Barnes TSX for Leopard
I was wondering If the TSX in 375 would work ok for leopard? I am shooting the 350 grainer out of my RUM at 2700-2800fps.
My primary goal is buf so I will be loading TSX and banded solids. I believe that the accubond or partition would be much better for leopard but would rather not have to bring a third load along. I have also herd that a rifle should be cleaned between shooting conventional bullets and copper bullets or accuracy suffers. This would not be easy in the bush.
Pushing the TSX as fast as I am I believe that it will expand on a leopard at normal leopard rang. But even so the TSX wont leave a big hole.
Has anyone used the TSX on leopard or have any thoughts?
I have had 2 rifles recently built and for both he said the TSX shot the best. In africa, I have had the best luck with trophy bonded bear claws and sledgehammers. I have used swift scirocco, which are deadly, but can leave a massive exit wound(I still use them for sheep and mountain game).
In my safari to Masailand last use I used the TSX for my 300RUM and 416 Rigby. I was highly disappointed with their performance. I was able to recover all of my animals. The Bushbuck was taken at 350 yards through the lungs dropped at impact and when we got 50 yards away, he took off and it took us 1.5 miles to find him in thick bush. He bled out of the entry wound, but almost nothing out the the exit wound. My Eland was shot at 200 yards with the 416 through the lungs and when we tracked it, we could hardly find any blood, the exit wound was tiny. Out of the 13 animals I took, I would say the bullets did not perform the way I have seen bullets in the past.
The biggest shocker though came in spain this year. I had taken 2 ibex and a red stag with one shot a piece. I shot a fallow deer through the shoulder and it should have continued through the heart/lungs. It deflected after it came apart. I spoke to a couple of other guys in my SCI chapter and they have sworn them off also.
I know a lot of people have had great luck with them. Just my .02
I have shot Barnes exclusively for years, not because there are no other good bullets but because they have performed so well. I have killed many Moose, Elk, Deer, Bear, Pronghorn, etc. all with great results. One of the biggest advantages that few seem to consider is the fact that Barnes are by far the best penatrating bullet out there. This may not matter on a first shot since you probably wait for the perfect angle and plan your shot well but when a mistake is made and a follow up shot at long range and a bad angle (behind) you can ge sure that the barnes will be able to get where it needs to be, many otherwise equal bullets cannot. This is certainly a big part of my consideration and added with the great success I have had shooting from point blank out to 569 yds on game with a variety of calibers up to .338 makes my choice clear.
Having said that wether you choose the TSX, Accubond or Partition I am sure you will do well (provided you put the shot where it should be).
As for accuracy, On friday I did my final pre-trip checks on 2 rifles firing Barnes and both fired 1 hole groups at 100yds. In fact I fired both Barnes and conventional jacketed bullets out of my .270 and both fired into 1 hole groups less than 3/4" apart.
My last PH (Chris Troskie) is a bit of a leopard man. Cats are not thick skinned or particularly large for a .375 bore and unless uber accurate, a premium isn't going to offer an advantage other than cut a hole through them. I'd be looking at a conventional cup and core like a sierra that is going to have a higher potential to 'blow up' upon entry.
Having said that, having more than one load on safari is a pain.
Unless you are varmint shooting dassies or baboons, cleaning whilst on safari shouldn't be a worry. I only use a bore snake as a pull through every morning in case of night time critters finding a home in there.
Peter H. Capstick used to recommend using a .375 for leopard if using a Winchester Silver Tip bullet. He would pry the tip off the bullet exposing the lead beneath and felt this was excellent leopard medicine. The point being that a quick opening bullet works best on light skinned game like leo. If I wanted to use the .375 for leopard I think I would not use the TSX because it probably wont open very much. A Nosler Partition would be better by far I would think.
I find it interesting (and I did the same thing my first trip, maybe it's part of the planning fun but?) that so much mental energy is put into what bullet, what caliber, what speed to hunt plains game in Africa. I would include leapord in that group being thin skinned. After 4 trips now, I find, as has been mentioned by others, that, anything around .30 - .375 will be fine with a decent bullet that shoots accurately in YOUR rifle at around 2300 to 2600 fps. Comply with any min. caliber required for leapord. I have found after 50+ animals that I like Nosler Partitions the best. They have worked perfect for me even on 2000 lb eland in the 338/06 in 225 gr. It penatrated all the way through to the off side shoulder skin. I don't buy the idea that because they don't retain 95% of their weight that that is less than desirable. They work great for me even at 40-50% retained weight. The first shot is, as always, the most important. Make it right and the job is easy, screw it up and you have work to do. I've never had any Barnes shoot good in any of my rifles. I used Hornady Bonded the last time in my 338/06 and was very pleased with them. I've used 7mm/08 with 149 gr Accubonds and was not pleased with them (too light, no penetration). I've personally seen 375 H&H with 350 gr Partitions work splendidly. 30/06 with Partitions at 180 gr are good also. 180 gr in any caliber is as light as I would ever go. Just my .02 cents. Shoot a rifle that you shoot well, make the first shot count and the ball game is over. Good Luck and show us pictures when you get back!!!!
To add to my previous post, putting a .375 caliber hole thru and thru in the right place in a leopard should work well regardless the brand of bullet.
A 250gr Sierra GameKing at around 2500 fps is an excellent cat combination for the .375.
A 9.5mm+ hole in the right place is going to kill a Leopard but personally I would and do use Woodleigh Round Nose Softs for medium sized game like Pigs, Lion and Leopard.
+1 Well said Classicsafari!
Louis van Bergen
On my last trip to South Africa, I shot 270 gr TSX bullets at 3040 fps from my .375 RUM on a variety of PG from Steenbok to Eland. One Steenbok and a Jackal were shot at about 50 yds and were almost cut in half by the TSX exit hole. The exit hole was bigger than my fist on a Black Springbok shot at 200+ yds.
I've only shot 4 animals with my .300 Weatherby and 168 gr TSX bullets. These varied from a Blackbuck and two other exotics in Texas to a 5 pt bull elk here in Montana. All were approximately 100 yd broadside shots, and all bullets were complete pass throughs with about 1 1/2" exit holes.
I am a huge fan of the TSX for African game of all types. I've had the most experience with the 300 gr .375 and it was decisive on everything from impala and springbok to buff and eland. And while I have not shot a cat with it (used a .338 and partitions several years ago), I would not hesitate to do so.