Berger Bullet Failure at Short Range

shootinfool

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Sep 22, 2007
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Ogden, Utah
I think think that any of the explanations offered could be right. I also think that there is no way to tell for certain what really happened unless you retreive the animal. I personally have never shot a berger bullet at close ranges. I have had one shot at 615 with a 168 VLD that I dont know for sure what happened. I shot while the buck was brodside and bullet hit and deer went down. After about 3 minutes, we thought he was dead and all of the sudden he got up and hobbled down one side of a canyon and started up the next. I fired a bullet, this time at 535yds and the deer dissapeared again. This time we waited 15 minutes to see if he would get back up. We then started up the bottom of the canyon to retreive him. After about 35 minutes we came to where he fell only to find blood spray on the scrub oak and a puddle of blood about the size of a hat. He hobbled off. We never seen him but at some points he was only about 15 yards from us as we were walking up the canyon to go get him. We found chunks of what looked to be sholder blade or some type of bone where i first hit him and lots of blood. We followed the trail for about 400 yards down the canyon and then it just dissapeared. Still dont know what happened because i never retreived the animal. Maybe it was my fault, maybe it was the bullet, maybe it was just a tough old deer that had a very strong will to live. I will never know.
 
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Hmm i shoot bergers to but after listening to all the people who have had bad reports makes me wana switch back to the barnes
 

cfvickers

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Blood from the nose and mouth. I just cannot get past that. That suggests lungs to me, and given the aiming point I would bet you hit right where you were aiming. However with it that close it may or may not open. Those bullets have worked well for me at close and long range. haven't lost one yet, but I will submit that I may lose the next. However, I have lost deer with barnes, and other heavily constructed bullets. Your point of aim was likely misjudged, and no amount of target shooting will ever make up for determining an aiming point on a deer. Even the most seasoned hunters will at some point get it wrong as well. There is nothing to be ashamed of or upset with yourself about if any of these suggestions posted are the case. Or the bullet for that matter. If you hunt with one in particular long enough at some point it will not do what you need it to do. I am thinking you made a high forward shoulder shot at an angle that was not descernable to you when you pulled the trigger. You hit the top of one lung, barely missed the spine and all main arteries and the deer may well go several more days before it expires. It happens to everyone sooner or later, it sucks tremendously, but don't sweat it. Every time we squeeze the trigger on a game animal we roll the dice. Those dice are usually loaded in our favor, but one time in a thousand they will not fall where we hope.
 

WildRose

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I've been shooting Berger 168 grain VLD .308 bullets for about a year now. I find them highly accurate out of my gun (legitimate .5 MOA), and until this weekend, one shot killers. Last year, I high shoulder shot a nice buck with them at 270 yards, and he crumpled on the spot. This Friday, I high shoulder shot a mature doe with them at 147 yards, same story. This Saturday evening, I high shoulder shot a HUGE 10 point buck at under 40 yards, expecting him to drop on the spot. He hunched up in reaction to the shot, but ran off about 150 yards before bedding down. I waited about 10-15 minutes, figuring he should be dead by now. When I climbed down out of my stand and started blood tracking him, he jumped up and ran off. I immediately stopped tracking and backed out to the woods to let him lay overnight. The next morning, two excellent trackers and I tracked him for OVER A MILE!! We found three places where he lay down, with pools of blood about the diameter of a pie plate. In one of the beds, we found the large pool of chest blood, as well as blood obviously coming out of his mouth. The bloodtrail finally petered out near a large swamp, and we gave up after five hard hours of bloodtrailing.

The shot was perfect- right where I aimed in the high shoulder. I am a Distinguished Rifleman, ranked High Master in NRA High Power, and have shot competively since 1970. The only thing I can figure is the bullet blew right through the shoulder with minimal expansion and shocking power. I welcome any comments, but I must admit I'm tempted to go back to good old Sierra 165 grain GameKings. I've never lost a single animal with Sierras that was properly hit.
You're shootintg a hollow point bullet at warp nine which explodes when it hits something solid at short range.

The bullet performed as designed.

In the future at such short ranges skip the high shoulder shot and go for the heart or neck/spine shot.

Were you shooting the target or hunting VLD?
 

