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Barnes Response to Berger

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Unread 09-11-2009, 06:00 PM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

I'll make a distinction on knockdown power. The bullet impact does not knock an animal off its feet, or flip it upside down. The animal's nervous and muscular/skeletal response to the bullet hitting it provides those impressive reactions. I've seen 1000 lb bull moose flip over backwards from bullet hits to the central nervous system - broadside hits. The bullet didn't wrench the animal over in a backward summersault. The animal's physiological response to the bullet impacting its nervous system caused that response.

I've seen deer knocked off their feet impressively when the broadhead struck the CNS neck. Again, the brute energy of the arrow impact did not knock the deer off its feet.

If you think your bullet energy is what knocks your game off their feet then hang up a sand bag of equal weight to your game off a rope and shoot it just off the muzzle. Not very impressive. If you're saying that your bullets cause a nervous system response within the animal such that the animals muscles create fantastically impressive knock-outs, then I agree.

Now that I've said that, the Barnes response is still awfully biased - my opinion. The energy a VLD bullet unleashes on an animal's nervous system can turn their lights off just as quickly as flipping off a light switch. I would prefer a Barnes bullet for Texas heart shots or frontal shots at close to moderate ranges, and for dangerous animals up close in my face. I'd rather use the Berger VLD for the long shots where I have time to select my shot - a broadside shot. The high BC assists in bullet placement in any winds, maintains higher impact velocity, and the VLD still opens pretty violently even at long range.

Just used one on a Dall ram at 700 yds just behind the front leg through both lungs. 7mm RM, 168gr VLD. Animal stayed on his feet for 15 seconds, then collapsed - completely dead. Bullet exited through the back edge of the front leg muscle on the far side. Still lots of damage to the off-side shoulder. More than I would have preferred. But the VLD provided a very ethical kill at that range with that shot position.

The Barnes isn't perfect for all shots. The Berger VLD isn't perfect for all shots. Both companies are doing their best to sell their product. Can blame them for that. If they exaggerate in the process, they should, and will, get checked.

Last edited by phorwath; 09-11-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Unread 09-11-2009, 07:46 PM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

First off, I'm a controlled expansion and monometal bullet fan. IMO, it's a more reliable overall approach for killing game under various shot conditions. However, the high BC thin jacketed VLD style bullets are without question, on average, more accurate at longer ranges or even shorter ranges and will get farther down range with more thump. You wont see Barnes or Nosler bullets at competitions ESPECIALLY not LR competitions. You will see Sierra's, Bergers, JLK's etc. As has been mentioned, different bullets work better in different circumstances for different purposes.

I think this article was an embarrassingly poor attempt at tap dancing around the several technical points Eric Stecker made concerning the ridiculous data Barnes published in the article. I found the Barnes article to be misleading and irresponsible and I think Eric's response was completely appropriate and accurate.

I think the author should be called on the carpet and asked to specifically back up the data published in the first article.

The author also implies that the explosive bullets do not provide "permanent damage" or "permanent wound channel".

From the reports I've read here and pictures I've seen, they are very destructive and quite fatal. My biggest beef with them is that they are too destructive. On average, I believe they probably kill much quicker than controlled expansion bullets.

The author is correct in saying that energy doesn't kill. Shutting down vital functions does kill and Bergers and JLK's are very capable of that by providing massive cavitation and "permanent damage".

If the guy wants to make valid points for his argument to promote his bullet, he shouldn't step onto thin ice by making ignorant or false statements.

Last, none of this brew haha will have the slightest affect on my deciding which bullet to shoot in my rifle. I will pick a bullet that kills effectively and has good accuracy and the higher the BC the better, but not at the cost of terminal performance. I may choose more than one bullet for different ranges?

Barnes is not on my list, but not because of this article. Simply because Nosler E-Tips and AB's offer a better solution for me. Bergers and JLK's are also on my list for longer range applications.

