Every once in a while something sneaks under the radar and we miss it. The release of this NEW sierra matchking .30 Cal bullet was one of those. For those of you that do not know, the 168gr SMK was the original revolutionary match bullet made by Sierra for 300 meter UIT competition over a half century ago. The bullet set the competition world on fire and has been the “standard” match and law enforcement sniping bullet since then. But, it has a flaw, the boat tail taper is too steep (11 degrees) and when the bullet hits the transonic layer, the airflow separates and things go bad and groups can open and velocity bleeds. For the .308, this usually happens around 600-700 yards.
The 175gr fixed all of that with a more shallow taper (9 degrees) and some extra weight and it is the 1000 yard preferred bullet for the .308. Unfortunately, it is borderline for a 1:12″ twist barrel to stabilize. It usually does it, but it seems like it doesn’t shoot as well in most 1:12″ barrels as the 168gr does.
Now we have an excellent solution to the problem. The new 169 gr Sierra matchking. They lengthened the boat tail and made it more shallow (not sure on the exact degrees yet) and they gave it a better ogive and closed the tip. So now we have a bullet with a BC that is higher than even the 175gr and it should still shoot great out of the 1:12″ barrels. Looks like an excellent bullet and in fact, the FBI just adopted the Winchester Ranger sniping load with this bullet as their standard sniping ammo. This bullet will stay supersonic beyond 1000 yards from a .308.
We hope to see more ammo makers adopt the bullet and will be tracking how well it shoots.
Do you believe this bullet will better the 1000 yard performance of the 175 grain? If so I wonder if it will cut into the 6.5 bandwagon everyone seems to be jumping on?
Yes, provided the bullet is as accurate, which it should be, it will do considerably better than the 175gr SMK. The bullet is not only lighter (which could produce higher velocities for same powder loads) it has a significantly higher BC and at lower velocities. The 175 .505 (G1) is only available at velocities the .308 cannot launch it at. The 169 .525 (G1) is at much lower velocities. Will this put the .308 on par with the 6.5 CM? No, but it sure brings it much closer and allows many many shooters to do well with their existing equipment. I am excited.
Still can’t quite understand the popularity of the 6.5 CM. Yes it’s accurate and flat shooting but it also a smaller bullet that wears barrels quicker. The .308 is the proven workhorse. Yes it has limitations but realistically sniping past 1000 yards will produce more misses than hits on moving targets anyway. I guess I’m old school and biased in favor of the round I’ve always used. I still prefer Mil-Dots over TMR’s and other new fangled reticles. My Daddy always said “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That said I wonder if soldiers who used the 30-06 felt the same way about that new young punk round, the .308?
Because the round is flatter shooting, fits in the same rifles, and is less recoiling, it only has positives over the .308. It does burn barrels faster, but its still reasonable (and better than .300 WM, etc). The flatter shooting leads to “less” misses at longer ranges, but yes, you will still miss, that is a shooter thing. I too am a fan of the .308 and prefer it, but I am not blind to the distinct advantages of the 6.5 CM over the .308.
You say this 169gr won’t put it on par with the 6.5CM but it would seem to me if you handload it to a velocity of say, around 2800FPS (admittedly a hot load) it should be able to stay supersonic to at least around 1300 yards. If that is the case and with it’s heavier weight to resist wind drift better why wouldn’t it be just as good as the 6.5CM? Not looking to start an argument just pondering the possibilities.
If you could push it that fast, then maybe. But that is not going to be a typical load and probably not the most accurate.
I run a 28” 11 twist barrel… Found an accurate node right @2850… does exceptional to 1240 yards so far… no matter what the .260ish g7 bc is no match for 140 6.5s over .3 g7
But it is refreshing to see a new lighter weight 30 cal bullet out there… hopefully it handles the transonic transition well…
So far so good