December 5th, 2017

Ballistics Linguistics: Bullet “Caliber of Ogive” Defined

Sierra Caliber of Ogive Bullet Sierra BC geometry

This article, which originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog, provides a new terminology that helps describe the geometry of bullets. Once you understand the meaning of “Caliber(s) of Ogive”, you can quickly evaluate potential bullet performance by comparing listed Caliber of Ogive numeric values.

by Mark Walker, Sierra Bullets New Product Development Manager
During one of our recent product releases, we listed the “caliber of ogive” of the bullet in the product description. While some understood what that number meant, it appears that some are not aware of what the number is and why it is important. In a nutshell, the “caliber of ogive” number will tell you how sleek the front end of the bullet is. The higher the number is, the sleeker the bullet. It also makes it easy to compare the ogives of different caliber bullets. If you want to know if a certain .308 caliber bullet is sleeker than a 7mm bullet, simply compare their “caliber of ogive” numbers.

So exactly how do you figure “caliber of ogive”? If you look at the drawing of the .30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275 (at top), you will see that the actual radius of the ogive is 2.240. If you take that 2.240 ogive radius and divide by the diameter (or caliber) of the bullet you would get 7.27 “calibers of ogive” (2.240 ÷ .308 = 7.27). (See top photo).

In a nutshell, the “caliber of ogive” number will tell you how sleek the front end of the bullet is. The higher the number is, the sleeker the bullet.

Next let’s look at the print (below) of our 6.5mm 142gr HPBT #1742 bullet for comparison. The actual radius of the ogive is 2.756. Like with the .30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275, if you divide 2.756 by the diameter (or caliber) of the bullet you get 10.44 “calibers of ogive”.

Sierra Caliber of Ogive Bullet Sierra BC geometry

As most people know, it has been determined through testing that the 6.5mm 142gr HPBT #1742 has a significantly higher ballistic coefficient than the .30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275. However by simply comparing the “caliber of ogive” number of each bullet you can easily see that the 6.5mm 142 gr HPBT #1742 is significantly sleeker than the .30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275 even without firing a shot.

Some people would say why not just compare the actual ogive radius dimensions instead of using the “caliber of ogive” figure. If we were comparing only bullets of the exact same diameter, then that would be a reasonable thought process. However, that idea falls apart when you start trying to compare the ogives of bullets of different diameters. As you can see with the two bullets presented above, if we compare the actual ogive radius dimensions of both bullets the difference is not much at all.

However, once again, testing has shown that the 6.5mm 142 gr HPBT #1742 has a significantly higher BC. The only way that this significant increase shows up, other than when we fire the bullets in testing, is by comparing the “caliber of ogive” measurement from both bullets.

Hopefully this will help explain what we mean when we talk about “caliber of ogive” and why it’s a handy number to use when comparing bullets. This information will help you to make an informed decision the next time you are in the market to buy bullets.

Sierra Bullets Caliber of Ogive Bullet BC SMK

Story tip from Grant Ubl. We welcome reader submissions.
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December 29th, 2016

Seating Strategies: How to Optimize Your Hybrid Bullets

Berger Hybrid Bullet

SHOT Show 2017 kicks off in thre weeks in Las Vegas. While at SHOT Show next month, we plan to get the “inside scoop” on new bullet designs from Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Nosler and Sierra.

A while back, at SHOT Show 2012 we chatted with Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz about Berger’s popular line of Hybrid bullets. Berger now offers a wide range of Hybrids in multiple calibers and weights. In fact, for .30-Caliber shooters, Berger now offers many seven (7) Hybrid match bullets, with weights from 155 grains up to 230 grains. Two .338-caliber OTM Tactical Hybrids were introduced in 2012 (a 250-grainer and a 300-grainer).

Bryan tells us: “The hybrid design is Berger’s solution to the age old problem of precision vs. ease of use. This design is making life easier for handloaders as well as providing opportunities for commercial ammo loaders who need to offer a high performance round that also shoots precisely in many rifles with various chamber/throat configurations.”

