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Old July 12, 2016, 04:34 PM   #1
Double Naught Spy
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6.5 Grendel Berger VLD-Hunting Impact on Hogs

I put forth my first kill with a 130 gr. Berger VLD-Hunting bullet fired from my 6.5 Grendel that met with a bit of controversy. I was a bit surprised by the performance as I thought the hog should have been dead by the time I walked up on it and it was still quite conscious. http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=573576

I have now shot 17 more hogs, more actually, but the following video summarizes the results on 18 hogs shot by me at varying distances (150 yards and less), varying circumstances (stalks, stands, open fields, high oats, etc.), over a 3 month period.

https://youtu.be/wqKHml1J-bw

The video is long, but includes descriptions from each of the kills. Several have necropsy images included, FYI.

For those interested, here are Berger's description of what their bullets should do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8j-7D-bubQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDoTOoCR2_A

What I found is that despite their claims for hydrostatic shock dropping animals and that if hydrostatic shock didn't do it that the animals would not go very far, the bullet performed much like other hunting ammo I have used in terms of bringing down hogs. Hydrostatic shock is not a reliable aspect of this bullet on hogs. The things that are most reliable about this round and its impact on hogs is that it tends to penetrate deeply, tends to overpenetrate, tends to do a LOT of soft tissue damage and to do it through out the course through the body. This is not what I would consider a good meat-hunter's round, but it is a very destructive round.

Sometimes, even with obviously fatal wounds, the animals do run and manage to run far enough to not be located. In a big flat, plowed field, running 200 yards might not be all that far. In heavy vegetation where hogs are often found, that is another matter.
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Old July 12, 2016, 11:39 PM   #2
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Well thanks for posting that DoubleNaught. I do recall following your original thread back in March over this topic.

Your videos are very well done and youre very thorough with your statistics.
Overall I agree with you. I wouldn't count on the hydrostatic shock either. But like you said the tissue damage was indeed very consistently massive, and thats a great adjective so you did not over use it because it was the perfect summation of the description of the damage. Also like you pointed out the penetration was excellent and consistently deep.

Now hogs are tough and unpredictable creatures, and I know you know this well. And I dont think you blew any of your shots, as a matter of fact pretty much all your shots were excellent and consistent. So why some pigs dropped, some ran a little, some were never recovered even though you administered similar shots leads me to think of the reinforcement of how tough and unpredictable each hog is.

Me for one, I'm not much of a meat hunter at this part of my life, so I prefer massive damage. Also I like ample penetration and I'm perfectly fine with an exit wound due to the ease of tracking. So overall they seem like good bullets, consistent performance, excellent terminal damage, and impressive penetration. But like you I'm not buying into the hydrostatic shock theory that Berger advertises on those ads you posted the links to.

In closing I must also say that youre shooting, video production, equipment and gear are all impressive. It also appears that you are having much more luck hunting up there than we are down here in Brazos and Grimes counties (We just need some more rain down here in Aggieland to flush the pigs out of the Brazos and Navasota River Bottoms). I used to live up in Waco so I have hunted up in your neck of the woods before. There's alot of doves, pigs, and deer up there. Also the fishing in the Bosque River wasn't bad either.
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Old July 13, 2016, 06:59 AM   #3
Double Naught Spy
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Thanks!

I really liked the aspect of the deep penetration. That is not what I expected from a frangible round. That is the sort of performance I expected from a round like a Barnes TTSX. However, to be able to deeply penetrate while doing all the other tissue damage is rather impressive.
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Old July 13, 2016, 12:42 PM   #4
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I'd recommend trying the Nosler Partition 125 grain, or their 130 grain accubond.
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Old July 13, 2016, 01:06 PM   #5
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With the velocity you have, the chances of hydrostatic shock even being present are minimal at best and likely not even present. The velocity is too low.
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Old July 13, 2016, 04:47 PM   #6
Double Naught Spy
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Wyo, I am testing various bullets as they get sent to me. Right now I am working on some Nolser Accubond LR loaded at 2520 fps. I have 3 pigs down with them so far. Prior to getting involved with all this, my go-to round was the Hornady SST 123 gr. factory round. It has worked very well for me.
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Old July 14, 2016, 03:09 AM   #7
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Double Naught....I just recently started shooting a couple rifles in 6.5 Creedmore and when I got to the 123 SST, I figured it was going to be hard to improve on it. Accuracy is really good in both my rifles and performance seems to show some real possibilities.
I took a friend out hunting one night about a week ago and gave him my Savage to shoot in Creedmore with that bullet. He dropped a boar that would easily go over the 350 lb. mark with it. The hog dropped on the spot with a shot behind the shoulder angling toward the rear a little on the other side...which really surprised me. It got up and made it about 25 yds before going down for good. No exit wound evident!
I would have liked to recover the bullet, but it was the middle of the night, we were worn out and it would have been a pretty big job to search for it.
I can see why it works so well for you.
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Old July 14, 2016, 03:45 AM   #8
Double Naught Spy
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OS, you likely would not have recovered much SST. While they aren't marketed as frangible, they tend to come apart and you would have found all sorts of bits and pieces of jacket and teeny tiny pieces of lead, possibly along with a base and partial jacket, though since it isn't bonded, the jacket and core lead sometimes separate from one another as well.

