December 10th, 2012

Save $5.00 on Bryan Litz Books from Applied Ballistics

Bryan Litz, Ballistican for Berger Bullets, is actually a trained rocket scientist, not to mention a skilled long-range shooter. Bryan’s books on Ballistics and Precision Long Range Shooting have been recognized as the leading resources of their kind in print. Now you can save money on Bryan’s highly-regarded books through a special holiday promotion.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Books

Bryan tells us: “For a limited time, we are taking an additional $5 off the retail price of our titles Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting 2nd Ed. (regularly $49.95, $44.95 on sale) and Accuracy and Precision for Long Range Shooting (regularly $34.95, $29.95 on sale). And, by purchasing direct from Applied Ballistics you can get your copy autographed by the author”.

CLICK HERE to ORDER with special holiday pricing on Bryan Litz books.

Here are what others are saying about these books.

“Got my copy of Accuracy and Precision for Long Range Shooting and can’t put it down! Exceptionally well done! Both this and Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting” are definite requirements for all long range shooters!” — Eric K.

“Thanks, Brian. You have opened up a whole new ‘world’ in shooting, for those of us who love shooting and hunting, but don’t have the academic background to really appreciate the intricacies of science.” — Terje N.

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August 13th, 2012

Barnes, Berger, Nosler Bullets Now Offered in Sample Packs

Bullet Proof SamplesBullet Proof Samples now offers 12-count packs of big-name bullets. This lets you try out many different bullet types without forking out big bucks for larger 50-ct or 100-ct boxes. Currently, Bullet Proof Samples offers projectiles from Barnes, Berger Bullets, and Nosler. The sample packs range in price from $5.49 (for 22-cal varmint bullets) to $15.99 (for a .30-Cal Barnes LRX). The Berger Bullets sample packs run $6.49 to $10.49, with the larger 7mm and 30-cal bullets at the upper end of the range. On a per-bullet cost basis, it’s still much cheaper to purchase a “normal” 100-ct box, but the sample packs let you “test before you invest.”

Bullet Proof SamplesBerger’s Michelle Gallagher tells us: “We receive frequent feedback from shooters who are looking for bullets in small pack quantities so that they can test different bullets without the expense of buying full boxes. We’re pleased to be associated with the launch of Bullet Proof Samples. This is a new company who has done an exceptional job of addressing that concern. Bullets are packaged in blister packs, so they can be clearly seen. Each pack contains 12 bullets. They will be offering Nosler, Barnes and Berger in a variety of weights and calibers.

This effort will be featured in an upcoming issue of American Rifleman and will launch officially this week. Bullet Proof Samples is not a Berger Bullets LLC company, but we are supportive of their efforts and believe that they will be addressing a need in the shooting community that is presently unavailable.”

Story idea by EdLongrange.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 6 Comments »
December 9th, 2011

Berger 80gr Varmint Bullet is Super-Accurate

Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets was kind enough to supply some of Berger’s 80gr 6mm Varmint bullets for testing. These were formerly called the Berger MEF, but now the box says “Varmint — Match Grade” (part #24321). Our initial testing, in a standard 6BR with 1:8″-twist, 3-groove PacNor barrel demonstrated that “Match-grade” was no boast. These things shoot! At 100 yards, the first two shots went into the same hole. A nice 5-shot group formed up under 0.2″. And to keep things interesting, this was with a varmint-style stock and only one wind-flag about 30 yards out. By comparison, the best we could do with Hornady 75gr V-Maxs in this gun were groups in the mid-fives (half-MOA+).

Reader ShCal of San Luis Obispo has also tested the 6mm Berger 80s and also got great results, shooting under 0.5″ at 200 yards.

Berger 6mm .243 bullets

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November 26th, 2011

Caliber Preferences Influenced by Component Costs

Prices of bullets and brass have gone up dramatically in recent months. We are hearing from active shooters that cost considerations are influencing their decisions about what calibers and chamberings to shoot. There is a definite trend to smaller cartridges and lighter bullets.

One match shooter told us: “I’ve been debating between a 6.5×47 Lapua and a 6-6.5×47. After comparing the cost of 6.5mm vs. 6mm bullets, I decided on the 6mm. If I save $7 bucks a box, and shoot 4000 rounds a year (40 boxes of bullets), that’s $280.00 in savings–enough to buy a new barrel.”

Here are some comparative bullet prices for 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, and 30-caliber bullets at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Prices are for a 100-count box. Note that the 6.5mm match bullets cost 25% more than the 6mms. For active shooters, the price difference adds up quickly. (Prices from current catalog listings; particular items may be out of stock.)

Lapua Brass

Brand 6mm 6.5mm 7mm .308
Berger 105gr VLD
140gr VLD
180gr VLD
190gr VLD
Sierra 107gr MK
142gr MK
175gr MK
200gr MK

Lapua Brass

Here are brass costs for Lapua brass from Prices are for 100-count boxes (or four 25-count boxes for the .338 Lapua Magnum). Generally speaking, the bigger the case, the higher the price (except for the .308 Win).

.223 Rem .243 Win 6.5×47 Lapua 6.5-284 .308 Win .338 Lapua Mag
$58.99 $93.99 $104.99 $118.99 $69.99 $264.99

Consider Barrel Life Also
Certainly, moving to a smaller caliber can often reduce what you have to pay for brass and bullets. On the other hand, you need to consider barrel life. Hot-loaded 6mms, such as a .243 Ackley, can burn up a barrel much more quickly than a .308 Winchester. In comparing the “operating costs” of various cartridges, you need to factor in barrel replacement costs as well as component prices. If you have to spend $550 (including smithing) to replace a custom 6mm barrel every 1500 rounds, you’re spending $1100 more than a guy who has a .308 Win which lasts 4500 rounds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 11th, 2011

New Berger 105gr 6mm Hybrid Bullets Perform Well

105gr Hybrid Tests Demonstrate Excellent Accuracy and Consistency
By Robert Whitley
After the initial Daily Bulletin Report on the new Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrids, I did some accuracy and consistency field testing with these new bullets. They shot so well, I thought an update was in order. My 100-yard testing has revealed much about these new bullets — all of it good so far. The test rifle was a MAK Tube Gun with a trued Rem 700 action (glued in), with a 6mm Brux 30″, 1:8″-twist barrel chambered with a no-neck-turn 6mm BRX chamber (1.563″ max case and .120″ free bore). The 6mm 105gr Hybrids fit and work well in this 6 BRX chamber configuration. (CLICK HERE to view a print of the reamer I used for the 6 BRX chamber.)

Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrid bullet

Hybrids Show Excellent Accuracy in Prone Tests (with Sling)
As some may know, I am predominantly a prone shooter and do most of my load testing prone with a sling. I chose to do the same with these Hybrids, to see how they would perform when fired as they would be in a prone match. In this case, shooting prone with sling, I shot four 10-shot groups (two 10-shot groups in each of two range session). All four groups were right around .5 MOA (i.e. each group about .750″ edge-to-edge, minus a bullet diameter of .243″ = .507″). The new Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid bullets had no problems doing this. The groups shot were also consistent with the best groups I have been able to shoot in the past with the Berger 108gr BT bullets and the Berger 105gr VLD bullets, and I consider both of those bullets to be excellent and accurate. There is no question in my mind that these new Hybrid bullets are accurate, and the consistency is there! Check out my test targets below.

The two 10-shot targets above were shot at 100 yards on September 30th, prone with sling. The 6 BRX load was: Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrids, Lapua brass, 32.0 grains N140, Federal 205M-AR primers, .020″ jump. Note: If you put the targets over each other the groups line up perfectly.

These two 10-shot targets (above) were shot at 100 yards on September 23, prone with sling. The 6 BRX load was: Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrids, Lapua brass, 31.0 grains H4895, Federal 205M-AR primers, .020″ jump. When I can shoot 20 Xs in a row (as I did with these two targets) the rifle is really shooting well.

Accuracy needs to be coupled with consistency, especially when running longer strings of fire or in matches demanding a larger number of hits on the target. I am pleased to report that I have found the Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets to be consistently accurate bullets (i.e. there were no anomalies or fliers, they just keep going where you pointed the rifle). At each of the last two range sessions I shot back to back 10-shot groups with no break between the two (i.e. 20 shots in a row and only switching to the next target after 10 shots). Not only did the individual 10-shot groups stay tight, but if you hold each first target over the second target, the groups are right on top of one another. This is what I look for in terms of consistency — that I can keep shooting, and the bullets keep going right into the group, with no odd fliers.

105gr Hybrid Bearing Surface and Optimum Free Bore
Shooters may wonder how the new 6mm 105gr Hybrids function with the existing freebores on chambers set up for current Berger 105gr VLDs and Berger 108gr BT bullets. Based on the investigation and measuring of various chambers, here are some general guidelines:

1. For a chamber with a 1.5° throat angle, and the bullets touching the lands, the Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets sit up in the neck a little further than both the current production Berger 105 VLD Target bullets and the Berger 108gr BT bullets.

2. Based on basic measuring and testing, for the junction of the boat tail and bearing surface of a 6mm 105gr Hybrid bullet to be in the same spot as other bullets, the 105 Hybrid (Lot #3079) would need about .020″ – .025″ less freebore than recent production Berger 105gr Target VLD bullets (Lot #3220) and about .030″ – .035″ less freebore than recent Berger 108gr Target BT bullets (lot #2791).

3. Since the Hybrids are designed to work both in the lands and jumped away from the lands, some extra freebore may not be a bad thing. In truth, the 105 Hybrid bullets should work well and fit well in various 6mm chamberings (such as 6 BRX, 6 Dasher, 6mmAR etc.) which have been optimized for the previous generation, non-Hybrid 6mm Berger 105s and 108s.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product 7 Comments »
September 21st, 2011

Berger’s New 6mm 105gr Hybrid Match Bullets — First Look

by Robert Whitley
I recently received some of the new Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid Match Bullets for testing. There is much interest in these new 6mm Hybrids, so I thought I’d share my initial observations. A couple of things are very striking about these new bullets:

Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrid bullet

1. They appear to be very long, sleek and aerodynamic, while they still maintain a good bearing surface length (full-diameter shank). I like bullets with a sufficient bearing surface length because I find that it makes for bullets that are easier to shoot and tune. I also feel a good bearing surface length makes for a bullet that has a better potential for consistent performance over bullets with a short bearing surface.

Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrid bullet

2. The published ballistic coefficient (BC) numbers on these bullets are quite high. They have a stated G1 BC of .547 and a G7 BC of .278. Looking at the bullets themselves it’s easy to see why these BC numbers are so high. The front end of the projectile is quite long and similar to what you see on long-range VLDs, but the transition to the bearing surface has a blended appearance (the Hybrid part) vs. the sharp transition you typically see with most VLDs and secant ogive bullets. The 105gr Hybrid bullets also have a long boat-tail.

Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrid bullet

3. The new Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets measure right around 1.261″ OAL. By comparison, the many other 105gr to 108gr bullets I’ve measured all seem to run in the range of 1.210″ to 1.225″ OAL. The Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets are thus a fair bit longer than the others, which is why a true 1:8″ or faster twist is recommended for them. The bearing surface diameter of the new Hybrids was dead on at 0.243″. So these bullets are neither “fat” nor “skinny”.

4. The tips on these bullets are quite uniform, with the meplats closed up nicely. The Hybrids have nice small tips similar those on the Berger 108s (reasonably tight in diameter). While I sometimes like to point my match bullets, I like to shoot bullets that are ready to go “out of the box”, and these are just that. I’m hoping they will perform very well without meplat trimming or pointing.

