With Club X™ and Barnes’ Copper Club™
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) now offers an online tool and downloadable app to help shooting enthusiasts locate shooting ranges close to them. The service covers every state and is free. Follow the link below to find a range near you or go to your App Store and search the “Where To Shoot” app.
Our friends from the NRA Women’s Outlook recently shared a video highlighting firearms safety techniques.
To learn more about NRA Women’s Outlook follow the link below:
Practice makes perfect, and that is also true when it comes to safe gun handling. Watch this video from Barnes Bullets to see how the girls in the Brooks family learned to check a firearm—even when they were sure it was clear.
Be sure to pick up the April issue of America’s 1st Freedom to see Laurie Lee Dovey’s feature of Barnes. Dovey interviewed Randy Brooks and got the low-down on what’s new with Barnes – Including new products like the TAC-XPD Defense Ammunition and projects like XactShot Ammunition loaded for TrackingPoint
We here at Barnes are proud of both the products we provide to shooters AND the place where we make them. Taking visitors on a tour of our facility lets us show that pride. However, we understand not everyone will be making a trip to Utah any time soon so we thought we give everybody a chance to see where we makes the product that you put to use in the field through a Barnes virtual tour.
Eric Pedersen was hired as Barnes’ first ballistician after it was purchased by Randy Brooks. But why not just let him tell the story – check it out below.
21 years ago I had the good fortune of being hired by Randy Brooks as the first ever Ballistician for Barnes Bullets. My main task was to shoot, write, acquire and compile all the information and load data needed for our first reloading book. Coinciding with that project, Randy had just bought the Apex Barrel Company with the intention of building custom rifles and barrels, and since there was an accuracy guarantee with each of those rifles, it fell upon me to work up loads and shoot each and every one. For those of you who know Randy, it is an understatement to say he can enthusiastically sell product. I don’t know how many hundreds of rifles he sold, but over the next few years it would not be an exaggeration to say that I worked up loads for over 400 rifles. Then add in the thousands of loads worked on for the first and second volumes of reloading books and I have to ponder at what was truly a once in a lifetime experience, one that taught me much about rifles, bullets, loading and shooting. We redesigned many of the X bullets of the day, had a good run setting world records with one of our 50 BMG target bullet designs, developed the MZ muzzleloader bullets as well as the all copper XPB pistol bullets. I’m pretty sure that by 1997 when I moved on to other things, I had sent more X-Bullets downrange than any human ever had up to that point. Even to this day I am a certified bullet geek. My desk drawer is full of expanded bullets pulled out of game that I or friends have shot. It has gotten so bad, that my friends automatically tell their guides to try to find and save the bullets when skinning animals because they know that the first questions I will ask them is “what bullet did you use? Did you find it? What does it look like? Tell me what happened with the wound channel “ and on and on… Bullet performance is a big deal to me.
I was thinking about all this as I called Jessica this last June to discuss an upcoming safari that I had booked in South Africa for the following August. My timing is often flawlessly bad; I had already booked one safari prior to Zimbabwe and as we were preparing for the hunt, Zim had one of their social collapses (our PH called us about 2 months before we were to depart and said that while we could still come, he was on the next plane to the UK since there was no gas, no milk and few groceries) and another safari was booked right before the Tanzanian Government doubled the concession fees, which in essence put the cost of the safari out of reach for me. So, having booked and cancelled 2 hunts to Africa prior to this, I was excited to finally be able to get over there.
While having reloaded tons (maybe literally tons) of Barnes Bullets in the past, I had never shot any of the Barnes Vortex Ammunition and was contemplating trying some as Jessica made it an easy decision for me by offering to send me a couple of boxes for my .338 Win Mag.
A couple of shots to dial the scope in, and then 3 shots for group and I was simply amazed. I have been in the Ammo industry for 21 years now and rarely had I had it this easy to get a gun ready. My first 3 shot group was .485”! I shot more that day and continued to be amazed at the accuracy of the ammunition. It was at that moment that I realized that Barnes had really taken their products to a whole new level from where we were while I was there, you know, when I thought I knew it all. I later asked Jessica what they had figured out and knew now that I was still in the dark about regarding the design of the bullets.
