Berrys new .311 125 grain 7.62x39mm plated bullet. Liftoff.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:00 PM   #1
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Default Berrys new .311 125 grain 7.62x39mm plated bullet. Liftoff.

When multi stage rocket orbital lifts off, the first stage is the booster, the main lift, the massive thrust that gets the payload off the ground with breakaway speed. This is the greatest effort, when raw power are combined with precision accuracy, calculated to the nth degree. Okay, this wasn't QUITE that precise...but it IS Stage 1.

First, let me introduce an old manufacturer with a new product. Say hello to Berry Manufacturing in Utah, USA.



Berry's has been making plated bullets since before I was born, and carries a wide range of reloading supplies as well. I think half of my blue plastic reload boxes have the Berry's name on them.

But, this has nothing to do with ammo boxes, but with a brand new product Berry is launching, a 7.62x39mm rifle plated rifle bullet. This is the Berry's 125 grain plated rifle bullet, sitting with the other two bullets I load currently in this caliber.



As you can see, it is an interesting flat point design I wasn't expecting. The ogive is gracefully tapered, and the plating appears to be even and consistent. The bullets are double struck, meaning sized both before and after plating. Bullets were measured with my handy dandy dial calipers, and in the sample group length varied from .791 to .785. I can live with that. Diameter is an exact .311.

Here we are at the beginning, box 'o bullets in the background, prepped cases up front, Loadbook of data to start with...Loadbook?



Waitaminnit, I thought plated bullets had to be shot at cast lead velocities, shouldn't I be using the Lyman data? Ya know, I've heard that too, but I had an itch, and wanted to see what they would do at low/middle jacketed velocities. You see, Berry's has a thicker plating than other plated bullets, so I am willing to give it a go with what I have on hand at jacketed speeds. I'm told that distinct markings will show if they shed their plating in flight, and a plated bullet that sheds its plating in flight will tend to be wildly inaccurate. OK, that should be easy to spot. Berry's said the two hallmarks of shed plating are either a flow petal looking bullet hole, or many tiny holes around the bullet hole from the pieces of shed plating arriving next to the bullet.
Three powders are in my miniature powder magazine, my old standby, Accurate Arms #1680, then Hogdon H-335 and Hogdon H4895, both left over from my .303 and .223 loading days. Well, Loadbook has data for 7.62x39mm for both of the Hogdon powders, so lets give it a whirl, shall we?

It was a beautiful day at the range, light breeze as you...can't...see...forgot the camera. Dagnabbit. Ok, picture a beautiful morning, light cross breeze, birds singing, sun just peeking over the mountains, not bad for a morning that began with a screaming cat fight next to my ear at 0530. Seriously. See why I went to the range early? Relaxation.

First up, my old standby, Accurate Arms #1680, beginning data for a 125 grain jacketed bullet. All rounds were fired from me beloved light rifle, my CZ 527M, seated and rested. No Lead Sled yet, someday, someday. BTW, the target was made by blarby on thehighroad.org, free download. Nice work, isn't it? Thanks, dude! Squares are 1 inch diagonal.



Not bad. Dark marks on the bullet holes were what one "source" told to look for a plated bullet coming apart, but these aren't showing the other signs from Berry's, who have been doing this longer than I've been around.

This was just the beginning.



Last edited by armoredman; 03-26-2011 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:00 PM   #2
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Same load, group 2.



Hmm, Consistent. Lets move it up a full grain.



First dud. I had forgotten the CZ 527M is NOT wild about CCI 200 primers. Oops. Next series will be loaded with the Remington 9 1/2s. Group 2 with 24 grains of AA#1680.



That's not bad at all. Well, lets see what the bottom load of H-335 will do - whoa! That's a FULL case! I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to try this one. It had substantial recoil for the caliber.



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Old 03-26-2011, 05:02 PM   #3
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Well, it shot quite well. Group 2.



Not bad at all, but the recoil was stiffer than I thought it should be. Cases showed no signs of over pressure whatsoever. OK, last powder, H4895. What can it do at it's beginning load data from Loadbook?



Not bad. ANOTHER dud. Gah. Group 2.



Great Scott. That's a five shot group, or should I say two, two shot 1 hole groups and a flyer! Found the sweet spot already?

Every target exhibited the "leading" ring that one source swore was the hallmark of a plated bullet coming apart, but if this is a "wildly inaccurate" bullet, I'll eat my rifle, butt first. Without salt. Or hot sauce.

Well, all I can say is wow, this is an excellent bullet. If you have ever loaded for this caliber, you NEED to try this bullet. Berrys' got this one right, right out of the gate.

In the CZ 527M bolt action carbine this works like a champ. But what about in the semi-auto vz-58???

Stage one burn complete, detach. Stand by for Stage Two ignition....
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
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Stage two ignition, commence secondary burn...

