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Berger VLD

19 Jan 2013
@ 08:01 pm (GMT)

Tom Dixon

Are the VLD match and VLD hunting bullets the same? I have 7mm 168gn in both types and they appear identical, I have emailed Berger but had no response. I only ask as here in the uk target bullets are available mail order whereas hunting types are not, and it would make life a lot easier if they were the same and I could order them on line....

Does anyone know?


20 Jan 2013
@ 02:13 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Berger VLD
Hi Tom, yes they are the same bullet. The Hunting VLD bullets are pulled from the production line in the mornings when the presses and copper are cold. These cold formed bullets have weaker ogives due to the forming marks left in the ogive. If you have a look at your hunting VLD ogives, you will see horizontal lines in the ogive from the forming process.

As the presses and copper warms up, projectiles with cleaner ogives are batched as Match bullets. If you have a look at one of your Match bullets, you will see the same horizontal lines in the ogive but these are often finer.

Jackets on all bullets were toughened in 2011.

The above information comes from Berger. I was fortunate enough to have all of this explained to me by Berger's production manager in the weeks during the change from the light to the slightly heavier jacket. Unfortunately, Berger have since changed the way they explain processes and product. Therefore, other hand loaders have received information which is in conflict with the information I have provided here. Proof can be found in samples.

Since the jackets of the VLD were beefed up in 2011, the Hunting VLD bullets now perform much the same as the Match VLD bullets which perform much the same as the Sierra MatchKing and Lapua Scenar.

The current literature on the Berger site promotes the idea that the Berger is designed to penetrate a long way before finally fragmenting/expanding for supposedly increased trauma.

A more realistic product statement would be: The current Hunting VLD is designed to withstand the velocities generated by over bore magnums combined with poorly chosen twist rates and ridiculous freebore. The VLD will not fall apart mid air or lose stability. The VLD is therefore the perfect bullet for hunters too lazy to learn how to read wind or drop and are hoping that 4000fps will get them on target easily at 1000 yards as well as allow shooters to out range all of their friends because we know how important it is for you to get one over your friends and fellow shooters. Yes, you're 'that guy', a winner, number one- and we are here for you.

It is a tough situation for Berger, trying to make a bullet that pleases everyone. I have said it before, I do not envy Berger. I wish them all the best.

If you intend to use the Berger for hunting, please consider either annealing or meplat trimming (or meplat trimming and hollow pointing) as described in the KB article.
06 Aug 2013
@ 11:53 am (GMT)

shan smith

Re: Berger VLD
Nathan, I have a question how all this applies to the 6.5 140 gr vld. What % were bullets toughened up in 2011. Are current hunting jackets thicker than jackets prior to 2011. How much fps does the impact velocity need to increase to work.
thanks & keep up the hard work.
06 Aug 2013
@ 07:34 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Berger VLD
Hi Shan, when I spoke to the manager, I was told that the entire line of bullets was toughened.

Often, bullet performance can be enhanced with increases in velocity. But in this case, increased velocity is not on its own enough to produce reliable performance. Increasing body weights helps to a degree. Annealing helps further and is rather a simple process. Annealing and meplat trimming plus optimum game weights is better still. 70kg to 150kg (150-330lb) body weight is about ideal. In other words Mule and Red deer.

Honestly, Berger were put in a bad situation by hot heads. They have been doing their best to please all parties but it is not working. I am lucky to be receiving emails from around the world from hunters, always receiving fresh input and confirmation of my own findings. I have a picture in my inbox now, a poor African antelope riddled with pin hole wounds from the VLD. My own words certainly will not be helping Berger sell bullets among those who read this site. But if Berger choose to listen, the long term results will be much better for them, for game animals and hunters in general. I am sure they know all of this but are trying to balance everything, perhaps looking at future redesigns. So we need to be patient and tolerant in our approach to them.


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