January 11th, 2019

New .375 Caliber ELR Solid Projectiles from Berger Bullets

Berger bullets elr solid copper .375 caliber vld bullet new

This is BIG news for the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game. Berger Bullets will offer a line of SOLID bullets in .375 caliber. You read that right — these will be the first-ever large diameter Berger projectiles manufactured from a solid copper alloy. Most conventional bullets feature a jacket over a metal core, typically lead alloy. These new Berger solids are lathe-turned from solid copper alloy — shaped with precision into perfect aerodynamic profiles. The new Berger ELR solids boast a long, VLD shape with ultra-high Ballistic Coefficients. The new .375 caliber Berger ELR solids will be offered in two bullet weights: 379 grains and 407 grains.

The prototype 400gr version of this solid bullet was extensively tested at 2400 yards (above). It remained supersonic at that distance, a remarkable 1.36 miles. Berger will now offer two production versions, 379gr and 407gr, based on this successful prototype, further optimized. Here is Berger’s official release:

Berger Bullets proudly announces the New Extreme Long Range (ELR) Match Solid Projectile line, beginning with .375 caliber 379 grain and 407 grain offerings.

Extreme Long-Range shooting to distances of two miles and beyond has taken the firearms community by storm. With much of its roots developed from elite military sniper and Special Forces rifle training, ELR enthusiasts are utilizing highly innovative rifle and ammunition technology to engage targets at distances previously unheard of. Berger has taken the lead pioneering ELR, similar to how it’s dominated all other long-range rifle disciplines.

Berger Bullets chief ballistician Bryan Litz states: “Our new ELR Solid Match Bullets provide both competition shooters and Mil/LE forces a long-range solid projectile like no other. Its highly-optimized VLD ogive design and lathe-turned solid copper construction provide a ballistic advantage that is unmatched by any conventional-style bullet.”

Berger .375 Caliber Bullet is a Winner
Berger’s .375 caliber solid bullet design has already been proven in competition. At the 2018 World Longest Shot Challenge (WLSC), Team Applied Ballistics used the prototype .375 Cal ELR solid with great results. The new .375 caliber monolithic Berger bullet designed by Bryan Litz was used by the first and second place finishers in the “above .338 caliber” class. The prototype .375 Cal solid performed great, and the ultra-high BC was confirmed. READ WLSC Story HERE.

Advanced Doppler Radar was used to confirm Ballistics Data for the new Berger .375-Caliber Solids:
Berger monolithic solid bullet .375 caliber VLD copper lathe-turned projectile

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July 6th, 2018

TECH Tip: Safe Loading Practices for Different Bullet Shapes

USAMU Reloading Bullet Safety

This article, from the USAMU Facebook Page, concerns reloading safety. In the relentless quest for more speed and flatter ballistics, some hand-loaders load way too hot, running charges that exceed safe pressure levels. Hint: If you need a mallet to open your bolt, chances are your load is too hot. Stay within safe margins — your equipment will last longer, and you won’t risk an injury caused by over-pressure. In this article, the USAMU explains that you need to account for bullet shape, diameter, and bearing surface when working up a load. Don’t assume that a load which is safe for one bullet will be safe for another even if both bullets are exactly the same weight.

USAMU Reloading tips Army Marksmanship

Today, we continue our handloading safety theme, focusing on not inadvertently exceeding the boundaries of known, safe data.

Bullet manufacturers’ loading manuals often display three, four, or more similar-weight bullets grouped together with one set of load recipes. The manufacturer has tested these bullets and developed safe data for that group. However, seeing data in this format can tempt loaders — especially new ones — to think that ALL bullets of a given weight and caliber can interchangeably use the same load data. Actually, not so much.

The researchers ensure their data is safe with the bullet yielding the highest pressure. Thus, all others in that group should produce equal or less pressure, and they are safe using this data.

However, bullet designs include many variables such as different bearing surface lengths, hardness, and even slight variations in diameter. In fact, diameters can occasionally range up to 0.001″ by design. Thus, choosing untested bullets of the same weight and caliber, and using them with data not developed for them can yield excess pressures.

