Barnes TSX review

I had never hunted with the Barnes ammo ever. While prepping for a pair of trips to SA, this forum convinced me to give them a try. I laid in a supply of 375HH ammo that included the Barnes TSX and the 300g Swift A-Frame. I plan to use them this year on some of the larger PG animals as a training run. Will likely take and try both. Plan to use 180 bonded core ammo for the 308 for the smaller ones. Next year will use either the Swift or Barnes on Cape Buffalo with Woodleigh Hydros for any required followups. It comes down to which load the rifle shoots the best. So far it seems to like the Barnes better but I have not had enough practice with the A-Frames yet to have much of an opinion.
 
I shot several smaller animals and some bigger ones with .375 wby and 235 gr tsx hand loads. In springbok they didn’t leave big exit holes but none went more than afew steps. In the duiker I hit bone (leg or shoulder) and it blew him open. Same with eland, small exit hole but massive internal trauma, went afew steps and down.
I would use them again on anything, but you get what you hit-meaning the bone caused more energy dump and explosive damage than soft tissue.
Did you look at vitals to see what the bullet did inside?
No, I didn't look inside them.
 
I have switched from Barnes to Hornady CX. I find they perform consistently better. 6.5, 270,7mm and 30. Also they make an ECX for slower European calibers similar to the LRX. And usually available.
 
I have shot Barnes bullets for years across a number of calibers. They typically don’t cause large exit holes, unless you take a lot of bone out the other side with a straight on shoulder shot. They are designed to have 4 petals peel back and not come apart like a traditional cup and core bullet. They also retain a high percentage of their weight, if you are able to recover the bullet.
Out of my 7mm RUM I shoot the 145 gr LRX and it performs wonderfully. Back in 2014 we shot 13 plains game animals out of that same rifle using the 160 gr TSX and we only recovered one bullet. Out of all the animals, only one, maybe two, took more than a step before collapsing and most of them had their chin hit the ground followed closely by their tail end at bullet impact.
I am a big fan of Barnes bullets.
 
I ask every PH I work with about bullets. The common response is I like TSX and variations on it...I like Trophy Bonded...bring any of that and I will be happy. I've posted many times about one gun and one load safaris of 375 H&H and 300 TSX for both PG and DG. One shot kills are typical including buff...sable...various sizes of PG...even the deadly bastard honey badger!

I've got access to all of the usual bullets and some custom options and my loads for my next Africa trip in 10 days for buff and PG...400 TSX in the 416 Rigby and 180 TTSX in the 300 win mag. If I do my part, everything will die quickly. I've used it very successfully on everything up to croc and buff. The only change I make is when hunting cats or ele.
 
I’ve been a fan of Barnes since they brought out the TSX and TTSX. on my first safari, I shot most of my game with a .416 Ruger loaded with 400gr TSX. All one shot kills, although some traveled up to 100yds with goood hits.
On my second safari, I used 180gr TSX in a .30/06. They worked perfectly, except on a zebra when my shooting could have been better. Even on Springbok and Steinbok they showed expansion and tore up the vitals.
 
I sent a pm with a pic I wouldn’t normally post for the gen pop. The proof is in the vitals!
I don’t live by one brand or style of bullet. I test several in each rifle and generally stay with the most accurate. But I do have my favorites and the tsx or in some rifles the ttsx would be very high on my list.
 
Was it a large bush fire because that's a high number of elephants to perish in the same area I would think? I'm surprised the PH used the expanding TSX bullet for head shots? I don't know anything about elephant hunting but everything I've read here by elephant hunters mentions solids for elephant head shots. Interesting.
I hesitated mentioning, because Itcertainly would not be a practice I would recommend. Note, I was not present.
 
I noticed similar with the Barnes but like you said, everything still died very quickly. Every animal I shot in RSA with Barnes with my 300WM was through-and-through and went no more than 50 yds or so. All but one of the animals either died where shot or went 10 yds. Every single animal from the impala and warthog, all the way up to the wildebeest was a pass through.

Where possible, it's the only rifle ammo I use now. I have a box of 458WM on the way that I am eager to check out.

Entrance on the kudu.

IMG_9798.jpg



Exit on the kudu. Went 10 yds, if that. I noticed, as did you: Minimal damage on the exit but still a very dead animal.

IMG_9788.jpg
 
IMG_1524.jpeg

300Gr Barnes TSX works spectacularly for hippopotamus on land. But yeah, expansion is slower than conventional lead cored bullets. I would not use it for the great cats (esp. the ones shot over bait) unless my point of aim is the shoulder bone/scapula itself.
 
Barnes products, both loaded cartridges and bullets, are presently the most available premium rounds. Swift bullets, in any caliber, are scarce. That doesn’t bother me much since I’ve had great luck with TSXs on everything from Springbok to Buffalo.
 
A nuanced view...

