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Bad experience with Barnes Triple-Shok X Bullets

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by rock jock, May 6, 2006.

  1. rock jock

    rock jock Senior Member

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    Got in some large-game hunting recently using Federal 7MM Rem. Mag 160-gr Barnes Triple-Shok X bullets. Shots were fired from 20-320 yards on light skinned large deer-like creatures with hits on bone, through lungs, heart, and muscle. Results, none of the bullets expanded beyond estimated 25% of diameter, with half exhibiting almost zero expansion. Highly ineffective, very disappointing.

    Just thought I would pass this info on. I selected these rounds based on recommendations from various websites and wanted to warn folks away from them so they don't make the same mistakes. I don't know if the 160-gr bullet is too heavy for the 7 Mag in factory loadings or what, I just know that these things were garbage. After the hunt, I tossed the remaining rounds in the trash. Good riddance.
     
  2. dakotasin

    dakotasin Senior Member

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    the triple shock is a good bullet, and 160 grains are great in the 7 mag. but, this is a case of 2 great tastes that don't go great together.

    i would wager you would've had far more satisfactory performance if you had used a 140 (or lighter) tsx, or a 160 conventional bullet.

    sorry for your disappointment - i hope it didn't destroy your hunting experience.
     
  3. rock jock

    rock jock Senior Member

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    Dakota, the bullet almost ruined the hunt, but repeated shots made at running animals salvaged the day. I'll do more research next time.
     
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Senior Member

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    well... i don't know what to say! glad you went hunting, very sorry to hear of the downside.

    the 7 mag is a favored cartridge of mine - i've done a ton of hunting and shooting w/ it, and am acutely aware of its abilities and limits (not many of those!).

    this 'premium' bullet nonsense is spilling over, and it directly affected your hunt. w/ the 7 mag, you can safely run 3000 - 3150 f/s muzzle velocity w/ hornady interlocks and get stellar performance. that translates to 162's. if you want to up the velocity by using 120's or 140's, you do need to take precautions. 139/140's will work well most of the time at full honk - but once you close 50 yards you've got to be very careful to not hit the shoulder, but to slip the bullet in just behind the shoulder. if you run 120's, you'll be needing barnes xlc-type toughness.

    sierra gameking 150's and 160's work well, also. same caveats w/ going lighter.

    so... the tradeoff... run 160-class bullets and gain the bc advantage for long shots, or run 140's and get the velocity advantage...? from standard bullets in the 140-class, i have had mostly good results. note: mostly. thus, in my 7 mags, i now run 160's and take the bc and construction advantages. i don't like paying $30 for 50 component bullets, which is what i think is needed at 140 and lighter velocity/construction.

    sorry to ramble. glad you went hunting, sorry you needed to test your moving target skills. glad you have those skills.
     
  5. rock jock

    rock jock Senior Member

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    Thanks for advice, dakota. I'll keep this thread saved for future reference.

    Looking at the ballistic chart for the Federal 160-gr Barnes Triple Shok, the velocity at 100 yds. is only 2755 fps and 2578 at 200 yds. This seems too low to ensure reliable expansion. In retrospect, I should have paid a little more attention to these numbers before I hunted. Any opinions on that?
     
  6. dakotasin

    dakotasin Senior Member

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    nope - you already have that one nailed. barnes need velocity, and lots of it, to expand reliably. 2500, 2600 isn't enough velocity to guarantee expansion.

    also, all federal ammo i have chronied has come out pathetically slow. very likely it isn't even close to advertised claims, exacerbating the problem further.

    if you like heavy bullets (i do), then run cup-n-core bullets. if you like velocity, then run barnes. the 7 mag is right at the cusp of needing premiums, but i don't think they're called for in the 7 mag. everything is a trade off... premium bullets rarely give optimal expansion, but they retain their weight. cup-and-core's are more likely to shed weight, but expand all the way.

    my partner and i squeezed off near simultaneous shots at whitetail bucks this fall. they were a hair over 400 yards (mine dressed out at 215 pounds, his went 235). i was using a 300 win mag stoked w/ 165 xlc's, he was using a 308 w/ 165 hornady. at the shots, both deer staggered and fell. when we finally got to them, the bullet from my deer had exited, his was in the offside skin after going thru arm bone, cut across the sternum, caught a rib, and broke the offside arm bone. my bullet was in and out. point is, the old standards are a lot tougher than most would have you believe. his bullet had to break a lot of bone just to get to the chest, and it not only did that, but went on thru to the other side, breaking more bone. my bullet caused minimal damage, which was made up for by perfect shot placement. had i been a couple inches off, i'm sure we'd still be tracking that deer because there wasn't enough expansion to ensure maximum damage. his had expanded enough that even though his bullet struck much lower than desired, it did maximum damage.

    i have a billion stories of shots taken w/ the 7 mag... some are good...
     