Berger’s 6mm 105gr Hybrids Slated to Go on Sale in Late October
Berger has done its own in-house testing on these bullets and found them to be accurate and appropriate for release for additional testing by shooters out in the field. Unless this additional field testing reveals something that no one anticipated (which I doubt), I suspect these new projectiles will be one of Berger’s most popular bullet offerings. The planned official release date for the new 6mm, 105gr Hybrids has been tentatively set for mid- to late-October of 2011. So, barring some last minute changes, these 105s should be on dealers’ shelves before Thanksgiving.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
September 6th, 2011

Berger’s New 6mm 105gr Hybrid Bullet — Ballistics Revealed

Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets just revealed some details on Berger’s new 6mm 105gr Hybrid bullet. This projectile is now in the final stage of testing. Here are comparative ballistics for the new 6mm Hybrid vs. Berger’s popular 105gr VLD bullet:

6mm 105 gr Hybrid Target Original 6mm 105 gr VLD (Now is Berger’s hunting version)
Averaged G1 BC = 0.547
G7 BC = 0.278
Averaged G1 BC = 0.532
G7 BC = 0.272

Longer Bullet Requires 1:8″ Twist
The new 105gr Hybrid Target is slightly longer than the original 105-grainer so a true 1:8″ is strongly recommended. The new bullet is made with the thicker Target jacket to withstand match shooting conditions. The Hybrid ogive is designed to be less sensitive to seating depth and has been working well in other calibers and sizes. This bullet can take all the 6mm cases can dish out and it has a BC equal to our own 6mm 115 gr VLD.

Eric Stecker tells us: “The moment we knew that we had to modify the 6mm 105gr VLD Target with a larger meplat, the need for this bullet was born. We’ve been working on it ever since. Bryan Litz has done an exceptional job with this design. I am very eager to see how they do in many rifles since I regard the 105gr class of bullets as key in Berger’s line. Between the 68gr, the 80gr and the 105gr (among other weights) we have been especially blessed with our 6mm offerings.” Eric is quite right — all those bullets shoot exceptionally well and the 105gr VLD holds many records. If the new 105gr Hybrid can come close to the accuracy of the 105gr VLD, it should be very successful.

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September 6th, 2011

New Berger .30-Cal Hybrids Released — 6mm Hybrid in Testing

Having completed successful field testing, Berger is releasing two new .30-caliber Hybrid bullets, the 185gr Hybrid (part #30424) and the new 200gr Hybrid (part # 30427). The Hybrid design, developed by Bryan Litz, combines both secant-ogive and tangent-ogive shapes. This keeps drag low while making the bullet easier to tune than typical VLD style bullets. Both these new Hybrid bullets have demonstrated excellent accuracy along with outstanding long-range ballistics. The BC on the 200-grainer is extremely high, with a G1 value of 0.624 and a G7 value of 0.320. The new 185gr and 200gr Hybrids should be arriving on store shelves very soon.

Berger 185gr and 200gr .308 Hybrid Specifications
Berger Hybrid Bullet Specifications .30 caliber

Consumer Field Testing of new 6mm 105gr Hybrid, and Heavy 30s
Berger has commenced testing of its new 30 cal 215 and 230 gr Hybrid bullets, and Bergers new 6mm 105gr Hybrid. Berger tells us that: “If the tests results are positive, these bullets should be available to order in the middle of October, 2011.”

Berger is soliciting qualified Forum members to help with the testing of the latest hybrids — the jumbo 30s and the new 6mm 105-grainer. You must have an appropriate rifle and be willing to report your results in a timely, coherent manner. In return, if selected, you’ll get a free bullets for testing — one 100-ct box per test. If you wish to participate in the testing process, click the links below to read Berger’s testing announcements in our Forum.

Berger .30-cal 215gr and 230gr Hybrid Bullet Test | Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid Bullet Test

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 1st, 2011

Shooting at 1200 Yards and 1760 Yards (1 Mile) with Bryan Litz

Ultra-Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz
We recently did some extended long range shooting with several rifles at a “secret range” where we could shoot out to one mile. I teamed up with Paul Philips, a highly successful National and International F-TR shooter with several National records. We started out shooting a Sako TRG-42 at 1200 yards. This is the same rifle I shot in Wyoming last year at distances out to 2400 yards. This rifle shoots the new Berger 300gr Hybrids, at 2700 fps. We were pleased to find that the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56mm scope has plenty of elevation to get to 1200 yards with this bullet, especially when mounted on a Near Mfg. +45 MOA rail. The drop from a 100-yard zero to 1200 yards was predicted to be 34.75 MOA. The size of that 5-shot group was nothing to brag about (1.5 MOA), but what I found satisfying is that the group center was exactly centered for vertical on the target. That means the calculated .418 G7 BC and all of the other variables that went into this trajectory prediction were spot on.

Bryan Litz long range rifle Berger Hybrid .338 .300

Bryan Litz long range rifle Berger Hybrid .338 .300New .30-Cal Tactical Bullets
Next, we shot the LaRue 7.62 OBR rifle at 1200 yards. This rifle produced a 5-shot group of 9.7″ (.85 MOA) with off-the-shelf Applied Ballistics Tactical ammo loaded with .30-cal 175gr Berger Tactical bullets. These bullets only have a muzzle velocity of 2572 fps from this short barrel, which means that in our conditions they were subsonic past 1000 yards, running 1080 fps at 1200 yard. Going subsonic didn’t prevent the 175gr bullets from shooting a sub-MOA group.

However, I was a little disappointed that the group center was 9″ high (0.8 MOA) compared to the predicted trajectory (657″ drop from a 100-yard zero). Note this 9″ error in predicted drop could be produced by small variances. The 9″ shift could be explained by a 14 fps error in muzzle velocity, or a 2% error in bullet BC, or a 5-yard error in range measurement.

