Back in January, I attended the SHOT show in Las Vegas and was introduced to one of the new bullet designs from Berger Bullets, the Classic Hunter. Berger redesigned their VLD bullet to be less sensitive to seating depth, making them much more compatible with factory rifles. 

Here is Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets talking about the new design:

Berger Bullets sent me a box of the Classic Hunter bullets just as they hit the market this last summer.  I asked Rokslide pro-staffer and gun guru, Matt Cashell, (Bitterroot Bulls on the Rokslide forum) if he would test the new design.  He accepted faster than a speeding bullet so I shipped him the box of the shiny new gems.  Matt put the new bullets through the gammut and now he’s here on the Rok Blog to give us a complete report.  Whether you’re just curious, or in the market for a great bullet, Matt’s article is more than worth the read.  Show us the money, Matt!



“Like a lot of rifle nuts, I like to try new stuff, and tinker with stuff that already works. This is probably due to the fact that rifle technology, especially bullet design, has made such drastic improvements recently. Bullet manufacturers, like Berger Bullets, have been making big strides in high ballistic coefficient projectiles for hunting, so naturally I was excited to test the new Classic Hunter design for Rokslide.  First, lets catch up on a little of the science behind bullet design.

Ballistic Coefficient

Ballistic coefficient (BC) is a numerical representation of how “slippery” a bullet is. The higher the number, the better. This number can be plugged in to reliable ballistic software and gives the shooter accurate ballistics for their load and conditions. Why do hunters want a slippery bullet? Because they lose less velocity, and drift less in the wind. This makes for more reliable wind calls and retained velocity for increased energy down range. Hunters end up making more reliable hits, further out. Another benefit is that at extended ranges, standard cartridges perform like the “magnums” of yesteryear.

As a side note, I recommend the new G7 BC model instead of the outdated G1 model.  This G7 has been promoted extensively by Brian Litz of Berger Bullets (among others) because it is much more accurate with modern boattail designs like the Classic Hunter.  If you want to read up on the G7 vs. the G1, visit Berger Bullet’s Blog.


The shape of a bullet’s nose has a big effect on BC. Berger’s VLD design utilizes an aggressive secant ogive. This makes for awesome BCs (The 7mm 168 grain VLD-Hunting has a G7 BC of .316). The problem is that the design makes for long noses that factory rifles have trouble fitting in magazines when loaded to an accurate seating depth.

I have had great luck loading traditional tangent ogive bullets, like the Nosler Accubond. In my experience, the Accubond provides a good balance of BC, easy loading, accuracy, and terminal performance out of rifles with factory twist rates and magazine lengths. The 7mm 160 grain Nosler Accubond runs a G7 BC around .260., so when I saw the new Berger Classic Hunter checked in at .309, I was more than curious. 


The Nosler Accubond (left) compared to Berger Classic Hunter (center) and VLD (right) bullets

Berger Classic Hunter

The new Berger Classic Hunter bullet offers a “hybrid” design combining both tangent and secant ogives, in the hope to make for an easier loading bullet that still offers a BC advantage over traditional tangent ogive bullets.  This bullet is specifically designed for factory twist rates and SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunitions Manufacturers Institute) cartridge overall lengths (COALs). Robby sent me a box of Classic Hunters in 168 grain/7mm to try out. While the BC of .309 was not far off of the VLD, I wondered if I’d be able to get them to shoot?


The hybrid ogive of the Berger aided in leaving plenty of room in the Savage magazine

Developing a Load

My test mule for these bullets is my trusty Savage 110 chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum. The rifle sports an EGW rail, TPS rings, and a 4-16X50 Vortex Viper PST riflescope. Loading equipment included a Lyman turret press, Redding Competition Dies, Nosler Brass, Federal 215 Magnum primers, and an RCBS Chargemaster Combo dispenser/scale.

To test the “loadability” of the Classic Hunters, I chose four temperature-resistant 7 Mag powders: Hodgdon H4831SC, Hodgdon H1000, Hodgdon Retumbo, and Ramshot Magnum. I found my 168 grain VLD data from Berger and worked up from near-starting loads. Using a Hornaday COAL gauge to develop The COAL to the lands, I loaded all of my powder-testing rounds at 0.02 off the lands.

My current hunting load for this rifle is the 160 grain Accubond over Retumbo for 2960 FPS muzzle velocity. I verified zero with that load, and started firing the Berger Classic Hunter bullets in 3-shot, 100 yard groups through the chronograph. I let the sporter barrel cool adequately between every shot. All loads proved safe, and I received the following data for the heaviest charges:

H4831SC = 2876 fps  Max Spread = 12 fps Group size = .78 in.

