Every year at SHOT Show in January, bullet-makers showcase their latest and greatest projectiles for hunters and paper-punchers. 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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In discussions of ballistics, you’ll see references to “tangent”, “secant”, and “hybrid” 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, secant, and hybrid ogive bullet designs, to help you understand the characteristics of these three basic 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.”

Bryan Litz Explains Hybrid Design and Optimal Hybrid Seating Depths

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.

Hybrid 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.

Story sourced by Edlongrange.

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We know many of our readers aren’t 100% clear on the difference between a secant ogive bullet and a tangent ogive bullet. Add the “blended” or “hybrid” ogive into the design equation and you add to the confusion. In this article, Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz, explains the characteristics of the three popular ogive types: tangent, secant, and hybrid.

In discussions of ballistics, you’ll see references to “tangent” and “secant” bullet shapes. 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.”

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.

Hybrid 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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Berger Bullets has just announced a new 6.5 mm (.264 caliber) 130gr Hybrid projectile. Optimized for magazine-length seating (and AR10-friendly), the new 130gr bullets should be ideal for tactical comps and the PRS series. We expect this new bullet to work great when loaded in modern mid-size cartridges such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor. Berger’s new 6.5mm 130gr Match AR Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet (could Berger come up with a longer name?) will soon be released to the public. Berger says this new 130-grainer is the first of many new bullet designs to be introduced in the next few years. Here is a run-down on the new bullet from its designer, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics.

NEW 130gr Hybrid — Behind the Design

by Bryan Litz, Berger Chief Ballistician
Intelligent bullet design and selection begins with an understanding of application constraints. For bullets that will be used in unlimited rifles, there are few constraints and performance can truly be maximized. However, many shooting applications have realistic constraints such as magazine feeding of loaded rounds. In constrained applications, you need to ask the question: “What’s the best bullet that will work within the constraints of my shooting application?”

The new Berger 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet is specifically optimized for maximum performance in magazine-length ammo.

6.5mm cartridges are the second most common cartridges used by top shooters in many of the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) matches, with 6mm being the most common. These kinds of tactical matches all have stages that require repeating rifles — either AR-10 platforms or bolt guns — so magazine feeding is a must. Recognizing that Berger did not have an option that was truly optimized for this particular application, we went to work and the latest 6.5mm Hybrid is the result.

SUMMARY
The new Berger 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet is specifically optimized for use in loaded ammo with COAL constraints for magazine feeding. This bullet maximizes overall performance through BC as well as achievable muzzle velocity in mid-capacity 6.5mm cartridges fed from AR-length magazines.

What makes this bullet optimal for magazine length ammo? To start with, the nose of the bullet is constrained in length so that when it’s loaded to mag length in 6.5mm cartridges such as the 6.5mm Creedmoor, 260 Remington and 6.5×47 Lapua, the nose of the bullet won’t be pushed below the case mouth. This can be an issue with some of the heavier 6.5mm bullets like the 140s. Furthermore, the hybrid ogive design is not sensitive to jump distance like some other designs such as the VLD.

Another consideration of length-constrained ammo is how much of the bullet is pushed down into the case. The inside of the case is for powder, and the more space you take up with bullet, the less powder you can fit in. Less powder means less total energy available, and muzzle velocity is depressed. A bullet weight of 130 grains is an optimal balance between external ballistic performance (BC) and internal case capacity considerations which translate into muzzle velocity. Further to this objective, the AR Hybrid has a minimal air gap in the front of the nose, which allows the bullet to have an even shorter OAL. When dealing with length-constrained designs, you need to pack as much bullet into as little length as possible< to optimize overall performance. Another advantage of making the bullet shorter is that stability, including transonic stability, is improved.
Although this design is length-constrained, the combination of a hybrid ogive and 7 degree Boat Tail produce a very respectable G7 form factor of 0.920 which is within 1% of the popular 6mm 105 grain Hybrid. See below for full live fire ballistic performance data.

The 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid will be barely stable from a 1:9″ twist, and reaches full stability from a 1:8″ twist which is common for many 6.5mm rifles. Visit the Berger Bullets twist rate calculator to get more detailed stability information on your specific barrel twist, muzzle velocity and environment.

