“Products You Can Count On - Every Time”

August 2008 Barnes Bullet-N

Randy Brooks Message:  

I grew up in the 1960s, and whenever my family went shooting, we were careful to save the brass. My father had always handloaded, so my brothers and I just naturally did, too. I was well into my teens before I fired a factory round other than a .22 rimfire or shotgun shell.

When I first began reloading on my own, it was primarily to save costs. Then I found I could tune a load to a particular rifle and improve the accuracy. One of the great things about reloading is the wide range of components that are available. Different powders and bullets—even different primers—can produce significantly different results. Handloaders have many different bullets to choose from, and they’re a vital part of the mix.

I stuck with handloading to get the best possible performance. Owning my own bullet company probably had a little to do with that too, but I enjoyed putting the time in to making my rifle shoot better, which meant experimenting with different components and loads. Over the years, I never lost the desire to create my own loads. I still take pride in the results I achieve with my rifle, using my handloads and Barnes bullets.

Factory loads became better and better as ammunition manufacturers began using premium bullets from knowledgeable bullet makers. The right bullet is vital if you want top performance. That’s true for both accuracy and what happens when the bullet strikes game.

Today, we’re receiving many calls from people who are brushing off reloading presses and dies they hadn’t used in years. One reason they’re doing this is to reduce the expense of shooting. The rising cost of materials is driving up the price of both factory ammunition and reloading components. One expensive component is the cartridge case. Handloading allows you to reuse the same case several times, for a substantial cost savings.

Cost may be a large driving factor, but many simply like using their own recipes to build loads that make their rifles shoot better and produce top performance on game. Shooting ammunition you’ve created brings a lot of personal satisfaction. If you include your wife and children, reloading becomes an activity the whole family can enjoy.

Rising prices continue to reduce disposable income. However, if you already own a gun and the other necessary equipment, shooting can become a relatively inexpensive hobby. Ammunition is your main expense (not counting the gas you’ll use driving to the shooting area), and reloading greatly minimizes those costs.

When I was young, my family spent quality time together at the reloading bench. Then we spent more enjoyable hours firing the ammunition we’d created. My wife and I, along with our two daughters, later continued in the same tradition. Reloading was a family affair—an interest we all could share. But beware guys, it can be a humbling experience shooting with the gals!

Four Generations of handloaders, Left to Right: Tanner Harrison, Randy Brooks, Taylor Harrison, Jessica Brooks and Bob Brooks.

Here’s hoping you and your family find equal enjoyment in reloading and participating in the shooting sports.

Randy Brooks

I hope you are all enjoying your summer fun time. With the price of fuel and everything else going up lately, many plans have had to change. It just keeps getting harder and harder to make ends meet. I’m hoping things change very soon for the better.

The cost of doing business has risen, as well. Copper prices are affecting us greatly, but we just try to make the best of it and keep things rolling. Our business is doing well despite all the issues going on in the economy, and we will always produce quality products at the best price possible.

As I mentioned in June, we have a new muzzleloader bullet with a flat base. We delayed the introduction of this bullet because we now have an added twist and a new name. The new muzzleloader bullet will be called the Expander Spit-Fire T-EZ™. The bullet will be easier to load and we know it will be deadly on game.

These highly accurate muzzleloader bullets feature a new, redesigned EZ™ sabot that allows for easier loading in tight bores. Barnes sabots provide for an effective gas seal needed to produce the exceptional accuracy Barnes bullets are famous for. Don’t be fooled by the belted bullet sales gimmick of easily sliding down the bore. A little resistance provides for a proper fit and consistent shot-to-shot performance. The bullet has a streamlined polymer tip that boosts the ballistic coefficient and promotes expansion. This long-range bullet remains intact at extreme velocities, yet expands at only 1050 fps.

We are offering these new muzzleloader bullets in 250-grain and 290-grain weights in 15- and 24-bullet packs. The 250-grain 15-bullet pack is catalog number 45171, while the 250-grain 24-bullet pack is catalog number 45182. The 290-grain 15 pack is catalog number 45174, and the 290-grain 24 pack is number 45192. The Barnes Aligner tool #05007 (the Spit-Fire TMZ aligner tool) will ensure the bullet is properly aligned in the bore for optimum accuracy.

We should begin shipping these new bullets by mid-August. You will be able to purchase them on our store site as soon as they begin shipping. Beginning in 2009, they should be available through dealers and mail order catalogs.

The new Barnes Reloading Manual Number 4 is getting lots of positive comments. We are hoping that you all have a copy. If not, you can order one direct, or purchase one through your local dealer or a mail order catalog.

I’m sure many of you are working on your fall hunting plans. I hope those plans will include Barnes Bullets. Remember, the bullet is the cheapest part of the hunt. You don’t want to scrimp when purchasing one of the most important pieces of the puzzle that can make your hunting adventure a success.

As you can see from the new Barnes Reloading Manual, we love customer photos. Please don’t hesitate to send us your own hunting photos. We also like to use them on our website and in the catalog, so we’re always looking for photos that show off our customers’ successes.

