With the 2014 hunting season already under way in the northern part of the province, I find myself scrambling once again. The desire is to head to the range and check my rifles’ zero is at full force, so that whenever opportunity arises, I am ready to hit the trail. Funny thing is my rifles are always ready to go, it’s my confidence that requires the check-up.
Earlier in the summer I picked up a box of Hornady’s new 8mm 170 grain SST’s and am very eager to give them a try on game. I have had great success with the SST line of bullets in other calibers in the past and I am sure these will not disappoint. To further my anticipation I had another CDS dial made for my Leupold scope. With the velocity I am driving these bullets at, my dial starts at 200 yards and goes all the way out to beyond 850 yards, well beyond my comfort zone! Bringing up the topic of long range shooting is asking for controversy from both side of that topic. I know people on both sides of the argument and for the most part they both are correct: “A man’s got to know his limitations”.
With my new bullet dial combination I am eager to go and see how they both perform in the field. Accuracy of the bullet and dial is not an issue in the controlled environment at the range, but when I get to the field with the uncertainty of the animals’ movement, weather conditions and good old buck fever, things always seem to go awry for me. At the range I can consistently hit the ram silhouettes at 500 meters from a modest rest, I’ve even done it at the range with my .375 H&H, only once but it was witnessed!
The 170 SST may be considered “light for caliber” but with deer and sheep on the menu I have no concerns about bullet performance, even if I come across a big old bull moose or elk. I know if I tuck it behind the shoulder into the lungs it will deal with the animal with authority, no worries. I have had a few guys question the performance of the SST, as they didn’t exit an animal that they had shot with them. Really?? No exit, the bullet is designed for maximum shock and expansion on game animals, hence the name “Super Shock Tip”.
The SST has match grade accuracy but will trade some penetration for expansion, creating a massive wound channel and decimating the heart lung cavity. Whatever you choose to use for your next hunt, good luck. I truly hope you are successful.