.224 75g Hornady BTHP vs 65g Sierra GK vs wet newspaper

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
223 Hdy 75g BTHP vs 65g SGK

I've been narrowing down a few bullets for all purpose use in the 223 Rem RAR Compact.

I've been loving the accuracy and small game performance (up to foxes) of the 65g Sierra Game King. Sub 0.75moa at 2900fps is a nice place to be.

More recently I've worked up a load with the 75g Hornady Match BTHP. It is every bit as accurate as the above SGK load, but moving a modest 2715fps. I know it's a match bullet but there's many a suggestion it works well on game. I was keen to see how it compared directly to the SGK which has a really good rep as a deer bullet.

Of note, even though the 65 grainer starts out about 180fps faster than the 75, around 220y out the 75g Hornady is doing higher speed and hence carrying a lot more KE.

So it was to the wet newspaper to determine which bullet I'll be buying in bulk and using on medium game including pigs, goats and the odd deer.

I loaded three of each bullet, loaded to muzzle velocities to simulate impacts at 0, 125 and 250y. I can't see me attempting to kill big game further away than that with this cartridge.

So who won? Which bullet was better?

Well the Hornady won, though the results will explain that better.

Pictured below; top left is the Hdy at 2200fps, top centre the Hdy at 2440fps and top right is the same at 2715fps.
Bottom left is the Sierra 65g at 2170fps, bottom centre the Sierra at 2500fps, bottom right the SGK at 2875fps.

IMG_3959_zpsqvkb70of.jpg


This is the way they ended up when I recovered them from the newspaper. The stats are below.


1. Hdy BTHP 75g
Impact Speed 2200fps
Penetration 285mm
Retained Wt 50g 67%
Expanded Diameter .516


2. Hdy BTHP 75g
Impact Speed 2440
Penetration 280mm
Retained Wt 64g 85%
Expanded Diameter .584


3. Hdy BTHP 75g
Impact Speed 2715
Penetration 270mm
Retained Wt 48g 65%
Expanded Diameter .562


4. Sie GK 65g
Impact Speed 2170
Penetration 240mm
Retained Wt 62g 96%
Expanded Diameter .533


5. Sie GK 65g
Impact Speed 2500
Penetration 190mm
Retained Wt 39g 60%
Expanded Diameter .460


6. Sie GK 65g
Impact Speed 2875
Penetration 200mm
Retained Wt 39g 60%
Expanded Diameter .448

So....the Hornady generally penetrated further, expanded more, and retained more weight, generally. I'm happy in every respect to call it the "winner" in this terminal performance test.

But....

This is the really interesting bit; the Game Kings started expanded almost immediately as you'd expect most soft points. A big, damaging wound channel right from the get go.

The Hornady match bulket however didn't expand AT ALL until somewhere between 4 and 5 inches into the very soggy newsprint. Check this shot which was 70mm or just under 3 inches into the stack...

FullSizeRender-1_zpsv0db38i8_edit_1455312802975_zpsdl773kdf.jpg


You can see there's virtually no expansion, just a pencil-hole wound with the Hdy while the Sierra is punching a large hole.

The next shot however is at 6 inches, you'll note how things are now different. Hornadys at the top, Sierras below...

529179ED-197C-49F6-90EE-ED5C7C105598_zpsj74ewcmk.jpg


And the Hornadys continued to drive through creating a very wide wound channel from there. I'm not sure what is is about their design that causes this. I'm sure it isn't deliberate as they're a match bullet.

This being the case, I suspect on small or very light bodied game this bullet could certainly whistle through without expanding at all. Maybe it wouldn't be great for fast knockdowns of small goats and so on as a result. I have a feeling however that this peculiar performance attribute may well make them very useful on the pigs and deer I like to hunt.

Any thoughts?


 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,482
2,275
Most interesting results. Several anomalies seem to pop up. It would be interesting to see if the phenomena are a one-off or indicative of performance. In particular, I'm noting the expansion/penetration on the Hornadys. The data at 2440 appears to be aberrant. On either bullet, the penetration at the lower velocities is interesting, indicating the potential to move through small game. Most interesting.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
I LOVE it Bob. Awesome test. Very impressed with the 75 grain Hornady. They are CHEAP too as compared to a similar weight Sierra TMK. I can say the Sierra 77 and Hornady shoot just about the same in my rifle. Matter of fact, they are so easy at this point I just buy what's available. I'm thinking I need a 500 or 1000 of each I'm enjoying shooting them so much.

