What happenedto this tsx bullet.


Lloyd Smale
September 1, 2011, 12:19 PM
shot a 100 lb doe last night with my 300 wby using a 180 tsx. deer was on the trott at about 150 yards and i led it a bit to much and hit it right in the sholder. Now when i gutted the deer it was a total mess. the gut sack was ripped open and the instestines were shreaded. When i hit the deer it ran about 150 yards dragging that leg. A couple things blew my mind. First all the damage. My first thought was that all the bone chips must have blew averywhere but the real odd thing was that there was no exit wound and not even any damgage on the far side shoulder. Now about any standard cup and core bullet would have done some damage on the far side sholder with a shot like that. No exit wound but an enteratace wound through the shoulder as big as a baseball. I never recovered a bullet. It was dark and it never crossed my mind and i went back today and looked through the rest of the gut pile and no bullet? I would almost have to think that the tsx just came apart totaly on that shoulder.

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September 1, 2011, 12:31 PM
No way a TSX disintegrated. What's far more likely is that it did exit, possibly after yawing and losing most of its energy.

Dr T
September 1, 2011, 02:17 PM
If it clipped a bone on the way in, it could have expanded, deflected its course, and started tumbling.

I shot a whitetail buck a few years ago at 40 yards with a 30-06 (Hornady 180 gr. spire point Interlock loaded to 2650 MV <chornographed>). It was quarter on facing me. I was shooting slightly down hill. The bullet hit a little high on the right side of the chest (just inside the front leg), and took out both lungs and the heart. When it got to the rib cage (left side), the bullet turned and went straight down the ribs cutting four ribs like a pair of shears. The bullet did not exit. The deer had only the one little .30 hole in the chest.

I wish I had thought to recover the bullet just to see how much of it was left.

September 1, 2011, 02:57 PM
Sometimes, when a pre-fragmented copper bullet hits at a high velocity or on the wrong part of the deer, the copper petals will blow off like shrapnel causing damage in places well away from the entry wound.

I wouldn't be surprised if as you butcher the deer, you find shards of copper in odd places.

Arkansas Paul
September 1, 2011, 03:38 PM
+1 Jason.
I too have heard of the petals coming off the Barnes when hitting heavy bone. Just about anything that's designed to expand will shed some weight when coming into contact with bone.

September 1, 2011, 07:43 PM
Is it deer season up there already?

You shoot one before November down here,and they'll pipe you sunlight.

September 1, 2011, 08:10 PM
I have killed quite a few elk and deer with the 180tsx out of my 06 and have never lost a petal. On one after traversing the whole length of a cow roosie the bullet broke the neck and was weighed at 179.06 gr. I think you got complete penetration and just havent found the exit hole. Frank

Lloyd Smale
September 2, 2011, 07:16 AM
we went back last night and the gut pile was long gone. Critters ate it but unless they ate the bullet too it wasnt in there as the spot the pile was had no bullet. I looked very carefully for an exit wound on the whole deer and hide when i skinned it and nothing. There was no copper in the shoulder that i noticed but to be honest it was so nasty that i cut it off and let it drop into the garbage can i use for hides and scraps. But did look that over enough to notice i didnt seen an exit wound in it either. Now like a said it was nasty and i could have missed it. In my mind theres only two possible senerios here. One would be the bullet blew up and the other would be that i missed the exit wound in the leg and maybe the bullet had tracked down lower through the leg and came out or at least the shank anyway. That is a possiblilty because when i shot i was holding half way up on the deer and thats where the enterance wound was. But handling the deer it seemed like its leg was broke lower then the shot. To do this though would require that bullet to about take a 90 degree turn an inch into the shoulder which would for a barnes be about as odd as one comming apart. I too would like to know for sure. I rotate guns all through crop damage season and ive also got my 2506 and 257 wby loaded with tsx bullets this year. One thing ill say for sure though is that i was previously nervous about my past experinces with x bullets pensiling through animals without doing damage. I dont think ive seen much worse damage in my lifetime of hunting then this bullet did.

