Barnes vs. Hornady GMX


June 10, 2009, 04:00 PM
Anyone try the new Hornady solid gliding metal bullet?


Any independent source of info about it?

I'm not sure how long it's been out. Maybe it wasn't even around last deer season. If not, forgive my ignorance.:)

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June 10, 2009, 04:25 PM
First I have heard of it. Then again I dont stay as cutting edge as I used to. Curious to hear about it

June 10, 2009, 04:41 PM
A few things interest me:

It's gliding metal, so it's compatible with existing fouling. I clean my barrel, but I don't want to grind it out very often.:)

Hornady guarantees interchangeability with their regular lead-core SST Interlock bullet, so it isn't supposed to require special load development.

These are really the only two issues that gave me pause about messing with the Barnes. If Hornady has really addressed them, this could be a great way to have a deer/pronghorn/elk rifle, with at least a couple different bullets, that doesn't require a lot of hassle.

June 10, 2009, 04:57 PM
A few things interest me:

It's gliding metal, so it's compatible with existing fouling. I clean my barrel, but I don't want to grind it out very often.

Hornady guarantees interchangeability with their regular lead-core SST Interlock bullet, so it isn't supposed to require special load development.

These are really the only two issues that gave me pause about messing with the Barnes. If Hornady has really addressed them, this could be a great way to have a deer/pronghorn/elk rifle, with at least a couple different bullets, that doesn't require a lot of hassle.

It sounds very interesting to read that it's gliding metal instead of copper rod material. It also come across great that Hornady guarantees interchangeability with their other bullet which ends up sounding like they found the sweet spot that solves some of the other makers issues. I will have to get around to trying some of these just to see for myself.

June 10, 2009, 07:18 PM
I'll have to try them, too. But I can only try them on paper targets for now.:)

People who have voluntarily tried Barnes all-copper bullets seem to universally like them. I've heard raves from hunters. (People who are forced to by California DFG may resent the things, but I haven't heard anything bad from a hunter who CHOSE the bullets and took the time to work up a load.)

Hornady's expanded bullet picture looks different from Barnes. Barnes shows "petals" whereas the Hornady seems to expand more like a Nosler Partition. I'm not sure if it matters; both expand and both retain their weight when they hit.

June 10, 2009, 07:44 PM
If the new bullet is indeed a hornady product i would say that they did there home work and found any problems during testing if there were any with copper fouling. Barnes did have problems years ago like 15 or 16 years back. But barnes is a proven product and if price was the same i would stay with barnes latest design.It is already loaded by most all ammo companies ,even the one winchester has with the steel base is x design that they have pay for the use of. Call hornady and talk to a engineer about there new bullet and see if it is really theres and the problems getting it to production. If it is a smooth sided bullet? i would stay away,that was barnes old design that did have growing problems.

June 10, 2009, 07:54 PM
This is it:

If it's really equivalent to existing Hornady bullets, I already have a good, accurate load for it.

With the Barnes, I'd have to start over.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 10, 2009, 11:08 PM
These vaporware or available? Got any links? Are they lighter weight with the same profile/BC, or what?

June 11, 2009, 08:29 AM
i find it dificult to see how they can be interchangable becuase lead is heavier than guilding metal, so they must be longer than a lead bullet for the wieght

June 11, 2009, 08:30 AM
These vaporware or available? Got any links? Are they lighter weight with the same profile/BC, or what?
I don't know about available, but they are suppossed to be completly interchangable with any given bullet weight with the SST and interbond. IIRC that is for BC too, but i'm not sure...

June 11, 2009, 09:18 AM
Not because I am a "green" believer but more towards a willing stance of accepting new component technology of performance I have been reloading Barnes Triple Shocks and the M/LE line of pistol bullets, the rifle bullets are showing a much better killing factor than traditional lead core bullets with big game hunters especially in my neck of the woods up here in Alaska.

