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Thread: The real gimmick with the name "TSX" (Barnes)

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default The real gimmick with the name "TSX" (Barnes)

    I remember when they first came out with this new "TSX" bullet with the bands of copper removed. They appeared no different than the old X-Bullets and in fact.......were not. They claimed this bullet had some sort of "Triple Shock Effect" on game when in fact.......it does not. This was a rediculouls gimmick that Barnes advertised when in fact....the real reason they engineered these bands in their (already overly long/powder capacity eating) bullets was because they needed a way to elimanate the excessive and dangerous pressure their long, all copper bullets produced. They fooled me once when I went to load up some 225 grain triple shocks in my 358 winchester. They were so long, that even with the starting loads of their older manual (the one they instructed me to use)..... the load was so compressed that the bullets would work their way out of the case until they jammed my rifle. I cycled these rounds to make sure funtion was proper which in fact.....they would not. The decreased surface area of the rings of removed copper....... resulted in the loaded bullets (with a dmn starting charge weight of imr 4895) not being held tightly in the neck. These bullets achieved a "triple shock" of failures:

    1. decreased ability of bullet to remain seated due to removed surface area
    2. even longer bullets that ate up so much powder capacity there wasnt enough room for a PUBLISHED starting load from THEIR manual
    3. A starting load so compressed that the bullets would grow in length when cycled through the rifle (a result of 1 and 2 combined)

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    Default Barnes

    I LOVE Barnes bullets and have not had any of the problems you mentioned. There 180grain TSX is the "BOMB" in my Kimber Montana in 300winmag! 270 grain TSX in my 375h&h is the super "BOMB" Like the Nosler Partitions also but still lean towards the Barnes.
    In the Bush

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    And the line grows longer. My problem with Barnes Older bullets not the original Barnes bullets (before the days of the American fork Bullet company) is the plain fact that they act just like a full jacket bullet when you decrease the velocity at long range. That's when you find they are not a cup and core bullet.


    You have heard this before but the facts never change "You just don't know at what range the game you want will appear". This is where the BS usually starts. People always tell you you should have stalked closer to the game. This is pure BS, people always shoot from where the animal looks good to him. 400 yards from a black bear and six shots later with a .30-06 proved to me not to ever use that generation of Barnes bullets again. How many people know that the original Fred Barnes bullets were cup and core with thick jackets? Fred made his own jackets that were thick jackets and had a good reputation for working at all ranges. Fred dies long before most of the users of today were born so it comes as no surprise that none of you know this. More problems with these solid bullets than I care to deal with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I remember when they first came out with this new "TSX" bullet with the bands of copper removed. They appeared no different than the old X-Bullets and in fact.......were not. They claimed this bullet had some sort of "Triple Shock Effect" on game when in fact.......it does not. This was a rediculouls gimmick that Barnes advertised when in fact....the real reason they engineered these bands in their (already overly long/powder capacity eating) bullets was because they needed a way to elimanate the excessive and dangerous pressure their long, all copper bullets produced. They fooled me once when I went to load up some 225 grain triple shocks in my 358 winchester. They were so long, that even with the starting loads of their older manual (the one they instructed me to use)..... the load was so compressed that the bullets would work their way out of the case until they jammed my rifle. I cycled these rounds to make sure funtion was proper which in fact.....they would not. The decreased surface area of the rings of removed copper....... resulted in the loaded bullets (with a dmn starting charge weight of imr 4895) not being held tightly in the neck. These bullets achieved a "triple shock" of failures:

    1. decreased ability of bullet to remain seated due to removed surface area
    2. even longer bullets that ate up so much powder capacity there wasnt enough room for a PUBLISHED starting load from THEIR manual
    3. A starting load so compressed that the bullets would grow in length when cycled through the rifle (a result of 1 and 2 combined)
    You are being a bit unfair to the TSX in a couple of your assessments.