H1000 = 2996 fps  Max Spread = 4 fps Group size = .38 in.

Retumbo = 3122 fps  Max Spread = 22 fps Group size = .86 in.

Magnum = 2987 fps  Max Spread = 16 fps Group size = .92 in.

The really surprising thing was the accuracy. ALL of my loads at the .02 off the lands COAL shot under 1 MOA. Not surprisingly, the powder with the lowest velocity variation had the smallest 3-round group size. Even more impressive was the fact that all of the loads shot to the same point of aim, with the hot Retumbo load hitting about 1 inch higher than the others. It seems that Berger was successful in the “easy to load” category, at least for me and my rifle.

I chose the low-variation H1000 load to develop further and loaded at 4 different COALs. The following shows the results:

.02 off lands = .37 in.

.03 off lands = .41 in.

.04 off lands = .49 in.

.06 off lands = .48 in.


Tight groups were the norm with the Berger Classic Hunter and Hodgdon H1000 in the author’s 7mm Remington Magnum

That is not a lot of variation! Seems Berger accomplished what it set out to do.  I realize that my test rifle may just really like the Berger Classic Hunter bullet, as rifles do have their preference. The Savage does shoot many loads well, but I did not get satisfactory results previously with the 168 grain VLD Hunting bullet when loaded to magazine length.

I am quite optimistic about the new Classic Hunter.  I’ll be back in the next month or so with updates on the terminal (as in I killed some animals!) performance.”


Thanks Matt! 

Roksliders, so you don’t miss Matt’s next installment on the new Berger Bullet Classic Hunter, make sure you subscribe to the Rok Blog (top right of the Blog under Fitness/Other “subscribe to blog”).  Also, you won’t want to miss my upcoming 12-day Idaho mule deer hunt starting Sunday, December 1st, right here on the Rok Blog. 

Finally, because we’re so generous here on the Rok Blog 😉 we are giving away a box of Berger Bullets in the Classic Hunter!  As of press time, we can only get 30 caliber in the 185 or the 168 grain.  If you’d like to win a box, all you have to do is become a Rok Blog subscriber (top right of the Blog under Fitness/Other “subscribe to blog”) and post in the comments section below what rifle you’ll be shooting the bullets in.  Simple as that!  I’ll draw for a winner and announce on the Rok Blog December 17th.

Please don’t enter if you don’t have a use for the bullets.  Let’s keep the odds good for the hunters who can really use them.

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Matt Cashell
Matt Cashell is a Montana hunter. Matt has traveled to all corners of his home state chasing whatever game he can. Matt has been lucky to take great trophies in Montana’s classic game species: Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, and Pronghorn. When he isn’t out chasing big game, he might be pointing a shotgun at flushing roosters, casting flies for Montana’s monster trout, or working on shooting precision long range rifles. Matt has spent more time outdoors than in through his formative years, and has deep roots in family hunting traditions garnered from years of following his father and uncle in Montana’s wild places. Family is important to Matt as he works to pass on those traditions to his five kids in the Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana, with the help of his loving wife, Heather.A self-proclaimed gear geek, Matt continues to pursue the ragged edge of hunting technology, and any small advantage or comfort that can increase his chances of backcountry success. Particularly an optics addict, Matt is always trying to see better, and find those wiley critters before they find him. It doesn’t matter what weapon is used, the hunt and wild places draw him to the woods, time after time. Going in deeper, and hunting harder is always the goal with Matt, and the pursuit of that goal never ends.


  1. Thanks again for the blog Robby. I could use a the 185s for my mod 70 300 win mag. Good hunting on your up coming hunt and stay safe.

  2. Would love a box of 185 for my Ruger M77 .300 Win Mag that is in the process of getting a new muzzle brake installed from Hellscanyon. Need some bullets to send through it now 🙂

  3. I’m shooting these same bullets in my 7mm wsm and have had the same success. Accurate , easy to load for and worked good on the one little deer I’ve shot with them. I guess I won’t enter because I don’t have a thirty cal anymore.

  4. Thanks for the review Matt and the in depth testing.

    Robby, I have tried to subscribe to your blog multiple times, is there a way for you to see if I’m signed up? Thanks and god bless

  5. These look great as I am looking for a new bullet to try in my Winchester Model 70 chambered in 300 Winchester Magnum. Thanks Robby and Matt!

  6. I currently use the Berger VLD 168 gr. for my Remington 7mm Mag. I have had great success with them. I am very much interested in trying out the classic hunters.

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