X-Ring Newsletter

The X-Ring

Technical Newsletter From Your Ballistic Technicians

Volume 12, Issue 1

Bullet Selection
by Duane Siercks

A very common question we take on the 800 line is;" What bullet do you recommend?" The very first thing that we will try to determine is what cartridge and velocity potential you are using. Then the game animal and range or target distance. These things have a lot of influence on what type and weight of bullet that will be best suited to the situation.

In a target situation, we are not too concerned with expansion and most times on paper targets we are not concerned with energies. We are typically looking at ballistic coefficient, velocity, distance and of course, bottom line would be accuracy. Not always necessarily in that order, but these are the major factors. We will ask you the maximum distance you are shooting. This is important so that we can understand whether you need a high ballistic coefficient bullet to maintain a certain amount of velocity to keep the bullet super sonic to the given distance, or what type of specific criteria that is needed to handle your situation.

In a hunting situation, cartridge is very important so that we understand what bullet will be optimized to the situation. This is always based on the size of the game animal and the range of distance at which you expect to encounter. It is quite understandable that with the same cartridge we would expect to use different bullets when hunting varmints and then larger game. We are often asked to give a "one load for everything" recommendation. While this can be done, this can often be a compromising situation that does not give optimum results on either end of the situation. We do try and give recommendations based on the "specifics" that you relate to us. The question; "What is a good hunting load for my favorite old rifle?" does not give us near enough information to make a good recommendation.

We do encourage you to give us a call @ 1 800 223 8799 with all of your bullet recommendation questions and be prepared to give us as much information as you can based upon your shooting situation. Be careful and safe, and may you always "Hit the X Ring".

Reloading Highs and Lows
By Rich Machholz

Let's say you have a very nice 257 Roberts Ackley Improved rifle that was crafted by a very skilled gunsmith but your chamber is not the same as our manual measurements and doesn't match up data wise with our manual. Now concern sets in and you begin to doubt your choices and even worse your gunsmith. Before you take the next step there are many things to consider.

I'm sure you realize there is a difference in rifle chambers, especially custom rifle chambers. I doubt if you realize just how big that difference can be. Your particular cartridge is very popular and because of that there are a great many 257 Roberts Ackley Improved rifles built each year. Even though there are very clear instructions as to how to do this, inevitably cases show up with as much as .010" extra length at the shoulder in the form of headspace and sometimes even more. There are also even examples of short chambers but they are rare. It seems as though the "Smiths" just can't keep from improving the Improved whether by accident or on purpose. The result of a long chamber is a case that takes larger charges than a "standard" AI chamber. That being said there are also differences in powder lots which can be rather large at times. There are also barrels that just seem to produce numbers that appear unachievable in "normal" barrels. Then you have throat differences, long throats give big numbers and short throats generally don't.

There is no real way to judge actually how much pressure is generated shot to shot short of a strain gauge setup or a pressure barrel. Neither is sure fire. The pressure barrel will not have the same chamber or bore dimensions of the normal barrel and the strain gauges while good are subject to actual calibration of the expansion ratio of the individual barrel. Then you have the normal pressure observations such as primer appearance, case head expansion and bolt lift effort, all of which are subject to the individuals powers of observation. So ... as you can see there are no real hard and fast rules here. Basically just pick a method and stick with it. But remember, your components are the prime limitation, change them and you change the end result. Remember to that in the old days we only had three brass suppliers, Olin, DuPont and Norma Re. Now days we have so many I can't keep track and new brands are popping up monthly. Primers, we only had three of them, Winchester, Remington and CCI and for powders IMR and Hodgdon were about all there was. Need I go on? Producing a manual is terribly expensive and time consuming. We do manuals only about every 7 8 years. It never fails, by the time we finish the manual a powder or two has been discontinued and a couple of new ones have been introduced. So we take all this into consideration and produce a book knowing that it isn't going to satisfy everyone but it is our best shot. As you have seen nothing is written in stone when it comes to interior ballistics.

