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Thread: Load problems, HELP!

  1. #1

    Default Load problems, HELP!

    I have got a real brain buster here. Here is the scoop. I have a browning 270 that i have in the past loaded with 150g Barnes X bullets. They worked great, i tuned my BOSS, zeroed them in and killed a moose and a caribou with great results. I was so happy with my newly discovered "super load" that i went to buy more. i couldn't find the older style Barnes "X" bullets, but i did find the "new and improved" barnes TSX. same grain, same flat base, same overall length, same powder, same primer, same everything, you get the drift. the only difference is that the TSX has 3 cantalures on it and the old X bullet was smooth.
    anyway, i get to the range and cannot get the new ones to group. i am looking through the spotting scope and it looks like i am getting some really close shots with some flyers. after i go down range to check it out i find that the bullets are keyholing. everyone of them. i think that maybe the old browning is ready for some barrel work and head back to the bench. i shoot 3 of the old X bullets and they are right on with great groups and no keyholing????? any suggestions. should i call Barnes and gripe. those things were not cheap and it was quite a shocker to have the bullet that replaced the X bullet not work???

  2. #2


    How long are the new bullets compared to the old? The only thing that would make sense to me is the new ones are too long to stabilize with the twist rate of your Browning. If both bullets are the same length, reach on over here and scratch my head for me, too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Default My Final answer...

    The new TSX bullets are not taking the rifling!

    Of course that's kind of obvious. The reasons for which could be;

    The bullet diameter is too small.
    The rifling is too shallow or worn. (not likely since the old ones still shoot)
    The barrel is too fouled to and must be de-coppered.

    These are generic answers but a more specific answer may lie in the bullet composition or hardness or the grooves (cannelures) too deep. It certainly seems like it is related to just the TSX's.

    I would grip to Barnes. I would also clean the Browning thoroughly and get rid of the copper fouling. Is this a BAR or A Bolt? I've known some BAR's to keyhole some bullets because of the gas systems port fouling with copper.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?

  4. #4

    Default thanks

    This is an a-bolt. i just went out and gave the bore a good scrubbing. the question still lies as to why it would shoot the smooth barnes and not the others. i guess maybe with the smooth sides the old ones had a little more surface area against the lands. and with the new ones they just didnt quite catch like murphy said. i guess i will give it a try. i know that i could probably take a little better care of my barrels, ie cleaning
    i will give that a try.
    thanks for the responses

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Default Interesting...

    As a comparison I just went out to the bench and measured 3 different X bullets of the same weight for the same caliber. I don't shoot .270, but I did compare .308's (180 grainers), and there are some differences in length as follows:

    Original X (flat base) 1.4"
    XLC (flat base) 1.353"
    TSX (boattail) 1.385"

    In this case the older X is the longer X, and in theory the potentially harder to stabilize (all things being equal between all three). However, we know that the three bullets are not equal. The older X has the greatest bearing surface to the lands of the three, and the TSX has the least (due to the three concentric rings that Barnes introduced to decrease copper fouling of the bore).

    If the .308's are representative of the differences in length between original X's and TSX's, then length is not a factor, and Murphy's hypothesis of bearing surface makes sense. I'd try what he suggested as a first line of correction. If that doesn't make a difference, then I'd start thinking about playing with velocity.

    What do you guys think? Isn't the general rule to push bullets faster when they are keyholing, but in this case of reduced bearing surface wouldn't you want to slow them down instead?

  6. #6


    Hadn't thought of that Murphy, and it's a good point. If that's what's going on, I think one symptom would be outrageous bore fouling right off the bat with the problem growing worse quickly with each successive shot. And yup, a call to Barnes is top of the list.

    One other possibility: Has anyone tried miking the new TSX, or that specific batch of bullets. If they're slightly undersize, that would contribute to the problem. In the absence of a really good mike Jfrinkster, did you notice any difference in seating or neck tension with the new bullets?

  7. #7

    Default nope

    i didnt actually use my calipers on them but one would assume that barnes has made enough bullets to get them to .277. as much as i want to blame the bullet. i am inclined to think that the fouling might play a part. the rounds were what i would call a half keyhole, not quite completely sideways but well on their way. i have shot out a lot of barrels on machine guns and when they go, they go. you will have a perfect sideways bullet hole most of the time. these were not quite true keyholes but were far from a perfect circle. i guess maybe they were just slipping a little down the barrel and not quite getting the same revolutions as the old X bullets. i will just have to try with a very clean barrel.


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