Reloading all copper bullets requires a different set of parameters as the bullets will be longer to make up for the weight against lead, in some areas like stabilization and the right barrel twist rate it shows some very good accuracy.

The only drawbacks that I can see is long range inertia retention but then again Barnes has the MRX which uses tungsten instead of lead which is actually heavier.

I have not bought any lead type bullet in the last year and am using almost all Barnes now, besides the fact its about the only bullet on the reloading shelves, a bit pricey but in my opinion they are worth it. If any does reload them you must use Barnes data or you will get excessive case pressure, in some loads I have found there is less powder being used.

June 11, 2009, 12:57 PM
These vaporware or available? Got any links? Are they lighter weight with the same profile/BC, or what?

They are avaialble. Drove over to Cabela's last night to check for what I wanted, and the 165 Grain .308" GMXs are on the shelf next to the BTSPs, SSTs, etc.

Didn't buy any, because I'm almost out of powder and they didn't have it. When I get some powder, I'll try the bullets.

AFAIK the bullet length and shape match the SST.

the rifle bullets are showing a much better killing factor than traditional lead core bullets with big game hunters

That's what I've been hearing about the Barnes. If the Hornady's offer similar performance, but also let me load practice bullets without having to change anything else, then I can't see any reason not to use them for hunting.

(At 64 cents apiece plus sales tax, I can see why I don't want to load up a few hundred GMX (or Barnes) bullets for rifle practice...:) )


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 11, 2009, 04:57 PM
AFAIK the bullet length and shape match the SST.

OK, so the length and the shape match the SST, which is a good thing. SSTs are known to be accurate, and have good BCs.

However, since presumably this gilding metal is less dense than the average density of the lead-with-copper SST, is the bullet lighter (and thus faster)? Or not? If it's faster with the SAME BC, then I'm definitely interested (particularly if they also have more rapid expansion). If they are the same weight/speed, then I don't see much of an advantage. Also, how much more is the cost of these than say, an SST?

Edit: Oops, ok, I'll look at your links to get my answers, but if you want to discuss it as well, then so much the better.

May I just gripe a bit about the Barnes bullets however, while we're on the subject. The TSX bullets and MRX bullets both I want to gripe about, but mainly the TSX: Why, oh why. Oh, why. Can't Barnes get the BCs any better than they are? They are OK BCs, but actually pretty crappy compared to say, the Hornady SST/IB, and really crappy compared to the Berger VLD, which is being hailed and marketed now full steam ahead as a hardcore performance hunting bullet on the hunting tee vee shows. Also very very crappy compared to the (now-discontinued) Lost River J36 hunting bullets. It should be EASIER, not harder, to get an all-copper bullet of X weight to have a great BC than a similarly-weighted lead/copper bullet, simply because copper bullets are LONG, and as it happens, LONG is also the shape of good BC bullets. Why do the Barnes BCs suck so badly then? I have no doubt that they perform, but they shed velocity much quicker than other bullets in the long range hunting market. Barnes REALLY needs to steal an engineer out from under Hornady, who will teach them what shape to make a bullet to give it a good BC.

Edit again: Also, I just now recall that I had looked at these and lost interest when I found out they don't make one in 6.5mm. :(

June 11, 2009, 05:07 PM
Tad how far are you expecting to shoot them?

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 11, 2009, 05:13 PM
~z, doesn't matter, really. The better the BC, the smaller the magnitude of "correct wind drift estimation error" and the smaller the magnitude of "correct holdover estimation error" at all distances, even as close as 150 or 200 yards. But to answer your question, no more than 350 yards, maybe 400 absolute tops (in the rifle I'm thinking of, a .260 rem).

June 11, 2009, 06:25 PM
.260 is a tad different from .30-06. AFAIK the bullets are the same size. Not sure how. Maybe there's less air space and a smaller plastic tip in the GMX.

I'm mainly interested in terminal performance, which, as I said, is reported to be amazingly good with the Barnes bullets.

