June 2007 Barnes Bullet-n
|Randy Brooks Message:|
Normally, my column isn’t political, but my emotions were stirred following our company BBQ & Shoot last Saturday. Employees brought their families, including children. Of course my own family was there, along with my grandsons, ages 12 and 16. Everyone had fun shooting shotguns, rifles and handguns.
One of the highlights was watching wives and youngsters shoot our .50 BMG from a prone position at targets set up at a distance of 1,000 yards! Safety precautions included shooting glasses, hearing protection, and adults were required to accompany youngsters as they handled the firearms. The youth were respectful and responsible with the firearms. I was very impressed with their abilities, and attribute that to the mentoring of their parents.
I’m sure many of you have been following news reports about the overturning of the Washington DC gun ban legislation. Not only were these people barred from keeping handguns in their homes, but they were disallowed from keeping any long guns in close proximity to ammunition. For 31 years, DC has boasted the highest murder rate in the country. Why? Because criminals were the only people who benefited from those laws!
In each issue of the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman and American Hunter magazines, “The Armed Citizen” columns cite several instances where firearms have saved lives. Underneath the column, it states, “Studies indicate that firearms are used over 2 million times a year for personal protection, and that the presence of a firearm, without a shot being fired, prevents crime in many instances.”
Last February, an 18-year-old gunman killed five people and wounded four others with a shotgun in Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square shopping center. The toll could have been much higher if an off-duty policeman from a neighboring city had not drawn his concealed handgun, then hurried to the scene, where he engaged the heavily armed teenager in a firefight. Other policemen soon arrived, and the gunman was killed before he could take more lives. In April, a crazed Virginia Tech student killed 32 people and wounded many others before committing suicide. This deadly shooting took place in two separate attacks approximately two hours apart. An armed student or teacher could have ended the massacre much earlier, as the off-duty policeman had done in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, Virginia Tech’s policy outlawing guns on campus prevented timely intervention.
Guns are great for hunting and shooting, and they can also be invaluable for personal defense. I feel strongly about involving as many as we can in the shooting sports and mentoring those who are interested in learning. Shooting is an activity that can be enjoyed as a family pasttime or outing with friends. In addition to being a lot of fun, it teaches individuals how to handle guns safely, use them responsibily, and stay familiar with the function of one’s personal firearm(s).
It may become necessary for you or someone you care about to use a gun in self-defense. Do all you can to ensure they are as prepared as they can be. It could save lives.
Much to my delight, I have a story of success from my recent trip to Australia. As I mentioned in the April Coni’s Corner, the purpose of the trip was to meet with our new distributor, Nioa, and nearly 100 of his best dealers. After arriving, I made a presentation about Barnes products.
Representatives from ATK/Federal, Weatherby, Leupold and Nosler—and of course, myself from Barnes—all had the chance to meet and talk with the Australian retailers. We had a super great time. It seems these people can’t get enough information. It’s not as readily available to them as it is here in the United States, so they really appreciate anything they can learn. It was fun spending time with them.
After we finished with the dealer conference, all the U.S. factory people and Rob Nioa, owner of Nioa Trading, left Brisbane and flew up to Darwin to begin a three-day hunt. We then drove another three hours out of Darwin before arriving at hunting camp.
We hunted with Kevin and Carol Gleeson, who own and operate Mary River Safaris. They have close to 300,000 acres available for hunting—that’s a lot of ground to cover! They had a beautiful camp and are truly awesome people.
Unfortunately, my husband Randy did not come with me. Too much going on at work, and he had a black bear hunt planned in Washington while I was away. That meant I was pretty much on my own. It wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Of course I prefer to have Randy along but sometimes things just can’t work that way.
There were nine hunters and three guides, so we gathered in teams with three hunters per guide. The main animal everyone wanted to shoot was a water buffalo. None of us had hunted these tough critters before. We were all very excited to begin, but didn’t really know what to expect.
Most of us carried Weatherby rifles chambered for the .375 H&H Magnum cartridge. Brad Ruddell, Weatherby’s national sales manager, had a .460 Weatherby. Some of us hunted with Federal factory ammunition loaded with Barnes Triple-Shock bullets, while others used Federal factory loads with Nosler Partitions. We also had some .257 Weatherby factory loads along loaded with 115-grain Triple-Shocks for deer and whatever else we found time to hunt. (There may have been some Weatherby ammo loaded with those darned Nosler bullets as well!)
The weather was hot and humid, but I did all I could to keep as cool as possible. My team consisted of myself and the guys from Federal—Tom Saleen and Ryan Krantz. After making sure the guns were sighted in, we set out for the first day of the hunt.
Later that morning we spotted buffalo. Tom shot the first bull, and a beauty it truly was. I believe it scored 109, making it truly a tremendous trophy.
These buffalo are some of the toughest animals to knock down that I’ve ever seen. I have included a photo showing the thickness of the fat and hide the bullet had to penetrate.
After we took pictures and got Tom’s buffalo taken care of, we were off again to try to get my buffalo. Tom had drawn the first shot, and I was second in line.
