Barnes TSX review

Use the TTSX, run them light and fast, if broadside aim for the high shoulder 1/3 down from the back. If quartering, aim for the forward edge of the shoulder down 1/3 so it exits on the rear edge of the offside shoulder. If possible, wait until they lower their head. For some reason I cannot explain that does make a difference.

Do not aim for the lungs with any bullet as animals can run 50 yards or more easily with a lung shot. Where I hunt in thorn brush, a 50 yard run can mean an hour or more to crawl on the ground with the Texas earth worms to recover an animal. Anchor the critter and don’t worry about losing a pound of meat.

Hitting the high shoulder impacts the thoracic spine even if the bullets goes below it without contact. There is no “breaking down” doodly squat, it is the science of killing. The thoracic spine between the shoulder blades is like a master breaker switch. Impact that, the rear legs collapse with the rest of the body dropping straight down. A shot in the brain stem, not the head, but the brain stem, produces the same result if the rifle and driver nut are reliably capable.

fwiw - I am not a fan of TSX’s for deer and pigs and swore them and Barnes off long ago. Then about fifteen years ago, friend encouraged me to give the TTSX a try when they came out. I did and they have become my go to first choice. After hundreds of deer and pigs, the TTSX has provided uniformly consistent DRT results with the placement described above. With heart shots, they may make 30 - 50 yards. The same occurs with the handful of lung shots kids have made.

Use a lighter and faster TTSX for the cartridge compared to a lead bullet.

For .308 Win, I use a 130 @ 3100, a 150 at 2900, in .30-06 a 150 at 3,000, in .300 Win Mag the 165 @ 3100, and in .338 Lapua the 225 @ 3050
- 3100.

I have not used LRX’s enough to opine other than they are supposed to be softer to open at lower speeds. The TTSX are absolutely fine to 300 yards and much farther in the .338 Lapua.

Last, they typically do not make big exit holes because they remain intact, but they do tremendous damage and plow through and almost always exit. When they exit, even if they double in size, that means a 3/4” hole. If one wants a huge gaping exit hole, use a more frangible bullet, with the Partition being a unique combination of very frangible front end while the rear remains intact.

Here are a few videos taken with my wife and a nephew doing the shooting.




This is why I use Barnes TTSX’s and strive for DRT.



Here is .308 130 TTSX from a mature South Texas buck that was angled, not quite head on, at a nephew. The bullet was removed from the inside of the rear leg under the hide, more than 3 feet of penetration from a .308 Win and the little 130 grain TTSX.


Here is a wound from a .300 Win Mag with a 165 TTSX on a Scimitar Horned Oryx with an old school low behind the leg heart shot:

View attachment 614143
Great informative post. Lots of data, none of the “use a 400gr from 300 win mag” or “heavy for caliber” with absolutely nothing to back it up. Fast light modern bullets just flat out work better.
 
The key to getting the Barnes X to perform on game is a combination of velocity and twist rate. It totally mystifies me why nobody has mentioned this.

On most PG sized animals and deer, light for caliber mono bullets are best, just as Tex.416 stated above. I'd also add that a faster than normal twist works better. If most factory .308 rifles are available in a slowest twist of 1/14 and a fastest twist of 1/8, the 1/10 is usually the best for the mono bullets, while still giving good performance with lead core projectiles. If I were to build a rifle in .308 specifically for mono bullets, I'd opt for a 1/8 twist barrel and shoot 130 or 150 grain TSX's.

Steve of Hammer bullets has studied this at length, and so have many others who build mono type bullets. The RPM provided by the faster twist rate is essential for the petals on the mono bullets to expand rapidly, and to keep the bullet point forward adding to deep penetration. The old Greenhill formula was fine for lead core bullets, but the Miller formula is more appropriate for the mono type projectiles.

