Sierra 130 TMK Ballistics Gel Test

Updated: Jul 1

Sierra 130 Tipped Match King Ballistics Gel Test

The 130 Tipped Match King is one interesting bullet to say the least. With a acetal resin tip, aiding with magazine feeding and also reducing the amount of drag, provides a favorable ballistic coefficient at .518 above 2200 FPS, .535 between 1625 FPS and 2200 FPS, and .495 at 1625 FPS and below.

Moreover, the goal of this test is to find the point to where this projectile will fragment and expand to let you know, if used in a hunting application, on what to expect at certain velocities downrange. Even though this is not advertised for game use, I have heard of individuals using it as such. However, this projectile has been known to work great on varmint hunting, as well, because of it's great would channel creation, penetration, and overall fragmentation.

Furthermore, one of the things I look for in bullets is the consistency among them to what is advertised. Weight, length, ogive, and diameter are the four things I look at when opening up a new box to test or even compare my notes to other lots in the past. Let's dive in and take a look:

6.5 Creedmoor with 130 TMK

Sierra Bullet data from

6.5 creedmoor with 130 TMK data

Diameter With a published .264" diameter, I was seeing 0.26398" consistently across the board. In this case, off by 0.00002". So far from my testing, this has been the most accurate bullet in regards to diameter.

Length The Nominal Length of the 130 TMK is 1.368". In this case, I found my specific lot to have a 0.016" difference. Not too bad at all.

Weight Published at 130 grains, I found my lot to be 130.04 on average. Only a 0.04 grain difference, which, is phenomenal. Again, the most accurate projectile I have tested in regards to weight.

Load Workup for the Sierra 130 TMK As an avid user of Shooters World, I have found their powder, Long Rifle, to yield exceptional low SD, ES, and produce great nodes. If you had read my last article on the Match Burner and the LRX, I had mentioned that this powder also has virtually no muzzle flash. It is a short cut extruded powder, which ultimately works great in volumetric powder throwers because of it's kernel characteristics and properties. Plus, it is temperature insensitive in my testing of it.

After reviewing the data, I opted for 41.7 grains of Long rifle that yielded me a 2870 average with an SD of 2.03 and an ES of 6. After finding this great load, I decided to put it to paper.

5 shot string, 2 minute rest in between shots. 5 warm up shots taken before hand. I was able to produce a .560 inch group. .560-.264=.296" grouping.

Please keep in mind, the suggested maximum powder charge weight, according to Shooters World, is 42 grains with a 130 TMK going 2774 FPS. If you do copy my load data, please workup in very small increments and be aware of any pressure signs that might show with your reloads. In this case, I was loading out to the lands with 0.020" off which can drastically change your MV. As can temperature and other components including barrel length.

Use load data at your own risk. Reloadingallday is not responsible for errors with load data on this website.

So, what all components were you using, barrel length, build, etc?

Here's my hand-loading equipment and components listed below for those who are interested. If not, just skip on down to the rest of the article.

Reloading gear

1. Forster Coax

2. Forster Ultra Micrometer Seating Die

3. Starline 6.5 Creedmoor Large Rifle Primer

4. Sierra 130 TMK

5. GM210M Fed Primers

Brass was prepped as explained here, seated 0.020" off the lands, Starline 6.5 LRP cases, and GM210M Federal Primers. Brass is once fired and annealed with AMP annealer.


1. Grayboe Ridgeback with DBM

2. Remington 700 action

3. Criterion Remage Drop-in 26" 1/8 twist

4. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen 2 4.5-27x56 EBR-2C

5. Deadair Sandman-L Suppressor

6. Magpul AICS magazine

7. Burnproof Heavy Suppressor wrap.

Now, before we get started, I want to explain how I measure these gel blocks.

1. Neck: As the bullet enters, measure when the bullet starts to expand.

2. Temp Cavity Length: How long the cavity length is inside the gel block itself.

3. Location of Max Temp Cavity Cavity Diameter: How wide the biggest point is inside the cavity channel.

4. Maximum Penetration Depth: How long the bullet penetrated from entry to final stopping point.

5. Bullet: Weight retained after gel block test is complete.

Moreover, I now try and find the breaking point of the projectile from when it fragments to when it mushrooms by lowering the velocity of each round to give you an idea of what to expect your projectile to do down range at further distances.

130 TMK Gel Block Results Below:

  1. First Test: 41.7 grains, 2919 FPS MV, shot taken at 100 yards. Temp: 90 F. Humidity: 94% Pressure: 29.0. Please note that velocity rose since temperature was hotter this day of testing.

After reviewing the gel block, this bullet performed exactly as intended. Great wound channel, Great neck, and ultimately great fragmentation at high speeds for varmint hunting...even though it is not directly advertised for varmint hunting, it can be used as such. Right at maximum penetration depth, the remaining projectile took a turn and exited the gel block. Moreover, this projectile after crushing bone could have penetrated even deeper. No projectile was retained from testing due to fragmentation.