    1. I'd not use the TSX or X in a cartridge case that had capacity issues to start with, which is the reason you had every problem you posted above.

    2. Not every bullet will EVER work good in every gun....it just wont happen and that is not necessarily the fault of the bullet , but the fault of the combination of bullet and gun.

    I do agree that the TSX does not kill any differently thatn the X, but it is an improvement over the X in accuracy and fouling, generally speaking and the TSX is my favorite expanding bullet for use on big game the size of elk and up.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    And the line grows longer. My problem with Barnes Older bullets not the original Barnes bullets (before the days of the American fork Bullet company) is the plain fact that they act just like a full jacket bullet when you decrease the velocity at long range. That's when you find they are not a cup and core bullet.
    ...
    Does the TTSX expand more reliably at lower velocities?

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    Default BLR

    I used x bullets in 2 different 358s one was a BLR the other was a savage 99. I loaded the 225s had no problems with loading whatsoever. Both guns shot this bullet very well. I did have one that didnt expand on a small caribou but otherwise they worked great.
    I always tell guys who are having trouble getting a gun to shoot well to try the TSX as I have found them to be one of the most accurate hunting bullets out there. Ive seen a ton of game killed with them and say what you want you wont convince me they wont work because they will and overall performance is better than most.

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    With my go-to load of 60 gr RL-22 with a 180 TTSX in 30-06 (mildly compressed), I just use one of those "gimmicky" band grooves to crimp it- problem solved.

    I also have a .308, which I load 168 Gr TTSX's. Why don't I use the 180 or 200? Because if I did, there would not be enough case capacity to get decent velocities without excessive compression

    225's in my 35 Whelen work great, since the parent -06 case has enough case capacity to use it efficiently

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    Observing that there's not much "new" in the world really labels me as a geezer.

    The machined rings on the bullets was first used to my knowledge by Nosler back in the late 60's on their line of Zippedo bullets- 224 and 243 diameter "varmint" bullets with a machined solid base and rings to cut friction, plus a lead core in the nose. They weren't overly long in spite of the solid base due to the lead in the nose.

    I've still got 7 or 8 boxes of the 224 version. They never really proved accurate enough for varmint bullets in my uses, easily beaten by conventional cup-and-core bullets from all the other makers. I think that fact, weighed against the accuracy rep of the TSX, is a good measure of modern machining technology compared to capabilities 50 years ago.

  9. #9

    Default Here's something

    I don't see any of the Barnes solid copper bullets as "expanding" bullets. When a cup and core or variation on that theme bullets expands, you get sometimes triple diameter and more with a definite "mushroom shape. This is not always consistent, but that is the general reaction to impact. The solid copper bullets don't expand, they separate at the nose along designed in cuts for very consistent results and shredding of the tissues, but they don't expand as that is an effect of the lead cores physical properties. True, cup and core bullets don't always give the desired results, but they result in fewer through and through wounds, though if they do, the resulting exit wound is larger and more prone to greater blood loss via the larger hole. This is all IMHO, of course. I prefer a good cup and core, especially Hornady Interlocks and Nosler Partitions.

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    This is why you can find the proof that the shooting public does not have any clue of what is good or bad in hunting bullets. Any talk about accuracy for a hunting bullet is the last thing at best anybody should care about, it is of the least importance. The people that want to talk about accuracy before they talk about the performance on game are the non-users of that bullet on game! This is and irresputable fact. No one can tell how accurate a bullet is when the game is struck with-in 4" of whee they sighted at that animal and one shot is not proof of anything. No one shoots five shot groups at any animal. That is not to mention the animal is a moving target and some few of us don't look for grouping ability at moving targets.