This is only one of the countless reasons not to begin at or very near the highest pressure loads during load development. Always begin at the starting load and look for pressure signs as one increases powder charges.

Bullet Bearing Surface and Pressure
Bullet bearing surface length (BSL) is often overlooked when considering maximum safe powder charges and pressures. In Photo 1, note the differences in the bullets’ appearance. All three are 7 mm, and their maximum weight difference is just five grains. Yet, the traditional round nose, flat base design on the left appears to have much more BSL than the sleeker match bullets. All things being equal, based on appearance, the RN/FB bullet seems likely to reach maximum pressure with significantly less powder than the other two designs.

Photo 1: Three Near-Equal-Weight 7mm Bullets with Different Shapes
USAMU Bullet Ogive Comparison Safety Reloading

Due to time constraints, the writer used an approximate, direct measurement approach to assess the bullets’ different BSLs. While fairly repeatable, the results were far from ballistics engineer-grade. Still, they are adequate for this example.

Bullet 1 (L-R), the RN/FB, has a very slight taper and only reaches its full diameter (0.284 inch) very near the cannelure. This taper is often seen on similar bullets; it helps reduce pressures with good accuracy. The calculated BSL of Bullet 1 was ~0.324″. The BSL of Bullet 2, in the center, was ~0.430″, and Bullet 3’s was ~ 0.463″. Obviously, bullets can be visually deceiving as to BSL!

Some might be tempted to use a bullet ogive comparator (or two) to measure bullets’ true BSL for comparison’s sake. Unfortunately, comparators don’t typically measure maximum bullet diameter and this approach can be deluding.

Photo 2: The Perils of Measuring Bearing Surface Length with Comparators
USAMU Bullet Ogive Comparision Safety Reloading

In Photo 2, two 7mm comparators have been installed on a dial caliper in an attempt to measure BSL. Using this approach, the BSLs differed sharply from the original [measurements]. The comparator-measured Bullet 1 BSL was 0.694” vs. 0.324” (original), Bullet 2 was 0.601” (comparator) vs. 0.430” (original), and Bullet 3 (shown in Photo 2) was 0.602” (comparator) vs. 0.463” (original). [Editor’s comment — Note the very large difference for Bullet 1, masking the fact that the true full diameter on this bullet starts very far back. You can use comparators on calipers, but be aware that this method may give you deceptive reading — we’ve seen variances just by reversing the comparators on the calipers, because the comparators, typically, are not perfectly round, nor are they machined to precision tolerances.]

Thanks to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit for allowing the reprint of this article.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 20th, 2017

Tangent vs. Secant vs. Hybrid — Bullet Ogive Geometry Explained

Secant and Tangent Ogive Bryan LitzWe 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.”

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.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
November 25th, 2015

New 6mm and 6.5mm Tipped MatchKings from Sierra

Tactical 6.5x47 Lapua

Sierra has released two new Tipped MatchKing (TMK®) bullets that should find favor with PRS competitors and tactical shooters*. Sierra is producing a new 95 grain 6mm projectile and a new 130 grain 6.5mm bullet. Both feature acetal resin tips that lower drag by improving the ballistic coefficient (BC) and making the BC more uniform from bullet to bullet. The 95-grainer should work well as a higher-speed option in the .243 Win, 6mm Creedmoor, 6mm Dasher, and 6mmBR. We were able to push other 95gr bullets nearly 100 fps faster than 105gr bullets from a 6mmBR. For those shooting the 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor, the new 130gr TMK should be a near-ideal bullet weight. We know that Berger’s 6.5mm 130gr VLD works great in those mid-sized cartridges, so Sierra’s new 130-grainer should be in the “sweet spot”. Also, in the .260 Remington the 130gr TMK should be capable of velocities that hit predicted accuracy nodes with ease. The 6mm 95 grain TMK requires a twist rate of 1:9″ or faster to stabilize while the 6.5mm 130 grain TMK requires a twist rate of 1:8″ or faster to stabilize.