To quote Steve:
"Terminal performance is more dependent on rpm than that. The same bullet fired at the same velocity from a faster twist will out penetrate the slower twist. There is terminal stability that is different than ballistic stability. As a bullet penetrates the rpm's degrade rapidly. At some point during penetrtion the retained shank will run out of rpm. When that happens it will get to a point of instability and then tumble. Same bullet fired with higher stability will straight line penetrate farther before it tumbles. If a bullet is fired with just enough stability to fly ballistically but not enough for proper terminal performance you will see a bullet failure. If the bullet has a bit of yaw or wobble on impact and the nose is not point on at impact then it will not get fluid into the hollow point and expand properly. This is when you see bullets recovered that look like a banana. This can result in pretty destructive results if the bullet tumbles through on the line of travel. It can also result in a bullet that turns drastically and never getsc to the vitals. It can also result in a bullet that does nothing and pencils. We learned this when we first started impact testing bullets in the beginning of marketing Hammers. We were low velocity testing to confirm proper performance at 1800 fps. Launched a bullet at 1800 fps and recovered it looking like it could be loaded again. The only distortion was engraving from the rifling. Very disappointing as this is our advertised min. We decided to increase the vel to find out the min for this particular bullet, but could not get any more powder in the case. We had another rifle of the same caliber with a larger case so we grabbed it. First launch was right at 1800 fps. I remember thinking " That was a wasted shot". Went and dug the bullet out of the media to find a perfectly deformed shank. Hmmm... The only diff was barrel twist. Lots of lightbulbs went on at that moment. Ran the stability numbers and the first bullet was about 1.2 sg and the second bullet was over 1.5 sg.
Just because you can get a bullet to an animal accurately does not mean the bullet will perform properly. Marginally stable for ballistics can shoot extremely accurately but significantly increase the odds of failure to expand."


What all of this should really be telling us is that we need to change our thinking when it comes to lead core vs mono bullets. The old formula of using heavy for caliber bullets from rifles with just enough twist to make the bullet accurate is a formula for failure. This is not me saying this, but the men that design, test and manufacture these bullets.

Many on this forum are old enough to remember lead shot loads for waterfowl hunting. Every year Sporting Goods store would fill their shelves with lead duck and pheasant loads. Then steel shot became mandatory and the entire Waterfowl world was turned on it's head. It took quite a while for hunters to figure out that T shot through a fine Browning A-5 with a full choke was not the way to go. Barrels, chokes, wads all had to change, and it didn't happen overnight. Now we have Bismuth, Tungsten and the entire process has started all over again. In this same way, we need to figure out what works with the mono bullets and learn to live with the possibilities that present themselves for increased performance.
What a fantastic post. Thanks!
 
I wish I had taken a photo of the wound because it was very strange. The impala was taken at about 200 yards on an open floodplain, so a clear shot no brush. The bullet impacted for a perfect shoulder shot but it just made a big flesh wound and required a second shot after we found it on a brush island. There was no penetration or bullet to recover from either bullet but the second bullet performed as expected. I do not know where the bullet went but that one incident is enough to make me question that particular bullet. Here is a photo of a 375 250 gr TTSX from an eland at around 20 yards on a follow up shot. I wouldn’t call it a failure but the petals broke off.
View attachment 614558
I don’t view the petals breaking off as failure. I think that’s comparing it to a lead based bullet which is incorrect. Those petals flew around like blades maximizing the damage.
 
I agree with you, Daisy. The only bullet I recovered after shooting 13 PG animals with my 7mm RUM using 160 gr Barnes TSX’s was from my Blue Wildebeest. Two petals came off after driving through both shoulders and hanging up just under the skin on the offside shoulder. He never took a step. That was not a failure at all and I would expect some bullet material loss after powering through both shoulders of a large animal.

