Barnes, Oh Barnes . . . What's to Become of You?

Hank2211

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Those who have read my earlier posts on anything bullet related will know that I am a big fan of Barnes bullets, and that I use VOR-TX bullets almost exclusively. Until recently, I've never had any problems with these bullets, and they have generally exceeded my expectations.

The only issues I've had have been on a couple of recent hunts, where recovered bullets had lost all of their "petals", in circumstances where I wouldn't have expected that. But that was a couple of times and while I've been a bit surprised, I've sort of let it go. But it's bothered me nonetheless.

Well, today I was in Cabela's buying 4 boxes of VOR-TX bullets for an upcoming hunt. As I was waiting for the young lady to get the ammo, a gentleman next to me was showing a couple of Cabela's staffers some VOR-TX bullets. I couldn't hear the conversation, even though I tried (!). Finally, I just asked him if he had a problem with them, since I was about to buy 4 boxes.

He gave me an earful. He'd bought two boxes (7mm). He showed me one box - unbelievable. The best cartridges had brass that was dented and nicked, generally on the shoulder, but sometimes on the body as well. And I mean obviously dented. Like someone had hit them with a hammer. The worst included a couple that were so dented and actually cut (one in a "v" shape) just around the crimp that I said I'd have thought they were unfireable. He then said he'd sent a picture to Barnes of one of the worst ones, and they immediately responded, telling him not to fire that one at least, since it would likely not hold up under the pressure. Over 2/3 of the ammo was compromised in some way.

I opened one box of the ones I was buying, and no issues, but will look at the other three later today.

I'm not surprised that some bullets get damaged during production. What does surprise me is that damaged - and I mean seriously damaged - bullets get packaged and sent to retail channels. Whatever happened to quality control? When you pay a premium price, you have a right to expect a premium product. I've never seen army surplus that looked as bad as this stuff. Is there something going on at Barnes?

I hope this doesn't become a trend. I'd really hate to (1) have to find another bullet I like as much, and (2) listen to all the "I told you so's" from people who felt just as strongly about their favourite brand!
 

BWH

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Wow that is strange!!!! I use their Vortex almost exclusively as well.... No problems... Ever. Odd ball failure is excusable... However, when a batch is bad, begs me to ask where was quality control & inspection. That's not kosher!!!
 

JimP

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I guess that is why I reload, I can control the quality of the rounds.

As for the Vortex ammo being beat up like that, all I can imagine is that one of the loading presses got out of alignment and went crazy. Either that or the gentleman that had them had something against Vortex ammo and did it himself, but who knows for sure. As for quality control, the way that factories are set up anymore everything is automated and a human hand never handles it. But then again I don't know just how Barnes handles it or even if they actually manufacture the ammo themselves or farm it out to a factory in China or elsewhere.

I just wish that I could recover a Barnes bullet. Everything that I have ever shot with them and dropped with the bullet passing completely through. The only bullets that I have ever recovered are the ones that I have dug out of the dirt after shooting them at the range.
 
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BWH

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Yep.... Of 15 animals. I think I have only collected 1 or 2... Full frontal, chest shots. The broadsides are thru & thrus.
 

BRICKBURN

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That is sad news.

When I visited the factory I watched the receptionist sorting bullets. Blemished and good ones.
Not a lot of traffic at the front desk that day.
The blemishes were sent back to be melted down.

Hope they pick up their game.
 

Royal27

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Yikes. ...

You occasionally hear of the petals coming off, but that sounds like a QC nightmare.

Until I began to reload here recently I used nothing but Vortx and still have quite a bit in both .375 H&H and .30/06.
 
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Royal27

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sestoppelman

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You appear to be using "bullets" and ammo as the same thing. I know that you know that ammunition is not bullets, but others may find it confusing.
 

JimP

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Where is the factory?

That would be interesting to see I'd imagine, if you can see the operation.
The bullet factory is located in Mona, Utah about 80 miles south of Salt Lake right on I-15
 

Hank2211

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You appear to be using "bullets" and ammo as the same thing. I know that you know that ammunition is not bullets, but others may find it confusing.
You're right, and at times I just go with it, and I'm not as precise as I should be. On the other hand, when you're hunting, and the PH asks "got enough bullets", I usually just say "yup"!
 

rinehart0050

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I'm a dedicated Barnes shooter too. Hopefully this is just a fluke and doesn't indicate a broader quality control issue
 

enysse

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I bought some ammo recently just because I don't have the space or time to reload right now. The quality was good, no problems.
 