Cartridge Selection for Magazine Length Constraint — Advanced Analysis
The trend to smaller calibers in magazine-fed rifles is happening for a very good reason. For a .308 Winchester round, you only have 2.37 calibers of nose length available for the bullet to protrude from the case. Such a short nose will have relatively high drag for the caliber. By contrast, smaller calibers such as 6.5mm and 6mm have proportionally more length available for the nose to protrude from the case and still fit in the same COAL constraint. Proportionally longer noses mean lower drag. Proportionally longer bullets mean higher sectional density. Combine an elevated sectional density with lower drag, and you get higher BC bullets. For example, consider a 175 grain .30 caliber bullet commonly used in .308 Winchester M118LR-type ammo. These 175 grain bullets have G7 BCs in the neighborhood of .243 to .260. Neck the .308 down to 6.5mm (260 Remington) or 6mm (.243 Winchester) and now look at the BCs of the bullets available in these calibers which work within the same magazine length constraint. The 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid has a G7 BC of 0.290, and the 6mm 105 grain Hybrid has a G7 BC of 0.278 — both of which are higher than the .30 cal 175 grain bullet BC. Furthermore, you get hundreds of feet per second more velocity with the necked-down cartridges as well.

All of the above translates into higher hit percentage. See the caliber comparison chart below* which is an excerpt taken from the book: Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting which addresses this and many other topics in even more detail.

*The Weapon Employment Zone (WEZ) analysis shown above is for a 1000-yard shot on a standard IPSC silhouette in an uncertain environment having: +/- 2 mph wind, +/- 1 yard range, Muzzle Velocity SD of 10 fps, and a rifle shooting 1 MOA groups.

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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 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.”

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.

Hybrid 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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SHOT 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.

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SHOT Show 2013 kicks off in two weeks in Las Vegas. One of our top priorities is to talk with the bullet makers from Berger, Hornady, Lapua, and Nosler.

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 six different Hybrid match bullets, with weights from 155 grains up to 230 grains. New .338 Cal Tactical Hybrids were released in 2012 and big .375 Cal, and .408 Cal Hybrids are in the works (read more below).

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 is Developing New Large-Caliber and Hunting Hybrids
In related news, Berger announced that it will be offering a series of .338-caliber Hybrids. First Berger is reintroducing the Gen 1 .338 Cal, 300gr Hybrid bullet in Berger’s Hunting line. Berger will also be making a 250gr Hybrid Hunting bullet using the same type of jacket as the original Gen 1 300gr Hybrid bullet. In addition, Berger has released a .338 Cal 250gr Match Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet, along with a 300gr Match Hybrid OTM Tactical projectile.

More big bullets are on the drawing board. Our source says “.375 Caliber and then .408 Caliber are the next new calibers to be made at Berger”. These are in the design phase, and Berger needs to build a new machine, so the .375s and .408s will not be available until 2013 at the earliest.

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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

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 AccurateShooter.com 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.

Sam Hall of Boonville, North Carolina is “King of the Hill” when it comes to the 600-yard benchrest game. He is the 2009 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, and he won the IBS 600-yard Nationals two years in a row. When Sam talks, people listen… if they’re smart. Sam was recently asked to compare the performance of Berger’s 6mm 108gr boattail vs. Berger’s 105gr VLD bullet. As Sam explains, both bullets have the potential to shoot really well, so your barrel and the conditions may dictate which projectile works best.

Berger 105gr VLDs vs. Berger 108gr BTby Sam Hall
I shot the 108gr Bergers (and 108 BT BIBs for a few matches) all last year in my Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) in 600-yard IBS competition, but switched to Berger VLDs during the Nationals because of the extreme winds in South Dakota.

When I started loading for the 108s, I quickly learned they are much easier to tune than VLDs. In the two barrels in which I shot the 108s, they did not seem to be sensitive to seating depth or powder charge like the 105 VLDs. I could not see much difference in groups at 600 yards during tuning. But, with the 108s, you will need to drop about one grain in powder compared to the VLDs due to longer bearing surface and extra weight. It seemed that the 108s show a consistent round-pattern group, where the VLDs many times have flyers. By this I mean, if both the 108s and 105 VLDs shoot a two-inch, 5-shot group at 600, the 108s will be evenly distributed in the two-inch circle. Conversely, the time the VLD’s will often have 3 or 4 shots in one inch but 1 or 2 flyers expanding the group to two inches. But when the VLDs don’t have a flyer, look out! That’s when most of the World Records have been set and VLD shooters have come from behind and won the match. (Yes, I am talking to you Mike Davis).