Enjoy the summer, and good luck with your hunting plans. As always, thanks for your great support of Barnes Bullets.

Coni Brooks

Ty’s Tips

Question: Is the .308-caliber TSX bullet generally more accurate at long ranges (up to 500 yards) in 180-grain or 165-grain weights? I’ve been told I should use the heavier bullet. I shoot a .300 WSM Remington Model 700, and usually use factory ammo. Also, do you think the tipped version of the TSX would be a better hunting bullet?


Answer: Great question! The heavier 180-grain .308-caliber TSX has a higher BC value and is more aerodynamic than the 165-grain TSX. This means it retains more velocity and energy, and isn’t as susceptible to the wind. Yes, it is a better choice for ranges beyond 400 yds. The 180-grain .308-caliber Tipped TSX (TTSX) has an even higher BC value, and is consequently a better long-range bullet—for the same reasons. All three bullets will be stable at long ranges, so it really comes down to BC and accuracy.

Question: I’m confused by “case length” vs. “trim to length.” What are the differences between these terms? Specifically, I have reloaded 100 rounds of .308 Winchester brass with a “trim to length” of 2.015 inches. I’m afraid that I didn’t look past the illustration of .308 case dimensions on page 343 of the Barnes Reloading Manuel #3. After going over the information in the manual, I see that the “trim to length” should be 2.005 inches. What difference will this extra 0.01 inch make?


Answer: Case length is SAAMI maximum case length for that particular chamber. That is the maximum length you should allow the case to stretch before you trim. Trim-to is normally .010″ shorter than SAAMI maximum case length. SAAMI specs state that a case can be trimmed up to .020″ shorter than SAAMI maximum, but typically this is not recommened as case position is affected on the bullet. This becomes a potential problem when attempting to crimp into the cannelure.

Cases should always be measured after every firing. Typically, new cases will stretch more than once or twice-fired cases. Allowing your cases to increase in length beyond SAAMI maximum can be extremely dangerous as pressure spikes and damage to the rifle can occur. The maximum SAAMI case length for the .308 Winchester is 2.015 inches, while the trim-to length is 2.005 inches.

Thanks for the great question.

Success Story

Greg Harris


I am extremely pleased with your bullets and the accuracy I have been able to achieve with them handloading for myself and setting up rifles for my friends. I was first introduced to the Triple-Shock X bullet by a mutual friend of Randy’s, Garrett Woolstenhulme, who owns and operates Red Creek Outfitters, headquartered near Coalville, Utah at the edge of the Uintah mountains.

My friends, clients and I have harvested several very nice animals with Garrett. I have included photos of a couple of trophies I have taken over the last two or three years. The mule deer gross scored 195 inches. I shot it on Moffit Peak at a range of 528 yards. The elk was shot at 498 yards on the northeast slope of Porcupine mountain. Both were harvested with a .300 Ultra Magnum shooting 168-grain TSX bullets.

—Greg Harris

Recipe of the Month

Swiss Round Elk Steak

2 lbs Round elk steak
1 Tbs Prepared mustard
¼ cup Flour
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 cup Beef broth
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Fresh mushrooms, sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut steak into serving size pieces. Dredge in flour. Add oil to skillet and heat.
Brown steaks, when meat is nicely brown add mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth.
Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until meat is fork tender.
Serves: 6 – 8

From The Lab

Thad Stevens
Ballistics Lab Manager

Different bullets are needed for various applications. Each type requires its own set of criteria and method of testing to ensure the bullet will perform properly for the intended purpose. For example, most varmint bullets will not normally perform as expected when tested under the same standards and conditions as large game hunting bullets.

There are several factors with big game hunting bullets that come into play. Does the bullet shoot accurately enough to properly place your shot? Does it function after it hits the mark, creating sufficient damage to tissue and bone? Is it tough enough to hold together after hitting bone? Will it penetrate far enough to reach the vitals on extremely large game or quartering shots on smaller species? If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you are really on to something.

For years, I hunted Mule Deer (and about everything else) with a 340 Weatherby and what I now consider to be mediocre bullets. I felt confident that when a 240-inch buck presented itself, I would be prepared to take any shot within reasonable range with my Weatherby. Now, when I dig into my thought process behind this decision, I feel that component choice should have played a larger part into the equation. I was putting a lot of emphasis on the rifle and cartridge combination; however, it all comes down to the bullet. What kind of performance can one expect to get with a lesser bullet, even when using a rifle you have so much confidence in? If you do everything right, (which I seldom do!) and the rifle does its part, chances are you’ll be successful. But the final, and most important piece of the puzzle is the bullet. That’s why I think it’s wise to choose a premium product – to improve your chance for success.

