Berger bullets blowing up?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by teampete, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. teampete

    teampete Well-Known Member

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    Hey all,

    I shot a bull this weekend and it took three shots to put him down. I had a couple high shots and one especially that went right through the backstraps and should have broken the spine. Problem is it seemed the bullet exploded upon touching the skin and basically fragmented outside the cavity. There was nothing more than a large hole at the entrance of the bullet. It did not go through the backstrap and break the spine. Also, I missed one shot that made hair fly of the elks neck. Once I recoverd my bull I noticed that it seemed as if the elk had a taken a razor to its spine area. The part that was cut off by the bullet was about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. One of my buddies said that the bullet blew up which is why the spine looked like it was shaved. Please give me any input as I am scared to use the Bergers again for hunting. FYI the shoot was about 700 yards, I was using 210gr berger hunting vlds out of a 300 win mag with about 2850 FPS. I attached the picture and you can see a few of the bullet shots and let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Dennis
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Dennis, The fact is, you placed them poorly.

    Here is the list of what I have taken with Bergers this past season. From another thread.

    "This past season alone I have either been the shooter or have been with people shooting Bergers and here is the list.

    Bull Elk 210gr Berger 425 yards never took a step. One shot
    Large Bull Elk 210gr Berger 643 yards made it maybe 30 yards, One shot
    2 Cow Elk one at 325 and one at 521 yards 210gr Bergers dropped in tracks one shot
    Bull elk 511 yards 230gr Berger never left its bed. One shot rolled over dead.
    Cow elk 400 yards 230gr Berger dropped in tracks one shot
    Cow elk ( my wife shot) 300 gr Berger 816 yards one shot dropped in tracks
    Cow elk 825 300gr Berger one shot dropped in tracks
    Large Montana Mule deer Buck 893 yards 230 gr Berger Dropped in tracks one shot
    Large Montana Mule Deer Buck 767 yards 300gr Berger one shot sprinted 50 yards nose dived Dead.
    Spring Black Bear ( Boar) 378 yards 210 gr Berger one shot sprinted 25 yards
    4 antelope in WY and one in MT all shot with 210 or 230 gr Bergers no tracking required.

    This is just what I can remember from this past season. And again, I was there for every shot, and field dressing. I know what The Bergers do first hand. This is why I choose Bergers for hunting."

    Sir, in all due respect. Lets look at a few facts. You are new to LR shooting and hunting. You were pressed for time getting your rifle and drops ready for this hunt. Yet you still opted to take a bull from a very long distance. The fact is, one well placed Berger would have dropped this bull in his tracks. The problem is your level of skill with your new rifle prohibited this. I highly doubt at the slowed velocity at this long distance any bullet would blow up.

    I am not trying to be rude, but in my opinion you need to sharpen your skills before you engage another animal at these distances. Then I truely believe your outcome will be different no matter what the brand of bullet.

    Jeff
     

  3. teampete

    teampete Well-Known Member

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    Well my question is why did the bullet of the high spine shot not break its back. It doesnt matter wether my skills are sharp enough for a bullet to do its job. I know I am not the best shooter in the world but I am more than confident to take those kind of shots. Also, this elk only went about 50-100 yards. I just know the particular shot placed in the spine did not do the proper damage. My question is why did the bullet placed in the spine not break the back of the elk. It seems like the bullet did not do its job. I have seen many arrows and bullets go right through the skin and meat of many animals and break the spine. Like I said the bullet basically fragmented upon impact and did not penetrate one bit.
     
  4. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    Misses and grazing the neck don't count.

    So, it seems that you put him down in about two shots which was fortunate given shot placement.

    I struggled with a similar situation last week on a hog and whitetail using 142 SMKs out of my 6.5x284. Both kills were right in the crease behind the shoulder. Both bullets left a huge entrance hole and did not egress. But, the inerds were jello and both were bang flop. So, I am on the fence. Had they been elk or a big hog through the shoulder, I don't think they would've been effective.

    -- richard
     
  5. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Dennis, I am not picking on you. I drew my opinion from this quote from your story about taking this bull. You admitted you made many mistakes, and learned from them. I just don't feel at this point you can blame a bullet for poor placement.

    Quote}
    " He was moving fast so I got a quick range on him, dialed my turret in and then let a shot fly. I took another shot and my spotter (dad) told me to raise my yardage a bit yards because the bull was moving away from us further and further. Well I shot a few more times and the bull was defintely hit and was gushing blood. I shot one more time and the bull droped over dead. As I said there was a crowd with us and they all gave a nice cheer once the bull dropped and hi fives were in order. I learned a few things from this experience. One is that in long range shooting you always need a reliable person working the range finder so all the shooter needs to focus on is shooting the animal. Also, there needs to be one person there just to be a spotter and watch the animal through the binos. This would have made the first few shoots more accurate. I also relaized I did not use my angle compensator feature on my rangefinder which messed up my initial yardages and why I shot atleast 2 feet high on the first few shoots. Also, I was in such a hurry that i only had my scope on 6.5 power and not 20 power. I learned that Ireally need to calm down and takes things slower. I am just happy I didnt have to learn this the hard way." {un quote}

    Respectfully

    Jeff
     
  6. teampete

    teampete Well-Known Member

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    I definetly made a lot of mistakes and that was the main reason for the poor shot placement. My mistakes with the rangefinder and my scope power were big mistakes but I still got the job done and will not make those mistakes in the future. You live and you learn. I let the moment get to me.

