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Thread: 338 WM and Barnes TSX = not so good!

  1. #1

    Default 338 WM and Barnes TSX = not so good!

    Well guys I found something very disheartening out about how the TSX's work in my 338WM especially on bears which is what I bought them for. My taxidermist called me to come pick up my sons bear skull (which by the way came out awesome) and when I walked through the door he handed me something in my hand. It was a 225 grain TSX he pulled out of my sons bear hide. It did not perform too well, it did not expand at all, it apears it tumbled and it sheared off the nose (petals). Where he found it embedded in the hide there were tiny little copper fragments all around it. I will post a pic tomorrow of it as I am at work right now, but its really got me concerned. I have read of a few Barnes TSX failure stories but I have all my go to guns dialed in with TSX's right now and much cash invested. What kind of results have you guys had with the TSX's. The shots I took trying to put my sons bear down were all inside 80 yards so velocities were high and especially in the 338WM, I would use this gun for big bears and dont know if I should be looking for a new load. What do you guys know?

  2. #2
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    All the barnes X and barnes TSX I have used performed much like a solid. I have tryed them in my 338 rum and also my 30-06. My hunting partner swears bythem but one brown bear we shot together his 378 wtb did very little the bullets were just sailing through it and not doing much damage and beleive me or not my 06 shooting 165 grain gamekings ( I was deer hunting) knocked it down every time I pulled the trigger and did major damage. I have used Barnes bullets on a moose and a griz and I will never shoot them again. But I love all the new bonded bullets Like interbond and the accubond.

  3. #3

    Default

    Well, you got a dead animal right? I think it worked fine. How much did the main piece weigh or did you just have fragments. I think the TSXs were designed for shooting over a distance so the velocities would be a little slower. I used the TSXs on my last moose hunt. I was totally impressed with them. I was using a 300 RUM and shot my moose at about 125 yards...dropped her in her tracks. Granted any other bullet would have made a clean kill, but I have never seen the vitals look like they did on this moose on any animal I have ever shot. I recovered the bullet and it weighed 174 grains...I was using 180 grain. One petal broke off probably because I hit a rib on the way in...other than that, it looked just like the pictures of them. Although, I have heard mixed reviews on just about every type of bullet, but I will continue using the TSXs. I have shot them quite a bit working up loads. I shot a bowling pin at 100 yards and the bullet, from what I can tell, made it all the way through. (I cut the bowling pin open to try and find it) I did the same thing with the accubonds....the bullet just expolded when it hit. I did recover fragments and the copper jacket. The hole in the front of the bowling pin was considerable. I don't know how the accubonds perform on animals, but I supposed it would have done fine. Personally I would rather the bullet tumble than fragment after penetration.

  4. #4

    Default TSX failed

    I don't know of any bullet that has ever not failed from time to time. Even the mighty partition has horror stories in it's past. But if you pulled this bullet out of a dead bear then I can hardly think that it "failed". Sounds like a success to me. I have used the barnes x bullets for quite a while now out of my 270 and 300 WSM's on deer, elk, and caribou and have always gotten good results so far. Never shot a bear with them yet thoughe. I would like to see the picture still if you got it.

  5. #5

    Default The bear did die but.....

    it was shot with a 270 Win at 20 yards shooting a barnes 130 grain TSX and I hit it 3 times with my 338 w/ 225 TSX's. Out of my 3 shots 2 were center mass. The only reason I kept shooting is because the bear wouldn't go down. The last shot I hit it with I had climbed out of the stand ran down the hill and made about a 80 yard shot on it, and it still went another 20 yards downhill. Up until the discovery of the bullet in the hide the other day I was under the belief that he was just a tough old boar that didn't want to go down but now I am second guessing the damage done by the shots. I gutted it where it died because there was no way for 2 of us to lift the bear up on to the wheeler with the extra weight of the organs and guts so I didn't get a chance to inspect the insides for wound channels and damage. This could just be a fluke but it sure gets a brother worried when its my first experience shooting TSX's at anything and can think of lots bullets that worked well for me in the past I could switch too.

