Barnes XPB for 500 S&W



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  • Barnes XPB for 500 S&W

    I just loaded and shot 20 Barnes 375gn XPB's in my 500 Smith today. I was wondering if anyone else here has used these.

    I went with 44.5 gns of AA-1680 for a start. They were the most consistant shooting cartridge I've loaded to date, and I've loaded hundreds. I came home and loaded 20 more with 45 gns of AA-1680 to shoot tomorrow.

    I had to dig pretty deep in the dirt pile at the range to find a couple of the fired bullets but did find two of them. They were nearly the exact same shape as they were when I seated them. They appear to be extremely good for deep penetration. However they did not open up like I expected they would. I'm going to shoot a few through jugs of water to see if they will open up in liquid.


  • #2
    I have 2 500 S&W firearms, a S&W PC revolver and a 21" MGM barrel for my Encore. I would never load an expanding bullet in a handgun cartridge for hunting purposes. Handgun rounds already have one disadvantadge going for them as compared to a rifle cartridge. That is enough velocity to get an expanding bullet to expand. Why shoot a bullt that is going slow down even more once it hits game? I only use hard cast lead bullets in hunting handgun cartridges and these bullets will out penetrate an expanding bullet going at the same velocity when compared weight to weight.


    • #3
      I have to assume that Barnes took velocity into mind when they created a bullet specifically designed for the 500 Smith and Wesson. That being said, the bullet did not expand when hitting sand from 15 yards and that did seem strange.

      What is the benefit from using a leadcast bullet as compared to say a 500gn Hornady JFP XTP?


      • #4
        Handgun Bullets...

        Well said Allen.


        To answer your question let me just say first. When you shoot a 30 caliber rifle bullet it expands to maybe .45" or .50", right? With big bore hand gun bullets they start out at .45" or .50" so all they need to do is penetrate, right?. If you use expanding bullets in a handgun there are two problems with that. One velocity is or likely to be, too low to expand reliablly in soft tissue, and if the bullets do expand penetration will stop and make a shallow wound. As the bullet expands it acts like putting on the brakes (sort of like a drag shoot on the space shuttle), the bullets travel comes to a halt.

        Your Barnes bullets are of copper. The same copper that is made to expand at 3000 fps when fired from a rifle. The same type of construction as the bullets for the 300 RUM. If they do actually expand at 3000 fps, do you think they will expand ar 1400 fps? If a bullet doesn't expand in dirt, it won't all my experience with them, expand at all.

        Actually in the case of your Barnes bullets it may be a good load because it doesn't expand. Sort of a solid, which is what a hard cast is. The cast bullets will have a better nose shape and will create a bigger wound cavity in animal tissue, than the Barnes will. If you want to shoot the Barnes and they shoot well for you, go for it, it still fun and dirt banks don't mind, but I wouldn't hunt with them.

        Allen's right about the cast bullets.
        Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


        • #5
          Good Bullet


          I have shot several animals with the barnes X bullets. They have preformed much different then you suggest. I believe they are much better than the hard cast since they do expand to twice the frontal size and retain almost all their weight. Once they expand the wound channel gets sawed though like a chain saw, it gets even better if the bullet yaws. The solid copper bullets a bit softer then the Jackets used on Jacketed bullets. One of the reasons you must shoot these bullets out of a clean bore. The fouling left from jacketed bullets love to stick to the barnes bullets which caused a bit of fouling.

          I have had the XPB 50 cal 375 gr out penetrate 50 FMJ flat points. And they (the X) all have expanded . I have a medium load for my AR 15 .50 Beowulf that pushes this bullet 1650 fps at the muzzle that has dropped both a black and a grizz in their tracks. The exit wounds were quarter size and neither bullet was recovered. The bullet busted both shoulders on the blackie and the far side shoulder on the grizz. The black was shot at 60 yards and the grizz at 110.

          I also have shot Caribou with the 120 TSX bullet in my 6.5 Grendel. Muzzel velocity out of my 19 in AR 15 is 2530. The last bou I shot with this bullet lasered at 177 yards. Even at this low speed the bullet expanded quite nicely even though it entered and exited without hitting any bone. The bou dropped 20 seconds or so later bleeding badly out of the exit wound since both lungs where hit.

          I have also had similar experiences with the XPB 185 gr .45 ACP bullet. I push this bullet at 1250 fps and it dropped a moose with a neck shot at 40 yards. It to expanded quite nicely. It even retained 90 percent of its weight (lost one pedal) after breaking up the spine.

          Anyway that my experience with this bullet, I would say pushing the .50 XPB bullet 1600 to 1850 out of the 500 would be an excellent hunting or defensive (bear) load.


