Berger Bullet Failure at Short Range

Bud Meadows

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Going back to the swamp where we lost him is NOT an option for me. I live in Birmingham, MI, and the deer was shot in Camden, AL, a trip of 908 miles one way. The landowner assures me he'll look for the deer as the rut heats up down in southern Alabama in the next two weeks. As to the possibility I got "buck fever", in a word- no. He was standing broadside at 40 yards, and I had a rock solid rest. I shot the bullet within 1/4" of where I was aiming. After almost 40 years of competitive high power rifle shooting, if I can do anything, I can "call my shots". I called this shot a center "X".
 

lovdasnow

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i shot a pretty big 8 point whitetail this year at 50-60yds with my 300 rum shooting 185 VLDS. shot it behind the shoulder, and deer went down in about 10 yds. lots and lots of lung damage.


sorry about losing that one. if you've hunted long enough you know how much that sucks!
 

Bud Meadows

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Maybe I need to adjust my point of aim at close range shots from "high shoulder" to "just behind the shoulder". I can keep my point of aim for longer range shots at high shoulder, since I've never had a bullet failure there with the .308 Berger VLD's in 168 grains. Thanks for the helpful comments.
 

Bud Meadows

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Bigngreen: I have a custom bullet drop compensator on my Leupold Vari-X III. Normally when hunting in thick woods, I set it for 100 yards. As this buck kept walking closer to me, I set it at 50 yards just before I squeezed the trigger. At the range I shot, I could see the bullet strike right where I aimed. Frankly, I was dumbfounded when he didn't drop on the spot, as the previous two deer I shot with that bullet had done.
 

elkaholic

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I am a fan of berger bullets, but they are not perfect! I have posted on this subject in the past and as a bullet maker and having tested many bullets at various velocities, I would not be a bit surprised if Bud didn't experience just what he thought he did! They are great at mid to fairly long range but they also can have a problem expanding, at all, at lower velocities largely because of the very narrow meplat. This is true of ANY bullet, not just Bergers. There are all kinds of variables in any situation but it depends largely on what the bullet hits and at what depth etc. To make my case (I would rather shoot a grizzly in the shoulder at 400 yds. with a berger than at 40 yds. The bullet would likely perform better and penetrate deeper! Another reason is because I would rather be 400 yards from a ticked off griz than 40:D:D. Anyone who doesn't believe this, try shooting a 168 gr. vld into a medium at 3300' and again at 2500' and see which one penetrates the farthest......Rich
 

theodore

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I am a fan of berger bullets, but they are not perfect! I have posted on this subject in the past and as a bullet maker and having tested many bullets at various velocities, I would not be a bit surprised if Bud didn't experience just what he thought he did! They are great at mid to fairly long range but they also can have a problem expanding, at all, at lower velocities largely because of the very narrow meplat. This is true of ANY bullet, not just Bergers. There are all kinds of variables in any situation but it depends largely on what the bullet hits and at what depth etc. To make my case (I would rather shoot a grizzly in the shoulder at 400 yds. with a berger than at 40 yds. The bullet would likely perform better and penetrate deeper! Another reason is because I would rather be 400 yards from a ticked off griz than 40:D:D. Anyone who doesn't believe this, try shooting a 168 gr. vld into a medium at 3300' and again at 2500' and see which one penetrates the farthest......Rich
I hear ya!

Thats a bummer that deer got away. Personally for close range with VLD, I would get my muzzle velocity down to 2700 fps max. Personally seen several muley taken long range. All were DRT with no passthrough except for a 200 yard shot that did have a passthrough. The buck took off in a full sprint but did a complete full flip after going about 20ft. This was with a 7mm rem mag 168 VLD @ 2960fps, the ballistic reads 2723fps at 200 yards.
 

elkaholic

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I hear ya!

