Berger bullets for hunting

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Diamondhitch, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I just watched an episode of "extreme outer limits" where they said that the Berger bullets are designed to penetrate a few inches then dump all their energy in the animals core (fragment). This sounds to me like what the ballistic tip bullets do when you push them too fast, either causing immediate devastating results or failing.

    Does anyone have any experience with them? In particular on tough shots like the classic follow up Texas heart shot. Do they get enough penetration in these less than ideal situations to get the job done?

    Also how are they for cape damage, when pushed too fast the ballistic tips tend to make a huge entrance and no exit, are the Bergers similar?
     
  2. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    I am a member at another forum where Bergers are talked about a bit. I used them last year for the second time. The first time I tried them was in Namibia on my first hunt. I screwed up and reloaded the target bullets and not the hunting VLD's..... My fault. Just didn't know enough about it. I didn't lose any animals, but I wasn't impressed. I next started using the TTSX bullets and got good results. Biggest problem is the BC's are low. So for long range shooting they suck. That is where the Bergers shine. Last yr I drew a bighorn sheep tag here in Wy. I did a report here so many know about it. Was shown on TV a few weeks ago....
    As a result of the tag I eventually hired John Porter as my guide. He believes in the Bergers. He used to be a guide in Alaska and now WY. Best year he put his knife in over 50 big game animals. So he has an opinion about bullets. He likes the accuracy and BC of the Bergers. As mentioned they are designed to open up soon after entering a animal.
    Last year I used them in my 6.5-06. 140 grain bullet at 3004 FPS. On my sheep I was above him and he was quartering away. I rushed the shot believing he was ready to run. We had kicked him out of his bed. I wobbled as I shot and hit him just in front of the hip. The bullet angled forward and came to rest just under the skin up near the diaphragm. He went less than 100 yards and piled up dead. John's words were he'd of been worried if I was using a partition. He likes the bullet to fragment some. Feels like it does more damage.
    2nd animal last yr was an antelope. 375 yards by laser rangefinder. I got out of the truck [ offroad on private property]. I used the front of the truck to rest my back against and had a bipod on. The bullet hit slightly off center and apparently split into 2 larger pieces. One exited behind the shoulder and the other ranged back into the guts. He turned and went less than 10 yards. Did I mention his lungs were ventilated too?
    I have the 6.5-06 set up for longer range shooting. Just getting into it. So for my deer I was on a private ranch in the Black Hills. Had pretty spent my allotted time hunting so the goal was to kill a deer and spend more time at home......... In the AM I spotted a fair buck. 4X4 whitetail. Was hoping to do better. Couldn't find a bigger one. So when he came out following a doe at 3:30 I decided to give him a free ride home with me. When I first lasered him he was at 590 yards. I moved to a small knoll that allowed a good place to get prone. He was coming closer. I dialed for 600 yard. Being new I for got to check my bubble level. I tend to cant a gun and that can really affect where the bullet goes at longer ranges. I also forgot to consider any wind. Slight if any. So when I pulled the trigger I heard the bullet hit. I found the buck in my scope and he is just standing there as is the doe. They did'nt know where the shot came from and were just standing there. I chambered another round. I was trying to decide If I had hit the buck or not. So like any good hunter I shot again. The buck hit the dirt in a hurry. I was able to drive to him. My first shot had hit him a little far back. Bullet was on the far side. I'll see if I can post a pic below. The second shot hit where the neck and shoulder join. It appeared to of blown up on impact with the bone. No bullet recovered.
    So what I have learned so far. Great bullets for long range. Some of the very best BC's so they shoot flatter and are less affected by wind than almost anything else out there. Use heavy for caliber bullets. Takes advantage of the high BC's and will get better penetration. Don't shoulder shoot an animal if you have any choice.
    PM me for info on the other forum where they are discussed regularly. A gentleman from Montana has his .300 win mag set up for long range with them. He was using the 215 gr bullets last year. Between family and friends and himself they killed like 16-17 animals with that gun out to over 1200 yards. 6 or so elk. All one shot kills. They are deadly when used correctly.
    There is a hunter in New Zealand that has a great approach. He uses a bonded bullet out to 300-400 yards and then a Berger for longer shots. They both shoot close to the same point of aim in close.
    In my opinion long range shots can be ethical. If you have the right equipment and practice a lot. I felt comfortable out to 600 yards last year. My goal is to increase that to 800 yards this year. We'll see how I feel in another 5 weeks when the season opens.
    Right now I'm looking at the Nosler long range accubond. The company claims they will open up at as low a speed as 1400 FPS. I'm finding the jacket to be a bit soft. I'm putting a crimp in the bullet trying a particular compressed load. So I'm going to have to change it up a bit.
     

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  3. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Diamondhitch, Four friends shoot nothing but Bergers in North America. All four have Gunwerks rifles. They love the round and their videos are impressive. All are LR shooters. (Even I am impressive on the range with those rifles, bullets, and a great spotter calling out windage to me) The only one of them that hunts Africa regularly, has stopped useing Berger in Africa. He says they work great on African animals up to 350 lbs and then he has problems. He wants better penetration. Since you don't know the size of the next animal you are going to see in Africa is, he uses a partition now for pg.