For those not familiar with Hybrid bullets, the Hybrid design blends two common bullet nose shapes on the front section of the bullet (from the tip to the start of the bearing surface). Most of the curved section of the bullet has a Secant (VLD-style) ogive for low drag. This then blends in a Tangent-style ogive curve further back, where the bullet first contacts the rifling. The Tangent section makes seating depth less critical to accuracy, so the Hybrid bullet can shoot well through a range of seating depths, even though it has a very high Ballistic Coefficient (BC).

In the video we asked Bryan for recommended seating depths for 7mm and .30-Caliber Hybrid bullets. Bryan advises that, as a starting point, Hybrid bullets be seated .015″ (fifteen thousandths) off the lands in most barrels. Watch the video for more tips how to optimize your loads with Hybrid bullets.

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October 21st, 2016

Nosler Introduces High-BC, Closed-Meplat RDF Match Bullets

Nosler RDF Bullet compound hybrid ogive tangent secant

Nosler has introduced a new line of RDF™ (Reduced Drag Factor) bullets that feature very high BCs, hybrid-type ogives, and tight, factory-closed meplats. Based on initial specs, Nosler’s new RDF bullets should be very competitive match projectiles for their respective bullet weights. Nosler claims its new RDF bullets have “the highest BCs and smallest, most consistent meplats of any hollow-point match bullet line on the market.” RDF projectiles will be initially offered in four calibers: .224, 6mm (.243), 6.5 mm (.264), and .308.

NEW Nosler RDF Bullets:

· 22 Cal 70 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.416 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.211
· 6mm 105 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.571 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.280
· 6.5mm 140 grain — BC field verification in process
· 30 Cal 175 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.536 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.270

High-BC RDF Bullets Feature Compound (Hybrid-type) Ogive Profiles
Nosler designed RDF bullets to have very high BCs for flatter trajectories and reduced wind drift. Nosler achieved high BCs by adopting a modern hybrid-type compound ogive, which bridges traditional tangent and secant bullet shapes. Another benefit of the compound (hybrid-type) ogive, is that this shape is normally less sensitive to bullet seating depth than a pure VLD-style, secant ogive shape. That allows hand-loaders to seat off the lands and still get excellent accuracy, which can be maintained even as the throat moves out over time. RDF bullets also feature a long boat-tail for aerodynamic efficiency.

Nosler RDF Bullet compound hybrid ogive tangent secant

Factory-Closed Meplats — No More Trimming and Pointing Tips
Compared to conventional match bullets, Nosler’s RDF bullets look quite different because the tips have been tightly closed up at the factory. Nosler claims a a 40% average reduction in meplat size vs. conventional hollow-point bullets. With Nosler doing the work on the tips, hand-loaders no longer need to point and trim tips, a laborious task done to improve BC and, more importantly, to make BCs more consistent for every bullet in the box. Consistent BC translates to reduced vertical spread at long range.

John Nosler Talks about RDF Bullets:
“Long-range competitive shooting [is] one of the fastest-growing shooting activities in the world, and quality bullets are the cornerstone of the sport” said John Nosler, Executive V.P. for the company. “Our engineers were challenged with delivering a bullet that would drastically reduce aerodynamic drag and increase ballistic consistency, providing shooters with an indisputable advantage. What we achieved is a leap in match bullet technology….”

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October 11th, 2016

Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group

Berger Bullets Nammo Press release Nammo group Lapua brass ammunition

Breaking News: Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group

The Nammo Group, parent of Lapua and Vihtavuori, has announced the acquisition of Berger Bullets, one of the USA’s leading bullet makers. With Berger Bullets joining the Nammo Group, this teams America’s ultra-premium bullet-maker with what is arguably the world’s most respected cartridge brass and ammunition-maker. This is huge news. For competition shooters this may be a “marriage made in heaven”. Many top shooters, including champions like Bryan Litz and John Whidden, are already shooting Berger bullets in Lapua brass. This merger will make it easier for the two companies (Berger and Lapua) to optimize the performance of factory ammo, as well as to optimize brass for use with Berger match projectiles.

A spokesman for Lapua said that Lapua will continue to make bullets in Europe while Berger will conduct its regular operations in the USA: “Lapua will still make bullets, and it will be ‘business as usual’ for Berger at this time. There are no plans to change production sites to consolidate product lines. Berger will continue to operate as an independent business, just under the Nammo umbrella.” NOTE: This acquisition will be subject to regulatory approvals by U.S. governmental authorities.