    I remember when Nosler lead the way in this, when Nosler moved away from their tub copper bullets and to the more modern guilt metal jackets the only thing the public did was to brag about how much more accurate the new bullets were over the old. Now some of the people that were still shooting large game at under a hundred yards weren't to happy cause the new bullets were fragmenting where the old tube bullets didn't. This was a vary bad time for the American hunter as they only had the old Barnes to go back to. The other thing that happened was we the shooting public all had Manumits. Velocity is the real bane of the hunter with these bullets that still use the cup and core technology. The reason Nosler moved to guilt metal jackets was because the screw machines they had used for decades just wore out, and they saw they could make more money by increased production with the newer equipment. Once again thank you modern advertising. And then Fred Barnes dies about this time ad The American Fork company buys the Barnes bullet company from the Barnes family. It was not until a few years later that Woodleigh makes it to America the the .035 thick bullet jacket makes it back on the scene. The shooting public ignorance still knows no bounds.
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    This is why you can find the proof that the shooting public does not have any clue of what is good or bad in hunting bullets. Any talk about accuracy for a hunting bullet is the last thing at best anybody should care about, it is of the least importance. The people that want to talk about accuracy before they talk about the performance on game are the non-users of that bullet on game! This is and irresputable fact. No one can tell how accurate a bullet is when the game is struck with-in 4" of whee they sighted at that animal and one shot is not proof of anything. No one shoots five shot groups at any animal. That is not to mention the animal is a moving target and some few of us don't look for grouping ability at moving targets.


    I remember when Nosler lead the way in this, when Nosler moved away from their tub copper bullets and to the more modern guilt metal jackets the only thing the public did was to brag about how much more accurate the new bullets were over the old. Now some of the people that were still shooting large game at under a hundred yards weren't to happy cause the new bullets were fragmenting where the old tube bullets didn't. This was a vary bad time for the American hunter as they only had the old Barnes to go back to. The other thing that happened was we the shooting public all had Manumits. Velocity is the real bane of the hunter with these bullets that still use the cup and core technology. The reason Nosler moved to guilt metal jackets was because the screw machines they had used for decades just wore out, and they saw they could make more money by increased production with the newer equipment. Once again thank you modern advertising. And then Fred Barnes dies about this time ad The American Fork company buys the Barnes bullet company from the Barnes family. It was not until a few years later that Woodleigh makes it to America the the .035 thick bullet jacket makes it back on the scene. The shooting public ignorance still knows no bounds.
    I agree that accuracy is the not the primary factor if you are talking about conventional hunting distances and, by "accuracy," you mean within 1-1/2 or maybe 2.0 MOA. But "inaccuracy" can turn me off of a particular bullet in a particular rifle pretty quickly. When a certain bullet gives me erratic results in my rifle, I usually move to something else, even for hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    Does the TTSX expand more reliably at lower velocities?


    If you don't go crazy with velocity the cup and core bullet is the answer for all hunting bullets. The thicker the jacket of copper the better off you are at the higher velocities, just not at the crazy fast velocities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I agree that accuracy is the not the primary factor if you are talking about conventional hunting distances and, by "accuracy," you mean within 1-1/2 or maybe 2.0 MOA. But "inaccuracy" can turn me off of a particular bullet in a particular rifle pretty quickly. When a certain bullet gives me erratic results in my rifle, I usually move to something else, even for hunting.

    I couldn't agree more... The reason 180 TTSX's are my go-to load for my -06 is that it is the only bullet amongst more than 10 that I tried would group better than 4" at 100 yds. I agree that .5 MOA means squat with your average hunters' shot on large game. However, when you are building a load for your rifle, and a TTSX gets 1 MOA vs all others which range from 4-8 MOA, there in goes the reason for choosing that bullet. Is the TTSX the end all? No, I'm sure it's not. However I will use that bullet in that gun because it is the only one I trust for more than say 150 yds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    I don't see any of the Barnes solid copper bullets as "expanding" bullets. When a cup and core or variation on that theme bullets expands, you get sometimes triple diameter and more with a definite "mushroom shape. This is not always consistent, but that is the general reaction to impact. The solid copper bullets don't expand, they separate at the nose along designed in cuts for very consistent results and shredding of the tissues, but they don't expand as that is an effect of the lead cores physical properties. True, cup and core bullets don't always give the desired results, but they result in fewer through and through wounds, though if they do, the resulting exit wound is larger and more prone to greater blood loss via the larger hole. This is all IMHO, of course. I prefer a good cup and core, especially Hornady Interlocks and Nosler Partitions.

