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Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

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Unread 11-21-2010, 11:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pilot Rock Oregon
Posts: 123
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

I saw first hand a spike bull killed last weekend with 140 vld out of a 6.5-284 shoulder punched at 75 yards. And let me tell ya ... Iv never seen an animal fall down any harder with a bullet of any type. I call total B.S on anything shot in the engine running off with any kinda bullet... placed right. I'm sure some angles have attributed to some deflection type stuff. I'd shoot any thing in North America in the shoulder from 75 yards with my 210 vld Outa my rum. Full broad side. Bear , moose , elk what ever. Any one who has killed enuff stuff knows it can happen and it sickening to wound an animal but it happens. If you kill 50 animals and don't loose one great !!!! After you have killed or seen killed over 300 you will loose one. Bullets are only a small part of the equation.

Last edited by dustybrown; 11-21-2010 at 11:41 PM.
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Unread 11-24-2010, 08:18 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

I posted this on an earlier thread. this is a 210 VLD shot at 3080FPS at a mule deer. The internal damage was good for me, bad for the deer. He ran about 40 yards. I would like to see better retention from a bullet. I have seen 5 critters killed with the VLD deer and elk. Only one pass though. All hit behind the front shoulder. I would not shoot an elk in the shoulder with a VLD on purpose.
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Unread 11-24-2010, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Tillamook, Oregon
Posts: 452
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

Originally Posted by str8shoot View Post
I started hunting with the 168 7mm vlds a few years ago. My first kill with a vld was a cow elk at 450 yards. Bullet went through both shoulders and turned the heart and half a lung into mush, she collapsed on impact. I shot an antelope at 290, bullet left a golf ball sized exit hole, antelope dead on impact. Killed another cow at 275 with about the same results. This year I shot a nice 6x6 bull elk at 265. Shot right through the shoulder and found the bullet on the opposite scapula when I quartered him. Bullet weighed 71.6 grains.
Had the opportunity to take a second elk this year as I had a cow tag for an area where I was looking for mule deer. Came on a group of cows and a spike right off the trail at about 60 yards. This was going to be the easiest elk I've ever taken on public land. Shot her in the shoulder (I knew better then this but a tree was crowding the rear half of her and I made a BIG mistake). The elk all sort of walked up hill in the trees giving me another shot but I couldn't be sure which one I had hit, so I waited. I then began a very long track with not a whole lot of blood. About an hour and a half later I saw through a small window in the trees about 10 yards away this poor cows front shoulder in a huge bloody mess. I drew to shoot but she took one step and I couldn't see her and she was gone. I tracked her another couple hours until she went onto private land. It was now snowing hard and starting to get dark, and I now realized I wasn't sure where I was as I couldn't see more than 100 yards. I had to follow my tracks to get back to the trail or I was going to spend the night on the mountain. It snowed over a foot that night on top of the knee deep snow that was already there.
This is the first time I have ever left an animal wounded, I feel terrible. I knew better than to shoot shoulder at this range but things happen quickly in the reality of a hunt. I have no doubt that vld blew up when it hit her shoulder at that range. I will never again hunt with these bullets in my magazine, I may carry them in my pocket for long shots but never again in my magazine.
I hunted in bear country much of the season and even though I had bear spray I didn't realize how vulnerable I was to a bruin.
I know I made poor shot placement for this bullet at this range but I need something that will get the job done even when I make a mistake in the middle of a hunt. I hadn't shot anything under 250 yards in several years and my instincts held the cross hairs on the shoulder. I won't be filling this cow tag this year as I feel I failed and left an animal that is so sacred to me wounded. It turned what would have been my best season ever into a shameful disgrace. These vlds are great long range bullets but at 60 yards you are taking a chance I won't take again. I hope you can learn from my mistake and not have to find out as I did the short comings of the vld bullets.
Sorry about your bad hunting experience. This is why Berger recommends the VLD's for 300 yards or more.
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Unread 11-25-2010, 11:06 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pilot Rock Oregon
Posts: 123
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

