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Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

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Old 12-06-2012, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 272
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

I am reading this thread for the first time today and am certainly concerned. This is not the only report of such an occurrence but one of our greatest challenges is that these reports are few compared to the literally millions of hunting bullets we've sold since they were introduced in 2005.

Another challenge is that one hunter will experience this result while other hunters using the same lot of bullets won't. Making every bullet as consistently as possible using strict material lot controls and tooling controls gives us a reason to believe that if one bullet "fails" within a lot then they all should (or at least most should) but this isn't what happens.

Setting all that aside I am eager to get this situation resolved. I will appreciate it if you can answer some questions. This is normally done directly but I am willing to have this discussion on this forum so everyone (including us) can learn from your experience.

What is the lot number of the 7mm 180 gr VLD Hunting bullets?

Have you had this same result using other bullets from that box?

Do you know the lot number of the 338 cal 300 gr bullet?

Do you trim the meplat or repoint your bullets using a Whidden or similar process?

Do you single feed your rounds or are they fed through a magazine?

What was your load? I see you relay your MV but I don't see your load. I might have missed it.

Let's start here. I will also like to get the bullets back to our shop so that we can analyze them. I'll admit that when we receive such reports and get the bullets back in our shop to test them we have been unable to duplicate the results reported. It is important to note that we aren't testing them in animals but at this point we can't explain scientifically why that would matter.

I'll also address some other comments made in this thread. The picture of the 338 cal 300 gr is puzzling. It appears that this bullet has been sitting around for some time as it looks to be covered with some type of oxidation. It is also strange that the bearing surface of this bullet appears to be quite a bit longer than that of the 7mm. Both of these bullets have essentially the same length bearing surface.

It is also important to mention that the 338 cal 300 gr Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet was made purposely thicker so that it could hold up to the conditions it will face in combat. This was a change made after the Gen 1 bullets were found to have performance issues under high pressures and velocities. We do not recommend the 300 gr Hybrid OTM Tactical (Gen 2) for hunting. In fact we've recently introduced the 338 cal 300 gr Elite Hunter which is designed to expand more rapidly on game. Which 300 gr is shown in this picture is not mentioned.

Regarding, The Best of the West, it is regrettable that economics compelled us to discontinue our sponsorship of the show. This happened some time ago. I don't know which bullets they are shooting now or why they would switch from pushing the 7mm to a 300 Win Mag.

They reported to us that while we were involved with the show that they had no problems with our bullets. They shot literally hundreds of animals over the years we worked with them. They are good people and had the economics been different we would still be involved with them today. I'd like to sponsor every hunting show but we simply can't afford it.

Jeff (Broz) isn't aware of this (until now) but we have bullets that will be heading his direction. Jeff made it clear that he is not sharing his results using our bullets for the sake of getting bullets for free. He is reporting what he is finding when he uses them. It just so happens that they are working great for him (and many others). We planned on thanking Jeff for his efforts with bullets but this is normally kept between us. Since this question is coming up often I'll make this fact public so that it can be resolved.

Regarding hunting bullets working ALL of the time, there isn't a brand of hunting bullet made that does not have "failures". "Failures" is frankly a troubling word to use since these reports typically come from hunters who recover bullets from dead animals. How an animal dying produces a hunting bullet that "failed" is a difficult thing to process.

I am not saying that a bullet can't be responsible for an animal that doesn't die but there is one part of this situation that has always puzzled me. It is my understanding that the point of hunting is a quick ethical kill. If the hunter puts the bullet in the animal's heart, lungs or liver then that animal will die. A bullet that does more damage to these vital organs will bring that animal to an end more swiftly which is why our bullets are so popular.

If an animal is shot and it runs off never to be found, is it possible that the bullet was put into these vital organs and the animal managed to shrug this off? It seems unlikely. I recall that the number of hunting licenses purchased a few years ago was 14 million (this is from memory and not confirmed). If half these hunters shot one animal that means roughly 7 million animals were shot in one year.

These are rough numbers but the point I am getting to is that given the number of animals that are shot, how many are shot in places that are not lethal? I know this has nothing to do with the bullet shown in the pictures but to that particular subject, is it possible that a small fraction of a percent of bullets could perform in ways that can't be explained? Does this mean that the bullets don't work or is this simply a matter of the realities of extremes in a population of factors?

Having said all that, I want to make it clear that we will continue to work on this situation to discover why these results occur even if these results are infrequent. It doesn't matter what is the root cause. My goal is to figure this out so we can educate hunters on how to have the best hunting experience.

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

Berger Bullets
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,418
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????


Gotta say I've never seen any other bullet manufacturer demonstrate this level of concern and effort, and this type of open communication with the hunting community, in the sincere effort to improve their products, the proper use of their products, and customer satisfaction. Very commendable Eric! Big thumbs up from me.

Oh yeah, very interesting information also. Thanks for sharing.