On firearm industry analyst believes this merger is a “win-win” for both Berger and Nammo: “This will help Berger export more product to the European market while it will give Nammo a stronger connection to the huge U.S. firearms market, expanding Nammo’s North American customer base”. Nammo president/CEO Morten Brandtzæg concurred, stating: “Having Berger Bullets on board is the perfect match for Nammo. Their products, which are complementary to our other premium brands, will strengthen our group’s strategic position in the U.S. commercial ammunition market.” This acquistion WILL include Berger’s ABM Ammunition and J-4 Jackets product lines.

Here is the press release issued by the Nammo Group, which is headquartered in Norway and has 2,100 employees in 12 countries:

Berger Bullets Nammo Press release Nammo group Lapua brass ammunition

(more…)

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July 5th, 2016

The Best-Performing Cartridge Types For F-Class Competition

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

By Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

There are hundreds of cartridge types capable of winning in F-Open. For F-TR you can shoot either the .223 Rem or .308 Win, but you have many load options. This article will focus on proven choices, currently used by the top F-Class shooters in the world. Our discussion will analyze cartridge selection based on the four different F-Class sub-disciplines: Open Mid-Range, Open Long-Range, F-TR Mid-Range, and F-TR Long Range.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Kovan
Click image to view full-screen photo.

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

For starters, a .300 WSM is certainly capable of winning mid-range matches but it is not ideal. So what is ideal, and why? F-Class Mid-Range matches usually are usually shot at 300, 500, or 600 yards — or all three. At those distances the 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges rule. In moderate conditions, the 6mm Dasher is unbeatable. Its low recoil along with its super grouping ability and good ballistics make it my number one choice for Mid-Range.

Best bullets for the 6mm Dasher are: Vapor Trail 103gr, Berger 105 Hybrid, 108 BT, and 105 VLD (hunting). Best powders are: Varget, H4895, and Reloder 15.

Choices for Mid-Range in Tougher Conditions:
We all know that conditions are not always “moderate” that’s why something a little bit bigger will save you a “Nine” or two. The 6.5X47 Lapua was designed for 300-meter competition, but as soon as it was released, it was adopted by F-Class, benchrest, and tactical shooters. It offers great ballistics with very low recoil and big “accuracy window”. Lapua makes great brass for it (no surprise there) and Berger makes great bullets: 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, 140gr Hybrids. Best powders in most barrels are Varget and H4350, I don’t use double-based powders such as Reloder 17 and the Vihtavuori N500 series because of their unpredictable performance day to day (greater temp sensitivity).

The 6.5X47 Lapua necked down to 6mm is also a great option for mid range matches. I was able to easily get 3200 fps with 105 hybrids and H4350.

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

In Long-Range F-Open Class (out to 1000 yards), the big, high-BC bullets rule. If I had to pick one cartridge for F-Class (both mid- and long-range) I would pick the .284 Winchester or one of its variants. The .284 Win is currently dominating in F-Open competition. It offers great barrel life, it is super-easy to tune and its recoil is very manageable. The best bullets for it by far (in my opinion), are the Berger 180 Hybrids. But Sierra’s new 183gr MK bullet (with factory-uniformed meplats) seems to perform very well as does the Berger 180 VLD. Best powders for the .284 Win are H4350 and H4831SC.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Long-Range Only F-Open Cartridge
As much as I like the .284 Win, for long-range competitions I like the .300 WSM even more. If you look at a .300 WSM and a 6mm Dasher side by side, they appear almost identical in geometry — the .300 WSM looks like an “super-sized” Dasher. Both cartridges are currently the “darlings” of long-range benchrest due to their extraordinary grouping ability and huge “node’’ windows. Big accuracy windows allow loads to perform well in different conditions and geographical locations. That’s obviously very important if you travel to compete. The .300 WSM loaded with Berger 215gr or 230gr Hybrids is very tough to beat at long range, and it is currently my number one choice.

The 7mm RSAUM is another outstanding long-range round. It resembles a 6BR on steroids and it is almost as easy to tune. Best bullets for it are Berger 180gr Hybrids, 195gr EOLs, and Sierra’s 183gr MatchKing. Best powders for the 7mm RSAUM are: H4350, H4831SC, and VV N160.

