Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and Outdoorsman.
When you are hunting for elk, the type of ammunition you use is critical. Bullet selection can make the difference between a clean kill and having to follow a blood trail. Berger bullets have a strong reputation in the hunting community. But are they suitable for hunting elk?
Berger bullets are a great choice for elk. They are made from a lightweight copper jacket. As a result, it will break apart when it strikes a target. This will do a lot of damage, allowing you to kill big game easily. Plus, this type of ammunition is built for long-range shooting and is highly accurate.
Berger bullets are capable of doing a lot of damage. This makes them a good choice for hunters. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this type of ammunition.
Pros and Cons of Using a Berger Bullet
Let’s start by looking at some of the pros and cons that using a Berger bullet can unlock. We’ll begin by talking about the way that the bullet is created. In this case, the jacket will be thinner than traditional bullets. As a result, they will fragment when they impact the target. This will do a lot more damage.
When you can do that much damage, you’ll be able to stop big game in their tracks. Sometimes, these wounds can stretch for 15 inches. Many hunters report that a good shot with this bullet can down an elk within 50 yards.
But there is also a downside. The expandable bullet can make the meat around the impact site inedible because of the number of bullet shards. This is a problem across all types of expandable bullets. In my opinion, this is a small price to pay to kill your target reliably.
It’s also important to note the way the nose of the bullet has been designed. It will be long and flat. This serves a few important purposes. First, it will aim to increase velocity. It is also a good way of lowering wind resistance. As a result, it will do more damage, allowing you to have a deeper penetration. Sometimes, they can penetrate three inches deep.
Berger bullets have also been a popular choice for hunters that prefer to shoot over long distances. Most commonly the Very Low Drag (VLD). These are designed to be resistant to the wind. This will improve your accuracy. However, they are also effective at close range, with many hunters reporting success under 100 yards.
Thirdly, the Berger bullets are designed to tightly group. Each is made to the same manufacturing standards. Because of this, they are the exact same size, shape, and weight. This ensures that they will all fly in the same way. This is important, allowing you to predict where each shot will be going. This is key when choosing a hunting bullet. Accuracy is vital.
Types of Berger Bullets
There is a wide range of Berger bullets that hunters can choose from. They are grouped based on the type of game they can take down. There are smaller bullets, which are designed for varmint. Then, there are hunting bullets. These are prepared for big game, like hunting for elk. There are a few types of ammunition in this category. These are:
- Very Low Drag (VLD) bullets. This has a unique shape which, as the name would suggest, is designed to reduce drag. The front of the bullet is roundly tapered and the back has a boat tail. With less drag, it will be able to shoot straighter. Wind resistance won’t impact its path as much. It will also have high velocity, allowing for deeper penetration.
- Hybrid bullets. These combine the shapes of the classic bullet and the elite hunter’s bullet. This makes them more versatile. When they hit their target, they will deliver a lot of damage.
- Classic Bullet Design. These are designed for hunters that shoot factory rifles. They can be loaded into a standard magazine. They are designed to offer superior performance for factory rifles.
- Elite Hunting Design. The SAMII standards don’t make these, so you’ll need to ensure they fit in your gun. But they are designed to offer hunters the best possible performance.
Choosing the Right Berger Bullets
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of types of Berger bullets for you to choose from, each promising an excellent hunting experience. So, how can you find the right one to pair with your hunting style?
When choosing the right bullet for you, there are a few elements to consider. First, you’ll need to think about your hunting style and how far away you will be from your target. You’ll also need to consider the type of rifle and the size of the game you are hunting.
Distance From the Target
Your hunting style is one of the most critical elements to consider. It will tell you the characteristics that you will need to focus on. If you are using a rifle, you’ll often want to get something that can operate from a distance.
The further away you intend to be, the more critical the design of the bullet becomes. You won’t want something that will encounter too much wind resistance. This will slow the bullet down, reducing the impact penetration.
It should be noted that the bullet’s velocity will also depend on the type of gun you are using. If you plan on shooting from a distance, it’s a good idea to get a gun that has a tight chamber and a longer barrel. This will help you boost the exit velocity of the bullet.
Type of Rifle
Next, you’ll need to consider the type of rifle you are using. You need to make sure that the bullet you choose is compatible with the gun you are shooting. To do this, you will need to match up the right caliber. Generally, when you are hunting for big game, you’ll need to get a higher caliber gun. This will deliver more power. Berger stocks hunting bullets for a range of calibers. These are:
To make finding the right bullet for your gun easier, Berger has made this bullet reference chart.
When you are shooting at the elk, you must be able to hit the target accurately. This is an area where all varieties of Berger bullet will excel. But it’s still a good idea to make sure that you are practicing with them before you head out on the hunt. This will help you hone your skills, ensuring that you will be able to hit the target every time.
