Barnes bullet expansion in large calibers (375 and up)

1dirthawker

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
557
Reaction score
910
Media
13
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
hey guys,

i have seen barnes bullets expand fairly poorly at lower velocities (in elk, cape buffalo and moose). the elk and moose were shot at a pretty good distance, but the cape buffalo was around 100 yards with a 375 h&h. the bullet opened, but not much. the bullets on each game animal were of course recovered and the resulting expansion was underwhelming.

so my concern/question is: are barnes bullets made softer or expand easier in the larger calibers? i am reluctant to use them in my 450-400, or 458 win mag, or even 9.3x74r over 150 yards due to the apparent lack of expansion (due to lower velocity impacts).

my thoughts are, with a starting velocity of 2150 fps (500 gr) and 100 yard velocity of 1900 fps, will a barnes bullet open properly at 150-200 yards? 200 yard velocity approx 1700 fps. if not then i need to look hard at other bullets.

now i know that the barnes bullets have a huge following and i have used them for years, but the impact velocities of a 7mm mag or 3006 are quite different than a 458 or 450-400. so, please, don't flame me, enlighten me. i searched around and could not find any info about lower velocity impacts in larger calibers as most users are shooting the x bullets at or above 2600 fps start velocities.

i have seen large caliber ammunition (458 +) sold with barnes bullets, but wondered if they actually open up beyond 50 yards. if not, that seems a real bad idea to use them in the nitro express velocity range (2150 fps).
i appreciate any experience or input on this subject, thanks.
 

Art Lambart II

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
997
Reaction score
1,486
Location
Kansas City
Media
27
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI, QDMA
Hunted
MI, TX, MO, South Africa Limpopo & Northwest Provinces
The answer to this question should be very interesting, I'm looking forward to hearing from our DG hunters on this issue.
 

sierraone

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
3,743
Reaction score
3,503
Media
91
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
2
Member of
Dallas Safari Club, Safari Club Int.
Hunted
USA, RSA, Northwest and Limpopo Provinces
Below is a .404 Jeffery, 400 grain TSX at 2150 fps at 90 yards on a cape buffalo center of chest shot.
Barnes TXS on Buffalo.jpg
 

Tanks

AH elite
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
1,676
Media
44
I actually called Barnes and talked to them about expansion of their .510 caliber TSX bullets. "As long as you are over 1,200 fps they will open up" was the answer I got.
 

Dirtdart

Gold supporter
AH enthusiast
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
447
Reaction score
369
Media
163
Member of
Life Member SCI, Benefactor NRA, NMLRA.
Hunted
RSA, Namibia
When the Barnes X first hit the market a good friend of mine decided to try them out in 165 grain as opposed to the standard 180 Partition we both had been using in .30-06. I called Barnes and they assured me that hat bullet would expand reliably all the way down t 1600 FPS.
I am not sure what velocity a full charge of IMR 4350 behind that 165 grain bullet was clocking at 80 yards out of that .30-06 but I think it would be in excess of 1600 FPS by a good margin.
The first time we took that load to the field I was on the binos looking at a fork horn "meat" mule deer when he shot. I will never forget the reaction to the shot from that deer. The shot went through the heart (we found out afterwards) but hardly any response other than a hop. All I could say was "again" and he hit the deer a second time. That mulie started to trot for a bit and then laid down and died. Both of the pass throughs were 30 cal in, and 30 cal out it looked like. The animal was down which is all that mattered at the time.
There is a lot of evidence that the latest version of this bullet consistently expands as advertised. I am interested to hear from those hunters that used the earlier versions of this bullet and decided to stick with it?
Restrictions against projectiles that contain lead is another issue all together.

The OP started this thread about the Barnes-X in calibers suitable for dangerous game so if my post belongs elsewhere please forgive me.
 

Tanks

AH elite
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
1,676
Media
44
BTW, for those looking to reload rounds for DG I also suggest you look at Cutting Edge bullets. Their raptors (tipped or not) are devastating and their solids work with zero distortion or deflection.
 

jkh5000

New member
Joined
Mar 5, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
4
Location
Lexington, SC
Media
2
EBB7AC62-43EE-426B-BC77-56A72519EE64.jpeg
A1EBF4F9-668C-45A6-9D7F-FA5817CBEC37.jpeg


Not sure if this helps but I was sighting in my new Sako 375 h&h with 300 grain Barnes TSX fb bullets. These were my first hand loads for this rifle so the charge was right in the middle of what the Barnes book advised. This was around 65 yards and the trees were the backdrop in back of my target. The bullet pictured cut a channel through the top of the tree and was laying nearby. It’s not exactly dangerous game but it definitely hit something hard, opened up and retained most of its weight.
 

1dirthawker

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
557
Reaction score
910
Media
13
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
I actually called Barnes and talked to them about expansion of their .510 caliber TSX bullets. "As long as you are over 1,200 fps they will open up" was the answer I got.

tanks, 1200 fps will not open a 375 h&h bullet, so i am a bit sceptical about a 510 bullet working.