September 2, 2011, 10:09 AM
Well Lloyd lets look at this thing a little more. Anything can happen, and maybe I'm too staunch a supporter of Barnes TSX's but its very hard for me to believe that the core of a TSX blew up, its solid copper. I've never seen a TSX lose a petal much less 4 of them. You say you hit it in the shoulder and the guts were all churned up, was there a hole in any bones of the shoulder? Could the deer have turned just a fraction before the shot and you hit the shoulder angling back into the guts and the bullet ended up there or possibly exited out the paunch and possibly you didn't see it with the light or the mess of getting the guts out? It sounds like you have more experience than I have on lighter animals as most of my shots have been on elk, the big roosevelts not the lighter rockies, but going on my limited experience with deer the TSX just blows thru them leaving a bunch of damage in their wake. I've never had the bad luck of hitting one in the guts but things happen. The guts being all torn up is what I would be prepared to expect knowing the kind of damage a TSX can do. I have shot 2 elk on purpose from the end and went thru the guts and broke the neck. Naturally it churned up things quite a bit but it took out the liver and the top vessels coming from the heart and broke the neck and still the bullets didn't lose any petals.All bullets can do weird things when they hit flesh and ninety degree turns are not unheard of.Whatever, I wouldn't give up on the Barnes, it did kill the critter and you did get the meat so all in all the bullet did just what it was designed to do and I don't know but I doubt that you lost any meat.I am very interested in bullet performance as I am called as an expert witness on occasion in poaching cases.
Please keep us informed, and kill another one with these bullets and tell us what happens. With My Highest Regards, Frank

September 2, 2011, 10:37 AM
Where did you get the ammo? It sounds like a Barnes frangible. They don't make a 180 gr frangible, but TSXs don't typically perform like that either.


Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 2, 2011, 10:54 AM
I agree with everyone. At such high velocities, funny and strange things can happen to a projectile.

Do you have a metal detector that would detect copper?

I have found TSX bullets that have been shot into the dirt berm and some have hit a stone or two and the body is still completely intact, a petal or two might be missing and that is against dirt and stone!

Lloyd Smale
September 3, 2011, 08:15 AM
rori the deer was definately broadside and didnt turn. The tore up guts did have some bone fragments in them so it was at least partialy caused by the shoulder bones fragmenting. Could be partially caused by pedals from the bullet too but i cant verify that. I havent given up on them. I put the wby away for now but took out my 257 wby with 100 tsx bullets to shoot the next one and after that it will be one of my 2506s with 80 grain tsx bullets so i will get a bit more experience on live animals with them shortly. I will though before the end of season have to shoot at least one more with that 300 tsx load to see how it compares. Just seems odd to me as the last one i took was with a 264 mag using a nos 120 bt and that bullet is know to do things like this and it performed great and even left a 50 cent piece sized exit hole. But then it didnt have to punch though a shoulder bone.

September 3, 2011, 08:33 AM
Having field dressed several hundred of deer I've shot myself, and a near equal number of necropsies on evidence animals, I can speculate what you're seeing.

The bone shards are indeed what did most of the damage you see. Secondly, the bullet likely deflected upon impact with the bone and raked rearward into the paunch (stomachs, deer have four: omasum, abomasum, rumen, and reticulum). If the stomach was full (rumen), of semi-chewed browse, the mixture of vegetable matter makes a wonderful bullet trap. Hence the appearance of a "gut-shot" deer. Remember that part of this organ is above the diagphram, so will appear more gut-shot than it really was.

The bullet was likely trapped in the stomach. I've seen this happen many, many times, much to the dismay of the poachers that would be convicted by the evidentiary bullet on proud display in court.

No, I don't particularily enjoy going "dumpster diving" in a gut pile for recovered bullets. I prefer them to be trapped under the skin on the offside for easy recovery. On my personally shot animals, I prefer complete penetration for quick bleed out.

You've just observed the "example of one", that can happen in that 1 in 100 occurances......
Dosen't mean the bullet failed. It's just what happened on that one shot. That's why "repeating" rifles were invented..... If one "fails?", shoot again!

September 3, 2011, 09:59 AM
Hi Goose, I think you may be right on. Whatever the case the bullet did its job, the deer is dead very fast. Please keep us updated on the future use of TSX's of other calibers. Frank

Lloyd Smale
September 3, 2011, 03:31 PM
could be possible goose its just that i would never guessed it out of a barnes bullet.

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