Barnes TSX review

does it really matter what bullet you use if you make a marginal or poor shot?!
Yes it does. A double lung shot as example, marginal shot on African game but a shot most US hunter think is good. A fast expanding soft point will create much more damage and quickly put that animal down. A solid, or quite possibly these Barnes TSX, will not. A quartering towards you shot slightly back, one lung and liver, poor shot. You'd have a long tracking job with a bullet that doesn't expand and break away.
 
Last edited:
Bullet choices can be very personal but we often put too much thinking into it. Nowhere on the planet is a double lung shot marginal. African animals are tough but not magical. Use your favorite softs and get out in the field. Bullet placement is king. I can kill anything with a solid and the right shot angle but thankfully we can make better choices than that. We have great bullet choices today and the TSX is one of them. After awhile, these topics start to sound like Ford vs Chevy vs Toyota and my experience is better than your experience. Any premium soft will kill anything with proper placement.
 
Bullet choices can be very personal but we often put too much thinking into it. Nowhere on the planet is a double lung shot marginal. African animals are tough but not magical. Use your favorite softs and get out in the field. Bullet placement is king. I can kill anything with a solid and the right shot angle but thankfully we can make better choices than that. We have great bullet choices today and the TSX is one of them. After awhile, these topics start to sound like Ford vs Chevy vs Toyota and my experience is better than your experience. Any premium soft will kill anything with proper placement.
You're right about the Ford and Chevy Green Chile. My comment about double lung is related to the vitals of African game being tighter under the shoulder than N. American animals. Generally US hunters are aiming too far back on African game as a result. I also think that's due to US hunters not wanting to "waste" meat by driving one through the shoulders too.

Going back to the Ford and Chevy. I like the Barnes bullets for Buffalo as I don't need to think about a soft and solid combo. Based on what I experienced this year on my plains game hunt, I'd use Swift A Frames or Nosler Partitions next time.
 
Last edited:
I think it's very important to listen to the guides from whatever area you're hunting. I was in bear camp in Canada a few weeks ago and 5 of 10 shooters lost their bears due to shot placement. The guides were VERY clear about their directions. Ignore them at your own peril. PHs in Africa really prefer the shoulder shot to the behind the shoulder shot that Americans like. We need to listen to them. The terrain is very different in Africa. In the States you might be able to watch your animal run a bit and then fall. That's not usually the case in Africa.

You're right about the TSX on buffalo. I'm going next week with the 416 Rigby and 400 TSX. I'm not taking solids as that one bullet covers my needs. Some would say different but that has worked well for me and my PHs.
 
does it really matter what bullet you use if you make a marginal or poor shot?!
Absolutely, 100%. When hunting in Africa, do you want a bullet that looks all nice for photos to show off what a beautiful mushroom its made, or one that causes devastation and the most trauma that gives the best chance at finding your animal.
 
Absolutely, 100%. When hunting in Africa, do you want a bullet that looks all nice for photos to show off what a beautiful mushroom its made, or one that causes devastation and the most trauma that gives the best chance at finding your animal.

I likenicephotos
 
does it really matter what bullet you use if you make a marginal or poor shot?!

I think so too.

We don't want to talk about an extremely bad shot placement, such as in the stomach or rumen without much bleeding, but if an organ that bleeds heavily is hit, there are differences depending on how big the initial diameter of the bullet was and how well this bullet expands in the deep. A larger wound channel will always bleed more than a smaller one, shortening the following of a game. The quoted double lung shot is a good example of this, but also the lung and liver shot.
 
Define “poor shot” then. A partition and a tsx hit the stomach. Which is worse?
Texas heart shot?
Front leg?
Hippo on land or in water?
Elk in n America or kudu in Zimbabwe?
A poor shot is a poor shot semantics and guesswork aside
 
Absolutely, 100%. When hunting in Africa, do you want a bullet that looks all nice for photos to show off what a beautiful mushroom its made, or one that causes devastation and the most trauma that gives the best chance at finding your animal.
For that reason I use Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets when hunting black bears in swamps and for whitetail deer in the mountains. They create more carnage than any bullet type I've used and dramatically reduce the recovery period. For situations like these they are my "go to". I wouldn't use them on larger animals those, hence the conversation here.
 
