Berger VLD Hunters with 338 Win Mag

JacquesVR

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Does anyone have any experience with VLD's on the 338 Win?

I am a Barnes fan but for some reason my Rem 700 does not seem to like Barnes :cry:.

I load for all my calibers and mostly Barnes and I have tried every possible (at least in my mind) combo ranging from 185 TTSX up to 250 TSX and everything in between and just cannot get the grouping I know is possible with the 338 , to the point where I considered going back to factory ammo but damn that is seriously expensive in SA for this calber , although weighed up against the number of bullets I have shot away on the range trying to find a load .......well I will leave that sum to my wife to make at some point , permitting I am honest / brave enough to tell her :LOL:

I get good speed with the Barnes , but accuracy is just not there so thinking to change the bullet - I have plenty of "Bush" cal's so want to "tune" my 338 for longer distance work (probably 225Grn) and I have heard good things about the VLD's but the Win Mag can be a beast and do not want failures.

Any advice would be appreciated as I am frustrated as hell right now as I really like the 338Win - Used to hunt with Norma ammo when they loaded with Nosler Partition's (250Grn) and got great results but they stopped making them and as mentioned the ammo cost is now seriously high! (This was my pre-375H&H days).

Other alternate is to load 250's for the 375 and sell the 338 ......but selling just goes against the grain , and the 375 loves the 300grn Barnes i.e. If it works do not mess with it.

Any advice would be most welcome.
 

jduckhunter

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I'm going to use the VLD's on antelope in Wyoming this year for the first time. I am getting great accuracy with the 115 gr. in my 25-06 so I decided to see for myself how they work on critters. I've read good and not so good reports so I guess I'll make up my own mind once I try them. As far as my .338 WM goes I'm sticking with Speer Grand Slams in 225 gr. and 250 gr. I get great accuracy and the terminal performance is awesome.
As far as you selling your .338, well I just couldn't imagine parting with mine and I think that if you did sell it that decision would haunt you for a long time.
 

JimP

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You may have to try some other bullets until you find the ones that your rifle likes. My .340 Weatherby loves Barnes 225 grain bullets loaded at around 3000fps. It doesn't matter if they are the old X bullet, the TSX, or the TTSX they all fly into one small cluster of holes at 200 yards.

Some rifles like some bullets and others like different ones. My 340 hates Nosler Partitions. I haven't tried Swift A frames yet just because of how the Barnes shoots. But then that is the fun of reloading, finding what your rifle likes better than the others.
 

billc

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I have a friend who uses them but for long range hunting only. The bullet tend to blow up if the shots are to close. They were made to work at longer ranges when the bullets are slow downing. From what I have seen and heard I would not use them out of a 338 unless I was shooting 300 yds plus only.
I would try some swift a-frames if you can get them. They shoot great on of my 700 in 300 win mag 200 grain.
 

gillettehunter

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I have killed a couple of animals with the bergers. They are designed to penetrate a couple of inches and then to open up quickly. At close ranges try not to hit directly on the shoulder. Occasionally there are issues if you do...... Great long range bullet because they will still open up at extended ranges. Try to use them in heavy for caliber bullets for best results. For the .338 Win Mag most use the 300 grain bullet at around 2700 fps. You can also buy the 250's for greater speed. Every bullet has its pros and cons. If you know the limitations then you can compensate. Bergers can be tempermental about seating depth. once you determine your powder load then Berger suggests trying 4 different seating depths 50 thousanths difference to see what your rifle likes. In many rifles they are deadly accurate. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. I have loaded them in 5 rifles. Bruce
 

Buff-Buster

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Have you tried Nosler Accubonds? I shoot mostly Barnes bullets, but my .338 Win Mag has a preference for the Accubonds and they are extremely accurate.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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I have two 338 win mag rifles. One is a Belgium made Browning BAR and the other is a Ruger Hawkeye. Several years ago, the BAR went real erratic on me, spraying about a 5 inch group at 100 yds. I tried everything: super cleaning with JB bore paste, check the scope, etc. I ended up re-crowning the muzzle and that did the trick. Bought the re-crowning tool from Midway USA. The BAR likes 225 gr ammo and plain old Remington Core-Lokt is what I feed it. The Ruger Hawkeye likes both 225 and 250 gr. I also tried 275 gr and didn't like the results. Factory Core-Lokt gives me good results, but I usually hunt with Swift A-Frames.

