What I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving from the Sierra Bullets family to yours.

Please enjoy Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin’s reflections on things he is thankful for.

Everyday, I see others making the best of their lives and doing what it takes to make ends meet. I count myself lucky in a sense that even though I’m one of them, I can look at my life so far and smile. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of rough times but this isn’t the season of remembering that favorite hunting knife I lost in the field some years back but to be thankful for the new one I found to work so much better.

PhilsKnifeBoth of my folks are still alive and even though my mom doesn’t like to cook anymore, she still enjoys making hearty meals that her mother and grandmother taught her how to make for me and the other hunters in deer camp. We may not get together as much as I’d like to anymore but when the family meets, we always have a good time together. Being introduced to a cousin’s new wife or husband and being able to hold the new baby is always a special treat at the family gatherings.

I’m thankful my wife still loves me after over 14 years of marriage and my kids actually listen to me when I talk to them. The car still runs well even after 200,000+ miles and although rain water found its way through the roof during that last 48mph wind storm, it should be simple to glue the shingle back down if I ever find it.

Living a small town life has its advantages also. Everyone knows everything about you because we all grew up together so there are no secrets. My wife found a news article from my Granddads time when an older lady lost her husband just before the planting season and without his crop, there was no way she could have made it. The whole town came together and planted her fields to make sure she kept her livelihood.

I am thankful examples like that exist to guide me when I just don’t have a clear view of a positive direction in my own life.

I am thankful I live in the greatest country on earth where I can still defend my life and property from any threat, foreign and domestic.

I urge you to remember the good in your fellow man and tell your family you love them dearly this Thanksgiving season.

By the way, mom passed a simple recipe to me that I’ll pass to you. She called it Apple Red Hots and I ate most of the pan by myself. Peel and core several apples (she used Fuji) then slice them. Heat up a skillet with butter to melt then put the apples in. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a little cinnamon/sugar to taste then when they start to soften, put on the Red Hots (as in Red Hots candy). They will melt and caramelize the pan so stir often until the apples are done to your liking. It went great with chicken and biscuits, potatoes and white gravy (don’t skimp on the gravy). Boy howdy, that is good eatin!

Till next time, have fun shooting and be safe doing it.

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Deer Season 2015

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz

This all started years ago.  How many I’m not sure but it has been a while.

My local gun shop had gotten a InterArms Churchill 270 Winchester rifle in and while I don’t recall if it was used or new I do remember the floor plate latch didn’t want to work.  The owner knowing I could fix it offered it to me at a price I couldn’t refuse.  I have to admit that I didn’t need this rifle.  I already had my trusty 7×57 Ruger M77 tang safety but my pal Jimmy had a 270 Churchill with a full length Mannlicher style stock that shot very well so not wanting to be out done I fixed the floor plate and put it “in the safe”.

Years passed and the Churchill went unfired residing peacefully “in the safe”.  Until one day my son mentioned he might like to go deer hunting.  My trusty Ruger was off limits but when I handed him the Churchill his eyes lit up and that was the rifle he choose.   Of course I didn’t have any ammo loaded so the search was on for some brass.  I had already gotten some RCBS dies so that part was taken care of and who doesn’t have a #3 shellholder?  A brother in-law provided a box of Remington fired cases and we were in business.

I got the dies set up to give a minimal full length resize for smooth function and good case life.  I chose the classic 130 grain bullet weight and I had the foresight to pick up a box of #1820 SBTs earlier.  But Sierra had just introduced the 135 grain 270 MatchKing® #1833 and I just had to try them so I loaded a short 3 shot ladder test and headed for the farm.  At the time I had a great liking for Winchester Magnum Rifle Powder and if memory serves me 58 grains gave exceptional accuracy.  So I loaded all the cases and got a solid zero after fitting the Burris 4-16x Signature while I broke the barrel in.  I gave the rifle to my son with stern instructions that the 135 HPBT MatchKings® were not for deer hunting.

I needn’t bothered.  He was way too busy building a winning wrestling program to take time out to hunt deer.  For several years he took coyotes and other nuisance critters around the farm with this rifle and he got the job done very effectively.  He’s a great shotgunner and excellent hunter but was not so disciplined as a rifleman.  But the discipline developed and he has become a pretty good rifle shot so at age 53 he decided he could make some time to go deer hunting for the first time.  After all, he helped set up the blinds.  Okay, fair is fair I guess.