Mike Davis and I talked about the Berger 108s vs. 105s last year. The 108gr BTs are great until the wind gets up. They seem to get blown around more than the VLDs. A half-inch extra at 600 yards these days means the difference between winning or ending up middle of the pack. So, ideally, a shooter would have two loads. One would use the 108s for mild days, and the second would use the 105gr VLDs for those windy days.

If you don’t have time to tune the 105gr VLDs (tuning them can be difficult and time-consuming), I suggest you stick to the 108s. They will save you a lot of headaches and will stick close to the VLDs in most conditions.

How Temp and Humidity Affect Performance
I almost forgot to mention. As the temperature and humidity got up in the summertime last year in North Carolina, the 108s did not perform for me as well as they did during the cooler, less humid months. I tried developing a new, hot-weather load for the 108s, but I never got the 108s to perform as well in the summer as I did in the winter and spring — even when there was no wind. I don’t know why the 108s prefer cooler, less humid conditions, except maybe because they have more drag than the 105gr VLDs. High humidity may have had more of an effect on the 108s than we’d expect from the slight BC difference between the two bullets. The VLDs seem to drill through the wind and humidity better than the 108gr Bergers. NOTE: These findings are my own opinion based on many, many groups shot tuning and in competiton, while using several barrels of various manufacturers.

I hope this helps and does not further complicate your load development process. Try both bullets before you buy a large quantity of bullets. Your rifle will let you know which projectile it prefers. We have often found that a particular barrel will shoot one bullet design well but not the other. A few barrels will shoot BOTH bullet types really well.”

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Jason’s first stop on his 2009 SHOT Show tour was at the Berger Bullets booth. Our readers know that Berger manufactures some of the best varmint and match bullets in the world. Eric Stecker, Berger’s master bulletsmith, announced that Berger is organizing its production into three main lines: Varmint bullets (flat-base and standard boat-tails), Target bullets (both Tangent Ogive and VLD designs) with thicker jackets, and Hunting bullets (low-drag VLD with standard J4 jackets).

A design effort is underway to optimize the “long range” bullet shapes, centering around a tangent ogive BT design with shorter than normal bearing surface. This allows a longer nose shape with a better BC. It should also be easier to tune, given the tangent ogive design. Berger’s designers are also working with a double ogive shape for big bore bullets. This will feature a tangent ogive immediately above the bearing surface to allow a smoother transition into the lands. Then the shape transitions to a secant ogive for better BC and a smaller meplat.

New 20 Caliber Bullet is Ready and Two .338 Projectiles in the Works
Berger announced a new 55gr, 20-caliber “Long Range” BT bullet. Prototypes have been tested successfully in 8-twist barrels. With sufficient velocities a 1:9″ twist might work also, but Berger wants more field testing–by shooters like you. NOTE: Berger is currently looking for “volunteers” to test this new 20-cal 55-grainer in 8-Twist and 9-Twist barrels. Contact Michelle Gallagher at Berger for more details.

Big-bore shooters will be pleased to learn Berger hopes to release both 250gr and 300gr .338-caliber bullets by the end of 2009. While design work is on-going, Berger expects to offer tangent ogive, secant ogive, and double-radius .338 projectiles in both 250gr and 300gr weights. So you’ll have a choice of three different bullet shapes, each in two weights. That’s good news for hunters and ultra-long-range shooters.

Bullet Ballistic Coefficients (BCs) to Be Analyzed and Updated
Berger recently hired Bryan Litz as an in-house ballistics experts. Bryan, a top-level High Power and long-range shooter, formerly worked with the Air Force as a rocket ballistics scientist. Drawing on his expertise, Berger will be testing its match bullets to establish more precise drag figures. So, you may see the stated BCs on your favorite Berger bullets changing a bit in the future, but those changes will be based on improved design analysis and testing.

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