Barnes Response to Berger

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by HowaHunter, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. HowaHunter

    HowaHunter Member

    Aug 10, 2009
  2. jmason

    jmason Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    For those looking at this you need to go to the bottom of the linked page. I don't use Barnes and don't plan on it either. When their "ballistician" cares to contribute to our community I might think about it. Naa, I doubt I will even then.:)

  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Now I KNOW they are full of crap!! They say you cannot "knock" and animal down. They have obviously never shot an animal high in the neck. I have seen deer knocked off their feet to the point their feet were completely upside down in mid air. I also witnessed my buddy take a ram clean off his feet with a high shoulder shot. What a bunch of.......All right, I will be nice.
  4. gamedog

    gamedog Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2007
    Wish I had a video of the Whitetail Doe I neck shot when I was shooting the TSX's out of my old 300 WBY. She was facing me, hit her in the neck and all four feet went up and she landed on her back. They must be more "Book Smart" than us:rolleyes:
  5. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Does someone remember the screen name of the Berger ballistician that's a member of this board? Someone should PM him and get his response.
  6. MN Hunter

    MN Hunter Well-Known Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    I'm sure this will stir the pot. I don't believe that any bullet from any hunting rifle is able to lift a deer size animal off its feet. I have shot numerous whitetail deer from 15 to 200 yds. Most were shot with a 300 win mag. The close ones were bang flop not bang driven into the ground. I have also had them go straight up in the air and hit the ground like a bag of rocks. I believe this was a result of a muscle/nervous system reaction. Just my theory. Mind you I am neither agreeing or disagreeing with Barnes article.
  7. BryanLitz

    BryanLitz <b>Official LRH Sponsor</b>

    Mar 8, 2007
    I just read Thads' article.

    Here are some of my greatest hits from the Barnes' ballistician:

    So the 'claim' that shot placement is important is flawed?

    Here's another one:

    Obviously he's not in touch with some of you guys!

    And one of my personal favorites:

    Again, I've been all around the country shooting in national level contests of long range rifle accuracy. I've never seen or even heard of anyone using Barnes bullets in contests of accuracy (score shooting) or precision (benchrest). .50 caliber being the exception.

    He claims the performance data given in his original article was not unsafe. Remember when he compared the retained downrange velocity of Barnes bullets to other bullets, and it implied a freakishly high muzzle velocity was required? Well, it turns out that his trajectory was calculated for 7,000 feet altitude! This wasn't mentioned in the original article. Anyone who uses tricks like this (calculating trajectories in non-standard conditions and not giving the conditions) is either trying to deliberately mislead or is simply ignorant.

    As for the terminal performance debate...
    Unlike Thad, I'm not compelled say that Barnes bullets 'don't work' or 'aren't lethal' on game, or even 'don't work as good' as other options. Their bullet is a weight retaining penetrator. Berger is an expanding/fragmenting bullet. These two types of construction offer different options for the hunter. Both are lethal, some are better suited to different applications. This is the classic ford/chevy debate and I'm not interested in an opinionated discussion about what I or someone else 'likes' better.

    It is aggravating to see someone trying to make deterministic matters like the benefits of superior external ballistics into a trivial matter of opinion though.

    Statements about Barne's BC measuring procedures were made. The only thing that I came away with is that they have a 300 meter indoor facility and claim that they cannot repeat BC measurements within +/- 5%. I think this was a round-about response to being called out on their advertised BC's being high. They're not actually that much higher than I've measured (my measurements were over longer range; 600 yards vs 300). My understanding is that the Barnes BC's used to be very much inflated, and they were brought down to more realistic values only in the last few years. They should be commended for moving in this direction.

    Frankly I'm not all that excited about this response. Those who are serious about long range shooing and hunting know better than to get their information only from vendors. You know how to weigh the options, consult multiple sources, and consider all the variables when selecting bullets for your application. The fact that Thad chooses to host his articles from the safety of the Barnes website where his statements cannot be challenged says a lot to me about the confidence he has in being able to support his statements.