For our final test, I shot Berger’s newest Tactical bullet; the .30-caliber 230gr OTM projectile. This bullet has a tested G7 BC of .368, and a G1 BC of .719. Now this isn’t my most accurate rifle and I haven’t had an opportunity to really work up a good load. As a result, I shot an unimpressive 20″ group (1.8 MOA). But the predicted drop was only off by 2″ (less than 1 click) based on the BC’s listed above.

Bryan Litz long range rifle Berger Hybrid .338 .300

Shooting .338 Lapua Magnums at One Mile
After shooting at 1200, we lobbed some bullets on an 8’x8′ target at 1760 yards (1 mile). At this range, the TRG-42 put the 300gr Bergers on target with four of five shots in 1/2 MOA with a flyer to make the total group 21″. At this range my group center was 18.5″ (1.1 MOA) higher than predicted. Paul Philips* shot his custom .338 Lapua Magnum rifle. This is a Dave Tooley-built Tac-338 with 30″ Brux barrel, Stiller action, McMillan A-5 stock, and Nightforce NXS 12-42×56. Paul shot at the same target and was able to hold between 1/2 and 1 MOA groups with the same 300gr Berger Hybrid bullets. Paul’s group centers were also about 1 MOA higher than predicted. This small error in prediction isn’t very troubling though, as we’re not entirely confident in the range measurement. As 1760 yards (one mile) is too far for a direct laser rangefinder measurement, the distance was determined with a combination of GPS and Google maps. At that distance, a range error of just 15 yards (out of 1760) could cause the percieved 1 MOA error in predicted drop. So, if the target were really at 1745 yards, instead of 1760 yards, it would explain why we were hitting 1 MOA high. Alternatively, if BC error were the reason for hitting high, it would suggest the G7 BC for the .338-cal 300gr Berger Hybrid is .427, as opposed to the currently advertised .418; a 2% difference.

The Joy of Ultra-Long-Range Shooting
For me, the thrill of shooting these extreme long ranges isn’t just about the group sizes, but the accuracy with which the trajectory can be predicted. The shooter who understands ballistics and inputs the right variables should be able to center a 1.5 MOA group well past 1000 yards. He can be more effective, on targets at extreme ranges, than someone who can shoot an 0.5 MOA group but can’t keep it centered. Of course the most impressive of all is the shooter who can combine precision with accuracy and center the 0.5 MOA group at extreme distances!

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills 16 Comments »
February 20th, 2011

FREE Ballistics Program from Berger Bullets

Berger Ballistics ProgramThere’s a lot of buzz about ballistics programs for smartphones. Those are handy, to be sure, but most people still need a solid, full-featured program to run on their home computers. Berger Bullets offers a sophisticated ballistics programs for MS Windows computers that works really well, and lets you print out results. Up-to-Date G7 BCs for Berger projectiles are built-in to the program, and the price is right — FREE.

CLICK HERE to Download Berger Ballistics Program

The program is basic enough to be easy to use, but flexible enough to allow you to calculate custom ballistics for your rifle and load. The program accounts for all the basic external ballistic parameters including bullet BC and muzzle velocity, atmospherics, uphill/downhill shooting, etc. The output tabulates velocity, energy and time of flight as a function of range. Bullet path and wind deflection are displayed in your choice of inches, centimeters, MOA or MILS.

Instructions for Program
On the Berger Bullets Blog (1/26/2010), You’ll find a description of program features and a complete set of instructions. Here are instructions for the bullet variables: “The bullet inputs are straightforward. The BC can be entered in reference to either the G1 or G7 standard. You can find the G1 or G7 BC for your bullet either printed on the bullet box label, or on our products page. For accurate results, you should measure the muzzle velocity with a good chronograph. If you don’t have access to a chronograph, you can estimate the muzzle velocity based on your load data.”

Tips for Best Results
Bryan Litz includes tips on getting the most from the Berger Ballistics program. Some of Bryan’s suggestions will also help you when working with other ballistics software:

G1 vs. G7 BC: The accuracy of the ballistic solution is only as accurate as the inputs you give it. The advertised BCs for Berger bullets are established by actual field firing tests over long range and are very accurate. Using the properly referenced BC (G7 vs. G1) for the bullet you’re modeling is important. For any bullet with a boat tail, we recommend using the G7 BC.

Muzzle Velocity: Knowing your true muzzle velocity is important when calculating external ballistics. It’s best to measure your muzzle velocity directly with a chronograph.

Altitude and Atmosphere: If you want a truly accurate long-range trajectory prediction, you can’t ignore atmospheric effects. This is especially true the farther you get from standard conditions (sea level altitude, 59 degrees Fahrenheit, 0% humidity).

Scope Verification: It’s important to verify the most important link between the calculated ballistics and your point of impact: your scope. If the ballistics program calculates 30.0 MOA of drop for a particular shot, and you dial your scope to 30.0 MOA, are you sure it’s giving you exactly 30.0 MOA? In reality, many scopes have enough error in them to cause misses at long range. It’s important to verify the value of your scope clicks by firing groups at short range.

If you have further questions not answered on Berger’s Blog Page, email Bryan.Litz [at] NOTE: If your computer won’t run the program, please download and install this Java update: This is a Windows PC program. You may have problems trying to run it on a MAC in emulation.

Story sourced by Edlongrange.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 8 Comments »
February 2nd, 2011

Berger SW Nationals: Litz Wins Overall, Biggs Breaks F-Open Record, Spindle Shooters Excel

The Berger SW Nationals at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix concluded this weekend. Congratulations to: Bryan Litz (Overall Champion — sling), Trudie Fay (Palma Rifle Winner, 2nd Overall), Danny Biggs (F-Open Winner), and John Hayhurst (F-TR Winner). Among sling shooters, Bryan shot a 1441-77X, Trudy scored 1432-63X, and Gary Eliseo and Leo Ahearn tied with 1430-74X, with Gary getting the 3rd place spot on a tie-breaker.

