Barnes bullet failures?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by njc110381, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Njc, one thing to remember is that because they are all copper Barnes bullets of equal weight to those containing lead are necessarily longer. OAL can sometimes become a problem. As a "rule of thumb" most guys go down one bullet size to accommodate the longer bullets.
     

  2. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    Sir, I am just busy with a safari, but will answer you as soon as I have a moment.

    Take Care,
    Marius Goosen
     

  3. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Njc, take a look at the "Bullet Performance Data Base" on AH.
     
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  4. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Fellow Hunters and Rifle Enthusiasts,

    My life’s experiences have left me believing that hollow point bullets occasionally fail to expand.
    The smaller the hole in the nose, the harder the bullet material, the lower the impact velocity, and more acute the angle at which a bullet may nick a bone, the higher the risk of failure to expand will be.
    (More risk of failure than I have the time left to put up with).

    Likewise, if the hollow point bullet hits an animal that is coated with dry mud, the hole can be rammed tightly full of dirt and sand.
    Hollow point bullets generally rely on the hole filling with body fluid to force the bullet into deformation (“hydraulic pressure).
    Dry dirt is not the best material to force open a relatively tiny hole in a metal object.
    Hair packed tightly into the hole can cause the same problem, in my personal experiences.

    Incidentally, in Law Enforcement related shootings, I know of more than one or two incidents where hollow point hand gun bullets failed to expand, due to cloth fibers from the criminal’s clothing plugging the hollow points.

    Anyway, back to rifles and big game hunting.
    IMO, bonded core bullets, with plenty of lead showing at the tip are my recommendation.
    The more lead showing at the nose, the better.
    The best of the best are from Swift / A-Frame.
    Most of their projectiles are semi-spitzer, with a little less lead showing than I’d prefer but, a select few are round nose profile and plenty of lead showing (500 grain .470 NE is one example).

    Just as I’m convinced that hollow point spitzer bullets are not the most reliable bullet available today conversely, I’m convinced that round nose and flat nose bullets are the best ones, especially ones with jacket bonded to the core, of course provided one chooses to use them at reasonable velocity.
    I wish A-Frames were available in round nose shape, beginning from 6.5 mm /156 grain, all the way through their excellent lineup of calibers.
    Nonetheless, my wish is insignificant (if not absurd) when one considers how incredible the A-Frame’s track record is, despite its more streamline, semi-spitzer shape.
    At least it’s not a boat tail, needle pointed spitzer.

    Regarding the present day Barnes and similar design bullet popularity, I am quick to admit that, evidently they do expand most of the time.
    Furthermore, the ones with the plastic thingy in the hole seem to be the most reliable of their designs, as of this writing.

    Last but not least, for those who insist on using any of the “hyper-velocity” type cartridges, such as the Remington Ultra series, also some of the small bore Weatherby, Lazzeroni and others, the current Barnes design bullets are likely your safest bet.
    At screechingly high velocity, my recommended lead core designs all too often shatter against heavy bone and/or can and will splatter meat and skin of your hunted animals, half way to the moon.

    I will stand by for my spanking.

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  5. kurpfalzjäger

    kurpfalzjäger AH Veteran

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    Do not worry too much about it.

    You can shot buffalos with Barnes bullets caliber 416 and a lot of other different bullets.

    For example , i shot buffalos with old bullets like the 22,5g nickel-coated from RWS of the marginal big game cartridge 10,75x68 or the 19g FMJ from DWM of the cartridge 9,3x74R. This cartridges and this bullets are really not the first choice for buffalo hunting , but with a good shot placement is much possible. But that does not conform to today's standard.
     
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  6. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Solid info.

    No spanking, you're just not my type.
     

  7. James Cook

    James Cook AH Veteran

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    Used barnes 160 gr ttsx on recent safari. Shot 5 trophies all with good bullet performance from the ttsx. Gemsbok dropped in place @ 100+ yards; blue wildebeest @ 190 yards ran 70+/- yards; waterbuck @ 270 yards ran 75+/- yards; sable @ 170 yards ran about 50+/- yards; black wildebeest shot it once in shoulder @ 150+/- yards - while it was doing a circular hip-hop "going to meet jesus dance", ph said to shoot him again. Shot him in the other shoulder and he dropped. Both bullets were recovered - perfect expansion, with all of bullets intact.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019

  8. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    Was talking to a bloke from NT just the other day about this. He's shot around 200 head of buff in his life with all calibres and ammo. He swears by Barnes tsx.

    The only failure I have had is when i gut shot a fallow once but that's on me not the ammo.
     