Let us know when vld's have crippled as many animals as a
core-lok or a partition.....I'll bet ya it will be a long time before that happens. You have to use some common sence in the use of any bullet no different than say .... a bow hunter or a black powder hunter uses before they shoot. Everything has its threshold..... a .243 running as fast as you want to push it will stop any elk if its put in the engine with any kinda bullet... is it the best choice ? No. Would it punch shoulder ? probly not every time. But Ive seen it. I would not try to intentionaly shoulder punch one. I like the longrange perfomance and accuacy of the vld's enuff to use them. When 210 grains of anything going 3100fps hits an animal its going down if you hit vitals, bone shoulder no matter what. Ive seen elk knocked off thier feet with a .270 partition, to just get up and run behind cows and run off. If you are around or part of enuff stuff you see bad things. Clients get exited and stuff happens. Thats why its hunting and not killing. But when you are around enuff you also see great things. Thats why I do it. Im a hunter, Im not a berger comercial. I dont care what you you shoot, and if you want to cary 3 kinds ammo for 3 different ranges be my guest. Im confident I can use vld's for every range im comfortable with. 0 to 650 yrds.
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Unread 11-25-2010, 02:34 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Posts: 3,830
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

My experience with bergers on game is limited to take this with a grain of salt.

I feel comfortable with SOME bergers on SOME sizes of game. Would I shoot an elk with a 6.5 120 or 140 grain? No. Would I with the 338 300 grain? Probably. We killed a large bull moose this year with the 300 grain berger. It was a rib cage shot. With all of the bullet fragments found inside and the very large exit hole, I can say that if the shoulder bones had been involved, things most likely would have been pretty ugly. I dont think I will use these on moose again unless the shot is really long. I have had better results with controlled expansion bullets on moose. I have shot a couple of big bulls through the shoulders (no other choice) with X bullets and Accubonds and was VERY pleased with the performance and outcomes. That said, for smaller targets such as antelope and coues whitetails and mule deer, I would be more than happy with the bergers so long as there is enough material there to begin with. Even on the smaller species, I would use a larger than average bullet for the game. A typical mule deer bullet is 120 to 180 grains. I would be using the 185 bergers at a minimum for larger mule deer and would prefer the 190 or larger due to the material fragmentation. For antelope and smaller I think the 7mm or 308 168 and up would do fine. The 150's and 155's are a bit lean.

Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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Unread 11-25-2010, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 295
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

I had another point that I hadn't seen brought up yet about the bergers.

The bergers are designed to make a tiny entrance wound and cause massive damage, not exiting the animal. From the results of 3 whitetail I've shot with them, they do a pretty good job of this. What makes me nervous about them is that the only hole you have to leave a blood trail is the tiny entrance wound. In the case of a poor shot there will be no blood trail. The deer I've taken with the berger (95gr 243) never went over 30yds after the shot due to extreme internal damage but it still worries me. I also have had issues with the bullet not expanding enough to quickly kill coyote size game. My favorite bullet remains the accubond at this point. I am going to continue using the berger stand hunting in antlerless season where I am confident in getting a good broadside shot to test them further, but I'm shooting my 270 with accubonds for buck season.
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Unread 11-26-2010, 12:52 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ARIZONA
Posts: 142
Re: Berger Bullets vs Controlled Expansion Bullets

I'm with the pro-Berger crowd on this one. After four big game kills with bergers using three different caliber rifles, I am impressed with the all out killing power of the berger bullet.

I've shot a fair amount of big game over the years with alot of different bullets and my impression at this point is a berger in the kill zone will put that animal on the ground faster than anything I have used previously. It flat out wrecks the vitals better than anything I have seen.

All four of the kills were under 200 yds with muzzle velocities at 3000fps or above. The only shot that did not produce an exit was a quartering shot and that big eastern buck went straight down. For me, they have worked exactly as advertised.

Don't knock'em til you try'em.
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