  7. charger

    charger New Member

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    So is barnes of any weight a 100 yd max bullet then?????
    130-140 grainers are doing the same at 100 as 160's came out of the muzzle at. If this is the case,and I truly hope NOT,then why isn't barnes putting minimum impact fps literature in with their product..We also have the concern that if minimum fps is a consideration the literature I've mentioned should also disclude some cartidges..I tried their 458's in my lott,an expansion test is wet snow showed little expansion.After calling barnes tech,I was told it must be animal tissue..Animal tissue it will be then..Went to the butcher,got a 45 gal drum of densly packed scraps. I think all will agree that when I got that home and used a garden hose to add about a gallon of water I pretty much had the real thing. I think most will also agree that when I point blanked the drum at 2850 I pretty much tested that bullet as fast as it is apt to be driven. Max exp> 3/32" petal. Now all of this being said,a while back I got a bit of info from someone at barnes service who told me their bullets were no where near as consistant as other brands.....OOOOHHHH Now could we be onto something?????
     
  8. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Senior Member

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    OK, the bullets didn't expand much; did the animals die though? What is the big deal about bullet expansion? Thousands of buffalo were killed with solid lead bullets that weren't designed to expand. Elephants are routinely killed with bullets that aren't supposed to expand and if they do, it's considered poor performance.

    If a bullet doesn't expand and goes through the heart or both lungs, it seems to me the animal is going to promptly die. If the bullet expands excessively and doesn't make it into vital structure, you may have a huge superficial wound and the animal may get away. I'll take penetration over expansion any day.

    I don't generally use Barnes Triple-Shocks but not because of expansion issues; they just don't seem as accurate in guns I've tried them in as other choices.
     
  9. Charles S

    Charles S Senior Member

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    I take it you don't have much hunting experience.

    Yes, you can kill any animal with solids.

    You can kill much more quickly with a better blood trail with an expanding bullet. Expanding bullets are prefered on all but the most dangerous game.

    Reading about hunting and doing it are two different things.

    Charles
     
  10. saddlebum

    saddlebum Member

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    i use triple shocks in 308 and 300wsm. my results are the exact opposite of yours on deer and hogs . great expansion dropping all animals with in feet of where they were hit
     
  11. dakotasin

    dakotasin Senior Member

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    the same reason nosler ballistic tips don't come w/ a maximum velocity warning, i suppose.

    grumulkin- dangerous game hunting, and hunting massive critters is a whole 'nuther world from antelope-type hunts. not comparable. and, even w/ elephants, there is typical an expandable bullet followed by a solid - not just solids.
     
  12. Pumpkinheaver

    Pumpkinheaver Senior Member

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again there is no need for "premium" bullets for deer size game.
     
  13. frosty

    frosty Member

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    X bullet

    What about slower velocities(giving the bullet more time to expand)? At in-line muzzleloader speeds, I've used both the hollow point and spitzers to take deer, and exit wounds show a high degree of expansion. I realize that there are probably slightly different bullets- between rifle and muzzleloader, but work on the same principals:evil:
     
  14. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Senior Member

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    Actually I do have a fair amount of hunting experience and of working with living tissue in general. The fact is, whether or not a bullet expands is a lot less important than where you put it. If you put it in the right place, you won't need much of a blood trail because the animal won't be far from where you plugged it.

    Furthermore, whatever type of bullet you're shooting, the entry would will probably be rather small. If the bullet doesn't exit the animal, the only blood trail you will get is from the small entry wound.

    I have never takien an animal with a Barnes bullet because, as I said previously, I haven't found them to be the most accurate. I have, however, seen several animals hit with them propelled by a 340 Weatherby Magnum. The Zebra had a through and through wound of not huge diameter and died promptly. The Gemsbok was put down with the first which would have been enough but a second bullet was used to end things sooner. One bullet was recovered beautifully expanded.

    I shot a a Blue Wildebeest with a 375 H&H Mag. using a Speer 270 gr. botailed spitzer. There was a small entry wound on the right shoulder that bled only a few drops of blood. The bullet stopped under the hide beautifully expanded on the far side of the chest. If I had been using Barnes Triple Shocks I have little doubt there would have been a through and through wound with a great blood trail and the animal would have died either way.

    And I agree, you don't need premium bullets to hunt deer.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2006
  15. dakotasin

    dakotasin Senior Member

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    that is a mighty big if... of all the animals i've dumped, or been party to their demise, my partner's buck last year was the first time i have ever recovered a bullet.
     
  16. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I've killed well over 50 head of game with Barnes TSX and many many more with standard Barnes X.

    I use the Barnes in .308 diameter 168gr (.308win) 180gr (.30-06 & various .300's) and 200gr .(300win or Weatherby)

    I use the 225gr TSX in my .358 and it is an absoloute nightmare on hogs every one I've hit with it went down like it was brain shot. They were all shoulder shots. Extremely dramatic kills for a body shot hog.

    In the .375H&H I use 270gr TSX @ 2700FPS fps and the solids @ the same velocity in.470 N.E. I use the 500gr X and will be using the 500Gr TSX and banded square nose solid in the future.

    I've had nothing but impressive dramatic knock downs and many of those were impressive one shot kills with the TSX. My .308 my .300win and my .375H&H shoot TSX's incredibly tight. My .375H&H will regularly shoot three TSX's inside of a 1/2" at 100 yards in fact my sweetest group to date was with the 270gr TSX a .376"center to center group.

