Barnes Revisited


September 21, 2011, 08:21 AM
Many, many years ago I tried a few Barnes bullets for my reloads. I wasn't too impressed. A couple of weeks ago I was a gun store and noticed a box of Barnes, 300 grain TSX bullets in .458. I grabbed a box and decided to give them a go in my 45-70.

This is a rifle that has always been pretty accurate. However, it just loves these bullets. The first two shots at one hundred yards were touching, the third shot was about three-quarters of an inch away, a called pulled shot.

Yesterday I grabbed a new Barnes reloading manual. Things have really changed with them. They have many neat bullets that I intend to try.

Animal pictures are used with each bullet to indicate what game they are recommended for. They do recomend some of their 22 caliber bullets for deer. I know of the debate this causes among hunters. Has anyone used one of these bullets for deer?

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September 21, 2011, 02:20 PM
I as well didn't like the first Barnes on the market many years ago. But now days they have really come around, and are producing some really good stuff. Expensive, but excellent none the less. But in this respect, you often get what you pay for!

September 21, 2011, 06:22 PM
I thought Barnes would be good in my 308 I used a 168gr.TTSX it shot high! tryeed Hornady 165ge SST and now it's inside the kill zone of a white tail.

September 21, 2011, 06:41 PM
Doesn't your scope or sights have an adjustment on them to bring the point of impact to where you want it?

I have tried quite a few different Barnes bullets. So far, in the accuracy department, I have never found a load for the Barnes bullets that are quite as good as some other bullet such as a Sierra or Nosler. They haven't been bad, just not the best. Probably good enough accuracy for hunting even They do have a very good track record of performance on game no doubt. And I do have several sets in different calibers all loaded up ready to go hunting if I want to use them. But for some reason, when I decide what round to take hunting that season, I always seem to grab the box that gives the best in accuracy. I have several Barnes combos that will give me a consistent 1.0-1.2" 5 shot group at 100 yds. Like I said, in reality, that is probably good enough. But I just like the round that will give me 0.6" groups consistently.

September 21, 2011, 07:46 PM
Yes it dose Funshooter45 but nothing I did worked! beside now I have it to where I wanted it.

T Bran
September 21, 2011, 08:05 PM
I havent shot a deer with my .223 53 grain TSX load yet but have shot a few hogs in the 150 to 250 pound range. That load out of my 700 sps did so well that I will shoot my next deer with it and have no concerns about an ethical kill. It went through both shoulders and kept on going expansion was as advertised a .50 cal hole exiting the off shoulder.Meat damage was minimal and best of all they required no tracking.
I wont say that they are the most accurate bullet in my inventory but will shoot between .75 and 1.5 at 100 yds from the bench. Good enough for me since I cant shoot that good of a group rested on the side of a pine tree anyway.
Happy Hunting

September 21, 2011, 08:11 PM
They never shot well for me, and if you don't push them fast enough they will not expand. I bought a box in 6mm and they shot all over the place. I complained and Barnes asked for the lot # on the box, I told the rep on the phone and he said that lot of bullets were made offshore and were not concentric!
So much for good old US bulletsmithing!
So I'll stick to my tried and trusted Nosler Partition bullets, thanks, all I can ask for in an accurate hunting bullet.

September 21, 2011, 08:39 PM
I used the 168 ttsx .308 bullet in my 308 Win T/C Encore 15 inch barrel pistol last hunting season.
Two deer dropped where they stood when I put to Barnes through the boiler room at 117 yards.
Out of the pistol, my handloads chronographed around 2400 fps.
Complete penetration with half dollar sized exit wounds, so I presume I got good expansion. But I didn't recover any bullets to prove it.

They finally will allow rifle hunting in my county, so I will use my Kimber 84M this coming season.
Using Varget powder, CCI BR2 primers and Remington brass, I developed a load that shoots close to 1 MOA out of the rifle at 160 yards. So the bullet does have accuracy potential, but takes a little tuning. Also I get better results if I keep the barrel clean using a copper remover solvent.


Arkansas Paul
September 21, 2011, 09:00 PM
I don't have any personal experience with Barnes, but from what I've heard and read, you have to measure your chamber and seat the bullet just off the lands to get good accuracy with them.

T Bran
September 21, 2011, 09:00 PM
Remember that copper being lighter than lead makes the bullets pretty long for their weight and could cause problems with stablization. If you cant get them to shoot well drop down a weight and they might surprise you. The 45 grain bullets are more accurate than the 53 grain in my rifle. I can barely get comfortable shooting deer with a .223 dropping down to 45 grain bullets is more than I can do. We all have our limits 53 grain is already teetering on the edge of my confort zone.