Image1718817914.931042.jpg
 
I would like to add that with my Mono bullet loads.....driving them as fast as I can, is to achieve both impact and bullet RPM.
In order to achieve maximum velocity in mono bullets IMO, you need to drop down in weight, weight naturally is a factor for FPS but the case capacity robbing of the much longer per weight with a mono bullet has to be a consideration, where say a typical 30 cal. may shoot 180-200gr , I will drop down to 150-165, my most effective cartridge load was a 300 Weatherby mag firing 165gr (old Barnes x original) @ 3420fps, it hit like lightning on Elk/moose size game, never recovered a bullet! at anything over 2900fps with 1-9/1-10 twist RPM takes care of itself.
Todays hunting I mostly use a 30-06, loaded 130 and 150gr TTSX @ 3325 and 3110fps respectively, I keep shots under 300 yards, 150 yards and in is ideal, in order for an all copper bullet to work properly it must be whistling fast at least with the small dia. bullets, I have also "tested" 9.3 and .458 Barnes bullets also, not on game but media such as wet paper, water, sand and rubber mulch, obviously the FPS will be slower and these bullets should be manufactured softer to work at slower speed (such as the Barnes LRX idea).
My test only showed me that I was limited to distance, 250gr TTSX in the 9.3 was best kept to under 200 yards and the 300 gr 45-70 100 yards. at least in the test media I used, would they kill further, they sure would, so would a 22 LR or a .454 round ball out of a muzzle loader!
 
While prepping for a Buffalo/Sable/Kudu hunt in early 2023 I ran out of my preferred ammo for my .375 H&H (300gn Swift A-Frame). I'd been looking for months and decided to try something more readily available. I bought 8 boxes of various manufactures and bullet type that was all suitable for the Buff. The Swift won out on accuracy and had the least amount of drop from 100 to 200 yards. Lastly, it was readily available. I used the rest to practice with.

On my safari, the Barnes 300 bullets worked well. It took a few the kill the Buff as any bullet would. The Sable was a frontal shot and he dropped not 15 yards away, stone dead. The kudu was a quartering towards shot, he dropped instantly and expired quickly.

This year I was hunting plains game; Waterbuck, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Blesbuck and a Duiker. I decided to stick with the Barnes bullets as I had good luck with them, but used 180 grain in my 30/06. They performed beautifully on the Waterbuck. Great expansion and quick kill. I hit my Gemsbok low in the shoulder and it broke him down, the second shot required was due to me. The damage was devastating. The Wildebeest dropped stone dead with great expansion. For the Impala, Blesbuck and Duiker I got like ZERO expansion. They were complete pass throughs so no bullet to compare, all my shots were. But you could barely see the exit hole on the smaller animals. Now I shouldn't complain as they all made it to the salt. But my shots were through the shoulders on all of them. And even with that, I thought I missed the Impala. He jumped straight up, then ran a little circle and it was over. My point is more if I hadn't broken down the shoulders, my story would be different. Had to do these species again, and only using one bullet type, I would chose something that is quicker expanding.
Iam going to use the Barnes 300 gr TSX on lion shortly and have had a few guys tell me they won't open up fast enough on a lion, but this morning I prove them all wrong when I called in a coyote at 100 yards and shot him in the throat just below the jaw as he was looking at me he now has a 4 inch hole in his neck, if you want to see it send me your email and I will show you, so I say if those bullets will open up on the neck of a 30 lb coyote they will certainly be perfect for 400 lb lion.
 
I don’t view the petals breaking off as failure. I think that’s comparing it to a lead based bullet which is incorrect. Those petals flew around like blades maximizing the damage.
It’s not how a TTSX or TSX is designed though. The cutting edge design I find really interesting. I’m uncertain though if those petals on my bullet broke immediately or at different intervals while passing through.
 
It’s not how a TTSX or TSX is designed though. The cutting edge design I find really interesting. I’m uncertain though if those petals on my bullet broke immediately or at different intervals while passing through.
I can see that. I don’t know either.
 
I can see that. I don’t know either.

Like on my bullet above, if only two petals came off after powering through both front shoulders of a Blue Wildebeest, I am pretty happy with that performance. Now, if it was all soft tissue the bullet passed through and petals were missing, assuming one was able to even recover the bullet, I would not be happy about that.
 
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.
For light skinned game the Nosler BT is a great choice. I have used them for years on deer in both 308 and 270 with consistent one shot kill every time even with one case where the shot placement was terrible. The only time the 308 failed was when I replaced the ballistic tips with another bullet which failed to expand and required five (5) shots total to take down the game. I think I got about 5 lbs of hamburger out of that buck. We named him Terminate-deer. I am not taking them to Africa simply because some of the game is a good bit larger than a deer and I want to insure good penetration even when firing thru shoulder bones or off angle shots. Many of the monolithic copper or bonded softs may expand more slowly but will get to the vitals. The damage may not be explosive but will be sufficient to do the job. It is a trade off that is necessary in my mind. I wish I had more experience with the Barnes bullets but the only way to get it is to try them.
 