JM two Lincolns


Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 09-12-2009 at 08:44 AM.
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Unread 09-11-2009, 09:30 PM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

One thing that really gets me is the author seams to think that we have no control over our shot angle. I don't shoot an animal if I need to penetrate anything more than the hide and ribs and I have yet to have have Murphy turn an animal 90 degrees in the time it takes a bullet to impact. Maybe if you have no self control you need a bullet that will penetrate one end to the other.
I've killed quite a few deer and elk with Barnes bullets and they worked good, accuracy was an issue, it is a great meat bullet, but with the best load I had taking a long range shot would be unethical of me because I could not be sure that if I made a good shot that the bullet would land where I was aiming! Ethically taking game at any range starts with accuracy and right now with the long range bullets I'm using I can take an ethical long range shot because if I do my part the bullet will land where I chose to put it.
And I just don't understand the whole temporary wound channel angle, I have a friend that shot deer last year with Bergers out of his 243 and he literally poured the lungs and heart out of it and he had complete penetration on all of them, it seemed like a real wound channel to me and the deer didn't argue with it at all, they just died real sudden like.
If they were trying to appeal to the long range hunter they kinda blew it as a group of hunter, LRH's are better than average when it comes to ballistics and what it takes to ethically take game at any range.
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Unread 09-12-2009, 03:46 AM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

As the person who wrote the response to the original Barnes article I feel compelled to respond again even though the previous posts have addressed this matter well. I'll attempt to bring something original to the discussion.

For 2 decades I have watched much information be dispensed that is either incorrect or blatantly misleading. Little else gets me as frustrated as those who communicate misinformation as fact. It is my sincere hope that Thad and those at Barnes who fact checked his work just don't know any better. It would be a shame to think that this misinformation is being dispensed with a deliberate intent to mislead.

There are so many examples of misinformation in the latest Barnes article that I suggest the only way to sort it out thoroughly is to have Thad make these comments on this (or any) public forum. This will allow those who know better to debate Thad's claims with him directly.

Having said that and knowing it is unlikely that Thad will join us in this discussion, it is important for everyone to understand that Berger Bullets is genuinely committed to enhancing the shooting experience. We believe very strongly that a science based approach is the only way for us to clear the fog that has settled over the shooting sports thereby enhancing the shooting experience. BC is not
just a “magical” BC value
BC IS a measure of the bullets performance in flight.

There was an article recently in Precision Shooting (I believe) which compares the published BC of many bullet brands with an accurately measured BC. I do not have the article in front of me so if I misstate anything please correct me. If I recall clearly Berger consistently had the closest published BC numbers to their measured BC numbers. More importantly the author provided accurate and not magical BC numbers. Many of you know that Bryan has also done this in his book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting.

The author (I apologize for not recalling his name) of the PS article is able to calculate accurate BC data. Bryan is also able to calculate accurate BC data. Those who properly test the BC numbers generated by both these men will find them accurate to within a very small percentage. Why can't Barnes (and other bullet makers) do the same?

Here is the answer. The reason why BC numbers seem to be magical to some was touched on in Thad's latest article. He relayed that:

Barnes Ballistics Lab employees and anyone who has fired large numbers of BC tests understand that, even when shooting indoors under strictly controlled conditions, you’re darned lucky if you can shoot the same bullets from year to year and keep the numbers within five percent
Remember that BC is a numerical value of the flight performance of a given bullet compared to a standard. It is not magical, subjective or a reference point. The only way a BC number can be different for the same bullet fired at a different time is if you do not have control over the testing process AND/OR you do not have control over the dimensions of the bullets.

(Note: To stay on topic I won't go into the potential inaccuracies of using G1 instead of G7 BCs for long range bullets. Averaged G1 BCs can be measured accurately even though using a G7 BC is more applicable and less likley to produce trajectory calculation inaccuracies.)

So the truth is that this "fog" as I call it or this "magical" BC data as Thad calls it is the direct result of a lack of control over either the testing process or the manufacturing process or both. Bullet manufactures have forced onto the shooters the concept of using a "magical" BC as a reference because this is easier than it is to gain and maintain control of their testing and/or manufacturing processes.

This fact compels me to wonder what else has been forced onto shooters due to the fact that it is easier to make the shooters accept what they are given. Publishing only G1 BCs for long range bullets instead of G7 BCs is one great example. I also believe that high weight retention and deep penetration being required to kill efficiently may also be on this list since our bullets are field proven to kill very quickly (in spite of what the
protocol the FBI requires of handgun bullets
might suggest).

