Done with 215 Bergers

Mike from Texas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Messages
219
Location
North Texas
I have (maybe had) used Berger’s exclusively for probably 10 years. And I only used the hunting version. Recently within the last 2 years specifically I’ve noticed I don’t get pass throughs anymore when I used to get them every single time. This is in 260 Rem, 6.5-284, 308 Win and 300 Win Mag. The most recent and surprisingly I shot a buck (140# Texas buck at at that) at about 135 yards with my 308. It shoots 175 VLD Hunting bullets at 2800 fps. I shot the buck quartering away at the last rib, be bucked, stumbled about 30 yards and fell over. It killed the deer but no exit. We can argue all day about pass through vs no pass through but I prefer pass through.

But since I don’t have 42 mounts I guess my experience is irrelevant. :rolleyes:
 

INVICTUS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
79
Location
West Texas
All I will say to the "target" bullet response is you are clueless if you actually believe a bullet is engineered to behave a certain way. Some "target" bullets have thin jackets and the "hunting" bullets of the same company will have thick jackets. Another company will be the exact opposite. Some trial and error has shown us some general differences in the way a cup and core bullet responds vs a bonded bullet but generalities are about as good as that gets. You can not engineer a bullet to behave a certain way on impact at all velocities. There is no free lunch. Bullets that expand great at 50 yards give up terminal performance at 800 yards and vice versa. Use what you want. The Berger 215 is one of the greatest hunting bullets ever created despite the the label says. Ethics are not allowed to be discussed on this forum but I can GUARANTEE more animals are shot at unethically with "hunting" bullets at running animals than are shot at long range with a well place 215 Berger.

The OP's post is full of speculation and anecdotal evidence at best. This is generally how the "this bullet sucks" argument starts. No facts. Usually no recovered bullet. Usually no recovered animal to prove where on the animal it was hit. I have lost track of the animals I alone have taken or seen taken with the 215 Berger and I have personally seen no better bullet.


The 3000fps remark makes no sense either because muzzle velocity has zero affect on terminal performance. Impact velocity is all that matters. A faster MV will give better performance farther away but impact velocity is the deciding factor.
I wonder if you the Nosler partition “behaves” differently than the small caliber “varmint grenades”.
If you don’t have confidence that your bullet will function in a predictable fashion. Buy a different bullet that does. There are occasional exception but bullets these days are extremely predictable. If they aren’t, then you don’t have the right bullet.
 

Heavy

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
9
I might as well be bringing up politics, but here it goes. I've been shooting the 215 Bergers out of my 300 win since 2017. ErDeveloped a great load shooting sub half minute at 2705 fps.

2017:
  • Wife shot a cow at 260 yards. Didn't look for a blood trail because we could see the animal laying 40 yards away. Bullet worked. Wonderful.
2018:
  • I shot at a cow. 300ish yards, poor rest, rushed/hectic shot. My wife, brother and I looked for about 1.5 hours. Couldn't find a drop of blood. No hair. Nothing. Three people looking all over for that long, we swore I missed. My other brother had a tag and ran off after the herd after my shot. He came back and asked if we found blood. No, we said. I guess I missed. He said alright. Let's head back to the truck. He started walking and we all followed closely behind. After a couple hundred yards he stepped to the side to reveal my dead elk laying there. He followed that elks tracks the whole way back to where we stood looking for blood and said that he didn't see a single drop. Granted this one is my fault; I hit it in the guts. I would still hope to see some sign of a hit.
  • The next day my wife shot at a cow at 460 yards. She practices at this range all the time and I know she can make the shot. She doesn't shoot if she's not comfortable and confident. No sign at all of a hit. The four of us looked for half the day and couldn't find anything. She definitely could have missed, but after the previous day's display I would not be surprised at all if she hit it.
  • Couple of weeks later I shot a cow at 260 yards. Ended up breaking the front shoulder and it only went 10 yards.
2019:
  • I shot a bull at 40 yards. It ran maybe 70 yards with blood spewing everywhere and died. Happy
  • My wife shot a bull at 260 yards and dropped it in it's tracks. Happy.
2020:
  • This spring I shot a beautiful big color phased bear. 260 yards, prone, solid as a rock - I could hit a baseball with the gun at that range. The bear was over a hill and disappeared after the shot. It looked like I hit it in the scope. Walked up to it swearing I would find a beautiful dead bear. Nothing. No hair. No blood. Nothing. Looked all over. Nothing. Two weeks later I found a pretty monstrous (in my book) black bear skull in the same area. My bear? I'll never know for certain. Sickening.
  • Monday I shot a bull. Thought it was dead. Walked up to it and it stood up. I shot it at ~30 yards broadside right in the boiler room. It flinched and kept standing. I shot it again, right in the boiler room. It took a couple steps and fell. I gave it 30 seconds and it was still pretty with it, so I shot it in the head. Still moving. Shot it in the head again and it finally faded slowly.
The first shot was at about 100 yards. None of the shots, except one head shot, had exit wounds. I found one copper jacket laying against the far side ribcage. The autopsy revealed that the internal organs were essentially fully intact. I saw no signs of the one "boiler room" shot. The other one, I saw a hole the size of my pointer finger through the lungs. I could barely stick my finger through the hole. The bullet didn't exit the far side of the animal, but penciled through the lungs - I would have expected to find a pencil exit.