Photos Courtesy Rick Curtis. CLICK HERE for more match photos.

Bryan Litz, Trudy Fay

Bryan Litz and Gary Eliseo Loads
For the Palma matches, Bryan Litz was shooting a .308 Win with 185gr, .30-cal LRBT Berger bullets, seated .015″ off the lands in Lapua brass. The load, pushed by Hodgdon Varget and CCI BR2 primers, ran slightly over 2800 fps. For his “Any Rifle” stages, Bryan shot a straight .284 Winchester at “about 2850 fps”, using 180gr Berger Hybrid match target 7mm bullets seated about .015″ off the lands. Bryan’s .284 Win load used Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and Lapua 6.5-284 brass, necked-up to 7mm. While Bryan favored a 7mm “Any Rifle” chambering, Gary Eliseo did well with a 6mm solution. Gary told us that, except for the Palma match, he was shooting his regular Across-the-Course load: 6mm BRX, 107gr Sierra MK jumped .025″, running about 2940 fps. This is a mild load for the 6BRX and it proves the little cartridge can be competitive at 1K even in tough conditions.

SW Nationals Palma

Danny BiggsBiggs Breaks F-Class Record
In winning the F-Open Division, Danny Biggs broke Charles Ballard’s 1000-Yard F-Open National record twice with two 200-15X scores. This was an amazing performance by Danny, who finished with 1439-76X Agg, five points ahead of runner-up David Mann. Forum member TonyR, who shot in the match, reports: “The big story is really Danny’s second 200-15X. He shot that through several big switches and most of us can’t figure out how he did it. I shot the same relay he got the first one on and I wasn’t surprised that someone broke the record on that one, but I was scoring another shooter on the relay when he set the second one and I was just amazed that he did what he did under those conditions.”

Sierra Spindle Shooters Top F-Open Team Events
In the team events, the Sierra Spindle Shooters’ Team did very well, winning both the Palma Match and the 1000-yard Team Match, and scoring 2558-102X overall. Team Berger (2550-97X) finished second in the Team Aggs, with Team Berger member Larry Bartholome posting a 645-24X, the best individual performance in the Team comps. In the photo below (left to right), are Spindle Shooters team members Jeff Cochran, Bret Solomon, Shawn Ahrens and Jeff Traylor. Jeff reports: “The medals are for winning the F-Open Team Agg. In the last few years we’ve won the F-Class Nationals with Nancy Tompkins or Emil Praslick coaching. At this match both of them had other obligations so Bret and Shawn co-coached. They did a great job working together beating out several teams with world class coaches. We hold both the 600 and 1K F-Open team records with and had a good shot at the Palma record in this match but came up a bit short. I think if Nancy wasn’t tied up with the U.S. Palma team we might have beat the record. She’ll be with us again soon at the Nationals this fall in Lodi, Wisconsin.”

Sierra Spindle Shooters
Photo courtesy Jeff Cochran.

F-Open Rifle

Three Shots under 1″ at 1000 yards
As a demonstration of the potential accuracy of these long-range rifles, Dennis Selfridge fired a three shot group under an inch at 1K yards with his 6.5X47 in conditions! Check it out:

Dennis Selfridge 6.5x47

Complete Match Results
Sling Class Individual Aggregate
Sling Class Team Aggregate
F-Open Class Individual Aggregate
F-TR Class Individual Aggregate
F-Open Team Aggregate

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
November 5th, 2010

Berger Introduces NEW 87gr 6mm VLD for 1:10″ Twist Barrels

Berger 87 hunting VLDBerger Bullets has released a brand new bullet designed to work in 6mm rifles with a 1:10″ or faster twist. This new bullet borrows its basic design from the very accurate 95gr VLD, but it is shorter so it can fully stabilize in a 10-twist barrel.

This thin-jacket hunting bullet has been confirmed in testing to work in a 1:10” twist or faster barrel, and was specifically designed for those who want to hunt with factory rifles. Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz field-tested the new 87gr bullet. Here is his report:

For the new 87gr VLD, the G1 BC is .412, and the G7 BC is .211. Prior to this bullet, our lightest Hunting VLD was the 95 grainer, which requires a 1:9″ twist. This left many shooters with no option from Berger for a 6mm hunting bullet because the fastest common twist for many 6mm factory barrels is 1:10″. The 87 grain VLD was designed specifically to fill the gap, and it squeezes the most performance possible out of the common 1:10″ twist barrel. As with all Berger Hunting VLDs, this is the standard J4 (thin) jacket. There is not a Target (thick-jacket) version planned for this design.

Berger 87 hunting VLD

Berger 87 hunting VLD
L to R – Berger 6mm 87 gr, 95 gr, 105 gr, and 115 gr Match Grade Hunting VLD.

87gr VLDs are In Stock and Ready to Ship
Eric Stecker tells us: “We are excited to announce that our 6mm 87gr Hunting VLD bullets are now available. They are on the shelves now and ready to ship. We have made several shipments to dealers and have more bullets in stock at our shop now. We also have enough jackets ready to make more if we run out quickly. Currently the 87gr VLD is only available in 100-ct boxes.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
October 6th, 2010

6mm 90s & 95s — Lighter Bullets May Be Better for Mid-Range

Many shooters using the 6mmBR case or a 6BR Improved (6 BRX, Dasher), automatically assume they should be shooting the heavier 105-108gr bullet designs because these offer the “best” ballistic coefficient attainable with a bullet that can work in an 8-twist barrel.

95 grain Sierra MatchKingHowever, if you are shooting a 6BR at medium ranges, say 250 to 400 yards, you should seriously consider trying the 90-95 grain class of bullets, which includes the Berger 90gr Match Target BT, the Lapua 90gr Scenar, the Berger 95gr Match Target VLD, and the Sierra 95gr MatchKing.

