Barnes' Tests Prove Why Berger Hunting VLDs Are So Successful
Important and Dangerous Science Based Inaccuracies
Barnes published test data in their report that is important to discuss in the interest of establishing science based fact. The first one I’ll comment on is less scientific than it seems but can’t be called marketing hype since it is printed test result data and not an opinion. They display two charts listing group size for five groups; each group is made with five shots (similar to benchrest competitions with which we are very familiar at Berger).
Bergers have been comparison tested for precision and accuracy against the best target and hunting bullets for decades by gun writers, at the range for personal enjoyment, in the field by hunters and in rifle competitions of every size. The results from these comparisons are well known by most serious rifle shooters. The result that Barnes publishes listing that their bullets shoot nearly half as small group sizes as Berger is an unusual result that many who have shot both brands will find hard to agree with. I am not saying their results are fictitious as I have no evidence to suggest they are. I am only saying that it is inconsistent with typical results.
Barnes does state under each chart that “Berger bullets typically produce better accuracy when shot in a throat designed for VLD style bullets.” This indicates that even Barnes knows that their results are very unusual although we are not sure what they mean by “throat designed for VLD style bullets.” There are no throat designs made specifically for the VLD that I am aware of in any hunting or competition rifles that have proven to be more successful than typical throat configurations.
Barnes goes further with science based inaccuracies with the velocities they publish. This may not have been intentional but the results are dangerous. I am referring specifically to the velocity shown for all the bullets listed under the 1,000 yard performance through bone into ballistic gelatin images. Before I get into that I must explain how I came to these conclusions. The chart below lists the data. Using the velocity Barnes listed for tests at 100 yards and the BC for each bullet you can determine the velocity from the muzzle all the way to 1,000 yards. I encourage others to do this with their own software.
For several years Bryan Litz has been fire testing nearly every popular long range bullet to establish true and comparable BC data. Bryan’s efforts have produced a wealth of information which will soon be available to all shooters in his book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting. For this article I was able to use Bryan’s G1 BCs for all the bullets listed except for the Barnes 7mm 150 gr TTSX. For this bullet I used Barnes published BC of .450.