Berger Hybrid .338 300 Grain Bullets Important Information

D*n Doucette said: I posted this elsewhere in one of my threads but I felt it important enough to post here as well. Well I purchased 50 of these Berger Hybrid bullets today with the idea of working up a load for my Lapua, now I have to see if I can bring them back for a refund. After getting them home I was doing a little research on the Berger website and found this; June 7, 2010 Update Regarding the .338 Hybrids Filed under: BC, Making it Shoot — mgallagher @ 12:38 pm As expected, the release of the new 300 grain .338 Hybrid bullets has made quite a splash. The purpose of this bulletin is to share some facts that have been learned about this bullet since its release. There are two major facts that I’ll elaborate on. 1) The BC of the bullet is being revised, and 2) The bullet has limitations regarding its structural integrity. Revised BC Assessment For unknown reasons, the original BC test produced results that were not repeatable for this bullet. Upon releasing these bullets to the public, we started to hear that trajectories predicted with the advertised BC’s were not matching the observed drop. We took this feedback seriously, and performed several more careful BC tests. The results of each of these tests have produced a repeatable BC, but it’s lower than the original value by about 7%. The revised BC’s for the 300 grain .338 Hybrid are: G7 BC = 0.419 G1 BC = 0.818 The above BC’s have been measured in multiple tests in multiple barrels, and produce calculated trajectories that match the observations of some credible shooters. We’re grateful for the feedback of the shooters who brought this matter to our attention and allowed us to correct the inaccurate information. Greater care will be taken with future tests in an effort to prevent this from happening again. Limitations to the Bullet’s Structural Integrity Another thing that happened when we released these bullets to the public is that they were fired in cartridges that are more energetic than the .338 Edge which I used for the initial evaluations. Upon exposure to the extreme pressures and accelerations produced by some of the larger cartridges, some negative results were observed; poor groups, and lower observed BC (even lower than the revised values above). Our current working theory is that the poor precision and reduced BC are a result of nose slump. Nose slump is when the bullet is accelerated so fast that the base of the nose can’t support its own weight, and bulges out to fill the barrel. This produces a bullet with a longer bearing surface and a shorter nose which explains the compromised BC. Since this deformation doesn’t occur exactly the same every time, poor precision also results. The exact threshold of pressure/acceleration that will cause nose slump with this bullet is not known. There are a number of small to medium capacity cartridges that shoot these bullets very well, with extremely good precision and a repeatable BC. So far there have been no reported cases of nose slump with cartridges in the following class: .338 Winchester Mag, .338 Norma Mag, .338 RUM, and .338 Edge, etc. The .338 Lapua Mag seems to be a borderline case which may or may not produce nose slump. Factors that affect pressure/acceleration will affect the likeliness of nose slump occurring. For example, ball powders are typically faster burning than stick powders, so they produce higher peak pressures, and are more likely to produce nose slump. Tighter bores can also cause elevated pressures and tip the scales toward nose slump. Cartridges like the .338 Lapua Mag Improved and larger are virtually assured of producing nose slump when loaded to their potential pressures. If you’re working up a load with these bullets and having difficulty finding a precise load, it’s likely that you’re exceeding the pressure threshold where nose slump happens. In small to medium cartridges, the hybrid ogive design makes it quite easy to find an accurate load. The bullet is quite insensitive to seating depth. If you’re working with a large capacity case and having poor results, you should consider reducing the powder charge until good groups are achieved. When designing a bullet for use in hunting applications, the toughness of the bullet is always a trade-off. Terminally, you want a bullet that is capable of reliable expansion/fragmentation at low impact velocities. However, the bullet can’t be so thin-skinned that it doesn’t survive being launched at very high speeds. This being our first time working with a bullet this large, a construction was selected which we felt would strike the best balance between toughness and terminal performance. Simply put, we erred too much on the side of terminal performance. The result is a bullet that’s perfectly suited for small to medium capacity cases, but simply isn’t tough enough to survive being fired from the more energetic magnums. The good news is that the situation has been identified and several solutions are already being worked on. We know the design needs to be ‘toughened up’ for successful use in larger cartridges, and we’re considering the best way to do this. In Summary The Berger .338 caliber 300 grain Hybrid bullet is still the highest BC bullet in its class. The performance gap just isn’t as big as originally thought. In its current form, the bullet is perfectly suitable for many popular small to medium capacity cartridges. From my .338 Edge test rifle, I’ve shot multiple 10 shot groups at 1000 yards under 10” and the bullets performed with a very repeatable BC. For the time being, those with larger capacity cartridges will have to wait for the bullet to be toughened up in order to achieve good performance. We don’t have an anticipated timeline for this revision, but it is a top priority. On a personal note, I want to express my gratitude for the shooters who’ve provided the critical feedback which helped us to understand the situation enough to take action. Having an open dialogue and exchange of information is the best way to ensure we’re doing everything we can to make the best bullets possible. Take care, -Bryan

K*van said: Don....Thanks for posting that most interesting read. I have been looking around for some of those bullets to try in my 338 LAI and after studying your post I shall stick with the 300 gr. SMK.

ffwd said: There is a long thread going over on regarding these bullets. Much disappointment.