In the first section of this review of Berry's new plated 125 grain .311 bullet for the 7.62x39mm, I threw caution to the wind and loaded them to middle jacketed bullet velocities, and would up with excellent results from my 18 inch barreled CZ 527M. Today I was set to try several of the same painstakingly assembled bullets from the last trip, plus a few differences.
The vz-58 is a semi auto clone of a military pattern rifle, with a 16 inch barrel, actually 15 and a half with a permanently attached extension for NFA '34 compliance. This meant it wasn't likely to be as accurate as the 527M, and had proved so in the past. So lets make it a little different, shall we? The first handloads were loaded with the powder in the scale pan, until every round was exactly the same, so as to remove as many variables as possible. So this time, we used the RBCS Uniflow powder measure, which HATES the H 4895, BTW. Lets also leave the supporting blocks and rest at home, and go with the old fashioned seated unsupported. When I got to the range, though, the 300 yard range was busy, so I decided I'd cheat and set up on the 50. So long as everybody knows at wasn't at 100!
Windy. Target stand blew down once. Last time this happened I shot the stand, same rifle, 300 yards. Hmm. Bad juju.
I happen to have a stripper clip of old Wolf FMJ ammo, which the vz-58 isn't really fond of, but will shoot.



Yikes, my game is OFF! Not a good sign. Well, I always said I would show the results, whether it be good, bad or ugly...

So, lets load up the first Berrys, and we will....

What the....




Houston, we have a problem.



I am seeing the famous flower petals.

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Old 03-26-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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Lets save the nice sight-in targets, and switch to the cheap low ink use ones. At this time I am thinking I know what's wrong, but not positive. Second control group with Wolf.



Nope, nice clean round bullet holes. Great googly moogly. I dern done did it.
[Jim Bakker Voice] I have sinned![/Jim Bakker Voice]
Yep, we have exceeded the design limits of this bullet. Perhaps it's the shorter barrel, but for some reason it's definitely shedding at jacketed speeds in this rifle.
Well, now I know what I need to do, and that is load for the vz-58 at a cast load level, and re try.

BUT, I still have some loaded up, and flowering petals or not, I wanna shoot just a BIT more. So I broke out my old blue man target - you who have followed my CZ SP-01 Phantom reports will recognize this guy. Rolled up for so long the taped over holes are yellowed, so I taped over the last holes, set him up, and blew in my last 20 rounds.



Holes look better at this distance. Hmm, one went..."elsewhere"... *Sigh*. I know from the first test it ISN'T the bullet, it's the loader. Time to get back to the press and try again. I know where I goofed, and I think I know how to fix it.

Houston, we have achieved an unstable orbit, attempting to correct.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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There is something so magical about the range in the early morning, the sun just peeking over the mountains, casting purple shadows over the targets...and realizing the nearest rest room is over 10 miles away. Oops.

But it's OK, we can make it!

We? Yes, today I finally met LAGS from the gun forum dot net, who came down to my dusty little hole in the desert to have some range time. Don't we look thick as thieves?



My wife hates these pants of mine, says they make me look fat. Hmm, she might be on to something... Ah, never mind, let's get to blasting!

I actually got started a little bit before LAGS showed up, with the last attempt to make these wonderful Berrys' 125 grain plated bullets work with the little vz-58. Well, sort of...first up was a loading that worked in the vz-58 with the cast lead boolits I have used in the past, 19 grains of Accurate Arms #1680.



Great...except when I fired round number two, I suddenly had this brass middle finger thrust rudely at me right in front of my eyes! Stovepipe? In THIS gun? Inconceivable! Yeah, well, I conceived the idea pretty darn quick. 8 out of 10 rounds stove piped on me from this load. The bullets were showing nice neat round undamaged holes, so I might be on to something!

Next load, 19.5 grains of AA#1680.

Oh DAGNABBIT!!!!
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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And here we go again, yet this time it stove piped 2 out of 10 rounds. OK, I shut down testing on the vz-58, it won't function except as a straight pull bolt action - incidentally, for those living in England where straight pull AK variants are the only way to have one, , this would be a good load/bullet to try.

So, back to the CZ 527M, which has stated it's preference in no uncertain terms - this rifle LIKES this bullet. LAGS showed up, and we proceeded to have some fun. First, after dismounting the scope off my carbine for a gun smithing issue, it was re-mounted and re-zeroed. This was the first group fired, cold.



Last five of that load - LAGS said my little carbine was snortin' fire with that one! I knew I shouldn't have been playing "Ghost Riders In The Sky" while loading....Ripsnorter or not, it's accurate. But off, so fiddle here, fiddle there, and voila!



Three shots is not a group. Five shots is a group!



LAGS had some good shootin' with his Turkish Mauser and modified Mosin Nagant rifles, both excellent gun smithing jobs, beautiful work.



Long and short of it, I like this Berry's bullet for my camp/backpacking rifle, the 527M. Now comes the very last part, the piece de resistance, how well will it do at long, (long for ME), range? 200, 300 yards? Let's find out.

Houston, beginning our descent.


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