CAustin

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I'm going to check this out! Thanks for the heads up!
 

elmerfudd555

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Keep in mind that Barnes was purchased by Remington awhile back. I love all things Barnes as it relates to hunting performance with my reloads and their awesome bullets. But, I have to suspect that the VOR TX ammo is actually loaded by Remington with Barnes Bullets. In fact I think the introduction of Barnes branded Ammo coincided with their acquisition by Big Green. I own and enjoy several Remington shotguns and rifles however I have never been a fan of their ammunition. Quality control over the last 10-15 years is just horrible since they started supplying the big box stores like Walmart with a low cost product. If Im accuracy testing a new rifle I tend to start with Winchester Supreme ammunition as a starting point and a benchmark for my reloads to beat. Rarely do I get good accuracy out of Rem factory ammo and have heard or witnessed too many horror stories about rounds that wouldnt fire, etc. On my last safari I was forced to use factory ammo due to component shortages. I skipped VOR TX completely and went to Federal Premium Cape Shok with the Barnes TSX loading. Great accuracy and reliability. No complaints on performance whatsoever. Maybe try that route.
 

Divernhunter

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^^^ that is kind of funny. Many years ago I had several rounds of Win ammo fail to fire and had good primer strikes. Never had that happen with Rem ammo. All of these were center fire. I wrote to win and they could care less.
I no longer use factory ammo for hunting but did have a brick of win primers with several which did not work in 2012/13. Of course they were the first 2 I tried to fire in Africa!! Nice way to start with the PH I bragged about how good my ammo was to. Never a hole to crawl into when you need it. I was concerned after that but had no more troubles and the rest of the brick was used for load development before going with no problems. Used the same primers for my 2 rifles and my daughters rifle. We did a lot of shooting. Took the 2 rounds apart and all looked well. Never had a primer fail before or since. Have used many 1000's of win primers also.
 

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I use a lot of Barnes bullets and do also use the Vor-Tx in my 338 win mag because I don't think I can load anything as accurate as this ammo shoots in that rifle.

It was mention that Barnes was bought by Remington but actually it was bought by a company called the Freedom Group which is owned by Cerberus Capitol Management which is a finance company. Other companies The Freedom group own are:
Remington, Bushmaster Firearms, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, The Parker Gun, Mountain Khakis, Advanced Armament Corp. , Dakota Arms, Para USA and Barnes Bullets.

Cerberus sought to sell off the Freedom Group after the Sandy Hook shooting because of the bad press on Bushmaster. I don't believe that has ever happened.

Several of the companies have suffered some problems under the Freedom Group but most reports now are that most of that has been taken care of. Personally I believe Remington's direction has been off market and none of these companies have seen much advancement.

It always bothers me to see a finance company bundle companies like this because after the leadership that had the passion for the business in the first place is gone you start to see those companies erode.

I would really like to the Freedom group or some of these great brands end up in better hands.
 

Clayton

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Look up who ultimately owns Cerberus.
 

mdwest

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Cerberus is a little different than most NYC based investment firms.. They are heavily invested in the firearms industry (all the companies you listed).. as well as several other similar or related industries such as defense.. (they own DynCorp, IAP WS, Johnson Controls, and several other huge companies that are focused in the defense sector)..

Their Founder/CEO is a former Army Officer (was a reserve officer in an airborne unit I believe), is into horses/ranching, etc..etc.. and isn't your archetypical Wall Street investment banker..

Cerberus at one time came sniffing around a firm that I once worked at.. we had been trying to position the company to sell for a few months and made it public knowledge that we were looking for a suitor.. when considering Cerberus vs a couple of other options we thought were viable, I sincerely hoped Cerberus would make an offer and be where we ended up.. Within a couple of months the economy tanked (2008) and Cerberus decided to delay any additional acquisitions in the defense sector.. so things didn't work out..

While they are probably not a perfect option.. if a firearms or bullet manufacturer has to be owned by an investment firm.. Cerberus probably isn't such a bad deal in my opinion (likely better than being owned by Blackstone, Carlyle, or Kohlberg, etc..)..
 

mdwest

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Southwind

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You are probably referring to George Soros? Stephen Feinburg owns Cerberus and although the rumor was going around about George baby but every investigation has shown that he does not own any part of Cerberus or the Freedom Group.

From what I understand Feinburg is a big Republican, Dan Quayle is with the firm, Donald Rumsfeld is also involved with Cerberus as well as John Snow. Feinburg is also a hunter.

This is not my endorsement of the man but I doubt any of those mentioned above would be bed fellows with Soros.
 
 

 

 

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