    Many hunters find they only need 6" at one hundred yards for hunting accuracy that is for five shots, yes the Woodleigh bullets I use are far more accurate than that, but believe me that is not what is the priority o my list of needs.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Good conversation on this topic!

    I've thought for a while that we've swung too far toward tough as nails bullets. A lot of development went into these premium bullets due to bullet blow ups when a perfectly good 2300 fps cup and core bullet was crammed into a .300Wea and shot at 3200fps.

    The pendulum has now swung to the point where we find "premium" bullets being fired at pretty modest velocities through chamberings that have been perfectly happy with cup and core type bullets for a century. I just don't see the point of a TSX in something with a MV in the 2600 fps range or under- at even average ranges the bullets have slowed perilously close to the threshold where a TSX simply won't expand. A TSX at 3000fps 50 yards from the muzzle is impressive on game, at 400 yds at 1800fps its just doesn't have an advantage.

    Years ago I tried the new Winchester "Fail Safe" bullet through my .308- I was completely dissapointed as the bullets zipped straight through deer and they wandered about for far too long before collapsing. I went back to plain Jane cup and core bullets and the critters often collapsed within feet of where they were shot.

    Several years ago a lot of conversation was about hunters going about "overgunned" but I think a very real possibilty is that we go about "over-bulleted" these days.

  16. #16

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    I think the TSX "tripple shock" label is a gimmick. No doubt about it. But what bullet maker doesn't use gimmicks to market their bullets? What gun maker doesn't use gimmicks to market their guns? What manufacturer of anything doesn't use gimmicks?

    Now I am not a big Barnes fan, but the last time I went on to reloaders nest and read all the reports on the from users of the Nosler Partitions and Barnes TSX/TTSX bullets, their were more unhappy Partition users than unhappy TSX users and more switched from the Partition to the TSX.

    Having said that, I have read a lot more reports since, about the TSX/TTSX bullets failing to expand or not expanding very much. I have never used the TTSX on game, but my experience loading and shooting them shows their tips to be prone to breaking off, specifically with the 30 cal 168 TTSX.

    My personal experience with Partitions has been great but I am always willing to try something new. One thing that just bugs the snot out of me is the Partition's deformed noses when they are unloaded from the mag.

    On accuracy and performance, IMO, you can not separate the two. You need both. If you have a great performing bullet, it's useless if you cant put it where it needs to go and with you have an accurate bullet that doesn't perform, then you have problems and headaches.

    I don't see the Barnes bands as being a problem. This is the first complaint I can remember reading about them. I was under the impression that the bands were an attempt to reduce fouling. I load the monometal E-Tips without bands an have no pressure problems with them, although Nosler does emphasize to be careful about watching for quick rises in pressure as you're working up with them.

    On expansion velocity, most hunting bullets, be they the monometals or the lead core variety, are designed to expand about 1800 fps. I'm not sure you will see that much difference in frontal area between a TSX and a Partition @ 1800 fps. Neither one will fully mushroom according to a picture saw of both. That being said, based strictly on reports that I have read, the TSX/TTSX's are more prone to expansion failure than the Partition. (I use the term expansion loosely, vs "separate" as applied to the monometals)

    "At present", I am an E-Tip fan for the medium to larger cals, say 270 and up. I'll shoot whatever shoots best through my 25-06 on deer, antelope and smaller.

    GS bullets are what I strongly lean to for many reasons and may convert to them for most of my hunting loads, but they are spendy suckers.

