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  #1  
Old 12-24-2009, 01:44 AM
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Loading Berger VLD Bullets


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Mods, please make this a sticky. It was sent to me by Walt Berger.

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Originally Posted by Berger Bullets
Getting the Best Precision and Accuracy from VLD bullets in Your Rifle

Background

VLD bullets are designed with a secant ogive. This ogive shape allows bullets to be more efficient in flight (retain more velocity = less drop and wind deflection). While this result is desirable for many rifle shooters the secant ogive on the VLD bullets produces another result in many rifle. It can be difficult to get the VLD to group well (poor accuracy).

For years we encouraged shooters to use a base of cartridge to end of bearing surface OAL (I will use the term COAL to represent this dimension) which allows the VLD to touch the rifling or to be jammed in the rifling. This provided excellent results for many shooters but there were others who did not achieve top performance with the VLD jammed in their rifling. These shooters were left with the belief that the VLD bullets just won’t shoot in their rifle.

Other groups of shooters were discouraged by our recommendation to touch the rifling. Some of these shooters knew that at some point during a target competition they will be asked to remove a live round. With the bullet jammed in the rifling there was a good chance the bullet will stick in the barrel which could result in an action full of powder. This is hard on a shooter during a match.

Yet another group of shooters who were discouraged by our recommendation to touch the rifling are those who feed through magazines or have long throats. Magazine length rounds loaded with VLDs could not touch the lands in most rifles (this is the specific reason that for years we said VLD bullets do not work well in a magazine). When a rifle could be single fed but was chambered with a long throat a loaded round that was as long as possible still would not touch the rifling.

Until recently, shooters who suffered from these realities were believed to be unable to achieve success with VLD bullets. Admittedly, we would receive the occasional report that a rifle shot very well when jumping the VLD bullets but we discounted these reports as anomalies. It was not until the VLD became very popular as a game hunting bullet that we were then able to learn the truth about getting the VLD bullets to shoot well in a large majority of rifles.

After we proved that the Berger VLD bullets are consistently and exceptionally capable of putting game down quickly we started promoting the VLD to hunters. We were nervous at first as we believe the VLD needed to be in the rifling to shoot well and we also knew that most hunters use a magazine and SAMMI chambers. Our ears were wide open as the feedback was received. It was surprising to hear that most shooters described precision results by saying “this is the best my rifle has ever shot.”

We scratched our heads about this for awhile until we started getting feedback from hunters who were competition shooters as well. Many were the same guys who were telling us for years that the VLDs shoot great when jumped. Since a much larger number of shooters were using the VLD bullets with a jump we started comparing all the feedback and have discovered the common characteristics in successful reports which gave us the information needed to get VLD working in your rifle. We were able to relay these characteristics to several shooters who were struggling with VLD bullets. Each shooter reported success after applying our recommendation.


Getting the Best Precision and Accuracy from VLD bullets in Your Rifle

Solution

The following has been verified by numerous shooters in many rifles using bullets of different calibers and weights. It is consistent for all VLD bullets. What has been discovered is that VLD bullets shoot best when loaded to a COAL that puts the bullet in a “sweet spot”. This sweet spot is a band .030 to .040 wide and is located {centered} anywhere between jamming the bullets into the lands and .150 jump off the lands.

Note: When discussing jam and jump I am referring to the distance from the area of the bearing surface that engages the rifling and the rifling itself. There are many products that allow you to measure these critical dimensions. Some are better than others. I won’t be going into the methods of measuring jam and jump. If you are not familiar with this aspect of reloading it is critically important that you understand this concept before you attempt this test.

Many reloaders feel (and I tend to agree) that meaningful COAL adjustments are .002 to .005. Every once in a while I might adjust the COAL by .010 but this seems like I am moving the bullet the length of a football field. The only way a shooter will be able to benefit from this situation is to let go of this opinion that more than .010 change is too much (me included).

Trying to find the COAL that puts you in the sweet spot by moving .002 to .010 will take so long the barrel may be worn out by the time you sort it out if you don’t give up first. Since the sweet spot is .030 to .040 wide we recommend that you conduct the following test to find your rifles VLD sweet spot.