Having booked my hunt with Blaauwkrantz Safaris, I was hoping to include East Cape Kudu, Cape Bushbuck, Warthog, various small antelope, a Blesbuck, and a Mountain Reedbuck into the mix. If the situation was right I also wanted to consider a Nyala and/or an Eland. Due to the nature of the climate and vegetation of the Eastern Cape, the animals of the region have capes that are exceptionally colored and prized for their thick hair and then on top of that Blaauwkrantz was supposed to have some of the biggest East Cape Greater Kudu in the world. I was very anxious to start my first African Safari and it goes without saying that having the right bullet and ammunition was of the highest priority for me.
Eventually it was time for the trip and I left for the Denver Airport on July 30, 2012 bound for Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I arrived on the 1st of August with just enough time before dark to quickly shoot the gun and verify that it was still ok after the long flights. That night at the lodge I met up with my hunting partner Ron Nilsson and some other hunters in the camp who had arrived prior to me. We dined on a meal of Kudu steaks and local vegetables while I listened to the newly formed stories that the other hunters had just made that very day. The Rudman family which owns Blaauwkrantz, along with the other PHs made a tradition of all joining us for dinner each night. So needless to say it was a fascinating time right from the start.
I can’t say that I made every shot that I pulled the trigger on, but I will say that the ammunition and particularly the bullet never let me down. I never had to shoot an animal more than one time nor did we have to track any of my animals. I confess to having had a couple of clean misses and trust me on this; if you go to Africa, practice shooting off of shooting sticks BEFORE you go. I now know that the Tipped Triple Shock bullet is a work of art. Our PH François mentioned that he handloads TTSX bullets for his own .300 Win Short Mag because he had been so impressed over the years. To hear a PH talk about and be impressed with this bullet, after he had seen so many animals taken with every conceivable bullet, really is a testament to the quality of the product. For me, the bullet expanded and penetrated perfectly with every strike.
I was fortunate to take 8 really nice animals in my 7 days of hunting. I might be the weak link in the chain of my hunting and shooting, but the Barnes Vortex Ammunition certainly is not. After years of thinking about all that we accomplished while I was at Barnes, I have to take my hat off to them now as they have most certainly raised the bar far over my head and are making some world class products.
The only real drag to this whole deal is that not one bullet was recovered for my desk drawer collection… Complete success on every animal from the 40 lb Duiker to the 600 lb Kudu. I guess it is worth that trade off.
Upon finding out that she had drawn the Book Cliffs tag my sister in-law quickly sought the services of ‘Team Scream” (see “poor guides” in part 1) which is our unofficial outfitter name (based on the Halloween novelty t-shirts we use to fulfill the blaze orange requirement). The Books were definitely calling again and the opportunity to spend time with family again was too good to pass up.
The Books can be an interesting place. Much of the herd migrates from higher elevations to the lower country depending on the weather. For rifle tag and even smoke pole tag holders scouting can be next to worthless. Even as few as one or two days before the hunt starts, the deer may be in full migration mode and a place you may have seen plenty of deer a week earlier may no longer hold hide nor hair. This can be one of the more frustrating particulars when hunting the Book Cliffs especially if you’re one who likes to put in plenty of time behind the glass and on the ground during the summer months. However, it is wise to make at least one trip to learn the area, know where Utah / Colorado state line is as well as know the Indian Reservation boundaries. The Books is a huge area, but it’s also a very easy area to become lost, disoriented, or cross unit and state lines if you are unfamiliar with the area and lack the proper navigational tools. With that in mind I would highly recommend anyone thinking about a DIY on the Books to take at least one scouting trip to become familiar with the area. Having already been to the Books 3 or 4 times the previous year, we felt pretty good about our knowledge of the area and the deer migration patterns. This in turn saved us an unnecessary 5 hr drive and several hundred dollars in fuel.
It was decided that we would leave very early the morning before the hunt to head down to the Cliffs, get camp set-up and then do some evening scouting of the area. We figured this would be more worthwhile than heading down 2 nights before and then try to set-up a camping spot in the pitch dark and then be forced to redo something the next morning that we likely screwed up in the night. After making a few pit stops along the way we made it to Cliffs, found a great camp spot and had camp set-up all by 1pm. We ended up being only about a mile east of where we camped the previous year and we all felt pretty good about the way things were shaping up.
We decided to have a quick light lunch unload the ATVs and boogie over to the area where we located the majority of the deer the previous year. We arrived at the spot, got set-up with our spotting scopes and then waited for the evening to come. As the evening hours passed and the night drew nearer it became very apparent very quickly that the majority of the deer were not in the area. Over the course of a couple hours behind the big eyes, we located only a few does and just two little fork horn bucks. This was like a punch directly to the gut, from the big kid in high school.
At dark we returned back to camp to regroup and then formulate the plan for the next morning. We decided our best point of attack would be to try and be set-up before sunrise in the area where my wife had shot her buck the year before. This area is maybe 200ft lower than the area we scouted that night, so a little bit of change in elevation but nothing drastic.
As we arrived to the spot we threw on our packs and decided to head onto the trail and up into the cedars, hoping to catch the herds out in the open still feeding. As luck would have it, we weren’t the only ones with the same idea and maybe a city block into our walk we ran into another large group of hunters who had scattered themselves strategically across the valleys looking into the openings. So hopefully without screwing the other hunters up, we snuck our way back out and back to our machines. By this time we now had good shooting light and a few deer started to appear. With that, it also seemed like many of the 300 plus hunters for the area were showing up as well. Obviously, after being skunked in the higher country they were heading down to gauge the situation down lower. We were a little less than optimistic about finding a good opening morning buck, with the new found hunting pressure in the area. So we decided to do some exploring and hopefully find somewhere new.
We quickly remembered an area we had talked to some fellow hunters about the previous year. The hunters had seen some nice bucks, and one of them took a very respectable 4 point in the area. Without really having a plan B we decided to head that direction. As luck would have it on our way to the new area we ended up spotting a very nice 4 pointer with about 7 does busting it through a field and heading into a very thick pocket of cedars. We hustled to the other side of the pocket in hopes that the buck wanted to keep moving and head somewhere besides the thick pocket he currently resided in. After a few minutes of not seeing anything, I started to notice a few feet and heads sneaking through the pocket. I told my brother and sister in law to get ready the does were working there way out and the buck may be with. We sat on the east side of the pocket where there was a small, maybe 50 yard opening before reaching another much larger pocket of cedar. Only a few short minutes later I managed to pick the buck out sneaking very suspiciously through the cedars. I whisper to them that the buck is heading to the opening and that she’s going to get a good chance at him. We were somewhat set-up at edge of the opening probably 60 yards max away for him waiting for him to continue out of the cedars. However, this old buck was a smart devil and knew he was vulnerable when he entered the clearing, even with us being very quiet, down wind, etc. he knew he shouldn’t be in the opening for long. Maybe 5-10 yards before the opening he busts out of the cedars like a banshee with nothing on his mind but getting to the next pocket of trees. As he’s busting through the field I look over and see that buck fever has visited my sister in law and she was having trouble finding the running buck in her scope. She and my brother were having a hard time getting set-up on the shooting sticks, locating the buck etc., We tried to get the buck to slow down with a series of doe bleats, whistles and even yelling stop in hopes that one little hesitation on his part would be all she would need to seal the deal. He didn’t stop, and just kept picking up more speed. She did manage to squeeze one off at him but didn’t lead him enough and had a clean miss shooting maybe a foot behind him. He was home free with acres and acres of thick cedar as his cover. I had to start laughing a little, not that she missed but at the whole series of events. It reminded me of the very first deer hunt my wife went about 7 years earlier and how big of a nervous wreck I was, hoping that she would have a good experience and that she’d still want to be married to me after the hunt was over. It’s a weird feeling of extreme responsibility taking a spouse on their first hunt, but when it’s all said and done whether successful or not, it’s an experience I wouldn’t have traded for anything.
So after letting the newlyweds compose themselves a little and overcome the emotions that come with buck fever. We decided to break out the GPS and head to the other area we were hoping to check out.
To be continued……
The Book Cliffs of Southeastern Utah is amongst my most favorite places in all of creation. The mixture of the high mountain pines and aspens combined with the majesty of the layered “book formation” cliffs, covered in cedars and sagebrush lay out a scene similar to what I picture Heaven to be like. Having lived in the great state of Utah my entire life I’m a little ashamed to admit that I had never been to the Book Cliffs area prior to 2011.