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

In F-TR competition, the choice is clear — a .308 Win throated for Berger 185gr BTLRs and 200gr Hybrids will win in mid-range AND long-range comps. Many championships have been won, and many records set with those two bullets in the .308 Win. To quote Danny Biggs (a two times FTR National Champion) “The 185 BTLR is the best bullet for .308 Win ever made”.

The Berger 215gr Hybrids have been used to win many competitions including recently the 2015 F-Class Nationals. Bryan Litz won both the Mid-Range and Long-Range 2015 Championships using 215s. Bryan’s rifle is shown below:

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

I recommend chambers throated for the 185/200 grain projectiles over the 215/230 grain bullets. The reason is that if you have your barrel throated out for the 215s or the 230s, you could have a “slow” barrel and max out on pressure before the desired velocity is reached. Optimum freebore for the 230s is too long for the 185/200s, so you would be limited to using only 215/230gr bullets in that barrel.Furthermore, the recoil increase with heavier bullets is substantial, causing the rifle to be more difficult to shoot.

.223 Remington Cartridge Diagram.223 Rem — Not A Competitive Option
I would stay away from the .223 Remington. On paper the 90gr VLD will shoot inside most .308 Win loads even at a 1000 yards. But in reality, on average, the .223 Rem, regardless of what powder/bullet combo is used, cannot compete with the .308 Win. [Editor: The equipment lists at major F-TR matches will confirm Kovan’s conclusion here.]

Conclusion (and Other Options)
This article covers only the (currently) most popular cartridge/bullet combos for F-Class (F-Open and F-TR). As I said in the beginning, many cartridge types are capable of winning but are not listed due to their low popularity, case design, or lack of quality components. All of the above information is based on my personal experience and it is meant to help new shooters choose the right cartridges for F-Class matches. Thanks for reading and good luck — Emil Kovan

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

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June 2nd, 2016

Good Deal on Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid Match Bullets

Berger Match Target Hybrid 105gr 105 grain bullet Litz 6mm .243

Need top-quality 6mm match bullets for your 6mmBR, 6mm Dasher, 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6-6.5×47, or .243 Win? Then get out your checkbook, because this is a very good deal on hard-to-find Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid Match Bullets.

Right now Precision Reloading offers big, 500-count boxes of 105gr 6mm Hybrids for just $159.99. That works out to just $31.99 per 100, a lot less than you’d pay normally. These .243-diameter premium bullets hold many records and have won many important shooting competitions. You may want to act quickly — supplies are limited. When Precision Reloading runs out of sale inventory, prices will go up. To order, visit PrecisionReloading.com

Berger Match Target Hybrid 105gr 105 grain bullet Litz 6mm .243

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December 29th, 2015

Hybrid Science: How to Load Hybrid Bullets for Best Accuracy

Berger Hybrid Bullet

SHOT Show 2016 kicks off in two weeks in Las Vegas. While at SHOT Show next month, we plan to get the “inside scoop” on new bullet designs from Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Nosler and Sierra.

A while back, at SHOT Show 2012 we chatted with Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz about Berger’s popular line of Hybrid bullets. Berger now offers a wide range of Hybrids in multiple calibers and weights. In fact, for .30-Caliber shooters, Berger now offers seven different Hybrid match bullets, with weights from 155 grains up to 230 grains. Two .338-caliber OTM Tactical Hybrids were introduced in 2012 (a 250-grainer and a 300-grainer).

Bryan tells us: “The hybrid design is Berger’s solution to the age old problem of precision vs. ease of use. This design is making life easier for handloaders as well as providing opportunities for commercial ammo loaders who need to offer a high performance round that also shoots precisely in many rifles with various chamber/throat configurations.”

For those not familiar with Hybrid bullets, the Hybrid design blends two common bullet nose shapes on the front section of the bullet (from the tip to the start of the bearing surface). Most of the curved section of the bullet has a Secant (VLD-style) ogive for low drag. This then blends in a Tangent-style ogive curve further back, where the bullet first contacts the rifling. The Tangent section makes seating depth less critical to accuracy, so the Hybrid bullet can shoot well through a range of seating depths, even though it has a very high Ballistic Coefficient (BC).

