Berger 210 VLD on Black Bear - Field Report

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by phorwath, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I finished off a black bear @ about 8 yds in the alders with a 308 210 VLD Berger out of a 300 WM yesterday. Muzzle velocity ~ 2975 fps. The cross-section through the chest cavity of the bear was about 16 inches in depth from sternum to the back bone. The bullet hit the bear in the sternum area and didn't exit out the top of the back. So the bear was laying on its side and I shot at the underside of the ribs. The bullet shrapneled and no part of the bullet exited the top of the back. In fact the back straps weren't even damaged.

    I observed massive internal damage and the bear expired within seconds from this finishing shot.

    Thought this information might be of interest as this test of the 210 VLD was on a live bear. I expected some type of exit wound but nothing exited the top of the bear. First time I've ever had a bullet that was this heavy not exit an animal on a broadside shot.

    Conclusion: The Berger VLDs shoot well, have a high BC, and from what I've read, are a good long range bullet after they've slowed down a bit. I couldn't recommend them for large bodied elk, moose, brown bear, etc. at close range (velocity anywhere near 3000 fps).

    My plan is to carry Barnes TSXs, Nosler Accubonds, Swift A-Frames, or Trophy Bonded Bear Claws in the magazine while hiking and in camp for any close to mid-range game encounters, and shoot the Bergers on the long range shots. I'm thinking the VLDs will penetrate deeper once they've slowed down to less than 2200-2400 fps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  2. cross

    cross Well-Known Member

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    Exactly

    Ditto that! My experience and sentiments exactly. After seeing 7 VLDs enter and none exit last season, I'm using VLDs to zero with and for long range work and Accubonds for insurance at close range.
     

  3. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    When I first learned that Berger was advertising their VLDs for hunting, I contacted them and whomever I spoke with acknowledged that the VLD rarely exits. Even their promo video talks about how "all of the energy is released in the vitals." That is an argument they use as to why their bullets are better, since they do not exit.

    Ultimately, VLD style bullets are the ticket for long range work, but there are plenty of shooters out there using Sciroccos, ABs, Btips, Amax, Interbonds, for their long range hunting and having equal success. Lilja himself had a favorite set up in a 30" barreled 270 Weatherby and plain jane 130 Btips. 1200 yard antelope.
     
  4. tscott

    tscott Well-Known Member

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    I've been happy with the 168 VLD for hunting but I haven't shot anything at close range with this bullet. I'm glad to read your report.
    Thanks
     
  5. su37

    su37 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that a Barnes bullet would have exited at that range and speed.
     
  6. TRick

    TRick Well-Known Member

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    I think I would expect the results you saw - high velocity + fragile bullet = no exit; BUT as was pointed out all energy was "spent " inside the bear.

    Interesting concept Berger is promoting, and may be right - but I think I'll stick with Accubonds, just in case the angle is not quite perfect.

    Todd
     
  7. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I've just about finished processing the bear and all I'm finding is bullet shrapnel along the inner side of the front shoulders. Small shards of thin-walled jacket and small lead fragments. Looked like a mini handgrenade went off just inside of the chest cavity while I was field dressing the bear. But none of the bullet fragments ever reached the back bone or backstraps, which means the bullet was completely spent in about the first 12 inches of penetration.

    I'm not bad mouthing the Berger 210 VLD. Just advising on the performance I saw at 3000 fps impact velocity on this bear. I still plan to use them on non-dangerous game for long range shots.

    This is the first animal I've shot with the VLD and the bullet exploded like no other bullet I've ever observed on big game before. And I've shot quite a few big game animals over the past 30+ years. I was a little surprised at the limited penetration. It would have been fine for a broadside lung shot. But I wouldn't want to shoot a brown bear with them, at any range. I don't like tracking bears in the alders in fading light like I had to with this medium sized black bear. Not even the small ones.

    When I've hunted and shot brown bear, I've used Trophy Bonded Bear Claws and the performance was effective and dramatic on two large bears @ ~150 yds from a 338 Imperial. This is a defunct cartridge designed and marketed by a fellow in Canada years ago. Very similar to the 338 Edge - based on the necked down 404 Jeffery. Also used the Barnes TSX in 7mm Rem Mag and those bullets performed well but lacked the authoritative results that I got from the 338.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  8. POP

    POP Well-Known Member

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    Thanx for the report. Although I have never used the VLD's I can say that your experience mirrors pretty much all the ones I have read about.
     