Define “poor shot” then. A partition and a tsx hit the stomach. Which is worse?
Texas heart shot?
Front leg?
Hippo on land or in water?
Elk in n America or kudu in Zimbabwe?
A poor shot is a poor shot semantics and guesswork aside

It is certain that it is difficult to define what is a poor shot placement.

Normally a good shot placement is one that has hit the right spot as stated in the various manuals for hunting various game species. Unfortunately that still does not mean that after such shots the game will immediately collapse to death. Defining what is a poor shot placement is becomes more complicated. Perhaps this designation should be reserved for shots that are close to the ideal place on the game but not in it, shots that can also lead to the death of the game after different periods of time. One could also speak of marginal shot placement because they also often occur when game is shot at angles that are not optimal. For the rest, the term bad shot placement is much better, means shots that lead to non-letal wounds or unfortunately to wounds or mutilations that lead to death after a too long time. In conclusion, such a definition is not easy because there are too many differences from game to game and also depending on the situation at the moment and the place of hunting. Ultimately, everyone can use their own definition for their own shot placement.
 
Yes it does. A double lung shot as example, marginal shot on African game but a shot most US hunter think is good. A fast expanding soft point will create much more damage and quickly put that animal down. A solid, or quite possibly these Barnes TSX, will not. A quartering towards you shot slightly back, one lung and liver, poor shot. You'd have a long tracking job with a bullet that doesn't expand and break away.

I shall beg to differ on this. A double lung shot IS NOT a marginal shot on African game.

The "behind-the-shoulder, double-lung shot" is as deadly on African animals, as it is on American, European, or Asian animals. Many species will go many miles with a completely destroyed shoulder and/or broken leg, but there is no living mammal that will go more than a few hundred yards, if that much, with two collapsed lungs. Even a perforated heart can keep an animal running for a while, not a brain deprived from oxygen. This is a simple physiological reality. A TSX will collapse two lungs quite efficiently ... and it has many times in my experience.

As a matter of fact, I use the TTSX on PG for convenience reason because this is what Barnes and Weatherby load in the .257 and .300 Wby ammo, but my wife shot an entire safari with Federal Premium .270 Win 130 gr TSX because her usual Barnes 130 gr TTSX ammo was out of stock just after COVID, and we could not see any difference whatsoever in killing effectiveness.

Admittedly, she only hit the lung/heart area on all animals shot, so I cannot comment on potential differences of effectiveness between TSX and TTSX for gut shots. And quite honestly, I do not believe that any bullet would deliver satisfactory results in the guts. A diverging fragment from a NP front core, for example, may (?) by chance clip the liver if it goes by close enough, which a TSX may not do, but this is as much as I think can be hoped for a specific bullet to make up for a bad shot...

As to body-shots placement, there are indeed morphological differences between species, but all four-legged mammals, African animals included, are built on the same schematic, and there is nothing easier than locating the vital area, generally one third up behind the elbow of the front leg. There is also no bigger target, on any animal, that the lungs/heart vital area.

A few very specific shots (e.g. sitting leopard) require indeed more knowledge of their specific anatomy, but any herbivore, all the way up to and including Buffalo or Elephant will get to the salt shed promptly with an accurately placed behind-the-shoulder, double-lung shot.

Matter of fact, I have taken many dozen clients to Africa, where I generally spend the first day with them and their PH, and I always recommend this shot, which has been invariably deadly. There is enough "first safari excitement" going on in general to not complicate things more than needed, and the old African "break the shoulder" shot belongs to a long-gone era when a lot of military ammo was shot in a lot of Mauser, Lee–Enfield, Mannlicher, etc. A Kudu will succumb perfectly to the same behind-the-shoulder, double-lung shot that will take an Elk in the US or a Red Stag in Europe.

My own reaction to your opening post conclusion: "Had to do these species again, and only using one bullet type, I would chose something that is quicker expanding" would be to suggest that another conclusion could be to deliver the shot in the vitals as opposed to breaking shoulder bones and muscle, none of which perform vital functions.

