168 Berger classic hunter on 100yd deer??

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by varmintH8R, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    I have a browning BLR in 7-08 that has never shot worth a crap (3-4" @ 100). I use it for Michigan whitetails in the timber, never shooting past 150 (and usually well under). I usually just shoot throw-together loads with 139gr Hornady SPs. They seem to get the job done.

    I have a box of Berger 168 classic hunters that I don't really have an application for. For giggles, I looked up the twist on the BLR. 9.5:1. Hmmmm....

    So, today I loaded up 10 rounds using the 168's. I didn't chrony them, but with my itty bitty 20" barrel and the load I'm using I would guess high 2400's. I proceeded to shoot two honest 1" 3-shot groups from prone with my semi-stable rear field bag. I have 4 rounds left to fill the mag.

    While it is semi-hilarious to me that this bullet decided to make my scattergun BLR shoot respectably, there is no real advantage to it because I'll never stretch it past 150 on game (I have another rifle that tags along for use in the wide-open). Best I can tell, at 100 yds my retained velocity should be about the same as a 7RM with the same bullet at 400 yds (2350ish).

    I am guessing this combo will be punishing on whitetails at short range, and on thin skinned game I have little risk of under-penetration even at point-blank range.

    What says you?
     

  2. ZSteinle

    ZSteinle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    919
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    They should work just fine. I got a deer last week shooting .224 90gr. Vld. Deer was at 86 yards facing me. Put one in the chest and he didnt even move. There literally was no heart or lungs...just mush.
     

  3. sbhooper

    sbhooper Banned

    Messages:
    122
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    The bullet should work OK, but will probably have some splat effect at that close range.

    If you really want to make a shooter out of that BLR, take off that retarded barrel band and free float the fore end.
     
  4. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,071
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Don't think there will be a splat factor as another poster suggested especially at the velocities you are using.

    My friend used the same bullet on a cow elk hunt last year shot from his 7 rem mag. The impact velocity was just under 3000 fps. All I know about the shot is that it was behind the shoulder with a bit of angle. He killed the elk with that one shot. His remark on its performance was that it was the fastest death of any elk he had ever shot.

    Now go shoot a few deer and report back on the performance with pictures if possible.
     
  5. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    Now you're talkin'. If I drop one with that rifle, I will post pictures here for sure. I'll even lay the BLR right on top, sexy barrel band and all! :D
     
  6. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    Tonight I was presented with the fabled "Texas Heart Shot" at about 70 yards. I took a pass :D.

    I'll either get it done tomorrow or the week of Thanksgiving, I'll post if and when I do....
     
  7. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    This morning I was presented with a 110yd shot on a medium sized doe. Trigger break felt good, and the deer bucked at the shot. Then something weird happened. There were four deer together, and they all took off to the east (highly motivated). Two stopped abruptly and peeled back west (toward me) and the other two held-up, slowed the pace but continued east. When the two peeled back, I lost which one I had hit. Soon they were all out of sight. Hard to explain how this went, but it was almost like they intentionally gave me the 3-card monte.

    I started to feel a little doubt creep in on what originally felt like a gimme shot. I waited about 30 and went to check the scene.

    I immediately found blood in the tall grass where I had shot. The blood was high, and there was a fair amount of it. Moving east I found some more blood, but it was sporadic. Because the first blood looked good, I decided to walk out 100yds east to see if she was piled up before I resorted to a full-on track. I found her just into a bean field about 110yds from where I hit her. I took a picture where she lay, with a caliber-size hole on the entry-side (just behind shoulder) and a bunch of blood underneath....
     

    Attached Files:

  8. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    So, the big reveal was to flip her over and see what the exit looked like. This would give the first idea on how the 168 Berger Classic Hunter performed. Flipped her, and the exit was HUGE, and hadn't turned - right through the boiler room. There also was some lung tissue present outside of the exit.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    For the remainder of the story, I didn't take any pics so you will have to take me at my word. When gutting her, I completely split her chest to get a good look at the heart and lungs without damaging them.

