Barnes bullet failures?

njc110381

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Hi chaps. I'm looking to change my rifles over to use Barnes bullets. In the UK there is talk, although I can't see it happening for a while, of ammunition becoming non toxic by law.

Generally speaking feedback on the Barnes is very good. It appears to be right up there with the Swift A-Frame for dangerous game use, and also gets good feedback for use on plains game in smaller calibres. But I have read a few accounts of them passing through like a FMJ bullet. In more than one account people have recovered bullets from the mud behind their target and have found the nose to be deformed slightly, flattened so that the cavity is crimped closed like a piece of pipe does if you bend it. It was said that they thought the bullet had hit a glancing blow on a large bone on entry, causing the bullet tip to seal up to the internal pressure required to open it? Of course this is something a soft nose simply will not do. It will deform, possibly not uniformly but it will deform and cause trauma none the less.

What I'm wondering is how likely it is? Any bullet can fail, even the best of them, so my opinion is that the likelihood of it happening is so small that it's not worth worrying about? Has anyone here encountered these issues personally? I myself have never experienced a Barnes bullet failing but given the sort of animals my fellow forum members are shooting and the level of experience a lot of you have, you may have done? As always I'd appreciate your thoughts.
 

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On my first Cape Buffalo hunt I used Barnes bullets in my 470 NE, 4 shots and the 2 we recovered didn’t open up at all. I also shot Caribou with Barnes bullets in a 270 Weatherby and had one shot kills. My opinion is that Barnes work well at higher velocity, not so well at lower velocity. I have since went to Woodliegh for dangerous game. And Nosler for my other game. Don’t know if this helps just my personal experience.
 

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Barnes are good bullets for good shots. I am not in the meat hunting industry. My job is to successfully find animals for my hunters, and not all shots out in the field are equal. Lead core bullets undoubtedly creates more body trauma than Barnes does, and for this reason, I choose my ammo carefully. They certainly have their place, especially on some of the smaller animals where they can zip through, saving the cape from a bloody mess. I am not a fan of the TSX on Buffalo, and this is for numerous reasons.
 
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njc110381

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I am not a fan of the TSX on Buffalo, and this is for numerous reasons.
When you have a moment I'd be very grateful to know why? At the moment that's what I'm loading in my .416, but I have zero Africa experience. It wouldn't be hard for me to change to an A-Frame or similar, or at least get a load developed with it so when I travel I can use a familiar loading.
 

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Recently , during a hunt in Zimbabwe , a PH showed me a 400gr TSX bullet fired from a 416 Remington cartridge on a buffalo and that did not expanded. However i think that this is rare , may be a fabrication error.

I have already shot some buffalos with the cartridge 460WM and TSX bullets without problems. Usually I also use 500gr SP bullets like Hornady's.

Because of the copper , the recovery bullets from Barnes are very popular by the local people.
 

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I am a fan of the TSX on buffalo... from a .22-250 or .300H&H! They seem to open nicely and penetrate well.

I detest them on boars from those same two cartridges. Give me a Woodleigh (.300H&H) or Silvertip (.22-250) any day.

I also dislike the Woodleigh Hydro from the .300H&H on boars, but love it on buffalo!
 

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But everything can happen with other bullets.

During an elephant hunt i shot a not planned buffalo with my rifle caliber 12,7x70 Schüler. The 535gr FMJ bullet from Woodleigh broke in the buffalo's body. This never happened by shooting elephants.

I sent it to Woodleigh. The answer was , that it was a problem with the alloy , its not our fault. I still use bullets from Woodleigh for various cartridges.
 

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I seriously doubt you could put the Barnes in the same category as Swift AFrames. I am Barnes fan mind you and I used them on several large Plains Game in Africa. But on dangerous game I would strongly recommend Swift A Frames or Woodleighs providing you gun shoots either on well. Remember most importantly is shot placement.
 

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Check out the GMX line of Hornady bullets. I have not shot them but have shot the Barnes in smaller calibers than what is required for DG. Barnes were the most inaccurate bullet I've ever used.

https://www.hornady.com/bullets/gmx#!/
 

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kurpfalzjäger

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Check out the GMX line of Hornady bullets. I have not shot them but have shot the Barnes in smaller calibers than what is required for DG. Barnes were the most inaccurate bullet I've ever used.

https://www.hornady.com/bullets/gmx#!/
One should not judge so generally, there are already differences among the rifles as far as the precision is concerned with Barnes bullets or generally lead-free bullets.

The problem is well known to us in Europe where it is almost everywhere prescribed to use lead-free bullets.

But I also often had accuracy problems with Nosler Partition or Swift A-Frame bullets with many cartridges in different rifles.
 
