Explosive Expansion from New Sierra Varminter Bullet

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks

Sierra Varminter 2124 BulletWe get a good number of calls and emails concerning the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge. The questions run from target shooting to self defense to varmint shooting to deer and hog hunting to ………..? One of the more common themes tends to be for a good choice of hunting bullets. We had recently developed a bullet that we had hoped would be a good performer out of the Blackout. This bullet was introduced late in the year for 2015. The 135 gr. HP Varminter #2124 was intended to be a bullet that would produce good accuracy and dependable expansion at lower velocity levels. We feel that the bullet has met the criteria with performance to spare. The accuracy has been very good from the reports and our testing. The bullet has not been out long enough to harvest much feedback on game performance. So, we wanted to provide the shooting public a visual reference to the bullets ability and  quality. In the following photos, you can see what the Varminter bullet did in blocks of ballistic gelatin.

50 Yards Ballistic Gel
In the photo above, we have the results of the bullet leaving the muzzle of the rifle at 2070 fps, impacting the gelatin block at a distance of 50 yards. The load we used was a max load of 17.9 grains of Winchester 296 with the bullet seated at 2.000″ even. The penetration was 12.5″, producing a wound channel that started within 1 inch and extended into the block about 9.5″ deep. The widest point of the channel was just shy of 6″ wide. This would certainly be excellent on deer sized game. The retained weight came in at 66% with a remaining weight of 89.2 grains. When one considers that gelatin is similar to shooting into solid muscle, this is very good performance.

100 yard Varminter Ballistic GelIn the photo above, we see the bullet running at the velocity of 2092 fps with the gelatin block placed at 100 yards. Here the wound channel began showing expansion at 1.5″ and extending to approximately 8″ with the widest point being around 5.5″ wide. Slightly smaller than the wound channel seen in the gel block shot at 50 yards, but still very sufficient for deer and hogs. The complete penetration was just slightly over 14″ deep. We had put 2 fourteen inch blocks end-to-end to be sure that we caught the bullets in the gelatin. The bullet was resting right between the two gel blocks. The retained weight was 113.9 grains or 84%.  The load we used was a max load of 17.9 grains of Winchester 296 with the bullet seated at 2.000″ even.

As mentioned in the announcement on the #2124 .308″ 135 HP Varminter, we do not recommend velocities above 3200 fps for this bullet. At the upper velocity levels the 135 Varminter will live up to its Varminter name and give very rapid expansion. But at velocity levels around 2500- 2600 and less, this would work well as a reduced-recoil loads bullet for other 30 caliber cartridges including the 308 Win., 300 Savage, 30 BR, and would be a very good choice for use in single-shot or bolt action .30-30’s. In the Blackouts on an AR platform, the bullet has had no feeding issues.

I expect to hear quite a bit about this bullet come fall hunting season. This will be its first year to hunt, but the bullet has been very impressive already.

I am certain that we have A WINNER!

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16 Responses to Explosive Expansion from New Sierra Varminter Bullet

  1. Dave Dillon says:

    What does this bullet do at low velocities (as hinted in the email) – low being sub-sonic (< 1275 ft/sec)? Specifically, how well does it expand – got any gel shots at these velocities?


  2. Mike says:

    Why is velocity higher at 100 yards, typo? Anyway…
    AR rifle better with spitzer or pointed bullet and 300 blk need long nose so bullet does not have to jump so far to rifling. Also being a low power caliber it needs that extra benifit of high ballistic coefficient, to travel further. Im sure this would be fine for varmit to 100 yards but why not hit it out of the ball park with new design that has it all.


    • Mike – We gave the actual muzzle velocities. The round fired at the 50 yard gel block was running just slightly slower than the round shot at the 100 yard block. These velocities were recorded at the muzzle and not at the target. They were loaded with the same powder charge, with only a slight variation in velocity. – Duane Siercks, Ballistic Technician


  3. You have a winner! I recently switched from the various 110 grain offerings to the new 135 grain varminter in my custom Remington 700 suppressed 300 blackout. This rifle was purposely built for shooting coyotes at close range in thick cover. This bullet has performed beyond my expectations at 100 yard targets and on coyotes. Something you don’t often get in one bullet. Coyotes out here in Arizona are a tough bunch and I was looking for a bullet that provided terminal performance at the lower operating velocities of the 300 and this bullet fits the bill perfectly. It’s been a knock down beast on the coyotes so far. Thanks Sierra


  4. reed says:

    Would this be a suitable alternative to the 110g RN for the .30 carbine? Seems there’s only one bullet offered for that cartridge, by anybody.


    • No, this bullet cannot be seated at a length that will function in the Carbine magazines and the velocity would be too low for reliable expansion. – Duane Siercks, Ballistic Technician


  5. Steven Peuster, P&M Enterprises says:

    I must say…. Thank you, for taking this cartridge seriously. My business partner is, only now, starting to understand that there are many people that have taken to it. Myself included! He laughingly refers to it as the 300 short & weak! But, by golly, there’s money to be made, on it. So, thanks again, for putting in the time, to design a bullet for it.


  6. matt says:

    I load these into 7.62×39 and shoot them from an AR platform and a CZ527. They sit over 23.5g of IMR 4198. Plenty accurate for hunting, they are holding 1moa out of the CZ even out to 200yds with a 5.5″ drop.


  7. Clifford Dunning says:

    I will have to try these out in my H&R single shot in .30-30 Win.


  8. James says:

    Why not the 125 GameKing? Does it not perform well at the 2,000 FPS level?


  9. Brad McLean says:

    Shot a buck 3 years ago at 40 yards with 300 blackout behind the shouolder deer ran maybe another 40 yards, found bullet mushroomed perfect under skin on opposite side. This year I shot a doe in the head at 70 yards using a 308 ar10 platform and then shot a 10 point buck at 45 yards in the neck with 300 blackout pistol with 8.5 inch barrel both deer went no where. When I sighted in the 308 I had 3 inch groups at 300 yards. Love this bullet.


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