Originally Posted by phorwath
The meplat-trimmed and hollow-pointed VLD bullets I shot the caribou with produced a result in the direction I was looking for. I was surprised at how that relatively minor tip modification produced such rapid expansion upon impact on the entry side of the animal. This demonstrated that the size and shape of the tips of the VLDs bears heavily on terminal performance. It also infers that a slight deviation in tips during manufacture of the bullets, such as tips that may be pinched closed during production, could heavily impact terminal performance. I do believe that the very small percentage of closed tips that are produced and shipped from the factory play a role in the small percentage of incidents where the VLDs fail to expand on game. But I also have learned that any bullet designed to expand can also, unexpectedly fail to expand on game. I say this because of my experience with a 150gr Nosler Ballistic Tip on a Dall sheep at 12-13 yards from a .280 RCBS Improved. Bullet entered the middle of the ribs and exited the middle of the ribs on a completely broadside shot. No expansion. The animal was still alive, ill and bedded down 20 minutes later, at which time I killed it with another shot. I then confirmed everything I'm relating here during field dressing and examination. Some are incredulous when they hear of this experience. They can't fathom that a Ballistic Tip could fail to expand at that high velocity impact on an animal the size of a mature deer.
My Ballistic Tip experience is not meant to dismiss 'elkaholic's comment. I do agree that a tipped bullet is the expanding bullet design most apt to ensure terminal expansion on game. These tips (quite a bit larger in diameter than the hollow core in the tip of a VLD) being forced back into a lead core bullet upon impact with game is a reliable initiator of expansion.
Here are a couple links I recently came across and found interesting, from a fellow in New Zealand. One discusses annealing the tips of Berger VLDs to help promote expansion at lower impact velocity than might otherwise occur with the factory bullets. It includes an annealing video tutorial. The author states: "Annealing (softening) is one method of encouraging fragmentation of the VLD, meplat trimming to 70 thou and sacrificing BC for fast clean killing is another method
Berger VLD annealing tutorial
And here's another video tutorial and discussion on annealing the Hornady SST and Interbond bullets:
SST and Interbond annealing tutorial
Nosler's recent production of their AccuBond Long Range line of bullets is an interesting blend of a tipped, bonded core bullet, with pretty good aerodynamics (BC). Initial reports on performance are sounding pretty good. Certainly an attractive option for those preferring tipped, bonded core bullets for long range hunting.
Resurrecting an old Thread. Observed a sheep shot with one of my Berger 210 VLD meplat-uniformed and hollow pointed bullets this past week. The bullet performed very well at 350 yards. Impact side damage was about normal and bullet expanded and performed very well. Much different bullet performance on the entrance side than was observed on the caribou from 2013. Don't have any pictures, but I was skinning and field dressing the ram, so I saw the bullet performance first hand. I have no verdict yet on these meplat-uniformed VLDs. This bullet expanded pretty typical of a Berger 210 VLD, and the sheep dropped in about 2-3 seconds after the shot. Bullet struck toward the back of the ribs - broadside - with several exit holes through the hide out the ribs on the far side. Rifle was 300 Win Mag with muzzle velocity of 2940 fps. I have a couple hundred of these meplat-uniformed bullets and will use them again, based on this experience.