  6. #6
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default bullet performance

    1. nothing is 100 %
    2. at 20 yds the impact velocity would be pretty high and if any bone were hit then I would be surprised if some pedals were not missing
    3. how dead do you want the bear
    4. for decades I used the Nos Part and it was for me the gold standard to which other bullets were measured against....now I use almost exclusively the Barnes XXX because of accuracy and lethality on all game shot...the jury is still out on the new MRX

    -just my thoughts based on my experience...but it seems to be mirrored by most other hunters, and for good reason-

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    Default dead bear is good right?

    Without seeing the entry and bullet path I can not say for sure what happened.

    Maybe it hit bone on a severe angle, very close to entry, which closed the cavity to prevent the petals from opening and initiated tumbling.

    However I beleive it had to mushroom for there to even be petals to be broken off.

    Regardless, you got a dead bear, and apparently the kill seemed fast and effecient since you didnt realise anything was awry till post mortem.

    jedi

  8. #8
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    Default

    The TSX is not supposed to expand like an A-Frame and such, but the petals do open-up. Sometimes the petals open up too far, and break away from the rest of the bullet. This is not a malfunction. It seems that the TSX shot to kill the bear did its job, since it killed it.

    It's possible that although the bear was shot three times, the first two shots may have not hit the lungs nor the heart squarely. Also, once the animal spots you and runs, it may go a long way before it drops. I hear about deer doing that all the time, even after being lethally shot.

  9. #9

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    I have had several of the original X's and the TSX's that showed no signs of expansion at all. They simply bored a small hole through the animal with much less internal damage than would be seen with other bullets. THis is double so if the muzzle velocity is below 3000 fps, or the caliber below .375. Even in animals where you could see th ebullet expanded, the animals showed zero signs of being shot if the CNS was not hit. In some places where it is very thick, I have come very, very close to losing game because of light blood trails and no signs of a hit.

    After repeat performances by the TSX's last year in the field, I will no longer use them. In the one rifle I have that won't shoot Partitions, I will shoot either Woodleighs or A Frames.

    I will give credit where it is due. If a rifle will shoot any at all, the TSX's usually make it look like a superstar.

  10. #10

    Default Agreed!

    Quote Originally Posted by shphtr View Post
    1. nothing is 100 %
    2. at 20 yds the impact velocity would be pretty high and if any bone were hit then I would be surprised if some pedals were not missing
    3. how dead do you want the bear
    4. for decades I used the Nos Part and it was for me the gold standard to which other bullets were measured against....now I use almost exclusively the Barnes XXX because of accuracy and lethality on all game shot...the jury is still out on the new MRX

    -just my thoughts based on my experience...but it seems to be mirrored by most other hunters, and for good reason-
    Lots to learn from bullets as velocities and ranges vary. I haven't tried the TSX, but I would expect it to have a "sweet spot" in velocity and everything else where it works best.

    This was never more apparent to me than in the early days when the Contender first started appearing in rifle calibers and similar long range numbers like the 7mm TCU, the 6.5mm TCU and the 6mm TCU. It was a woolly bugger to find bullets that would expand at Contender velocities, especially as range stretched.

    At the opposite end were the standard non-Nosler bullets available when the Weatherby and other fast magnums kicked over the apple cart. It was a woolly bugger to find bullets that wouldn't come apart at closer ranges.

    I grew up with the Nosler, and for me too, it was the gold standard, and there wasn't much else to choose from. Now there are lots of choices, but you still have to decide which is best for your needs.

    SOSDB- Same Old Situation, Different Bullets.

  11. #11

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    Hey Shphtr-

    where do you get the XXX bullets!?! I did not see you have them the first time I read this thread. What do they do, engrave the pics on th ebullets with a laser or something? Gives a whole new menaing to "hot load," doesn't it?

    I know of no other bullet manufactured today that has as many complaints about their performance each season as the X. Nothing will ever be 100%, but the Barnes X line is the farthest from 100% of any bullet I have ever heard of. If partitions, A-frames, and Woodleighs failed under so many diverse field conditions, people would stop buying them. I think many (not all) folks stick with the X because it is often incredibly accurate and every month some writer tells how great they are.