Sierra Mid-Year Production Introductions:
6.8mm SPC, 270 Caliber, (.277" diameter) 115 gr. HPBT MatchKing
Developed specifically for the new 6.8mm SPC round, Sierra's new 115 grain Hollow Point Boat Tail adds yet another option to the entire range of .277" caliber cartridges. A good ballistic shape combined with relatively light weight provides terrific velocity potential. These features make the 115 gr. MatchKing an ideal choice for informal target shooting and plinking at short to medium ranges. Suitable for cartridges from the new 6.8mm SPC through the .270 Weatherby Magnum, the new 115 gr. HPBT is sure to be a hit. Load data is available from Hodgdon Powder.

Available in 100 count boxes, the stock number 1815 .270 caliber, 115 grain HPBT is now available. Suggested retail price is $22.75 per box of 100 bullets.

You may contact Sierra Bullets by e-mail at sierra@sierrabullets.com, call the toll free Sierra number at 800-223-8799, or visit our web page at www.sierrabullets.com!! 6.8mm SPC, 270 Caliber, (.277" diameter)

Stock #Dia. (inches)Weight (grains)Bullet TypeSectional DensityBallistic Coefficients and Velocity Ranges
1815 .277 115 Hollow Point Boat Tail MatchKing 0.214 .324 @ 2400 fps and above
.317 between 2400 and 1800 fps
.267 @ 1800 fps and below

.224" Diameter 90 grain HPBT MatchKing
In response to the increasing demands of Long Range shooters, Sierra is pleased to announce the introduction of the newest member of our MatchKing line; the 22 caliber 90 grain HPBT. With the recent successes of the AR-15/M16 rifles in Long Range competition, the need was felt to maximize the ballistic potential of these rifles. The new 90 grain MatchKing is the final product of a series of tests, covering both accuracy and exterior ballistics, to arrive at the best possible bullet for the Long Range competitor. Designed specifically for the .223 Remington/5.56x45mm cartridge, the new 90 MK is at equally at home in both Match and Service Rifles. Due to the inherent requirements for a bullet of this type, the 90 grain MK is intended for single loading, and is not intended to be fed from a magazine. Sierra recommends the use of a 1 x 6.5" or faster twist for optimum stability and performance.

Available in the summer of 2005, these bullets will be available in boxes of 50 bullets (stock #1490) for $13.85 per box or in boxes of 500 bullets (stock #9290) for $111.80 per box. You may contact Sierra Bullets by e-mail at sierra@sierrabullets.com, call the toll free Sierra number at 800-223-8799, or visit our web page at www.sierrabullets.com!!

Stock #Dia. (inches)Weight (grains)Bullet TypeSectional DensityBallistic Coefficients and Velocity Ranges
9290 .224 90 Hollow Point Boat Tail MatchKing .228 .504 @ 2200 fps and above
.511 between 1900 and 2200 fps
.500 between 1750 and 1900 fps
.467 between 1575 and 1750 fps
.400 between 1375 and 1575 fps
.305 @ 1375 fps and below

Powder/Velocity 2400 2500 2600 2650
Hiht N550
Energy/ft. lbs.

  Powder Grains Velocity Ft.lbs.
Accuracy Load IMR-4064 22.4 2600 1351

INFINITY Updates now online!!

Bullet and ammunition manufacturer database updates are now available at www.sierrabullets.com for all owners of the INFINITY and INFINITY Suite version 5.0 and later programs. These new libraries contain new bullets and ammunition for 2005 and now contain rimfire ammunition from a select number of companies. The updates are located in the Reloading section of the web site.

Hunting Success Stories

Russ Wilhour of Boerne TX took this outstanding Pronghorn during an October 2004 hunt in Presidio County of West Texas. Russ was using a 270 Winchester pre-64 model 70 loaded with RL22 in Winchester cases and the Sierra 130 grain Pro Hunter bullet. His shot was taken at 168 yards. The buck scored a net of 74 points to make the 2004 Texas Big Game Awards. Congratulations Russ on a hunt well done.