June 12, 2009, 12:39 PM
I find when shooting both a factory loaded 140 gr tsx and a 139gr sst heavy mag from hornady at 400 yards i don't even bother to make any changes to the scope. It does hit another 1 1/2 lower but still gets the job done. At 200yards i don't see a bit of difference. I thing i do know is at 400 yards it will go through both shoulders of a deer and at 200 it will travel from through 51' of deer. I shot a mulely from the hind end and found a bullet path through the rear ham,backstrap 6 broke ribs and a frackure back along with a broke front shoulder. Bullet was under the skin at the front of the deer. This was the original 140gr x in a 7mm rem mag. Heck, Tad if you want the best bc then load an a-max, some people use it for deer to. I also like a BT but not for all conditions. I like most don't worry about the bc that much,doesn't matter till distance's get really long . Just load what you want and be happy .

June 12, 2009, 01:08 PM
Tad, I understand bc. At the distanced you are talking about you will hardly notice the difference between .4 and .5. Double it and yes, triple it and most certainly, stretch it beyond 4 times that distance and you will have quite a bit of difficulty not noticing the difference. But inside 400yds shooting in field conditions you will hardly notice it, not something to loose sleep over.
If they give the terminal performance you are looking for, I’d use them and not sweat a bit of bc

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 12, 2009, 04:54 PM
Well I'll have a look at it and run the numbers - you may be right, and the terminal performance of the TSX does sound interesting. No, I ain't using the A-max (or SMK or Scenar or similar). But I think BC *could* make the difference on a 275 yard shot on the buck of a lifetime, *in high winds*, UNDER FIELD CONDITIONS, where you might have a holding error to start with (wobble), giving you less than 2" margin of error in windage, and if you're off more than 1" in kentucky windage guess, then the high BC bullet could make the hit into the vitals, whereas the low BC one wouldn't. There's a world of difference in being off 2" at 300 yards at the range, benchrested, versus MINIMIZING the almost-guaranteed error created by field conditions - both bad hold and high winds. It's very windy a LOT here, and as you know, BC is more important than velocity to bucking wind (unlike holdover error, which is more dependent upon velocity than upon BC, at least out to 400 or so).

So, the Hornady SST seems to hit the sweet spot balancing:
--terminal performace (excellent, BOTH as to rapid expansion of the nose, and retention/penetration), with
--actual accuracy (very very good), with
--BC/practical accuracy/MPBR (very very good), with
--low purchase price (good to very good).

The TSX is poor in the purchase price category, and moderate to good (not even good-plus) in the BC/MPBR category. Its accuracy would seem very good, and it's terminal performance outstanding. If we could get three of the four in the good or better ranks, rather than 2 of the 4, it might stand a chance beating the SST.

The Berger VLD at least gets 3 of 4, with its only drawback being high price like the TSX; that is, *IF* you believe the claims about its excellent terminal performance, which I've not heard much from actual shooters, just 'professional hunters' on TV who get PAID to talk about how the Berger is the deadliest chunk of lead known to the animal kingdom - and they do.

So regardless of whatever else it has going for it, it just seems to me that it'd be EASY to make these bullets with better BCs (the Barnes) without sacrificing any terminal performance, since long bullets and good BCs are heaven-made for one another, and that's what the copper bullets are - long! So it's a "why the heck not" thing for my hard earned shooting dollar.

Even the MRX which cost about the same as pure gold, pound for pound, has a relatively poor BC for its ballistic tip design.

Unless you believe a little lead in the ground harms the environment, in which case there's a reason to go TSX that is hard to put a value on.

PS. If I was rich, then the cost of the Barnes would not matter much, and probably make them the better choice easily.

June 12, 2009, 05:15 PM
Alright. Please correct me if I'm wrong here. Not that I'm doubting something a manufacturer would say about there product. But I am always a bit skeptical about the lastest and greatest. (And just for the record, I am a Hornady fan. Both products and customer service.)

