Pics of Berger Bullets NOT Performing????

cowboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2007
Messages
1,130
Location
Mt., Id. , SD
It looks like some of us have never had a problem and some have seen/heard of this numerous times.

When you have the same lot number where there is no problems along with having some problems it poses a real tough situation in trying to pin point what is causing the problem. With that said could the guys having seen this problem one or numerous times be doing anything in their bullet seating process with whatever they are using for a bullet seating die be closing the tip????

The tip being closed makes the most analytical sense to me at this point and that could be anything from coming straight from Berger that way, our bullet seating process, and even in the handling of said bullets be it in the reloading room or in a magazine that has been fired 'N" number of times.

I will tell you that in long past I have used lead tipped bullets and after a 100 miles riding in a rifle scabbard on mule/horseback the tips would flatten out just being in the magazine. I'd just jack 'em out to use on the rifle range and put in a new batch.

I have been a long time user of Berger's. With that said I was VERY skeptical in even trying them at the very beginning. After seeing about a dozen animals taken by my sons and analyzing the results at the gut piles I made the switch and will say I have had nothing but a positive experience since. We do try and buy our Bergers in lots of 1000 so we don't have that much experience with a whole lot of different lot numbers.

I've been around a while and I will repeat what has been said by others: "I take my hat off to Berger and their response". I even decided I needed a Berger hat in my stocking so I ordered one yesterday. Never have advertised for a particular product unless a shirt/hat/coat was given to me.

Although my initial thoughts on this were BS because we've never seen it happen personally, it may well be going on and I am thankful that this discussion is taking place. If a manufacturing process, handling or reloading is causing it I'd like to know so that we can avoid ever running into it.

Again - thank you berger for your responses and more than anything your attitude in this matter.
 

phorwath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
7,430
Location
Alaska
Here's a pic of a 168gr .284 VLD (upper) and a 210gr .308 VLD (lower) which have been meplat trimmed and hollow-pointed with the Kevin Cram tools. I didn't get too agressive in removing tip material. I shaved off enough of the tips to completely smooth up about 90% of the VLD meplats, and the tips on the remaining 10% are then about 90% uniformed. I was more interested in the hollow-pointing feature and the thinning of the leading edge of the jacket material.

168210VLDsmeplat-uniformedandhollow-pointed_zps4247d58b.jpg
 
Last edited:

bigngreen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
8,336
Location
SW Montana
I keep wondering if there is some way an ejection pin in the die can sometimes push a little peal of copper or pull a little copper up into the hole a little? The one bullet we found was definitely plugged with copper and we drilled it a little to see how far it was closed and it was significantly thick. It was reported to Berger also.
 

Scot E

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2008
Messages
1,316
Location
SW Idaho
Scott E and IdahoRedneck,
Short answer is I don't have the answers to Scott's great questions for several reasons. I've shot custom bullets that elkaholic has manufactured the past two hunting seasons. So my chronograph work, load development, and testing turned to those bullets and loads shortly after I meplat uniformed and hollow-pointed these VLDs. I plan to shoot the meplat tricked-out VLDs through my triplicate chronograph setup at 1000 yds to determine % reduction in BC, but haven't done that yet. And in general, a move within the local area has reduced my hobby time over the past 12 months.

I can say the Kevin Cram tools produce sweet looking bullet tips. I did this because I had an intuitive expectation that if I created the slightly enlarged V-shaped hollow point on the tips of the bullets, that I might be able to reduce or eliminate those instances of non-expansion, and that the bullets might be even more apt to expand at long range, low velocity impacts on game. The hollow-pointing tool thins the leading edge of the jacket and creates a picture perfect V down into the hollow of the tip of the bullets. It seemed to me that a V shape would be more apt to disrupt when impacting game than a thicker, blunter leading edge on the jackets.

It does take a fair amount of time and effort to meplat uniform and hollow-point 450 bullets. If Berger did this, they'd have to charge a premium for the extra time and labor. And if you decide to do it yourself, you'll value the bullets more than before due to the investment of your labor.

My thoughts: I will be able to determine any reduced BC value after I chronograph at 1000 yards. I may be able to discern some affect on accuracy, but I don't expect that. Otherwise ALL benchrest shooters would be doing this. I won't be able to determine if the hollow-pointing improves the odds of expansion any time soon, because the vast majority of VLDs seem to expand as intended. And I don't kill enough animals to reach a confident conclusion any time soon. Going about it on my own WILL require a large number of game animals killed to determine if the hollow-pointing eliminates the incidents of non-expanding bullets.

Eric's approach will be much more time-efficient to determine if the closed tips are a causative factor in failures to expand. Identify a potential cause and then focus on thoroughly testing that specific cause. In this case, shoot only the closed-tip bullets to determine if those bullets with no hole in the tips fail to expand a significantly increased percentage of the time. I appreciate the challenge. When the vast majority of VLDs do expand, it will be difficult to finger a primary cause for the limited number of non-expanding incidents.

