“Products You Can Count On - Every Time”

June 2011 Barnes Bullet-N

Randy Brooks Message:  

I won’t say that thermal and night vision makes practical sense for me in hunting situations. I live in the state of Utah where it is illegal. However, there is most certainly a “cool” factor associated with this equipment.

The State of Texas allows hog hunting at night. My son-in-law, Thad Stevens, and I took a trip in April down to Chris Lucci’s Wild River Ranch located just outside of Victoria, Texas. His place is situated along the San Antonio River – it is prime hog and whitetail habitat. Grassy senderos cut paths through thick patches of gnarled brush and trees down to the river bottoms, creating well-groomed interstates for hog travel.

Each night, we loaded up into the back of a pick-up truck and searched the senderos and side-roads for hogs with the thermal equipment. Some of these senderos are miles long. I was surprised at the distances we were spotting hogs with the thermal – out to 500 yards and beyond. Once hogs were spotted with the thermal, we set out on foot to get close enough to effectively confirm the target with the night-vision. We did not use our personal firearms and optics on this hunt. One of the benefits of hunting with the Wild River Ranch is that you don’t have to make the investment in potentially expensive thermal and night vision equipment. However, if you are interested in purchasing your own personal set-up, Chris can take care of that.

The first evening, a cold front moved through which caused a north wind to blow against our favor. This made the hunting really tough because the hogs would wind us and immediately spook. Nothing was killed that first night. The next evening, the wind shifted in our favor from the south allowing us to connect on some good hogs.

Randy Brooks and Thad Stevens

Randy, Thad, and the crew of the Wild River Ranch

There is an additional level of difficulty when hunting at night with thermal and night vision. Limited visibility and skewed depth perception creates another set of challenges. That said, we were able to shoot four hogs, the largest weighing in at about 225 lbs. We used rifles chambered in 6.8 SPC II. I shot the 85 grain TSX, while Thad used the 95 grain Tipped TSX. We were extremely pleased with bullet performance on these hearty, tenacious animals.

Be sure to visit the Wild River Ranch web page. While there, click on the You Tube video link located at the top of the home page to get an idea of what Tactical Hog Hunting is about.

Good shooting,

Randy Brooks

Coni’s Corner:  

Welcome to summer – I hope. In Utah we have had a lot of rain this year. In May alone, some areas were over 200% of normal and in the south of Utah 400% of normal which means flooding, mudslides etc. All across this country there have been horrible events occurring with tornadoes and flooding. Lives have been lost and that is awful. Mother Nature can be very kind to us but in just a few minutes can wreak havoc in our lives as well. As hard as you try, you can never be fully prepared for things like that. Please accept our condolences if you or anyone you know have had to experience these horrific incidents.

Now, for an important announcement, and Club-X members are getting it first: Barnes is discontinuing the MRX Bullets. In fact, we do not have any more in stock as of the date of this newsletter. If you are a big fan of the MRX, and I know some of you are, please stock up now. We will not be offering this line for 2012. If your local retailer does not have the MRX bullets you need, contact Barnes Customer Service at 800-574-9200 or and they will tell you where to find them. You may also be interested to know that DoubleTap Ammunition has purchased a large supply of MRX bullets and will be offering them for a limited time in loaded ammunition. Contact DoubleTap Ammunition for more details about ammunition loaded with the MRX Bullet.

Each week, we are shipping new calibers and weights of VOR-TX Ammunition to retailers across the country. New VOR-TX products shipped last month include 25/06 100 grain, 270 WSM 140 grain, 7mm Rem Mag 150 grain, 7×64 Brenneke 140 grain, 9.3 x 62mm 286 grain, and all VOR-TX Handgun calibers including 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum and 45 Colt. We will be shipping the VOR-TX Safari in 375 H&H and 458 Win Mag within the next week to two weeks so be on the lookout for it at your favorite retailer. If they don’t have the VOR-TX products you need, call Barnes Consumer Services at 800-574-9200 or email to and let us know. By the way, the new LRX Long Range X Bullets and Match Burners are flying off the shelves! We are getting excellent feedback about these new products so get some today. We are working hard with retailers to make sure they are carrying the Barnes products you are looking for.

Thanks to all and we hope you enjoy some good times and good weather this summer.

Coni Brooks

Barnes’ Tips, Tools, and Techniques

In today’s world of high tech equipment, computers and new techniques that are all designed help to make a better product, some things can still be achieved the old fashioned way. I’m talking about hand loading for your rifle.

We use some of the best equipment when we develop load data for you. Ours is state-of-the-art with a specialized “conformal” pressure system. This set up uses a high tech SAAMI spec pressure barrel with a hole bored into the chamber area and a piezoelectric transducer is installed. As the pressure peaks under firing, the gauge that is specially calibrated reads the pressure and sends a signal to the control box where a technician can see the results.

For many years hand loaders have used the old fashioned trial and error method, hoping that by adding another grain of powder you don’t blow yourself up. Certain “guidelines” have been the standard – such as when the primer gets flat, or when the bolt locks up – you should stop and reduce the charge. These methods have worked for many, but some of them are more myth than reality. I’d like to go over some of these common pressure signs to help you avoid the pitfalls.

When I first started hand loading centerfire rifle cartridges, I was told that when the primer flattens I should back the load down. This is one of those semi-myths. Some primers will flatten under high pressure and others will not. I’ve had some Reminton primers that have blown right out of the case without ever showing any sign of flattening and on the other hand I’ve had Winchester primers that flatten with only a starting charge. I believe this to be a function of the thickness and hardness of the primer cup. The other myth that seems common is primer “cratering”. Cratering of the primer can be caused by a hot load. But it can also be a result of a slightly large firing pin hole in the bolt or a firing pin that is a bit too long or excessive headspace. Split or cracked cases are another area where it’s assumed that high pressure is the cause. Again this is only myth. Although it can be a result of high pressure – split or cracked cases are more likely caused due to a flaw in the case, improper head space or just simply from being sized and fired repetitively.