Here it is, the “coaches stand” in place.  Small and unobtrusive but oh so very effective.

33_Deer_Hunting_Tree_StandSo last year for his first deer he takes a really nice buck we had seen on our cameras and distinguished by his odd antler formation.

Missouri ATypical Buck
This year Mike had a big tournament in St. Louis on opening day so I hunted by myself. I saw deer but nothing to satisfy the regulations (4 point minimum per side) and although I had an any deer tag I wasn’t ready to harvest one of our does.  I didn’t go Sunday morning but went to the farm to see if Mike was hunting that afternoon.  He was going to go but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.  So about 2 PM I told him I was going to my area and he said he’d go to the “coaches stand”.  “OK, call me if you need me” I said and I took off to the peace and quiet of the deer stand.  I took the Teryx because I was hunting on the ground and had some extra “stuff” with me.  I found the perfect tree and settled in for the afternoon.

I heard the 4 wheeler go past about 2:30 so I knew Mike would be in his stand shortly.  I kind of leaned back and let my eyes shut and in that short time between real sleep and sub-conscience a shot shook me back to awake on guard status because I knew there could be deer headed my way any second.  But look as I may nothing materialized.  A few minutes passed and I got a text “got blood”.  So I abandoned my nest and went to help.  For just the fleeting of moments I considered staying put and continuing hunting but I knew he would need help eventually so off I went.

When I got there Mike was standing at the edge of the timber looking in.  He gave me an idea of what had happened.  He was watching the edge of a patch of timber when three does materialized at the edge of the timber walking south but looking back as they went.  He said he just knew there had to be something following them.  They looked nervous.  As he looked back, following the does gaze there was movement, it looked like brush but not really.  Then he recognized tines and silently a body materialized under the tines and the buck came up the bank into full view.  And what a buck he was, tall with plenty of points.  He was at a fast walk now and Mike had to make a choice, try to stop him or shoot.  He put his binoculars down and grabbed his rifle.  He tried to stop him with a bleet, then another but the buck was intent on the 3 does just ahead of him.   It was now or never as the buck was about to disappear around the edge of the timber.  He swung the cross hairs from back to front touching the trigger just as the crosshairs cleared the shoulder.  The sound of a solid hit followed the shot but the buck ran hard right into the timber.   Mike watched as the buck ran into the timber and looping to the north before losing  sight of him.  A few short minutes later and that’s about when I got the above mentioned text.  When I got there there was blood but not much and I had my doubts as we proceeded.  No more blood than I was seeing if he ran very far he’d be hard to find.  I needn’t worried.  About 40 yards in Mike spotted him and sure enough there he was and he was a good one.   He shot his first ever deer last year on a Monday while I was working and less than an hour after getting into the same stand but I got to share in the excitement of this one and this one was worth the wait.   That wait was all of about 30 minutes!

MachholzIMG_6127So now the work begins.  We decide that we should call our friend Randy Beasley and let him know since Randy’s daughter Jessica had just taken a nice 8 pointer the day before which began a friendly rivalry.  Of course he said he’d be right there so I went to pick him up while Mike stayed behind.  After we got the big boy moved out of the timber where we could take a good look at him we knew we had our work cut out for us.  After the pictures were taken the work began.  We decided the gut pile  needed to be in view of the stand for predator control purposes.  It was near dark when we finally got back to the house and had hanging meat.

IMG_6121Randy and I both told Mike he might just as well get ready for it to get harder because it is very doubtful it will get any easier than this for him.  Randy and I both have unfilled tags so while Mike and the Missouri Valley College Wrestling Team are off doing battle Randy and I have some hunting to do.  The bar has been set.  It could be a long season for us.

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Deer Hunting In The #1 Stand

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks

This tale begins with a bit of history starting with the 1997 Missouri Deer Hunting Season.  That year was either the second or third year that a good friend and I had been leasing a large piece of property strictly for the purpose of deer hunting and an occasional camping excursion. Our wives usually hunt with us, but mine was unable to go that year. I sat on a ground blind stand that overlooked a dry creek running through a big wooded draw that has 2 ridges dumping into this area from the north and west and a ridge that drops off from the east. The ridge I hunt on runs the full length of the south side.

