Review-Berger 230 gr Target Terminal Performance

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by MMERSS, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    I recently completed my last hunt this year using a custom 300 RUM Sendero shooting the 230 gr Berger Hybrid Target bullet behind RL-33 powder. Seven big game animals including antelope, deer and elk were harvested. I computed ballistics on all the shots with five of the hunters female and the remaining male. Accurate and precise hunting is independent of age and sex however with a male dominated LR and ELR hunting sport it’s welcome to witness the huntresses performing with great success!

    Below are videos and pictures of two of the recent huntress harvests.

    This first video is a sophomore shooting 618 yards.
    [FONT=&quot][ame="http://youtu.be/cVc2rfiKlWM"]YouTube[/ame][/FONT]
    Notice the deer ran off! Pictured below is the exit hole.
    Doe.jpg

    Even with good shot placement and terminal performance game animals often take more time than wanted to expire. Obviously “DRT” is preferred but in my experience not the norm.

    The second video is a huntress shooting 886 yards. The video is in slow motion due to the video quality. In full screen you may be able to see the bullet impact just by the spine above the shoulder. If not, sorry for the quality.
    [ame="http://youtu.be/5GFY73agIjo"]slow mo - YouTube[/ame]

    Shot placement is high near the spine yet the deer ran off! I would have expected a spinal injury instantly dropping this deer.

    Buck.jpg

    Where is the noticeable exit hole? I see some blood but???? This deer lived quite some time before being expired. Pencil? Unfortunately with little flesh to expand the bullet, yes.

    Here are my thoughts on the 230 gr Berger Target bullet used for hunting and terminal performance. Everyone will have their own opinions however mine are based on seven big game animals harvested with an average range well over 800 yards.

    I noticed this bullet will travel a long distance thru flesh yet still fragment/expand. This was evident on a large bull shot at 1107 yards while 1/8 facing and the bullet still exited. The bullet additionally fragmented evident by the tattered copper pieces found under the hide near the exit hole. Great terminal performance in this hunt.

    Will the 230 Berger Target cause massive damage to internal organs? Yes, but only if traveling thru enough tissue or hitting a bone to accelerate expansion. The lack of tissue distance and expansion was evident on the buck shot above. I believe there was not enough tissue for this bullet to expand properly in this instance. The buck was harvested but only after living for several minutes afterward. A rapid expanding bullet would have assisted in this case.

    Each of us will have to decide on ballistics performance while balancing terminal performance. I believe the 230 gr Berger Target bullet makes an excellent choice for large game such as elk. For smaller game this may not be the best option based on your anticipated harvest ranges. The hunting Berger version or comparable BC bullet should be a logical alternative. However, when balancing ballistics capability for long to extreme long range hunting and desired terminal performance there is a give and take. In my case not all situations were ideal for this bullet. However, for ranges approaching and entering extreme ranges the ballistics performance of this bullet currently is not equaled by other options!
     
  2. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting, nice deer!

    I couldn't watch video #1, it gave me a black screen and "this video is private". Can you post as to whether or not this shot hit bone, facilitating more rapid expansion? Based on the exit, it appears like a pretty straightforward rib shot.

    In any case, thanks for posting as I really enjoy seeing the performance of this style of bullet on game. I think there are pros and cons of these bullets but these type of posts help me better understand what the advantages and limitations are.
     

  3. cwinner

    cwinner Well-Known Member

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    I thought I would add my recent experiences to your thread......we shot two bull elk with the 230 OTM bullets out of a 300 Winchester at 2,730 fps (slightly different than the target) this year with less than stellar performance. Luckily we harvested both bulls......

    Bull #1 shot 1/4 facing shooter at 586 yds.....missed the wind slightly and the bullet entered just in front of the shoulder and hit the bulls neck......dropped him like a ton of bricks but when we got over to him he was still alive. Further examination showed that the bullet basically came apart on the spine and did not penetrate to the vitals....I was not happy with this performance.

    Bull #2 shot broadside at 200 yds, the bull hardly flinched at the first shot through the boiler room behind the shoulder, a quick follow up shot was sent through the shoulders and brought the bull down after breaking bone. The first shot looked like it did not expand much and the second one did the work, of course it was breaking bone and pushing lots of fragments through the vitals.

    I love the accuracy of this load for long range but I'm not using them again for hunting. Target bullets are for targets, hunting billets are for hunting...mixing and matching applications will eventually lead to trouble.

    Not trying to start a fight, but I'll not be using these bullets for this application again.
     
  4. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    Back of the rib cage. Small protion of rib bone was hit.
     
  5. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully with enough feedback some of the folks at Berger read the real world results and come out with a 230 gr hunting version. One would assume thicker jackets would be harder to open up. I'm just curious. Did the bullet on your first shot on the second elk not open at all?

    If there was a 230 gr hunting version, I woulder if a shot identical to your first bull would have made any difference. I would think a hunting version bullet would come apart even easier when hitting large bone than a thicker jacket version.
     
  6. Rocky Mountain

    Rocky Mountain Well-Known Member

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    I'm very interested to here and see your point of view with the 230gr on small game like white tail does thanks for posting.
     
