Which Published Berger BCs Are From Predictions Rather than Measurements?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Michael Courtney, Aug 26, 2014.

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  1. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    Which Published Berger BCs Are From Predictions Rather than Measurements?

    Both Eric Stecker and Bryan Litz give the definite impression that Berger's BCs published since 2009 or so are the result of Bryan's careful and well documented BC measurement system (using an acoustic method over 600 yards) rather than the output from any kind of predictive model.

    For example, in a blog post dated 30 January 2009, Eric Stecker wrote:

    A few months ago Bryan became Berger Bullet’s full time Chief Ballistician. Since Bryan has the ability to accurately measure fired BCs with +/- 1% repeatability and since we are committed to providing shooters with the best product and data it was an obvious and simple decision to update our published BCs to Bryan’s fired numbers. (Why Our BC Numbers Have Changed (Been Corrected) | Berger Bullets Blog )

    In a discussion forum post of 25 August 2014, Bryan Litz wrote:

    The first thing I did when I started working for Berger was to reassess all the advertised BC’s (which were based on computer predictions) to the actual measurements I took from live fire and averaged over long range. This resulted in an average 3% to 5% reduction in Bergers [sic] advertised numbers. I also introduced the idea of using G7 BC’s [sic] to minimize velocity effects.

    The effect of the claim to have measured ALL of Berger's advertised ballistic coefficients is to give customers the impression that the likely accuracy level corresponds to the 1% or so claimed accuracy of the Litz measurement system rather than much less accurate predictive models, such as the McDrag model developed by Bob McCoy at BRL or the Litz predictive model published as equation 17.1 in his 2009 book, Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting.

    The attached figure shows changes in Berger's advertised ballistic coefficients between 20 October 2008 (when Berger was using a predictive model attributed to Bill Davis for their BCs) and 14 April 2010 (after Berger had purportedly updated their advertised BCs to "Bryan's fired numbers" (to quote Eric Stecker). In total (counting bullets with the same shape and BC only once), the BCs of 66 bullets were updated, and the percent differences in these new BCs are shown as red squares in the graph. However, comparing with Bryan's book, Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting (the blue Xs) shows only 35 of the new BCs can be attributed to Bryan's experimental measurements.

    Where did the new BCs for the other 31 bullets come from? The most plausible explanation seems to be that Berger re-calculated these BCs based on an "improved" predictive model (or a similar predictive model) based on equation 17.1 of Bryan's 2009 book. This model purports to have a 95% confidence level of 4.2% for boat tail bullets, but predictions for flat base bullets would likely be much less accurate.

    One reason I lean toward this possibility is because the 115 grain .257 VLD had its BC advertised at 0.479 at the Berger site on 6 February 2009, and I received two boxes of these bullets with this BC printed on them at about that time. However, in Bryan's 2009 book and later on the Berger site, the BC was revised to 0.466. When I asked him about these differences, Bryan explained that the BC value of 0.479 had been based on a predictive model and used temporarily until the BC could actually be measured with his method. I think several other bullets (like the 87 grain .257 bullet) whose advertised BCs were changed twice between 10/26/2008 and 2/6/2009 and 4/14/2010 may have also had the intermediate value based on a predictive model later changed to a model based on measurement. It is certainly possible that all 66 bullets were updated based on actual measured BCs, but it is also possible that some bullet BCs were updated based on a predictive model and have still not been updated based on real measurement results.

    It may be notable that while most of the bullets whose revised BCs seem to be based on a predictive model have BC adjustments under 5%, 16 of the 35 or 36 bullets that seem to be based in actual firing measurements have been adjusted downward by over 5%. Other than a 17 cal bullet, the biggest downward adjustments were the 87 grain .257 (-15.85%), the 115 grain .257 (-10.9%), and the 105 grain .243 VLD (-11.33%).

    Now this may seem like so much ancient history, except that, for the bullets still in the Berger catalog, nearly all of the 30-31 bullets whose revised BC seems more likely based on a predictive model than actual firing measurements have had their advertised BCs unchanged since 14 April 2010.

    In light of these concerns, I think Berger owes the shooting community some quick and honest answers regarding which of their currently advertised BCs have actually been measured by live firing and which are attributable to a less accurate predictive model. After all, Eric Stecker is on record as saying:

    A BC is not a marketing tool and should not be inflated (intentionally or by using inaccurate means to calculate BC) for the purposes of selling more bullets. Some will say that inflating BC is smart business but frankly, we do not agree. A BC is an important number with physical meaning that’s used to calculate the trajectory of a given bullet which enables shooters to reliably engage targets at long range. The BC should allow a shooter to hit their aim point each and every time. There are many factors that influence the location of bullet impact but an accurate BC number is an essential component in achieving the most successful shooting experience no matter which brand you shoot. The bullet makers owe it to the shooters to provide them with truly accurate information about the performance of their product and that’s what we’re committed to.