Here's a link from the RealGuns website with numerous loads, powders and bullets (sorry, no Bergers) for the 338 win mag. http://www.realguns.com/loads/338winmag.htm
 

RMHUNTER

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I would load up some 300gr bergers and not look back. Last July I took my 300 rum loaded with 230gr berger hybrids to South Africa and shot two blue wildbeest, greater kudu, gemsbok, blesbok and a zebra all where one shot kills and none of them traveled more than 100yd if that. The wound channels on all the animals was encredible large and impressed my ph and trackers.
 

bluey

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l also took my 300 rum to Africa last year , loaded with 190 grn VLD ,whizzing along at 3275 + fps...and yes l agree that they did the job and were deadly accurate.
but they blue up every time , the return projectile was just shards,
the P.H asked me stop using them , the last couple of days ,
he to agreed that they were deadly accurate and although they were definitely stopping the animals , they were just to soft.....
and he was worried we would loose an animal.
so l changed over to some of the barnes ttsx reloads , and the last couple of animals went nowhere............

since ive come home ive used them on a few of our deer ,I slowed them down and pushed them out through the 30.06 , and im finding the same thing , they pull the samba up with rib cage shots
but land one on the shoulder and they blow up and shards do go right through the vitals
im not saying they wont deliver , whats needed .......
but they are very soft .......
 
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Divernhunter

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Try giving the barnes more jump. They usually preform better. Load them so the top relief groove is just showing.
That said my 338win mag loves Swift 225gr A-Frames and IMR4350 powder at max load(actually slightly more), 5 rounds into a cloverleaf group. Plus it worked just fine in Africa from 150 yards to 480 laser ranged yards. Also might try the Scirroco from Swift. I have not used it in the 338 but it has been great in 257Roberts, 25-06, 257Weatherby, 6.5X55 and 264Win mag. Plan to work up a load for 308win, 30-06, 300win mag and 338win mag in the future.The A-Frames all work excellent in all the cartridges listed.
 
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JacquesVR

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Tx everyone for the responses , based on the above I will try Accubonds (Use them in the the 308 and they are accurate and perform very well terminally) & Swift (Gonna test the Scirocco's out of my 270 in a week on a plains hunt) first before the Bergers as I typically eat what I hunt so bullets blowing up is not the ideal - Will also have a further play with the Barnes - At the moment I am giving them a large jump based on the COL in the reloading manuals (Barnes and the local Somchem version).
 

elmerfudd555

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Try seating deeper if you have any of the Barnes left. Typically works for me across all of the calibers I load them in. As for the Bergers. Super accurate and flat to be sure. Nuclear bombs on game. I was tired of shot up meat from my 270 win. Yes they kill, yes you will lose a lot of meat. I would not trust them on thick skinned stuff as I have had enough experience using them on deer and pronghorns to know better. I will qualify my response further by stating I have never used them in larger calibers or heavy for caliber weights.
 

lcq

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I use Bergers for targets, varmints and stuff I don't want to eat or don't care to track. They are brutally effective if placed well but if you make a marginal shot then there usually won't be much blood for tracking.. Two holes almost always guarantees air in blood out. Besides with copper bullets you can eat right up to the hole.

my $0.02
 

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Ive heard countless reports of these things killing like a bolt of lightning, especially at longer ranges from bigger cartridges (looking at you .338 lapua), but I have also seen videos of these things fail completely.

I have a friend who shot a muley with a .30-378 using Berger VLDs and he said that it was DRT, but on a second muley the bullet disintigrated and failed to hit anything vital. I have yet to try them personally, but they seem to be well-liked in the long range hunting club and hated most everywhere else.

I do know that I will go crazy if I hear one more person tout the Berger's ability to 'dump' all of its energy into game...blah blah...hydrostatic shock...blah
 

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Jacques VR,

I tend to agree with the others regarding the Berger VLD's. Highly accurate bullet, but I've always been very suspect of their thin jacket. Having no personal experience with them, I know they supposedly kill quickly, but I'd worry about using them on all but the thinnest skinned game, and even then I'd be worried. The one consistent thing I've heard about them is " they penetrate several inches and then completely disintegrate". That's great for lung shots, but what if you hit a shoulder.......

