Gary, I do not have any hunting experience with the Berger VLD, but did do quite a bit of internet research on it. I was going to use the 180 gr. for elk but could not get them to shoot well out of my 300wsm.
From what I have read, these should be a very accurate bullet, assuming your gun likes them. They need to be right off the lands, and I could not get them there with my 300 WSM the way the magazine is made. As far as killing power, they are supposed to cause very significant internal damage as the bullet penetrates 3-5 inches before expanding and then "disintegrates" somewhat which takes out vital organs. The retained bullet weight is fairly low.
You should also post on the reloading section of this forum. There is a lot of good help out there.
you go to the "first tag filled" thread in this forum that is the cow elk I killed using a 168 gr Berger VLD Hunting bullet handload. I used 62 grs of RL22 at a booklisted 2900 fps. I hit her on the run a tad bit back from center midline. It destroyed half the liver and hit a major artery also sending shrapnell thru both lungs. She was filled with buckets of blood internally when I opened her up. One small entrance hole and no exit. She went about eighty to a hundred yards from where I hit her and was down for the count.
What's the OAL for your setup? How far off the lands are you with your loads? The only way I could get them to group was loading them just off the lands. Too far out to fit in the magazine.
Being I don't have a tool for adjusting the seating depth, I did the old fashion smoking a bullet in a dummy case chambering it and kept backing it off until I could not see the lands mark any longer. I ended up with an over all cartridge length of 3.475 for my -06 which is pretty far out, but my rifle has a deep throat so that didn't affect loading them in the mag or cycling at all. This gave me consistent inch to just under and inch three shot groups at 100. They seem to fly good as my groups at 300 were 2 to 2 1/2 inches.
Yea, we usually use a black magic marker for "smoking" a bullet. It's good to know about the results you have with a 30-06 as I have a friend with an '06. He was looking for a new bullet combo. I'll let him know about the bergers and your success loading them.
The 168 gr shoot great out of my 7mm WSM. Consistently around .75" at 100yds and often times down to .5" Dont know how they perform on game yet but that should change come the first week of October when I send one towards an antelope. Well hopefully.
Nope and by a respectable amount. If you email berger for load data and say that you are concerned about OAL cause it is a short mag they will use their program with your cartridges sammi OAL and give you some data. it worked perfect in my rifle. My OAL is 2.96 something IIRC and it works great.
So what does your rifle cleaning kit look like? Is it a mess of bore brushes, different solvents and oils? Here may be the answer for you. I’m not going to recommend on how to clean your rifle or shotgun since you should already know that but suggest a way for you to keep all your supplies organized and where you can find them without getting four or five different boxes out to get everything together. And if you are like me and have a half dozen different calibers and...