  9. LRHWAL

    LRHWAL Well-Known Member

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    I use the 210 VLD's in a 300 WM. - around 2870 fps.

    I've taken several large Gemsbuck bulls - virtually nothing in 30 cal (other than monlithics) exits them anyway, but I've had VERY quick and satisfying results.

    Smaller animals I have had some exits. Generally anything through the shoulders on larger game there are none - through the ribs you may get exits.

    I shot an Eland Bull (+/- 1000lbs) wounded by another hunter in the shoulder at about 10 yards. Eland are notoriously heavy in the shoulders (almost like a back to front buck!), anyhow, he was dead in seconds. I don't recommend them for that, but it worked.

    I take broadside or quartering towards shots only so as to get into the chest cavity quickly.

    The Berger bumpf says the sharp nose results in 2-3 inches of pepentration and then "BOOM". It works well for me.

    Not saying you are wrong or on the wrong track here, just sharing my experience.

    Wouldn't use them in thick bush where I may need a bunch of penetration prior to reaching the vitals.
     
  10. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for in info. I have never shot anything that close, but as fo my experience with VLD's, having killed a very nice 6x7 Elk last fall @ 250 (broke both shoulders no exit) folded him up. A nice adult Buck Muly @ 360 bang flop , 2 Axis bucks, a Black Buck, and a very nice Aoudad Ram @ 205 (high shoulder and a 1" hole through the heart and out the other side). All in the last 8 months with 210 Bergers @ 3050 MV from my 30-378. I am very pleased with them. Plus they really seem to shoot very well for me at long range too. I too am just stating my experiences and agree with what "LRHWAL" said about exit and brush and like stated, I have never shot them at closer than 50 yds.

    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  11. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for contributing your experiences. Very interesting to me since I'm pretty interested in using them for long range shots at big game where the bullet velocity will have slowed quite a bit prior to impact.

    Here's another bit of information on the construction of these bullets that I didn't realize. Maybe everybody else already knows this, but here goes. Earlier this spring (5 weeks ago) I fired two of the 210 VLDs into the side of a vertical bedrock cliff from 812 yds away. I had a cardboard target propped in front of the cliff. There was still a lot of snow on the ground at that time. Well last weekend I went up to set a target up in front of the cliff again and I found a small circular piece of copper jacket laying on the ground surface just beneath the point of impact from the two shots I'd fired 5 weeks early. Upon closer examination I realized it was the base of the copper jacket - a little larger than 30 caliber in diameter. What blew me away was how thin this jacket material is! I didn't try to measure its thickness with a micrometer since it wasn't exactly flat, but I would estimate the jacket is about as thick as 2 sheets of Xerox copier paper. No more than three sheets of paper. The jacket material is literally paper thin. So the composition of the lead itself is basically what controls the rate of expansion / fragmentation of these VLD bullets. This would explain why they appear to expand so reliably, even at the lower velocities associated with long range.

    By the way, I completed processing the black bear and nothing new to report there. I didn't find any sizeable pieces of lead or jacket material. But numerous small pieces of lead, and a few small pieces of copper jacket. I would describe the bullet's upset as shrapneling, rather than expanding at 3000 fps.
     
  12. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Based on this information I wonder if there is a realistic concern of consuming minute lead frags/lead dust particles, etc. when eating biggame animals shot with this bullet.


     
  13. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    Amazing what the do gooder know it alls get people to worry about. My grandfathers grandfather and beyound, my grandfather, my father and myself have been eating game shot with lead shot and lead bullets forever and I have no worries what so ever.
     
  14. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I'm certain more lead exposure is worse and less exposure is better, but whether the periodic ingestion of some lead equates to any measureable ill health effects is probably hard to quantify, even for a trained epidemiologist. I do know that lead toxicity is of greatest concern with the developing brains of toddlers and children.

    Beyond that issue, I did have to trim away substantially more meat from surfaces surrounding the wound channel than would have been necessary with Nosler Accubonds, which is what I've shot my last 4 black bears with. Since I hunt black bears for the meat more than the hide, I'll be taking broadside shots behind the front shoulders through the lungs when using the Berger VLDs at longer ranges. This is my preferred shot no matter which expanding bullet I'm using. It typically results in the least amount of blood/bullet shot meat damage.

    For close up shots, I'll normally have a different type of bullet available. It just happened that I didn't have any other bullets loaded on this trip. A new rifle with a new bullet and load combo and I hadn't yet loaded up or shot any Accubonds, BTs, or TSXs.