Friday, April 29, 2011

Berger 30 Caliber Hybrids - First Impressions

Tuesday the UPS man brought me a little present. Upon opening the package I discovered two boxes of the new 30 caliber Hybrids from Berger Bullets. One box contained 100 of their new 168 grain offering and the other, the new 155. I admit to being more than a little eager to see the new 168's, it's been twenty-five years since I shot any, so I opened it's yellow box first. I was immediately struck by two things as I began to examine these projectiles. One was the overall length, the other was the design of the boattail. Check out this (slightly blurry) photo You can clearly see the Berger, on the right is much longer (.054" average) than one of my thirty year old SMK's and the boattail is not only longer but the base is larger than the Sierra as well. The listed G1 BC for the new Berger is an eye opening .519 as seen here Using my Denver Instruments 123 digital scale I quickly weighed all 100 pieces. The average weight was 168.08 grns. The meplats appear very uniform and tight. I was trying to decide what charge weight of Varget I would start with, my old Sierra load had been with 44.0 grns. of IMR 4895 and after looking at the burn rate chart as well as speaking with my friend Mid Tompkins I decided on 44.00 grns. Generally I tend not to push the higher pressure side so much anymore however I should be left with some room to experiment with more powder if necessary.

Having satisfied my initial curiosity about the 168's I turned my attention to the new 155 Hybrids. As I opened the box and began to examine the contents, I began wondering just how much difference there was between it and the other fine offerings from Berger, namely the 155 VLD and the 155.5 Fullbore, both of which I have shot extensively. So I got out a Sierra #2156 and placed it alongside the three Bergers and got a good picture of them here It wasn't until laying them side by side did the real differences begin to surface. For example note the deviations of the boattail shapes as well as the differing bearing surface lengths not to mention the ogives. Next I ran them over the scale and found the average weight for this box to be 155.06 grns. Once again, as I have come to expect from the folks at Berger, the meplats were very well formed and the opening's tight.

I began to assemble the cartridges for my live fire testing at a 600 yard match this coming Saturday. For a number of years I have used Lapua cases and CCI BR-2 primers and did so for this test. Since my seating die was already set for the 2156's I loaded what will be my first string to establish a baseline elevation zero. I have found that 45.84 grns. of Varget is a very accurate load in my rifle with not only the Sierra's but also the VLD and the Fullbore's. Then I seated a 155 Hybrid into a dummy case and tried to chamber it in my Palma gun. I knew when it closed hard that it was probably stuck in the barrel and it was. So after knocking it out and trying a few more at shorter seat lengths I found that seating the new Hybrid .020 shorter than the Sierra gave me a slight jam but I could remove the round intact. After loading that set for my second string with the charge weight mentioned above I then discovered that the 168 would use the same setting on my seating die as the 155 did. So I re-adjusted my Redding powder measure to throw closer to the 44.0 weight I wanted and finished loading my last test string.

I'm hoping for favorable wind conditions tomorrow, since I plan to do some additional testing at the 1000 yardline after the match. No matter the condition I feel as if I should be able to get a good feel for how these new offerings will perform, especially in my 13 twist barrel, as the packaging recommends a 12 or faster

I will have the results of my testing up tomorrow or Sunday so check back!


Warning!!! Your rifle is not the same as my rifle, so don’t assume the pressure will be the same.
Always follow the recipes in your loading manual and DO NOT EXCEED MAXIMUM


Dan Haines said...

Nice writeup good pictures

SPClark said...

Thanks Rick, hold hard & let us know where they end up!