I was on stand well before daylight and was prepared to stick it out for the duration. About 11:00AM I was able to harvest a very nice 10 pointer. The following year, my youngest daughter decided she wanted in on the act. So, when given the choice of where she wanted to hunt, she took the stand that I had used the previous year. I have always hunted with her to ensure that she didn’t have any problems and it was a joy to watch her and experience her hunts. Anyways, the first morning we were back to this stand before sunrise and about 20 minutes into the season she took her first deer. We eventually upgraded from a rough ground blind consisting of old milk crates for seats and cedar boughs piled up around us as the blind, to a modern 2 person ladder stand. She has now hunted from that stand for 13 years. In those years, the first twelve years straight she has harvested deer there every year. All of her deer have been taken the first day. I have also taken deer from this location many, many times. I was also able to take my first deer with a muzzleloader from this stand.

Duane'sDeerFast Forward to 2015

The daughter was unable to participate in opening weekend hunts due to conflicts called “work.” I had mentioned that I was going to hunt from the #1 stand. She was okay with that, or at least she didn’t say anything. As you can see from the included pictures, the #1 Stand was good to me again in 2015. This deer was taken with a 700 Remington chambered in 300 Rem. Short Action Ultra Mag (RSAUM) loaded with an experimental bullet at roughly 150 yards. The expansion was spot on perfect with no bullet recovered. I was using a near max load of Winchester WXR powder ignited with a Rem. 9 1/2 Magnum primer. This load shoots groups averaging approx. .310″.

It is such a blessing to look back on the many fond memories that this stand has been the back drop for. One never knows from one season to the next what changes life brings, but I will always feel like I have been blessed with the opportunity to enjoy glimpses of life from the #1 Stand.

Good Huntin’.

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2016 Sierra Bullets Catalog/Poster Now Available

Click here to get your 2016 Sierra Bullets poster featuring 10 new bullets delivered right to your reloading bench (or as close as your mailman can get it).

Click to download as PDF

Please note: We discovered some mistakes made on the new products listed in the 2016 catalog which has already started mailing. We normally list our “top” G1 BC in the catalog for quick comparison to our other bullets in our line. When we added our new bullets to the catalog spread we specified that the “top number” be listed, but that was confused with the “highest” number. So instead of listing the top line (highest velocity) G1 BC as we always do, the highest G1 BC number in the velocity bracket was listed. We only caught this after the catalog was shipping and already printed. All BC’s on our website are listed correctly and have been since they were put up, but they simply grabbed the wrong number when putting them in the catalog.  We did catch it before the counter mats were made, so they will be correct on the counter mats.

We are very sorry for any confusion this may cause. Below are the correct BC’s that should have been listed in the catalog for each bullet and our website can be referenced for the full velocity bracketed BC listing for more detailed information.



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Opening Weekend

Written by: Gary Prisendorf  06/11/2015


The night before deer season, awake lying in bed
The vision of a monster buck, alive in his head
A rack so large, that it looks like a tree
He falls fast asleep, at a quarter till three
At five in the morning, he jumps out of bed
Chugs a hot cup of coffee, throws his hat on his head
Checks to make sure, that he has all his gear
Grabs three sticks of jerky, from last season’s deer
Splashes a handful of water, on his unshaven face
Stuffs his pocket with Charmin, “Just In Case”
All the gear he laid out, the evening before
Is loaded into the truck, as he closes the door
Hits the ignition, and pulls fast away
There’s nothing like Deer Season, Opening Day
Every truck on the road, he sees orange inside
A quick check of his watch, says it’s “5:45”
Arrives at his lease, it’s now “6:03”
A ten minute hike, then it’s up in his tree
As he sits in his stand, the cold air hits his face
For daybreak he patiently, sits there and waits
An overcast morning, still struggling to see
Gunshots in a distance, then another, then three
His eyes scan the landscape, he hears the crunch of dry leaves
Watches two squirrels playing, near the base of a tree
In stealth he sits patiently, up there all alone
From his vibrating pocket, he checks his cell phone
A text message and photo, from his best friend Big Chuck
The picture of a field dressed, ten point Buck
Five after eleven, he crawls down from his tree
Heads back into town, for a quick bite to eat
Then back in the woods, about ten after one
Knowing right before sundown, things will get fun
He sits until sunset, with rifle in hand
As darkness sets in, he steps down from his stand
On the drive home, in his old pick-up truck
The radio playing, the Thirty Point Buck
Pulls up in the driveway, and turns off the key
Goes in the house, grabs a quick bite to eat
Somewhere around ten, he crawls back into bed
The vision of a monster buck, alive in his head
A rack so large, that it looks like a tree
Then falls fast asleep, at a quarter till three
At five in the morning, he jumps out of bed
Chugs a hot cup of coffee, eyes bloodshot and red