BEEMAN

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Oct 20, 2011
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Shot a large buck this year at 30 yards. 140 grain hunting VLD 7 WSM. Killed the deer but the results were not to my liking. Hit behind shoulder were I was aiming and had between a softball and cantelope size entrance with no exit. Deer went 20 yards so I can't complain on killing ability. But I do believe the bullet blew up on impact. 2 broken ribs at entrance (deer was broadside), bullet hit dead center of deer and the heart was shot in half. there must have been fragments. What surprised me was the lack of damage to the lungs. I think without the fragment to the heart the results could of been different. I think I only got a few inches of penetration but impact velocity was right around 3200 fps. Not a fault to the bullet, I will just use something different in this area next year.
 

bigngreen

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Shot a large buck this year at 30 yards. 140 grain hunting VLD 7 WSM. Killed the deer but the results were not to my liking. Hit behind shoulder were I was aiming and had between a softball and cantelope size entrance with no exit. Deer went 20 yards so I can't complain on killing ability. But I do believe the bullet blew up on impact. 2 broken ribs at entrance (deer was broadside), bullet hit dead center of deer and the heart was shot in half. there must have been fragments. What surprised me was the lack of damage to the lungs. I think without the fragment to the heart the results could of been different. I think I only got a few inches of penetration but impact velocity was right around 3200 fps. Not a fault to the bullet, I will just use something different in this area next year.
The 140's are nice out of a 7mm-08 but you need to better match your bullets to size of the cartridge, a 168 or better yet a 180 would be a better match!!!

What your seeing with the damage is the bullet not just blowing up like a varmint bullet but doing a slow blow and basically making a cloud of bullet fragments that makes a wound channel that looks like a grinder went through it, and with a little more bullet it would have exited in the same manner. We target the heart a lot and we rarely find much of it left, but as with most bullets a heart shot usually produces a little bit of a run before the run out of juice!
 

BEEMAN

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I agree on bullet size especially at those ranges. At the time we loaded the 140's that is all that was available to me (hard to find in my area of Canada). I may try the Accubond or Scirocco next year. What would be my best bullet choice for shots from point blank to 75 yds in the 7WSM?
 

winmag

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LaPine Or.
I agree on bullet size especially at those ranges. At the time we loaded the 140's that is all that was available to me (hard to find in my area of Canada). I may try the Accubond or Scirocco next year. What would be my best bullet choice for shots from point blank to 75 yds in the 7WSM?
Partition, Accubond, A-Frame, Scirocco II,..... & the list goes on & on. For point blank to 75 yds you want a very tough bullet.

I've shot bears with bonded bullets out of my 270wsm at 27 yds & recovered the bullets. Close range + high velocity equals one brutal test for any bullet.
I love my Accubonds. They perform great for me at the typical ranges I hunt 6-800 & less, but if I ever get a dedicated Long Range Hammer, ill definately look hard at Burgers. I think that is where they shine brightest IMO is past 6-800 yds.
You don't get praise from a crowd as demanding as most here. You gotta earn it. Berger must be doing something right to earn thier reputation with shooters this demanding at long range.
But with all that said, I don't plan on swiching from my Accubonds anytime soon due to flawless performance at the ranges I typically hunt. The thing is to match the bullet to the game, velocity, & distance, & shot you are willing to take, or pass on.
 

bigngreen

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I agree on bullet size especially at those ranges. At the time we loaded the 140's that is all that was available to me (hard to find in my area of Canada). I may try the Accubond or Scirocco next year. What would be my best bullet choice for shots from point blank to 75 yds in the 7WSM?
I would look at Matrix Ballistics in Canada, they have bonded and VLD bullets that are good quality!! The 160 Accubomb is good out of a 7mm, at that range almost any bonded bullet will shine OR go to the heavier Bergers!
 

BH107

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Aug 21, 2009
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Montana
I had read about this happening to other as well, so last year in Colorado I kept 180gr TTSX in my 300 Win while walking, knowing that if I got the oppertunity to stretch out my shot, I had the time to chamber a 210 VLD. If I wasn't planning on shooting out past 300, I would have left the 180's in.
 

elkaholic

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Rhian (Bign') is correct. If you want to use a highly frangible bullet, such as a Berger, on elk sized game, shoot the heaviest one available........Rich
 

jeff 300

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Mar 27, 2005
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corpus christi,tx
First off sorry you lost your deer any time this happens it sucks for sure.
But I have shot bergers for some years now out of just about every thing i own 223,243,22-250 308,300wsm,300rum,338edge and i have never had any thing like this happen. I have shot coyotes, whitetails,hogs and even turky with the small 22's and up to the 300 rum and 338 edge any where from 10 -1000 yrds and never had this happen. i shot a yote at about 14-15yrds this pasted weekend with the rum and the exit hole was not a small one this was with a 180gr @ 3320.

I will also say i shot a doe at about 30-35 yrds with the same rum to only see her get up and run off with blood every where and i didn't find her till three days later. I had not made the shot that i thought i did. i had hit the a front leg high and blow it off and part of the brisket. Just because u think you made a good shot doesn't mean you did.

Better luck next time
 

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