To the point. They say that the length and shape are the same. They say the BC is (near enough) the same. But in my understanding, if the length and shape are the same, since copper is much less dense than lead, the weight won't be the same. Therefore the Sectional Density won't be the same. Therefore the Ballistic Coeffecient won't be the same.

With less dense material, to keep the weight, SD, and BC the same as a bullet of the same caliber. The new bullet will have to be longer.

The only other thing that it could be, is if this new bullet uses a copper alloy with something like tungsten added to increase the alloy's density. That could be a possibility.

Like I said, please correct me if Imy understanding of this is wrong on this in any way.


June 12, 2009, 06:07 PM
I can see you have put a lot of thought into this. I think you are unnecessarily splitting hairs to compensate for a bunch of what ifs. If you want a high bc bullet to compensate for a bad shot you are out of luck, to my knowledge they have not come up with one …yet. I have found dandy terminal performance with a variety of the high bc bullets you are shunning (A-max excluded as I have no direct experience with it). If it is very windy where you are, practice in it a LOT. Not to sound preachy but don’t expect to make the “shot of a lifetime” on the “buck of a lifetime” without a lot of practice under similar circumstances.
Shoot more under field conditions so you can worry less.

June 12, 2009, 06:21 PM
I bought a box.

The are a bit longer than the lead-core bullets. Claimed BC is the same.

I've loaded up a few with 3 different powder charges (My usual Hornady BTSP charge -1 grain, -.5 grain and full charge). Will report back when I've shot some.

June 13, 2009, 12:58 AM
One more chance (for me to learn) to correct me if I'm wrong.

The are a bit longer than the lead-core bullets. Claimed BC is the same.

Assuming you load with the bullet .010" off the lands, with the same BC you'll have near (if not exactly) the same ogive on the bullet. If you treat these like the lead core equivalents, and load them to the same OAL, won't pressures increase because of less "free space" inside the cartridge.

And with increased pressure, won't that change the exterior ballistics of the cartridge.

ArmedBear- When you say these are a bit longer, how much is a bit? Is it enough to make much difference in pressures? (I assume not because you loaded the test rounds up to your previous load. But it may not have been at max levels. Only you know that.)

Looking forward to seeing your test results.


June 13, 2009, 09:03 AM
Hey guys, Barnes recommends that their copper bullets have a substantial "jump" to the lands, I load my 150gr TS at about .050-.070 max in my M1A .308.

Without going into my reloading room and digging out my data my COL was max for magazine feeding and I still had slightly over .050 for the throat, reason is that the harder copper needs some speed on it when it hits the lands.

June 13, 2009
Home » Technical » Load Data » Loading Guidelines
Loading Guidelines

1. What load data do I use for the Tipped Triple-Shock and Maximum Range X Bullets?

Answer. We recommend using Triple-Shock X Bullet data from Barnes Reloading Manual Number 4 or the Technical Section of Barnes Bullets website.

2. How accurate is the Triple Shock?

Answer. In testing we have found the Triple Shock bullet to be very accurate. For another test on the accuracy of the new Triple Shock- check out the July, 2003 issue of Shooting Times and Rick Jamison’s article on ” New Loads for an Old Favorite - The .270 Winchester .

3. Where do I seat the Triple-Shock, Tipped TSX and MRX bullets?

Answer. We recommend seating these bullets .050″ off the lands {rifling} of your rifle. This length can be determined by using a “Stoney Point Gauge” or other methods. You do not have to seat the bullet at, or on one of the annular rings.