I guess I'm starting to see why "not suitable for hunting" is stamped onto the box.

Unless somebody can show me what I'm doing wrong here, I'm pretty sure I'm done with the 215 hybrid. I might try the 205 Elite Hunters out. I'm also open to other suggestions.
I've had the same type results with Berger hunting bullets. I no longer use Berger bullets for hunting.
 

INVICTUS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
79
Location
West Texas
I might as well be bringing up politics, but here it goes. I've been shooting the 215 Bergers out of my 300 win since 2017. Developed a great load shooting sub half minute at 2705 fps.

2017:
  • Wife shot a cow at 260 yards. Didn't look for a blood trail because we could see the animal laying 40 yards away. Bullet worked. Wonderful.
2018:
  • I shot at a cow. 300ish yards, poor rest, rushed/hectic shot. My wife, brother and I looked for about 1.5 hours. Couldn't find a drop of blood. No hair. Nothing. Three people looking all over for that long, we swore I missed. My other brother had a tag and ran off after the herd after my shot. He came back and asked if we found blood. No, we said. I guess I missed. He said alright. Let's head back to the truck. He started walking and we all followed closely behind. After a couple hundred yards he stepped to the side to reveal my dead elk laying there. He followed that elks tracks the whole way back to where we stood looking for blood and said that he didn't see a single drop. Granted this one is my fault; I hit it in the guts. I would still hope to see some sign of a hit.
  • The next day my wife shot at a cow at 460 yards. She practices at this range all the time and I know she can make the shot. She doesn't shoot if she's not comfortable and confident. No sign at all of a hit. The four of us looked for half the day and couldn't find anything. She definitely could have missed, but after the previous day's display I would not be surprised at all if she hit it.
  • Couple of weeks later I shot a cow at 260 yards. Ended up breaking the front shoulder and it only went 10 yards.
2019:
  • I shot a bull at 40 yards. It ran maybe 70 yards with blood spewing everywhere and died. Happy
  • My wife shot a bull at 260 yards and dropped it in it's tracks. Happy.
2020:
  • This spring I shot a beautiful big color phased bear. 260 yards, prone, solid as a rock - I could hit a baseball with the gun at that range. The bear was over a hill and disappeared after the shot. It looked like I hit it in the scope. Walked up to it swearing I would find a beautiful dead bear. Nothing. No hair. No blood. Nothing. Looked all over. Nothing. Two weeks later I found a pretty monstrous (in my book) black bear skull in the same area. My bear? I'll never know for certain. Sickening.
  • Monday I shot a bull. Thought it was dead. Walked up to it and it stood up. I shot it at ~30 yards broadside right in the boiler room. It flinched and kept standing. I shot it again, right in the boiler room. It took a couple steps and fell. I gave it 30 seconds and it was still pretty with it, so I shot it in the head. Still moving. Shot it in the head again and it finally faded slowly.
The first shot was at about 100 yards. None of the shots, except one head shot, had exit wounds. I found one copper jacket laying against the far side ribcage. The autopsy revealed that the internal organs were essentially fully intact. I saw no signs of the one "boiler room" shot. The other one, I saw a hole the size of my pointer finger through the lungs. I could barely stick my finger through the hole. The bullet didn't exit the far side of the animal, but penciled through the lungs - I would have expected to find a pencil exit.

