Berger Fail on elk

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Tikkamike, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who had never really hunted much but wanted to get into it so last year I found him a Tikka 300wsm stainless on here for a good price and a nice little leupold 3-9 to go on it. nice basic little set up. He killed a couple deer with it using some factory ammo with 165 gr partitions. I told him he needed to go buy some 180's for elk if he could (thinking he would get the same ammo with 180 partitions) he shows up with the HSM ammo loaded with the 185 berger hunting VLD. (Anyone who knows me this was not at all what I had in mind) but I thought what the heck this will be a good opportunity to give the Bergers another chance. Its just a cow elk so should be fine. Well we get out there and Immediatley spot elk from my look out point but they are still up and moving and havent bedded yet so I decided we would sit tight till they bedded. well several people come and go and see the elk (roughly mile and a half away)and go back down to the bottom below them to try and sneak up on them. I knew this wouldnt work because those elk were moving still and by the time they got there they would be long gone. so we just sat there, I called my dad and told him to come up cause we had elk spotted. Once he got there the elk had gone over the top and out of sight but I knew where they were going. so we circled around and got up on a knob where I expected to see them and spotted 3 bulls who had been bringing up the rear all morning. Then I looked down country and there were the rest of them about 1000 yards down in the bottom. bedded. DOWN wind... with no real way to get the wind in our favor without being in the wide open we decided to take our chances with swirling wind. we got down to where the elk were within range and (400 yards cause my buddy is a novice hunter/shooter and only had a Duplex) We couldnt get any closer without ending up on top of them and we were too low to see them so we went up another hill to the west to gan some elevation and I was able to see necks and heads. so we all laid down and got ready and one of them spotted us and stood up and the rest followed suit. I told my buddy to shoot first and just keep shooting till it was down and dad and I would get a couple before they all left. I told him to hold about 6" - 8"above the shoulder and squeeze one off. He did that and I saw her drop like a ton of Bricks (AMAZED) well at his shot they didnt do the typical mil around for a second thing they hauled --- so Neither dad or I got a shot. No big deal though we had plenty of work to go around now. we cross the small canyon and are about 100 yards from where I thought it was and I hear something, then all the sudden she is up and running for the trees so I pull up my 338 in a panic (225ttsx) and yank the trigger while its pointed in her general direction and got lucky cause she skidded to a stop on her chin about a half a second later. We get over there and he had made a perfect high shoulder hit. probably 6" down from the spineit had blown a huge hole in the hide and down about 2 inches. The hole was a good 6" across it was a big crater... but no more, He just shocked the spine and knocked her down and she recovered shortly after when she heard us. This would have been a lost elk if I had not gotten lucky and hit her. This is the EXACT kind of fail I have seen with 6.5 140 gr bergers on whitetail does. I know some of you have good luck with them, but I have had nothing but fail after fail with them on shoulder shots. Needless to say we will be loading up some 180 TSX for next year.
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Mike what kind of damage was caused by his bullet? How fast did you get to the animal after the shot? I am one who has had good luck with them, but I have never taken a shoulder shot, always one to the vitals. Also congrats on your follow up shot.
     
  3. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    the damage was a crater about 6" across and 2" deep basically just blew the skin and meat off the bone...and the follow up shot was a LOT of luck. it was a poor shot and I jerked the crap out of the trigger...surprised I didnt break it off haha. took us about 10 minutes to get to the elk after the shot

    Maybe it would have been fine if He had shot it behind the shoulder but that to me really limits shot opportunity. I like to be able to kill them from any angle.
     
  4. sbhooper

    sbhooper Banned

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    There are lots of stories like yours out there. I have no use for Bergers and I think they would go away, if not for their great target ballistics. They are way overrated as far as their performance on game.
     
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    So Mike you are saying the entrance hole was 6" across with little penetration? How deep was the penetration?

    Edit... just read post #3

    Had he handloaded 215's I think the story would have been very different. I would not hunt with anything less than the 215's in a frangible bullet in the larger cartridge 30 cals. In just about every case that there has been a reported Berger "fail" it's been with lighter bullets in larger cartridges. That said, the MV would not have been more than 3000 fps and it was a 400 yd shot. I would have thought it would have penetrated better.


    What cartridge were you seeing the 6.5 140 failures out of?
     
  6. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I only know one guy who shoots elk with that bullet in a 300 wsm he's shot two elk every year I've known him but you won't find him shooting elk any were but through the ribs with it!! I like them in an 06 but not a 300! I watched a guy do the same thing with an 180 Accubond on a cow elk, fortunately she stopped clear of the herd and I put a 140 Berger through her heart.
     
  7. ZSteinle

    ZSteinle Well-Known Member

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    Ive had nothing but ssuccess with.
     
  8. jfseaman

    jfseaman Well-Known Member

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    Lead bone, bad.
    Copper bone, good.
     
  9. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Everybody has varying success or failures on various bullet on various occasions.

    This year my friend shot a bull elk with his .300 Win Mag at <100 yards using factory 180gr Barnes bullet (can't remember if it's TSX or TTSX) ammo and it took 3 shots (1 each on lung, high spine, and left front (facing) shoulder) before it expired. The bull managed to run a short distance on each shot. Had 2 nice exit holes, and 1 bullet recovered half way with excellent expansion. Meat damaged on left front shoulder.

    Two weeks later, my other friend dropped a bull elk at 300 yards using factory HSM ammo 180gr Berger VLD in his 7MM Rem Mag. No exit wound but the vitals are all souped up ... no meat damage.

    IMHO, it's a success! :D
     
  10. jfseaman

    jfseaman Well-Known Member

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    Just being goofy
     
  11. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    the 140 fails were out of a 6.5x284, magnumitis on here has several of them on film. where the deer went down then got up and took off and you can see the big bloody hole on the shoulder
     
  12. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    We have shot that bullet into a lot of deer, we have not caught a bullet yet, they open almost to slow. If their blowing your stressing the jackets, we've seen it on here before and going to the target version made for typical results.
     
  13. adam32

    adam32 Well-Known Member

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    I had a 105 VLD (243 AI) go thru a big whitetail shoulder at 500 yards. A couple more this year at shorter ranges, never once had one "blow up".

    A buddy did have a SST blow up on a deers neck and shoulder, no penetration at all.

    I'll stick with Bergers until I see otherwise with my own eyes.

    I will be trying the 140 in my 6.5x284 next season, this year I used a 140 AccuBond at 400 yards on a small buck. Right behind the shoulder thru and thru ran about 30 yards and crumpled up.
     
  14. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    I am not trying to change anybody's mind. Like I said lots of people have good luck with them.. But every experience I have had with them has been similar to the most recent
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013