View attachment 341526 View attachment 341527

Not sure if this helps but I was sighting in my new Sako 375 h&h with 300 grain Barnes TSX fb bullets. These were my first hand loads for this rifle so the charge was right in the middle of what the Barnes book advised. This was around 65 yards and the trees were the backdrop in back of my target. The bullet pictured cut a channel through the top of the tree and was laying nearby. It’s not exactly dangerous game but it definitely hit something hard, opened up and retained most of its weight.

unfortunately this does not help. hitting a tree is definitely different than hitting any animal of flesh and bone. it gives a bit of an realistic idea of what the bullet will do against a lung/shoulder shot animal, especially at 1700-1800 fps
 

Tanks

AH elite
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
1,676
Media
44
tanks, 1200 fps will not open a 375 h&h bullet, so i am a bit sceptical about a 510 bullet working.
...

They do build their bullets according the caliber. A 300 gr. .375 starts at 2,500 fps or so. A 570 grain .500 NE starts at 2,150. That's what Federal loads for their .500 NE soft. Immaterial for me at this point though, I have a ton of CEB bullets on the way along with Norma brass. I should have test loads ready to go by the time ranges open for regulating the rifle with my loads.
 

MLindsay

AH member
Joined
May 9, 2009
Messages
22
Reaction score
27
Member of
SCI
They do build their bullets according the caliber. A 300 gr. .375 starts at 2,500 fps or so. A 570 grain .500 NE starts at 2,150. That's what Federal loads for their .500 NE soft. Immaterial for me at this point though, I have a ton of CEB bullets on the way along with Norma brass. I should have test loads ready to go by the time ranges open for regulating the rifle with my loads.
I have taken well over 100 animals with Barnes bullets, 210 grain 375,270 grain 375, 500 grain .458 in 450 Ackley and 570 grain .510 in 500 A2. I have recovered many bullets and they all have looked picture book as if fired into gelatin.
 

crs

AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
988
Reaction score
1,250
Location
Republic of Texas
Website
sheltontechnologies.com
Media
6
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
CRS, NRA Patron Member, TSRA, DWWC, DRSS
Hunted
RSA
Mmm,
From my 1895 .405 WCF and my Simson .405 DR, 300 grain .411 Barnes TSX bullets or Woodleigh Weldcore were not recovered due to shoot through. Animals all dead.
Sorry, but I have no used bullets to show. :whistle: Also true for 300 and 450 grain NF FPS - all shoot through.
They all appear to be excellent big game bullets in .411 and .458 .
 

1dirthawker

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
557
Reaction score
910
Media
13
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
so, so far the consensus seems to be, that barnes builds their bullets to expand according to caliber? that the 458 bullets (and up) are engineered to open at 1600 fps and possibly below? i know their 375,338 and 30 cal bullets don't operate at speeds that slow.
 

Opposite Pole

AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 6, 2017
Messages
997
Reaction score
1,225
Location
Warsaw & Sydney
Media
91
Member of
SSAA; PZŁ, KŁ Sęp
Hunted
Australia, Poland
so, so far the consensus seems to be, that barnes builds their bullets to expand according to caliber? that the 458 bullets (and up) are engineered to open at 1600 fps and possibly below? i know their 375,338 and 30 cal bullets don't operate at speeds that slow.

This is not unique to Barnes. Bullet makers design their projectiles with a particular use in mind. Obviously projectiles designed for 22-250 or some other hot rod cartridge have a different velocity operating window to the ones designed for, say 45-70. These people invest time, money, skill and their name to produce and sell products that work - the only way to ensure repeat business. It doesn’t take an enlightened genius to notice that different guns made for different uses produce very different ballistics.
 

baxterb

AH veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
101
Reaction score
110
Kevin Robertson made a very interesting inference once that the 375s penetration is hampered somewhat by overly fast-twist barrels. Interesting...
 

1dirthawker

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
557
Reaction score
910
Media
13
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
This is not unique to Barnes. Bullet makers design their projectiles with a particular use in mind. Obviously projectiles designed for 22-250 or some other hot rod cartridge have a different velocity operating window to the ones designed for, say 45-70. These people invest time, money, skill and their name to produce and sell products that work - the only way to ensure repeat business. It doesn’t take an enlightened genius to notice that different guns made for different uses produce very different ballistics.

yeah, i get it that they SHOULD design their projectiles with a particular use in mind. i have been paying attention for a long time on this particular subject and still have seen not much evidence that their larger calibers are opening properly at much slower velocities (or don't, not much info out there). their medium calibers do not, and i had hope for some reference to the fact that all their larger bullets DID in fact open up properly at somewhat lower speeds. that's why i asked the question in the first place. still awaiting a more definitive answer. thanks for the inputs tho.

guess i should call barnes.
 