    This is not something I know much about, just passing on info shared with me by friends. All the best in your decisions.
     
  4. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Thanks for the info. Sounds like they are good on most shots but heavy bone is a show stopper. Im not sure I like the idea of bullets intentionally coming apart, maybe that is just in my head.

    I didn't see that show, which one was it. I will have to watch for it. Congrats on your ram (again).
     
  5. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Thanks, it sounds like despite the better BC my good old Barnes are still the right choice for me. It doesn't matter what you hit, what size or how far away the animal is or at what angle, you can count on a barnes to find its way into the kill zone.
     
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    My biggest concern has been making sure I don not hit TWO kill zones.
     
  7. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    :thumb: Definitely, although I have no Cape Buff experience, my barnes experience makes me shudder every time I see a Buff shot with another behind it! Obviously I am overestimating my Barnes but it comes honestly, to date I have recovered one and it went end for end on an elk at 507 yds!
     
  8. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I understand what you are saying. My avatar is the only "two kill zones" I have ever hit on a mammal. (Never realized there was a second one behind it.) Someday I would like to have some hogs or baboons lined up at a water hole and see what a 375 solid would do.
     
  9. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Spot on advice, it could be a HUGE problem.
     
  10. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I'm with you!
     
  11. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Yup, I have had several fantasies about that with coyotes but they just never seem to cooperate, gophers on the other hand...
     
  12. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Diamondhitch, Not sure if you have read this report. "Omujeve Safaris Hunting report". Here on AH but the Bergers sound like they did the job. A lot of DRT animals on this safari. Are you going to use the Bergers on Mid Asian? All the best on that hunt.
     
  13. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Exit wound of a Pronghorn Antelope shot at about 282 yards with a 168 grain Berger VLD out of a 300 Weatherby Magnum. I shot 3 other antelope with this load and it worked well on all.

    [​IMG]

    Entry wound of a Berger 115 gr. VLD from a 25/06 in the rump of a deer. This would be close to a Texas heart shot. The wound, in case you're having trouble seeing it, is off the tip of the old corn stock.

    [​IMG]

    The deer taken with the above load. There was no exit wound.
     
  14. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    A hunt like this is no time to be experimenting IMO. I will be sticking to my Barnes, I have used them exclusively for years and know they kick a$$ and take names. They take no crap from bone, paunch or anything else in the way of the vitals.
     
  15. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    2nd animal is a taxidermists dream, the 1st a nightmare. As a taxidermist I want nothing to do with launching a grenade into a perfectly good cape. I imagine a shoulder hit would scrap the entire shoulder as well. Very devastating, thanks for the pics.
     
  16. Lpart

    Lpart AH Member

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    I took the new 30 caliber Berger 185 gr hunting VLD's to Zimbabwe with me in April. I have been using the Bergers exclusively for five or six years but had mixed results in Africa. They worked adequately on Impala and I did manage to shoot a leopard with my 300 win mag. I shot the leopard head-on in the chest from 70 yards and the bullet never exited. It made just a pinhole going in and we had a very difficult time finding a drop or two of blood. The shot was perfect and the leopard was dead that we had a follow-up without a blood trail for about 50 yards and my PH was not a very happy camper. I had very poor luck with the bullets on larger game. On both wildebeest and zebra with shots dead on the shoulder as they are supposed to be on these African animals, the bullets failed to enter the chest cavity. I ended up putting the 300 back in the gun case and fortunately I had my 375 Ruger with me which I use for the rest of the hunt with 300gr North Forks. When I got home I quickly sold the rest of my 185 gr Bergers and developed a load with 180 gr Barnes TTSX for future use. They don't shoot quite as flat but that is easily compensated for with my ballistic reticle. I would have to agree with my PH when he said that he thought the Berger would be good if it had a bonded core. I look forward to trying the new long-range Accubonds when I can get my hands on some.
     
  17. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Hi Lpart. Your experience is not new or different. When using Bergers you want a soft tissue hit. Not on the shoulder. Been a number of discussions about it on another forum I'm part of. If you use Bergers then I have 2 suggestions. First use heavy for caliber bullets and don't aim for the shoulder. In the .30 caliber the 215's or even the 230's will produce better results for you. I just started using them last year. Still like the TTSX for closer shots. No one bullet has all of the properties that we would like to have. Good luck. Bruce
     
  18. colorado

    colorado AH Enthusiast

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    My sons and I shoot 270s, they have 270 Wins I have a 270 Weatherby. The 150g Partitions have always done everything I could ask of them at both 10 yards and out past 400 yards on elk, black bear and deer. That being said their BC leaves much to be desired. I've recently started shooting my 270 Weatherby (hitting gongs, hanging scuba tanks, etc) at 800 plus yards and it's a different game. I've looked at the Matrix bullets. They offer bonded boat tail bullets at 150g with a BC of just over .5, but their high BC VLD 165 bullets are not bonded. I'm a hunter so target shooting only doesn't interest me. It would be nice if either Berger or Matrix would make a high BC bullet bonded bullet.
     

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