In the video we asked Bryan for recommended seating depths for 7mm and .30-Caliber Hybrid bullets. Bryan advises that, as a starting point, Hybrid bullets be seated .015″ (fifteen thousandths) off the lands in most barrels. Watch the video for more tips how to optimize your loads with Hybrid bullets.

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December 20th, 2015

Sorting Bullets for Competition — What Works Best

Bryan Litz F-TR Bullet Sorting
Bryan Litz with his F-TR Nat’l Championship-winnning rifle, and the man who built it, John Pierce.

Bryan Litz knows something about bullet shapes and dimensions. He’s the chief designer of many of Berger’s projectiles, including the successful line of Hybrid bullets. Bryan also understands how bullets actually perform in “real world” competition. Bryan won BOTH the Mid-Range and Long-Range National F-TR Championships this year, a remarkable accomplishment. With Bryan’s technical expertise combined with his shooting skills, few people are better qualified to answer the question: “how should I sort bullets when loading for competition?”

Bullet Sorting Strategies — OAL vs. Base to Ogive
At the 2015 Berger Southwest Nationals, Forum member Erik Cortina cornered Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Erik was curious about bullet sorting. Knowing that bullets can be sorted by many different criteria (e.g. weight, overall length, base to ogive length, actual bearing surface length etc.) Erik asked Bryan to specify the most important dimension to consider when sorting. Bryan recommended sorting by “Base to Ogive”. Litz noted that: “Sorting by overall length can be misleading because of the nature of the open-tip match bullet. You might get a bullet that measures longer because it has a jagged [tip], but that bullet might not fly any different. But measuring base to ogive might indicate that the bullet is formed differently — basically it’s a higher resolution measurement….”

Ballistics Q & A in Shooter’s Forum
Got more questions about bullets? Our Shooters’ Forum has a special area for Bullets & Ballistics topics. There you can get your own questions about bullets and ballistics answered by Bryan Litz and other experts from Applied Ballistics.

accurateshooter.com forum bryan litz berger ballistics bullets

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October 29th, 2015

Sierra Releases NEW 183 grain 7mm (.284) MatchKing Bullet

Sierra Bullets MatchKing 7mm .284 High-BC projectile bullet F-Class New

High-BC 7mm bullets are favored by many of the top long-range and F-Class (Open) shooters. Now, thanks to Sierra Bullets, there is a new “heavy-weight contender” in the 7mm match bullet category. Sierra has just introduced an all-new 183 grain 7mm HPBT MatchKing, part # 1983. This impressive new projectile boasts a 0.707 G1 Ballistic Coefficient (at 2300+ fps), plus — get this — it comes “tipped” from the factory. The final meplat tipping operation ensures a higher, more uniform BC. Recommended barrel twist rate is 1:8″ or faster.

Sierra Bullets MatchKing 7mm .284 High-BC projectile bullet F-Class New

Sierra says its new 183gr 7mm MatchKing has a modern, low-drag shape: “A sleek 27-caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) provide an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention. To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in match rifle chamber throats.

The new 7mm 183gr HPBT bullets will be available in boxes of 500 bullets (#1983C) with MSRP of $256.34 per box and boxes of 100 bullet (#1983) with MSRP of $51.80 per box. NOTE: Sierra states that “MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications.”

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October 28th, 2014

Ogive No Jive — Litz Explains Tangent, Secant, and Hybrid Ogives

Secant and Tangent Ogive Bryan LitzIn discussions of ballistics, you’ll see references to “tangent” and “secant” bullet shapes. We know that, for many readers, these terms can be confusing. To add to the confusion, bullet makers don’t always identify their projectiles as secant or tangent designs. This article provides a basic explanation of tangent and secant designs, to help you understand the characteristics of both bullet shapes.

Tangent vs. Secant vs. Hybrid
Most match bullets produced today use a tangent ogive profile, but the modern VLD-style bullets employ a secant profile. To further complicate matters, the latest generation of “Hybrid” projectiles from Berger Bullets feature a blended secant + tangent profile to combine the best qualities of both nose shapes. The secant section provides reduced drag, while the tangent section makes the bullet easier to tune, i.e. less sensitive to bullet seating depth position.