Load 24 rounds at the following COAL if you are a target competition shooter who does not worry about jamming a bullet:

.010 into (touching) the lands (jam) 6 rounds
.040 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
.080 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
.120 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds

Load 24 rounds at the following COAL if you are a hunter (pulling a bullet out of the case with your rifling while in the field can be a hunt ending event which must be avoided) or a competition shooter who worries about pulling a bullet during a match:

.010 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
.050 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
.090 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
.130 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds

Shoot 2 (separate) 3 shot groups in fair conditions to see how they group. The remarkable reality of this test is that one of these 4 COALs will outperform the other three by a considerable margin. Once you know which one of these 4 COAL shoots best then you can tweak the COAL towards or away from the lands .002 or .005. Taking the time to set this test up will pay off when you find that your rifle is capable of shooting the VLD bullets very well (even at 100 yards).

Regards,
Eric Stecker
Master Bulletsmith

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Last edited by unclenick; 12-24-2009 at 07:26 AM. Reason: added paranthetical clarification and title clarification
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  #2  
Old 12-25-2009, 10:01 PM
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Also guys, here is a quick reference sheet, that has all the information you would ever need about Berger Bullets.

http://www.bergerbullets.com/Berger%20Quick%20Reference%20Sheets%206-17-09.pdf
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:01 AM
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I got a reply back from the man on reloading information as well. He said sometime between spring and summer they will come out with a reloading manual for Berger bullets. Problem is I don't think it will be real world. He sent me a sheet of loads for the 243 with the 95 VLD Hunting bullets and told me it was a load program computer generated sheet. At least it gave me an ideal of where to start!
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:52 PM
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I've been wanting to try Bergers as I have a younger brother who has broken 1000 yd benchrest competion records with them----and they are coming out in 338! Thanks for the info
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:59 AM
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As a new visitor and a rookie at reloading this is way too much information. I have been struggling with a 300 Weatherby Mangum and getting the Berger bullets to group. I was about ready to give up until on another discussion board a kind man gave me a great starting point. I assume that first I need to settle on the powder setting before I start changing the overall length of the bullets? I have have really good luck with my 30-378 with the Berger's / I am only a hunter but the grouping and performance has been outstanding.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:18 PM
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Change one thing at a time or you'll go nuts. I like to start with the bullets 0.020" off of the lands, if possible. With a safe powder charge (neither minimum nor maximum), seat the next batch 0.005" deeper, then another, then another, etc. Save your targets and study them carefully to see if you have a sweet spot with the seating depth.

With that sweet spot, then you might fiddle with the powder charge a bit.

Or vise-versa. You can try and get the powder charge perfect, then change seating depth. But only do one or the other at a time.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:57 PM
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I appreciate seeing this from Berger. It is always interesting to read of different perspectives, and in this case we read of Berger's (former) perspective that a secant ogive bullet must be jammed to shoot well. Contrast this with the generally excellent accuracy shooters experience with Hornady's secant-ogive bullets without jamming them. Perhaps it remains the case that we all can learn something new each day.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:23 AM
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I also appreciate the info on Berger Bullets. I have been wanting to try them, but looking for load info before I can spend that much money on 100 bullets.
I have tried "jamming" the Hornaday A-Max 175 gn match bullets, I went from an avg between .190 and .375 MOA to almost 2 inches at 100 yds. I did not try any longer after that. I figured it would not even be on paper at 200 plus.
With the A-Max I have found an OAL of 2.805-7 will make one ragged hole at 100 yds and consistant sub 1/2 moa out to 500 yds- the range max. That is with Rem SS 5R Mil-Spec .308 24" heavy bbl with an 11.25 twist.
I have read on the Breger pdf file above that only the heavier bullets are rated for a 1:11 twist. But I get the same or better with A-Max and Sierra MK 168 gn.
I have a question for you guys, I just bought a new Ruger Hawkeye Tactical 20" bull bbl (for a hunting rifle) and all I can find says 1:10 twist... Does that mean I need heavier (185-210gn) bullets?? I have not got a scope yet so have not shot it. A friend is getting touching groups at 100yds (His personal best, and first heavy bbl) with 180 gn Remington factory loads, with this same rifle. My Remington is about 2 inches at 100 yds with factory ammo, and again, no point in trying any longer shots.
So, does anyone have any experience with reloads for this rifle, the Hawkeye??? for hunting and target out to about 300 yds???
Would Berger bullets work in this bbl?? I have not checked the chamber yet either??? I would love to try the VLDs for deer.
I have found Varget and 4064 to be almost identical in my Rem, with all bullets. That is on paper and Chrony.
Thanks for any advice
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:40 AM
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My big question is why is it okay to jam Berger bullets, but most of the othe manufacturers say you will get a pressure spike by doing this. Even Weatherby went through the effort of making long throats to prevent this jamming.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:35 AM
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Bigfish 5R,

I didn't see your post earlier. Would have been worthy of starting a new thread.