A hunters, we may have to accept the fact that just about any bullet design may fail to perform 100% of the time. I had a 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip fail to expand on a dall ram at a distance of 12 yards about 20 years ago. Shot the ram through the ribs, just behind the shoulders. Completely broadside shot. The ram acted like he'd not been hit. He jumped and reversed position 180 degrees and then stood there looking around until I saw a small tiny red spot on the white hair in the middle of the ribs where the bullet exited on the off side. So I continued to wait and watch thinking the animal would collapse very soon. Long story short, he was still alive 20 minutes later when I finally shot him a second time. This experience is why I stated earlier, perhaps only God will know why bullets sometimes fail to perform to standards of expectation.

An even more bizarre incident. Locally, and about 8 years ago, an older man shot his neighbor with a .338 Win Mag at point blank range (less than 15 feet). He was tying to kill his neighbor following some sort of disagreement. The gunshot victim did fall to the ground, but continued to talk. Was asking the neighbor why the h_ll he shot him? Another long story short. The gunshot man survived being hardly any worse for the wear. EMTs and paramedics were all dumbfounded and reported that the bullet struck close to the heart, and thru and thru'd the torso above the diaphram. Same type of report later from the hospital. Obviously that bullet didn't expand. I would have loved to have seen the look on the shooter's face after the shot, which produced very minimal affect. I'd guess he may have decided he'd picked a fight with the wrong fella! :D For the unbelieving, this incident was reported in the local Peninsula Clarion, Kenai, Alaska. Might be able to find it with a Google search. Last piece of gossip... The shooter was an occasional customer at my brother's gun shop. My brother said the customer always seemed like a nice guy. Never imagined he'd have done something like this.

I'll report on my findings with the meplat trimmed and hollow-pointed VLDs, but only after I've reached some fairly confident conclusions. I think I'll be able to discern and calculate a reduced BC. But the reduction in BC has already been fairly closely determined in the past from other shooters' reports (~2%, but it's dependent on how much tip is shaved off the bullets). I'm not confident I'll be able to reach conclusions on the other items of interest anytime soon...

Thanks a lot for the info and the time spent writing it out. Very helpful.

I will tell you what is interesting to me. I have followed all the Berger issues with interest because to my way of thinking they are the ultimate killing bullet when they perform correctly. The only real issues you hear are some non expanding issues and some premature blowup issues but they are very rare.

It seems for the real dedicated LR guys, willing to deal with the extra labor, that it would be about perfect to take some of the thicker jacketed hybrid target bullets and use the uniformer and HP tool on them. Seems like it could be possible to create the perfect hunting bullet with no drawbacks. At least it would be a really fun experiment!

Scot E.
 

cowboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2007
Messages
1,130
Location
Mt., Id. , SD
Scot E;7286 It seems for the real dedicated LR guys said:
Been talking about this very same thing - we're going to do some playing with very thing. Can't decide what to use as a testing media and all our seasons just closed. Wish I still had a pocket full of anterless tags that still needed using.
 

Scot E

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2008
Messages
1,316
Location
SW Idaho
Been talking about this very same thing - we're going to do some playing with very thing. Can't decide what to use as a testing media and all our seasons just closed. Wish I still had a pocket full of anterless tags that still needed using.
Well don't tell Broz. He'll get all giddy about a new Berger project and and won't be able to sleep until next fall! :D

Please keep us all up to date. I am very interested in the results!

Scot E.
 

IdahoRedneck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Messages
300
Location
Idaho Falls
I couldnt agree more. The extra step required on making match quality huntin ammo is somethin I would enjoy as I love makin LRH ammo.:)........ As far as media I wonder if Brian litz would be interested in testin some bullets prepped this way. Comparing the expansion against the tests he already runs, should show for sure at least if there is a downside to doing this.......at least using whatever media he uses.

Plus one on Berger being the ultimate bullet.when they work which has been always for me.... If this new step would add to them working I think lots of folks wouldnt mind doing it.

And the fact that the tips do look awesome when done is always a good thing...:D

also very interested in your results......... Dan
 

Blind Man

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
5
Interesting. I've never had anything but incredible results and vital destruction on big Muleys and Elk with the VLD. Just really been awesome for me.
 

cowboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2007
Messages
1,130
Location
Mt., Id. , SD
Well don't tell Broz. He'll get all giddy about a new Berger project and and won't be able to sleep until next fall!
Please keep us all up to date. I am very interested in the results!
Scot E.