    As always, I'm willing to engage this and other forums on discussions pertaining to bullet performance.

    Take care,
  8. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2005
    I'll make a distinction on knockdown power. The bullet impact does not knock an animal off its feet, or flip it upside down. The animal's nervous and muscular/skeletal response to the bullet hitting it provides those impressive reactions. I've seen 1000 lb bull moose flip over backwards from bullet hits to the central nervous system - broadside hits. The bullet didn't wrench the animal over in a backward summersault. The animal's physiological response to the bullet impacting its nervous system caused that response.

    I've seen deer knocked off their feet impressively when the broadhead struck the CNS neck. Again, the brute energy of the arrow impact did not knock the deer off its feet.

    If you think your bullet energy is what knocks your game off their feet then hang up a sand bag of equal weight to your game off a rope and shoot it just off the muzzle. Not very impressive. If you're saying that your bullets cause a nervous system response within the animal such that the animals muscles create fantastically impressive knock-outs, then I agree.

    Now that I've said that, the Barnes response is still awfully biased - my opinion. The energy a VLD bullet unleashes on an animal's nervous system can turn their lights off just as quickly as flipping off a light switch. I would prefer a Barnes bullet for Texas heart shots or frontal shots at close to moderate ranges, and for dangerous animals up close in my face. I'd rather use the Berger VLD for the long shots where I have time to select my shot - a broadside shot. The high BC assists in bullet placement in any winds, maintains higher impact velocity, and the VLD still opens pretty violently even at long range.

    Just used one on a Dall ram at 700 yds just behind the front leg through both lungs. 7mm RM, 168gr VLD. Animal stayed on his feet for 15 seconds, then collapsed - completely dead. Bullet exited through the back edge of the front leg muscle on the far side. Still lots of damage to the off-side shoulder. More than I would have preferred. But the VLD provided a very ethical kill at that range with that shot position.

    The Barnes isn't perfect for all shots. The Berger VLD isn't perfect for all shots. Both companies are doing their best to sell their product. Can blame them for that. If they exaggerate in the process, they should, and will, get checked.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  9. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2008
    First off, I'm a controlled expansion and monometal bullet fan. IMO, it's a more reliable overall approach for killing game under various shot conditions. However, the high BC thin jacketed VLD style bullets are without question, on average, more accurate at longer ranges or even shorter ranges and will get farther down range with more thump. You wont see Barnes or Nosler bullets at competitions ESPECIALLY not LR competitions. You will see Sierra's, Bergers, JLK's etc. As has been mentioned, different bullets work better in different circumstances for different purposes.

    I think this article was an embarrassingly poor attempt at tap dancing around the several technical points Eric Stecker made concerning the ridiculous data Barnes published in the article. I found the Barnes article to be misleading and irresponsible and I think Eric's response was completely appropriate and accurate.

    I think the author should be called on the carpet and asked to specifically back up the data published in the first article.

    The author also implies that the explosive bullets do not provide "permanent damage" or "permanent wound channel".

    From the reports I've read here and pictures I've seen, they are very destructive and quite fatal. My biggest beef with them is that they are too destructive. On average, I believe they probably kill much quicker than controlled expansion bullets.

    The author is correct in saying that energy doesn't kill. Shutting down vital functions does kill and Bergers and JLK's are very capable of that by providing massive cavitation and "permanent damage".

    If the guy wants to make valid points for his argument to promote his bullet, he shouldn't step onto thin ice by making ignorant or false statements.

    Last, none of this brew haha will have the slightest affect on my deciding which bullet to shoot in my rifle. I will pick a bullet that kills effectively and has good accuracy and the higher the BC the better, but not at the cost of terminal performance. I may choose more than one bullet for different ranges?

    Barnes is not on my list, but not because of this article. Simply because Nosler E-Tips and AB's offer a better solution for me. Bergers and JLK's are also on my list for longer range applications.