PS: this is quite a nice Sable you collected :)
 
Last edited:
Just back from my first trip to Africa and first time poking holes with the 416 Rigby (or four-one-six as my PH and others over there called it). Had a blast and harvested everything with the Rigby using trophy bonded bear claws and TSX. Wanted to use both on my buffalo but was only able to get my hands on the TSX right before leaving and had my rifle dialed in with the bear claws. So my buff only received bear claws, as did a sable, roan, and impala. Was able to retrieve a bullet on the sable as I did a front quartering shot and it was under the offside skin in front of the rear quarter. The petals had all sheared off leaving only the back locked portion. Performed great though. He did a big dramatic jump and ran about 12-15 yards.

Had some free time one day so went to the range with some TSX and confirmed they were hitting the exact same, so swapped over for Eland.

I did the same front quarter shot on a Kudu (and was excited I would likely recover a bullet). And of course, no darn bullet. Like a 5’ wound channel, and exit the size of index finger. Great blood trail, also a big dramatic jump, ran maybe 75 yards and cratered. I just missed the top of his heart though.

On my Eland, also the same quartering frontal shot. Dramatic response but not so much of a jump, ran maybe 15 yards, and swung to fire again if he cleared this thick brush I couldn’t see through, but huge dust cloud drifting into the clearing vs Eland let me know he went down and hard. AND, I was able to recover the bullet again on the offside just under the skin. One petal had sheared off, but it had expanded nicely otherwise. Granted, Elands are quite a bit bigger than I expected, so it had a nice long wound channel within which to expand.

Sorry for the gore in a couple photos, but showing the wound path through the upper heart, and size difference between a Kudu and Eland hearts.

IMG_5674.jpeg
IMG_5677.jpeg
IMG_5678.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Here is TSX channel through the heart. And the size comparison of hearts, the Kudu heart had been in chiller for a while so might have lost a little size, but was shocked how much bigger the Eland was in every respect.

IMG_5682.jpeg
IMG_5681.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
I think many are missing the point on using terms like marginal shots. Let's call a spade a spade. Gutshot.
Just like the toughness of an animal should not be judged on a good shot, but rather on a bad shot, the trauma caused by a bullet should be judged on a bad shot.
As I mentioned in a PM, a .22LR can be tucked into the crease of the shoulder on a Blue Wildebeest, probably the toughest there is, and will kill it.
Could even shoot it with a FMJ through the lungs and it will die.
Now, do the same exercise with the FMJ through the gut and a Hornady ELD-X. Which bullet do you feel will cause the most trauma on that gut shot and do the most damage?
That is the point.
 
Just returned from Kamchatka where we were hunting coastal brown bears. Calibers ranged from .300 Win Mag to .375 H&H, each shooting TSX bullets. Bears seemed to crumple.
 
I think many are missing the point on using terms like marginal shots. Let's call a spade a spade. Gutshot.
Just like the toughness of an animal should not be judged on a good shot, but rather on a bad shot, the trauma caused by a bullet should be judged on a bad shot.
As I mentioned in a PM, a .22LR can be tucked into the crease of the shoulder on a Blue Wildebeest, probably the toughest there is, and will kill it.
Could even shoot it with a FMJ through the lungs and it will die.
Now, do the same exercise with the FMJ through the gut and a Hornady ELD-X. Which bullet do you feel will cause the most trauma on that gut shot and do the most damage?
That is the point.

The discussion is triggered by the post from @trperk1 in response to the question of @Firebird. We may have used the word poor or marginal shot a little unfortunately for the double lung shot. But since it's mainly about the working of bullets, especially the TSX from Barnes, I can from personal experience understand what was meant by bullets that expand quickly and especially in the case of the double lung shot, cause the greatest damage as possible. For this reason it is understandable that some have concerns that TSX bullets do not always deliver that. A PH once showed me a 400gr TSX bullet caliber 416 that did not expand in a buffalo with a lung shot.

We exclude gut shots. Even the biggest and fastest bullet does not help here.
 
