Alaskan Dall Sheep - 210 Berger VLD

Discussion in 'Sheep Hunting' started by phorwath, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Following are several photos of a Dall Ram harvested last week in the Alaska Range of mountains in Alaska. An 8-year old ram with a 36" curl. Two shots required to kill this ram.

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    Distance of 355 yds. 300 Win Mag shooting 210 Berger VLDs @ MV = 2925fps. The first bullet didn't expand. The exit wound from the first bullet/shot is the fairly obvious wound further back from the shoulder in the below photo. The sheep remained alert and quite healthy for several minutes following this first shot. The left front shoulder and left rear leg have already been removed from the animal in this photo. The entry wound from the second bullet/shot is about 6 inches further toward the front shoulder in the center of the white fat - not very visible on carcass or hide.

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    The second VLD did expand and left about a 1 1/2" vertical slit in the hide on the exit side, as seen in the below photo. The ram jumped and ran about 30 yards down-slope before piling up from this second hit through both lungs. The entry wound from the first shot in this photo is located near the case neck of the empty 300 Win Mag casing.

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    Last photo with some fresh snow visible in mountains at a slightly higher elevation.

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  2. Eaglet

    Eaglet Well-Known Member

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    Real beautiful trophy.

    Was the young man in the picture the one who harvested it?

    Come on, tell us!

    Congratulations to whomever, nice trophy!
     

  3. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    so are you happy or un happy with the VLD performance?
     
  4. signature542

    signature542 Well-Known Member

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    Nice Ram.

    Are you using Target 210 VLDS or hunting? The old ones came in yellow boxes and you need to read the prnt... Caught me out...
    Actually my 300 Roy shoots them to diffferent POI by 1/2 to 1/4 MOA!
     
  5. kiwi3006

    kiwi3006 Well-Known Member

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    Lovely looking ram!
    When I win the lottery I am coming up there for a hunt!
    Interesting results from the berger.
    Stu.
     
  6. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    That man be me, 55 yrs older than I used to be! No matter what the photo shows, I don't feel so young. :)
     
  7. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    To answer a few questions:
    These were the Berger Hunting VLDs.

    I was disappointed that the first bullet didn't anchor the ram on the spot with the velocity of impact at only 355 yds. The lack of an incapacitating response always leads to concern about the shot placement or the scope losing its zero. These Dall rams are pretty easy to dispatch, relative to other large game. I aimed behind the front shoulders to avoid massive meat damage from an explosive VLD on the first shot. The first bullet hit in front of the diaphram and exited slightly behind the diaphram, mid-height on the animal. The exit hole through the hide was small, and the internal damage was very minimal, compared to when one of these VLDs comes unglued. It should have looked like a blender passed through the internals - but the internals were more or less intact.

    It became clear that the first hit was not going to kill this ram any time soon. I wasn't sure what was up, but after several minutes the ram exposed the exit side and I could see a small blood stained dot in about the right location. So I began to suspect the bullet simply didn't expand. I aimed in tighter toward the front shoulders with the second shot. The second bullet opened up more normally, and the only reason the ram stayed on his feet at the second hit might have been because he was already pumped up on adrenalin, or in shock, from the first shot.

    I may continue to use these 210 VLDs for sheep, because a wounded ram is relatively easy to recover in the wide open mountainous terrain, compared to big game animals that live in the brush and thickly vegetated areas.

    But I may need to switch to a different bullet for hunting black bear with my 300 Win Mag. Bears that aren't dispatched quickly are a nightmare to recover where I hunt due to the steep terrain and thick alders. The first bullet to strike must expand.

    Of course I prefer a bullet that expands reliably on any solid body hit, 99% of the time. I've only shot about 4 large game animals with the 210 hunting VLDs to date, and I've already had one non-expander. Not what I was hoping for.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  8. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on a beautiful trophy. I shot his 36 1/2" full curl twin brother on opening day Aug 10. Picture looks just like the twin to mine. Background even similar. Your experirence with the Berger bullets is why I never use them hunting and would never. I have seen way to much lost game with them. Great target bullets but I spend way to much on trophy hunts each year to jeopardize the hunt by using a poor hunting bullet like bergers.

    Again congratulations, that will make a beautifull trophy mount.
     
  9. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Where any bones hit with either shot? What you had happen is perty much what we had last year with them, just a pin hole though them with no internal damage unless something heavy has hit, even if they opened a little it wasn't the internal grenade action I was expecting. The 243 and 270 cals cut loose a cloud of Berger death but have yet to get that action with the 30 cals.

    I think those rams are one of the nicest looking animal!! Some day I'll get to wander up there and cut loose on one, maybe I can retire up there :D
     
  10. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Interesting and thanks for sharing your experiences with the VLDs.

    Nothing more for bone could possibly have been hit with the first shot other than one of the smaller back thin ribs on the entry side. Truth is I didn't confirm if the bullet connected with a rib or passed between them.

    The second shot barely clipped the edge of one shoulder blade. As with the first shot, I didn't confirm whether or not a rib was hit on the entry side.

    I guess I didn't study the bullet hitting ribs part because I require my bullet to open hitting nothing more than hide and flesh. I don't want to have to destroy the front shoulders of my sheep by targeting the shoulder bones. Dall sheep aren't that large and they're the best eating wild game species available in Alaska, IMO.

    We've had pretty good experiences with the 7mm 168 VLDs, but have only taken a few game animals with the 168s so far.
     
  11. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Congrats to you too. Have you posted a picture of your ram? Go for it if you haven't!
     
  12. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    From what I've cut and examined the meat behind the shoulder is enough to get them opened up but the meat between ribs is really only like 3/4 of an inch of resistance compared to a couple inches behind the shoulder. We shot a doe last year in nearly the exact same spot as your first and I could not find the hole till I stretched out the hide and the hole in the carcass was just a tiny slit between the ribs.

    Just more info to try to get a picture of how these bullets function or what it take to get them to, I really like to check out terminal performance, it's part of the hunt for me to see how everything worked.:D

    I'm surprised that Dall sheep is so good, I've had some Bighorn and it was akin to bubble gum without the good flavor.
     
  13. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Nice work, phorwath, and thanks for the info!
     
  14. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I too like to perform an autopsy when the conditions are more favorable. We salvage the entire hide intact on Dall sheep for sale for full body mounts. Taxidermists will purchase them. Then we're trying to keep the meat as clean as possible. Plus we're trying to get off the mountain and back to shelter before dark. Time is often of the essence. So after we had our packs loaded up, we were off. Last meat to be salvaged are the tenderloins. That's when we open the abdominal cavity - after the hide has been completely removed and all of the rest of the meat has been collected. That's when I was able to confirm the lack of bullet damage to the internals from the first shot.

    Here's what the carcass looks like when we've completed field butchering on these backpack hunts:

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    Based on this photo, I can now say that the second bullet never broke a rib on the entry side. I enlarged this photo on my desktop and see no evidence of a broken rib on this exposed side. I don't recall a broken rib on the entry from the first shot either, but it would be on the opposite side in the above photo.

    Never had Bighorn sheep meat, but Dall sheep meat is top notch in tenderness and flavor. Melts in your mouth... :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010