Philip Glass

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH legend
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
3,480
Reaction score
5,563
Location
Texas
Website
www.dorper.net
Media
81
Articles
13
Hunting reports
Africa
8
USA/Canada
2
Asia/M.East
2
Member of
NRA, Life SCI, Life DSC, Life EWA
Hunted
RSA, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Austria, Australia, TX, NM
I use Barnes in most all my rifles now. I took my Rhino with .470 Barnes and just returned from Cameroon where I used 270gr Barnes in my .375. I have seen good expansion and have only found one bullet where The petals came off(.375). I’ve only had great luck with these bullets so far.
I understand what you are asking as far as the lower velocities are concerned. Without a gelatin test to get some actual answers we can’t truly answer your question. However I do not share your concern as I’ve just not ever seen the lack of expansion. If hunting DG with the calibers you mention I would only use Barnes. When you hit a buff on the shoulder under expansion will not be your problem.
regards,
Philip
 

1dirthawker

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
557
Reaction score
910
Media
13
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Without a gelatin test to get some actual answers we can’t truly answer your question. However I do not share your concern as I’ve just not ever seen the lack of expansion. If hunting DG with the calibers you mention I would only use Barnes. When you hit a buff on the shoulder under expansion will not be your problem.
regards,

phillip,
my big concern is what i the most contact with, brown bears. and moose. now a shootout with a brown bear in a thicket is not going to be a problem, because i will likely be inside 20 yard (maybe feet) and the bullet will be traveling fast enough. the problem is a backup shot at 200 yards and a bullet that hits at 1700 fps and does not expand enough and actually causes me problems, and i end up in said thicket with a bullet that pencils thru.

i was just looking for reassurance from other hunter that have shot game at 150 + yards with express rifle velocities as a starting point. if not, then i suspect i will have to look elsewhere, thats all. in a pm i have heard that another well known bullet manufacturer (not hornady) made bullets that were perceived as too soft to use on a brown bear in a 458. i would have never thought, but i will steer away from using them for my purposes.

thanks for your interest and reply
 

1dirthawker

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
557
Reaction score
910
Media
13
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
gentlemen,

i just talked to ryan at the barnes bullet company this morning and got some news/finality that i will share with you.

this is by memory so here you go,

BARNES TRIPLE SHOCK BULLETS;

500 gr= opens down to 1400 fps
450 gr= opens down to 1500
400 gr= opens down to 1600 fps
350 gr= opens down to 1500 fps

300 gr and lighter were designed with the 458 socomm in mind and open down to
1100-1200 fps.

like a dumbass, i forgot to ask about the 470 and 500 cal bullets, but this give you some ideas on their approach to building a bullet for express rifles. also, ryan mentioned that this information was not published anywhere (i did ask that)

so, there ya go people, the last word (that is not anecdotal) regarding barnes triple shock bullets started out at express velocities.
 

ActionBob

AH legend
Joined
Dec 12, 2011
Messages
3,810
Reaction score
6,128
Location
Central Minnesota
Media
96
Hunting reports
Africa
4
Mex/S.Amer
1
Member of
NRA life, DSC, SCI
Hunted
Minnesota, Texas, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, British Columbia, Argentina, Kansas, Macedonia, Austria
I've had great success with 525 grain (light for caliber) TSX bullets in my 505 Gibbs exiting at 2350 fps. Perfect performance on a buffalo and a giraffe. I would expect similar performance in a 458 Lott and 416 Rigby or Rem mag.

Had terrible performance of 250 grain Hornady GMX out of a 375 H&H.
 
Last edited:

BRICKBURN

Super moderator
Contributor
Lifetime titanium benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
22,727
Reaction score
16,608
Location
Canada
Media
412
Articles
23
Hunting reports
Africa
8
USA/Canada
2
Europe
1
Hunted
Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
gentlemen,

i just talked to ryan at the barnes bullet company this morning and got some news/finality that i will share with you.

this is by memory so here you go,

BARNES TRIPLE SHOCK BULLETS;

500 gr= opens down to 1400 fps
450 gr= opens down to 1500
400 gr= opens down to 1600 fps
350 gr= opens down to 1500 fps

300 gr and lighter were designed with the 458 socomm in mind and open down to
1100-1200 fps.

like a dumbass, i forgot to ask about the 470 and 500 cal bullets, but this give you some ideas on their approach to building a bullet for express rifles. also, ryan mentioned that this information was not published anywhere (i did ask that)

so, there ya go people, the last word (that is not anecdotal) regarding barnes triple shock bullets started out at express velocities.


Well, that's no fun. We can't just make things up anymore.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
35,569
Messages
663,689
Members
60,225
Latest member
Lewisverne
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris wrote on jfowler812's profile.
hi Mr fowler

im happy to do these deals for 2021

i will knock off 10% off each deal if you take 2 so $18000 per package

look forward to your response

regards
Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...
Boyd Brooks wrote on Skinnersblade's profile.
Ellwood Epps has 1 box of 25-20 in stock. Look them up on the web. They are located in Orilla Ontario.
Lkhntr wrote on Warpig602's profile.
On the vx6 2-12 what does the zl2 stand for?

Thanks, Oliver
bowjijohn wrote on AfricaHunting.com's profile.
Many thanks for re formatting my article for the forum

I served my time in both the bush and during the bush war

I hope it did it justice

Education is where it is at - without it the wild places are history

You - sir - are well placed to make a difference

J
 
Top