I guess I'm starting to see why "not suitable for hunting" is stamped onto the box.

Unless somebody can show me what I'm doing wrong here, I'm pretty sure I'm done with the 215 hybrid. I might try the 205 Elite Hunters out. I'm also open to other suggestions.
So after four years of use in the field you have decided that the “not suitable for hunting” statement on the product is valid?
I guess this is confirmation that the manufacturer knew what they were producing was and was not intended for.
Thank you for revealing the complete story on this and hopefully it will help educate some others to use the right tool for the right job.
Hard lessons produce valuable wisdom.
 

Wlfdg

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
573
Location
Teton County, WY
That is not a great load, the well known combo in the 300WM is H1000 , start at ~71 grains and you should get close to 3,000 fps.
I'm at 75.2gr hitting just under 3000fps with an ES of 16 and an SD of 5.2
 

QQQQQ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
114
Location
idaho
I also switched from the 215 hybrid for hunting. The thing that pushed me over the edge was shooting milk jugs and had one pencil through. I also had some other "weird quirks" happen, not entirely blaming the bullet. But that was enough for me, I went back to Accubond. The Hammer Hunter line looks appealing to me though,I would like to try this some day. Good luck
 

David Urasky

Active Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
37
Location
Saratoga, WY
Read what the manufacturer states about their bullet design. Berger hunting bullets are designed to enter and then explode. They are not designed to pass through. If you want a bullet to pass through buy something else.
Target bullets are designed with thicker jackets so it will stay together at high spin rates used for stability. They are designed to put holes in paper which is why they won’t expand reliably.
 

rm76

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2004
Messages
192
Location
Texas
I've had the same type results with Berger hunting bullets. I no longer use Berger bullets for hunting.

Same here. Gave up on Berger VLD Hunting bullets years ago for no blood trail with whitetails. As anyone who hunts whitetails often knows, a heart shot WT can and often will run 100 yards. In thick cover, no blood trail is no bueno!
 

Gstew1930

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Messages
45
Location
Mont Belvieu
I am done also. Shot a pronghorn buck at 711 yards with a 180 hybrid out of my 280ai. Perfect shot, directly behind the shoulder. The bullet blew up on impact.

This would be going at max 2000-2200 FPS and it blew up on on a thin skinned pronghorn? Plus it was hit behind the shoulder? I’m not saying you’re wrong but this is hard for me to believe
 

Timnterra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2012
Messages
1,398
Location
Rapid City SD
I read threads like this but I don’t know why. There is a thread like this for every bullet. There are thousands of dead animals that were claimed by Berger bullets, probably just as many for Hornady and Nosler and Barnes. Yet, every manufacturer has haters. I shoot mostly Hornady bullets because they shoot well Kill stuff well and are cheaper than most. No bullet from and manufacture monolithic or bonded bullets not withstanding, is going to leave a blood trail when shot through the guts. It’s because the animal isn’t bleeding much because no major blood vessels have been damaged. I saw a guy shoot an antelope in the paunch and the guts were literally dragging the ground as it ran and it didn’t leave a blood trail. (But I don’t know what bullet he was shooting so I couldn’t blame the bullet) probably a Remington factory corelokt ammo. Shoot whatever bullet you feel confident with but please don’t blame the bullet for a poor shot.
 

700Sendero

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
44
To each his own, but I’m having trouble putting some things together. On your last elk, none of the body shots exited, but they penciled through the lungs? Did they explode just after penciling through the second lung? Granted, I’ve not shot any elk or bear, but I’ve not had any issues with 215s out of my RUM at 3100. Big Missouri whitetail from 35-455 yards, and all were bang/flop. Like I said, what you shoot doesn’t effect me, but I do tend to agree a little with dangerRanger.
 

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