We expect the 130gr 6.5mm TMK to find favor with Tactical Shooters
Tactical 6.5x47 Lapua

* In addition, Sierra plans to add a 7mm 160gr TMK to the line-up, product #7660, but we don’t expect this to be used for tactical games because of the heavier recoil.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 10 Comments »
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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January 2nd, 2013

Berger Hybrid Bullets — What You Need to Know

2013 SHOT Show Las VegasSHOT 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 Hybrid Bullet

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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May 1st, 2012

Redding Offers Retro-Fit Micrometer Stems for Standard Seaters

Redding Seating Stem MicrometerThey have been on the market for nearly a year, but you may not know that Redding sells a line of Micrometer Seater assemblies, which can be used to upgrade Redding’s standard ½-20 thread seater dies. These replacements allow you to enjoy the ease-of-use and precision of a micrometer seater, without buying a whole new die. Redding states that “the new Bullet Seating Micrometers are a direct [retro-fit] replacement for the original seating plugs and can easily be changed from one die to another.” Unfortunately, these add-on micrometer stems haven’t started shipping yet, and Redding has not provided a firm delivery date (or price). We are hoping the products will start arriving by mid-summer.

Redding Seating Stem Micrometer

NOTE: the seater assemblies are a component of the bullet seating die. These are not the dies themselves. It is the top portion of the die that contains the plunger, which pushes the bullet into the case. And here is something important: these new Bullet Seating Micrometers are available for both traditional tangent ogive bullet shapes as well as for VLD (secant ogive) bullets.

Redding Seating Stem MicrometerThat’s right, Redding now offers micrometer seater assemblies made specifically for Berger VLD bullets. These Seating Micrometers allow you to convert a standard seater to a Micrometer seater optimized for VLDs. That’s great news for VLD fans. Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets tells us: “We have confirmed with Redding that each of the new micrometer plugs in the VLD group were designed based on Berger VLD bullets. We provided all of our VLD bullets to Redding, from which they took deliberate measurements and made these new plugs.”

New VLD-specific Seater Stems Improve Bullet Seating Depth Consistency
Stecker explains how the new VLD-specific seater assemblies produce better, more accurate ammo: “Many shooters have problems getting the VLD bullets to shoot because of the bullet seater die they are using. VLD bullet noses are so long and sharp that, in many dies, the bullet tip bottoms out in the bullet seater stem instead of touching on the side of the ogive like it should. Seating depth inconsistencies up to .025″ can occur if the seater stem bottoms out on the bullet tip. The worst part is that many shooters have no idea that this is the root cause of their poor performance. This new product can help turn a frustrating shooting experience into an enjoyable one.”

Story tip from Edlongrange. We welcome submissions from our readers.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 4 Comments »
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.

The order is relayed from the website to the manufacturing facility, where fully-automated machines (designed and built for Setpoint Ammunition by Setpoint Systems,) load and assemble the cartridges to high levels of precision. By mechanizing the entire loading process, precision and consistency are maximized. The final outcome is affordable, reliable, high-performance ammunition. (Sales packages are available for military, law enforcement and tactical security groups.)

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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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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.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
February 16th, 2011

Redding Now Offers Micrometer Heads for Standard Seating Dies

Redding MiRedding has introduced a new series of Bullet Seating Micrometers (aka Micrometer Bullet Seater Plug Replacements). These can be retro-fitted into standard Redding seater dies with 1/2-20 thousandths threads, replacing the standard dies’ seater plugs. So, for about forty bucks, you can now make your standard Redding seater die into a Micrometer Seater — and you can swap one Micrometer Seater top among a variety of dies in the same caliber class (such as .223 to 22-250). Notably, the new Bullet Seating Micrometers are offered in two different configurations — one for traditional bullet shapes, and another for VLD bullets. Redding’s new Bullet Seating Micrometers are priced at $48.90 MSRP, but expect to see an initial “street price” of about $37.00-$39.00.

VLD Version of Micrometer Fits Berger Bullets
Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets stated: “I spoke with Redding and confirmed that the new VLD-Version Micrometer plugs are specifically designed for Berger VLD bullets. We provided all of our VLD bullets to them from which they took deliberate measurements and made these new plugs. This is news that needs to be shared with anyone shooting Berger VLD bullets.”

