Hornady SST for deer - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Hornady SST for deer

i shot two groundhogs today and wasnt really impressed with how the 150 grain Hornady sst's performed out of my 30-06, not much damage.


i got more damage when i used Remington 150 psp core-lokts, i have always used these for deer and for practice on chucks (39 years)



i switched over to the Hornadys for deer after i had a core-lokt separate from the cup on a deer shot at 140 yards. the two deer i shot with the SST's had a big entrance hole and no exit, almost always got pass thrus with the remingtons.



what am i missing ?


i want a factory loaded bullet that will be good out to a possible 300 yards. i am hunting two farms where shots on deer this far are possible.

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post #2 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 12:06 AM
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I really don't like the SST at all. The wife shot a deer with a 139 gr SST from her 7-08, and I wasn't really impressed with the performance. 7mm hole in, 30 cal hole out. Killed the deer, but really no expansion at all from the examination when I dressed him. I am really done with polymer tips for big game. I will stick to a gameking or partition.
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post #3 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 03:37 AM
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I shoot the Nosler Accubond in two calibers and like the performance.

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post #4 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 06:16 AM
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Nosler partitions have always been a favorite of mine. I have a load using 200 gr partitions in the .300 Weatherby that has killed quite a few deer with minimal damage. I shoot 165 gr nosler ballistic tips in my ‘06 for deer and they have always performed well for me too.
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post #5 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 07:27 AM
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If you don't like core/jacket separations, the SST isn't really the bullet you want.

They are soft, they will expand significantly, even at low speeds, and often violently at higher speeds. They are a cup-and-core bullet...essentially their old Interlock bullet with a boattail and poly tip to act as an expansion initiator (and because poly tips sell bullets, lol). Thing is.....a boattail, all else being equal, will be more likely to spit out a core than a flatbase bullet (meaning same/equivalent construction...a bonded bullet is a different animal).

If you want a cup and core bullet with a bit more structural integrity, the 165gr Ballistic Tip from Nosler is going to be a smidge stronger, but if you want a mushroom every time and no chance of a structural break-down......you want a bonded bullet, a Partition/Swift A-Frame, or a monometal bullet (Barnes, Hornady GMX, Nosler eTip, etc).

It's hard to go wrong with a 165gr Partition in a 30-06, but the Accubond is no slouch, and Hornady is now making their excellent Interbond bullet after halting it for a time. I like the Interbond...it seems to expand a bit bigger than the Accubond, leave a great wound channel, and retains weight well.

I've used GMX's in a 30-06, and they worked ok, but I wasn't thrilled by the wound channels. My favorite for a 30-06 is a 165gr Partition....but that's just me. I run Partitions in almost everything anymore, lol.
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Last edited by tdd; 06-22-2018 at 08:05 AM.
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post #6 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 07:45 AM
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tdd is pretty much spot on as far as I'm concerned. All of the bullets he recommends are great choices for deer sized game under conditions you describe. I happen to prefer Hornady Interbonds for the fact price wise they are about the best deal out there. Hornady has always seemed to produce bullets on par with the others for just a little less money.

Until bonded bullets came on scene(1990?) I used mostly Gameking bullets, and while they killed deer well, It was not uncommon to experience cup/core separation. At one time polymer tips indicated a bullet that would violently expand, but not anymore. While some still do (i.e. SST), a polymer tipped bonded bullet will not.
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post #7 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 08:40 AM
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Every few years my buddy and I head west to hunt pronghorn antelope. My rifle is a Remington 760 in .243 and I've had my best luck with 95 grain Ballistic Tips by Nosler. Accuracy is superb and performance is quite lethal indeed even for those shots which are well beyond 200 yards! I am not willing to switch over to any other bullet for these long distance shots out on the open prairies.

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post #8 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 09:06 AM
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Our group has been killing deer for years with the 150gr SST in the 30-06 with no complaints about their effectiveness. If fact we switched to them from the old green boxes due to deer living longer than they should have when shot. I heard multiple stories of deer hit in the boiler room and still going over 100 yards before dropping. Now since this switch occurred before I started hunting I have little first hand experience with the green boxes but I’ve harvested 6 and seen 20+ more taken with the SST and they just plain work on deer.

A degree of fragmentation of the bullet is not always a bad thing and is infact preferred when shooting at animals a longer distance away. Our friends farm has a field that shots can be made to 500+ depending on where the deer cross. For those extended distances I would take the SST over a cup and core bullet hands down. The issue is velocity, the cup and core bullets expand down to approximately 2000 fps, with their blunt nose and poor BC those 150gr green boxes reach that around 350 yards. That means at 300 you are reaching the tail end of their effective range and expansion will be low as a result.

Now contrast that to the SST in the Hornady custom line, even though the muzzle velocity is the same as the green box your effective range is stepped out to approximately 600 yards due to the better BC and much lower 1700 fps minimum for expansion. Additionally at the lower speeds the fragmentation of the bullet will make up for the loss in hydrostatic shock.

Last year my brother shot a buck, the hit was in the high lung area but the shock broke the spine without hitting any of the back straps, deer dropped on the spot. My dad shot his buck through the boiler room while sneaking through the pines, it tipped over stone dead. I have shot several does and none of them went more than 40 yards. All I can say is that neither me nor anyone in our group has lost a deer shot with the SST.
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post #9 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 09:26 AM
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Just to be clear, the SST bullet IS a cup and core bullet. It's not bonded. It's not monometal. There's no true physical lock to prevent/halt/control expansion (eg Partition, A-Frame, etc).

I can absolutely see the merit of something like a Berger or SST when you're reaching waaaaaaay out there and need a softer bullet because you're impact velocities are going to be really low, comparatively speaking.

That type of hunting, however, is very much the exception to the rule in PA, and indeed, nationwide. The vast majority of big game animals are taken at ranges under 200 yards.

I've used the SST in a 257 Roberts and found its performance to be erratic...meaning some exhibit full and total disruption and came completely apart on rib shots. Some made quarter-sized exits after penetrating shoulders. There was little rhyme nor reason to which did what and when. The bullet is intended to expand very, very fast and potentially disintegrate. Running them into animals at the typical distances PA hunters engage at is not something I'd personally recommend. At a longer distance, yeah, I can see where they make some good sense.

But then this takes us to the age-old debate about whether a bullet should come apart and not exit or whether it should retain mass/control expansion and exit. There's no way we're gonna settle that one....lol. Everyone has their own experiences and opinions. Mine obviously leans toward getting an exit. Some prefer something different. Everyone makes their own choices.

In the OP's case, I'd suggest that a groundhog is a poor indicator of performance on big game, however.... I personally would recommend avoiding the SST if massive/rapid expansion isn't what he's after.
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post #10 of 91 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 10:11 AM
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Bohunr , I use rem core-lokt for deer and although there may be something better I have never had any problems with them on deer. I hunt 2 farms in Crawford Co and its pretty thick so my shots range from 30 yds to the farthest shot at 150 and as I said there has never been a problem with that ammo. I decided to stick with them in my 30/06 and 308.
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