  7. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    I wish I could just simply answer your question with use them or don’t use them. My view is it depends on what you’re most likely shooting distances will be then balance ballistics performance with terminal performance to maximize the best of both with a leading edge toward accuracy. What good is a bullets terminal performance capability if you can’t accurately place it where it needs to be? And when things go wrong, give it enough time and it will, where is that needed terminal performance to assist you through?

    There are probably two main thoughts on terminal performance. The rapid expansion camp and the controlled expansion camp. Is one better than the other? In my experience no and in my experience yes. For all distances of tissue and small bones such as the rib cage I have had good results with rapid expansion bullets. For large amounts of tissue and large bones I have had good results with controlled expansion bullets. The Berger Target and OTM bullets have a thicker jacket than their hunting version thus can be prone to not expand on short tissue distances. This was evident with the buck shot above. Approximately 4 inches of tissue just below the spine not leaving enough room for the bullet to expand before exit. I had great results with six other game animals using the 230 Berger Target bullets this year on sizes ranging from antelope to elk. The difference, the bullet traveled thru much more tissue and/or hit a rib to assist with expansion.

    I believe antelope would meet the same size definition of a white tail doe so here are my thoughts on the 230 gr Berger Target bullet for WT doe. The antelope shot this year with the RUM were near the 1000 yard range. Obviously antelope and WT doe have small bodies nonetheless your bullets need to hit the vitals on those small bodies. To me, accuracy in this realm is more important than terminal performance. The Berger 230 gr Hybrid Target bullet provides the greatest long range ballistics performance potential due to the high BC over any other readily available bullet on the market today. (OK readily available?, well hopefully some day again). I need that high BC as a cushion to accuracy at those long ranges. If I was shooting at say a maximum of 6-700 yards I could then explore other options for bullet selection where that high 230 Target Bullet BC isn’t quite as important. WT doe do not have a long chest cavity compared to larger big game animals. Other bullets proven for this type of hunting situation may be warranted. If this was the case for me, I would consider using an orange box Berger bullet or the new LR AccuBond. Flip a coin, both should perform as advertised with proper shot placement.
     
  8. cwinner

    cwinner Well-Known Member

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    From what I could tell there was very little if any expansion.....it hit a rib on the exit so it broke it and tore it up but slightly. The second blew through the shoulder and pushing bone ect... It brought the bull down.

    We also had a guy shoot a bull with a 6.5 140VLD hunting out of a 6.5x284, which preformed better than the 230 OTM's so I'm not bashing Berger at all, only suggesting that they be used for their intended applications.

    I hear what your saying about the LR accuracy and BC. Of the 230's, it's a dilemma for me as we'll and why I tried them this year. We kill about 20-30 bulls a year and I provide rifles for some of those hunts so I get a chance to see what does and does not work.......my list of bullets not to use on elk also includes Hornady A-Maxes and Nosler BT's as we'll.

    Barnes TTSX and LRX are solid performers but can't match the BC's of Bergers VLD's.

    I'd buy Berger 230 hunting bullets!
     
  9. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    230 Meplat.jpg
    Pictured on the left is the Meplat of the 230 OTM, on the right the 230 Target

    I noticed you stated you were using the OTM's. The Meplat on my batch of Target are significantly larger than the OTMs. The RUM using the Target bullets have blown some palm sized exit holes thru animals shot in the 900s. The size of the Meplat may be aiding in expansion with the Target over the OTMs.

    With only about 4" of flesh on the buck which was shot in my previous post I wonder if a Barnes type bullet would be any better? Is 4" thru and thru enough room to properly expand a controlled expanding bullet?

    I'm curious if others will post results of the OTM vs the Target. The Meplat may be making the difference.
     
  10. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    I'm also interested in the 210 LRAB terminal performance at any range. I would appreciate the gesture if you could post your results. This bullet would have been my choice in the RUM for ranges 0-900 yards with the 230 Target limited to those ranges 600-1200.

    Has anyone heard of any results with the 210?
     
  11. Doublezranch

    Doublezranch Well-Known Member

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    I want to revive this thread after reading Riley's not so scientific look at bullets. I plan on hunting with these 230 targets this year and was wondering if there are any pictures of these bullets after they have been shot? Whether recovered from a animal or from a berm it would be good to see what they do. Anyone have any pics?
     
  12. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, no bullets recovered this past season.

    Berger may have plans to introduce a 230 Hunting Hybrid in the future. One could use and develop the 230 Targets for a season or two until the hunting version comes out. Just this last weekend while in a local store I noticed there were both the 300 OTM and HH on the shelf . Hopefully in the future the same can be said for a 230 HH!!!
     
  13. Stavi300RUM

    Stavi300RUM Well-Known Member

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    This is interesting. I have been hunting with the 230 hybrid target with the bc of .743 last year and hammered a bull at just a hair over 1000 yards. Dropped him and he never moved. Upon further examination we found fragments of bone (hit rib on entry) and a fist sized hole on the exit. These are coming from a 300 RUM though.
     
  14. Doublezranch

    Doublezranch Well-Known Member

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    Stavi300RUM,

    I shoot a 300 rum too. I believe you have a 30 inch tube right? What's you velocity? What powder are you using?