Hornady SST 123gr performance on deer.

Prieto9000

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May 11, 2010
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446
I just killed a White tail buck using this bullet out of my 6.5CM and was both impressed but concerned about this bullet performance.
The bullet was launched @2890 fps from my 18.5" barrel so its not like I'm running them at extreme velocities.
On the impression side, the bullet made massive damage on the entry side of the animal. It was a high shoulder shot and the whole shoulder was a huge piece of jello and foam. it made it into de vitals and destroyed the lungs but the heart was untouched. That is understandable since the heart is a little lower, but.....

On the concerned side, I couldn't find the bullet anywhere it seems like the bullet exploded on impact. I'm a little concerned that if shot placement isn't perfect I might not be able to find my trophy. It seems like it barely made it into the rib cage

I don´t know if I should switch to a tougher heavier bullet for mid size game. I thought the 123 SST @ mid velocities would hold up a little better and have better penetration. I was using 154gr SST´s on my 7 mag with massive exit wounds, I was expecting a little better penetration out of this one.
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JOHNNIE WALKER

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Apr 1, 2013
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I shoot 140 gr SSTs out of my 260. Your picture looks typical to me. You have to remember that the SST is soft, and it’s not bonded. On ideal shots the bullet may go all the way through. But if you hit hard bone, like the spine or a shoulder, it can come apart. Vertebrae are probably the toughest thing to hit, and cause bullets to do weird things, which usually results in fragmentation. If you switched to a heavier bullet you might get better penetration. The AccuBond would help, and the LRX would most likely ensure a complete pass through. But on the flip side, it’s hard to argue over bullet performance when the critters laying dead in front of you.
 

BEEMAN

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Oct 20, 2011
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I also used the SST out of my 7 Mag years ago. It was way to soft for my style of hunting. Shot were close out of tree stands. I found the SST more explosive than the Berger.
 

Waynzee

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Jan 21, 2016
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There's a fella comes on here, Zen Archery or Special Ed is his handle he has a lot of knowledge with the 123 SST bullet on big hogs maybe he'll post something for ya. I seen a post of his in Xbows recently, maybe you could find him and PM him.
 

Trnelson

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Feb 15, 2012
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Nebraska
Looks about like typical performance to me. What twist rate is your barrel?? I’ve used the 123 SST from my 9 twist 6.5 Grendel AR for a few head of deer at 2540 f/s and the the 140 SST from one of my 8 twist 6.5/06 at 2970 f/s for two whitetail deer. With the slower 123g SST holding together better and punching a typical exit wound and the faster 140g SST not exiting, but grenading everything inside all the way to the off side hide. If you want to see the bullet hold together a bit better run the 140g SST from your CM or as others have accurately suggested give the Nosler Accubond a look. Different bullets do different things, it is important to try to match your bullet selection to the style of hunting you do and the expected typical range you anticipate having shots present themselves. A couple hundred feet per second less impact velocity makes quite a difference in how bullets behave. The 123g SST from my Grendel exhibited about a one inch exit wound. The farthest I have used the 123g SST was right around 380, the closest was about 30 yards. I usually try to place the bullet through the shoulders, all very similar results. The more velocity you give them the more frangible they become. That goes for both the 123g and 140g SST.
I would expect you should be able to safely reach close to 2,600f/s with the 140g SST and should have about a one inch exit wound on most shots inside of around 600 yards.
 

JOHNNIE WALKER

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Apr 1, 2013
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341
I mostly shoot coyotes with my 260. The exit hole is typically about an inch around. And that’s pretty much regardless of the range. That’s using the 140gr SST. At 450 yds, it left an exit hole in a deer that I could fit three fingers into.
 

Prieto9000

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May 11, 2010
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446
Looks about like typical performance to me. What twist rate is your barrel?? I’ve used the 123 SST from my 9 twist 6.5 Grendel AR for a few head of deer at 2540 f/s and the the 140 SST from one of my 8 twist 6.5/06 at 2970 f/s for two whitetail deer. With the slower 123g SST holding together better and punching a typical exit wound and the faster 140g SST not exiting, but grenading everything inside all the way to the off side hide. If you want to see the bullet hold together a bit better run the 140g SST from your CM or as others have accurately suggested give the Nosler Accubond a look. Different bullets do different things, it is important to try to match your bullet selection to the style of hunting you do and the expected typical range you anticipate having shots present themselves. A couple hundred feet per second less impact velocity makes quite a difference in how bullets behave. The 123g SST from my Grendel exhibited about a one inch exit wound. The farthest I have used the 123g SST was right around 380, the closest was about 30 yards. I usually try to place the bullet through the shoulders, all very similar results. The more velocity you give them the more frangible they become. That goes for both the 123g and 140g SST.
I would expect you should be able to safely reach close to 2,600f/s with the 140g SST and should have about a one inch exit wound on most shots inside of around 600 yards.
I´m running a 1:8 18.5" Benchmark on a T3 action.
I went with the 123 sst after reading a couple of fellow members complain about the 143gr ELDX not expanding on medium game properly. I can push them @2770 with no problem out of my rifle, but after reading about them not expanding I thought the 123 SST would be a better choice. Most of my deer shots are around 200m so the extra BC provided by heavier bullets was not as important. I have a box of 130 swift sirocco II bullets, but from previous experience I decided not to even give them a chance. I tried them in different calibers, different rifles and different loads with less than impressive accuracy (around 2 MOA). So I decided to save my powder for something else.

I tried some 147gr ELD-M and they are super accurate, but... MV drops down to 2550fps. I like my MV to stay over 2700fps on my rifles, but they might deserve a chance. Maybe pushing them a little slower and with the extra mass they'll hold together ok.

I'm not saying the 123 SST is a bad bullet, I just feel that on a less than perfect shot I might have a very hard time finding my trophy.
 

RT2506

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Jan 10, 2008
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2,143
Like I said before get you some 130 Nosler Accubonds. I have used them to kill somewhere between one and two dozen white tail deer and they have all been DRT and all but one exited. That one was shot into a buck at 111 yards that was almost facing me. Bullet smashed left shoulder and went length wise taking out the vitals and was found against the smashed ball socket of the right ham. Text book mushroom and weighed 87 grs. This bullet has reacted the same from 25 yards out to a little over 500 for me. I am shooting a 264 Win mag.
 

Adikted

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Aug 30, 2015
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Location
Columbia, SC
I'm using 120 gr NBT'S through my 260 at 2950 I get exits on double lung shots but I doubt I'd get one on a spine shot like that, if you switched to the 130 gr accubonds you'd definitely have bullet to find but I don't think it would exit. A friend of mine tried running the 130 AB at 2700 fps through a CM after shooting 3 deer he was really unhappy with the expansion, enough so that he offered to give me the rest.

I have used the 120 gr tsx in my 260 with great affect. Always got exits with them
 
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