Thats a bummer that deer got away. Personally for close range with VLD, I would get my muzzle velocity down to 2700 fps max. Personally seen several muley taken long range. All were DRT with no passthrough except for a 200 yard shot that did have a passthrough. The buck took off in a full sprint but did a complete full flip after going about 20ft. This was with a 7mm rem mag 168 VLD @ 2960fps, the ballistic reads 2723fps at 200 yards.
Good example!.....Rich
 

diesel

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Sep 30, 2006
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Hi everyone I'm new on this forum, I have similar story and it when like this...
I was on a depredation doe antelope hunt in southern Utah. I'm shooting a 300 WSM with a 168 grn berger bullet. I thought this would be a good test. I am a experience hunter I've kill alot of animals, but this one got me stumped. I found a nice doe antelope beded down out in the hay fields. so I got set up a nice rest off a fence post and waited for her to get up. I range her with a range finder about 195 yards. And easy chip shot so I thougth .As the doe got up I put the cross hair on the high shoulder and squeeze off the shot....Wham the doe went down like hammer of God. I said cool that was easy.
So I put the gun away, then my friend said hey your doe started to move around. So I look at where I shot the doe. Sure enough her head was up bobble around. I said aah great now I have to shoot it again. I grab my gun to get ready for another shot so watch her for few minute never got up and continue to bobble her head around.
We decided to walk over to the doe and finish her off... Well my friend grap her ear to pull over to side to see where I shot her, we can see a big blood splash on the high shoulder, in that split second all of suddenly she rejuvenated and jump toward my friend [ scare the crap out of us] and turn around and ran toward the sprinkler pivot pipe line couldn't shoot cause pipe line in the way. By the time it clear away pivot line it was good 300 yards still running full speed straight away . I did get a shot off but miss cause too dumbfounded about whole ordeal. That darn antelope ran about 2 miles before we lost sight of her. Just couldn't believe it. Then it got dark on us. Went look for it on the next day, didn't find it.
So my friend and I talked about it what went down. We think we had bullet failure..it blew up on impact. Maybe it was too close for that bullet at that speed?
So I lost my faith in that bullet... very accurate about .05 moa out of my gun, but not a good hunting round.
I did fill my doe tag with different gun and bullet. but that another story.
 

Bud Meadows

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Diesel: I feel your pain. Sounds just like my experience. I loaded 100 rounds of 165 grain Sierra GameKings tonight. I've never had a bullet failure in 30+ years shooting these. I'll save the 168 Bergers for when I want to impress the fellas down at my local range with 1/2" groups.
 

TCKev

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Jun 6, 2007
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South Louisiana
I have shot Antelope at 175&440yds with Berger 7mm 168gr going 2850fps both animal's were recovered with in 20yds from where they were shot. The buck was at 440 and was laying in a large pool of blood. The doe was hit at an extreme angle, she was hit while moving to my left she was dead she just didn't know it.
 

diesel

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No the doe was broadside and there was also no exit wound either so that's what is so confusing about these bullets. You would think this heavy weight of bullet would do more damage on a 110lb antelope. I will kepp the bullet for long range shooting. It has great accuracy to 1000 yards but it is definitely not a hunting round for me. That is my two cents.
 

theodore

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No the doe was broadside and there was also no exit wound either so that's what is so confusing about these bullets. You would think this heavy weight of bullet would do more damage on a 110lb antelope. I will keep the bullet for long range shooting. It has great accuracy to 1000 yards but it is definitely not a hunting round for me. That is my two cents.

High shoulder shots often knock out animals. Bummer to hear that doe get away.

Just to let you readers know that I still only use VLD for hunting and will continue to use them with great success for yotes to elk.
 

elkaholic

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No the doe was broadside and there was also no exit wound either so that's what is so confusing about these bullets. You would think this heavy weight of bullet would do more damage on a 110lb antelope. I will kepp the bullet for long range shooting. It has great accuracy to 1000 yards but it is definitely not a hunting round for me. That is my two cents.
This is exactly what I have noticed. Bergers have a certain velocity spread where they are USUALLY effective! That range is somewhere between 2000 and 2700 give or take and depending on what you hit. If they expand early, they really come apart because they are a thin jacket and not bonded. If they don't expand early or hit something solid, they may not expand at all. This is very typical of a bullet with a meplat this narrow! I am not bad mouthing Bergers, I often use them myself. They, like all bullets have limitations. My opinion......Rich
 

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