  9. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

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    As we all know Barnes is a brand, not a bullet type, so it is important to be specific. Today's Barnes TSX is not the same as the TTSX. The TTSX includes a polymer tip that prevents the hollow point from being inadvertently plugged by mud, debris, etc. and that acts as an initiator and accelerator of expansion. Think of the TTSX has a PG bullet. The TSX has a smaller hollow point, no expander tip, and expands less. Think of the TSX as a DG bullet.

    Lead free ammo is coming, like it or not. It is already the law in California, and even in Arizona (a generally conservative State) lead free ammo is required in the northern part of the State near the Grand Canyon where Condors are being re-introduced. I was a life-long Nosler Partition shooter (and A Frame for DG, keeping in mind that the A Frame is nothing but a Partition with bonded front core) but I have converted to Barnes due to lead free requirement where I live and I now use only Barnes (TTSX on PG and TSX on DG) so that I do not need to re-sight constantly.

    For my 2019 safari (see https://www.africahunting.com/threa...ill-safaris-even-better-than-last-year.52376/) I used Barnes TTSX 100 gr from a .257 Wby and I experienced 100% one-shot-kill, dead-in its-track, reliability on 16 animals, from Vaal Rhebuk to Roan, and I used 1 TTSX 225 gr from a .340 Wby on a Sable, which the same striking results. See video here under. I did not recover a single bullet. Did I waste energy on the landscape? I dunno... but they sure were all very dead and the exit holes were quarter sized, so expansion certainly happened...


    Were there early Barnes failures? Yes of course. Like every other new technology developer, Barnes did not hit the perfect compromise on the first try. Earlier Barnes bullets were generally too tough and did not always expand. A Square also had mono-metal development issues with their Monolithic Solid. So did Hornady with the GMX. So did Nosler with the E Tip. I did not really follow North Fork, Peregrine, etc. but I would bet they too had their growing pains. All of these have been resolved. Can failure still happen? Of course! Anything can fail... Do they regularly fail? Of course not, and I would add that among contemporary failures it would be interesting to actually know what generation of bullet is failing. I suspect that there are still a number of 1st generation bullets (TSX, GMX, E Tip, etc.) in hunters ammo belts out there...

    In my experience the modern mono-metal bullets are an improvement.
    • The Nosler Partition was the first and the only bullet for close to 40 years to provide BOTH rapid expansion AND deep penetration. For half a century it was, rightfully, the bullet by which all others were judged. Hat off to John Nosler for having created it.
    • The bonded bullets (including the A Frame) resolved the issue of the lead core separating from the jacket. In most cases it reduces the expansion potential (but not enough to be concerned with it) but it increases penetration. This was progress on large animals and DG.
    • The mono-metal bullets of proper hardness and proper design provide similar performance to the best bonded bullets, AND are lead free. It will take the time it will take but they will win the product development game in the end and be the last one standing...
    As to which one is best among Barnes vs. Hornady vs. North Fork vs. Peregrine vs. Nosler vs. etc. mono-metal slugs, I shall risk a general wave of hate mail from gored ox proud owners by stating that it is about the same as discussing which of Ford, GMC, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota etc. is the best pickup truck. To each their own...

    What is for sure is that even among mono-metal slugs, there continue to be some designed for more expansion and some designed for more penetration. The Barnes offering of TSX and TTSX illustrates this...


    PS: interestingly, this provides yet another example of full circle "progress" since we are essentially coming back to the mono-metal Balle D of the 8x50 mm R cartridge adopted by France in 1898 for its Lebel rifle, the first battle rifle in the world to shoot a smokeless load propelling a "small" diameter spitzer bullet (small diameter compared to previous black powder cartridges).
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019

  10. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    I have used quite a few TSX bullets in 30, 338, 416 and 458 cals. None were pushed fast and impact distances varied from about 40 yards to about 260 yards. Game varied from impala-sized to eland/buffalo-sized. Of course one could only guess about the pass thrus but wound channel evidence suggested normal behavior- straight line penetration with moderate damage. Of the bullets recovered, none showed anything but expected deformation and the wound channels were about like the pass thrus. So, from my experience, they are every bit as if not more reliable than the majority of other bullets including conventional bonded cup and cores, Nosler Partitions and Swift A Frames.

    I have heard about the TSX and TTSX failures but have never seen one. The most common failure complaint I heard a few years ago had something to due with erratic track after impact. OK, upon further digging turns out without exception those were associated with EXCEPTIONALLY high impact velocities. For a long time now I’ve heard of the hollow point collapse phenomena, not just with the TSX/TTSX but dating far earlier that the original X... which would include even conventional cup and core hollow points! Again, have never seen it with any bullet design.