    My question still doesnt have anything to do with shot placement. It has to do with bullet performance. I just wonder why that particular shot in the spine did nothing to the elk. I like berger bullets and want to use them. I just want to use the best possible bullet and am wondering what happened in this situation.
     
  7. WapitiBob

    WapitiBob Well-Known Member

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    The simple fact is, the bullet grenaded on impact.
    Dennis, you can find a multitude of similar experiences as well as success stories on this site.
     
  8. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion you only connected with two bullets. The lower one that produced the spewing blood you told of in your story. And the second higher one that droped the bull by damaging the spine. I also feel it is very lucky for you, and the bull, that you were shooting Bergers. The fragments from those two shots placed to high are what damaged the vitals and expelled the animal. So in my mind you should be praising Bergers.

    Please take a minute to review the list in my first post of elk I took or seen taken with Bergers this year. I am in no way affiliated with Berger, I just know how they work.

    Also please note I didnt even mention the elk I tracked that was shot by another hunter not using Bergers. My gps tracked me 4.7 miles to where we dispatched the wounded animal. I wish that poorly placed bullet would have been a Berger and sent some fragments into his vitals, for both me and the poor bull that suffered for hours.

    Jeff
     
  9. joe0121

    joe0121 Well-Known Member

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    What twist is your tube? I shot an old farm building at about 1600 yards with a 208gr Amax and it mushroomed the first 1/8 of the bullet and the polymer tip was gone. bullet passed through a 2X4, a piece of 1/4 inch siding traveled 10 feet hit a 8X8 support bounced off and landed 8 feet back. I'm pushing mine a tad under 2900 FPS in a 1/10 twist tube. The Berger I have shot at hard targets like old propane cylinders etc retain their weight at least the ones I dig out of the berm. This is at 300 yards.

    Only thing I can think is the jacket coming off, or the bullet becoming un stable and tumbling into the animal.
     
  10. teampete

    teampete Well-Known Member

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    Actually there was another shot on the side of the elk closer to the neck that did a great job. So I hit the elk three times. I know the berger did a good job on the other shot but I still know the shot near the spine didnt break his back like I thought it would. I was hoping this was just a once in a million occurance. You are probably right that I was lucky for using bergers. But that is the main reason I chose bergers in the first part. I guess I will just give bergers another chance and see what happens. Im hoping it was just a "bad" bullet that caused the issue.

    Joe - My barrel is a 1/10 twist.
     
  11. cfvickers

    cfvickers Well-Known Member

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    I know I am kind of picking this apart, but I have severe issues with this statement. Your skills are the single most important factor in determining whether to take the shot, then placing it where it belongs. I mean no offense, just my point of view.

    Further, what weight of bullet were you shooting and in what caliber?
     
  12. Varminator 911

    Varminator 911 Well-Known Member

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    The Berger isn't the right bullet to break the spine. It's meant to be placed into the vital organs where it's rapid expansion causes massive damage. If you want a spine busting bullet shoot something much stouter like a Barnes TTSX or at least a good bonded bullet like an accubond.
     
  13. 300 ultra

    300 ultra Well-Known Member

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    Or a good Ol Partition. Berger bullets are not for everyone including my self. Not enough fudge factor. But I have never shot an animal further than 400 yards either. I just like this site to hear how good everyone else is.
     
  14. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I've cut three elk this year with that shot placement and your simple to high, the top shot no mater the bullet would not have dropped him except by luck of maybe tweeking the spine but odds are slim. The lower is still to high but you hitting dense meat and the bullet would start opening right be for impacting the spine and being a little high the bullet will tend to blow to the area of least resistance which is up. If you directly impact the center of the spine or lower they will remove a section of spine. Did you cut the animal or did someone else cut it, generally after you peal the hide and inspect you get the full story.

    If shot placement was 6in -10in lower it would have trashed him, I see many of those kind of hits on elk and rarely to they do anything more than blow the top of the spine of and the elk keep trucking, sometimes it will shut down their back end and you can get another on in, bullet does not matter, I've seen accubonds and TSX do the same thing at that point. At the point you hit I can put my 8in breaking knife all the way to the hilt and it will just make the spine on a bull, you need to hold lower on bulls to impact the spine directly!!!