Let’s say I pull a shot and hit an animal too far back, or a little too high with my 340 and a premium hunting bullet. This particular cartridge delivers enough velocity and energy, and a well-constructed bullet creates enough tissue damage while penetrating far enough to damage bone and/or exit to cause blood loss. I’d have to say that bullet was the determining factor in saving my butt on a compromising shot. If you are a hunter and have never made a bad shot, keep hunting because it’s coming. No one does it perfect every time, but we can choose rifles and components that will improve our chances when things go wrong, and even when they go right.

In the Barnes Ballistics lab, we really like to shoot bullets. Not just Barnes bullets, but bullets from all manufacturers. We also like to shoot different tests and experiment with different types of media. For a long time we tested expansion and penetration in bone-gelatin, but after years of experience and deliberation, we decided we could improve our testing method. We weren’t able to duplicate the same test every time with variables that go along with bone, such as density. So we decided on a 6” long, 2” x 2” piece of fiberglass to simulate bone. We feel it to be a pretty good representation of bone, therefore providing us with more useful information.

This month we decided to shoot fiberglass gelatin tests using a small selection of bullets offered by different companies. We recorded measurements from the wound cavity, penetration, weight retention and then tested the accuracy of each bullet. Photos were also taken of recovered bullets.

The 223 Remington and 300 Win Mag loads were shot into gelatin at a velocity that simulates a 150 to 200 yard shot. The 375 H & H was shot at a velocity that simulates a shot under 100 yards as we figured this would be most useful to African and North American dangerous game hunters. One ten-shot group was fired for each accuracy test at 100 yards. Where “n/a” is listed on Recovered Bullet Diameter, complete core/jacket separation occurred. The remaining fragments were not measured for diameter. The results of our tests are illustrated below.

Left to right: .22 Caliber 62-grain TSX, 60-grain Nosler Partition and 60-grain Hornady SP

Left to right: .30 Caliber 168-grain TTSX, 165-grain Swift Scirocco II and 168-grain Remington Core-Lokt Ultra

Left to right: .375 Caliber 270-grain TSX, 260-grain Nosler AccuBond and 270-grain Hornady SP

Top: .22 Caliber 62-grain TSX. Bottom: .22 Caliber 60-grain Nosler Partition

.375 Caliber 270-grain Barnes TSX

Barnes News


Congratulations Club-X Prize Winner!

John Wirsbinski

This is a photo of me and the caribou I shot in 2006. That was my most recent hunting success. I grew up in Wisconsin and currently live in New Mexico with my wife, six-year-old twins, and two Akitas. My hobbies are hunting, fishing and martial arts, along with riding motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. I’m currently looking forward to an archery elk hunt and a rifle deer hunt in New Mexico this fall, after an unsuccessful Montana bear hunt in May.

—John Wirsbinski

John won the Radians Sound FX™ Hearing Protection.

Prize for August

Minox BV 8×25 BRW Binocular

Minox has introduced compact binoculars that deliver high-quality performance at a surprisingly affordable price. Both the BV 8x25mm BRW and the BV 10x25mm BRW roof prism binoculars measure a compact 4-3/16 inches tall, 3-7/8 inches wide and 1-1/2 inches thick, and weigh just 10.4 ounces. The binocular’s aluminum body is armor-coated for both protection and comfortable, sure grip.

A Minox BV 8x25mm BRW binocular will be won next month by a lucky Club-X member.

While they’re compact, the two new Minox binoculars offer good optical performance. With the same new Minox optical system introduced with the first BV Series models, the new binoculars provide high image contrast and excellent detail rendition. All glass-to-air surfaces are multicoated for maximum light transmission and image brilliance without glare. The prisms are fully phase-corrected.

Field of view for the 8×25 model is 390 feet at 1,000 yards. The 10×25 binocular provides a viewing field of 315 feet. Close-focus distance for both binoculars is 4 feet, 11 inches. Innovative sealing technology protects the internal system from dust and water; the binoculars are waterproof to about 10 feet. Nitrogen filling ensures permanent protection against corrosion, and prevents fogging. With their 5/8-inch-long eye relief, these binoculars work well for those who wear glasses, allowing them to see the full field of view without vignetting. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $189 for the 8×25, and $199 for the 10×25 binocular.

For additional information visit

Parting Shots

In the last newsletter, we mentioned the Fifty Caliber Shooter’s Association’s national match over the July 4th holiday. One of the competitors, Brad Trelstad, was shooting the Barnes 800 grain LRS (Long Range Solid). Congratulations to Brad for taking 5th place in Heavy, Unlimited, Two Gun and the Iron Man. The photo above is a 5 7/16” group Brad shot in the Unlimited class.

In the four-man team event, Brad’s team, Team Freedom, took 2nd place. His team was so-named in honor of his son, James’ MP unit in Iraq. James was recently injured while serving, so we’re all wishing the very best for him and his family and we send our prayers his way for a full recovery. The prize for the first three places in the team event was cash. Team Freedom graciously agreed to send their winnings to James’ unit. Apparently, some of the guys even kicked in a bit extra. Way to go, guys!

Congratulations to the competitors, supporters and to the FCSA for holding what turned out to be another successful national match!

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