Wholeheartedly agree. I do not like the SST. As far as i am concerned, it is the worst bullet Hornady has ever made. That being said, I have always liked Hornady Interlocks. Load your rifle with the 129 Interlock and go kill stuff. The game king should be good, too, as it is much the same. I prefer the 147 ELDM in my Creed. It is a great deer bullet. The 129 is m go-to in my two, .260s.I like most Hornady products but the SST isn't really one of them. Good target round, but they expand too rapidly for my taste. That said, you should consider the Interlock BTSP. Definitely my favorite cup-N-core bullet.
I'm going to come in and disagree with everyone above. The SST has worked fine in my handloads for my family on about 10 whitetails so far. Place your shots correctly and it drops them in their tracks. If you shoot one in the shoulder it'll still drop them in their tracks and you may have a couple of exit holes depending on how thick the shoulder is where you hit it. Additionally, they shot excellently out of all four of our guns with very little fiddling necessary.
sbhooper - Has the ELDM really held together better than the SST? That's surprising since it's not designed to do that. I have heard of quite a few people using them though.
The answer is "yes". If you do some looking, you will find that although it is a target bullet, the 147 ELDM has performed well on all kinds of animals up to moose. I had SSTs come apart on small white-tailed does, shot through the lungs, from a .308 at 2600 fps. They completely came unwound. Yes, the deer died, but the performance was lousy.
I have yet to have a 147 ELDM come apart on a deer and have bang-flopped them out to 405 yards. The A-max actually performed pretty well on game, too. Some say that the new SSTs are a bit more durable, but I am not going to find out, as there are enough good bullets out there, that one does not have to revisit a bullet that has been disappointing. I am not sure what the purpose of the SST is, now that they have the ELDX, which generally seems to perform decently, although I have not used them anywhere but on the range. I have also used the 130 ELDM on antelope and several deer. My buddy gave me some to try and they, also, did their job well.
I had never used a "target" bullet on game, before I got a smoking deal on the 147s. After reading anecdotal evidence about their performance, I decided to try them in my Creedmoor and .260. They were good in my .260, but due to their length, it was a bit easier to load them in the Creed. They performed well in both rounds. Target bullets can be deceiving. The Lapua Scenar is another one with fantastic results on game throughout the whole spectrum.
Years ago, I also tried the Sierras. I had some shaky performance on deer and even had a .30 cal separate on a coyote that I shot lengthwise at close range. I had one bend on a deer exactly as you described. It traveled down the spine and I recovered the bullet. I was not impressed. They were very accurate, but I have not used Sierra since, except in a 22-250. My father-in-law shot a cow elk with a 180 in Federal factory, 30-06, one time, while we were hunting the Mescalero Indian Reservation in New Mexico. The elk died, but that Game King split into three pieces. Not good. Lots of people like the Game Kings and Sierras have always been accurate.I am not a fan of plastic tip bullet's in bullet's for big game except I suspect they have an advantage in monolithic bullet's. In mono bullet's I'm sure they help the bullet open up rather than closing up as a HP design bullet can. Only bullet's I've hunted big game with for over 30yr now has been Hornady cup and core bullet's. hey have worked fine on animals up to elk if, IF, a proper bullet was selected. Even without the proper bullet, a bullet can still come through. I did shoot a deer one time with a 75 gr Hornady V-Max from a 243, fell down dead right there. But I wouldn't recommend that bullet for deer, lot better choices. That V-Max, has a plastic tip, showed me what it could do at 200yd target. My back board was a piece of 2" styrofoam I'd taped a paper target to. Group with that load was under 3/4" at 100yds and don't recall what it was at 200yds. What I saw and will never forget was that behind that target at 200yds was jacket metal all over the ground. 2" styrofoam did that at 200yds! Great on varmint's and coyote's! I believe it is a combination of a light jacket, soft lead and that tip, especially that tip, being blown back into the core. Not sure why those plastic tips have become so popular, hit something and it has to go somewhere, into the core is my though. Has to make the bullet expand faster. I suspect that the original intention was to stop tip deformation. Every body used to claim a deformed tip wasn't accurate as it should be. Funny thing about that, when Speer drought out the mag tip, they showed a high speed photo of a bullet leaving the barrel. Wasn't out to far and the tip was no longer there, then looked like a mag tip. I have had bullet's with deformed tips, got them pulling bullet's with a hammer puller.Threw them in the lead scrap can to melt down. Have no idea how much it would have changed accuracy if any at all had I used them. Of course if Speer was right, might not make a difference at all. Then again wonder if it would make a difference as a hunting bullet. A big game rifle that shoot's 2" group's at 100 yds will work fine but even I would scrap the thing. A 1/2" rifle with big game loads just isn't really needed. Better is a head game we play on ourselves!
The only premium bullet that excites me is the bonded bullet but I still don't like the plastic tip. Long before what people like to call the bonded bullet showed up, Speer made the Hot Core bullet. I shot some into news paper against other bullet's and found something very interesting. The jacket and the core stayed together just as the bonded bullet today is supposed to. People cringe when I suggest it was the first bonded bullet but then I saw it.
Between Hornady cup and core and Sierra it's hands down Hornady for me, been that way since the Hornady was called a spire point, long time ago! Reason being back then I tried Sierra bullet's on deer and they really worked but, they just destroyed everything inside they got near. To much destruction but very accurate! I have read that the Sierra Game King has changed that. But never tried it as Hornady has been a winner for a long long time and give me no reason to change. The only other bullet I would suggest is the Speer Hot Core. Way back when I had a 7mm Rem mag and the best results with it were with the 160gr Hot Core. Bullet stayed together and did it's job! It was the rifle I shot those bullet's into news paper with. Something about those days and bullet's. The 160gr Hot Core from that 7mm mag retained 85% of it's weight. Used the 154 gr Hornady at the same time to compare them. The core in the Hornady was loose in the jacket but it did not separate. Weight retention was also 85%! I settled on the Hot Core in that rifle because it was more accurate.
You want to use a plastic tip bullet, try it. It will either work for you or it won't. If there is a bullet with a plastic tip for big game I think can use the plastic tip, it's the monolithic, helps get the tip to open every time. I shot a 165gr Sierra HP ut of a 308 into the same pile of newspaper. Surprised me that the tip closed up and the bullet bent!
What kind of performance did you get?140 grain SSTs in my 270 Win has performed perfectly for me with exits and great blood trails.
I couldn't stand the performance of the gamekings in my 25-06. I wouldn't use gamekings if they were free.
I buy all of my bullets from Shootersproshop.com, now.
What kind of performance did you get?
I shot the 117s about 3000 fps and over the course of 10 years between ADQP tags and depredation permits killed 150-200 deer. Never had a failure. The were extremely accurate and killed with authority.