  17. #17

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    Well I live down in the "Condor Range" of CA and am forced to use these nonlead bullets for hunting and have tried them in quite a few different calibers and I have discovered a few things about them good and bad:

    First of all the best thing you can do before trying them in any rifle is to get the rifle ABSOLUTELY clean using a cleaner like Bore Tech Eliminator as they are pure copper not gilding metal and any fouling can affect accuracy.

    Second they are supremely accurate and especially so at extended ranges. Because they are homogeneous in construction the and the center of mass and the center of the bullet are perfect or pretty close to it lol and this results(usually) in exceptional accuracy PARTICULARLY at extended ranges. I have shot them out of .257 Weatherby to 550yds. on steel rams and the accuracy is phenomenal.

    Third if you plan to use them on deer size game either become a high shoulder shooter or use a larger caliber or both as they are too tough to expand reliably on deer at any speed. I know this because after I purchased my .257 Weatherby I used the 100gr. TSX factory load(3584fps out of my rifle) to shoot a buck at about 25yds. Go figure I was all set to shoot 500+ and get a buck off of my toes lol. Anyway I tucked the bullet right behind the shoulder as I have always done and the buck ran off almost as if not hit. In the heat of the moment I thought he wasn't hit. After some head shaking and looking we found the buck about 150 yds. from where I first shot. The ensuing autopsy revealed that the bullet went in and through the top of the heart with ZERO expansion or even damage to the heart and broke the off leg at the joint. The heart was even jellied just a .25" hole straight through like you had used a drill on it. This was at an impact velocity of over 3500fps!!!

    I have since seen and talked to others with very similar results. In calibers under .308 there is simply not enough hydraulic force encountered to reliably open that nose unless some resistance is encountered i.e bone or heavy muscle.

    As a result I am taking my 45-70 with a 250gr. TSX FN:



    And my Ruger M77 MarkII All-Weather with a 225gr. TSX loaded at just under 2700fps. deer hunting. Btw I have not encountered the OP problems with the TSX in this rifle either and this is a VERY long bullet in a short case.

    The above may sound like over kill for itty bitty deer but such is life here in WONDERFUL CA these days.

    To date I have used the TSX in .223 Remington .257 WM, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum .300 Weatherby, .340 Weatherby, .350 Remington Magnum and 45-70.

    They are VERY accurate in all but they are best used on tougher game. I have two friends that have used the 53gr. TSX on hogs in the 200-225lb range and gotten lengthwise penetration.

    Hope this helps some folks out there that may be thinking about these bullets.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by theONE73 View Post
    Well I live down in the "Condor Range" of CA and am forced to use these nonlead bullets for hunting and have tried them in quite a few different calibers and I have discovered a few things about them good and bad:

    First of all the best thing you can do before trying them in any rifle is to get the rifle ABSOLUTELY clean using a cleaner like Bore Tech Eliminator as they are pure copper not gilding metal and any fouling can affect accuracy.

    Second they are supremely accurate and especially so at extended ranges. Because they are homogeneous in construction the and the center of mass and the center of the bullet are perfect or pretty close to it lol and this results(usually) in exceptional accuracy PARTICULARLY at extended ranges. I have shot them out of .257 Weatherby to 550yds. on steel rams and the accuracy is phenomenal.

    Third if you plan to use them on deer size game either become a high shoulder shooter or use a larger caliber or both as they are too tough to expand reliably on deer at any speed. I know this because after I purchased my .257 Weatherby I used the 100gr. TSX factory load(3584fps out of my rifle) to shoot a buck at about 25yds. Go figure I was all set to shoot 500+ and get a buck off of my toes lol. Anyway I tucked the bullet right behind the shoulder as I have always done and the buck ran off almost as if not hit. In the heat of the moment I thought he wasn't hit. After some head shaking and looking we found the buck about 150 yds. from where I first shot. The ensuing autopsy revealed that the bullet went in and through the top of the heart with ZERO expansion or even damage to the heart and broke the off leg at the joint. The heart was even jellied just a .25" hole straight through like you had used a drill on it. This was at an impact velocity of over 3500fps!!!

