Originally Posted by Elkoholic307
The 6.5 Berger VLD flies and groups very well, I will give it that. But, how it performs on big game is inconsistent at best. In my experiences, the 140 VLD works best if you have a perfect double lung broadside shot. How often do you get a 'perfect' shot? Even then, I would consider it a gamble if using Bergers; especially if hunting whitetail.
Berger states that their hunting bullets penetrate 2 to 3 inches of tissue and bone before expanding deep in the vital area. They also brag that game "won't run away from a Berger Hunting VLD." I have found these statements to be false, more often than not. I have seen both the 130 and 140 work well on black bear, mulies and whitetail. Although, none of the animals were DRT. Some actually ran very far before going down; which makes me nervous using it in thick, brushy areas. I have also witnessed the 6.5 140 literally blow up on the outside of multiple deer and antelope. Hence, why my main argument is with Berger's consistency.
Besides consistency, I have not seen many exit holes. And, if it does exit, it generally destroys the hide. I want my trophies killed cleanly and DRT. Therefore, I want my bullets to retain weight, penetrate deep and leave an exit hole. I believe exit holes are important for better blood trails. Since using the Tipped TSX, I have not had to follow any.
If I just wanted to ring that 800 yard gong all day, there would have been no reason to switch. But, I want to do that and more. I want my bullets to actually kill every time. So now... I Shoot Better, I Shoot Barnes.
I know your post is a few months old but it has been a while since I've visited this particular thread. I quoted your post so that others will know what I am referring to with my response. You make a good point that is not lost on our efforts to make the best hunting bullets we can.
One of our primary concerns from the beginning was terminal performance consistency. Even though we conducted hundreds of tests (mostly in media but also in game) that proved consistent results we were always aware that inconsistent performance was our greatest concern. If for no other reason than the numerous different shooting systems that would use our bullets that we were unable to test due to their sheer numbers.
After we launched our bullets as "Hunting" bullets we had our ears wide open for reports of terminal performance failures. It was nearly a year before we received our first report. Since then we have received a couple dozen reports of terminal performance "failures" ranging from failure to expand to expansion on impact. Each of these reports is taken seriously and we are working to understand the root cause so that we can eliminate these results completely.
Having said that, over that same period of time we have sold over 50,000,000 hunting bullets. I will assume that all of these have not been used on game but if 10% have then that is 5,000,000 animals taken with Berger Hunting VLD. Assuming the few dozen reports we get are multiplied 10 times to account for those who don't tell us what happened, we are talking about a "failure" rate of 0.005%.
Of course we are working to achieve perfection but I can relay that I have heard more than a few dozen stories about "failures" by other brands (with the larger portion of these reports being about Barnes). I will accept that these companies sell more hunting bullets than we do so it is reasonable to estimate that they will have more reported failures due to the ratio of their bullets sold to ours.
My point is that no bullet or brand performs 100% perfectly all the time. In many of these situations the bullet (regardless of brand) may have had no chance of working properly due to other variable that affect external ballistic and terminal performance. The best a hunter can do is to use the shooting system (and bullet) that he trusts based on his personal results or recommendations from others he trusts to be capable.
Given your observations, I would expect you to continue to shoot Barnes as you should since they've worked for you. I will suggest that your experience with Berger is an exception to what is commonly experienced by hunters all over the world. I'd go further to say that if you rotated equally between Barnes and Berger between animals you shoot, over the course of your hunting experiences you will observe fewer poor performance issues with Berger than with Barnes if you use both with an equal effort to achieve successful results.