Personally, I don't get into the long range hunting/shooting of game. I know many do, and if they can consistently, and ethically harvest animals at 800-1000 yds then that's great. I envy their skills..........to a degree, however, I enjoy the stalk as much or more than the shot. My comfort zone that I feel I can bring an animal down consistently, and cleanly, is more like 300-350 yds, and if conditions are just right, 400-450 yds, but that's very infrequent. There's just too many variables that can play with that bullet during it's flight for me to consider anything longer. Having said that, most modern, spitzer type bullets, fired from a modern rifle, should be reasonably accurate out to 300 yds. As such, I'm personally willing to sacrifice a little accuracy for large gains in terminal performance. Of course, too much of a good thing, in regards to terminal performance, is not so great either. As much as I love the Barnes TSX/TTSX bullets, one thing that I always hear, and have witnessed (to an extent) in thin skin game is that they zip right through without much of an exit hole. So, I think it boils down to matching the bullet to the intended quarry.....

I love Nosler Accubonds as well. I've never shot them in my 338 Win Mag, but I personally shoot them out of a Sako 85 7mm Rem Mag and Weatherby Mark V 257 Weatherby, and the Nosler Accubond LR's (150 grain) from a custom 280 AI, and they perform great, and are very accurate.

As far as the Barnes TSX/TTSX, I've always started with a 50 thousandths inch (0.050) jump off the lands. That's what a lot of shooters of Barnes bullets do, and that's what the Barnes technicians recommend. That's a starting point, and then you go from there. You may already know that, I don't know. In general though, you'll find they need a little more head start before engaging the rifling than your standard cup-and-core bullets. My 338 Win Mag loves RL 19 powder and Barnes TTSX - 225 grain bullets. Not only is it a highly accurate load, it's devastating on game.

If the Barnes TSX bullets don't work, maybe try the Nosler Accubonds, Swift Scirocco II's, or Hornady GMX's.

Good luck on your search.......and by the way don't sell the gun.....;)
 

lcq

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Jacques VR,

I tend to agree with the others regarding the Berger VLD's. Highly accurate bullet, but I've always been very suspect of their thin jacket. Having no personal experience with them, I know they supposedly kill quickly, but I'd worry about using them on all but the thinnest skinned game, and even then I'd be worried. The one consistent thing I've heard about them is " they penetrate several inches and then completely disintegrate". That's great for lung shots, but what if you hit a shoulder.......

Personally, I don't get into the long range hunting/shooting of game. I know many do, and if they can consistently, and ethically harvest animals at 800-1000 yds then that's great. I envy their skills..........to a degree, however, I enjoy the stalk as much or more than the shot. My comfort zone that I feel I can bring an animal down consistently, and cleanly, is more like 300-350 yds, and if conditions are just right, 400-450 yds, but that's very infrequent. There's just too many variables that can play with that bullet during it's flight for me to consider anything longer. Having said that, most modern, spitzer type bullets, fired from a modern rifle, should be reasonably accurate out to 300 yds. As such, I'm personally willing to sacrifice a little accuracy for large gains in terminal performance. Of course, too much of a good thing, in regards to terminal performance, is not so great either. As much as I love the Barnes TSX/TTSX bullets, one thing that I always hear, and have witnessed (to an extent) in thin skin game is that they zip right through without much of an exit hole. So, I think it boils down to matching the bullet to the intended quarry.....

I love Nosler Accubonds as well. I've never shot them in my 338 Win Mag, but I personally shoot them out of a Sako 85 7mm Rem Mag and Weatherby Mark V 257 Weatherby, and the Nosler Accubond LR's (150 grain) from a custom 280 AI, and they perform great, and are very accurate.

As far as the Barnes TSX/TTSX, I've always started with a 50 thousandths inch (0.050) jump off the lands. That's what a lot of shooters of Barnes bullets do, and that's what the Barnes technicians recommend. That's a starting point, and then you go from there. You may already know that, I don't know. In general though, you'll find they need a little more head start before engaging the rifling than your standard cup-and-core bullets. My 338 Win Mag loves RL 19 powder and Barnes TTSX - 225 grain bullets. Not only is it a highly accurate load, it's devastating on game.

If the Barnes TSX bullets don't work, maybe try the Nosler Accubonds, Swift Scirocco II's, or Hornady GMX's.

Good luck on your search.......and by the way don't sell the gun.....;)

100% agree. For me if I'm eating the animal I prefer a toothpick to lead and jacket fragments.
 

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