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Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? #14549588 02/07/20
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mikestaten Offline OP
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These are incredibly accurate in my Sako 243 so thinking of using them for groundhogs but worried they may be a little too stout for good expansion and ricochet. Anyone running them for varmints out of a 243. Reason for picking this particular bullet is that I’m thinking I could also use it for deer as long as I stick to broadside lung shots. Thanks, Mike

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Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14550051 02/07/20
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Most of the groundhogs in my area seem to stick tightly to barns and structures and inhabited areas, due to coyotes or hawks I suppose. I like explodey bullets for em.

If you have a 223, Win white box 46 grain or 45 grain or whatever it is blows up nicely in a groundhog from my experience.

I'd be scared to shoot a groundhog with a deer bullet around here. Conditions and habitat may be totally different in your area though.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14550415 02/07/20
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Shot a groundhog with one at 50 yards or so. Opened up a half inch like a deer bullet and exited.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14550902 02/07/20
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Haven't shot chucks for years.. But when I was young a pal had a .243 and that was his favorite bullet.. It is one of my favorites in the .24 cal.. Use it alot for coyotes and deer and antelope.. Also shot some p. dogs with it in past years. Never noticed it ricochet... I shot most of my chucks with .222's Hornets, .22-250's...


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Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14550922 02/07/20
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mikestaten Offline OP
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Sounds like a may be better off using a dedicated varmint bullet and then a separate bullet for deer. Will use the 70 Blitzking. Thanks all.

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Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14550929 02/07/20
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Originally Posted by mikestaten
These are incredibly accurate in my Sako 243 so thinking of using them for groundhogs but worried they may be a little too stout for good expansion and ricochet. Anyone running them for varmints out of a 243. Reason for picking this particular bullet is that I’m thinking I could also use it for deer as long as I stick to broadside lung shots. Thanks, Mike


I like that bullet for shooting varmints, pdogs and coyotes, in the 243 and 6mm REM. Planning to load it in the 6mm CM when I get around to it. Like you, I have found it to be an accurate bullet in multiple rifles.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14551083 02/07/20
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I load that particular bullet in a 243 over Varget and it has killed every deer it’s been shot at which has been 5 total with that particular bullet.
All shots were broadside and from ranges of 15 to 227 yards.
As to be expected, all shots over 100 yards, three of the five, were complete pass throughs. The 15 and 40 yarders stayed inside. The trigger puller was 9 and 10 years old. (Last two seasons).
This bullet is very accurate in my rifle. My father-in-law used this bullet back in his ground hog hunting days in a 788 to great effect. It’s reputation is well earned. I think you’ll like it.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14551338 02/07/20
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I haven’t used them on woodchucks but they certainly do a number on crows.


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Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14555425 02/09/20
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Gregor Offline
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The Sierra 85 gr. BTHP in .243/6mm was one of my favorite groundhog bullets. Always put them down, never noticed any ricochet issues. Used 44.0 grs. IMR-4350.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14555484 02/09/20
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I bought my first 243 in 1995, a Tikka Model 558 Whitetail Hunter. At the time, I didn't have dies, brass,or bullets on hand, so I bought some Federal Premium ammo loaded with the 85 grain Sierra BTHP bullet. I sighted in and used them on woodchucks (groundhogs). Later that summer, I developed a handload of 48 grains of RL-22 under that bullet which duplicated the factory load. In my 22.4" barrel it chronographed 3,175 fps. Federal claimed 3,300 fps for their ammo. I couldn't achieve that in my rifle. I also used the load mentioned above, 44 grains of IMR 4350, but it was a bit slower, so I used the RL-22 load.

Later, I switched to 75 grain VMAX bullets for woodchucks as they were as accurate, but faster and more explosive. However, I never had any complaints about the performance of the Sierra 85 grain bullet. Most times they exited a woodchuck - even a big one - but left a big hole. I never had any ricochets.

Before I had the 243, back in the early 1980s, I shot woodchucks with a 25-06 loaded with the 25 caliber version of that bullet, the 90 grain Sierra HPBT. I know lots of hunters use these bullets in 24 and 25 caliber for deer, but today we have so many bullet choices that I would use a more explosive bullet for varmints and a tougher bullet for deer, let's say an 87 grain VMAX for varmints and an 85 grain or heavier Partition for deer.


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Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14555500 02/09/20
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The 85 grain Sierra HPBT is my favorite bullet for the 243. I load it using 45 grains of W760, and the last time I chronographed any, it was running around 3350, and I believe that was a rifle with a 24 inch barrel. I have never had a 243 that did not shoot this load accurately. My son uses it for deer hunting, and I have too, although I usually opt for a heavier bullet.

