168 Berger VLD or Hunter Classic 280AI

longbowelk

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Jan 31, 2012
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Tyler, TX
I am shooting a custom 26" Hart barrel with a 1 in 9 twist 280AI. According to the Berger chart the VLD is the recommended bullet. I have seen on this site some have had trouble with the 168 VLD and the 168 Classic Hunter was more accurate.
From what I have read they both are quality hunting bullets and do the job.
Any pros or cons or other thoughts on this Classic Hunter vs VLD?
 

MudRunner2005

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Oct 13, 2008
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I shoot the VLD's, but I don't think you can go wrong with either one. Seat the VLD's to .015" off the lands and slowly work up your powder charge to find your load, and you shouldn't have any issues. Not sure what powder you want to use, but I have had great success with IMR 7828 SSC in my .25-06 AI and .30-06 AI.
 

Jud96

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Tip Top of West Virginia
The VLDs can be very accurate. Like Mud suggested, start .010-.020 off and see how it does. The Classic Hunters are geared more towards short mag boxes and for rifle's with slower twists. Either bullet will work, but the VLD will have the superior ballistics. You may also want to look into the new 7mm 175gr Berger Elite Hunter for the 1:9 twist. The Elite Hunters have Hybrid ogives and are easier to load for than the VLDs.
 

PGJPJ

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May 29, 2015
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Oregon
I think the secant ogive of the VLD kind of kicked my butt. I had to stop working on it since hunting season was near, and I needed to find a load that worked. I'll get back to them, I still have about 250 or so that I bought up (probably prematurely).

The Hunter Classic has the more standard tangent ogive, which theoretically wouldn't be so sensitive to seating depth. I haven't tried them.

My current load is the 168 grain Barns LRX for the 280ai. RL26 has been the powder I've been working with, which seems to be working out very well.
 

AZShooter

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Dec 12, 2005
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Tucson Az
If you have time try the VLD it has the highest BC of all the 168s. If you want to find accuracy quickly use the hybrid. I have worked up loads for four friend's 7 rem mags and used the 168 classic hunter (hybrid). NONE of them required anything but working up powder charges. All shot well.

I use the 168 hunting VLD in my personal 284 win. BUT I have a custom reamer with specs so I am able to have the bullet engage the lands. I am .015" into the lands. Neck tension is sufficient to keep bullet in case should I have to remove the round. I found the load in one range session, just like the 7 rem mags with classics. Naturally I verified all loads in other range sessions to ensure they were repeatable. I HATE having to go to the range multiple times just to work up a load!

Berger suggests you try four seating depths with the VLDs and when you find one of these shooting you can fine tune the seating depth to further tune the load. This takes multiple range sessions.

link to Berger's suggestions:

Getting the Best Precision and Accuracy from VLD Bullets in Your Rifle | Berger Bullets Blog
 

TOM H

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Dec 24, 2001
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1,211
I've been shooting my 280AI little over 6yrs now and got my hunting load using 160gr AB. I have shot Berger 168gr/180gr VLD and mines likes the 180gr VLD using IMR-7828ssc with Fed 215 primer and Nosler brass.

I did long throat the 280AI and depending on what bullets I can get out well pass 3.500". Not all rifles will shoot the VLD's and they solved that problem with the Classic Hunter and I use those in 243AI.

Myself I would start with the Classic Hunter. I've been shooting the Hornady EIL-X bullets in mine and hunting season is over, unless we get little warmer that what we been getting here in Co, I'll have to wait till spring for more testing on the ELD-X bullets. I'm hoping to hunt with those next year.
 

BEEMAN

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Oct 20, 2011
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I went with the Classic Hunter in my 280 AI. As stated above they are easy to load for and shoot very good. I use H4831SC in mine but I am curious and may try R26.
 

longbowelk

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Jan 31, 2012
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Tyler, TX
I will be working with 160 Nosler AB, too. I've read a lot of positive info on it out of the 280AI. I have shot 2 deer with my 7 08 using the 140 AB. One DRT, the other ran about 30 yds. I am very happy with the Accubonds. But, do want to throw the Berger in the mix. Right now I'm leaning to the 168 Classic Hunter. Thanks for all the feedback.
 

koonazz

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Jan 7, 2011
Messages
31
I think the secant ogive of the VLD kind of kicked my butt. I had to stop working on it since hunting season was near, and I needed to find a load that worked. I'll get back to them, I still have about 250 or so that I bought up (probably prematurely).

The Hunter Classic has the more standard tangent ogive, which theoretically wouldn't be so sensitive to seating depth. I haven't tried them.

My current load is the 168 grain Barns LRX for the 280ai. RL26 has been the powder I've been working with, which seems to be working out very well.
Do you mind me asking what your starting load was and what you've loaded up to? Just acquired a few pounds of 26 and have'nt found much data on it for the Ackley.
 

koonazz

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Jan 7, 2011
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@koonazz
Doesn’t look like member ‘PGJPJ’ has been seen here since May 27, 2017. :confused:
Thanks, guess I'll keep researching. Have a pretty good idea for a starting point just wanted a 2nd opinion hopefully backed by some actual testing.
 

Deputy819

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Sep 24, 2016
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1,102
Location
Frankfort, Ky
If you’re loading Berger’s shoot them an email. I shoot their 168gr VLD in mine and they emailed me data on it (they don’t have it published in a manual yet)......or at least they didn’t as of this time last year when I did the build.
 

koonazz

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Jan 7, 2011
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Great! I did'nt realize they had the data when I did'nt see it online. I'll email em. Thanks.
 

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