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Sounds like the issue is not under penetration but lack of expansion. I would think a accubond, or the like, in this particular situation would not have expanded as well and caused as much damage as the berger.
I killed a lot of animals with a 168 berger and nothing that made it more than 30yds. i.e. hog @770, white tails from 100-500yds, etc.
So this elk was alive long enough to ride over to him after both lungs had a hole in them? I've never killed an elk but it makes me wonder how long one could run after taking a double lung hit from a broadhead.
Had a good friend pop a bull elk using the 168's in a 280 Remmy ( distance was 336 or 366?). One shot-one kill. He was very pleased.
I have not used Berger's for elk yet, well I have not shot an elk for 3-years though
I took a friend of mine out Monday morning and got him a raghorn bull. He shot it with a 7mm SAUM that we have pushing the 168 VLD's at about 3025 fps. He made a nice shot at just over 400 yards behind the left shoulder. The bull hunched over a bit, looked around then trotted off about 200 yards and stopped. He shot again at about 515 yards this time and got him above the shoulder. He stumbled a bit, ran about another 200 yards and was finally down for the count. When we got the horses to him, we were suprised to see he was still alive but not going anywhere so we finished him off with a 45 ACP behind the ear.
Upon dressing him out, the first shot made a very small wound channel until hitting the shoulder blade on the opposite side. There we found a lot of small bullet and bone fragments. The other passed clean though the lungs with a 1/2" exit hole.
This is my first experience with Berger VLD's on an elk. These same loads worked great on the antelope he shot this year but I am kind of disappointed with their performance on this elk. I am sure he would have died eventually from the first shot but I am not sure how far he would have gone. Maybe he would have tipped over when he stopped after being hit the first time.
Is 400 yards too far for the 168 Berger at 3000 fps to get it to expand? The bullet should have been going just over 2500 fps at that range. Is this typical performance for these bullets? I am thinking we should try some 160 Accubonds next year since I've had such good luck with them out of a 270 and 300 WM.
Thanks for your thoughts.
In a 7, I think I would be going with a 160 AB or 150 E-Tip. For an explosive bullet, 168 gr is on the light side, and if no expansion is the problem, well that's a problem. Interesting that they performed well on the antelope and not the elk.
In a 30 cal, I would consider the 210 Berger (more mass) which I have devloped loads for in the 300 WSM and RUM, but it wouldn't be my first choice. The AB's and E-Tips is what I would pick first. The Berger would only get the call at longer ranges if it showed signifcantly better down range accuracy. However... I am presently out of Retumbo and all I have is ten 210 Bergers left from load development. So they are the bullet until more retumbo comes in.
I dont think that if one elk wasnt killed by a specific bullet(in this case a Berger VLD 168gr), that is a strong indicator that they are not good for hunting elk. There are a lot of factors involved into hunting, and eventually a part of a clean kill is also a little luck, that makes all those factors as bullet speed, bullet construction, point of impact in the prey, penetration, how the bullet mushrooms, etc, work properly. Probably somebody in the forum can make a bad comment or tell us a bad experience with one of the very different bullet types out there. If we as a hunting group see that one specific bullet is not performing properly, and a pattern of bad results is evident, then we could make a more properly based opinion on that bullet. But it is important to keep on posting these issues to see if they are a general pattern or just one specific case. Those are just my thoughts. Interesting issue, thanks for posting.
I am not casting stones at Berger bullets at all, they shoot so well out of his gun that another bullet may not have hit as accurately as they did. Bottom line is they did their job, just not as impressive as I thought they would be based on what I have read and seen on videos. I was thinking an entrance wound, then an immediate grenade effect once inside. First hand experience is most important I guess. What is most disappointing to me is how they compared to the 140 Accubonds out of my wife's 270 this year at 2850 fps. She shot a very big bodied bull at 312 yards through the shoulder blade and he took about five wobbly steps and fell down dead. Bullet was lodged against the hide on the opposite side. I hope to weigh it soon to find out weight retention. I'm very impressed with that load.
I had hoped to try the 210 VLD's out of my 300 WM but got lucky during bow season.
I have some 150 bergers in .277 for a new wilddcat I just had built but my preferred bullet is the 169 wildcat witch I think are going to take some time to get. But in my experience with the premium bonded bullets I wasn't to impressed with a mt goat I shot a few years ago with a combined tecnolagy failsafe 165 30 cal. 30 cal in maybe 31 cal out no bone was hit but it's damn hard to pick the perfect spot with all that hair. my good friend asked me what I had loaded for the hunt 1 week prior to going, when I told him he warned me to switch bullets but I didn't have time to work a new load, he had just taken the #2 typical bull elk in nevada a good test for any bullet it took 8 failsafes and olny one did not pass through. From the rectum to the front shoulder the bullet had hardly expanded, not a long shot a couple hundred yards. I pulled a 168 nosler bt out of a 350 class bull this year one shot 97 yards recoverd on the off side hide 101 gn wt retention but the small pieces that had fragmented had done damage a good foot from the bullet path.