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Mike Van Horn

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IMO you need to match your bullet to the game, and the velocity at impact out of your rifle.
Barnes advertises expanding down to 2000 fps but it's not expanding much in their picture. Which to me moves the impact velocity up to 2300 or higher. Is high velocity what you want for DG in possibly thick cover?
Or do you want a bullet designed to work at lower velocity with reliable expansion with a large frontal area like a A-Frame or a Northfork in DG cartridges
In my experience the TTSX opens faster with less penetration than the TSX.
Any bullet can fail under certain conditions, all we can do is do our best to match the cartridge, and load to the game.
I use Barnes bullets in a .257 and .340 Weatherby cartridges in western U.S. with great results and think they would be good on plains game.
 

Nkawu

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I’ve had complete pass through and minimal expansion with 180 gn ttsx from my 308 on 3 impala and one warthog. Minimal meat damage which was nice but all ran around 40m before dropping. I think on small game the velocity needs to be right, and my 180’s are simply too slow. 165’s would be better for UK deer from the 308.
 

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As others have noted, velocity plays a big part of the TSX game. Another piece of the puzzle is the condition of the tip. It's not unheard of for something to bang the tip of a TSX and effectively close off or pinch the hollow point shut. At that point the TSX becomes a solid and failures to expand do happen.

To that end, I have come to prefer the TTSX over the TSX...or the Nosler E-Tips or GMX's over the basic TSX.
 

BeeMaa

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Check out the GMX line of Hornady bullets. I have not shot them but have shot the Barnes in smaller calibers than what is required for DG. Barnes were the most inaccurate bullet I've ever used.

https://www.hornady.com/bullets/gmx#!/
Early production failures on the Hornady GMX line is well documented and was addressed by the company.
Hornady changed their bullet design and it is my understanding that the problem is gone.
To avoid the older bullets, every box has a 7 digit lot number on the bottom of the box.
Make sure your lot nuber is 319XXXX and or higher and you will have the newer designed bullet.

This information comes from Hornady and was reported here by @BnC 04 on the thread below.
https://www.africahunting.com/threads/hornady-dgx-ammo.47985/

Personally, I will stick with the Swift A-Frame.
 

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As above, the right bullet for the right situation.

Here's numbers from my experience. One out of thirteen animals I have shot with TTSX bullets may have had a glance on a bone that cause it to lose two petals and change direction. A caribou at around 170 yards. I swear it was a broadside shot, but I found this bullet in the lower neck. That's the 158.3 grain bullet below. It was originally 168 grain TTSX 30 caliber from a 30-06. It fully expanded but it did lose two petals. It didn't pencil hole through and the animal (A caribou bull) dropped within a couple steps. The other 12 dropped within sight, one kudu had enough trauma to the far shoulder the farm owner complained I ruined some meat for sale/use. I hit the shoulder bone on a zebra quartering to me with the same ammunition and it opened perfectly, going through all of the vitals and stopping just under the hide. That's the top bullet in the second picture. It still weighs 167.1 grains. So it can cope just fine with hitting bone.

The issue seems to be a matter of tip design and speed. The TSX bullets are a hollow point, which has been known to have the problem you mention and pencil through regardless of the bullet composition. Your bulllet preference seems to agree there mentioning the exposed lead point. Barnes and Hornady's solution is a plastic point with the TTSX and GMX respectively. From my experience and a lot of reports here they consistently work (do a search for Barnes, there's a lot). The other is monometal bullets need a bit more speed to expand. Few issues with small to mid sized bullets there, but larger calibers not so good sometimes.

20191020_063201.jpeg
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I shot a buffalo (375 H&H) using the Barnes 300 TSX and it expanded perfectly. Others have used it and it didn’t expand, but hit a bone at an angle and colasped the nose not allowing it to expand. One forum member has had the same issue with the Swift A-frame.
Personally my next buffalo I will use either one of my NorthForks I have left, or a Federal TBBC once they release them for reloading.
This subject has a lot of history here on the forum. All very interesting. Bottom line I see is if hit in the right place (not on a heavy shoulder glancing off) they all should do OK.

Smaller calibers I’ve had good luck on game with. My 165 gr Barnes in my 300 WM has worked down to a coyote at 181 lasered yards and exited with a 2” hole! I thought that was excellent expansion. Still waiting to see how it does on elk. It worked well at 208 yards on a Texas Dall.

The 130 and the 150 grain TTSX in 30-06 have worked on antelope at over 300 yards.

My granddaughter’s 7mm-08 using 120 grain Barnes TTSX took merino and Coursican rams at over 150 yards. Second shots were put into them, but probably weren’t required.

Barnes and Peregrine (South Africa company) as well as the Hornady GMX seem to perform just as well as traditional bullets when used in the proper hit location.

Back to the 375 H&H I used a 250 TTSX up to eland and it too was a one shot quartering toward me and found under the off side skin after breaking a shoulder and destroying the top of the heart and lungs.

Again if hit correctly they work just as well as lead cup & core IMO.
 

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