So what are valid pressure signs? I’d say the most common and repeatable pressure sign that one can visually see is the “ejector groove mark”. It shows itself on the bottom of the case around the primer. It is caused when the pressures within the chamber force the case against the bolt face. On most bolt faces there is a round spring loaded ejector pin. On others there is a rectangular groove to eject the spent round. Under very high pressure the brass case will flow into this groove thereby causing the “ejector groove mark”. If and when you see this mark, it is a sure sign of high pressure. Some of the new high pressure cartridges such as the WSM’s are made to run at these higher pressures and some factory loads will manifest the ejector groove mark even though they are within their pressure specification.

Some cartridges have very low maximum pressure ratings such as the 45-70, 30-30, 416 Rigby along with many others that will never show an ejector groove mark. Or should I say, they should never show one. By the time you reach that high of pressure in one of these rifles, it’s likely the gun will be in pieces and the bolt may become part of you.

Another common and very real high pressure sign is heavy or sticky bolt lift or extraction. This is caused due to the brass flowing and swelling in the chamber under tremendous pressure. However heavy bolt lift is not always a sign of high pressure. It may be caused by a variety of other issues. Knowing your gun and how it usually extracts a cartridge will be a clue as to wether or not you are actually getting high pressure.

Although I can’t cover every scenario in this brief newsletter, the purpose of this month’s Tip is to make you aware of valid pressure signs in most centerfire rifle cartridges so you can keep yourself out of hot water. Following the Barnes Manual should do exactly that. Above are photos of cartridges that definitely had too much pressure. Fortunately many of them were fired in controlled circumstances and no one was injured.
We Aim to please, reloading is a great hobby, enjoy it.

Ty Herring
Barnes Consumer Service

Barnes’ Awards

Barnes Bullets is the proud recipient of the North American Hunting Club’s seal of approval for the TTSX. The TTSX received an outstanding 97% approval rating from the NAHC field test members. Click here to view the article.

Success Story

Hank Malfitano

Hank Malfitano of Bartlett, IL killed this excellent 40″ cape buffalo in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania. He used his Mark V Deluxe rifle in 416 Weatherby and loaded the 400 gr TSX for this special hunt. It took three shots (two to the shoulder and one to the spine) to take this brute of a buffalo down. There is no accounting for the toughness and vigilance of these dangerous animals, so it’s important to take the best bullet available. After all, “The Bullet Has The Final Say”.

Recipe of the Month

Bear Pot Roast

4 lb. bear roast

10 – baby carrots

4 – stalks of celery

2 – tsp. salt

2 – tsp. chili powder

1/2 – tsp. salt

1 – large minced onion

1 – cup beef bouillon

2 – tsp. garlic powder

2 – cups port wine

Place meat in crock pot. Add all other ingredients and cook for 1 1/2 -2 hours per pound at 180 degrees F.

Check internal temp. of thickest part of roast with meat thermometer. Taste to adjust salt, sugar balance and add water if necessary.

When the meat is done, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and blend them on high and return them to the crock pot to thicken the wine sauce. This will give you a light, natural delicately flavored gravy.

Barnes News



Congratulations Club-X Prize Winner!

Phil Shane

Phil Shane of Bethany, OK is the winner of a Remington Heritage Series knife. Phil is an avid shooter that enjoys both his black powder firearms as well as his centerfire rifles. He enjoys deer hunting and spending time in the outdoors. Phil enjoys reloading almost as much as he enjoys shooting!

Thank you for being a member of the Club-X

For more information on this prize click here.

Prize for June

Rands Custom Straw Hat

In the early west, one of the cowboy’s most important pieces of equipment was his hat. It shaded his eyes from the sun, kept the rain off his neck and, in a pinch, served as a bucket for water and feed. It was an integral part of his existence, and he was seldom without it. It was the first thing he put on in the morning, and the last thing he took off at night. Today’s cowboy, and those who fancy western apparel, expect no less from their hat than the cowboy in the old west. It reflects their taste and lifestyle. In this age of cheap workmanship, it is difficult to find the hat to fit these needs. It’s with that thought that Rand’s approaches the design and construction of their custom hats. Utilizing traditional artisan’s tools and skilled craftsmen, we have achieved a quality product that combines the skills of the past with the concerns of today. Antique copper steamers, wooden sizing blocks, curved pencil curling irons and other traditional implements abound at Rand’s, reminding us that the skills of the past are still with us.

For June’s prize, Barnes is giving away a Rand’s custom straw hat. For more information about Rand’s and the products they offer, click here.

Barnes Monthly Facebook Contest

What years did Coni Brooks, Sales Manager at Barnes Bullets, serve on the Utah Wildlife Board? (Hint: she was appointed by then-Governor Mike Leavitt.)

Guess the right answer and win a free box of Barnes VOR-TX ammunition. The posting may begin on Wednesday, June 15th at 7:00 am Mountain Time. Posts made before that time will not be accepted.

We will be posting this announcement on our Facebook page on Wednesday, June 15th by 7:00 am Mountain Time so be sure to get there first! Good luck.

Congratulations to Tom Stego for guessing the correct answer on the contest featured in last months newsletter. Tom won a box of 7mm Rem Mag 150-gr TTSX VOR-TX Ammunition!

Parting Shots

Mark Fischer of Elizabeth, CO fired this 3-shot group from his 30-378 Weatherby at 100 yards. The Barnes 168-gr TTSX produced this tremendous accuracy. Check out the group in comparison to the dime next to it. Great shooting Mark!