re: Long Range thick skin bullets
I have seen a Hornady SST fired from a .308 do the same thing at short range on deer. The difference is that the bullet didn't have to travel far to reach the vitals, thus the fact that the bullet came unglued resulted in an instant kill.
I have a hard time viewing this episode as a bullet failure. The Berger bullets behaved the way thin jacketed cup and core bullets behave. I see this as a classic example of failure to understand the limitations of the projectile being used, and ultimately, failure to match the tool to the application.
I have yet to shoot Berger VLD or Hornady AMAX type bullets at anything but paper. However, based on what I have seen standard cup and core hunting bullets do at close range and high impact velocity, I am not willing to use thinner jacketed bullets, even on deer, at normal hunting ranges from most rifles. I practice with these kinds of bullets, though, because I am working on extending my effective range and want to be prepared for the day when I finally have the chance to use them at long range.
Having said that, I agree that the information supplied by the OP is useful to all of us in helping to define the limitations of our tools. Thank you, stenger, for the education and lessons learned!