GameKing Success in Wisconsin

Greg P, of Wisconsin sent in this first-hand account. "I am writing to tell you a true hunting story involving your GameKing bullets, bullets I believe to be the most accurate and deadly available for an honest, fair price. I handload Sierra GameKing bullets exclusively for my rifles and for a good reason. Having taken dozens of deer in Wisconsin, I have never lost a deer due to poor bullet performance. November 20, 2004 was opening day of the Wisconsin firearms deer season and I had spent an uneventful morning sitting in my tower. The area I hunt contains small pockets of woods but is mostly fields. Shots can vary from 30 feet to 300 yards. About two o'clock a good buck came running out of a standing cornfield at about 250 yards. Crossing the field, he would pass about 150 yards to my right, but showed no signs of slowing down. I picked up my .25-06 loaded with Sierra 117 gr. SBT GameKings. But, I made a big mistake - I turned the scope up to 12 power. I found the deer in the scope, but it was impossible to tell how much I was leading him. The deer suddenly made a hard right turn which put him passing 100 yards to my left. I can't begin to tell you the feeling of despair that enveloped me. Here was the biggest buck I had even seen in the wild about to make it to safety. I quickly turned the scope down to the lowest setting. The deer was only 50 yards from being swallowed up in the woods when I found him in the scope, swung out in front of him and pressed the trigger. He stumbled and his hindquarters sagged. Barely 20 yards from the woods, the buck suddenly ran in a tight circle and fell to the ground. That 117 grain GameKing hit him right in front of the hindquarters and just below the back. Not a perfect shot to be sure, but it was enough. At extremely high velocity, that bullet held together and did its job. It's the biggest buck I've ever bagged and I owe it all to a low power scope setting and a 117 grain Sierra GameKing."

Feral Hogs VS Old Fashion Bullets Carroll Pilant

In the past few years, feral hogs have gotten to be a major problem in many states. In Missouri, we have several pockets of them scattered around the state. California, Texas, Arkansas, and several other states have severe problems with them.

I had an opportunity in early May of this year to hunt feral hogs on a ranch near Beeville, Texas. This ranch is owned and managed by a very well known deer research biologist with the emphasis on quality deer management. Feral hogs are a problem on not only his ranch but surrounding ranches also. These are not high fenced ranches, so the hogs can venture from ranch to ranch. They destroy food plots, churn up watering holes by wallowing in them and just create havoc in general. The country is so thick with brush, cactus, and other assorted things that stick you, that they cut lanes or senderos thru for food plots. Feeders are set up for deer and turkey and quite often feral hogs come to them and devour the corn intended for the deer and turkey. These feeders have blinds or towers set up within rifle range to hunt and observe wildlife from.

Hunting from one of these, I had the opportunity to take a nice boar. I used a 30-06 rifle that my son Hunter and I had built together on a 98 Mauser action. My bullet of choice for it was of course a Sierra. I chose the #2140 165 grain Hollow Point Boattail GameKing. I spent the first evening in the Blind with only turkeys and a couple of coyotes showing up. The next morning a doe showed up right at daylight and started acting jumpy and watching back into the thick brush behind the feeder. As she moved away, I looked out of a different window for only a few seconds and as I turned back, a nice sized boar was at the feeder. I quickly settled the cross hairs behind his shoulder and gently squeezed the trigger. Dust boiled from the impact and the boar stumbled and with a burst of speed raced around the corner up a sendero. I found him 40 yards from where I had shot him. The bullet had entered right behind his left shoulder doing a tremendous amount of internal damage and stopped under the hide on the right side after penetrating the ribs and shoulder on that side. I was well pleased with the performance and enjoyed a great hunt.

2005 Bianchi Cup
Carroll Pilant

The dust has settled from the 2005 Bianchi Cup held at the Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club near Columbia, Missouri. Competitors from seven countries participated and when the last shots were fired, the victor was no a stranger at the "Cup". Doug Koenig won the Bianchi Cup for the ninth time, the last six consecutively. Bruce Piatt, a police officer from New Jersey was down one X for second place. Bruce has won the Bianchi Cup three times. As has been the norm, this years' match was a battle to the end between Doug and Bruce.

Not only will you see them competing against there, you will see them at other major matches such as The Masters, Steel Challenge, ESPN Great Outdoor Games, and the USPSA Nationals. Doug also won the Colt Speed event. Both shooters use the Sierra #8110 9mm 115 JHP bullets. For more information on Doug and Bruce, visit www.dougkoenig.com and www.brucepiatt.com. They are two of the top shooters in the world. Congratulations to both!!

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