Berger Bullets ballistician Bryan Litz explains tangent and secant bullet ogive designs in a glossary section of his Applied Ballistics website, which we reprint below. Bryan then explains how tangent and secant profiles can be combined in a “hybrid” design.

How Bullet Ogive Curves are Defined
While the term “ogive” is often used to describe the particular point on the bullet where the curve reaches full bullet diameter, in fact the “ogive” properly refers to the entire curve of the bullet from the tip to the full-diameter straight section — the shank. Understanding then, that the ogive is a curve, how is that curve described?

LITZ: The ogive of a bullet is usually characterized by the length of its radius. This radius is often given in calibers instead of inches. For example, an 8 ogive 6mm bullet has an ogive that is a segment of a circular arc with a radius of 8*.243 = 1.952”. A .30-caliber bullet with an 8 ogive will be proportionally the same as the 8 ogive 6mm bullet, but the actual radius will be 2.464” for the .30 caliber bullet.

For a given nose length, if an ogive is perfectly tangent, it will have a very specific radius. Any radius longer than that will cause the ogive to be secant. Secant ogives can range from very mild (short radius) to very aggressive (long radius). The drag of a secant ogive is minimized when its radius is twice as long as a tangent ogive radius. In other words, if a tangent ogive has an 8 caliber radius, then the longest practical secant ogive radius is 16 calibers long for a given nose length.”

hybrid bullet

Ogive Metrics and Rt/R Ratio
LITZ: There is a number that’s used to quantify how secant an ogive is. The metric is known as the Rt/R ratio and it’s the ratio of the tangent ogive radius to the actual ogive radius for a given bullet. In the above example, the 16 caliber ogive would have an Rt/R ratio of 0.5. The number 0.5 is therefore the lowest practical value for the Rt/R ratio, and represents the minimum drag ogive for a given length. An ogive that’s perfectly tangent will have an Rt/R ratio of 1.0. Most ogives are in between an Rt/R of 1.0 and 0.5. The dimensioned drawings at the end of my Applied Ballistics book provide the bullets ogive radius in calibers, as well as the Rt/R ratio. In short, the Rt/R ratio is simply a measure of how secant an ogive is. 1.0 is not secant at all, 0.5 is as secant as it gets.

Berger Hybrid bullet, .308 30 CaliberHybrid Bullet Design — Best of Both Worlds?
Bryan Litz has developed a number of modern “Hybrid” design bullets for Berger. The objective of Bryan’s design work has been to achieve a very low drag design that is also “not finicky”. Normal (non-hybrid) secant designs, such as the Berger 105gr VLD, deliver very impressive BC values, but the bullets can be sensitive to seating depth. Montana’s Tom Mousel has set world records with the Berger 105gr VLD in his 6mm Dasher, but he tells us “seating depth is critical to the best accuracy”. Tom says a mere .003″ seating depth change “makes a difference”. In an effort to produce more forgiving high-BC bullets, Bryan Litz developed the hybrid tangent/secant bullet shape.

Bryan Litz Explains Hybrid Design and Optimal Hybrid Seating Depths

Story sourced by Edlongrange.

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February 4th, 2014

Berger Big Shots in YouTube Interviews

With the Berger Southwest Nationals kicking off February 4, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, we thought our readers might enjoy a very interesting interview with the top decision-makers at Berger Bullets, namely company founder Walt Berger, plus Eric Stecker, Berger’s Executive Vice President.

This interview covers a wide range of topics in seven (7) separate segments. We’ve embedded the first two interview sections in this article, with links for the other five below.

Berger Bullets boxSinclair Int’l has released a 7-part series of video interviews with Walt Berger (founder of Berger Bullets) and Eric Stecker (Berger’s Exec. VP and Master Bulletsmith). The series is hosted by Bill Gravatt (who was Sinclair’s President at the time the interview was filmed). You can watch Parts 1 and 2 of the interview here, and we’ve provided links to the remaining Parts 3 through 7. All seven interview segments offer interesting material. Part 6 mentions the Berger Reloading Manual (many years in the making). Part 7, over 13 minutes long, contains interesting discussions of bullet testing and the hunting performance of Berger VLDs.

NOTE: You can view this entire video series (and many other videos) on Sinclair’s YouTube Channel Page.

