March 25th, 2011

More Hybrid Bullet Designs Coming from Berger Bullets

Berger BulletsIn the Berger Bulletin this week is a further discussion of the new Berger “Hybrid” bullet design. This combines a secant ogive shape in the front of the bullet with a tangent ogive shape near the full-diameter (shank) section. Currently the Berger Hybrid is available in .338 caliber and 7mm. Berger will soon release a new hybrid .30 caliber bullet, with 6mm and 6.5mm hybrid projectiles to follow.

How the Hybrid was Developed
In the late 80s, the VLD was born. This design allowed shooters to use lighter bullets and smaller calibers to achieve the same or better trajectory than heavier bullets in bigger calibers. Lighter bullets shot in small calibers were easier on shooters resulting in higher scores and an improved shooting experience. But, this improvement came with a price. Each shooter had to adjust their load in each rifle until they could get the VLD bullet to shoot precisely. Once the load was dialed in, the VLD was one of the most efficient bullet designs in history. But this didn’t stop shooters from yearning for a bullet that is easier to tune.

The VLD design was created by Bill Davis who was one of the top ballistic minds during this time. His [designs] have made a tremendous impact on how long range shooting over the last two decades. One might think that nothing this good can be improved upon. But it could… Ballistician Bryan Litz recognized both the advantages and disadvantages of the VLD design. He went to work to see if he could keep the good results the VLD produced while reducing its sensitivity to seating depth. His efforts have produced the Berger Hybrid.

The Berger Hybrid design incorporates two different shapes within the nose. As the bearing surface ends, a tangent ogive begins. This tangent section of the ogive results in the bullet being much less sensitive to seating depth. Testing results show that the Berger Hybrid shoot equally well at either a jam or a jump. As you move forward along the tangent portion, the shape changes into a secant ogive. The secant ogive is the shape used on the VLD bullets. This shape is very efficient in the wind and is why the VLD became so popular.

By bringing these two shapes together, Bryan has successfully created a bullet that is both not sensitive to seating depth and shoots very flat like a VLD. The key to all this is not just the combining of these two shapes, but also the partnership between the ballistician and the bullet maker.

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March 25th, 2011

L.L. Bean Adopts Year-Round Free Shipping Policy

In a major policy change, which could have a ripple effect in the outdoor industry, major catalog retailer L.L. Bean announced on 3/24/2011 that it will offer free shipping on virtually all products, all the time. This free shipping policy was a because L.L. Bean found that 25% or more of its web customers abandoned online orders once they saw the shipping charges in their online shopping cart. L.L. Bean’s website now declares: “Free Shipping: No minimum order, no end date, just free.”

Currently, Cabelas.com regularly offers free shipping promotions, and Amazon.com offers free shipping on major orders totalling $25.00 or more. The adoption by L.L. Bean of an “All free shipping, all the time” is expected to put pressure on other catalogers to follow suit. This may be a good thing for shooters, whose products may be heavier, on average, than the typical consumer purchasing clothing, or travel accessories.

Free Shipping is a Growing Trend in Online Retailing
According to Businessweek.com, we can expect more large companies to offer free shipping: “Andrew Lipsman, an analyst at Internet research firm comScore Inc., says the industry is moving in that direction. He says that in in 2009, 30 to 35 percent of online holiday purchases involved free shipping; this past holiday season, the figure grew to 40 to 45 percent.”

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