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180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

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Old 12-05-2013, 11:32 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Elk Garden,WVa
Posts: 205
180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

This year makes only the second year using the 180 vlds. However, between myself and a few buddies we have 17 kills using this bullet. The first 16 were at distances from 250 yards to 1015 yards. The bullet performed excellent in all 16 kills. The only animal requiring a second bullet was a 1015 yd doe which I hit a little low and back. But even at that distance, still had expansion. The 250 yd muledeer had tremendous expansion. 15 of the 16 animals dropped in their tracks.

Now, animal 17. My son shot his first buck at 160 yds, breaking both shoulders and also dropping his buck in its tracks. Expecting to see the offside shoulder gone, I was shocked to see simply a bullet hole out the backside.

Why did this bullet not expand?

I will be skinning this deer in the next couple days and will document images to go along with the rest of the videod hunt. Once video is complete, I will get it on here for everyone to watch.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:36 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 420
Re: 180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

Something cannot be explained. But chances are if I had to guess and the tip was not damaged slightly then the lead core came all the way to the tip. Just a guess.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:30 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Elk Garden,WVa
Posts: 205
Re: 180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

I'm sure the tip was not damaged. I always inspect my bullet.
I was under the impression that velocity is what deterimed expansion. Is it possible that at that close of a distance,something prevents it from having normal expansion? Ive had a couple people say it was traveling too fast and didn't have time to expand. This goes against how I thought things worked, I do not believe this. But then again, I've found out through this website and extensive home research and experimentation that things don't always work like I once believed they did.
Is there anyway this "too close for expansion" theory is possible?
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:46 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 450
Re: 180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

Ditto huntthedistance, can't forsee everything.

FBI tests hollow point ammo more than anybody and they have found that if the hollow point gets clogged with debris- cloth, sheetrock, leather - the hollow point turns into a FMJ. If the front of a hunting bullet sustains even minor damage from, say a blade of grass between the target and you, it is possible that it will not upset.

I am not saying that's what happened but maybe...
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:24 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Northeast
Posts: 2,233
Re: 180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

I have experienced the same thing on two occasions using 140 VLD's in my 6.5x284. Generally they expanded well on a couple of dozen kills between 200 and 1000 yards. I don't know the reason. On the other hand, this season I shot 6 deer and antelope between 300 and 700 yards with 210Hunting VLD's in my 300WM and all were chest shot pass throughs with no expansion. All were recovered and they looked like they were shot with a field tipped arrow.

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready"-T. Roosevelt
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:32 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 154
Re: 180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

are these bullets getting the noses banged up coming out of the magazine to the feed ramp to the chamber, I have a 7 saum with the 168 hunting vld I happened to look at a couple rounds that had been in and out of the chamber and in the magazine box during firing other rounds, couple had the tiny opening smashed shut, haven't noticed if one of those bullets went thru a deer or not, just now starting thinking about it
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:33 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 3
Re: 180 Berger VLD expansion mystery

With a 210VLD out of .300 WM I shot a buck at 125 yards. Saw tremendous expansion through the chest right behind the shoulder. Bullet did impact a rib on the way in. This year at 450 same load same gun I shot a buck a little further back right through both lungs. No rib contact looked like a little oversized hole on the exit. The damage in the carcass looked significantly less than the 125 yard shot. My only current conclusion is that hitting bone can cause a berger to do a lot more damage than a clean through and through on a deer sized target.
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