First, you may find that, in your barrel, the 90-95 grainers are easier to tune in terms of seating depth, and they may offer somewhat better raw accuracy — yielding smaller groups than the heavier bullets. But remember — each gun/barrel is different.

Second, another advantage of the 90-95s is that you can fill the case fuller with the Varget/RL-15 class of powders (with appropriate throats). You can use more powder and therefore get closer to an optimal 100% case fill. With a 95gr VLD seated long we were able to get virtually 100% fill with a slow lot of Varget. Don’t try that with your 105s!

Lighter Bullets Offer More Speed in a 6BR
You’ll find that, in a standard 6mmBR rifle, you can drive the 90-95 grainers considerably faster than the 105-108 grain bullets at equivalent pressures. In an Eliseo R5 Tubegun, with Broughton 27.5″ 5C barrel, we were able to push the 95gr VLDs a full 160 fps faster than the 108s. This means that the true ballistics of the 90-95s rival that of the heavy bullets — at medium ranges.

We were able to drive the 90-grainers and the 95gr VLDs comfortably and very accurately at 3050 fps, whereas we maxed out at about 2890 fps with the 105gr and 108gr Bergers. At 300 yards, the 95gr bullet’s speed advantage compensates, in large part, for any BC shortfall compared to heavier bullets. In fact, in our rifle, the 95gr VLD actually shows less wind drift at 300 yards than either the Berger 105 Match Target BT or the Berger 108 Match Target BT. See chart.

Here’s data from JBM Ballistics, using G7 Coefficients (500′ alt, 70° temp):

LESSON: Don’t always assume that the heavier bullet has superior ballistics. You have to test, find the accuracy nodes for each bullet in your gun, and run the ballistics for the velocities you can actually achieve with good accuracy. As above, you may be surprised. In our Eliseo Tubegun, the 90-grainers shot tighter than 105s and we gave up little, if anything, in wind drift at 300 yards.

Great Accuracy from 90s and 95s in 6mmBR Tubeguns
In our Broughton-barreled Tubegun, the most accurate bullet so far has been the 90gr Lapua Scenar. In a Savage 6BR with 3-groove PacNor Barrel the Berger 95gr VLD has been ultra-accurate. But we really want to try the 95gr Sierra MK as well. Forum member Randy (aka “InfantryTrophy”) has been shooting the 95gr SMK with great success, and impressive accuracy. Here is his report: “The 95 SMK shoots great. I have not had the opportunity to shoot the 95s at 200 or 300 yards, but I can’t think of anything better to use. This is my first 5-round group fired after about 15 break-in rounds. The load is 29.5 grains of Reloder 15 with SMK 95. The gun is an Eliseo R5 with Pierce action and Broughton 27″ barrel. Shown below is a 5-shot, 100-yard group shot at 100 yards on MR31 target with iron sights, from rest.” Randy measured his group at 0.214″. It looks a bit bigger than that to us, but it is still impressive:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 2 Comments »
August 10th, 2010

Berger Gives 50,000 Bullets to USA Nat’l Development Rifle Team

Berger USA Team bullet donationBerger Bullets has donated 50,000 Berger 155.5gr Fullbore, .30-caliber match bullets to the USA National Development Team. The value of this donation, based on the bullets’ retail price, is $19,500.00. Dennis Flaherty, USA Rifle Teams Captain, also reports that Berger has pledged $1000.00 in cash each year and will continue the 50,000 bullet donation every four years on the World Championship Long Range and Palma Team match cycle.

The USA National Rifle Team management plans to sell these bullets with 100% of the proceeds going to support the USA Under-25 Team. Sales of the donated Berger bullets will help underwrite the costs of sending the Under-25 Team to the 2011 World Championships in Australia. Flaherty adds: “The entire National Rifle Team sends a heartfelt thank you to Berger Bullets and Eric Stecker for making this happen.”

Bullets may be purchased by emailing Dan Simpson at for ordering instructions. The price is $195.00 per 500 (minimum order) and shipping is free!! (USA ONLY.) Please make out your tax-deductible donation check to: Palma Promotions, a 501(C)(3) organization. This is a great opportunity to support the Under-25 Team and send our young, talented shooters and their coaches to the World Championships.

Commenting on his company’s donation, Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets wrote: “Berger is committed to [supporting and strengthening] the shooting sports. As a gesture of strength and solidarity I am working to join forces between competing brands of bullets to support these efforts. Sierra’s Matt Reams and I worked together to make sure that both companies can provide a show of support without conflict with sponsorship agreements. I was happy to hear that Dennis Flaherty decided to apply these funds to the Under-25 Team. Who better to benefit from this situation than those junior shooters…?

This donation to the USA National Development Rifle Team is our way of showing support to all top-performing US riflemen. I would like to thank Matt Reams and Sierra for working together with us to create this partnership of support, Dennis for his decision to apply this support to the Under-25 Team program and Dan for facilitating the distribution process. I will also thank all of you who support this effort by purchasing these bullets.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 1 Comment »
April 28th, 2010

Berger Bullets Special Sell-OFF — Save Big Buck$

Hey guys, here’s your chance to buy Berger Bullets at super-low prices. Berger has arranged an exclusive “Bullet Sell-Off” promotion for readers. These bullets are not blems or damaged. They are mostly first-quality overruns. After yesterday’s sale, what’s left are primarily 22 caliber. Some are moly-coated but most are not. The prices are insanely low on these sell-off bullets. You can save $10 per 100 (or more) on some types.

Eric Stecker, Berger’s Master Bulletsmith, explains: “Over time we accumulate bullets that are either discontinued, overruns or were part of a test that is completed. These bullets are Match Grade and every bit the same as any Berger. Circumstances specific to each lot available is compelling us to release these bullets for very low prices. Below I’ve listed the quantity, description, lot, price and a brief explanation on why they are available for such a low price.”

