Bullet Bio: Berger VLD

posted on October 21, 2015

In 2005 I was working on the book, "Rifle Bullets For The Hunter," with several of my esteemed colleagues. Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets asked me if the company's VLD bullet would be included. I told Eric the book was specifically about hunting bullets, but he argued the VLD was indeed a hunting bullet—because that’s what Berger’s customers had been telling him. I was skeptical.

In an effort to convince me, Stecker arranged a hog hunt. We shot lots of hogs and conducted detailed post mortem investigations. I was astonished at how fast the VLDs put the hogs down, and even more astonished to learn why. Due to the sharp tangent ogive, which conceals a hollow cavity ahead of a pure lead core, the VLD sort of implodes instead of expanding.

This implosion is delayed until the bullet has penetrated between about two to four inches. Simply stated, the Berger VLD punches through ribs, muscle, and hide, and then implodes on itself, ultimately cracking open like a grenade. The result is a horrific internal wound, tremendous tissue damage and a stark shock to the animal’s system.

Interestingly, that hog hunt was the first time anyone from Berger had actually hunted with the VLD. After all, the company makes match bullets. To conduct further testing, Berger arranged a hunt in New Zealand and outdoor writer John Barsness and I went along. We shot lots of critters, including four red stags. One stag was taken with a .300 Win. Mag. at about 150 yards, and another with a .30-06 at more than 250 yards. I took mine with a .264 Win. Mag. and Hall of Fame bench rest shooter Walt Berger took his just inside 200 yards with a .257 Roberts and a 115 grain VLD. In each instance the result was one shot and down. 

Berger VLD Hunting bullets have become a favorite of those who like to shoot at animals at longer ranges. There are two reasons for this. First, as a match bullet, VLDs are very accurate. Secondly, VLDs do not need a lot of velocity to expand. In fact, they will still expand when impacting at velocities as low as 1500 fps.

It might be hard to accept the notion that a match bullet is a real killer, but Berger VLD Hunting bullets—the ones in the orange box—are unlike any other match bullet, even yellow box VLDs. Important note: Do not use yellow box VLDs for hunting. The Hunting VLD is the perfect assemblage of jacket structure, shape and thickness, combined with a soft pure lead core. On contact with an animal, it acts like no other bullet ever made.

If you are a handloader, you have a wide assortment of VLDs to choose from. Otherwise, The Hunting Shack offers VLD ammo in a variety of popular hunting cartridges.


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