Berger Interview PART 1

Berger Interview PART 2

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December 29th, 2013

Bryan Litz Talks — How to Get Best Results with Berger Hybrids

2013 SHOT Show Las VegasSHOT Show 2014 kicks off in two weeks in Las Vegas. While at SHOT Show next month, we plan to get the “inside scoop” on new bullet designs from Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Nosler and Sierra.

At SHOT Show 2012 we chatted with Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz about Berger’s popular line of Hybrid bullets. Berger now offers a wide range of Hybrids in multiple calibers and weights. In fact, for .30-Caliber shooters, Berger now offers seven different Hybrid match bullets, with weights from 155 grains up to 230 grains. Two .338-caliber OTM Tactical Hybrids were introduced in 2012 (a 250-grainer and a 300-grainer).

Bryan tells us: “The hybrid design is Berger’s solution to the age old problem of precision vs. ease of use. This design is making life easier for handloaders as well as providing opportunities for commercial ammo loaders who need to offer a high performance round that also shoots precisely in many rifles with various chamber/throat configurations.”

For those not familiar with Hybrid bullets, the Hybrid design blends two common bullet nose shapes on the front section of the bullet (from the tip to the start of the bearing surface). Most of the curved section of the bullet has a Secant (VLD-style) ogive for low drag. This then blends in a Tangent-style ogive curve further back, where the bullet first contacts the rifling. The Tangent section makes seating depth less critical to accuracy, so the Hybrid bullet can shoot well through a range of seating depths, even though it has a very high Ballistic Coefficient (BC).

In the video we asked Bryan for recommended seating depths for 7mm and .30-Caliber Hybrid bullets. Bryan advises that, as a starting point, Hybrid bullets be seated .015″ (fifteen thousandths) off the lands in most barrels. Watch the video for more tips how to optimize your loads with Hybrid bullets.

Berger Hybrid Bullet

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October 21st, 2011

Setpoint to Offer Berger Bullets in Precision Loaded Ammunition

Setpoint Ammunition, a subsidiary of Setpoint Systems Inc., has finalized an OEM distribution agreement with Berger Bullets. The agreement allows Setpoint Ammunition to offer a selection of Berger’s precision bullets for use in custom cartridges sold on their SetpointAmmo.com website. Setpoint Ammunition will initially offer three Berger projectiles for use in their 7.62×51 / .308 WIN cartridges: 155gr Match Hybrid; 185gr Long Range BT;and 168gr Match Hunting VLD.

Setpoint Ammo Berger Bullets

Setpoint Ammo Berger Bullets“The agreement with Berger Bullets allows us to offer some of the best projectiles available for use in our precision ammunition,” said Brad Angus, President of Setpoint Ammunition. Angus went on to say that this agreement has been anticipated for some time. “Teaming with Berger has always been one of our goals. When you combine the well-known reputation of Berger Bullets with the unprecedented precision that we’ve built into our ammunition loading process, you get the best custom rifle ammunition available on the commercial market today.”

Setpoint’s Unique Manufacturing Process
The revolutionary Setpoint Ammunition ordering and manufacturing process allows customers to dictate the case, projectile, powder load and overall length of the cartridge via the online ordering system. This unique process gives consumers the ability to fine-tune their ammo to fit their specific firearm and application.

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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.

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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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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 16th, 2011

Tangent vs. Secant vs. Hybrid Ogive — Bryan Litz Explains

In discussions of ballistics, you’ll see references to “tangent” and “secant” bullet shapes. We know that, for many readers, these terms can be confusing. To add to the confusion, bullet makers don’t always identify their projectiles as secant or tangent designs. This article provides a basic explanation of tangent and secant designs, to help you understand the characteristics of both bullet shapes.

Tangent Ogive vs. Secant Ogive vs. Hybrid
Most match bullets produced today use a tangent ogive profile, but the modern VLD-style bullets employ a secant profile. To further complicate matters, the latest generation of “Hybrid” projectiles from Berger Bullets feature a blended secant + tangent profile to combine the best qualities of both nose shapes. The secant section provides reduced drag, while the tangent section makes the bullet easier to tune, i.e. less sensitive to seating depth position.

Berger Bullets ballistician Bryan Litz explains tangent and secant bullet ogive designs in a glossary section of his Applied Ballistics website, which we reprint below. Bryan then explains how tangent and secant profiles can be combined in a “hybrid” design.