We each have our own experience. Mine is not any more valuable, nor less, than other's, and it generally matches what has been already written.
  • Herbivorous Dangerous Game (my own experience are Elephant and Buffalo, but you could add Hippo on land and Rhino). .458 Lott 500 gr TSX all the way. It is effectively an "expanding solid" that performs double duty in both body and brain shots. It expands less than an AFrame, Woodleigh soft, Hornady DGX Bonded, etc. but it penetrates almost as deep as any reliable solid and will break any bone in the way. (Note that in .458 Win, due to case capacity the TSX has to go down to .450 gr.)
  • Lion. I shot mine with a .458 Lott 500 gr TSX (because the PH preferred big holes) but it could have been .375 H&H 300 gr TSX. Beware of overly expanding softs on Lion frontal shot...
  • Leopard. This is where the .375 H&H 300 gr Nosler Partition (NP) reigns. The .375 260 gr NP would do well (better?) too. Beware of overly stout softs on Leopard side shot... This is the one case where I would advise against TSX. Smaller calibers (e.g. .300 or even .280/.270) are OK too where allowed by law.
  • Plains game. The TSX may not expand as much as desirable. I personally stopped using NP after a disappointing result with .338 250 gr NP (from a .340 Wby) on Eland (admittedly in a size class of its own). I could have gone AFrame - which is a bonded NP - but since I live in a lead-free bullet area, I decided to standardize with the TTSX. I have had flawless performance for years in .257 Wby and .300 Wby, and my wife in .270 Win. LRX could make sense but I am not sure that there is such a big difference in performance with the TTSX at long range, and many shots come at short range in Africa. The TTSX expands noticeably less than the NP I had used previously for 30 years on everything, but in my experience neither guaranty a DRT (dead-right-there) result. Speed seems a bigger factor, with a majority of DRT shots with the .257 Wby, and some, but not always, with the .300 Wby.
  • All calibers / all game. One bullet in one load per each caliber. Period. No need to endlessly re-sight and no possible confusion. The lone exception is the .375 H&H with 300 gr TSX for everything except Leopard .300 NP.
I trust that the various iterations of identical technology with other mono-metal bullets (e.g. Nosler ETip, Hornady GMX, etc.) give identical results. The reason I went with Barnes is their wide availability of quality, affordable, loaded ammo.
 
Last edited:
I’ve used TSX bullets fairly extensively in 375 and 30/06. I’ve used 300 gr TSX in the 375 on several buffalo, both African and Australian, with excellent results. Penetration is very good and terminal effect is quite good as well. I also used this same combo on several PG animals with excellent results. Sometimes they’ll run a little further after being hit than they will with a softer bullet, but there’s always plenty of blood to follow.
In 30/06 and 308 I’ve used the 130 and 150gr TSX on quite a few deer, and have always had excellent results. If I were going after a mixed bag of PG with the 30/06 I’d choose the 150gr moving along at 2900 fps and would feel well armed.
 
View attachment 612903
300Gr Barnes TSX works spectacularly for hippopotamus on land. But yeah, expansion is slower than conventional lead cored bullets. I would not use it for the great cats (esp. the ones shot over bait) unless my point of aim is the shoulder bone/scapula itself.
I wonder how they work when they’re in the water?
 
I wonder how they work when they’re in the water?
Hippopotamus shot in the water invariably offer only a head shot. A hippopotamus skull is thin and a Barnes TSX 300Gr bullet would have absolutely no issues penetrating into the brain.
 
Good bullet for a good shot. Less than desirable shot makes recovery difficult. Have just had too many variable results with them from hunters coming through camp. Quite a few results like the Impala mentioned by the OP.
 
Good bullet for a good shot. Less than desirable shot makes recovery difficult. Have just had too many variable results with them from hunters coming through camp. Quite a few results like the Impala mentioned by the OP.
That is exactly the point of my post. Even with limited expansion, a well place hit will result in a quick kill. My concern would be with a marginal or poor shot.
 
Every bullet needs proper placement. There is no magic pill/bullet that can make up for bad placement. Poor shooting is the shooter's fault for lack of training or bad judgment on shot choice or deflection from hitting something between you and the animal. Poor shooting isn't about the bullet. I honestly think every shot I take is the ONLY shot I will get. I treat it like it's my only bullet. That mentality has served me well on every hunt.
 
does it really matter what bullet you use if you make a marginal or poor shot?!
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,544
Messages
1,181,285
Members
96,841
Latest member
gbabbs
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

I hunted elephant with Luke Samaris in 2005. It was my fourth safari and I tell you he is a fine gentleman the best. I got the opportunity to meet Patty Curtis, although never hunted with him but enjoyed our conversation around our tent in the Selous. Very sad for a tough guy to leave this world the way he did. Let’s pray the murderers are caught. I hope to see Luke in Nashville.
RLP wrote on professor's profile.
Good morning. I am a Ruger fan myself. Have you sold to anyone on the site before? How old is the ammo?

RLP
We have been very busy hunting! Lots of pictures and videos in process!

Grandpa Moose wrote on Ontario Hunter's profile.
Thanks for the advice/help. Hope the kids get a good plug from my mis post. Rain like crazy here
 
Top