Early that afternoon, we spotted a lone bull. The guide said he was a good one, so we made the stalk. My first shot was well placed, but the stubborn animal didn’t go down.
Instead, he then turned and ran at us. As I watched him come at me through the Leupold scope, I thought, “You only have one shot! Make it count!”
I put the crosshairs on his chest and fired. The moment the bullet hit, he turned, went a short distance and fell. He was about 40 yards away when he went down.
The guide had his gun aimed at the buffalo, too, but didn’t have to shoot. The guide told me he was proud that I’d kept my cool and made the shot at the charging buffalo that was coming to eat our lunch. Tom from Federal said it’s obvious I have a lot confidence in my product to stand there and face this big, charging beast. If the bullet hadn’t worked perfectly, the outcome could have been much different. I agreed that I do have a lot of confidence in my products. The thought of the buffalo not going down at my shot never crossed my mind.
We scored my bull at 94—a great buffalo under Safari Club standards. I have to credit the picture taking to Federal’s Tom Saleen. Thanks to him, I have an action photo as well as a photo of the end result.
All nine hunters killed buffalo—the largest was shot by Andy York from Leupold. It scored 114. This is a picture of the crew and their trophy heads.
I decided to also try for a Rusa deer. I think they’re really pretty animals. I shot one in the early evening of the second day. The range was about 125 yards. I used a .257 Weatherby firing a 115-grain Triple-Shock. I had a broadside shot, and one bullet was all it took. The Triple-Shock went all the way through, dropping the deer immediately. I plan on displaying mine in a life-sized mount.
The hunt was short, but we all enjoyed each other’s company. Everyone came home happy and glad we’d went. I’d love to go back again. Hunting in Australia could become addicting.
I’m happy to be back home and at work. My busy year began with the first distributor show on January 2nd and has been pretty much non-stop until now. I’ll enjoy just being here working—at least for awhile.
Just a short note to tell you, we’re a bit behind on the production of the “Bullet Myths Busted” DVD. We’ve had a few changes, and it’s taken longer than we thought it would to complete a production this large. However, we think it will be a production we’ll be proud of. I know you’ll be glad you ordered this new DVD.
If you haven’t ordered yours yet, click here or visit our website at www.barnesbullets.com. You should receive the DVD in 4 to 6 weeks after the release date. Remember, it’s free! Those living outside the continental U.S.A. will be charged a nominal US $7.50 to cover shipping.
I know you’ll want to share it with your family and friends. Don’t forget to visit our website and sign up for Barnes University. The charge is $9.95, and it’s worth every penny. I promise it will make you a more knowledgeable shooter and hunter. Click here to sign up for Barnes University
Have a wonderful summer, and thanks for being a member of Barnes Club-X.
Seating depth is one of those things many reloaders don’t pay much attention to. I must admit I paid little attention to seating depth for several years. I just seated bullets to the same length as a factory-loaded cartridge—or I kept seating them deeper in the case until the cartridges would reliably feed through my rifle.
I paid no attention to how far the bullets were seated away from the lands. At the time, I didn’t even know what “lands” were! My good friend Ken Slane opened my eyes to reloading and sold me my first RCBS press, which he had purchased new in 1972. He often referred to “lands” as he taught me about reloading. Not wanting to appear stupid, I simply nodded my head in agreement whenever he spoke of them.
This is all fine and dandy if you’re shooting lead-core bullets and they feed and function well in the rifle. Not knowing better, I often achieved acceptable accuracy from my lead bullet handloads seated at various distances from the lands. One day I decided to learn more about seating depth. The word, “lands,” kept coming up and I was forced to admit I didn’t understand what it meant. Ken explained that lands are the raised portion of the rifling in a barrel’s bore, and that most lead-core bullets give best accuracy when seated near the rifling. I began to realize the relationship between COAL (cartridge overall length), and how far the bullet should “jump” before reaching the lands.
Let me explain in simple terms, starting with the bullet’s ogive . The ogive is the curved portion of the bullet otherwise known as the tip (or nose) of the bullet. At some point the ogive meets the straight side of the bullet, otherwise known as the shank. Bullet and lands will meet just in front of this junction as the bullet jumps forward into the bore.The farther the bullet projects from the case, the closer it is to the lands. Bullets seated long in the case have less jump—or less of a “running start”—before engaging the lands.
If the bullet is seated too long in the case, it may become jammed into the lands. If this happens, the bullet acts like a cork and raises pressures—sometimes dramatically. If bullets are seated too short, you may be positioning part of the ogive inside the case mouth. This is not recommended. There’s usually a large range of possible seating depths between these two extremes.
One of the best ways to measure the distance the bullet is seated from the lands is to use a Stoney Point gauge. Ken taught me another way that requires no tools: First, take the bullet you intend to load and seat it approximately 1/8 inch deep in a neck-sized dummy case. Color the ogive and shank with a magic marker, or use a candle to “smoke” the bullet’s surface. When using a candle, hold the bullet a few inches above the flame (in the black smoke) and turn the bullet until it’s covered in soot from the burning candle. Now chamber the dummy round.