    Also, the debate about these bullets is more emotional than any other bullet I know of. Of course, not everyone is quick to pick a side and ratchet up the rhetoric, but the debates I read on the net and hear amongst hunters talking about often get pretty heated. But If I could see the XXX bulelts, I may get a little hotter too, now that I think about it!

    Just my observations from using them in several rifles and keeping my ears open when folks talk about them. It is nice to see folks being very civil here.

    I am eager to see the pics of these bullets. A guy on another board recently posted pics of 2 TSX's dug out of a dead bear, and they both had zero expansion.

  12. #12

    Default Heres some pics guys






  13. #13

    Default

    my moose was at 140yrds when it got hit by the .338, 140grain TSX. I shot 3 times, just because he didnt lay down right now, but he was dead from any of the 3 shots. We only recovered 1 bullet because the other 2 were total pass throughs. it traveled at the long angle (back rib through oposite side shoulder) and was in the hide when we skinned it out. weighed 207 grns and opened up just like the model. all my guns (even a 30-30) are now loaded with the TSX... good luck on your decission...

  14. #14
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    Thumbs up good bullet

    I say good bullet.

    Just because it lost the petals or collapsed in on itself aint no big deal.

    It still dumped some expansion energy into the target.

    Always better to have a bullet go deep to reach a CNS function or major organs than a superficial surface blow up.(thats why they got FMJ bullets for DG in Afrika.)

    looks like it retained about 85% or better of original weight. (won't know till you weigh it)

    If 85% weight retention and full pass thru to opposite hide was the worst performance I would ever have....

    I would say... keep on keepin' on.

    jedi
    Last edited by null20071; 06-10-2007 at 11:38.

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    Unless one can look at the internal organs of the bear killed, there is not way to tell if the bullets hit and damaged the right spot. I remember a story a fellow Alaskan was telling, if I well remember, at accuratereloading.com. The story went something like this: "my hunting partner and I shot the brown bear several times with my .338WM loaded with 250-grain Partition bullets, and his .375H&H loaded with 300-grain Partition, but it ran into the brush. Then, after a few minutes, we began tracking it, and all of the sudden the bear charges us at full speed. We again shot the bear several times, killing it."

    He also said that it was the last time he was ever going to use a .338 or .375 rifle to hunt bears again, and that the next rifle would be a .416. Since these guys didn't look at the internal organs, it's hard to tell what shots were lethal. But then I can't blame them for not looking inside the bear; after all, they were a little shaken after the charge.
    ---------

    It's possible that the person who told the story visits this forum. If so, I hope that he reads this and correct my inaccuracies if any.

  16. #16
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default Barnes X vs XXX

    "I know of no other bullet manufactured today that has as many complaints about their performance each season as the X. Nothing will ever be 100%, but the Barnes X line is the farthest from 100% of any bullet I have ever heard of. If partitions, A-frames, and Woodleighs failed under so many diverse field conditions, people would stop buying them. I think many (not all) folks stick with the X because it is often incredibly accurate and every month some writer tells how great they are. "

    I do not use the original Barnes X - it often had lousy accuracy, the XLC (blue coated) bullets were significantly better but the XXX are a whole different game regarding accuracy...while still maintaining the best penetration of any bullet on the market. It is DEFINITELY my first choice in a magnum caliber with their increased velocities. I have not loaded any of the MRX bullets but talking to some of the custom reloading companies I am somewhat pessimistic...but lack any personal experience to date.

  17. #17
    Member BigHorn Hunter's Avatar
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    Default ????????

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaCub View Post




    These look very similar to the 2 recovered X-bullets I have seen. Out of around 100 animals taken with them. Certainly no offense is ment here but what is the problem. I am assuming the 338 back up was because of a first misplaced 270 or the 338 got into the game very quicklly after the 270 shot. Either case will cause a animal to cover the distances you are speaking of. 1 recovered bullet out of 4 shot at who knows what angles sounds pretty good to me. I can assume again that you where thinking that the bear was going to hit the deck at the shot. Doesn't happen that way, except on hunting shows.