    I have since seen and talked to others with very similar results. In calibers under .308 there is simply not enough hydraulic force encountered to reliably open that nose unless some resistance is encountered i.e bone or heavy muscle.

    As a result I am taking my 45-70 with a 250gr. TSX FN:



    And my Ruger M77 MarkII All-Weather with a 225gr. TSX loaded at just under 2700fps. deer hunting. Btw I have not encountered the OP problems with the TSX in this rifle either and this is a VERY long bullet in a short case.

    The above may sound like over kill for itty bitty deer but such is life here in WONDERFUL CA these days.

    To date I have used the TSX in .223 Remington .257 WM, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum .300 Weatherby, .340 Weatherby, .350 Remington Magnum and 45-70.

    They are VERY accurate in all but they are best used on tougher game. I have two friends that have used the 53gr. TSX on hogs in the 200-225lb range and gotten lengthwise penetration.

    Hope this helps some folks out there that may be thinking about these bullets.
    That's a very useful 1st-hand user report on hunting results. May there be more on all products and calibers! Waaaaaay too much "I read this" and "I heard this" in the internet world.

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    Default theone

    you nailed it on this one. When I was guiding for sheep I saw the same thing on a regular basis, guys would have real tough bullets driven to 3000 fps or over then would shoot a ram at under 200 yards and the bullet would just zip right on through. Where the TSX and other premium bullets shine is with bigger animals and really thats what they were designed to do. I have used the Hornady 350 RN a lot on moose/bear at 45/70 vel. with great results. On the other hand I killed a Mt goat a few years ago with a 270 loaded with cup/core cheapo bullets, shot was under 200 yards and hit a rib going in, the bullet just made it past the rib then disintegrated. Very poor bullet performance. Had a hunter shoot a grizzly at 75 yards with a 300 a few years ago, he hit the bear dead smack in the shoulder just like I had told him too. Found out later he was shooting some cheap walmart specials (he had thrown the box away and put the bullets in his ammo pouch so I never could tell exactly what brand the were but I suspect Speer)
    We killed that bear 2 years later and on skinning found a big area on his shoulder full of bullet fragments and scar tissue the bullet hadnt penetrated the bone at all. Had a better bullet been used the first hunter wouldnt have been out 6k that we charge for wounded Grizzly. The cheap bullets dont always pay. I think matching bullets to your intended game and velocity is very important. And for me anyway I know in the woods I will never know the difference between 2 moa and 5moa. But if a rifle/load wont do 1 1/2 I dont have it long and it will never go hunting. I like the confidence an accurate rifle gives me. My Dad used to tell me "you can feed a good horse for the same money as a bad one" I look at rifles the same way.

  20. #20

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    Thanks guys.

    Perfection for me on deer size game used to be a Nosler 140gr. Ballistic Tip over a max load of H4831 in a .270 Winchester Remington 700 BDL only lost one deer I ever pulled the trigger on with that combo as it was a clean miss due to a scope ring. I would punch that bullet through behind the shoulder and it was a dramatic DRT crumpling of the deer. Absolutely AMAZING performance every time.

    If this lead ban hadn't come about I probably would never have changed as the on game performance of that combo cannot be beat...I have shot deer with it that had already been shot at and were pumping full of adrenaline with the same results...they die on the shot.

    The only consolation prize is I have bought 4 new rifles since then and done a lot of shooting and reloading and searching and it has been FUN!!!

    The Barnes TSX are wonderful bullets imho, but yukon hit on something with the bullet selection. It is often overlooked and misunderstood. Deer are lightly constructed and super premium bullets are not required or desired UNLESS you are forced to use them and then you really need to reassess your caliber/bullet/shot placement before you go out in the woods.

    If you need a bullet that will penetrate though they are tough to beat.

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