You ask a lot of questions but instead of responding to each of them I'll respond to what I take to be the gist of your point which I believe is a good one from your point of view. You are correct that most Berger bullets are not commonly successful in a magazine fed situation. This is a characteristic that has come under some specific focus lately but more on that in a moment.
We were born from benchrest competition shooting which dictates that you do whatever it takes to get the most performance out of every aspect of the shooting system. So when we are designing a bullet, in most cases we say "limitations be damned". We will customize anything in the shooting system from the trigger guard to the scope rings and from the butt plate to the barrel crown if we believe it will enhance performance. Even a little bit.
When I say "limitations" I am referring to such things as SAAMI specs, magazine sizes and existing or factory barrel twist rates. The first VLD ever made was the 6mm 105 gr. This bullet requires a 1:8" twist which was not readily available in 6mm barrels at the time. If you seat the bullet at SAAMI spec COAL you had roughly .010 of the nose down in the neck resulting in a long jump to the rifling.
Needless to say this bullet was made for rifles that had not been built yet. Today, even though most (if not all) factory rifles still hold to the performance limiting SAAMI specs configurations, you will find the vast majority of 6mm competition rifles and a large portion of custom hunting rifles
are set up to shoot this type of bullets.
In fact, when we first made the 6mm 105 gr VLD bullet, its performance was so far beyond anything else in both trajectory performance
and recoil fatigue management that Walt had made the decision not to make the VLD design in any other caliber. In his opinion, for optimal performance and based on his history in benchrest shooting, shooters should switch from whatever they were shooting to 6mm.
Well, even though many shooters have done this, it turned out that it was impractical to expect all shooters to switch to the 6mm so we started making VLD bullets in all the other calibers as well.
My point in relaying this information is to say that we recognize that most of our bullets are not built to suit many rifles. This is because we recognize that many rifles are not optimized for peak performance but we do not let this fact influence our bullet designs. Why SAAMI remains the standard when it is clearly one of the most limiting factors of rifle performance remains a mystery to me.
Having said that, you make another point that deserves a reply. Your comments that Hornady and Nosler are more readily available and "popular" speak in part to our approach in this area. Those who use Bergers and enjoy their performance are typically shooting custom rifles
or customized factory rifles. They have overcome the limitations presented by the factory rifles adherence to SAAMI.
This group of people is smaller than those who are reloading for factory rifles or are using factory spec COAL to influence their loading practices. This makes it difficult to get some dealers to commit to carrying our bullets. Those dealers who have a strong following do extremely well with our bullets but those who sell mostly to those who stick with SAAMI spec limitations don't do as well.
Hornady and Nosler have designed their bullets to work in the more commonly available factory rifles. This is a wise decision if you are primarily interesting in selling the most bullets not necessarily the best bullets. I don't fault them for this as they serve a highly demanded purpose if you look at things from a size of a market point of view. In our case, Walt decided we will make the best performance bullet regardless of whether there are 10,000 rifles that can shoot this bullet or 10.
Let me be clear that to speak to your point I am making some generalities. We have several bullets that work well in SAAMI spec situations but the majority of our line works best under conditions that are outside of SAAMI specifications.
Having said this we are actually considering adding a line that will go in a new direction (for Berger). Since it is clear that the firearm's builders are not likely to depart from the performance limiting restrictions of SAAMI specs anytime soon, we are looking at adding a line of bullets that are optimized as much as they can be under these restrictions
. This is a recent development so it will be a long while before these bullets become available.
Until then I'll close with the statement that we are both right. You had not shot Bergers before and that your comments were based on opinion rather than observed results. On the other hand, your rifle is not set up to get the most out of the Berger bullets so your reasons for trying them are few and not tremendously significant.