The SST round also tends to make large wounds, not as large as the Berger VLD-Hunting, but larger than what I have seen with some rounds that stay together. Overpenetration is common on boars 225 lbs and down with broadside shots, I have found. That you didn't get overpenetration does not surprise me, especially given the extra velocity your SST would have been going and the likelihood of the round coming apart sooner.

25 yards is a reasonable distance.

The SST is a good round for hogs.
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Old July 14, 2016, 04:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for the update.


And...
I hadn't realized it previously, but a great number of the "DRT" shots in the Berger videos are spine shots, followed by a minority of perfect heart shots.

When you do that... it almost doesn't matter what bullet you use.

I know, pretty much every company chooses the most impressive kills for their videos and photographs; but including the spine shots really isn't even representative of the way they're marketing the bullet.


I have some Berger 'hunting' VLDs here for .270 Win and .30-06 that I had planned on trying. Now... I think I'll stick with Nosler Partitions or proven 'cup and core' bullets.
If the VLDs will be as destructive (and unpredictable) as you and others have shown... they're useless to me. I don't shoot paper just for the sake of shooting paper. And I don't eat blood-shot meat. (Yea, some people think it's wasteful, but that's another topic...)
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Old July 19, 2016, 03:14 PM   #10
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This is an incredible post, and I feel lucky to get to read such experiences. I work frequently for our city and examine dogs that are shot in the line of duty.(I am a DVM) I also clean deer for many folks, but don't get as much experience following the trail of a bullet on hogs.

To the original poster: how much difference in effect do you see when your hunting buddy uses the 308?
I prefer lever actions if I have a choice, and used a 30-30 on one of my first hogs. He ran off with a similar shot above the spine right behind the skull. My current choice of 45-70 usually leaves nothing to be desired in stopping them with somewhat marginal shots. I use cast bullets going about 1500fps. I've only shot about 15 with that load, but so far so good.
I very much enjoy your video's. Keep up the good work!
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Old July 19, 2016, 04:36 PM   #11
Double Naught Spy
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Hey Dr. A, I think there is a lot of blurring between caliber, bullet, and performance. I have shot a lot of hogs with .308 as well. I can't tell that when loaded with 150 gr. Nosler Accubond bullets that I had an appreciably different kill rate, tracking rate, or loss rate. There really is no scientific way to describe it properly since there is a lack of control when it comes to what gets hit by the bullet. Two bullets entering nearly the same spot can take two very different trajectories through the animal. So my assessment is qualitative, only. This last year, I went back and forth between a .308 and 6.5 Grendel and I felt they were equally proficient for hogs and smaller game.

I have two buddies that are die-hard .308 users. From their experience (that I have seen) and my experience, all I can tell you is that bad shots are bad shots regardless of caliber. .308 is an excellent hunting caliber for hogs, no doubt, but doesn't compensate much for the hunter shortcomings.

As for "Behind the ear" shots, my thoughts are this. They need to strike bone, either hitting the spine or hitting the back of the head. Shots "behind the ear" that fail to do this are apt to be runners like have been described here. Maybe you get lucky with hydrostatic shock on a shot that does not connect with bone, but that just isn't something to count on happening. With that said, if you can put the shot just behind the ear, then when not place is just under the ear? There, you are most assuredly going to connect with bone and almost certainly hit CNS structures.
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Last edited by Double Naught Spy; July 19, 2016 at 04:56 PM.
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Old July 19, 2016, 07:23 PM   #12
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Thanks for your thoughts. Surely the 6.5 is easier to shoot?
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Old July 20, 2016, 09:40 AM   #13
Double Naught Spy
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Absolutely there is less recoil than the .308. However, it is no .308, but for hunting hog, I don't see as any less effective than .308 inside of typical hunting distances (<200 yards).

Several other calibers/loadings would qualify equally well here. Grendel just happens to be what I shoot.
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Old July 20, 2016, 02:05 PM   #14
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I started to reply earlier and held off, read and viewed some more of the OP material, and am finally posting. I enjoyed the video and the resultant posts a great deal. Terminal ballistics (?) wound damage are one of those things you hear bantered about, but seems to get only lip service in a lot of instances.
Much impressed with the rifle shooting and quality of the video's, and the OP's attention to detail and the interest in performance of his projectiles.