Just back from my first trip to Africa and first time poking holes with the 416 Rigby (or four-one-six as my PH and others over there called it). Had a blast and harvested everything with the Rigby using trophy bonded bear claws and TSX. Wanted to use both on my buffalo but was only able to get my hands on the TSX right before leaving and had my rifle dialed in with the bear claws. So my buff only received bear claws, as did a sable, roan, and impala. Was able to retrieve a bullet on the sable as I did a front quartering shot and it was under the offside skin in front of the rear quarter. The petals had all sheared off leaving only the back locked portion. Performed great though. He did a big dramatic jump and ran about 12-15 yards.

Had some free time one day so went to the range with some TSX and confirmed they were hitting the exact same, so swapped over for Eland.

I did the same front quarter shot on a Kudu (and was excited I would likely recover a bullet). And of course, no darn bullet. Like a 5’ wound channel, and exit the size of index finger. Great blood trail, also a big dramatic jump, ran maybe 75 yards and cratered. I just missed the top of his heart though.

On my Eland, also the same quartering frontal shot. Dramatic response but not so much of a jump, ran maybe 15 yards, and swung to fire again if he cleared this thick brush I couldn’t see through, but huge dust cloud drifting into the clearing vs Eland let me know he went down and hard. AND, I was able to recover the bullet again on the offside just under the skin. One petal had sheared off, but it had expanded nicely otherwise. Granted, Elands are quite a bit bigger than I expected, so it had a nice long wound channel within which to expand.

Sorry for the gore in a couple photos, but showing the wound path through the upper heart, and size difference between a Kudu and Eland hearts.

View attachment 613281View attachment 613282View attachment 613283
That’s exactly what I experienced on the two Eland I took in South Africa. The 375 H&H 300 grain TSX bullet in both cases made a small hole going in and a slightly larger hole going out. Neither of them traveled more than 20 yards after the shot.
 
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.
I really wish I could disagree with you because I like certain Barnes bullets and will continue using. However, I’ve seen some very irregular performance from certain Barnes bullets I don’t have an explanation for. I’ve never had one fail to expand though. They seem to be much more particular than lead core bullets. I’ve had great results from 150 gr TTSX but I’ve had several cases of poor penetration with 180 gr TSX in 30 caliber. 250 gr TTSX is the most accurate bullet I can shoot in my 375 but it appeared to blowup on a perfect broadside shoulder shot on an impala that required a follow up shot. 110 gr and 130 gr in 270 win has done very well for me on deer. I’d use 55 gr TTSX in 223 up to deer size animals without concern the performance has been so good to me. It seems certain weights and calibers perform better than others with Barnes. Lead core bullets seem much more flexible across a wider range of weights.
 
For the last two years I've used the Barnes 570gr TSX and Flat-nose Solids out of my Heym 500 Nitro Express. To-date, I have had excellent results with this projectiles.

Picture 1 is of both a soft and solid recovered from a hippo shot at 27 feet on land. The soft went through the skull and was recovered from the neck. The solid also went through the skull and was recovered in the body.

Pictures 2 and 3 are of softs recovered from two separate cape buffalos. The bullet on the left was shot at a bull at 37 yards and the bullet went through the neck and left shoulder and was recovered under the skin at the back of the left shoulder. The bullet on the right was shot at a bull at 65 yards and went through both the left and right shoulders and was recovered under the skin of the right shoulder.

Pictures 3 and 4 are of a soft recovered from cape buffalo shot at 20 yards. The bullet hit the neck, went through the bone and was recovered under the skin on the opposite side.
1.jpeg
2.jpeg
3.jpeg
4.jpeg
5.jpeg
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,764
Messages
1,187,213
Members
97,321
Latest member
az888llc
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Ready for the next hunt
I am game for a meat and eat. My attempt at humor.
rigby 416 wrote on rifletuner's profile.
Come from cz like that.
John A Flaws wrote on Horbs's profile.
500 schuler magazine.jpg
500 schuler bore.jpg
500 and 425 rifles.jpg
500 and 425 magaizne.jpg
 
Top