Type of Game You are Pursuing
This is the most crucial factor that you will need to consider. The worst-case scenario is hitting the elk but not doing enough damage to take it down. This will result in a long blood chase. It also extends the suffering that the animal will face.
You’ll want to find a bullet that will be able to get the job done. This is why so many people prefer to use the Berger bullets. They are known for expanding when they hit the target, and this does a lot of damage. This is essential for taking on big game, like elk.
Are Berger Bullets Expensive?
While many hunters can recognize the importance of a good bullet, they don’t want to end up overspending. This raises an important question. How are Berger Bullets priced, and are they worth paying a premium for?
Berger bullets will be a little more expensive than the competition. Depending on the variety, you can end up paying $10 to $12 more per box. However, they make up for this with superior performance.
For some people, price is the most important factor when choosing a bullet. In this case, Berger might not be the right choice for you. However, when using a Berger bullet, you will get what you pay for. The Berger bullets are known for their accuracy. Each of them is carefully manufactured. This ensures that they are all the same size and shape. This helps them stand out from the competition, offering a higher quality product.
Because of this, in my opinion, it’s worth paying a little extra to get the best possible bullets for your rifle. After all, a good gun will cost you a pretty penny. For me, the premium is worth it if it means there is a good chance of taking home venison at the end of the day.
Killing an Elk With Berger Bullets
Berger bullets are known for causing a lot of damage. When they hit the target, the thin jacket will fracture. This will cause it to splinter apart. In most cases, this will be enough to kill the animal. This type of damage is exactly what you need when going after a big animal, like the elk.
But, on its own, a good bullet isn’t enough to kill an elk. It’s up to the hunter to hit the vitals. While it might wound the animal, hitting another part of the body won’t be enough to kill it. On an elk, this means aiming for the heart and lungs. These sit behind the shoulder blades. However, the thick bone of the shoulder can make it harder to access these areas.
Because of this, there are a few shots that the hunter should aim to take. These are:
- Broadside. This is the ideal shot. It will give you the best view of the target area. It will also give you the biggest target to aim at.
- Quartering away. As the elk are moving away from you, their vital areas will be exposed. But you’ll need to take it relatively quickly. The further away they get, the smaller the target area will become.
- Headshot or hit to the neck. These are some of the riskiest shots you can make, so they are only recommended for more experienced hunters. But if you hit in either of these zones, you will do enough damage to down the elk. Plus, you won’t damage any of the meat.
It’s also important to practice shooting with the ammunition before the hunt. This will give you a better idea of how they will travel through the air. It will also give you a better idea of the type of recoil you can expect.
It’s also important to remember the basics of hunting. For example, if you are approaching the elk, you’ll need to take precautions to mask your scent. It’s also a good idea to keep your movement to a minimum. You don’t want to risk spooking the deer.
You can take advantage of the long-range offered by the Berger bullets by setting up a tree stand. When hunting for elk, it’s a good idea to put this around resources like food and water. These will get some good action, particularly after the rain.
Storing Berger Bullets
As we mentioned, Berger bullets can have a premium price tag attached. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are taking good care of them. Storing them improperly can cause a lot of damage. Sometimes, it can even render the gun unusable. Let’s look at some of the mistakes that you should avoid.
First, you’ll need to pick the right location to store them. You need to make sure that they are in a cool, dry area. The most important thing is to avoid any wild temperature swings. This will cause it to start to break down. You also want to avoid humidity. Too much moisture has the potential to corrode the metal. At first, this will only affect the accuracy. But over time, the bullet won’t fire at all.
Because of these elements, it’s best to invest in a strong ammunition box. These will maintain a steady temperature and keep out any moisture. Plus, the interior of these boxes will be dark. This ensures that the bullets won’t be affected by UV radiation. If possible, you’ll want to store the ammunition box in the basement.
When you get new ammunition, write the date it arrived on the outside of the ammunition box. This will give you a rough idea of how long you have to use it. When stored in good conditions, modern ammunition will be able to last for decades. But, if you are erring on the side of caution, you should aim to use it within ten years. It’s also a good idea to lock the ammunition boxes. This ensures that there is no risk of children getting inside.
Finding the correct type of ammunition for your hunt is essential, especially when hunting for big game. Using the right one will significantly increase the odds of landing an elk. For this reason, many people choose to turn to Berger bullets. They are highly accurate and capable of shooting over long distances. It has a high velocity for deep penetration. It also has a copper jacket, which disintegrates when it strikes its target. Because of this, it can do enough damage to down an elk rapidly. So, try a Berger bullet on your next hunting trip to witness these powerful bullets in action.
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.