    JM two Lincolns

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  10. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    One thing that really gets me is the author seams to think that we have no control over our shot angle. I don't shoot an animal if I need to penetrate anything more than the hide and ribs and I have yet to have have Murphy turn an animal 90 degrees in the time it takes a bullet to impact. Maybe if you have no self control you need a bullet that will penetrate one end to the other.
    I've killed quite a few deer and elk with Barnes bullets and they worked good, accuracy was an issue, it is a great meat bullet, but with the best load I had taking a long range shot would be unethical of me because I could not be sure that if I made a good shot that the bullet would land where I was aiming! Ethically taking game at any range starts with accuracy and right now with the long range bullets I'm using I can take an ethical long range shot because if I do my part the bullet will land where I chose to put it.
    And I just don't understand the whole temporary wound channel angle, I have a friend that shot deer last year with Bergers out of his 243 and he literally poured the lungs and heart out of it and he had complete penetration on all of them, it seemed like a real wound channel to me and the deer didn't argue with it at all, they just died real sudden like.
    If they were trying to appeal to the long range hunter they kinda blew it :rolleyes: as a group of hunter, LRH's are better than average when it comes to ballistics and what it takes to ethically take game at any range.
  11. Eric Stecker

    Eric Stecker <b>SPONSOR</b>

    Jul 27, 2007
    As the person who wrote the response to the original Barnes article I feel compelled to respond again even though the previous posts have addressed this matter well. I'll attempt to bring something original to the discussion.

    For 2 decades I have watched much information be dispensed that is either incorrect or blatantly misleading. Little else gets me as frustrated as those who communicate misinformation as fact. It is my sincere hope that Thad and those at Barnes who fact checked his work just don't know any better. It would be a shame to think that this misinformation is being dispensed with a deliberate intent to mislead.

    There are so many examples of misinformation in the latest Barnes article that I suggest the only way to sort it out thoroughly is to have Thad make these comments on this (or any) public forum. This will allow those who know better to debate Thad's claims with him directly.

    Having said that and knowing it is unlikely that Thad will join us in this discussion, it is important for everyone to understand that Berger Bullets is genuinely committed to enhancing the shooting experience. We believe very strongly that a science based approach is the only way for us to clear the fog that has settled over the shooting sports thereby enhancing the shooting experience. BC is not
    BC IS a measure of the bullets performance in flight.

    There was an article recently in Precision Shooting (I believe) which compares the published BC of many bullet brands with an accurately measured BC. I do not have the article in front of me so if I misstate anything please correct me. If I recall clearly Berger consistently had the closest published BC numbers to their measured BC numbers. More importantly the author provided accurate and not magical BC numbers. Many of you know that Bryan has also done this in his book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting.

    The author (I apologize for not recalling his name) of the PS article is able to calculate accurate BC data. Bryan is also able to calculate accurate BC data. Those who properly test the BC numbers generated by both these men will find them accurate to within a very small percentage. Why can't Barnes (and other bullet makers) do the same?

    Here is the answer. The reason why BC numbers seem to be magical to some was touched on in Thad's latest article. He relayed that:

    Remember that BC is a numerical value of the flight performance of a given bullet compared to a standard. It is not magical, subjective or a reference point. The only way a BC number can be different for the same bullet fired at a different time is if you do not have control over the testing process AND/OR you do not have control over the dimensions of the bullets.

    (Note: To stay on topic I won't go into the potential inaccuracies of using G1 instead of G7 BCs for long range bullets. Averaged G1 BCs can be measured accurately even though using a G7 BC is more applicable and less likley to produce trajectory calculation inaccuracies.)

    So the truth is that this "fog" as I call it or this "magical" BC data as Thad calls it is the direct result of a lack of control over either the testing process or the manufacturing process or both. Bullet manufactures have forced onto the shooters the concept of using a "magical" BC as a reference because this is easier than it is to gain and maintain control of their testing and/or manufacturing processes.