Bad News: You Need Different Micrometer Units for VLD and Non-VLD Bullets
Unfortunately, the Micrometer Seater Plug Replacement is ALL ONE UNIT. You cannot interchange VLD and non-VLD seater stems inside a given Bullet Seating Micrometer. You have to buy one of each (one Micrometer unit for VLD bullets and another Micrometer unit for standard bullets). Likewise, you cannot swap in larger or smaller diameter seater stems to make one Bullet Seating Micrometer head work with dies for widely different bullet diameters. That means you can’t buy one Micrometer head and use it in both a .223 Rem Seater Die and a 30-06 die, for example. You have to stay within the same die class, as explained next.

Good News: Bullet Seating Micrometer — Use in Multiple Dies
As long as you stick with the same seater die class, one Bullet Seating Micrometer can be used on multiple dies. In practical terms, you can usually (but not always) use the same Micrometer assembly on multiple dies within the same caliber family. And when you move the Micrometer unit from one die to another, all you need to record is the Micrometer setting. Look at the photo — the knurled ring at the bottom of the black replacement plug is a dead-stop collar that does not move. That means the lower section of the Micrometer always maintains the same position relative to the die when installed. When moving the Micrometer plug from one die to another, simply adjust the Micrometer knob to the proper setting for that cartridge/bullet. Each hash mark represents an .001″ change in seating depth.

Redding VLD Seater Stem

There are sixteen (16) part numbers for the new Bullet Seating Micrometers. These correspond to the VLD and Standard versions for eight (8) different classes of Redding seater dies. To see which Micrometer replacement you need, look for the number on the top of your standard Redding seater, and find that in the right-most column. Then chose whether you want the standard or VLD version (shown in columns one and two on the same line).

Editor’s Comment: We like that fact that Redding is offering these retro-fit Micrometer Seater Plug Replacements. And it’s great that the buyer has a choice between VLD and non-VLD styles. However, we think the lack of interchangeability of bullet seater stems is going to be a “deal-breaker” for many shoppers. Redding obviously wants to sell as many Micrometer Seater Plugs as possible. It doesn’t want you to be able to buy one $40 Replacement plug and use that one product for a half-dozen or more calibers. That’s to be expected. However, we think that, for a given cartridge/caliber, Redding should have engineered the Micrometer Bullet Seater Plug Replacement with swappable seating stems so that one $40 Micrometer head could seat BOTH VLD and non-VLD bullets… at least for that cartridge/caliber.

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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.

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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.”

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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:

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January 21st, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Berger to Release .338 and new 6mms and Load Manual Nears Completion

We had a long chat with Eric Stecker, Berger Bullet’s Master Bulletsmith. Eric had some interesting revelations. First he noted that Berger’s production in 2009 was up 50% compared to the previous year. Berger is now running 24-hour shifts to meet demand. And Berger isn’t resting on its laurels. A new .338 bullet is going into production, and Berger now has the means to produce .416s and even 50-caliber bullets. Berger also has multiple new prototype long-range bullets in development. Eric let me look at them and hold them but he requested that we NOT publish photos as the bullet profiles are somewhat radical. Eric revealed that a new series of short-range 6mm bullets in the 60-grain range are probably going to be released later this year. These borrow some design ideas from the successful Euber FB bullets, with refinements to improve ballistics.

We covered many other topics during our interview, including the status of the new Berger Reloading handbook, and the differences between the G1 vs. G7 Ballistics models. Click on the video link below to learn all the latest info from Berger.

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December 25th, 2009

600-Yard Shooter of the Year Sam Hall Compares Berger 108s and 105 VLDs

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 BT by 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.

Sam Hall IBS champion

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).

Berger 108 boattail bulletMike 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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March 14th, 2009

Berger Tips for Loading VLD Bullets

The folks at Berger Bullets have just released an interesting technical bulletin that describes methods for optimizing bullet seating depths with Berger VLDs. The document explains how to find the OAL “sweet spot” for VLDs in your rifle. Interestingly, while VLDs commonly work best seated into the rifling .010″ or more, Berger’s research indicates that, in some rifles, VLDs perform well jumped .040″ or more. This is a significant finding, one that’s backed-up by real-world testing by many shooters.