For light skinned game the Nosler BT is a great choice. I have used them for years on deer in both 308 and 270 with consistent one shot kill every time even with one case where the shot placement was terrible. The only time the 308 failed was when I replaced the ballistic tips with another bullet which failed to expand and required five (5) shots total to take down the game. I think I got about 5 lbs of hamburger out of that buck. We named him Terminate-deer. I am not taking them to Africa simply because some of the game is a good bit larger than a deer and I want to insure good penetration even when firing thru shoulder bones or off angle shots. Many of the monolithic copper or bonded softs may expand more slowly but will get to the vitals. The damage may not be explosive but will be sufficient to do the job. It is a trade off that is necessary in my mind. I wish I had more experience with the Barnes bullets but the only way to get it is to try them.

I have never used Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets on big game animals but years ago I used them on coyotes out of my various varmint calibers. I don’t know what changed but I started getting a lot of splashes on coyotes where the bullet would break up and expand before entering the body cavity.
I am not sure if Nosler changed something in their manufacturing process but I quit using them in about the early 2000’s.
 
I always try to leave my ammo to someone that I know will appreciate it when my hunt is done. I only ask that they send pics of stuff killed with them and the bullets that are recovered. Got this pic last week from some of the 375 H&H rounds (and some dead buffalo) that I had loaded with 270 gr Barnes TSX's. He had just finished a 3 buffalo hunt and these were all recovered from that hunt. I asked if they were all from the buffalo and he replied, no, some from Kudu and Sable also. Pics speak for themselves. This is always fun for me to get pics of downed game and my handloads recovered. Kind of living vicariously through my friends and past PH's. It's a great way to prolong the adventure....
Barnes 270's.jpg
 
Not much to add to this discussion. I shoot a lot of cull deer and elk here in Texas. Typically donating the meat to disadvantaged groups. The last thing I need to do is track animals. About 10 years ago, I started loading 110 grain TTSX in my 30-06. 24" Pacnor barrel, 1/10 twist. At 3550 fps, it is a lightning bolt. I have shot a few hundred deer, elk, aoudad, pigs, etc... Does it expand? Can't say for sure, never had one stick. Based on exit wounds, it is expanding. Very seldom will anything take a step.

I don't use Barnes for culling in Africa. 150s and 168s are a little long for me to drive them at high speeds. I typically use 180 A-frames or Pro Hunters at 2850 fps for large things and a .223 with 55 grain Hornady soft points for the smaller stuff.
 
Frontal quartering shot at 75 yards with 375 H&H using 300 grain TSX at 2450 fps. Wildebeest piled up about 30 yards away after shot with large chunks of lung all over the place. So many great bullets out there.
 
Just for fun, here's the 400gr TSX from my Caprivi buffalo. The bullet went through the shoulder on an animal that was quartering towards us.

IMG_E0335.JPG



IMG_0332.JPG


It's not a pretty Barnes "X" like the few I've recovered from other critters, but this buff only required one shot. We found him about 60 yards away, stone dead. The near shoulder was obliterated and the bullet entered the chest perfectly. The three missing petals didn't seem to keep it from doing its intended mischief.

This was a two shot safari. The other time I pulled the trigger was with a Barnes 400gr solid. Same end result, but I'm pretty sure that one went straight through.

As for the TTSX, I've used the 180gr from my .300 WBY on 29 African and N. American critters ranging from Steenbok to Moose and Eland. I've only ever recovered one (from the Eland). One animal was lost and never recovered (a nice Waterbuck bull - I'm still crying). A grand total of 4 of those critters required more than one shot (gemsbok, zebra, pronghorn, and black wildebeest). I'm a believer, but I think they perform best at high velocities. For long range and lower velocities, there might be better options.
 
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Threads
55,772
Messages
1,187,702
Members
97,336
Latest member
xinwuding01
 

 

 

Latest posts

 
Top