At this point, the COAL (cartridge overall length) will be long enough to push the bullet into the rifling, making shiny marks on the blackened bullet. Don’t force the cartridge into the chamber, or you may end up with the bullet stuck in the barrel. Remove the dummy round and seat the bullet about .010-inch deeper, repeating this process until the shiny spots no longer appear on the bullet. This is the maximum COAL the bullet can be seated to. Barnes suggests seating TSX, MRX and other X-style bullets .030 to .070 inch from the lands. Begin by seating the bullet .050-inch from the lands—we’ve found this is the “sweet spot” for many rifles. However, every rifle is different, and you may need to experiment with varying seating depths to find the “sweet spot” for your particular rifle.
There are exceptions to this rule and procedure. Weatherby rifles are famous for having a long throat or “free-bore.” Many .300 RUMs have this same characteristic. If your rifle has an extra-long throat, try seating to fit the length of the magazine. I think you’ll find that rifles with long throats shoot our bullets very accurately, even if you don’t have the option of seating bullets near the lands. In this scenario, a good rule of thumb is to load cartridges to a COAL at least .050-inch shorter than the length of the magazine. This allows enough space so the cartridges won’t bind up and tilt forward or back as you feed them in the magazine.
These simple recommendations can greatly improve your rifle’s accuracy. I’ve followed the same procedure with lead-core bullets and had great results. I personally believe this step is more important in load development than trying different powders. You can make a bad load good by simply changing the seating depth!
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This deer was facing me head-down when I shot it from 230 yards away. The 130-grain 6.5mm Triple-Shock X-Bullet entered in front of the left shoulder, and was found against the hide in the left rear of the animal. The deer’s insides had been turned to mostly soup. The recovered bullet had retained 100 percent of its original weight, and expanded from .264 to .575-inch.
Craig’s Crock-Pot Turkey
De-bone all the meat and cube. Pat meat dry.
Cook up a package of bacon.
Place de-boned meat in a crock pot to a depth of 2 inches.
Crumble bacon over meat, add salt and pepper, and pour can of Progresso Creamy Chicken, Long Grain and Wild Rice soup over meat.
Add onion flakes.
Repeat layers until crock pot is full.
Cook for 2 hours on high and then turn to low for an additional 4 to 6 hours.
Before serving make up large portion of long-grain and wild rice.
Place bed of rice in bowl and add cooked meat with sauce on top. Line serving bowls with slices of avocado and tomatoes.
Recipe submitted by Craig Moore
Question: While visiting your website I noticed the Triple-Shock X-Bullet page has a table listing “S.D” .151 and “B.C.” .204 for the bullet. I do not know what these abbreviations are. Can you help me?
Answer: SD stands for sectional density. Sectional density is based on a calculation of the bullet’s weight (in pounds) divided by its diameter (squared). This means all bullets of the same weight and diameter will have the same SD. Years ago, sectional density was used to reference the penetration qualities of a given bullet.
A bullet’s sectional density doesn’t apply the same way in today’s world of high-tech bullets because of the different materials and bullet designs now in use. For example, I could build a .308-caliber, 180-grain bullet from wood. It would have the same SD as an all-copper Barnes .308 cal 180-grain TSX bullet, or any other bullet of the same diameter and weight. Of course, a bullet made of wood wouldn’t have the same penetration or performance characteristics. Sectional density doesn’t provide an accurate projection of penetration unless all the bullets are made the same way.
BC stands for ballistic coefficient. BC is a measure of how aerodynamic the bullet is in flight. The higher the BC, the more streamlined—or aerodynamic—the bullet is.
Thanks for the great questions.
Question: When reloading a .30-caliber case with a light (110- to 130-grain) bullet, which contributes most to accuracy—seating the bullet to the recommended depth (at least 2/3 of its diameter) and living with a long bullet jump, or not seating the bullet quite as deeply, reducing the distance between the bullet and the lands? Or is the real solution for shooting lighter weight bullets simply to go to a smaller-caliber cartridge?
Answer: The right seating depth for best accuracy depends on the rifle. Some rifles perform better when bullets are seated close to the rifling, while others like them seated farther back. Light .30- caliber bullets have very little bearing surface to provide good neck tension. In some cases, we’ve found it’s best to seat the bullet to its top groove and crimp it there. This increases neck tension and provides better accuracy.
Thanks for the great question.
We aim to please. Reloading is a great hobby—enjoy it.
He won the Caldwell LeadSled DFT.
My name is Mike Kral. I am 38 years old, and work as a sales representative for an outdoor products company. I make my home in Wellman, Iowa.
I have a wonderful wife and two daughters—Chelsea, age ten, and Amber, who is eight years old. These women in my life all put up with me being gone in the spring and throughout the fall as I chase my hunting dreams.
My passions are whitetail and turkey hunting, along with the other shooting sports. I also enjoy fishing.
Again, thank you.
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