          • #6
            XPB's and such


            I'm not saying the Barnes do not work. I have no experience with the 50 cals with any of them, or with the 50 cals in anything except the Browning. I do have a lot of experience with many other big bore revolvers from 41 to 475 caliber and have taken many animals with them. I know they work. I've never shot the Beowulf and the S&W into paper and cardboard.

            I Would think that a 375 grain 50 caliber bullet of any subtantial construction, would be enough gun for just about anything.
            Certainly the Barnes X's are strongly constructed. And, at .500" they donot have to expand to do the job. I know you and many others have very good experiences with the Barnes in many calibers and I do plan to try them again.

            TYBSP was shooting them into the dirt and said there was no expansion, I would think if his velocity is so low as not to expand in dirt, it probably won't on a moose or anything else. But as I said, at 50 caliber I don't really need expansion, therefore I would use less expensive hard cast lead, I'm pretty sure those bullets will make a big hole all the way through.

            I was saying as a bullet expands penetration decreases, that is true, but with a 375 grain bullet there will be lots of penetration, even with expansion.

            My experience with the Barnes goes back to the X's not the TSX's or the MRX's. I've shot several animals with them and have been with folks who shot many more and they did not expand reliably. When a spitzer does not expand it performs like a military style FMJ. It does not continue in a straight course and that isn't good. I have seen far too many of these wounds. I've stopped a lot of Barnes victims with A-frames and got to examine the wounds. I have made promise to try the newer TSX's and MRX's (I like those), so we'll see.

            I have used your load for the PBX 185 in the ACP, I do like that one.
            Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


            • #7
              I wonder what barnes was thinking with this 375 XPB now. Case size on the 500 smith limits FPS due to powder capacity, so I can only push the 375 gn bullet somewhere between 1500 and 1700 fps. It is a very long bullet compared to other bullets made for the 500. 1.100 in length and the hollow point opening is only .108. That makes me think that the opening might be to small going through dirt to force the bullet to begin to expand.

              Ive shot XPB's from my 454 casull and they expanded very well. They have a much larger opening though. hmmmmm?


              • #8
                Not a single jacketed bullet made to expand that will penetrate the way a hard cast bullet will time after time.


                • #9
                  I too tried the original X bullet and never did get it to shoot out of my guns well. Therefore I never used them on game, plus they copper fouled really bad.
                  When the TSX came out I tried them again an got fair accuracy; good enough to try them on game and they didn‘t foul the barrel as bad. I have always been a fan of a bullet that creates a decent wound channel and exits out the other side. Barnes the past few years have given me just that.
                  I chose the Barnes XPB 375 gr for my .50 Wulf due to the excellent and reliable feeding capability out of my AR 15. This rifle gives me what I want for a camp and brush gun, basically a short, 7 shot, semi-auto with 45-70 ballistics that is very controllable for a quick 2nd aimed shot.
                  Barnes has recently shipped their 30-cal MRX 180 gr. I purchased 200 of them and plan on working up a load for use next year. I am interested to see how well these shoot and perform on game.
                  I am no way an expert with these or any other bullet, just posting my limited experience. Again I have enjoyed your sharing of knowledge and respect what you have to say. You offer a lot to this board.

                  X bullets arent jacketed- Might I add there is no perfect bullet- I also prefer shot placement over penetration and or expansion, but we all know this already- Its still is suprizing to me how some folks forget this or fail to develop the skill to place the shot.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AlleninAlaska View Post
                    Not a single jacketed bullet made to expand that will penetrate the way a hard cast bullet will time after time.

                    The Barnes bullet in question is not jacketed. Solid copper construction. I have shot them in my 500 and think they are great although I have not used one on game yet.


                    • #11
                      You people praising the Barnes as not being a jacketed bullet are missing my point. It is an expanding bullet so why shoot something that will only slow down even more when it expands as compared to a hard cast bullet that will zip right through and leave a very good wound channel. I agree with shot placement, but shot placement is worthless if you can't reach the vitals.


                      • #12
                        Your missing the point of the thread. The .50 barnes bullet in the 500 will penetrate just as well as a Hardcast if it does not expand. However everyone I have fired into flesh has expanded leaving a much nicer wound channel than Hardcasts that I have used. Your theory is sound but it doesn't matter when both bullets completly exit the animal. With that in mind we all use what we have the best experiece with. I swaped to barnes from hardcast and have no regrets.


                        • #13
                          Just got back from a test with the 375gn XPB. I lined up 6-1gallon jugs of water and fired a shot through them. I attached a picture of the results. The bullet stopped in the 6th jug of water with very nice expansion.
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Just another angle of same bullet
                            Attached Files


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