I believe chasing "hydrostatic shock" is an elusive pursuit. What kills, is blood loss, oxy loss, and markedly destroying the central nervous system. As a study, we've pretty much accepted this in defensive handgun shooting, but the hunting world still holds the concept, likely due to the higher velocity possible with rifle cartridges. You can see damage from hydrostatic shock when velocities get high, projectiles get large, and targets get correspondingly smaller, watch any number of prairie dog videos, or .50 bmg footage. But big game with typical sport cartridges must reply on a blend of penetration and expansion to achive their killing effect.

Double Naught, why is it that you deem a bullet to be "overpenetrative" apparently anytime it exits a hog. Perhaps that is overstated by me,but my impression was that to be acceptable to your standards, the bullet must enter, but not exit the animal.

Also, why is it you seem to prefer the neck shot? That seems a difficult target, with more room for error, and a smaller target (spine/brain) than the heart lungs which your 6.5 should be able to reach. Are you shying away from the shoulderblade/gristle shield? As somebody stated elsewhere in a post, there is "more neck than spine" and a lot of room for hit that is not lethal in that area. Were you shooting a .308, would you move away from the neck as your preferred aiming point?

Finally, all this is lofted with an open hand. I am much impressed with your initiative, shooting, and drive to research and document. Your experience and equipment on hogs is far beyond what I will ever experience. I am simply interested in your stance on the above questions.
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Old July 20, 2016, 05:15 PM   #15
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
Double Naught, why is it that you deem a bullet to be "overpenetrative" apparently anytime it exits a hog. Perhaps that is overstated by me,but my impression was that to be acceptable to your standards, the bullet must enter, but not exit the animal.
Over penetration isn't a bad term, just descriptive. If a round exits the animal, it has over penetrated the animal. To have an "absolute energy dump" as Berger describes, then you would have zero bullet bullet exiting the animal. Instead, it is a partial energy dump. For a round dumping so much material and energy, it does an amazing job of penetrating and penetrating deeply in most circumstances.

Quote:
Also, why is it you seem to prefer the neck shot? That seems a difficult target, with more room for error, and a smaller target (spine/brain) than the heart lungs which your 6.5 should be able to reach. Are you shying away from the shoulderblade/gristle shield? As somebody stated elsewhere in a post, there is "more neck than spine" and a lot of room for hit that is not lethal in that area. Were you shooting a .308, would you move away from the neck as your preferred aiming point?
Actually I prefer head shots (~1/3 of my hog kills) and and even happier with a quartered away neck shot that strikes the head, yielding the chance of damaging either the spine, brain stem, and/or the brain. Next, I like neck shots quartered toward me where the shot then goes into the boiler room, hence have a chance for a CNS stop followed by a chance for cardiopulmonary stop. Last, I like boiler room shots. They will be fatal, but the real question tends to be where the hog will eventually die if not dropped in its tracks. Where I hunt, there is a lot of briar and poison ivy. That isn't fun tracking. When doing boiler room shots, quartered shots are preferred, but not required. Either from the neck as mentioned, or from the liver. If I am shooting into the body like that, I want the bullet to have the opportunity to damage as much tissue as possible and a quartered shot allows for this.

I did several neck shots with the Berger because the Berger was supposed to produce this amazing hydrostatic shock. Let's face it, if there is going to be this great hydrostatic shock from this energy dump, I would expect a shot in close proximity to the brain or spine would result in quick incapacitation. As you can see, that didn't happen as expected.

Simple boiler room shots are for when I don't think I can make the other shots, or when ammo testing calls for me to make such shots (which I don't always like to do).

Shying away from shoulders because of shoulder blade/gristle shield? Absolutely not. First, the shoulder blade provides little more resistance than do the ribs unless you hit the glenoid fossa/neck region of the blade and even then, the resistance hasn't proven substantial from what I have seen. So that is no problem.

The shield is no problem for supersonic bullets that I have found, although the thickest I have shot is maybe 1.75" and most are an inch or less that I see.

The only bone of the shoulder that offers some real challenges is the humerus and the cortical wall thickness is more substantial distally than proximally. In other words, it is a tougher target the closer you get to the elbow which is down by the heart (as the hog stands). I have seen bullets do strange things hitting the lower humerus, including .308.

The bottom line is that I prefer CNS shots as they are more apt to drop the hog in place, plain and simple. Boiler room shots are more apt to produce runners than CNS shots, regardless of the calibers I have used (.45/70, .308, 6.5 Grendel, and .223/5.56).
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Old July 21, 2016, 11:54 AM   #16
bamaranger
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most informative

Thanks
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Old July 22, 2016, 11:58 AM   #17
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Thanks very much. Your posts inspired me to get a Grendel. Mine is a AA Overwatch, but I had the barrel cut to 20" and added a 4# trigger. Loads of CFE223 over 123SSTs are one hole accurate. Now, if I could poke a pig!
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