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Berger 210 VLD on Black Bear - Field Report

 
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  #1  
Old 06-16-2008, 06:51 AM
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Berger 210 VLD on Black Bear - Field Report

I finished off a black bear @ about 8 yds in the alders with a 308 210 VLD Berger out of a 300 WM yesterday. Muzzle velocity ~ 2975 fps. The cross-section through the chest cavity of the bear was about 16 inches in depth from sternum to the back bone. The bullet hit the bear in the sternum area and didn't exit out the top of the back. So the bear was laying on its side and I shot at the underside of the ribs. The bullet shrapneled and no part of the bullet exited the top of the back. In fact the back straps weren't even damaged.

I observed massive internal damage and the bear expired within seconds from this finishing shot.

Thought this information might be of interest as this test of the 210 VLD was on a live bear. I expected some type of exit wound but nothing exited the top of the bear. First time I've ever had a bullet that was this heavy not exit an animal on a broadside shot.

Conclusion: The Berger VLDs shoot well, have a high BC, and from what I've read, are a good long range bullet after they've slowed down a bit. I couldn't recommend them for large bodied elk, moose, brown bear, etc. at close range (velocity anywhere near 3000 fps).

My plan is to carry Barnes TSXs, Nosler Accubonds, Swift A-Frames, or Trophy Bonded Bear Claws in the magazine while hiking and in camp for any close to mid-range game encounters, and shoot the Bergers on the long range shots. I'm thinking the VLDs will penetrate deeper once they've slowed down to less than 2200-2400 fps.

Last edited by phorwath; 06-16-2008 at 03:12 PM. Reason: correct 300 fps error to 3000 fps
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:27 AM
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Exactly

Ditto that! My experience and sentiments exactly. After seeing 7 VLDs enter and none exit last season, I'm using VLDs to zero with and for long range work and Accubonds for insurance at close range.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:48 PM
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When I first learned that Berger was advertising their VLDs for hunting, I contacted them and whomever I spoke with acknowledged that the VLD rarely exits. Even their promo video talks about how "all of the energy is released in the vitals." That is an argument they use as to why their bullets are better, since they do not exit.

Ultimately, VLD style bullets are the ticket for long range work, but there are plenty of shooters out there using Sciroccos, ABs, Btips, Amax, Interbonds, for their long range hunting and having equal success. Lilja himself had a favorite set up in a 30" barreled 270 Weatherby and plain jane 130 Btips. 1200 yard antelope.
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Derek M.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:06 AM
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I've been happy with the 168 VLD for hunting but I haven't shot anything at close range with this bullet. I'm glad to read your report.
Thanks
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:26 PM
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I doubt that a Barnes bullet would have exited at that range and speed.
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:37 PM
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I think I would expect the results you saw - high velocity + fragile bullet = no exit; BUT as was pointed out all energy was "spent " inside the bear.

Interesting concept Berger is promoting, and may be right - but I think I'll stick with Accubonds, just in case the angle is not quite perfect.

Todd
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:21 PM
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I've just about finished processing the bear and all I'm finding is bullet shrapnel along the inner side of the front shoulders. Small shards of thin-walled jacket and small lead fragments. Looked like a mini handgrenade went off just inside of the chest cavity while I was field dressing the bear. But none of the bullet fragments ever reached the back bone or backstraps, which means the bullet was completely spent in about the first 12 inches of penetration.

I'm not bad mouthing the Berger 210 VLD. Just advising on the performance I saw at 3000 fps impact velocity on this bear. I still plan to use them on non-dangerous game for long range shots.

This is the first animal I've shot with the VLD and the bullet exploded like no other bullet I've ever observed on big game before. And I've shot quite a few big game animals over the past 30+ years. I was a little surprised at the limited penetration. It would have been fine for a broadside lung shot. But I wouldn't want to shoot a brown bear with them, at any range. I don't like tracking bears in the alders in fading light like I had to with this medium sized black bear. Not even the small ones.

When I've hunted and shot brown bear, I've used Trophy Bonded Bear Claws and the performance was effective and dramatic on two large bears @ ~150 yds from a 338 Imperial. This is a defunct cartridge designed and marketed by a fellow in Canada years ago. Very similar to the 338 Edge - based on the necked down 404 Jeffery. Also used the Barnes TSX in 7mm Rem Mag and those bullets performed well but lacked the authoritative results that I got from the 338.

Last edited by phorwath; 06-18-2008 at 09:25 PM.
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