I'd love to see what the 77 grain Sierra TMK does compared to the others as well. I'm betting that 75 grain Hornady will be a good deer or porker killer.
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
I just went back and poked another 4 of the Hornadys into the wet newspaper to ensure the 600 I am about to order are what I want. All four of these were loaded to an impact velocity of 2550fps or about a 75y impact in the little RAR Compact.

Results were similar to yesterday's. The least penetration was 280mm, the most was 310mm. Average retained weight was 44g.

One bullet broke into 2 equal sized pieces of around 20g each when I weighed the recovered pieces. And go figure this out; those two pieces both penetrated 310mm, the most of the 4 shots.

Much the same as yesterday, there was NO expansion until around 4-5 inches then a large wound channel.

It's interesting the way these bullets work. I actually expected total disintegration and perhaps out of a 22-250 that might be the case. They love the mild velocity generated by the little RAR though.

And this little rifle is sooo much fun to shoot. I think I am in love. :)
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
I hear you Bob. I'm really liking mine as well.

I'm getting a touch over 2900 with my longer barreled RAR, and so far I can't see anything to not like about the load. Need a few 100 more cases just so I don't have to keep hammering away on the 100 I have!
 

rickt300

Beginner
Jan 17, 2008
9
0
What powder are you using? I am running BLC2 at 24.5 grains. Accurate but I have no idea how fast it's going. One manual says I can go as high as 26.2 grains but in my rifle that seems pretty hot.
 

gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,113
11
Interesting results for sure. I'm not sure I would trust those Hornady bullets on lighter game with such delayed expansion. The Gamekings look pretty good.
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,954
350
I'm with Gerry on this. Wet newsprint isn't animal tissue. I would worry that you didn't get decent expansion on smaller game. A deer isn't that much wider than 6-8" across the ribs. I'd want that bullet expanding much sooner on a behind the shoulder rib cage shot


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
rickt300":k3xhqbg8 said:
What powder are you using? I am running BLC2 at 24.5 grains. Accurate but I have no idea how fast it's going. One manual says I can go as high as 26.2 grains but in my rifle that seems pretty hot.

My current load with the 75g BTHP is 24.5g of H4895, making around 2800fps from the 18" barrel.
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
Thebear_78":2cijtzo9 said:
I'm with Gerry on this. Wet newsprint isn't animal tissue. I would worry that you didn't get decent expansion on smaller game. A deer isn't that much wider than 6-8" across the ribs. I'd want that bullet expanding much sooner on a behind the shoulder rib cage shot


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yes you're right, they don't expand much on rabbits and foxes but they do kill them.

Shoulder shots on goats kill quick too. Possibly on a heart lung only shot they might whistle through a young deer or goat a little too easily.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
bobnob":1alr9c2o said:
rickt300":1alr9c2o said:
What powder are you using? I am running BLC2 at 24.5 grains. Accurate but I have no idea how fast it's going. One manual says I can go as high as 26.2 grains but in my rifle that seems pretty hot.

My current load with the 75g BTHP is 24.5g of H4895, making around 2800fps from the 18" barrel.


That's the same load I use. Works for the 77 Tipper Matchking as well.

It's funny but Bergers are delayed and everyone loves them on deer. In my little bit of shooting, they knock coyotes and foxes silly.
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
Here's two foxes I shot off a goat carcass at 450y this week with the 75g Hdy BTHP. They were shot within one hour of each other and while pleased with my shooting, the first one did take two shots because I missed the first shot by a few inches with a slightly off wind call.

This is the first one, it went through his middle ie a gut shot. He ran about 5 metres and lay down very quickly. About a walnut sized exit...

DC0EA65E-EDAA-4D15-B674-38FA37CACCE8_zpsbktzc5ou.jpg


This one was a better shot, shoulder shot and obviously instant kill. Again an exit about the size of a walnut...

2E3997F8-5D9C-4D27-8C06-923F44A0CCF3_zpscdohyozl.jpg


This is another fox shot about two months ago, about 125y and a head shot. Significant trauma, not blown apart like a 40g Varmint bullet but plenty...

