/long-range-elk-mistake-80226/
Finally, you miss one of the biggest reasons that LR hunters use high BC bullets, weather meters, and ballistic programs. It is called error reduction. Call it a crutch if you like but those items all help minimize a significant amount of shooter/shooting error.
There is error in range estimation, wind drift, angle to target, atmospheric conditions, trigger pull, steady hold, proper aim point, updrafts, movement of the animal, and on and on. High BC's and ballistic data helps minimize the potential error in every shot. Sure I can use my ballistic program to calculate drop and drift but all the above mentioned variable adds up to a certain amount of error in every shot and a bullet that shoots flatter and has less drift will eliminate the most amount of potential error. It's not about using a chart or ballistic app, its not about having the cool techie bullets or gear. It is about having all or as close to "all" of your shots being one shot kills. Any error reducing factor I can have in my favor I will take.
We obviously have a very different perspective on LR hunting. Don't get me wrong. There is a valid place for premium hunting bullets. But I think LR guys, especially those new to the sport, should be aware that premium bullets have their negatives just like frangible bullets do. And one of the big negatives are shooting them at LR when their velocity profile is such that proper expansion is unlikely.
Good luck in your shooting friend.