PS: And Broz deserves a few bullets. He's been a faithful provider of lots of good information on this Forum, and I mean in addition to all the Berger in-use end results stories too.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:49 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,418
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

Originally Posted by bigngreen View Post
I always check the tip to make dang sure it's open, use a light or needle to make sure there is no obstruction, that hole being open is critical function!!! I've seen exactly one Berger bullet that was obstructed in the thousands we've shot but we did find it and removed it from out hunting line up.
I will add a comment on my personal experience with sealed Berger VLD bullet tips and how I blundered into this finding. Eric may scold me for this post because he advises against messing with their bullet tips.

Anyhow, I purchased the Meplat Uniforming tool from Kevin Cram. It's a tool that precisely trims the Meplat flat on the VLDs. In addition, Kevin sells a hollow-pointing tool that can be used after the meplats have been trimmed to a uniform length. Here's a quick link to photos of the tools and bullets that have been meplat unifomed and hollow-pointed: Montour County Rifles
After this link opens, left click on the Meplat Uniforming Tool tab in the left hand column of the web page.

So I did this with about 200 of the 168 gr .284 VLDs and about 250 of the 210 gr .308 VLDs. During this process, I encountered at least 6 bullets, and I believe it was 7 bullets, with the tip of the jackets completely closed in - sealed - no hole in the tip of the jacket. This is easier to see after the meplats has been trimmed back ever so slightly, but the real confirmation comes when using Kevin Cram's hollow-pointing tool after the tips have been squared off. The leading tip of the hollow-pointing tool never did reach down into the hollow cavity in front of the lead core of these seven bullets.

This led me to suspect that this could be a reason for the occasional VLD failing to expand on game. I began this meplat uniforming and hollow-pointing venture in the effort in improve the likelihood that my VLDs would be even more likely to expand on each and every impact on game, after I had an experience where a 210 VLD didn't expand on the dall ram.

So for what it's worth, I encountered approximately 7 VLD bullets out of approximately 450 that I meplat uniformed and hollow-pointed - with the tips of the bullets completely sealed off. The jacket material was pinched totally together at the tip, and extending down into the tip at least the full length of the drill tip on the Kevin Cram hollow-pointing tool (a minimum of about 3/32" and more likely 1/8"). Berger doesn't recommend or encourage their customers to mess with the tips of their bullets that will be used for hunting. But I have my suspicions about the closed tips being a source of the non-expanders, and I will personally sort those few bullets out from now on and use them for sighting in or load development, rather than on game animals.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 272
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????


This is one of the reasons I enjoy such discussions. What you have described is precisely the kind of thing that may be causing this result. We will have to consider this in our testing. One of the challenges is to confirm that a tip is closed up (which is a result of the jacket folding internally in a way that can't be seen on the outside) we have to damage the tip in the process.

Having said that, we will sort out how we can identify these bullets and test them to see what happens. For everyone reading this thread, it is strongly recommended that you do not alter the tips of our Hunting bullets. Until we prove otherwise, I would also encourage you to follow Phorwath's recommendation to put a needle or staple into the tip to confirm it is hollow before using that bullet on game.


I can assure you that we haven't deliberately avoided testing bullets. If you can provide me with this hunters contact information I am eager to get more bullets. I have a large number of balls in the air and things slip through the cracks.

Anyone who has had a similar experience should follow up with me. It is a fact that I do not get to all the things that are pending in my "to do" list as quickly as I'd like. This neglect is never deliberate. I regret that from time to time I need a shooter to push me to keep me focused on a given situation. It is purely a matter of my having more to do than I have time available to do it in.

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

Berger Bullets
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:10 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,082
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

Good points ( ha ha )

Very small hollow point bullets need to be inspected before use.

Rattling around in transit, in and out of the magazine, etc can fold over part of the point and make expansion problematic.
That is probably one of the greatest advantages to a tipped bullet, but often they are not as accurate.

There are trade-offs with every bullet, but the more fragile bullets are often needed at long range and these match grade bullets are also welcome for the accuracy they bring to the table.
I doubt I'd use a Berger VLD on a Cape Buffalo and also would not use a 500 grain solid on an antelope!

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Old 12-06-2012, 01:28 PM
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Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,459
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

What about the rounds in a magazine that get the bullet tips slightly flattened after the the first shot in the field is taken due to recoil? I hadn't thought too much about this before (and, once this happens, I usually keep the same rounds down in the mag and load a fresh round in the chamber for the duration of the season), but I wonder if this could contribute to a lack of expansion? Anyone have any experience here?
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:43 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Crawfordville florida
Posts: 100
Re: Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

I have only been reloading one year I have shot three whitetails in that time using berger 7mm180 hunting one @ 100yds one at 340 yds with no problems .i was out of hunting vlds last month so I was usi.g my target vlbs n shot a whitetail @500yds blew thru tbe deer with a 2" exit wound
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