    Links to past Berger BC specs:


    Berger Bullets - All Bullets

    Berger Bullets - All Bullets

    Berger Bullets
     

    Attached Files:

  2. upacreek

    upacreek Well-Known Member

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    I am gonna start some popcorn and pour a drink, sit back and watch this implode. Its freaking 90 degrees out side. Isnt this sniveling penny annie stuff suppose to be a winter past time? The rest of us who are not splitting hairs actually shoot and validate for ourselves what a bullet shoots like.

    ..........okay, sitting in my recliner waiting to be enlightened...........lightbulb
     

  3. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    Michael, wouldn't it be easier for you to throw out some BC's that you find are not accurate? I mentioned this in another thread, but typcially if a bullet's BC is off, you will find plenty of information on it, especially here. Take a look at any of the multiple threads on the Nosler LRAB for example.

    The pi$$ing match between you, Eric, and Brian isn't going to do anyone any good unless something substantial comes out of it, i.e. something that will actually help people on these forums. If there is a BC that is not accurate, let's hear it. It will only help other shooters if it is true. And if there is no evidence of something like this, maybe you just agree to disagree. Frankly, no one's reputation is being helped at this point.
     
  4. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    I posted very specifically our measurements showing that we measured the BC of the 62 grain Flatbase Varmint to be 0.245 and the 52 grain Flatbase Varmint to be 0.179, both significantly lower than Berger specs of 0.291 and 0.197, respectively. I asked Bryan to specifically address whether he had measured these ballistic coefficients. He did not reply. After considering the matter in more detail, some colleagues and I began to think that perhaps a significant number of BCs advertised by Berger may not have actually been measured.

    Don't you think it is relevant if Berger is still advertising BCs based on a predictive model rather than actual measurements? Will knowing the answer to this question help the shooters on this forum? I think so. Wind drift and retained energy are strongly dependent on BC. Users and those considering of the bullets in question deserve an honest answer to whether each bullets BC is based on an actual measurement or a model prediction.
     
  5. IdahoRedneck

    IdahoRedneck Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes people are too smart to get anything "real" done.........

    Real world shot and validated data, is what is important to me. If I plug the bc numbers in my calculator and they are accurate out to 1760, im good.

    Every bc ive used on my program is specifically marked (Litz)

    There seems to be an agenda here and not sure why, pretty sure Bergers the only big name brand that uses real world shot data to create any BCs..............am I wrong, so why the ******* match.
     
  6. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    You didn't mention that at all in your initial post...


    No, it is not relevant. You know what is relevant? This:

    This is what I keep saying...if the BC's work, THEY WORK!!! No one cares how the number came to be, all they care about is if it will make their bullet hit where they want it to.
     
  7. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    How many of the BCs of the flat base bullets can you personally vouch for?

    How many of the 20 cal bullets?

    How many of the 17 cal bullets?

    If you put in the BC of 0.291 and a typical .223 velocity, you're going to be about 14" too low at 600 yards with the 62 grain varmint bullet.

    If the BCs of the 60 and 64 grain flatbase varmint bullets are off by comparable amounts, the shots with those will also hit low by a similar amount. Perhaps shooters are hitting well using the G7 BCs for some of the boat tail bullets. But what about the others?

    I've already posted my account of losing a deer that was well hit with the 115 grain VLD because the bullet arrived with too little velocity to expand and the meager energy transfer did very little damage to the lungs. I've also watched my son shoot F-Class with the 62 grain bullet which moves a lot more in the wind with its real BC of 0.245 compared with the advertised BC of 0.291.

    Hitting steel targets in precision rifle competitions is no easy task with that bullet on windy days. If it really had a BC of 0.291, that bullet would be an excellent ballistic match to our fielded service loads (also 62 grain with a BC close to 0.291), so that bullet would provide excellent real world practice for drop and wind drift from service rifles, yet with better inherent accuracy and no risk to steel targets. As it is, servicemen who practice with that bullet are not building in fast response by using a great ballistic match to their service loads. If the 60 or 64 grain varmint bullets meet their BC spec, a ballistic match to service loads could easily be built with one of those bullets. If they are 15% lower than their spec, they will not provide a ballistic match that can be used on steel targets.
     
