I am shooting a 25-06 AI with a Berger VLD 115 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3375 fps. Using this gun/load this year I had a antelope (316 yard) and a pig (255 yards) both take dirt naps, neither hearing the rifle report.
My question is, what is the closest range the VLD will achieve desired results on a 130 to 160 pound whitetail?
With one weekend left to hunt I plan to hunt an area that will have a maximum shot of about 125 yards and they could be as close as 30 yards.
Given these relative short ranges will a VLD moving at 3300+ fps do its job?
Or should I carry the 270 with Barnes tipped bullet?
I personally can't comment on the Bergers at that close a range, but I know the Barnes will definately do the trick at close range. I would take the 270 w/Barnes, until you have time to check the Bergers performance at close range.
Where I hunt, shots can be beyond 1k with most averaging 400yds+. A month or so ago I had a decent sized whitetail doe cross the field 140 yards out. I had a 7RUM along for the typical long shot loaded with a 168 Berger VLD averaging 3340fps MV.
My original intent was to shoot her in the neck close to the head to avoid meat damage, but hunting being what it sometimes is, she was spooked and wouldn't hold still long enough for the neck shot. Perfectly broadside to me, I put the shot right behind her shoulder.
I had never heard the bullet impact a deer that I shot...until then. THWOP! BOOM! (yes, in that order) and she was down. Never kicked, twitched, or flinched. Walked up to her and noticed tissue sprayed on corn stubble a good 10 yards on the exit side. Upon field dressing, I found the vitals almost non-existent. Upon skinning, I found 3 shattered ribs on the entrance side, and 5 shattered ribs on the exit. Exit was large enough to fit a cantaloupe through (but I must admit I didn't have one on hand to confirm).
The downside is that there was considerable meat damage to the exit side shoulder.
Now I know that a 25-06AI is a different animal than a 7RUM, but I feel that if bullet construction is a constant, the 115gr should do the job well.
Just my experience at short range hunting with VLD's....take it for whatever it's worth to you.
Can't speak for the .25 but I will assure you the 168 VLD out of a 280AI works like a charm on the shorter distances. I have also been concerned of the short distance results as I only converted to Berger 2 years ago. This year my son and I took 2 elk and 3 deer under 75 yards - closest was probable 30 yds. and none of them went as far as if they were hit with a Barnes X or TSX. I have more than my share of kills with the Barnes over the last 20 years and I'm not knocking them but in my opinion a Berger will do just fine at any distance.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not have any experience with the .257 115g. VLD's impacting game and their performance. I do have some experience with the Barnes TSX's tho, and a couple of other bullets as well on whitetails and a couple other critters.
I have shot a Northern Wi. whitetail doe in the lungs with a .257 Nosler BT with a very similar MV @ 80 Yds. She ran just shy of 100 Yds before piling up. There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground, so tracking was easy, plus I could see her when she dropped. The bullet entered, but didn't exit. It shattered one rib on the way in, and pulverized the lungs. While the bullet did it's job, there was no blood trail until about 10 Yds before she dropped. I really didn't like that, so I switched to the Barnes 100g TSX's. I found an accurate load with them trotting along in the high 3700 fps range, and have taken Northern Whitetails from 50 Yds to just shy of 200 Yds, and a Corsican Ram @ less than 20 Yds. Every shot has exited, and the animals haven't taken more than a few steps, if any. The Ram was dead on the ground before the hair that the bullet cut made it to the grass.
I loaded some 130 gr. Wildcat bullets for a Wyoming hunt this year, and the MV on those are 3250 fps. I shot a Mule Deer buck @ 48 Yds (3170 fps impact), and a Pronghorn @ 323 Yds (2750 fps impact) with them and both exit wounds looked identical, even tho the Mulie buck had his spine shot and the Pronghorn had the top of his heart removed (both were broadside shots). The bullet exited in both cases, albet in pieces, but it did exit. The mulie dropped where he stood, and the pronghorn took a few steps first.
I know that this might not be much help, but that was my experiences with .25 cal bullets. If I was in your shoes, I would try and shoot one shot into a couple of wet phone books at close range to see what the VLD will do. While I have them loaded up for the Vanguard, I would be hesitant to take a close shot before seeing what they would do at a high impact velocity. I didn't plan on shooting the .25 cal 130g Wildcat that close, but with 10 minutes left in the hunt, you take what's given to you!
I have faith in the Barnes TSX at close range, but the bc isn't good enough for me for any distance work. Personally, I try to figure on 900 fpe at impact as a minimum for whitetails.