    The highest velocity I shoot the TSX is out of the .300win and the .300 Weatherby with 180's @avg 3100 FPS. I've had perfect performance out of those with several explosive one shot kills. One on an elk at about 80 yards the other a hog at about 100 yards.

    The slowest Barnes load I use is the 470NE with a 500Gr X @ 2150FPS The only big animals I've shot with it are cape buffalo. The performance is boringly perfect. I get perfect expansion and about 6 to 7' of penetration. I think it goes with out saying that it is a devistating hog round.:)

    The only "bad" thing I've ever seen a Barnes do is blow the petals off at high velocity. I watched a buddy shoot a big bodied bull elk at about 260 yards with my old .300 weatherby. The elk took three steps and cratered. The bullet entered just at the last rib and exited the point of the off shoulder we did not recover the bullet but the exit wound indicated that the bullet had shed the petals. However at this point you have a square nosed solid ripping through the vitals which is a very deadly, damaging type of projectile.

    I've had nothing but good luck with Barnes and the TSX has been a major step up in both accuracy and killing power.

    I've heard bad things about barnes bullets. I have never personally seen any of them happen with my kills or the kills my buddies make with Barnes. I'll keep using them as they've never let me down. I've used Barnes X and TSX from Alaska to Africa without a hitch.
     
  17. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Senior Member

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    Do you use any special techniques to get good accuracy with Barnes bullets? What powder did you use for your 375 H&H Mag. load?

    I've been impressed with Barnes bullets performance but haven't been particularly impressed with the accuracy I get from them (maybe my fault). I'm working on some TSX 22-250 loads that may be pretty accurate but I have to shoot it a bit more to be sure.
     
  18. rock jock

    rock jock Senior Member

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    That's interesting, because both the outfitter and guide I hunted with said they have seen the absolute worse performance with Barnes bullets over 18 years of guiding. But I guess any bullet is going to be somewhat of a mixed bag.
     
  19. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    No special techniques. I use a max listed load of IMR4320 trim to suggested max OAL and seat .005 off the lans.

    If you are going to use Barnes X bullets you need to make sure your barrel is PERFECTLY clean meaning no other jacket material what so ever. Barnes do not like barrels fouled with dissimilar jacket material.

    Try using a product called Wipe Out to get your barrel really spotless.

    And of course there are going to be some barrels that just won't shoot some bullets. My tack driving .375H&H will not shoot 270gr Hornandy spire points at all.

    :confused: Just one of those things.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As I've said I've killed hundreds of head of game from elephants to jack rabbits with Barnes and I've yet to see one fail to perform. And that goes for quite a few years of guiding and watching clients and friends kill critters with Barnes bullets as well.

    I'd be willing to bet you that what we have here is a simple case of different definitions. I don't consider it a failure if a critter runs off after being hit in the vitals as long as that critter is leaving good blood and is found dead near by. I know that many people who hunt deer primarily think it's a disaster if the animal doesn't crumple to the shot.

    My other question to you would be did you recover these .7MM bullets that only had 25% expansion or were you judging the expansion from the exit holes?

    A Barnes will not leave a big exit hole even after hitting bone due to the fact that they stick together so well and cut through the critter like a broad head when compared to traditional bullet.

    If you don't like Barnes TSX by all means you've got your reasons and I'm not suggesting you should use them. I'm just telling what my personal experience has been with them.;)

    By the way what kind of "deer like" critters where you hunting?
     
  20. 30-06 lover

    30-06 lover Member

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    The all copper concept has been a flawed idea, to me, from the beginning. It just wont be as good as lead for expansion. With the new bonded bullets now available, there is no excuse to buy a bullet that works most of the time.
    -Mike
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Member

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    Woodleigh from Australia puts detailed min and max impact FPS information on all their bullet boxes, as well as SD and BC data. I have no idea why US bullet makers can't be bothered to do likewise. It's more than a minor technical point. It can cost game or worse. There are a lot of 8mm sp's that get loaded in 8x57JS cartridges when they were actually designed for the Rem Mag velocities, for example. No reason it should happen, the makers just want to sell more I suppose.
     
  22. danurve

    danurve Member

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    rock jock; You might want to check out some of the reviews on Midwayusa on the Nosler Partition for 7mm.
     
  23. hoghunting

    hoghunting Senior Member

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    I have used the standard X-Bullet in 120 gr 7mm in a 14" 7/30 Waters T/C Contender for years and have been very happy with that bullet. I have gotten expansion out to 180 yds-marked with laser range finder. I don't come close to the velocity of a 7 mag. Obviously I not doing something right.
     
  24. rbernie

    rbernie Senior Member

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    Agreed, but as a FYI most of 'em will tell you if you ask - they just don't print it all on the box. I've had many an email conversation with Speer, Hornady, Sierra, and Barnes tech support on this very subject.....
     
  25. griz

    griz Senior Member

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    You didn't recover a bullet but can estimate expansion to within .07 inches?
     

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