  8. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Bryan & Berger have done a helluva lot for us lately.
    It seems to me bryan lowered BCs to an average over common velocities to reduce hard velocity disparities over a gamut of ballistic software in use.
    This I thought was a damn good idea. It's atleast an option to use a single averaged BC, or I could still use multiple BCs per velocities (from his books) depending on my software.

    Bryan has made a good case for use of G7 drag curve/BCs, and is the first to bring G7 BCs to us.
    No other bullet maker had done this before Berger.

    As far as prediction as a crime, I don't see it that way. We predict a lot of things in both internal and external ballistics. Stability is a factor that is not actually measured but predicted. Every single load in ANY load manual can be no more than prediction for our chambers and barrels.

    Honestly your attack on Berger seems nefarious.
    It does not warrant response from them, and they don't answer to you anyway.
    Just who the hell do you think you are?
     
  9. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    I am a customer who believes all customers deserve products that meet their marketing specs.

    It is notable that no one has complained that I have often called out Nosler for publishing inaccurate BCs. No one has complained about my development of sufficiently accurate methods for measuring drag to facilitate development and testing of improved stability formulas for plastic tipped and open tipped bullets. Did you miss our papers where we use our BC measurement methods to quantify the onset of instability as Sg is lowered from 1.2 to 1.0. allowing for more precise testing of stability predictions than previously possible with equipment that is available to most shooters and ballistics labs? Did you miss our paper where we demonstrate a method for quantifying the drag effects of pitch and yaw in fired bullets?

    We were very happy with both Berger and Nosler bullets until we stretched the range and bullets began to fail on live targets and move more in the wind than they should have.

    Five out of five Berger bullet models we've published our BC measurements for measured much lower than the advertised with the first boxes we measured. After we received warranty replacements of Berger 115 grain VLDs and they lowered their BC spec by over 10%, we measured Berger bullets that met their spec for the first time.

    Four out of six Berger bullet models we measured their weight had a significant fraction of their bullets out of spec for their published weight tolerances.

    It's an odd position that a company is not accountable to their customers for whether their product meets their specs, or in this case whether all their BC specs really originate in careful measurements as they claim.

    Berger can nip this in the bud by providing an honest answer to the question of precisely which of their revised bullet BCs were actually measured. Refusing to answer will motivate us to publish the above analysis more widely.
     
  10. IdahoRedneck

    IdahoRedneck Well-Known Member

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    Eric very clearly answered your question in his last reply to phorwath in the other thread........

    Saying you obviously havent tested the vast majority of there bullets.


     
  11. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed!

    Sounds like some ABLR fanboy BS to me......

    :cool:
     
  12. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    The question is...
    I don't see the answer in that response.
     
  13. upacreek

    upacreek Well-Known Member

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    Hitting steel targets in precision rifle competitions is no easy task with that bullet on windy days. [/QUOTE]

    Maybe you should actually practice and shoot to develop a SKILL instead of reading a label and plugging values into a calculator.
     
  14. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    All I know is I shoot pretty far at times. With the Berger bullets I have been using for quite some time now I am using their advertised G7 BC's or Bryans custom Drag models. Recently we did some ballistic app testing and set up a rifle up right off the bench. Even verified the scope tracking over 120 moa to be .008 off the moa scale. Entered all this into several programs with Berger's advertised BC and an average velocity from an Oehler and a Magneto speed and went to my range to document. At 800, 1200, 1600 and 1773 we gathered cold bore and a follow up shot at each distance. Then returned the next day to do it all over again to be sure. All were spot on and inside .5 moa of aim point. I took that same rifle, same BC's and input data to the LRO shoot in Wa. My one and only shot fired at 2320 yards landed about 4" out of a 10" black square aim point, and was under .5 moa low of point of aim. I Guess Bryan's calculations are close enough for me. My 300 win is setting at 22 and 0 for cold bore one shot kills using Berger's G7 BC for the 215 Hybrid. 200 yards to 1285 yards. And at that shoot in Washington my 300 win put a couple in the 10" black square at 1844 yards. Also, at the WA shoot I took a head off a rock chuck at 966 yards with several witnesses and a head and shoulders was all we could see. Again using the G7 BC advertised by Berger.

    I have nothing to complain about and I for one am very impressed with the accuracy of all the Berger bullets we use and their advertised BC's.

    It seems to me if you truly want to come down on someone for misrepresentation of advertised BC's, you would have a few other companies that have a track record of inflated BC's to choose from. Instead you seem to have an Axe to grind because you are picking at a company, or personal employees of the company, that have done the best job out there with advertised BC's, in my opinion.

    So on that note I say, Michael, give it a rest. In my eyes you are not doing your integrity or the integrity of your company any good. But that is just my personal opinion and is probably worth nothing to you.

    Jeff
     
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