Myst*c Precision said: I no longer shoot a 338 but have sold a number of these Bergers. I am getting reorders so they are working for some shooters. From what is in print, they seem to work well if not run too fast. Jerry

D*n Doucette said: I agree Jerry Berger makes a fine product but these are NOT what they were originally hyped to be and as I am primarily interested in working up a long range accurate load I am not going to limit myself to a sub 2800fps bullet only to have to do it all over again later when the new bullet comes out. I have to commend berger for printing the correction but in the same breath condemn them for publishing data before thoroughly testing a new product, many $$ and much time has been wasted by others with this bullet persuing a ballistic goal that was completely unobtainable. I for one will wait for the new product.

Myst*c Precision said: Don, you are right except that Berger DID test the bullets through Bryan Litz and got some out to other shooters to also test. Sample size is still small but they did work. Bryan shot them at 3000fps out of an edge and so did other shooters. They didn't have issue at all. Yet the problem did manifest itself in other rifles and Berger has acknowledged and working hard to change it quickly. So they didn't just blindly send out product for the consumer to R&D. Could, should they have done more testing? Sure but given the uproar on how long it had taken them so far, I guess they wanted it out to qwell concerns of being TOO slow. Hard to win. For those that are shooting this at around 2800/2900fps without issue, reported accuracy is superb. This is pretty much the speed most SHOULD be getting until you get into cases LARGER then the Edge or LM AI unless going to very long barrels. We definitely push pressures in our rigs which is one major area that might be causing the deformations reported. I will let you know when I hear about the new design. Jerry

b*n hunchak said: That's the first i've heard of the "nose slump" theory, I used to shoot alotta jacketed bullets at top speeds and never experienced it.

M*x Owner said: Does Berger have load info for these?

Myst*c Precision said: That's the first i've heard of the "nose slump" theory, I used to shoot alotta jacketed bullets at top speeds and never experienced it. Ben, I have no idea on this nose flattening/slump thing. I will leave it to the rocket scientists for that. What I have seen is bullets distorting due to being overstressed. Thin jackets, high spin speeds and elevated pressures leading to inconsistent accuracy and eventually bullet failure. Rough or tight bores can also lead to jacket damage/stress which leads to bullet failures. This is what I feel may be happening in some rifles. J4 jackets are some of the thinest in the match bullet world. Thin allows for more precision in the forming of the jacket and thus the bullet but will be weaker then a thicker jacket. I think Berger is thickening their jackets as they did from J4/Hunting VLD to their target VLD. Simple enough fix and once done, I am expecting some very nice LR performance. Jerry

X-f*n said: Barnes has changed the X bullet at least a dozen times since it was introduce. In the early days you could bet that your next box would look different than the last. Berger will get it right...they just need a bit of time to dial it.

b*n hunchak said: The Barnes problem was/is copper fouling, that's why they put lube grooves in their bullets, now all they need is some lube in them.

M*x Owner said: Shame after buying a 100 of em to find this out.

Myst*c Precision said: Max, unless you are launching them in a big boomer, they should work just fine. Jerry

M*x Owner said: Lapua, hence my "figures" attitude. :(

X-f*n said: The Barnes problem was/is copper fouling, that's why they put lube grooves in their bullets, now all they need is some lube in them. They also had expansion issues, accuracy problems, and consistency issues. My point is Berger only seems to have one issue to deal with. lol on the lube. :)

K*van said: The Barnes problem was/is copper fouling, that's why they put lube grooves in their bullets, now all they need is some lube in them. They almost look naked without lube....

Myst*c Precision said: Max, a reg LM run at normal magnum pressures will push a 300gr bullet around 2700fps in a 26" barrel. That is CIP/SAAMI spec. I would be very surprised to see any issues at this velocity Anything faster is likely a result of elevated pressure or some non canister powder. The Edge will push this same bullet around the 2900fps range and they didn't fail in the testing done. when 300gr bullets are pushed upwards of 3000fps without barrels at least 30" long or cases that can hold over 100gr of powder, you know that loads are toasty. that is putting too much stress on the jackets and they are going wonky. that is my guess. Jerry

X-f*n said: Unfortunately most guys running the Lapua case load at pretty intense pressure.....because they can. Goes to show the forces at work here. :eek:

M*x Owner said: Thanx Jerry. Not sure when I will start my reloading quest for the 338. I have all that I need. I will load for what is the most accurate/consistant.

Myst*c Precision said: Max, you will likely find that the most accurate AND consistent LR loads are just under 65,000psi. That seems to be a wussy loads by some but that is MAX SAMMI Magnum pressures. Higher and you start to tread on proof pressure loading. Likely no bad pressure signs BUT very hard on the steel in your action. tune for vertical and you will all sorts of fun going out to a mile and beyond. Enjoy... Jerry

Sh*oter ----/ said: I'm with Jerry on this one. Anything other than a Lapua Improved should be fine. If you decide to push your standard Lapua to extreme speeds / pressures you probably won't find your best accuracy anyways.

M*x Owner said: This is what I am hoping for. Thanx guys.

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