Berger Bullets Reloading Manual 1st Edition
by Matt Cashell, Rokslide Prostaff
As an avid hunter, shooter, and reloader, I have spent a lot of time behind my Lyman Turret Press trying to find handload recipes that fit my rifles and their uses. Throughout that time, I have depended on various reloading manuals for quality information on load data as well as insights into the projectiles and cartridges I was working with.
My first manual was the Lyman Reloading Manual. This was a great manual for getting started with clear instructions and solid data with a variety of projectiles for each cartridge. However, it didn’t always have the projectile or powder information I was looking for.
Over time, I collected manuals from Speer, Sierra, Nosler, and Barnes. These manuals provided detailed load information for their respective bullets and I had good success loading with that information. I also really enjoyed the company history information, and especially the cartridge introduction essays provided in most manuals. Particularly those introductions written by guest authors relaying some anecdote or affinity for the cartridge.
In the early 2000s, I started hunting the big burn areas of Western Montana for late season elk. While burnt mountain slopes made for great elk glassing, they also lent themselves to ranges beyond maximum point blank range (MPBR), and I ended up having to account for drop and wind. In an effort to extend my effectiveness in that terrain I turned to shooting techniques, shooting practice, and gear designed to extend the range.
One piece of gear that helped a lot was a projectile with a higher ballistic coefficient (BC) to minimize drop and wind drift on the longer ranges. This led me to Berger’s slippery Very Low Drag (VLD) and Hybrid bullet designs.
The problem was, the Berger bullet shapes weren’t really like other bullets of similar weights and I needed good data to get started. Luckily, Walt Berger and Brian Litz of Berger Bullets were easy to work with through email, and sent me data for the bullets and powders I was trying. Still, I looked forward to the time when Berger had their own comprehensive manual I could reference at my leisure.
The wait was over in Summer 2014, when the 1st Edition of the Berger Bullets Reloading Manual showed up at the door. The book is a glossy hardcover with some heft and over two inches thick. The manual is a solid 819 pages long with the reloading data starting on page 244. The book is filled to the brim with load data on no less than 71 cartridges from the standard “aught-6” to wildcats like the 6mm Dasher.
As expected, each cartridge section included an introduction authored by a variety of notable writers including the likes of Dave Scovill and John Barsness.
Berger’s reloading manual includes a fascinating biography on its founder, Walt Berger
What I didn’t expect was the manual didn’t just include load data. It began with a fascinating 17 chapter mini-biography on Walt Berger by current Berger Bullets president Eric Stecker. I really enjoyed this part of the book. It really added something through an interesting and often touching glimpse into Walt’s life, with a series of full color photos thrown in for good measure.
The book follows the biography with a wide variety of essays ranging from reloading safety to burn rates to detailed looks into various shooting disciplines. This book is packed with information far beyond simple load data. The information is well presented and easy to digest.
As far as the data goes, working up from the start load of 42 grains, I eventually had the Berger 140 VLD hunting stepping out of my 7-08 at 2840 FPS over a 46 grain dose of Winchester 760 powder. Three shot groups at a hundred yards were consistently under 1/2 MOA too. That works for me!
The author easily worked up a 7mm-08 load with the Berger data
Berger’s first manual is comprehensive, detailed, and much more than that. Serious shooters and handloaders taking advantage of Berger Bullets need Berger’s Manual on their loading bench.
You can discuss this article or ask the author questions here
You can also enter to win one of three Berger Reloading Manuals at that same link before 5/18/15