Second Test: 37 grains, 2605 FPS MV, shot taken at 100 yards. Temp: 78 F. Humidity: 76% Pressure: 29.8.

For the second test, moving much slower, still performed phenomenal and the projectile itself mushroomed all while still fragmenting creating a nice wound channel. The temporary cavity length was longer than the first test and penetrated deeper while retaining 79.35 grains of the projectile itself.

Third Test: 34.5 grains, 2477 FPS MV, shot taken at 100 yards. Temp: 78 F. Humidity: 76% Pressure: 29.8.

With the third test, you can see the projectile-in regards to the neck of the gel block- takes a little longer to expand which is normal in my experience of this testing. Moreover, you can see as things slow down, they penetrate further and retain more weight. In this case, roughly 2" further and retained 85 grains. 5.65 more grains than the previous test.

Fourth and final test: 33.5 grains, 2440 FPS MV, shot taken at 100 yards. Temp: 78 F. Humidity: 76% Pressure: 29.8.

After reviewing this final test, things got very interesting. The FPS between the third and fourth test was only a 37 FPS difference, which yielded fragmentation completely after hitting the bone and penetrating the farthest. I had noticed, however, that the lower end of the jacket was still intact while the projectile itself had left a deep wound cavity. The weight retained from the jacket itself was 23.10 grains, while at the deepest point of penetration was left with a grouping of fragmentation. *projectile in right of picture was from another test*

Now, after taking all of our information into account, we can now figure out a point, if desired, to where the 130 TMK will mushroom with my specific load workup. Let's take my 41.70 grains of Long Rifle at 2870 FPS and analyze at what distance this projectile will mushroom and fail. Since we know now that the projectile will mushroom at 2477 FPS at the lowest point, let's see what our ballistics calculator will give us in regards to range.

You can now see that this projectile, if desired to mushroom, will do so between 200-300 yards at an MV of 2870.

In conclusion, you can certainly move this projectile much faster in different cartridges, or even the 6.5 Creedmoor that I used in this test. Given that this is not advertised for mid to large size game hunting, I would certainly use this projectile on varmints given it's ability to penetrate deep and cause good size cavity diameters. The Hornet, Blitz, and Varminter line of projectiles Sierra offers would be an even better route as they recommend.

Moreover, If this is your first time reading, the way we find our results without any bias is by gathering the data with the same rifle and handload, but, conducted by other individuals not knowing what they are shooting. These test that we have planned (30-40 different bullets tests) range from multiple different companies who were generous enough to send out a few boxes, which in return testing is performed on the same day and randomized in order so that the shooter does not know which bullet he is using. I encourage anyone, if they have the barrel life and the time, to please try and replicate your own tests and report it back to us. This way, with your consent, we can also publish this data for other handloaders with different configurations. Moreover, the end goal for this is to publish sufficient data to other reloaders to make the decision on their choice of projectiles easier. That way, if you decide to go on a hunt of a lifetime, you can make a statistical analysis of the data presented to make a decision so that hunt goes exactly as planned with no hiccups. If you liked this article, stick around because I plan on testing and writing on a bunch more. 30-40 different projectiles in multiple calibers, subsonic and supersonic. Moreover, at the end of testing I will compare data and do "Show-Downs" to see which bullet performed the best of two being compared in my own testing. As always, shoot straight, be safe, and happy reloading! If you liked this article and think it was worth $1, please consider donating:

Blake has been writing reloading articles for three years and helping out within the community to further enhance reloading education. In his free time, he works within the community to help out new hand-loaders by educating them on the many variables that come with this wonderful hobby. His passion is solely based on helping others so that they may pass on that information to future generations, keeping the art of hand-loading alive. Disclaimer: The content you are about to read is for demonstration purposes only. This includes videos, blog posts, articles, and all information associated with this website. Do not attempt anything you see on this website. Again, these are for demonstration purposes only. If you see reloading data and or comments, please refer to the manufacturer of your choice and contact a technician. We are not responsible for any false data or comments from individuals. Again, this is a demonstration for reloading. Please contact or take classes from certified reloading instructors or contact the manufacturer of your choice. Please, do not attempt to tamper or modify with ammunition or firearms. Seek out a licensed professional or gunsmith. Any information you watch or read on this website must be assumed to have an error and should not be performed. Reloadingallday will not and cannot be held responsible for harm caused to readers and watchers. The material that is covered is for demonstration purposes only. Please be aware that hand-loading and other topics covered are very dangerous and you are within full responsibility and liability for your actions. Reloadingallday is also not responsible or liable for any damage that might be caused due to those who enter this website and read any of our material or watch. Again, this is for demonstration purposes only. By reading this article, you are agreeing that you are responsible for yourself, everyone around you, watchers, viewers, commentators, and fans. You are also agreeing that you are responsible for the safety and property as follows: yourself, everyone around you, watchers, viewers, commentators, and fans. Also, you are accepting that you agree with everything this disclaimer has written down. Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.


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