I bought a .25-06 last spring just because I'd never had one and wanted to play around with it a bit. I got a Browning x-bolt because I've had good accuracy with previous Brownings, and this one is no exception. If I don't put 3 shots touching, I'm disappointed. I developed a hand load using 120 grain Sierra Game Kings. I've heard this bullet doesn't expand well on deer size game, but at 200 yards or less the '06 cartridges are more powerful than necessary for Texas deer so what difference does it make if some energy is wasted?
I hunted first at Boerne on opening weekend. I usually shoot the first two deer I see, that aren't fawns, here but the first deer that stepped out was a tiny spike. He was so small I actually thought about letting him walk, but then I thought WWCD? (what would Curly do?) and squeezed the trigger at 28 yards. Perfectly hit, he actually ran 45 yards, which is a little longer than normal for a double-lung shot. The Sierra bullet made a .25" entry hole and a .50" exit hole, which based on my reading, was sort of what I expected.
Next up was the largest bodied Hill Country buck I've ever shot. My educated guess was it weighed 130 pounds. Most bucks I've shot in this area weigh 100 or less pounds. He was a nice 8 pointer by the standards of the area -- 12.5" inside spread. He was walking when I shot him so I aimed at the shoulder to get a lung shot, but at 10 yards, the bullet struck just where I aimed. Bullet performance was exactly the same as on the spike buck -- .25" entry hole and .50" exit. This guy crashed down at the shot and never moved again.
This week, I hunted on one of MulieMike's places out near Sonora. The buck I shot there was my personal best, a 139" gross, 130" net 12 pointer (my first). He weighed 110 pounds, but this was post-rut. My 80 yard shot took him just behind one shoulder and it exited in front of the opposite one. Same entry-exit size as the first bucks I shot in Boerne.
Later that day I saw a very large doe standing at 150 yards. My shot hit the shoulder and she scampered away 40 yards before dropping. Although entry and exit were small as usual, so much internal debris was pushed into the off shoulder that I had to discard it. About 1/3rd of the heart was destroyed, which I thought odd as I usually consider the heart being lower and behind the shoulder. This doe was the fattest deer I've ever shot.
To sum up, yeah, the Sierra Game King is not perhaps the idea bullet for leaving energy in a deer size animal, but it will penetrate and get the job done. I'll continue to use it.
My guide, Tyler Wilson: