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New Triple Shock X-Bullet


Testing the New Barnes Triple Shock X-Bullet
By: Rick Jamison

There is another type of bullet that precludes the separation of core and jacket by eliminating the bullet core. Barnes popularized this type of bullet with its X and coated XLC bullets and now has the new Triple-Shock X-Bullets (TSX). You may recall in one of my articles on bullet lubes a few years back the Barnes’s baked-on blue was the most efficient of any coating, with the greatest, lubricating qualities.
You may also have remembered in articles written several years ago that accuracy was not always as good as a person might like with the solid bullets. Back then, some rifles seemed to shoot them well, but others did not. All that is history with the new Barnes TSX. Barnes XLC bullets started the new age of solid bullets, but now the TSX with circumferential relief grooves is proving to be exceedingly accurate in every rifle and caliber I’ve fired them in. (In addition, the old story of heavy fouling from copper bullets has also been relegated to history by the newer bullets).
Since it does not have a separate lead core, the new Barnes TSX does not have a core and jacket separation issue. But since it is a new bullet and since it precludes core and jacket separation as do bonded bullets, I decided to include it in my series of shooting tests of bonded bullets.
The Barnes TSX is a solid-copper bullet with circumferential grooves in the straight, bore-bearing section of the bullet. In the .30-caliber 180-grain bullet there are four grooves that measure smaller than the nominal .300-inch bore diameter for most .30-caliber barrels. The bottom of the grooves in the Barnes 180-grain TSX bullet I measured ran about .291 to .292 inch, depending on the groove’s position along the bullet shank. Firing tests showed that the bottoms of these bullet grooves were not normally engraved by a barrel’s rifling during firing. This greatly reduces the bearing surface of the bullet. The bullet also has a boattail.
There is a specially shaped cavity in the forward section of the bullet that produces a predetermined and predictable formation of petals during expansion. The depth of the cavity also determines the degree of expansion. When a conventional lead-core bullet expands, it tends to turn inside out with a high-velocity impact. With the tough, solid-copper TSX, expansion goes as far as the bottom of the bullet’s nose cavity and stops. The .30-caliber 180-grain TSX bullet expands with four petals that are bent in the direction of bullet rotation during impact. This type of bullet continues to penetrate deepest of any bullet in test after test. Under ultrahigh-velocity impact the expanded petals tend to break off leaving a smaller frontal diameter for greater penetration with reduced meat destruction. At the same time, the blunt front end transmits considerable shock to surrounding tissue.
Expansion at normal velocity produces a beautifully symmetrical front end with four petals. The Barnes TSX expands with a relatively long bullet shank no matter what the impact velocity. The near-100-percent weight retention (at normal impact velocity) maintains kinetic energy. This, combined with the bullet’s controlled front-end formation, results in deep penetration.

Triple-Shock Impact Results

Impact Velocity
Retained Weight
Percentage of
Retained Weight
Barnes 180-gr TSX
3092 fps
29.20 inches
139.90 grs
Barnes 180-gr TSX
2046 fps
24.50 inches
175 grs

NOTES: Figures were glaned with an Oehler Model 43 PBL using Model 57 Infared screens on a 20-foot spacing. The .300 Winchester Magnum-chambered test barrel’s length was 24 inches.

Triple-Shock Muzzle Velocity, BC & Accuracy

Powder Type
Powder Grains
Muzzle Velocity
200-Yard Accuracy
Barnes 180-gr TSX
Reloader 22
3075 fps
2.40 inches

NOTES: Figures were gleaned with an Oehler Model 43 PBL using Model 57 Infared screens on a 20-foot spacing. The .300 Winchester Magnum-Chambered test barrel’s length was 24 inches. Velocity, B.C. and accuracy are for 10 shots. Accuracy is at 200 yards, and B.C. was measured over the same 200-yard distance. Federal brass and Federal 215 primers were used for the handload.

*This article was used with the permission of Shooting Times.