It is a coyote killer supreme, and if I did not hunt in places where a bobcat is also a good possibility, I'd just as soon use a 243 instead of a 223 or 22-250. I have seen what a 243 and the 85 Sierra do to a cat, and it makes a mess, whereas a 40 grain 22 caliber bullet does not. I've killed a number of coyotes using the 85 Sierra, and they don't make a better bullet for that purpose than this one. If loading a 243 strictly for predators, I usually go with a 58 VMax or a 65 Berger.

As far as groundhogs go, they are pretty scarce here anymore, with most of them being found around old farm buildings, which means that a shotgun or 22 is a better choice for a weapon. Back when we had a lot of groundhogs, I loaded 75 Grain Sierras in the 243 and had good luck with them. However, if I could only load one bullet in the 243, for use in everything I hunted, it would be the 85 Sierra HPBT, and I'd never look back.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14556176 02/09/20
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That little 85 gr. HPBT GK Sierra is a great do it all bullet. My load of IMR-4064 boost that bullet to about 3,150 fps from a 22" barrel. From deer and hogs right down the scale through coyotes, bobcat, fox, coon, possum, skunk, crows, feral cats and whatever else I have ever turned it loose on it has killed them all deader than disco.


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Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14560858 02/10/20
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quote....killed them all deader than disco...

This made me laugh.


Shoot low Sheriff, they're riding shetlands.

Impeachment is all the democrats have-but don't underestimate their resolve.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14656199 03/12/20
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they will turn a ground hog inside out, easy choice.


Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.

When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.
Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14656527 03/12/20
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It was the first bullet I ever reloaded in my Ruger 77 tang safety chambered in 243 Winchester. I used it successfully on groundhogs and red fox. Inside of 200 yards they made a pretty good hole coming out. My largest groundhog was also shot with this bullet. The groundhog measured approximately 12 inches across his back. He was a fat pig!!! The Sierra bullet did not exit on that one.

I also used the 85 grain HPBT on a two deer with a 6mm Remington and I was not impressed with it as a deer bullet.

FWIW, my uncle's favorite bullet for his 244 Remington was the 75 grain Sierra Hollow Point. He used it on everything, deer, groundhogs, fox, stray dogs. I never heard him say he had to shoot something twice with it.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14689537 03/21/20
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I have a 243AI 10 twist and the 85 Sierra is my favorite bullet. Super accurate in my gun and kills varmints to deer every time I do my part. I believe it to be the best all around 6mm bullet. Best of luck.

Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14705729 03/25/20
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R#19 with win primer will boost the velocity to 3300....the mack daddy load!

I bumped the shoulders with a standard Forster neck sizer, full length sized after 12 or so reloadings on Winchester brass. I seated the bullets just .005-.020 off the lands, but you will have to play with this for bug hole groups.

I used the same load with the 85g TSX which is one heck of a deer bullet, seated this bullet .050 off the lands with 1/2"--5/8" groups in Remington 700 sporters.

Best accuracy with R#19 is .5g off a max load for the rifle we have found.

We killed a bunch of deer with the Speer 85g btsp, which is a tad tougher than the Sierra bthp with a better bc.

3300 seems to create a tremendous Permanent wound cavity with these 85g bullets, and nothing has survived.

Shot placement trumps all, stuff is not hard to kill. I do like having the confidence to take strange quartering shots where I need to break a shoulder and have the bullet either exit the rear of the rib cage or just under taking out running gear, lungs, and heart.

The 85g Speer btsp is probably one of the most over looked bullets in big game hunting, and it is a deer bullet, not a varmint bullet. These bullets often like to jump up to .060, depending on the barrel and throat which is good for Sako rifles and rifles with some wear on them with longer throats.

Last edited by keith; 03/26/20.
Re: Anyone using Sierra 85 BTHP for groundhogs/woodchucks? [Re: mikestaten] #14707875 03/26/20
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I use them in my 6 m/m Rem. Mine are older bullets before GK, I picked up 5 boxes at an auction for $5.00. I have shot a few badgers with them and it doesn't do much damage but badgers are tough animals. One I shot at 320 yds. went in the left side of its neck and out the right. Made a finger size hole straight through, DRT. On ground squirrels, jack rabbits and rock chucks it really messes them up. Pretty much ruins their whole day. I have yet to shoot a coyote or big game animal with them.


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