How Bullet Ogive Curves are Defined
While the term “ogive” is often used to describe the particular point on the bullet where the curve reaches full bullet diameter, in fact the “ogive” properly refers to the entire curve of the bullet from the tip to the full-diameter straight section — the shank. Understanding then, that the ogive is a curve, how is that curve described?

LITZ: The ogive of a bullet is usually characterized by the length of its radius. This radius is often given in calibers instead of inches. For example, an 8 ogive 6mm bullet has an ogive that is a segment of a circular arc with a radius of 8*.243 = 1.952”. A .30-caliber bullet with an 8 ogive will be proportionally the same as the 8 ogive 6mm bullet, but the actual radius will be 2.464” for the .30 caliber bullet.

For a given nose length, if an ogive is perfectly tangent, it will have a very specific radius. Any radius longer than that will cause the ogive to be secant. Secant ogives can range from very mild (short radius) to very aggressive (long radius). The drag of a secant ogive is minimized when its radius is twice as long as a tangent ogive radius. In other words, if a tangent ogive has an 8 caliber radius, then the longest practical secant ogive radius is 16 calibers long for a given nose length.”

Secant Ogive vs. Tangent Ogive

tangent Secant Ogive

Ogive metrics, and Rt/R
LITZ: There is a number that’s used to quantify how secant an ogive is. The metric is known as the Rt/R ratio and it’s the ratio of the tangent ogive radius to the actual ogive radius for a given bullet. In the above example, the 16 caliber ogive would have an Rt/R ratio of 0.5. The number 0.5 is therefore the lowest practical value for the Rt/R ratio, and represents the minimum drag ogive for a given length. An ogive that’s perfectly tangent will have an Rt/R ratio of 1.0. Most ogives are in between an Rt/R of 1.0 and 0.5. The dimensioned drawings at the end of my Applied Ballistics book provide the bullets ogive radius in calibers, as well as the Rt/R ratio. In short, the Rt/R ratio is simply a measure of how secant an ogive is. 1.0 is not secant at all, 0.5 is as secant as it gets.

Hybrid Bullet Design — Best of Both Worlds?
Bryan Litz has been developing a number of modern “Hybrid” design bullets for Berger. The objective of Bryan’s design work has been to achieve a very low drag design that is also “not finicky”. Normal (non-hybrid) secant designs, such as the Berger 105gr VLD, deliver very impressive BC values, but the bullets can be sensitive to seating depth. Montana’s Tom Mousel has set world records with the Berger 105gr VLD in his 6mm Dasher, but he tells us “seating depth is critical to the best accuracy”. Tom says a change of .005″ in seating depth “can cause the group size to increase substantially”. In an effort to produce more forgiving high-BC bullets, Bryan Litz has developed a hybrid tangent/secant bullet shape. This is explained in the illustration below.

hybrid bullet

Story sourced by Edlongrange.
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January 19th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: Berger Crafts Hybrids in More Calibers

The big news at Berger Bullets for 2011 is the Hybrid. No, Walt isn’t switching to a Prius… but Berger IS committing to the dual-shape hybrid design for a full range of calibers. The hybrid design combines a secant ogive (VLD-style) profile in the front of the bullet, with a tangent profile further back. This gives bullets the high BC of the VLD-style bullets, but the tangent section makes the bullets less sensitive to small variations in seating depth. The tangent ogive is a more gentle curve. Tangent ogive bullets, generally speaking, are more “forgiving” or easier to tune. They also will stay in tune better as a barrel throat erodes.

What Berger has done with the hybrid bullet is put an easy-tuning geometry on the part of the bullet that actually engages the rifling, while using a more streamlined front end for improved ballistics. This hybrid design was introduced in 2010 with hybrid 7mm and .338 bullets. Both new hybrid designs proved very successful. The hybrid designs were developed with significant design input from Bryan Litz, Berger’s ballistician. Before Bryan signed on with Berger, he literally worked as a rocket scientist, so he knows something about low-drag shapes. In the video below, Bryan explains why Berger will introduced more hybrid bullets in more calibers, in the months ahead. Bryan also talks about other products Berger has in the works, including its much-awaited reloading manual.

YouTube Preview Image
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