    The front-side entry started off in the right lung with an obvious, caliber sized hole. The lung had damage, but was not destroyed by any means. From there, the bullet entered the top portion of the heart, beginning again with a caliber-size wound.

    On the offside of the heart, it was clear the bullet had expanded. The top left of the heart was obliterated, with a 2" jagged exit. There were heart internals that were turned outwards. I'm no medical examiner - lets just say there was lots of damage.

    The expanded bullet then entered the left lung and thoroughly destroyed about a third of it. The bullet than exited the offside rib cage leaving a large round hole, maybe 2.5" in diameter.

    So, I found this to be very interesting. The bullet clearly expanded and caused major damage to the heart and the offside lung. The near side lung had less damage. Again, I'm no biologist but I would consider the carnage inside the animal to be about as traumatic as possible (barring larger ordinance). Despite this, the deer ran a solid 100+yds, dead on its feet, before dropping.

    I have still yet to experience a DRT with any bullet that wasn't placed in the CNS. I did bow-shoot a deer this year that dropped after 20 yards. As you might expect, the damage inside (double lung) was not even comparable to what the Berger did.

    Overall I was impressed with the performance of the bullet at the modest velocities of this set-up. I would not hesitate to use it out of my 280AI at much higher velocity/longer range for deer. Larger game? That will be next year's experiment (hopefully).

    Good luck out there

    Brandon
     
  10. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    504
    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    If she had been a bigger animal she wouldn't have gone as far but the heavy bullet cut a big hole and then took a bunch of the energy with it as it left. I had a small mule deer run 100+ yards two weeks ago with my 7mm wsm and 168 berger classic hunting bullets. Cut a big hole through the middle of both lungs but only jellied the area right around the channel. I usually carry my 7-08 with 140gr hunting vlds and I would expect the whole lungs to pour out as liquid with it and the bullet to not exit. Ideal for me is to find the bullet under the far hide with half or less of the weight retained. When that happens the animal is drt in my experience. Either bullet and way will work but I don't like to track animals.
     
  11. sbhooper

    sbhooper Banned

    Messages:
    122
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    It is not uncommon for chest-hit deer to run no matter what the damage. Some drop, some run and there is really no rhyme or reason for it.

    Sounds like the bullet did what it was suppose to do. I prefer a bullet that exits in case they do run into thick brush etc. I will take a blood trail any day from an exit wound, to one with just a caliber-sized entrance hole.
     
  12. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011

    I hope my posts read clear - in no way shape or form am I saying the bullet did not perform adequately. Quite the opposite - the damage was extreme and the exit huge. Like you, I find that how deer react at the shot varies considerably, unless you neck- shoot or take out the CNS. I've had deer flinch and buck, then stand 10 yards from where I shot them looking around until they keel over. They all act different.

    I tend to agree with you on all other points. I prefer an exit, especially on a smaller animal - that way there is some margin of error if I come across a larger one. FWIW, I shot a similar sized deer with this rifle last year with a 139gr Hornady IL. That bullet turned dramatically off the near-side rib and still exited (quite a ways back). The 168 BCH shoots with far greater accuracy from this rifle, and clearly got the job done. In theory, it should also give me a little better "deflection" performance in the timber as well, at least relative to lighter/faster projectiles. Sometimes that little twig sticking out is hard to pick up before the shot...

    I don't shoot this rifle a ton and still have about 85 of these bullets left, so it'll be my go to short-range whitetail dropper for the foreseeable future.

    Thanks for all of the responses.
     
  13. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,390
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2012
    I used the 168gr CH in my 7mag last year and shot a ok (mature) muley at 50ish yards, he ran in circles for about 5 sec before piling up about 1yrds from where I shot him. The crazy thing was nothing touched the heart but it was deflated like an empty balloon.