  18. #18
    Member BigHorn Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Really ?????????

    Quote Originally Posted by MCSWXW View Post

    Nothing will ever be 100%, but the Barnes X line is the farthest from 100% of any bullet I have ever heard of. If partitions, A-frames, and Woodleighs failed under so many diverse field conditions, people would stop buying them. I think many (not all) folks stick with the X because it is often incredibly accurate and every month some writer tells how great they are.
    I am a guide down here in the meat market hunting arena. I have had years where we had 90 clients. I have seen around 100 head of deer, Antelope and Elk taken with X bullets. About 50 with the TSX. All told in ten years I would guess at about 750 dead animals and about 200 "in my eyes". Of all these I have yet to see a "Bullet Failure". When I am gutting the animal and we find a bullet and it looks funny or not like the text book mushroom, I suppose that could be a failure. Oh' yeah we are gutting it, its dead forgot that part.

    Also, the debate about these bullets is more emotional than any other bullet I know of. Of course, not everyone is quick to pick a side and ratchet up the rhetoric, but the debates I read on the net and hear amongst hunters talking about often get pretty heated.

    Very much so and for know real reasons. I believe most comes from not having any knowledge of terminal ballistics/performance

    Just my observations from using them in several rifles and keeping my ears open when folks talk about them. It is nice to see folks being very civil here.

    I agree.

    I am eager to see the pics of these bullets. A guy on another board recently posted pics of 2 TSX's dug out of a dead bear, and they both had zero expansion.

    I would like to see that.[/quote]

  19. #19

    Default

    The first week of May, two buddies and myself were in PWS hunting blackies. All three of us were using Triple Shocks. Rifles were 300 WSM 338 WM and 338 RUM (the latter two with 225 Gr. Triple Shocks). We fired three shots and killed three bears. We started calling it the Triple Shock Flop, you pull the trigger and a bear starts tumbling down the mountain. No bullets were recovered but all three had sivler dollar size exit wounds . I can't see how our results could have been any better.

    I would like to know if the loads that started this thread were chronographed. When we were cooking our loads prior to this hunt our results were no where near what the reload data predicted. At the Max loading (as provided by barnes ) I was 350+ FPS below what they said I should be. I had to load 4.0 full grains over MAX to reach 2800 FPS. I can't say the exact load my friend used but I know he was going well over MAX to get to the suggested velocities.

    I say this because if you are shooting significantly slower than you think that might be the problem.

  20. #20

    Default

    That recovered bullet looks Ok to me. Yes, the petals stripped off, but to me that means it opened op and kept on penetrating. As long as it did not take a funky course and start heading off into left field, I would be perfectly satisfied with it. Looks just like recovered partitions, which are still my favorite bullets.

    The only TSX I have recovered looks exactly like they do in the ads. Had a couple more stay in game this year, but they would have required more digging around than I felt like doing at the time. But if I recovered one that has shed the petals, it would not bother me. If I recovered one that did not open, well, that would be a different story.

    So Shptr, guess you did not get my attempt at a joke. I know what an "X" bullet is, what a "TSX" bullet is, even what an "MRX" bullet is, but when you go to posting "XXX" on the screen, my mind goes somewhere other than hunting!

    Regarding some folks not knowing what terminal ballistics do to an animals innards, well, I never hear anywhere near the compalints about all of the other bullets out there as I do with the X series. The same folks who dig the other bullets out also dig X's out. I have heard and read of more complaints of X's appearantly boring through with no expansion and minimal internal damage than I have heard complaints of any type regarding partitions, A-frames, Woodleighs, and TBBC added together. Same folks shooting the same rifles, at the same velocities, at the same impact ranges, into the same critters, with the same guts inside. Only difference is the bullet. Please don't beat me up, I am just the messenger and relaying what I have personally experienced and heard and read of others experiencing the exact same thing as me. This has just been my life experiences.

    And for the record, I have a Nosler Partition that shed BOTH of its cores. Just a jacket left. I consider that an anomoly and goes against everything else I have lived through, as well as the experieinces I have seen with my friends and have read about.

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