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Insight Into Sierra’s New 7mm MatchKing®

Written by Product Development Manager Mark Walker

Two weeks ago, Sierra introduced a new 7mm MatchKing® bullet with a different type of ogive. As part of the introduction, I had the opportunity to use them at the F-Class Nationals held in Phoenix with very good results. While at the match, several people had questions about what exactly was different about the ogive on this bullet as opposed to our tried and true blended tangent ogive. So with that in mind, hopefully this blog will answer those questions.

In the past, Sierra has typically used a tangent radius ogive design on our MatchKing® bullets. This is one of the most forgiving ogive designs due to its ability to shoot extremely accurately when jumped, as well as, jammed into the rifling. On rare occasions, some of our MatchKing® bullets have used a secant ogive due to design constraints.  However, this ogive is much more sensitive to changes in seating depth than the tangent ogive so we tend to shy away from it. When we decided to work on this new bullet, we wanted to see if we could improve on the accuracy of even our best shooting tangent ogive bullets.

One of the main factors of what makes an accurate shooting bullet is how it aligns itself with the bore when fired. If a bullet is slightly crooked when entering the bore, it will cause inaccuracy on the target. We set out trying to think of ways to make sure that the bullet has no choice but to align itself with the bore perfectly.

The first part of the barrel to encounter the bullet is the leade in the chamber.   The leade is an angle that is cut into the leading edge of the rifling which helps to guide the bullet into the bore. To illustrate how current bullets fit into the leade, picture a cone (leade) with a ball (bullet) sitting inside it. The ball can be rotated in all directions and the cone cannot force the ball to orientate itself in any particular direction. When a bullet with a radius encounters the leade, it behaves in a similar way. Now this of course is a very simple example and of course advanced shooters use tight necks and brass that is perfectly formed to the chamber to make sure the bullet is aligned as perfect as possible. However, there is always a small element of misalignment that is possible even with all this precise preparation.

This brings us to the ogive on the new 7mm MatchKing®. We thought instead of using the typical ogive radius that can allow slight misalignment, why not use the same straight angle that is used in the chamber leade on the bullet ogive to force itself to always align with the bore?  Imagine the same cone as above (leade) with an identical cone (bullet) sitting inside of it. The cone inside has no choice but to align itself perfectly with the cone that it is sitting in every time. With that in mind, we designed the area of the bullet which contacts the leade in front of the bearing surface using a straight 1 1/2 degree angle instead of the typical radius. Once past that area, we use a traditional high caliber ogive radius to provide a very sleek, high B.C. bullet.

While all that was a mouthful, I hope that explains our thought process behind this new bullet. In our testing, it is one of the most forgiving high B.C. bullets we have ever made.   We hope you will try some for yourself!

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Sierra Introduces 3 New Tipped MatchKing® Bullets

Tipped MatchKing groupLast year Sierra Bullets crowned the MatchKing® with an acetal resin tip that lowers the drag by improving the ballistic coefficient. This year we are expanding this extremely popular line to include 6mm, 6.5mm, and 7mm options.  This 6mm 95 grain TMK® requires a twist rate of 1:9” or faster to stabilize and the 6.5mm 130 gr. TMK® requires a twist rate of 1:8” or faster to stabilize.

For shooters who are looking for a tipped match bullet, your King has just been crowned!  Tipped MatchKing bullets are available in 100 and 500 count box bullets with 2016 suggested retail pricing as follows: #7295 – $38.14, #7295C – $187.37, #7430 – $41.28, #7430C – $203.00, #7660 – $43.56, and #7660C – $213.69.

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