June 13, 2009, 09:46 AM
There is one more of the barnes born bullet to look at and that would be the winchester version that use's a steel plug in the rear of the bullet to give a heavier bullet with the same shape of the regular barnes x. I don't shoot winchester so don't pay much attention to there products. IF buck hunting is what you want a bullet for???? As much a like the barnes x i use the nosler ballstic tip and the sst when just buck hunting. My BT ammo is from georgia arms and is a bit hotter also that factory loads and it matches very well to hornadies heavy mag sst round. Both are 139 or 140grain. Like i said before ,i don't reload as i don't shoot that much a year and ain't worth working up something as fast and accurate as i can buy. I know i am shooting a hotter caliber than what your looking to load but i have never had a deer move more than 1 step with a BT. The bt can destroy a lot of meat if bullet is placed baddly. Atleast you don't have to look for the deer. Noslers new E bullet might be a new design worth looking at too. Still like the X for elk or heavier game.

June 13, 2009, 01:33 PM
I loaded up 10 rounds to test the pressure.

My best known load with Hornady 165 grain BTSP bullets is 56.5 grains of IMR 4350, about .005" shorter than OAL spec. It shoots sub-MOA in my rifle.

Since the GMX bullets extend a good 1/8" farther into the case than the BTSPs, I started low, at 55.5 grains, and loaded 3 more with 56, 3 more with my regular 56.5.

I also loaded the GMX to .004"-.005" shorter than spec OAL (which is .010" longer than the BTSP, at least according to the guy I called at Hornady).

With the BTSPs, 56.5 grains is a just-so load, right about at 100%.

It becomes a compressed load with the GMX bullets. This didn't seem to change anything: no signs of overpressure, and it was still the most accurate load among the few I tested.

The downloaded charges shot lousy groups.

The 56.5 grain load, despite now being compressed, was about as accurate as it is with BTSPs. I shot a 1" 3-shot group with it, but off a rest that wasn't as stable as I used to test the BTSP load. So I'm going to guess it's good for sub-MOA until I do further testing.

I just loaded those 10 because the guy at Hornady suggested lowering the charge a bit for initial pressure testing (though he also said that most of the guys there did end up finding that their regular loads were safe and shot best with GMX after testing).

I didn't want to shoot too many those dollar-a-shot loads just to see which ones were overpressure!

So, I'll be loading more, and posting more.

Thumbs up so far.:)

June 15, 2009, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the update, look forward to more.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 16, 2009, 09:37 AM
Nice report; thanks! What cartridge are we talking?

June 23, 2009, 01:02 AM
I believe that what they mean by "interchangeable" with their other bullets is that the loading data is interchangable within a specific caliber/weight, as opposed to Barnes bullets where loading data is not generally interchangable with standard bullets. I don't think they mean that the GMX of a specific weight/caliber will shoot exactly the same as another of theirs in same weight/caliber, but you don't need special data.

As to the less than superb BC of the Barnes bullets, out to 350-400 yards, even a bit more, it isn't going to make enough difference for you to even notice under hunting conditions. You are having yourself a big to do over nothing!

June 23, 2009, 08:55 AM
I don't think they mean that the GMX of a specific weight/caliber will shoot exactly the same as another of theirs in same weight/caliber, but you don't need special data.


However, the 165 grain GMX and the 165 grain SST shot within an inch of each other yesterday. I have to get my seating depth figured out, then I'll post a bit more. Right now I'm getting just over 1 MOA from both SST and GMX, but I think I have to go .005" shallower to match the .7" groups I was getting with Hornady BTSPs.

Group size with SST and GMX bullets seems identical.

The only thing I do wonder about is gilding metal and expansion at lower velocities. OTOH I don't know how Barnes bullets expand at lower velocities either (say 400 yards out). Does anyone?

Tad- .30-'06 in a Vanguard Sporter. 165 grain bullets over 56.5 and 57.0 grains of IMR 4350.

June 23, 2009, 12:21 PM
It is kind of hard to know regarding expansion on Barnes bullets because one rarely recovers one. I have gotten exactly 1 out of many dozens shot at game--that from the paunch of an Eland shot stem to stern. Based on wound channels, I suspect they are still expanding at pretty reduced speed. That is based on a few examples at 400-500 yards, and one at about 700 on an elk--still passed through, but wound channel looked to me like expansion had indeed occurred. One of Barnes claims is that they expand at widely varying velocities. I sure haven't seen anything that makes me question that. Incidently, I don't normally take shots that long. There were extenuating circumstances, and I don't intend to do it again--though things worked out fine.

