Berger Bullet Failure at Short Range

chickm1

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Texas, by God
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.

Bud, I loaded the VLD Hunting bullets this year. Of 5 animals shot, I had 2 failures. One was on a huge WT buck, I shot at 150 yards. Yesterday was 6 weeks later, and I get a picture of the buck on a trail came. The buck has lost 40 lbs, and sports a wound on the exit side of his rib cage, that indicates that both lungs should have been destroyed. There was a rise in the land between the buck and me, and while in the prone position, I could not see the neck or the heart, to shoot it. I put the bullet through the lungs, as he was exiting the area, and spent the rest of the day, trying to find him. The other failure was on a sow at 110 yards. Bullet hit dead on, where the crosshairs were trained. Half way between the eye and ear, and 1" down. The bullet did not penetrate the skull, but deflected down and exited where the neck and shoulder meet. The hog hit the ground, laid for a couple minutes, then got up and ran off. I had to get my dog to find it. The bullets performed well on 2 other hogs and a cow horn spike, but 2 failures out of 5, is good enough for me to quit them. I never lost any game with the Game Kings or the Ballistic tips. I spent too much money on the Berger bullets and their book.
 

chickm1

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Jun 13, 2012
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198
Location
Texas, by God
Without recovering the animal it's impossible to reach any final conclusion
Not exactly true. In my case, I have a picture of a buck that I did not recover, that you can see a wound scar on the exit side of the rib cage, 6 weeks after I shot him. The bullet obviously did not expand properly. Shot was taken at 150 yards. 7mm08. 2850 fps muzzle velocity.
 

WildRose

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Feb 3, 2011
Messages
12,075
Location
N. Texas and S. Africa
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.
This is not a bullet designed to punch bone. Put it behind the shoulder and/or lower for a heart lung shot avoiding heavy bone and you'll probably have far fewer problems.

The only danger you face then is the inevitable "penciling through" which Berger's are also prone to.

Stick with the Hornady Interbond or Nosler Accubond and you won't have to worry about either problem or go to a mono like the Peregrine VLR's which will give you consistent, predictable expansion no matte what they hit.

In the last forty years I've put more than a thousand game animals down and I've never seen consistent one shot kills like I have with the Peregrines. Hornady Interbond and Nosler Accubonds have given the best peformance in bonded bullets.

The Barnes LRX has given me good performance as well but with a much smaller sampling.

I shoot as many deer as I legally can every year and somewhere between 100-200 hogs, sometimes more so I get to look at a whole lot of terminal performance on game up close.

The Peregrines gave me unmatched performance in Africa as well where I first discovered them after the bullets I'd brought with me repeatedly failed to give optimal results.
 

WildRose

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Feb 3, 2011
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12,075
Location
N. Texas and S. Africa
so whats your guys thoughts on the Berger bullet out of a 30-06 at a MV of 2600fps since the speed is not where the big magnums are at do you think that would be satisfactory for deer?
After quite a few failures with Bergers in the .260, 7mm STW, and .300 Rum I will no longer shot them or any other VLD at game.
 

Troutslayer2

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Joined
May 28, 2010
Messages
321
Man has Berger failure. Man is accused of not knowing where he hit deer in very first response. Man is advised to tone down the speed of bullet 100 FPS. Man is advised to take perfect archery shot next time. I only read page one.
 

Ingwe

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Jul 3, 2011
Messages
934
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?
THIS!

As expected, guys here are blaming the shooter and not the bullet. Bud says that he hit the deer within 1/4" of his POA.....got to REALLY be careful with where you aim with those magic bullets;)

That bullet did EXACTLY what any other un-bonded, giant-sized varmint or match bullet would do at 40 yards at high velocity....it disintegrated on impact!

Berger should be paying you guys for advertising;)
 

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