Might have a few answers here that may help resolve this one. Yes, the Berger Target bullets have the new, thicker jackets; the old style bullets, with the thinner jackets are now dubbed as their Hunting bullets. They are unchanged and completely identical to the old style Bergers you've been using for years. The stresses that competitive shooters put on their rifles is considerably greater than most hunting applications, in terms of numbers of rounds fired, conditions within the bore, that sort of thing. The problems were first noted by competitive shooters, and it was to correct these concerns that Berger did the redesign. I've heard and/or seen very few problems since then, so the issue appears to have been resolved. In the hunting world, we're not firing til the barrels too hot to touch, or running a hundred rounds or more between cleanings, both of which are quite common for match shooting. The bore history has a great deal to do with this as well, and I'd suspect that most of the posters on these boards keep theirs in pretty decent condition. I served as an instructor at Small Arms Firing School at the Nationals this year, and saw a brutal first-hand example of this. Hornady was kind enough to have provided the ammo, their 75 grain BTHP for the shooters, and CMP/AMU provided the M16A2s for the course. We had world class problems with bullets coming apart in flight throughout the school on Viale Range. They used exactly the same ammo for the USMC advanced SAFS course being taught over on Rodriguez Range (where the students providedtheir own match-grade Service rifles) and had virtually zero problems. I had no blow ups with the rifle on my point, while the one next to me was a huge problem. The issue wasn't with the ammo at all, but with the condition of the rifles they were used in. This particular bunch of rifles (most of 'em anyway) were long overdue for a new barrel, which would have likely solved the problem entirely. Don't sweat it and use the Hunting bullets, thin jackets and all.
As to the SMK construction and their use in combat, this came about after extensive teminal ballistics testing done by Col. Martin Fackler, M.D. at Letterman Army hospital's wound ballistics lab. The findings revealed that the SMKs performed exactly like the standard FMJ designs required by the Hague and Geneva Accords. Col. Hayes Parks, Chief of International Law, JAG office, wrote the ruling that since the SMKs didn't perform significantly differently from the FMJs, they did not violate the laws of land warfare, and could be use by our troops in combat. At issue her was the nomenclature of their "hollow point" identification, and the connotations that are usually associated with that term. This all took place back around 1988-'89, at a time when we had both the M852 Match round (168 SMK) and the M118 Special Ball (M118 173 grain FMJ) in the system. The M852 displayed significantly better accuracy, but prior to this ruling was restricted to range and match use by law. The M852s were marked "Not for Combat Use" on the boxes and identified by a knurled ring just ahead of the extractor groove on the case body. The decision here had to do with increased accuracy on the part of the ammunition, and the elimination of a redundant Match round in the inventory. Both the M118 Special Ball and the M852 were merged in the M118LR, the newest sniper's round loaded with the 175 SMK. Same FMJ type performance, which is why Sierra doesn't recommend them for use on game, and why they remain legal for combat use. Guarantee you, the Berger's with their thinner jackets wouldn't pass the legal requirements here, and they can be devastating on game. Personally, I'd RATHER see them used for this particular enemy, but that's a personal opinion only.
Anyway, hope this helps clarify the questions posed,