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Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

 
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  #1  
Old 11-11-2013, 03:37 AM
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Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

I recently completed my last hunt this year using a custom 300 RUM Sendero shooting the 230 gr Berger Hybrid Target bullet behind RL-33 powder. Seven big game animals including antelope, deer and elk were harvested. I computed ballistics on all the shots with five of the hunters female and the remaining male. Accurate and precise hunting is independent of age and sex however with a male dominated LR and ELR hunting sport it’s welcome to witness the huntresses performing with great success!

Below are videos and pictures of two of the recent huntress harvests.

This first video is a sophomore shooting 618 yards.

Notice the deer ran off! Pictured below is the exit hole.
Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance-doe.jpg

Even with good shot placement and terminal performance game animals often take more time than wanted to expire. Obviously “DRT” is preferred but in my experience not the norm.

The second video is a huntress shooting 886 yards. The video is in slow motion due to the video quality. In full screen you may be able to see the bullet impact just by the spine above the shoulder. If not, sorry for the quality.

Shot placement is high near the spine yet the deer ran off! I would have expected a spinal injury instantly dropping this deer.

Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance-buck.jpg

Where is the noticeable exit hole? I see some blood but???? This deer lived quite some time before being expired. Pencil? Unfortunately with little flesh to expand the bullet, yes.

Here are my thoughts on the 230 gr Berger Target bullet used for hunting and terminal performance. Everyone will have their own opinions however mine are based on seven big game animals harvested with an average range well over 800 yards.

I noticed this bullet will travel a long distance thru flesh yet still fragment/expand. This was evident on a large bull shot at 1107 yards while 1/8 facing and the bullet still exited. The bullet additionally fragmented evident by the tattered copper pieces found under the hide near the exit hole. Great terminal performance in this hunt.

Will the 230 Berger Target cause massive damage to internal organs? Yes, but only if traveling thru enough tissue or hitting a bone to accelerate expansion. The lack of tissue distance and expansion was evident on the buck shot above. I believe there was not enough tissue for this bullet to expand properly in this instance. The buck was harvested but only after living for several minutes afterward. A rapid expanding bullet would have assisted in this case.

Each of us will have to decide on ballistics performance while balancing terminal performance. I believe the 230 gr Berger Target bullet makes an excellent choice for large game such as elk. For smaller game this may not be the best option based on your anticipated harvest ranges. The hunting Berger version or comparable BC bullet should be a logical alternative. However, when balancing ballistics capability for long to extreme long range hunting and desired terminal performance there is a give and take. In my case not all situations were ideal for this bullet. However, for ranges approaching and entering extreme ranges the ballistics performance of this bullet currently is not equaled by other options!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:28 AM
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Re: Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

Thanks for posting, nice deer!

I couldn't watch video #1, it gave me a black screen and "this video is private". Can you post as to whether or not this shot hit bone, facilitating more rapid expansion? Based on the exit, it appears like a pretty straightforward rib shot.

In any case, thanks for posting as I really enjoy seeing the performance of this style of bullet on game. I think there are pros and cons of these bullets but these type of posts help me better understand what the advantages and limitations are.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:39 AM
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Re: Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

I thought I would add my recent experiences to your thread......we shot two bull elk with the 230 OTM bullets out of a 300 Winchester at 2,730 fps (slightly different than the target) this year with less than stellar performance. Luckily we harvested both bulls......

Bull #1 shot 1/4 facing shooter at 586 yds.....missed the wind slightly and the bullet entered just in front of the shoulder and hit the bulls neck......dropped him like a ton of bricks but when we got over to him he was still alive. Further examination showed that the bullet basically came apart on the spine and did not penetrate to the vitals....I was not happy with this performance.

Bull #2 shot broadside at 200 yds, the bull hardly flinched at the first shot through the boiler room behind the shoulder, a quick follow up shot was sent through the shoulders and brought the bull down after breaking bone. The first shot looked like it did not expand much and the second one did the work, of course it was breaking bone and pushing lots of fragments through the vitals.

I love the accuracy of this load for long range but I'm not using them again for hunting. Target bullets are for targets, hunting billets are for hunting...mixing and matching applications will eventually lead to trouble.

Not trying to start a fight, but I'll not be using these bullets for this application again.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:00 AM
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Re: Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by varmintH8R View Post
Can you post as to whether or not this shot hit bone, facilitating more rapid expansion? Based on the exit, it appears like a pretty straightforward rib shot.
Back of the rib cage. Small protion of rib bone was hit.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:17 AM
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Re: Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinner View Post
Bull #1..hit the bulls neck......dropped him like a ton of bricks
Bull #2..first shot through the boiler room behind the shoulder
Hopefully with enough feedback some of the folks at Berger read the real world results and come out with a 230 gr hunting version. One would assume thicker jackets would be harder to open up. I'm just curious. Did the bullet on your first shot on the second elk not open at all?

If there was a 230 gr hunting version, I woulder if a shot identical to your first bull would have made any difference. I would think a hunting version bullet would come apart even easier when hitting large bone than a thicker jacket version.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:18 PM
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Re: Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

I'm very interested to here and see your point of view with the 230gr on small game like white tail does thanks for posting.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:55 PM
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Re: Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Mountain View Post
I'm very interested to here and see your point of view with the 230gr on small game like white tail does thanks for posting.
I wish I could just simply answer your question with use them or don’t use them. My view is it depends on what you’re most likely shooting distances will be then balance ballistics performance with terminal performance to maximize the best of both with a leading edge toward accuracy. What good is a bullets terminal performance capability if you can’t accurately place it where it needs to be? And when things go wrong, give it enough time and it will, where is that needed terminal performance to assist you through?

There are probably two main thoughts on terminal performance. The rapid expansion camp and the controlled expansion camp. Is one better than the other? In my experience no and in my experience yes. For all distances of tissue and small bones such as the rib cage I have had good results with rapid expansion bullets. For large amounts of tissue and large bones I have had good results with controlled expansion bullets. The Berger Target and OTM bullets have a thicker jacket than their hunting version thus can be prone to not expand on short tissue distances. This was evident with the buck shot above. Approximately 4 inches of tissue just below the spine not leaving enough room for the bullet to expand before exit. I had great results with six other game animals using the 230 Berger Target bullets this year on sizes ranging from antelope to elk. The difference, the bullet traveled thru much more tissue and/or hit a rib to assist with expansion.

I believe antelope would meet the same size definition of a white tail doe so here are my thoughts on the 230 gr Berger Target bullet for WT doe. The antelope shot this year with the RUM were near the 1000 yard range. Obviously antelope and WT doe have small bodies nonetheless your bullets need to hit the vitals on those small bodies. To me, accuracy in this realm is more important than terminal performance. The Berger 230 gr Hybrid Target bullet provides the greatest long range ballistics performance potential due to the high BC over any other readily available bullet on the market today. (OK readily available?, well hopefully some day again). I need that high BC as a cushion to accuracy at those long ranges. If I was shooting at say a maximum of 6-700 yards I could then explore other options for bullet selection where that high 230 Target Bullet BC isn’t quite as important. WT doe do not have a long chest cavity compared to larger big game animals. Other bullets proven for this type of hunting situation may be warranted. If this was the case for me, I would consider using an orange box Berger bullet or the new LR AccuBond. Flip a coin, both should perform as advertised with proper shot placement.
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