I recommend using a variant of the round robin Dan Newberry's uses for charge weight, substituting seating depth changes for powder charge changes, to find the best depth. The old procedure was to do this with a starting load. You can see why by looking at the pressure vs. seating depth graph below. Seating a bullet either too long or too short raises pressure. By using a low recoil, low pressure load you eliminate a lot of barrel vibration influence, which is why light loads are often surprisingly accurate.

I am going to conduct some experiments with Trail Boss for this purpose later this summer, but loads of SR4759 or even Rocky's general purpose .30 cal catsneeze load of 9 or 10 grains of Unique should do fine. You want something that is still accurate enough to see the difference in the seating depth. Once you have a best seating depth established, work your real load up to a sweet spot with it. It is not uncommon for more than one seating depth sweet spot to be found. One out near the throat and one back nearer to one caliber into the case neck.


GMFWoodchuck,

I understand Weatherby has stopped using the long freebores in their chambers. It wasn't jamming they were supposed to prevent, but rather they were supposed to allow a delay before engraving the bullet in the lands began raising pressure. The idea was that this would allow more powder to be used and a higher final velocity to be achieved because of that. The problem is that it didn't really do that very effectively. The reason can be seen in the graph below. The left edge is pressure at contact with the throat, and as you seat deeper, you first see it drop, then rise again as the bullet gets very deep into the case. This plot was testing with a round nose bullet, and pointed bullets produce a sharper difference at the left, but you get the general idea.

The cause of the pressure rise as the bullet approaches the lands is that the gas that normally bypasses a bullet after the case mouth opens and before the bullet plugs the bore reduces the rate of early pressure rise and thereby reduces peak pressure. But if you start with the bullet already at the lands, little gas bypasses it so early pressure rise is uninterrupted. If you seat the bullet too deeply, the space the powder starts burning in is reduced so much that it causes early pressure rise before the bullet moves far enough forward for the gas bypass to mitigate it. A freebore is usually only a couple thousandths over bullet diameter, so you can see that even just being in a freebore also greatly constricts gas bypass. I believe that's why the old long throat Weatherby's and the newer short throat ones don't realize much velocity and powder capacity difference.

You are probably surprised not to see a sharper pressure jump when the bullet is seated to touch the lands. Even though the higher static coefficient of friction is supposed to raise it there, and can with some bullet shapes or with those jammed really hard into the lands, most bullet ogives make a poor match to the taper of the leade in the rifling. This means that though the engraving force needed to start the bullet from stationary contact with the lands is greater than when the bullet makes contact in motion, the first few hundredths of engraving moves less bullet metal than when that leade is biting into the full diameter of the bullet bearing surface. So that pressure rise due to static coefficient of friction is less than is usually is assumed to be the case.

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Old 01-14-2014, 07:18 PM
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Great information however, one of my problems with COAL is that the Berger VLD (I am using 168gr 7mm) is not consistent in length in fact when measuring the bullet itself they differ in OAL (Bullet Only) by as much as .012". This has been my biggest fight with the VLD's when loading them. I can't get them to shoot at all I will go back of=ver the post and try to see if I am missing something but, seems like this will take for ever to load any decent number of rounds?
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:30 PM
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Are you measuring from the tip of the bullet, or where the ogive meets the bearing surface?
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:20 AM
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Yes, measure off the ogive, not the tip. This method works with all bullets with a secant ogive. I've had fits getting the Hornady Interbond to shoot well and tried this method and it seemed to really help dialing them in. I have more shooting with them to confirm this but so far so good.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:19 AM
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RexS, This may help you

Effects of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 2 | Berger Bullets

I'm not trying to push Berger manual but they pretty much cover everything dealing with seating depth of their bullets and they do show couple pictures of seating die. They don't name they but they are Redding and Wilson and you can upgrade both for Berger VLD bullets.

Redding’s NEW Bullet Seating Micrometer Plugs for Berger VLD Bullets | Berger Bullets

WILSON VLD BULLET SEATER STEMS | Sinclair Intl

I'm shooting Berger 7mm 168gr/180gr VLD hunting/target bullets,30 Cal 185gr VLD and I'm using the Wilson seater.


As your finding out Berger bullets due wary in OAL most times you can correct that with VLD seating die.

On the target side you have this

Sinclair Meplat Trimmers | Sinclair Intl

Whidden Gunworks

Well good luck
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:25 AM
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Very interesting..