June 23, 2009, 07:07 PM
I noticed that someone mentioned the relatively low BC numbers for the TSX family of bullets.

I think that part of the reduction is due to the relief cuts in the shank. But I also believe that a big part of the reason is that Barnes may be actually trying to publish honest and accurate BC for their bullets. I noticed that a lot of their bullets on their website don't have BC's listed, and there is also a note that states that Barnes is working to retest and publish new BC figures based on 300 yard velocity and trajectory data. This is great since most manufacturers use either theoretical BC's based on the caliber, weight and shape of the bullet, or use 100 yard velocity data because the shorter range means the bullet is traveling faster, with makes the calculated BC higher. The problem is that the G1 standard isn't very good at predicting the performance of modern tangent and secant ogived, boat tailed bullets. With the G1 standard the BC will always be much higher than, say, the G7 standard which, while a much better predictor of the trajectory of modern rifle bullets, gives much lower BC numbers. The G1 is very velocity sensitive, with the BC dropping as the velocity drops. This is why many manufacturers calculate the BC based on short range data, to inflate the numbers. The problem is that the BC of a bullet from the muzzle to 100 yards is different than the BC from 100-200, 200-300, etc. By using 300 yard data, the BC for the Barnes bullets better reflect the actual performance of the bullet out to about twice that distance. Most long range shooters I've talked to correct their BC's for the longer ranges, since at very long range the published BC is seldom accurate enough to produce accurate trajectory tables.

If Barnes is trying to publish accurate BC data, even if it means that their numbers will be lower than their competitors, I commend them.


June 24, 2009, 01:52 AM
Factual, and well stated! Why is this such a mystery to so many people?

June 24, 2009, 09:22 AM
I believe you are correct about the shank cuts (I have no facts, graphs, or figures to back this up) these relief cuts appear as though they would create turbulence and reduce the BC. However, as to your comment about other bullet manufacturers inflating their BCs, wouldn’t it be nice if someone would do a comparison at say…600 yds? “… for several years Bryan Litz has been fire testing nearly every popular long range bullet to establish true and comparable BC data. Bryan’s efforts have produced a wealth of information which will soon be available to all shooters in his book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting.”

Cant wait to read.

June 26, 2009, 06:06 PM
Finally did it!

Range Report with pictures here:

June 27, 2009, 01:35 AM
Damn! You computer guys are always putting things up as "look here"--then you put it in some kind of code. What the hell does that code mean? I read nothing out of it.

June 27, 2009, 10:57 AM
On mine it's a link. Just click on it and you'll go to the thread.:)

Is it not a link on your computer?

If not, go to the Rifle forum and scroll down. It's still on the first page.

June 28, 2009, 01:36 AM
Now I think I'm getting an education. Link. I've seen that referred to before. Just what is such? Click on what? I'm feelin' more like a computor wizzard already, though I guess I really haven't accomplished anything yet!

June 28, 2009, 11:56 AM
Click on the following text:

That should bring up my post in the Rifle forum.:)

June 29, 2009, 01:17 AM
That was pretty slick! I put the little fist with a finger on the http and it all turned red. I pushed the button, and was soon in a new place. Cool! I'm learning to be a computor wizard! My grandson won't laugh at me next time I see him! At this rate, I'll be teaching him. Thanks for the lesson. I'm surmising at this point that anytime I put that little finger on a code and hit the button, I'll get somewhere, correct?

June 29, 2009, 01:44 PM
Yup. That's how this thing works.

The idea of random linking is why the World Wide Web is called a "web." It's like a big bunch of connections going every-which-way.

Earlier attempts at presenting Internet information relied on tables and heirarchies. None of them caught on with the general public. The Web changed that, and the link is the basic element of the Web.:)

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