The key point in Berger’s report is that: “VLD bullets shoot best when loaded to a Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) that puts the bullet in a ‘sweet spot’. This sweet spot is a band .030″ to .040″ wide and is located anywhere between jamming the bullets into the lands and .150″ jump off the lands.”

CLICK HERE to download Berger VLD Tuning Tips

Writing in the report, Berger’s Eric Stecker observes: “Many reloaders feel (and I tend to agree) that meaningful COAL adjustments are .002 to .005. Every once in a while I might adjust the COAL by .010 but this seems like I am moving the bullet the length of a football field. The only way a shooter will be able to benefit from this situation is to let go of this opinion that more than .010 change is too much (me included).”

For target competition shooters (for whom it is practical to seat into the lands), Berger recommends the following test to find your rifle’s VLD sweet spot.

Load 24 rounds at the following COAL:
1. .010″ into (touching) the lands (jam) 6 rounds
2. .040″ off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
3. .080″ off the lands (jump) 6 rounds
4. .120″ off the lands (jump) 6 rounds

Berger predicts that: “One of these 4 COALs will outperform the other three by a considerable margin. Once you know which one of these 4 COAL shoots best then you can tweak the COAL +/- .002 or .005.”

OBSERVATION and WARNING
Berger may definitely be on to something here, and we applaud Berger’s testers for testing a very broad range of seating depths. However, we want to issue a STRONG WARNING to reloaders who may be inclined to try the 4-step method listed above.

Be aware that, as you load your cartridge progressively shorter, putting the bullet deeper into the case, you will be reducing the effective case capacity dramatically. With smaller cases, such as the .223 Rem and 6mmBR, moving from .010″ into the lands to .080″ and .120″ off the lands can CAUSE a dramatic pressure rise. So, a load .010″ into the lands that may be safe can be WAY OVERPRESSURE with the bullet seated .120″ off the lands (i.e. .130″ deeper in the case, the difference between .010″ in and .120″ out).

To illustrate, using a QuickLOAD simulation for the 6mmBR cartridge, moving the bullet 0.130″ deeper into the case can raise pressures dramatically. With the Berger 105 VLD seated .010″ in the lands (with 0.220 of bearing surface in the neck), and a charge of 30.0 grains of Varget, QuickLOAD predicts 60,887 psi. (This is using ADI 2208 data, and a 5500 psi start initiation value). If we move the bullet back 0.130″ further into the case, QuickLOAD predicts 64,420 psi (even after we drop start initiation pressure to the “default” non-jammed 3625 psi value). The 64,420 psi level is way higher!

Cartridge & Load COAL Jam/Jump* Start Pressure Max Pressure
6mmBR, 30.0 Varget
Berger 105 VLD
2.354″ +0.010″ in lands 5500 psi 60,887 psi
6mmBR, 30.0 Varget
Berger 105 VLD
2.324″ -0.20″ JUMP 3625 psi 59,645 psi
6mmBR, 30.0 Varget
Berger 105 VLD
2.264″ -0.80″ JUMP 3625 psi 62,413 psi
6mmBR, 30.0 Varget
Berger 105 VLD
2.224″ -0.120″ JUMP 3625 psi 64,420 psi

* As used here, this is the variance in OAL from a load length where the bullet ogive just touches the lands (first jacket to barrel contact). Loading bullets to an OAL beyond that point is “jamming” (seating bullet into lands), while loading to an OAL shorter than that is “jumping” (seating bullet away from lands).

NOTE: This is only a software simulation, and the real pressures you encounter may be different. But, the point is that moving the bullet 0.130″ further down in a 6mmBR case can raise pressures more than 3,000 psi! Therefore, you must employ EXTREME CAUTION when moving your bullets that much in a relatively small case. Remember that going from .010″ jam to a very long jump will probably increase pressures in your cartridge so you MUST adjust your load accordingly.

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January 16th, 2009

SHOT Show Report: New Bullets and BCs from Berger

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).

Berger Bullets

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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