BA7BAF4A-902B-4947-B694-B91E17D94DDF_zpsoh5w7w87.jpg


(Note this is in the same paddock, amazing how much the place has tapered off with the warmer weather!)

I've continued to hose down the odd goat with this bullet. They do kill quite well even on light game. I'm becoming more and more confident in that the more I use them and the accuracy is quite fine.

I have 600 75g Amaxes to use now and when they're done I'll be keen to try the 70g RDF depending on what price they land here at. They should fly flat with some impressive speeds too.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
Great report Bob.

I've got a ton of the HPBT's. The Amaxs are too long for my magazine.
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
I did the "fill with epoxy then dremel out" conversion to lengthen my RAR Compact mag. I can load to 2.54" oal while the Amax kisses the lands at 2.475" .

The Amax shoots just as well though POI is about 1" lower than with the BTHP.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
You'll have to fill me in. I'm interested.

Got some Amaxs but they were too long.

The 77 grain Sierra TMK is pretty good though.
 

Polaris

Handloader
Dec 16, 2009
1,223
0
Are these the bullets with the cannelure or not.

Part of the performance you are seeing with these bullets may be from their original development. While the 68gr BTHP match from Hornady was developed as a dedicated match bullet, as was the A max line, the 75 started out as a law enforcement bullet in a match profile, appropriate for loading at magazine length in the AR 15. Some of the performance characteristics, such as light barrier penetration and soft tissue trauma may have been retained. I believe this bullet (with cannelure) is still loaded in their LE Marksman ammunition. Would like to see some of these cross sectioned vs. the SMK or Nosler 77 and see if there are any internal differences.

I do love this bullet, however I have not used it for game. It is lights out accurate in my 20" AR-15 competition rifle. At least as good, perhaps better than the similar, more expensive options. It will run extremely well to 300m, and I have fired them on the 600 yard course effectively when I ran out of 80 grain loads. I'm loading 23.5 gr of Varget. I saw the BL-C load listed above. It does sound hot. Loading in military brass to magazine length I got pressure signs in warm weather at 25.5 gr BL-C2. Was fine and very accurate in colder weather. Have also run small lots of 4064 and R15, also with good results using Hornady data. This bullet is not too fussy about loads, at least in my rifle. Seems to group well with everything I've tried, easily MOA or better.
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
Polaris, no cannelure mate. A clean bullet.

Just been out the back doing some shooting. 10 inch steel plate at 450y with a 15mph-ish cross wind. Clank clank clank went the 75 BTHPs. Had them at 750y yesterday and the result was the same though it took two sighters to get me on target. I'm still far from adept at doping wind on the first shot much beyond about 500y.

I'd not turn my nose up at these 75 BTHPs under any circumstances....
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
1
SJB358":1g59pjhu said:
You'll have to fill me in. I'm interested.

Got some Amaxs but they were too long.
.
Scotty the back section of the RAR mag pops off if you depress the little tabs that hold the two parts together. Heat the mag in very hot water for 30 secs before doing it as this makes them flexible and less likely to snap.

Then I filled the hollowed out part at the rear of the back part of the mag, with JB Weld. This basically makes a solid piece rather than the skeletonised part it is issued as. 24 hours later I Dremeled out the inside of the mag, where the case rim rests against. I started with drilling holes, then Dremeled out to get it nice and smooth. Once it was all smooth I just reassembled and bingo, you have 2.5" plus OAL room.

Going to do another one soon. When I do so I'll take a couple of pics.

- Bob
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,398
757
Thanks Bob. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Got a bunch of Amaxs I'd like to shoot.
 

freestylmx

Beginner
Feb 20, 2012
45
0
The 75 bthp from Hornady is definitely one of the best bullets made for the AR15. But Ive always said, my opinion, that the best all around bullet for the 223/5.56 is the 65gr SGK.
The 75BTHP has best accuracy and down range BC and will fragment a few inches in causing fast kills. BUT the problem with match bullets is they aren't totally consistent. Sometimes they won't open at all, whereas a bullet like the gameking is going to be consistent. Having said that, the Hornady 75gr bthp seems to be one of the more consistent performers at opening/fragmenting. I wouldn't feel under gunned using it to hunt hogs at all
 
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