    So, IMO, as to the OP’s question... I’d load that 416 Rigby up with a 350 or 400 TSX (whichever was most accurate) to 2250-2300 FPS with a temperature insensitive powder like 4831 SC or equivalent “slow” powder, sight the rifle in for zero at 100 yards, plan that Africa trip for PG/DG and not look back! :)

    ... and if you get cold feet with the Barnes X types because of all the “one of” anecdotes people post about and have time, just load up some 400 gr Swift A Frames to that same CONSERVATIVE vel of about 2250 with a temp insensitive powder like 4831 SC.... plan that trip and DON’t look back!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019

  11. Buckdog

    Buckdog AH Enthusiast

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    My advice to the Op is to just save yourself the grief stock up on some Swift A frames and Nosler Accubonds before the Anti's outlaw lead bullets load them up and shut up and don't look back or worry! Mono metal bullets are for shit in my humble opinion a bonded lead core premium bullet beats them all day every day. Now all you lovers of mono bullets may all flog me properly! But when the day is done not a PH in Africa will question you with 400gr A frames loaded up in a 416!
     
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  12. crudeoildude

    crudeoildude AH Veteran

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    I wholeheartedly agree with both Pascal and Fourfive8 on tsx and ttsx ,have used them exclusively in a 25-06 for elk and have 6 -one shot kills only one bullet recovery that was a perfect 4 petal mushroom with 98 percent retention,I cant load them at max without getting flyers at the range but one notch over middle ground gives me one half MOA.cant ask for any better,if it works for you Use It if not find one that does not all barrels send it on its journey the same, good hunting to all
     

  13. TMac

    TMac AH Senior Member

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    Can’t help you with examples of failures. I have an aversion to hollow point bullets of any brand for hunting, so my experience is with the Barnes TTSX and LRX. 10 ish years with the TTSX, 3-4 with the LRX, all on Western USA game from under 100 lbs., to close to 700 lbs., with two approx. 1,000 Moose thrown in the mix. Probably somewhere around 25 animals. The bullets have performed wonderfully. Not as many instant drops, but not as much wasted meat from fragments either. No recovered bullets.

    My family is converting to them as our other loads are used up, so I gain more experience faster each year. Probably half of the kills were in the last 3 seasons. I lean towards the LRX for smaller game like deer, TTSX for the larger game like elk, LRX for shots over 350-400. Most of the cartridges we use are not magnums, we select a bullet weight to get a muzzle velocity of 2850 - 3100, closer to 3,000+ is my preference.

    So far so good for us.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019

  14. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    I used 235 grain TSX in my .375H&H on plainsgame in Namibia....worked splendidly….expansion like Ryan´s pics..

    Not so sure about using TSX on DG though…..would stick to Swift A-frame or Woodies..
    I have a box of Barnes ammo in .470 loaded With TSX....will shoot a couple in wood and see what happens..
     

  15. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg AH Veteran

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    I find it interesting this thread has no discussion of lead free projectiles that instead of being monometal design, are similar to jacketed lead projectiles with food grade tin, as one example, replacing the role the lead serves. Is there any experience base with that design vs lead free monometal projectiles?

    Examples I can point to are Norma Ecostrike, Geco Zero, RWS Evolution Green, and Prvi Partizan Z-Grom.
     
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  16. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Enthusiast

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    I guess because that wasn't the question. But it's a very interesting point none the less. I asked about the Barnes because it's what I have here - 350gr TSX. But if there were other makes proven to do the job better with a different design I'd be just as happy to use those. I have no experience with non toxic besides Barnes.

    It seems we have very mixed opinions coming in about Barnes bullets. I wasn't expecting it to be that varied if I'm honest but it's good to read. I hadn't realised there was such a difference between the TSX and TTSX - having used both in a 6.5x55 on deer I hadn't noticed, but then I didn't use them side by side to do a serious comparison, they were a few years apart.

    Thanks for all the feedback. Keep it coming, it's much appreciated and the more people that chip in the better!
     
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  17. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    When lead is banned from rifle bullets I suspect my rifle will sit next to my shotgun which hasn't been used since they banned lead for waterfowl. Then they will have accomplished what they wanted.
     
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  18. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Here are two 30 caliber 165 gr. GMX bullets taken from Muskox. Doesn't get much better than that. IMG_20191021_080205.jpeg
     

  19. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

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    Which is exactly why I make a point to continue to hunt waterfowl with Kent or Rio bismuth loads, and why I continue to hunt big game in northern Arizona with copper bullets :)
    Can't give up Ray, this is indeed exactly what they hope for... (y)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

  20. kurpfalzjäger

    kurpfalzjäger AH Veteran

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    Don't worry, you get used to it.

    In Europe we have no other choice in many countries.
     
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