It’s that time of year again: big game hunting season! Bear season started just a week ago where I live, and I’m hoping for success in the coming weeks! And then there’s Deer season, lots to look forward to. And that means it’s time to get hunting ammunition sorted out, and perhaps try something new. If you hunt with a 6.5mm cartridge like 6.5 Creedmoor, the new bullet from Berger could be just what you’ve been waiting for! I’m talking about the all-new Berger 156 grain EOL Elite Hunter 6.5mm bullet.
Note: this is the first “data-driven bullet review” i’ve published to date, but have been working on this concept for a while. If you like the format, and/or would like to see more data included, just let me know by dropping a comment below!
Specs and Ballistics
From the Berger Product Page, here’s the specs for this new bullet:
And here’s an up-close picture of the bullet from the same page:
I was curious to run some ballistics calculations to see how this bullet will perform for long-range applications. So I ran a quick calculation using Berger’s Ballistics Calculator, It’s handy that with this calculator you can select the bullet and have all of the properties pre-populated!
Here’s the range card that I produced for the Berger 156 grain bullet for 6.5 Creedmoor from the page: (click/tap to enlarge)
Here’s the data in table form:
|Range (y)||Velocity (fps)||Energy (ft-lbs)||Elevation (inches)|
With a G7 BC of 0.347, it’s pretty impressive how this bullet retains velocity at long ranges. Almost 2000 fps at 600 yards, and 1607 fps at 900. Given that this bullet requires 1600 fps or more for reliable expansion, that means that with 6.5 Creedmoor you’d have enough energy to get the job done at 900 yards! Note: I’m not advocating that anyone take a shot at an animal at 600 yards, you have to make an honest assessment your skills and your equipment to decide how far to go.
Lab Consistency Tests
A big part of analyzing the quality of a bullet is to look at the consistency of some key measurements. I’ve decided to focus on caliber diameter (bearing surface) consistency, bullet overall length consistency, and weight consistency. Here’s the data!
|Diameter Data (inches)|
The above diameter data is impressive! Diameter averaged 0.2638″, which is only 0.0002″ off from the 0.264″ nominal diameter for 6.5mm bullets. Consistency was also quite good: with an Standard Deviation of 0.0001″, that’s tight. An Extreme Spread of 0.0003″ is also quite good!
|Length Data (inches)|
Here the average length (0.1547″) was just about 0.002″ different from the published OAL number. Length consistency was what I would expect from high-quality hollow-point bullets (more variance compared to solid tip bullets).
|Weight Data (grains)|
With a Standard Deviation on weight of only 0.05 grains, that variation is only 0.03% of the weight of these bullets. And an average weight within .01 grains is very “exact” as well!
Loading the 156 grain EOL Elite Hunter
I only had one box of bullets (100) to work with: that’s the cost of being an “early adopter”. I was just glad to be one of the first people to get my hands on some of these bullets to try! So I had to be selective about loading and shooting strategy. I worked with two powders: H-4350, and Vihtavuori N560- I found N650 to give slightly better results for velocity variation (SD), while giving similar accuracy results. I think either powder would work well with a proper load development work-up.
Pictured above from left to right:
- Berger 156 grain EOL Elite Hunter 6.5mm bullets
- Federal 205 Small rifle primers
- Vihtavuori N560 powder
- Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor small rifle primer cases
And here’s the load that I worked with: (use at your own risk, not from published data, consider this experimental)
- New Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor case
- Federal 205 Small rifle primer
- 42.5 grains Vihtavuori N560 (~95% load level, about 100% case capacity)
- 2.800″ COL (6.5 Creedmoor max)
Use load data at your own risk. Ultimate Reloader is not responsible for errors in load data on this website. Always cross-reference load data with manufacturer’s published data.
Sneak Peek: Uintah Precision Bolt-Action Upper in 6.5 Creedmoor
I recently made connections with a company called Uintah Precision– they make bolt action uppers for both AR-15 lowers (the UPR-15) and AR-10 style lowers (the UPR-10). For this article, I’m showing my UPR-10 chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor for the very first time! I really love the Unitah Precision uppers because they are very accurate (I’ve shot sub 1/2 MOA already), work with my existing AR lowers, magazines, etc. And they are fun! More info coming up shortly on these products (I also have a 6.5 Grendel UPR-15). Stay tuned!
Shooting the Berger 156 grain Elite Hunter Bullets
With only 100 bullets, I didn’t have the opportunity to work up loads (I had to save a bunch for testing and analysis). But I was able to shoot a handful of groups to get an idea of the ballistic performance for these bullets. Here’s a screenshot from ShotMarker (an e-target system with integrated chronograph) showing one of the groups I shot:
I should multiple groups where the first three shots went into about 0.35″, and I believe that with the right kind of load development, these bullets could produce 1/2 MOA accuracy or thereabouts.
Specifically, here’s what I would do to work up a load for this bullet:
- Evaluate speed nodes (looking for low SD numbers in ladder)
- Shoot an OCW style ladder measuring groups to look for accuracy nodes
- Experiment with different bullet seating depths (touching lands, 0.010″ off lands, 0.020″, etc)
It could take 200 or so rounds just to work out all of those variables (esp. when you consider trying different powders as well).
This particular load (see load data above) would be great for bear hunting out to 500-ish yards as-is!
What do you all think? Would you hunt with this bullet? Tell me your thoughts! What cartridge are you loading, what are you hunting, and why would you consider this bullet? I’m all ears!
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