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berger and no expansion?

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Old 10-10-2012, 03:00 PM
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Re: berger and no expansion?

Looks like the 140g VLD is still working right at 200M

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"
If you want to shoot Bergers start here!
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:05 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New Mexico
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Re: berger and no expansion?

I shot an antelope this past weekend with my 25-06 using the 115 gr Berger hunting VLD bullet. It was a 280 yd shot to the front of the chest. The antelope dropped immediately. When I opened him up, the lung on the left side was liquified and the one on the right was partially damaged. The bullet blew up in the chest cavity like it was supposed to. I have no complaints thus far on bergers. It did its job. I am also a Barnes fan (I know it's weird being a Barnes and Berger fan). Both have never failed me yet.

I believe that people (and I'm not saying anyone on this thread) forget the key component and that is shot placement. If you don't hit any of the vital organs or hit something that affects the function of those vital organs then the animal is going to run a long way no matter if there is a large exit hole or a pencil hole. One cannot depend on the bullet blowing up inside and having pieces of the bullet hitting the vitals if they are not hitting where they are aiming. The expansion of a bullet no matter how dramatic does not make up for a poorly placed shot. I have seen a 100 gr Barnes TSX go through a mule deer and drop him in his tracks. When I got to the deer, it had a much smaller exit hole than I would have expected. When I opened him up, the lungs had a small hole going through both of them but it was not obliterated. The mule deer still died right there. I have also seen where Barnes bullets have done pretty massive damage as well.

Any bullet has to be put in the right spot for it to do its job effectively. The minute one misses those vitals is the minute your odds of losing that animal goes wayyy up no matter what bullet you use.

I have a deer hunt this November and will report back what the 115 gr Berger hunting VLD does then too. I am predicting bang/flop if I do my part right.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:10 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3
Re: berger and no expansion?

This year I really started getting into the accuracy game. I bought myself a 6.5x284 Norma and loaded rounds with Berger bullets. This combination has proved 1/2 moa at every distance I have fired them. Yesterday I shot a 200 lb 4x4 whitetail buck with the berger hunting vld. It was a 70 yard shot from a 30 degree angle. The buck was in the bottom of a deep coulee. The deer dropped instantly! Once I got down there I examined the shot. The entrance wound was softball size with no exit. Like I said I am new to using the vids, is this normal? There was no exit wound. When gutting the deer I found that the heart was detached from fragmentation which is why it died so quickly. The lungs were full of shrapnel as well. I would say that the bullet did its job. It's not what I am used to, so I am just looking for clarification. Is this what always happens. I was expecting a small entrance wound not a softball sized entrance wound. I am happy with the result, no meat damage, dead animal.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:13 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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Re: berger and no expansion?

Originally Posted by ICANHITHIMMAN View Post
Looks like the 140g VLD is still working right at 200M

Is this the entrance or exit wound? I'm just tying to compare with my results using the 140g VLD.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:13 AM
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Location: New Mexico
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Re: berger and no expansion?

A lot of times with the VLD, you will not get an exit wound because of all the weight that the Berger bullet sheds as it blows up and expends all of its energy inside the animal. When the bullet loses that much weight instantly, it usually doesn't have enough energy to exit (especially true on the smaller caliber bullets). The Berger bullet was designed to shrapnel inside the vitals to create a wide range of damage on lungs, arteries and the heart.

I used the 115 gr Berger in my 25-06 this year on a mule deer and a speed goat. Both bullets did not exit but both animals were DRT. The shots were both right at 300 yds. On the mule deer, the damage done to the vitals was only on one side. It is my belief that the Berger bullets do better on game in the larger caliber guns where there is more initial weight to the bullet to help with a little more penetration. The 115 gr bullet makes a really good longrange antelope load as antelope are not very big but on larger game, I would prefer a more solid bullet in the 25-06 cartridge. Your 6.5x284 with the 140 gr Berger will do a good job on deer. On elk, if I was using a Berger, I would prefer an even larger caliber with a heavier bullet but that is just my opinion.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:18 PM
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Posts: 145
Re: berger and no expansion?

