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Thread: very different bullet recoveries

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Default very different bullet recoveries

    Was lucky enough to harvest a nice bull moose, shooting my .325 WSM with 200 grain Barnes TSX hand loads. First shot was 150 yards through the chest, found the heart, lungs and recovered in the opposite shoulder after breaking the leg. Bullet was just as you'd expect from Barnes. Follow up shot was quartering away. Bull down. When skinning out we found the second shot, but not what you'd expect. It went in, traveled about 6 inches right along the hide and was laying just under the skin. No meat penetration, no bullet expansion, bullet looked just as it did before loading, but with the obvious rifle marks.

    Anyone ever experience something like this?
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    I have used Barnes with great results. I have never recover a bullet. Where those bullets from the same lot or box? I would contact Barnes and see what they say. Was the fallow up shot at the same distance?

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    I've not recovered an X that appears as your pic does, but I've had similar wounds when using X & TSX bullets and surmised that the bullets behaved similarly. I have all but left the TSX except in light for caliber/high velocity combinations. IMO & E the TTSX designed with a larger cavity that has less inclination to fill with debris (due to the tip) increases reliable terminal performance. I recovered 3 TTSX bullets this fall and all displayed excellent penetration and expansion, even at low terminal velocity. I'll not be switching back to the TSX.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swapdonkey View Post
    I have used Barnes with great results. I have never recover a bullet. Where those bullets from the same lot or box? I would contact Barnes and see what they say. Was the fallow up shot at the same distance?
    Bullets were out of same box and loaded at same time. Follow up shot was at same distance.
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    That is why after four years I quit using Barnes, I don't like the inconsistency of the product, just me. I know it is for some the next best thing to sliced bread, but mark my word, your day is coming when you will loose an animal or have to hunt for it most of the day, and if you loose it I hope it is not a fine trophy or once in a life time chance.
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    Thats why i stick with my Nosler Partitions. they have NEVER failed me yet

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    I'll only consider a monometal bullet if I can push it really fast. That means a light-for-caliber bullet. In a given chambering, to run a monometal bullet as you would a lead core bullet (i.e. similar weight for similar game) is to invite inconsistency. Step way down in weight and push it fast.

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    I think Vek is dead on with this one...if you want to use the monometal bullets push them as fast as possible. I think they are the cat's meow at Weatherby velocity...at "normal" speeds? not so much.

    I've seen a few of those TSXs floating around the last couple years from guys who pulled them out of moose. I believe a couple you could wipe the gore off and reload them. No expansion and no upset. I've seen an equal number that looked just like the picture on the website so I guess you pay your money and take your chances.

  9. #9

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    looks to me to have acted like any FMJ.... maybe zip through but maybe bounce around on the inside a bit. I might be off on this however will offer my 2 cents. When the velocity and impact changes the sharp nose follows the channel of least resistance. Thus causing a casualty but not much more. I will defer to the Beartooth on this and say, I won't load Barnes just cause and to be honest the Winchester never shot them that good anyhow.

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    Not sure if the second bullet could have been affected by the moose "tensing up" a lot after the first shot, perhaps slowing that bullet down more from taught muscles? No doubt adrenalin can increase strength, so perhaps it can retard a bullets behavior??? Weird for sure...
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    It's most likely too late but if you could look at the hide I would guess that the entrance hole was oblong. The bullet may have touched a twig etc and started to tumble. Is the bullet point perfect?

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    This more or less reflects my experience and that I've seen with monometal bullets at long range or any time velocities are low.

    But that certainly doesn't appear to fit this instance from a 325 WSM at 150 yards.

    The really WEIRD thing to me is that the unexpanded bullet was recovered at all. In my experience when they fail it results in a complete pass-through with no sign of expansion, but almost never a recovered bullet except at low velocities with a lengthwise shot- i.e., with lots of meat and maybe bone behind it.

    If I'm reading it right, "It went in, traveled about 6 inches right along the hide and was laying just under the skin. No meat penetration, no bullet expansion, bullet looked just as it did before loading, but with the obvious rifle marks." sezz it went under the hide and moved about the length of your hand between the hide and the carcass. Geeminy Christmas. If riding under the hide at the same velocity as the one that expanded and passed all the way through, that thing should have kept right on going the length of the moose and out.

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    Something had to have happened to explain the short distance travelled. Undercharged load? Deflected bullet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    This more or less reflects my experience and that I've seen with monometal bullets at long range or any time velocities are low...But that certainly doesn't appear to fit this instance from a 325 WSM at 150 yards...that thing should have kept right on going the length of the moose and out.
    I agree...given the retained energy and velocity a .325WSM has at 150yds you would expect an unexpanded round to blast clean through.

    The unexpanded TSXs I've seen were all recovered from bone- the least damaged travelled a good way through the moose and lodged in the ball socket of the hip, it was a long range shot as well so impact velocity was pretty low.

    I've also seen a couple where the bullet wasn't recovered but penciled a bullet diameter hole clean through both shoulder blades. The animal died but required a follow up shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrex13 View Post
    Something had to have happened to explain the short distance travelled. Undercharged load? Deflected bullet?
    I keep comming back to undercharged load.
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    I have to think the "failure" bullet was a bit slower than the first shot. Could be your powder charge, the powder itself, temperature, or God just intervened so you wouldn't damaged too much meat. Go slower when you reload, double check your powder for age, temperature sensitivity, clumping, and don't sweat the successful hunt with your OWN handloads.
    Concrats on the moose.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by VernAK View Post
    It's most likely too late but if you could look at the hide I would guess that the entrance hole was oblong. The bullet may have touched a twig etc and started to tumble. Is the bullet point perfect?
    I was thinking the same thing. To get so little penetration with soft tissue?; it may have happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastwoods View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. To get so little penetration with soft tissue?; it may have happened.
    Not a single twig between me and the moose. the point is absolutly perfect. You'd never known this bullet was fired except for the rifle markings. These rounds were all loaded at same time with powder from the same tub. Just glad the first shot did what it needed to do.
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    Call it a under load and go and pull the remaining bullets out of that batch of ammo and start weighing the powder charges maybe your scale is throwing a wide range of weights maybe you had a partial blockage in the powder drop, I have seen more Reloader issues with handloads than component issues, I have had complete luck with the TSX's from light .224 62gr bullets to the current 250s in the .338 and 300s in the 375.

    Not saying you did anything wrong, I would just pull and dump my loads in this situation you will be able to salvage everything you can even resize them just pull your decaping pin and go at it.

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