    This fact compels me to wonder what else has been forced onto shooters due to the fact that it is easier to make the shooters accept what they are given. Publishing only G1 BCs for long range bullets instead of G7 BCs is one great example. I also believe that high weight retention and deep penetration being required to kill efficiently may also be on this list since our bullets are field proven to kill very quickly (in spite of what the
    might suggest).

    I refer to Thad's comment about FBI protocol on handgun bullets because this was one of the more rediculous comments. I know that it is suggested that Bergers are not good for close range. I suggest that those who believe this without having tested them read the article at this link:

    The article is (among other things) a reporting of what happened during a field test of 30 animals shot in New Zealand from 20 to 531 yards. You can read for yourself (if you haven't seen this already) what John Barsness observed when Berger Hunting VLDs were used at "short" range on animals of various sizes.

    I'll make my case on the concept that deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets have been forced on hunters as being more effectively lethal. I suggest that the most important measure of a hunting bullet is the bullets ability to deliver an animal to death as quickly as possible after impact. Bullets that do this very quickly are in my opinion more effectively lethal than bullets that take longer to achieve this goal.

    Many hunters tell me that they like the deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets because they need an exit hole. They insist that this exit hole is necessary to allow for blood to leave a trail so that the animal can be tracked and found. If this is the desired result achieved by using the deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets then this strongly suggests that the animal takes longer to die when these bullets are used. If it is true that animals shot with deep penetrating and high weight retaining bullets take longer to die then these bullets are less effectively lethal. If they are less effectively lethal (I suggest they are) then the idea that this type of bullet is a better killing bullet than those bullets that perform like Bergers is wrong.

    They may in some situations be a better meat saving bullet but they are not a better killing bullet. Also keep in mind that the longer an animal takes to die the more adrenaline is pumped into the meat. Hunters may consider that getting less meat from an animal that is killed quickly might be better meat than a larger amount of meat taken from an animal that took longer to die.

    Getting back to which bullet is more effectively lethal, why would a hunter need a blood trail if the animal is within yards of where it was hit because it died quickly after impact? (Bergers can produce exit holes but this is not consistent especially in larger bodied game)

    I'll stop now and let everyone digest what I've said so far. I thought this subject was a dead issue but I am willing and able to continue the discussion.

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  12. jmason

    jmason Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    I'm glad you Berger Boys hang out here. What I like even better is that you guys bring Hard data to the table. I really appreciate that you take the time to share info and educate us. I wish more manufacturers would follow in your foot steps. If you find my statment useful in the form of a testimonial, by all means use all or any part you want. I feel that strongly about what you boys do here.
  13. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2008
    Uhhh... yeah... you did write the reply. I'll correct my post :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  14. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    I have knocked deer down. No it was not nerve reaction etc. The deer was literally knock back on it's but and slid backward about 1 foot. I shot this buck in the center of the brisket while it was facing me from right at 50 yards with a 25-06 shooting a 120 gr Speer Grand Slam bullet pushed by 49 grs IMR 4350, 2975 fps. I found the bullet in the ball socket of the right back ham. It was a perfect text book mushroom and bullet weight was 87 grs.

    I also shot one deer at 92 yards with a 6.5X55 Swede shooting a 140 gr Sierra SP pushed by 45 grs AA 4350, 2850 fps in the front shoulder broadside that litterally picked the deer up off the ground and spun it 360* like a top before it hit the ground.

    I also shot a deer quartering away from me right at 100 yards with a 7mm Rem mag with a 154 Hornady interlock pushed by 66 grs AA 3100, 3000 fps. The deer was litterally lifted off the ground and shoved forward about 3 feet being pile driven into the ground.

    I have killed will over 200 deer and yes I have had many that reacted from shock to the nerves, muscle reflex etc. like turning a complete back flip etc. but I know that these deer mentioned above WERE KNOCKED DOWN by bullet impact force.

    The dudes theory of bullets not having enough power to knock down animals or it would drive the rifle back through your shoulder with the same force does not hold water. I have never had a rifle driven through my shoulder but I have blown some mighty big holes through deer at many hundered yards away.