Berger will sell these bullets for the next few days. To purchase the Special Sell-Off bullets, call Berger’s main line at (714) 447-5456 to place the order. Doing this will help keep things sorted out as the calls come in — first call, first served. UPDATE: The 17 Cal just sold out.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 8 Comments »
April 16th, 2010

Berger Bullets Video Update — 6mm, 25 Cal, and 7mm Bullets

Berger Bullets has just released a video report from Eric Stecker, Berger’s “master bulletsmith”. In this video update, Eric explains why Berger’s popular 6mm, 25 cal, and 7mm bullets are in short supply. Eric reports that production delays were caused by mechanical problems with the jacket-making presses. The good news is that the jacket presses have now been fixed (this required a complete rebuild of the 7mm press), so production should be back on schedule very soon. You’ll find more current news and match reports on Berger’s new Facebook Page.

YouTube Preview Image

Berger also announced that, in order to better respond to customer inquiries, Berger has added a new representative to the customer service staff, Teresa Collins. You can contact Teresa by phone at 714-447-5456 or send email to: teresa.collins [at]

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo No Comments »
April 5th, 2010

Hayes, Thornton, and Spiker Top Field at Berger SW Nationals

The 4-day Berger Bullets SW Nationals wrapped up Sunday. It was a successful match with over 80 shooters competing in various classes. After blustery weather on Thursday for the prone 3×600, conditions improved for the ensuing three days of Cross-the-Course events, with milder wind, temps in the low 70s and a bright blue sky.

Phil Hayes of Arizona was the overall Grand Agg winner with a 2256-76X. Congratulations Phil! Johnathan Thornton was close behind, capturing second with 2255-68X. Third overall and the top Service Rifle shooter was Alan Spiker, who shot 2250 with a remarkable eight-two (82) Xs, the high X-count among all competitors. Walt Smith was High Senior with 2231-68X, while Tyler Rico scored 2215-74X to capture the High Junior spot. John Beall was the highest-scoring Master, with a 2216-64X, while Phillip Meyers won the Expert Class scoring 2156-44X.

CLICK HERE for complete Grand Agg Results

Berger SW National high power

On Friday, Jonathan Thornton was the overall winner for the day shooting a 789-23X with his Tubb 2000 in 6XC. Jonathan’s aggregate included clean 200 scores in sitting rapid fire as well as the 600 yard slow fire prone stage. Phil Hayes and Tyler Rico were second and third in the High Master match rifle category. Justin Skaret was the top service rifle shooter at 782-27X, followed by Allen Spiker and Eric Swearingen.

A catered barbeque dinner was provided for competitors and guests and thousands of dollars of merchandise prizes were distributed on a random drawing basis. Barrels, bullets, scopes, powder, triggers and all manner of accessories were distributed and highly appreciated.

Permalink Competition 2 Comments »
March 1st, 2010

SamWOW — Hall Gets Great Accuracy with 6.5×47

IBS 600-yard National Champion and recent 600-yard Shooter of the Year Sam Hall has been hard to beat when he’s got his 6BR or his Dasher dialed in. Sam recently told us that he’s been experimenting with the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, thinking that a larger, higher-BC bullet might perform better in the wind.

Sam Hall HG

Sam Hall HG

Sam’s competitors are probably hoping we’ll report that Sam is struggling with the new cartridge, and can’t get his new 6.5×47 to shoot. Well, guys… no such luck. Sam recently took his 6.5×47 Heavy Gun out in some fairly windy conditions, but still returned a spectacular four-shot group at 600 yards. Sam measured the group at 0.357 inches. We measured it at 0.371″ with OnTarget software, but that was going off a photograph, which can be less precise. Either way, 4 shots in well under 0.4 inches at 600 yards is spectacular.

As Sam told us, however, “I just wish I’d shot that in competition… with a fifth shot of course.” Even though Sam’s group was shot in practice, it’s still an amazingly small group — one that suggests that the 6.5×47 Lapua may have great potential as a Benchrest cartridge. The group size, in MOA, is 0.059!

Sam Hall HG

Sam’s load was 37.0 grains of Reloder 15 with 130gr Berger VLDs and CCI BR4 primers. The gun is a Bat-actioned, 47-lb “true heavy” built by Leonard Baity using a McMillan 50BMG stock. The barrel is a 29.5″ Brux, 1.25″ straight contour, with a 1:8.5″ twist. Sam reports:

The gun has a BAT MB 1.55″ round action. The reamer was a Kiff (PTG) .290 neck with .160 freebore. The loaded round is .288 at the neck. I made a mistake labeling the target. The primers were CCI BR4s, not 450s. The 130gr Bergers VLDs are lot 0225 (the early ones). They are in the rifling as far as I can get them (jam). I use a .287 Redding bushing in my Redding “type S” FL dies. I seat with a Wilson seater. The stock is a McMillian Light 50 BMG stock full of lead from McMillian. With the 40x Leupold it weighs 47 pounds. The fore-end is 3.5 inches wide. Leonard Baity did the complete rifle. I had him to put a rail (3 inches wide) on the back so I could use my adjustable rest Leonard made me a few years ago for my Shehane Maxi-Tracker stock. Even though this rifle is only 14 pounds lighter than the 61-pound aluminum stock Maxi-Tracker 6mm Dasher I shot last year, it feels like it is 25 pounds lighter. It is much, and I mean MUCH more manageable carrying this rifle around than the Maxi-Tracker. I can actually use my Farley, joy-stick rest with the rifle. I just replace the 3 inch bag with a 3.5 inch wide bag. I can make adjustments much faster with the Farley than I can twisting knobs.