Over 1 million acres of the Book Cliffs management area can be considered an outdoorsman’s paradise. Its home to thriving elk and deer herds, it is also home to a good population of black bears, pronghorn and a recently introduced group of American Bison. For those interested in hunting this little piece of paradise you can likely count on one thing as almost a certainty—it’s going to take time to draw the tag! Most Utah residents can count on the average waiting period of 12-15 years of bonus points to draw an elk tag, 8-13 years to draw a mule deer permit and 8+ years to draw a bear permit. Non-residents can normally count on a little bit longer wait times for each of these due to the lower-permit numbers available to non-resident hunters. With that being said there are always a few who beat the odds and draw permits with less than average points and sometimes even zero points. This can be both the beauty and the vice of the Utah draw system.
This is where my first experience with “The Books” begins. Shortly after my amazing wife and I were married, she became very interested in my extreme (understatement) interest and passion for the outdoors. She wanted to learn more about the outdoors and even start hunting deer, elk, and other critters. So being a good husband I complied and bought her first 2 rifles, and we started putting her in for limited entry drawings in Utah as well. As luck would have it, she beat the odds by drawing a Limited Entry any legal weapon mule deer tag for the Book Cliffs unit with only 6 bonus points. She was ecstatic upon receiving the notification of drawing the permit; I would dare say she was almost half as excited as I was! We immediately started the planning process and began putting a little money away here and there to help off-set fuel, food, etc. A month or so after receiving the notification of my wife’s drawing success, we received even better news that we were expecting our first child. This led to much discussion as to whether or not she should turn the tag back in or keep it due to beating the odds on the draw and see what we could do.
She was determined to keep the tag, and make the best out of the hunt even while being 6 months pregnant. The Books are very remote and are a good 2+ hours away from the nearest hospital, this meant taking it somewhat easy and not really overdoing it. These two concepts are a little difficult for my wife. On the third day of the hunt we located a real gagger of a buck; conservatively scoring I would put it in the 180-190 inch range. She worked very hard trying to close the deal on the toad, but things didn’t work out just right and she can blame the failure on her two guides, (my younger brother and I). While putting forth the effort she did for the big buck, she really exhausted herself. We returned back to the camp that night to rest up and realized it was probably a good idea to finish the hunt up and head back home. As luck would have it we found this nice 4pt in a very accessible area the next morning and she let her favorite Remington 700 CDL chambered in 257 WBY scream. The 100gr Barnes TTSX flying a bit over 3500 fp/s anchored the buck at just over 200 yards, a perfect, and ethical one shot kill.
This hunt will always be one of the most memorable, and accomplishing hunts all three of us had ever been on. These are memories that will forever be told to future generations and held dearly. It was also the beginning of my love of the Books, and the next part of this story. Fast forward us to three months later, my wife and I welcome into our family our first child, a sweet, healthy, little baby girl and two days later we welcomed into the family my younger brother’s (see poor guide reference above), new bride.
Coincidentally, my baby brother’s new wife also found interest in the family passion and decided to start putting in for limited entry hunts herself. As luck would have it she completely blew the odds out of the water and drew the exact same tag my wife drew the year earlier, with zero bonus points!
To be continued………………..
Barnes® has introduced a set of new user-friendly webpages for a number of its components, including the popular TSX, TTSX and LRX bullets. The webpages feature an animated video that demonstrates how a Barnes bullet functions as they travel down a barrel and strike the shooter’s intended target. Additionally, customers will now be able to scroll through an illustrated side-bar to see the all the bullets offered in a particular family of Barnes bullets, seperated by bullet caliber and weight.
The new web pages still provide Barnes customers with important information while the illustrated sidebar make it easier for customers to find the specifications of the particular bullet they are in search of.
These new webpages are currently available for the public to view on the TSX, TTSX, LRX, XPB and Barnes Buster pages. Barnes is continually improving and every component line will soon feature the newly enhanced web pages.
To view these new web pages visit BarnesBullets.com/products/components/ or click on one of the hyperlinked components above.