I refer to Thad's comment about FBI protocol on handgun bullets because this was one of the more rediculous comments. I know that it is suggested that Bergers are not good for close range. I suggest that those who believe this without having tested them read the article at this link:

The article is (among other things) a reporting of what happened during a field test of 30 animals shot in New Zealand from 20 to 531 yards. You can read for yourself (if you haven't seen this already) what John Barsness observed when Berger Hunting VLDs were used at "short" range on animals of various sizes.

I'll make my case on the concept that deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets have been forced on hunters as being more effectively lethal. I suggest that the most important measure of a hunting bullet is the bullets ability to deliver an animal to death as quickly as possible after impact. Bullets that do this very quickly are in my opinion more effectively lethal than bullets that take longer to achieve this goal.

Many hunters tell me that they like the deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets because they need an exit hole. They insist that this exit hole is necessary to allow for blood to leave a trail so that the animal can be tracked and found. If this is the desired result achieved by using the deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets then this strongly suggests that the animal takes longer to die when these bullets are used. If it is true that animals shot with deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets take longer to die then these bullets are less effectively lethal. If they are less effectively lethal (I suggest they are) then the idea that this type of bullet is a better killing bullet than those bullets that perform like Bergers is wrong.

They may in some situations be a better meat saving bullet but they are not a better killing bullet. Also keep in mind that the longer an animal takes to die the more adrenaline is pumped into the meat. Hunters may consider that getting less meat from an animal that is killed quickly might be better meat than a larger amount of meat taken from an animal that took longer to die.

Getting back to which bullet is more effectively lethal, why would a hunter need a blood trail if the animal is within yards of where it was hit because it died quickly after impact? (Bergers can produce exit holes but this is not consistent especially in larger bodied game)

I'll stop now and let everyone digest what I've said so far. I thought this subject was a dead issue but I am willing and able to continue the discussion.

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

Berger Bullets

Last edited by Eric Stecker; 09-12-2009 at 04:07 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Unread 09-12-2009, 08:16 AM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

I'm glad you Berger Boys hang out here. What I like even better is that you guys bring Hard data to the table. I really appreciate that you take the time to share info and educate us. I wish more manufacturers would follow in your foot steps. If you find my statment useful in the form of a testimonial, by all means use all or any part you want. I feel that strongly about what you boys do here.
"I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid." - Terry Bradshaw
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Unread 09-12-2009, 08:41 AM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

Originally Posted by Eric Stecker View Post
As the person who wrote the response to the original Barnes article...
Uhhh... yeah... you did write the reply. I'll correct my post

Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 09-12-2009 at 08:48 AM.
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Unread 09-12-2009, 09:28 AM
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Re: Barnes Response to Berger

I have knocked deer down. No it was not nerve reaction etc. The deer was literally knock back on it's but and slid backward about 1 foot. I shot this buck in the center of the brisket while it was facing me from right at 50 yards with a 25-06 shooting a 120 gr Speer Grand Slam bullet pushed by 49 grs IMR 4350, 2975 fps. I found the bullet in the ball socket of the right back ham. It was a perfect text book mushroom and bullet weight was 87 grs.

I also shot one deer at 92 yards with a 6.5X55 Swede shooting a 140 gr Sierra SP pushed by 45 grs AA 4350, 2850 fps in the front shoulder broadside that litterally picked the deer up off the ground and spun it 360* like a top before it hit the ground.

I also shot a deer quartering away from me right at 100 yards with a 7mm Rem mag with a 154 Hornady interlock pushed by 66 grs AA 3100, 3000 fps. The deer was litterally lifted off the ground and shoved forward about 3 feet being pile driven into the ground.

I have killed will over 200 deer and yes I have had many that reacted from shock to the nerves, muscle reflex etc. like turning a complete back flip etc. but I know that these deer mentioned above WERE KNOCKED DOWN by bullet impact force.

The dudes theory of bullets not having enough power to knock down animals or it would drive the rifle back through your shoulder with the same force does not hold water. I have never had a rifle driven through my shoulder but I have blown some mighty big holes through deer at many hundered yards away.
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