This years Cow Elk hunt with my 338 Edge and 300 gr Berger.
Last season we took a Cow Elk from this ranch at 385 yards with my 300 Weatherby,180 gr nosler PT, one shot dead on the spot.
Got a Kirby Allen 338 Edge and worked up load for 300 gr berger and got a lot of trigger time getting ready for upcoming Elk hunt on the same ranch. The plan was to set up in ridge for a max of 800 yard shot, things changed when we started the hunt, snow,wind and fog. Set out for the ridge before day light but was in a blowing snow storm and fog was setting on ridge. We then got some shelter from the snow with a group of timber to wait out the storm and see if fog would rise enough so we could see more than 50 yards. After some time fog seem to get thicker and just then off to my left was a cow Elk looking at us and just turned broad side which gave me enough time to set up stick and mount 15 pound 338 Edge ,dropped power down on Nightforce to low setting. Est range less than fifty yards. Got set for good lung shot , I expected to see Elk on ground, but off in the fog she went. Gathered gear and went hunting for elk , at point of impact was a blow of red on the snow and 40-50 yards away way one dead elk on the ground.

Field dress and found lungs ,heart and liver was a big mass. Went back to where we shot and ranged the spot when the Elk was standing 37 yards. So much for packing the LHRife around and getting a chip shot at 37 yards.

See the attached photo. Entrance hole, broken ribs on both sides with exit hole about four inches.

After all was done I would have expected to have pencil holes in both sides, however I believe the the berger did a great job for a 37 yard shot.
Attached Thumbnails - Click to View Larger
berger and no expansion?-entrance-hole-822.jpg   berger and no expansion?-entrance-hole-inside-823.jpg  

berger and no expansion?-exit-hole-824.jpg   berger and no expansion?-exit-hole-out-side-825.jpg  

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 271
Re: berger and no expansion?


The bullet is supposed to penetrate 2" to 5" before the expansion or fragmentation begins. Depending on the impact velocity and size of the animal this may or may not produce an exit hole. Also, depending on these factors the exit hole could be small or very large. The vast majority of the energy is spent inside the animal so using the exit hole to determine bullet performance is not as clear an indicator.

To have a large hole at the entrance is not how they should perform. We have not seen this in our testing so it is difficult to say why or how this occurs. There are a few things that may cause this result.

Bullets traveling at high speed and at various angles can do strange things (or things contrary to expectations) when impacting with material that is not consistent. This is pure speculation on my part but it may be possible that forces and factors unknown produce greater pressures to the entrance wound resulting in tearing and/or blow back. A famous man was said to have his head go "back and to the left" when shot from behind. How such things happen is not known to me but they've been reported to happen.

Having thrown out pure speculation, let me relay a potential cause that has more genuine evidence. It is a fact that we made our Target bullets with thicker jackets to protect them from blowing up on the way to the target. What happens is that the heat from the friction between the bearing surface of the bullet and the rifling gets hot enough to melt the lead. Once the lead becomes liquid, the fact that it is so dense causes the jacket to tear open and the bullet fails.

This is a result that happens infrequently and under conditions that are uncommon in hunting rifles and situations. It happened to target competition shooters who use long, heavy barrels, hot loads and who are shooting many shots in a short period of time while racing against changing wind conditions using barrels that aren't cleaned all day after seeing multiple dozens of shots. Occasionally, under these conditions these shooters would experience bullet failure (melted core).

These are conditions that do not exist for hunters. Barrels are shorter, loads aren't typically as hot and shots are much fewer. The one aspect of this scenario that might apply to hunters is the condition of the bore. If the barrel has a rough bore or if the barrel isn't cleaned often it is possible that this will produce high levels of friction between the bullet and the rifling.

If this condition gets the bullet hot enough that the lead gets "soft" then it is possible that the bullet doesn't penetrate like it should. There is one way to test this theory and that is to try shooting an animal with our Target bullets. I'll admit up front that our Target bullets do not expand and fragment to the same extent as our Hunting bullets but they do penetrate and expand after penetration.

In your specific situation (large entrance wound) if you were to try shooting our Target bullets to see if this result changes I will be very interested to know what happens. We have not been able to produce either a large surface wound or a pencil through so we are having trouble sorting out this question. If anyone has experienced large surface wounds using Bergers and is willing to try this test, please let me know what happens at eric.stecker@bergerbullets.com.


Very well put.

To strengthen your shooting skills go to the range.
To strengthen the shooting sports take a non-shooter with you.

Berger Bullets

Last edited by Eric Stecker; 11-15-2012 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Clarification
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