The reason I built the 6.5×47 Lapua is to try to beat the wind we have here in NC in the spring. Plus, the fact I love to shoot and experiment. The 6.5 bullets are not affected as much by the wind as the 6mms. I started shooting 600-yard competiton with a 6.5-284. I could predict where the bullet was going to hit much better with it than the 6mms I shoot now. In windy conditions, the 6mms seem to “dance around” when sighting in. The heavy 6.5 seems to say on track and Point of Impact is more predictable. In 600-yard competition, score is half the game. I figured if I could get a 6.5 shooting somewhere close to a 6BR or 6BR Improved, I would be ahead of the game in the wind. So far this rifle is agging at 600 yards pretty close to my Dasher and BRX, but not better. After I found this load that shot the 0.357 inch 4-shot group, I went out and shot four more, 4-shot groups in some wind of 10-20 mph and the rifle agged 2.08 inches.

I am still haunted by a “flier” in each group. I am still trying to work that out. The 0.357 group I will say was a fluke because it is the only group I have shot that did not have a flier. The rifle sure won’t group like that every time, but that one time sure was pretty! You may ask why I shoot 4-shot groups during load development and practice. Three is not enough, but four will tell you what the rifle will do, plus I can shoot more groups before the barrel gets too warm.

Our first match is next month at Piedmont. I am going to give this rifle a try. Time will tell if I will stick with this round for serious 600-yard competition or back to the 6mms. — Samuel Hall

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
February 28th, 2010

Berger Bullets Factory Tour — Kelly Bachand Reports

Berger BulletsWhile in Southern California recently I couldn’t pass up the invitation to spend some time with my friend Michelle Gallagher, the Marketing Coordinator for Berger Bullets. After my obligatory visit to Disneyland, Michelle offered me a tour of the Berger Bullets factory. That is something even a Sierra guy knows not to pass up!

The machines now run 24 hours a day to keep up with market demands. To increase production, Berger recently started a third shift, allowing the machines to run at maximum capacity. We walked into the factory to the sound of a machine pressing out bullet jackets: “ca-chung, ca-chung, ca-chung.” It is so loud that hearing protection is worn by the operator. Copper is fed into the jacket-making machine from a large coil. Then a series of sequentially deeper, narrower punches create one complete bullet jacket for every revolution of the machine’s huge crankshaft. The operator monitors the whole cycle, selecting jackets at random to test for dimensional accuracy.

After the jackets are formed, lead is placed into the jackets. As with the copper jacket material, the lead is fed into a large machine from a coil. Lead cores are then cut to length and given an approximate shape, a process called swaging. This particular core-forming machine has been in use since before WWII! Michelle said “these machines still work great so there is no reason to switch to anything else”.

Berger Bullets

Next the copper jackets and lead cores are combined and shaped using a successive series of precision dies. The bullets are swaged (squished really) from the bottom up once the lead is inserted into the jacket via a tube feeder. This ensures there are no air bubbles between the lead core and copper jacket. I watched as one such machine was set up and calibrated. It was started then tested and adjusted a number of times before it was left to run automatically. Even then, handfuls of bullets are frequently tested for weight, concentricity, and dimensional accuracy. I was told that if any lot is found to be bad — for whatever reason — the entire lot is just thrown away! Sorry, but this means no boxes of seconds or “blems” at bargain prices from the Berger factory.

Some details of Berger’s operation surprised me. A number of tasks that I assumed would be automated are still done by hand, ensuring both accuracy and consistency. Bullets are weighed, packaged, and checked by hand. I overheard one employee say that they had a few thousand bullets to weight-sort before they could be packaged because they feared something may have been slightly off during production. That was a time-consuming task, but they did weight-sort bullet by bullet to make sure nothing had gone wrong.

Berger BulletsNew Product Packaging
Berger is now offering “quantity packaging” for the most popular bullets in a number of different calibers. I was also surprised to see boxes in colors other than yellow on Berger’s shelves. Michelle explained to me that the yellow boxes are retained for match or target bullets. The thinner-jacketed hunting bullets now go in orange boxes while moly-coated bullets are packed in black boxes.

One last point worth noting is that if, like me, you (foolishly) wear a Sierra shirt to a tour of Berger Bullets, you will promptly be given a Berger shirt and hat to wear during the visit.

Michelle, thanks so much for the tour! — Kelly Bachand

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
January 26th, 2010

SITE NEWS: Ohio Shooter Becomes 10,000th Forum Member

The Shooters’ Forum hit a major milestone on January 23, 2010, logging our 10,000th registered Forum member. Matt G. from Castalia, Ohio is now officially “Member10K” in our Forum. In recognition of Matt’s milestone membership, Matt will receive a pack of prizes including an official “limited edition” T-shirt, a box of Berger bullets, a box of Lapua cartridge brass, and a Gift Certificate good at

Matt tells us: “I am just getting into precision shooting, actually built my first rifle over the winter! Well, still working on it as I am about to order up a Russo stock. But, this is a new hobby I am just getting into along with a couple other buddies of mine. We are going to try out the 300-yard matches at our local conservation club this year. I was just searching for some neck-turning and case annealing info, and came across the website. I just finished reading the case annealing write-up on the site and decided to register.”

Well, Matt picked the right time to visit the site and register. Over the past few days we added many other new Forum Members, bringing the total, as of 1/26/2010, to 10,114. We wish to thank ALL our Forum members, both the old guard and the newcomers, for participating in our site.

Shooters’ Forum Offers Active Discussions and FREE Classifieds
Our Shooters’ Forum, launched in 2004, is a great resource where you can find answers to your reloading and gunsmithing questions. As well we offer FREE Forum classifieds for registered members. The Forum Classifieds sections are a great place to sell your guns and gear quickly, with zero transaction fees. And for buyers, you’ll find outstanding deals on everything from dies and bullets to complete rifles.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 3 Comments »