Never had the opportunity to meat Broz but with the way he approaches things he'd be welcome around my campfire anytime.
Going to go at this with the 6.5 140 VLD hybrid target to start with. Got a son who finished his marine career, got married, bought a new house and a custom rifle just doesn't fit into budget. He just picked up a 6.5x284 factory savage in a LRH. with a factory barrel he figures the hybrids would have a better chance of flying straight with less effort. Berger does not make the 6.5-140 gr in a hunting hybrid so once we get his rifle, scope, mounts and everything gathered up we'll start from scratch. Ordered 2 boxes of bullets yesterday.

Don't want to hijack this thread but if anyone has some media ideas please send me a PM - I'm all ears as this is virgin territory for me. We're going to do some testing. We intend to test the same bullets right out of the box, meplat tool, and crimp/plug the noses shut.
 

birddog67

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
447
Location
texas
I work in the MFG process in Downhole electronic field . we have very controlled process's in our MFG Area. our products go down the hole behind the tool bit and see's temps of 210C . our computer boards will go down a oil or gas hole and run for 15,000 hours with out failure and go 15-20 thousand feet , some will go out and fail at 100Ft ? we have multiple heat and shock and vibe testing before it leaves our facility. then our customer will test it also before a board goes to the field . We use class III inspection criteria which is a higher standard than military testing . what i am getting at is : this is a muti billion dollar industry !

No matter how tight your process's are there is still a chance of
Failure . even with very proven designs .

Eric is doing the correct thing to find root cause then he will be able to see if the issiue can be corrected .

I have been doing this for 15 years and sometime's you will have a one off problem that will go away .

this is my opinion I have shot bergers and accubonds and standard bullets hand loaded be me .and shot factory rounds .

I have had standard bullets fail before blowing up on impact this happen 2 times ( bullet was a reminton power point 150 gr bullet shot from a 308 on a hog at 150 yards factory load pig walked away died next day and bullet created only a flesh wound . did not enter in chest cavity . load did not seam to be a lite loaded bullet from the factory .

I also had a accubond jacket peel off from the lead core , on a deer hit in the shoulder at 175 yards hand load not book max . found the jacket in the top of chest cavity and the bullet on the inside of the shoulder. deer was shot forward in the frount shoulder , deer was dead any way , but bullet didnt stay together. bullet did not hit any bone .


I have just started using bergers 300 ultra , and have shot 5 animals with them, i have not had a problem yet . all hand loads below book max. all have been bang flops all have been from 125 yards to 390 yards . bullets preformed correctly .

Could i have a failure in the future yes ! do i undrstand it yes , we live in the real world and no matter how automated and tight a process is there is still a chance that somthing can go wrong .

As long a a manufacture of a product will stand behind their product and listen to the user's of that product and find root causes if any

Also once you modify a product that the designer of the product has not tested all bets are off on the products design!!!! Do not care who has said the modification was OK trimming metraplat!!!!

you can not ask for more than that ! IMOP.

intrested to see the results of the testing , to see if it repeatable .

:rolleyes: forgive my spelling i do not use spell check i just cant spell !
 
Last edited:

Eric Stecker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
292
For the sake of this thread I am going to have to take a brand new bullet that will let me stick something into it. Load it if I am going to kill something and see if my seater plug is the problem. If it is by theory I should not be able to stick anything back in the hole. If I can then it proves that my dies could not be the problem. Or am I wrong?

This is a great way to check if your seater stem is closing the tip of the bullet. Frankly, I will be surprised if this is the case since reloading tooling manufacturers have been relieving the area where the tip could bottom out since the VLD bullets were introduced in the mid 80's.

Seating stems that are not "VLD" seating stems can leave a ring around the nose because the bullet is contacting the die on a fine edge rather than a shaped flat. The VLD seating dies are shaped to push on the bullet over a wide area. It is unlikely that your stem is touching the tip of the bullet unless your dies are older.

The thing to keep in mind is that you will learn if your seating stem crushes the tip of the bullet to some degree but the fact that it doesn't (if it doesn't) won't matter if the closed tip is not the cause of no expansion. This must be determined. If this is the cause, it is far more likely that you didn't do anything to the bullet to cause the condition of a closed tip.

Regards,
Eric
 

barnesuser28

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
2,820
Location
ND
I just went and checked 166 300 grain berger otm and 2 of them i couldnt fit a staple into, 2 had damaged tips (flattened like they were dropped), and 1 i could BARELY fit the staple into. 1% had flattened tips , 1% had tips i couldnt fit a staple into. Thats really good, i plan to compare the 285 grain hornady bthp to these.
 

barnesuser28

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
2,820
Location
ND
Don't want to hijack this thread but if anyone has some media ideas please send me a PM - I'm all ears as this is virgin territory for me. We're going to do some testing. We intend to test the same bullets right out of the box, meplat tool, and crimp/plug the noses shut.
I would pay good money to see a couple 5 gallon buckets full of spam get shot. :D:D gun)
 
Top