May 6th, 2010

Berger Bullets Releases New .338 Hybrid (Dual-Ogive) Bullet

Berger .338 BulletBerger Bullets has just released its new .338-caliber “hybrid” bullet, Berger’s first-ever projectile larger than .30 caliber. The new bullet has a very high ballistic coefficient (BC): 0.891 under the G1 model, and 0.455 under the newer G7 standard for boat-tail bullets. That high BC should translate into exceptional long-range performance. According to Berger, the BC of the new Berger .338 bullet BC is roughly 14% better than the BCs of other .338-caliber 300gr offerings from Sierra and Lapua. This claim is supported by testing done on all three bullets and published in a detailed Bullet Comparison Report (PDF). The new .338 Hybrid bullets will be sold in 50-count and 250-count boxes. To order, call Berger’s Tech-Line, (714) 447-5458.

The key design feature of the new .338 bullet is its hybrid ogive, i.e. a shape that combines both tangent and secant geometry. A tangent ogive meets the bearing surface very smoothly, whereas a secant ogive has an abrupt juncture with the bearing surface. The figure below shows the geometric differences between a tangent and a secant ogive, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Berger .338 hybrid bullet

Practical Considerations — Load Length and Twist Rate
The superior ballistic performance of the 300gr Hybrid .338 is primarily due to the very long ogive and boat tail. However, that super-long bullet length can create some issues. Berger’s new .338 Hybrid bullets are so long that loaded rounds may not fit some magazines comfortably, unless you deep-seat the bullets, which cuts down on usable case capacity. If your loaded rounds with the new .338s are too long for your magazine, single-feeding is recommended. In addition, and this is IMPORTANT, to get optimal performance with the new bullets, you may want to extend the throat in your chamber. This can be done relatively easily by a competent gunsmith using a throating reamer. We caution, however, once the throat is pushed out, you can’t go back to a shorter throat without setting back the entire barrel.

The new .338 Hybrid bullets should stabilize well with a 1:10″ twist at the velocities achievable with popular .338 magnum cartridges. However, according to Bryan Litz, Berger’s Ballistician, at extreme long ranges (beyond one mile), as the .388 bullet goes trans-sonic, it may need more spin. As the bullet slows down into the trans-sonic range, extra stability is required — something you get by spinning the bullet faster. So, for those guys planning to shoot at one mile or beyond, Berger recommends a faster twist-rate. The faster twist provides more spin-stabilization at very long ranges. But for 1000-yard shooting, you don’t need to be concerned about trans-sonic stability. As Bryan explains: “So as long as you keep your shots under 1 mile, the 1:10″ twist is plenty adequate.”

Berger Bullets Video Update (Eric Stecker talks about the new .338 Hybrid and other matters.)
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