September 21, 2011, 09:07 PM
Unless you're using a marginal weapon, there is nothing a Barnes bullet will do that a cheaper copper jacketed bullet won't do on North American game. Also, I haven't been able to get them to shoot well in every instance in which I've tried them but you could say that about most bullets. Accuracy wise, they shoot very well for me in a 30/06, a 7mm Rem. Mag. & a 378 Weatherby and not so well in several .224 caliber rifles I've tried them in.

September 21, 2011, 10:29 PM
The TSX shoots and kills well for me in 223, 243, 270, and 30-06. The problem was the tuning that all of them seemed to need.

Find a load that shoots well and then start adjusting seating depth. By then, you've emptied a box. An expensive box.

Good bullets but I seem to be able to get to a great load quicker (and cheaper) with other bullets.

September 22, 2011, 01:06 AM
I started using Barnes bullets recently.The Varmint Grenades did not give me the accuracy I hoped for,not really even close in my .218 Bee,.223,or my .243.All have shot MOA or better with other brands,mostly Sierra and Nosler. However,the TTSX's have impressed me in my 338.I shot sub moa last weekend with my old,tang safety Ruger in .338 Win. We also shot some TTSX rounds in my father in law's 30-06,and they shot very well too.The bullets are pricey,and not needed for deer,I think,but are a good choice for the elk and moose we will hunt this year.

35 Whelen
September 22, 2011, 01:26 AM
I never had any luck with the old X bullets, but the .338", 210 gr. version shot well out of my Dad's 338-06.
I began using 225 gr. TSX's in my 35 Whelen after a Nosler Partition in the same weight didn't perform as I had expected on a big 6x6 bull.
The first thing I realized was that these bullets are extremely accurate. Even using a 4X scope, groups like this were pretty much the norm:

RARELY does this bullet shoot over 3/4" out of my Whelen.

Unless you're using a marginal weapon, there is nothing a Barnes bullet will do that a cheaper copper jacketed bullet won't do on North American game.

I beg to differ. Here's a .358" 225 gr. TSX recovered from a 6x6 NM bull my Dad shot at about 150 yds. The bullet entered the **** (He had already been hit once) and was found under the skin of the right shoulder:

A couple of years later, he shot a smaller bull with another 35 Whelen loaded with a 250 gr. Speer @ 2504 fps. It was an easy broadside, slightly quartering shot at 44 yds:

The bullet destroyed the off shoulder:

Not much left of the bullet as it shed its core. Thank goodness it wasn't a hard, deep quartering shot.

Two years ago I shot another bull with the 225 gr. TSX. He was at 355 yds. The shot angled from behind the right shoulder and exited the neck. Dead bull.


September 22, 2011, 11:30 AM
Bear in mind that Barnes bullets came into use primarily due to **********'s anti-hunting push for banning lead bullets. They were an answer to a virtually non existent, but politically charged problem. I consider them over priced and over rated when compared to lead core, copper jacketed bullets.
I'm well aware that some have good luck with Barnes, but IMO, they are not superior to lead core bullets, and only if I was foolish enough to live in one of these restrictive liberal states, would I consider using lead free bullets.
You won't find any lead free bullets on my shelves.
It may be that Hornady's approach to lead free is a better bullet, and won't foul the barrel like the Barnes can.


September 22, 2011, 05:00 PM
I with you NCsmitty! Barnes are overpriced IMO Hornady are alot better cheaper and you get 50 more!.

35 Whelen
September 22, 2011, 06:45 PM
Where deer or hog hunting is concerned, I totally agree with you guys that like the lead core bullets. I've never seen the sense in sending a 70˘ TSX zinging all the way through the body of something as easy to kill as a deer or hog when a common cup and core bullet will do just as well.
Elk, in my experience, however are an entirely different matter and the TSX will always be my first choice.


September 23, 2011, 08:13 AM
I don't get it? Some of you are worried about price when it comes to trying to kill a large animal in a humane fashion?

Now, if a cheaper bullet does a better job of killing a deer than a more expensive one, then, by all means, use it. But, if to save literally a few cents you pick a less effective bullet, then hunting might not be your thing.

If one was plinking, punching paper, blasting vermon, or doing any type of shooting that requires high volume coupled with inconsequential bullet performance, then using the cheapest bullets makes sense.

