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Old March 9, 2019, 10:19 PM   #1
Stats Shooter
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Berger hunting vs target bullets

I'm sure this has been covered before. But has anyone tried Bergers newer thicker target bullets for hunting? I know there isn't much difference between the two other than a thicker jacket with the target bullet but wanted some real world experience. This will be a 105 gr 6mm.
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Old March 10, 2019, 11:44 AM   #2
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Don't use thick-jacketed bullets for hunting. Expansion is not reliable. They may pencil through without expanding, or they may shatter on impact.

Same concept as with SMKs, etc.

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Old March 11, 2019, 11:54 PM   #3
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Berger seems to think that the OTM AR Tactical bullet is ok for hunting. They also have a thicker jacket.

Sorry for the use of the wrong word. I meant to say that Berger says it's ok to use this bullet.
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Old March 12, 2019, 09:57 AM   #4
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SMK's were first designed in the 1950s and have thin jackets because, important to tack-driving precision, thin jackets were easier to form with wall thickness symmetry. They just fall apart in game, though.

For hunting, thick and thin are usually reflective of larger game vs. varmint game bullets, with thinner jackets needed for rapid expansion in the latter type where disintegration doesn't matter. However, jacket thickness isn't the only factor. Jackets are not all made from the same materials. Hardness and brittleness of the material affect how appropriate a design is for expansion, not to mention nose design and whether or not the core is bonded to the jacket. It's pretty hard to say whether a bullet is appropriate for hunting based on jacket thickness alone. Your best bet is just to call the maker and ask.
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Old March 12, 2019, 02:08 PM   #5
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"...thicker target bullets..." Those are suitable for hunting varmints only. Berger makes a VLD Target and a VLD Hunting bullet. The 'Hunting' supposedly has a thinner jacket than the 'Target'.
Berger also says the 'Hunting' bullet requires a 1 in 8 rifling twist.
"Tactical" bullet. Sheesh.
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Old March 12, 2019, 02:40 PM   #6
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I talked to Berger. The old thinking was the fact target bullets fragmented was a bad thing and that a bullet intact enough to have a high retained weight was a good thing, as it promoted penetration. This was also always the rationale behind Sierra not recommending the use of their target bullets for hunting. Berger's tech said they operate on the opposite principle. They think it is a good idea to fragment and shed weight because of the effect of the ancillary wound channels created by the fragments. The retained weight of the core is often below 50%. Hence, the thinner jackets on their hunting bullets.

Berger says they have not had an issue with jacket symmetry on the heavier target bullets. They are all J4 jackets for both types. The trick may be that their "thick" jacket is still a lot thinner than you find on a more conventional expanding hunting bullet design. Or it may be that jacket making and forming technology is just that much more precise than it used to be. Or maybe it is some combination of the two.
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Old March 12, 2019, 03:52 PM   #7
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Two years ago I shot a large bodied Mule Deer buck with 140gr Berger VLD Hunting .264 Win Mag from HSM at 215 yards. Hit him through the right shoulder and he dropped where he stood. Apon field dressing then skinning I found zero trace of the bullet, it completely disintegrated and there was no exit wound. I cleaned the meat well and processed it. I dont think I'll be using them again.
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Old March 12, 2019, 05:22 PM   #8
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I think i may have read in the Berger manual, the VLD Hunting bullets are the original target bullet Walt Berger designed all those years ago.
He always insisted that it was not for game, till a well respected friend of his told/showed him otherwise.

The thicker jacketed target bullet that they produce now is a result of the original VLD experiencing core melt on long strings, producing fliers towards the end of the string.
Appearantly the heat from the chamber went through the thin jacket fast enough to start core separation.

My experience with a 140gr. VLD Hunting out of a 7mm-08AI at 413 yards was astounding!
Will definitely use again!!
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