I'm guessing this is why the Turkish military went to similar 8 X 57 ammo in the 1950's, it is by far the most accurate surplus ammo for my VZ 24.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:50 PM
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RexS,

What you are seeing is normal in hollow tip (covered point, as Country says; a.k.a. non-expanding hollow point, as the military calls it) match bullets. Its due to the point being drawn after the cup is trimmed, and the trimming not flowing perfectly symmetrically in the final steps. You'll see some of these tips are square and some are slightly angled, which is what causes the issue. it doesn't significantly affect flight, but it's there.

The Hornady aluminum comparator inserts for ogive measuring will hit the bullet closest to where a seater die does. The stainless ones sold by Sinclair will hit them closer to where the actual throat does, as they are wider and contact the ogive further down. There are times I use both.

I prefer the Redding Competition Bullet seater dies, despite their cost. They make a special seater stem for VLD's if you are shooting those. I've seen a couple of tests where they've beat all others, possibly due to their floating seater stem. The main thing, though is consistency. Dave Milosovich ran the Wilson, RCBS Competition seater, and an RCBS standard seater for comparison in the Precision Shooting Reloading Guide. The standard RCBS, which has a long, thin stem rod that flexes enough to approximate a floating seating ram, actually did best for him. The RCBS match seater didn't do as well, something I've seen replicated elsewhere. The Wilson did worst in that instance. Here's another test, but one in which the Wilson outperforms the standard RCBS die done by German Salazer. But the Redding beat both in that test.

If you can't get the Berger's to shoot and it seems to defy explanation, read this from Berger.
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclenick View Post
RexS,

What you are seeing is normal in hollow tip (covered point, as Country says; a.k.a. non-expanding hollow point, as the military calls it) match bullets. Its due to the point being drawn after the cup is trimmed, and the trimming not flowing perfectly symmetrically in the final steps. You'll see some of these tips are square and some are slightly angled, which is what causes the issue. it doesn't significantly affect flight, but it's there.

The Hornady aluminum comparator inserts for ogive measuring will hit the bullet closest to where a seater die does. The stainless ones sold by Sinclair will hit them closer to where the actual throat does, as they are wider and contact the ogive further down. There are times I use both.

I prefer the Redding Competition Bullet seater dies, despite their cost. They make a special seater stem for VLD's if you are shooting those. I've seen a couple of tests where they've beat all others, possibly due to their floating seater stem. The main thing, though is consistency. Dave Milosovich ran the Wilson, RCBS Competition seater, and an RCBS standard seater for comparison in the Precision Shooting Reloading Guide. The standard RCBS, which has a long, thin stem rod that flexes enough to approximate a floating seating ram, actually did best for him. The RCBS match seater didn't do as well, something I've seen replicated elsewhere. The Wilson did worst in that instance. Here's another test, but one in which the Wilson outperforms the standard RCBS die done by German Salazer. But the Redding beat both in that test.

If you can't get the Berger's to shoot and it seems to defy explanation, read this from Berger.

I read that article from German before and makes for some good reading. There been couple articles since that one came out that's he's used a Wilson seater.

Heavy Bullets for Long Range within AccurateShooter.com

On German article on range loading he uses a Wilson seater same as in that picture above.

I'm not saying his test was flawed but you got to wonder.
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:04 AM
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Old Roper,

One of the things I dislike about the AccurateShooter.com format is they don't have dates on their articles. That particular article is copied straight from The Rifleman's Journal 's June, 2009 issue. The article I linked to, in which German discovers the Redding seater is better, is from the September, 2009 issue, 3 months later. So I'm guessing that at the time the work for the article you linked to was done, German hadn't yet done the seater die runout test and didn't know about the differences. Unfortunately, Accurate Shooter didn't let you know that was an earlier rather than a later article. It might be worth bugging them about putting dates up. I assume they got German's permission to copy.
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Last edited by unclenick; 01-25-2014 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclenick View Post
Old Roper,

One of the things I dislike about the AccurateShooter.com format is they don't have dates on their articles. That particular article is copied straight from The Rifleman's Journal 's June, 2009 issue. The article I linked to, in which German discovers the Redding seater is better, is from the September, 2009 issue, 3 months later. So I'm guessing that at the time the work for the article you linked to was done, German hadn't yet done the seater die runout test and didn't know about the differences. Unfortunately, Accurate Shooter didn't let you know that was an earlier rather than a later article. It might be worth bugging them about putting dates up. I assume they got German's permission to copy.

This is article German wrote 5/9/12
<dl><dt>http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com/2012/05/cartridges-accuracy-secrets-of-30-06.html</dt></dl>What's the old saying "pictures worth a thousand words"


German also has pictures with standard Redding seater.
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