But when it come to big game, I always thought that one should always use the best bullet possible. Weather that bullet costs a dime or a dollar.

Also, how many of you have actually tried and experimented with Barnes bullets?

At least 35 Whelen has posted some photos to backup his claims. Can the rest of you do the same?

September 23, 2011, 10:29 AM
It is true that if all you're talking about is a box of bullets, then the extra cost for a box of Barnes bullets is meaningless in terms of hunting. But a lot of us like to occasionally shoot the same bullet that we hunt with when we go to the range. Then it's not just one box. It might be 10 boxes per year. Then the costs mount up. I have tried a lot of Barnes bullets and they just don't get quite the accuracy as others do. My favorite hunting bullet in the 7 mm mag happens to be made by Nosler. They aren't cheap either compared to Sierra or Hornady. So I kind of compromise a bit. I will typically go through 500-600 of the Sierras every year and maybe only 100 or so Noslers in 7 mm. Although sometimes I wonder why. The Sierras shoot just as accurate as the Noslers and I have seen their performance on elk several times.

September 23, 2011, 10:43 AM
Not saying not to use them because of the cost, because they do work well. I was just complaining about the cost!

September 23, 2011, 11:22 AM
I was just complaining about the cost!

I guess gas stations don't do much for your mood.:D

September 23, 2011, 03:16 PM
I thought Barnes would be good in my 308 I used a 168gr.TTSX it shot high! tryed Hornady 165ge SST and now it's inside the kill zone of a white tail.

Yes it dose Funshooter45 but nothing I did worked! beside now I have it to where I wanted it.

Classic example of a scope that's mounted wrong. Either the bases or rings are not in-line with the bore. If you run out of up or down adjustment, the scope is cocked in the rings or the bases are installed wrong.

As for the Barnes bullets, the only one I ever played with was the 45 cal. expander EX in a 50 cal. sabot for my 77-50 TC inline black powder rifle. They shot extremely well, and shot into water, they expanded just like the pictures on the packaging. Never got to shoot any deer with them, may still get a chance to.

I do NOT believe anyone NEEDS a copper solid bullet, except those that have given up on the politics in kommiefornia. My answer to them is to not hunt. Let those tree huggers see what happens to a game population that is NOT controlled by hunting.

For the rest of us, normal cup&core bullets will do nicely. If you're really worried about lead in the meat, THEN a copper solid is a good choice. Or if you're after grizz, or his cousins, then too it's a good option.

I have shot some of the Hornady GMX, which is a guilding metal solid bullet. It expands reliably down to 1800 fps. So it's a magnum bullet, or close work with a .308 or medium with a '06. Mine were shot with a 300 wsm.

September 23, 2011, 05:58 PM
Your WRONG SNUFFY!!! my scope is mounted right and all the screws are TIGHT! a few guys at the range look to make sure everything was ok.

September 23, 2011, 06:31 PM
there is nothing a Barnes bullet will do that a cheaper copper jacketed bullet won't do on North American game

Disagree! The Barnes will do this, over and over and over again!

From the smallest to largest calibers, they will give you reliable expansion and weight retention.

If you want to see examples of performance on animals, just let me know.

Yes, you can “KILL”…animals with other bullets, but the Barnes is tops… with respect to deep penetration, weight retention and absolutely guaranteed expansion (when used within design parameters).

September 23, 2011, 08:12 PM
Yeah, bullets fired into test medium usually look like that. Just like these Horn. GMX.

There's another one too. The Nosler E-tip is a solid guilding metal bullet, similar to the H-GMX.

Barnes has a reputation of failure to expand. Penciling through like a FMJ. What they didn't know was that the copper they were using had work hardened. They got a metallurgist to look at their operation. He said anneal them as your last step, then they will expand. It helped, but they then used the old external expander principle first seen in the Remington bronze tip. Later used by Nosler in their ballistic tip, and now used by darn near everybody. The blue plastic tip starts expansion, as well as increasing BC.

Then there's the fouling matter. They solved that to some extent by cutting some relief rings into the shank. This presents less of the soft, pure copper of the Barnes bullets. At one time they solved it with a blue coating on the bullet.

Jack, either your scope is mounted at an angle, or your erector mechanism is no good inside the scope. You should be able to drop your elevation enough to allow for any bullet. There's no way to just look at a scope to tell if it's level to the bore's center line. It would take a gunsmith with a precision ground round bar to lay in the rings to see how much it's off. You can be stubborn and claim all is well, but I suggest you have it checked out. It could make you miss the shot of a lifetime.

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