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March 2008 Barnes Bullet-n

Randy Brooks Message:  

Big game hunting season is still several months away, but March is a great time to go outdoors and get some shooting practice in. After a long, cold winter, the weather is finally beginning to warm up. It may be too early for prairie dogs, but it’s prime time for hunting foxes, coyotes and other varmints. This is a great opportunity to get some pre-hunting season practice in with your favorite deer rifle.

Back in the mid-1970s, Gil Van Horn built a custom rifle for me on a Brevex Magnum action (an oversized Mauser design). He fitted and fabricated the components into one of the most beautiful dangerous game rifles ever built. Chambered for the .505 Barnes Supreme cartridge, the rifle was specifically made for hunting elephant and buffalo.

The late Elmer Keith came by for a visit soon after the rifle was completed. While the rifle was designed to shoot 700-grain Barnes Originals, I’d loaded 200 rounds with 300-grain spitzers I made by hand in anticipation of Elmer’s visit. These relatively lightweight bullets left the muzzle at 3200 feet per second. A 1.5-5x Leupold scope was mounted on the rifle for the special varmint hunt I had in mind.

Elmer and I took the rifle, along with a shooting bench and sandbags, to an area near Strawberry Reservoir, 40 miles from the Barnes office. It was early Spring, and we spent the day shooting ground squirrels that had emerged from their burrows to sun themselves on top of the crusted snow. I don’t know how many ground squirrels were out that day, but Elmer and I shot up all our ammunition.

Shooting ground squirrels with a .505 Barnes Supreme may sound silly—and I admit the “fun factor” was pretty high. However, there was a more practical side to the exercise, which I took very seriously. Before hunting dangerous game, I wanted to be absolutely certain the new rifle fed and functioned perfectly. A good way to determine this was by rapidly working the action while doing a lot of shooting. Hunting ground squirrels that day also allowed me to become even more familiar with the rifle.

You can become more proficient with your own deer or big game rifle by shooting jackrabbits, ground squirrels or coyotes with it. However, don’t leave your .22 centerfires or rimfires at home. When you tire of your deer rifle’s recoil, it’s time to switch to a lighter-kicking rifle. Remember, the main reason to hunt in March is to get outdoors and have fun.

I hope all of you can spend some time shooting and doing a little hunting this month. Be sure to bring a child, grandchild, your wife, girlfriend or neighbor along. Involving friends or family always makes shooting more enjoyable.

Randy Brooks

This year is really starting out busy! We’re excited and prepared for whatever comes our way.

We are among the few manufacturers that have an average 97 percent fill rate on orders to our distributors and dealers. That’s almost unheard of in many industries. We at Barnes pride ourselves in not only great, innovative products, but in offering great customer service and fast delivery. We know that if we don’t deliver products quickly, everyone loses.

Our products are getting lots of editorial exposure in numerous magazines. We advertise in many excellent publications including those offered by the National Rifle Association, along with Handloader, Rifle and Successful Hunter magazines, Safari Times, Sportsman’s News, (which can be found at all Sportsman Warehouse locations), Varmint Hunter and Predator Extreme, to name a few.

A big “heads-up” if you’re a fan of outdoor television shows. On March 6th at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and March 7th at 1:00 A.M. Eastern Time, the Outdoor Channel will air the American Rifleman television show titled, “Pushing the Envelope.” The show will feature Barnes Bullets.

You’ll see the inside of Barnes’ manufacturing plant, and watch interviews with people here at Barnes. It will also show our testing facility and provide many interesting facts about Barnes. We hope you’ll tune in. Use whatever recording device you may have if these times don’t allow you to watch the program live. We think you’ll enjoy learning more about us. We want you to become better acquainted with Barnes, up close and personal. Be sure to adjust your viewing schedule to the time zone you live in.

Most of our trade shows have ended for the year, and we want to thank all of you who came to any of the shows and visited our booths. We love meeting our customers face-to-face and answering any questions you may have. We also appreciate all the kind comments we get from our customers. There’s nothing better than hearing about the success you’ve had hunting with Barnes Bullets. It makes us want to try all that much harder to please you—our customers and friends.

Reloading is on the upswing again! Retailers tell us the high cost of factory ammunition is prompting hunters to return to the reloading bench. In addition to handloaders, we sell our bullets to many ammunition manufacturers like Federal, Cor-Bon, Black Hills and Weatherby, who offer our various products in their great lines of ammunition. We are proud of our association with these fine industry friends. They do a great job. Their products mean that, if you don’t reload, you can still hunt with Barnes Bullets.

Our reloading manual #4 is not yet ready for distribution, but this will happen very soon. Our goal is to ship the manual in May. We are very excited about this new book. We think you’ll agree that it’s the best manual out there. You may place your order directly with us, through your favorite mail order catalog, or at your local dealer.

We have been getting many requests for our DVD, “Bullet Myths Busted,” as more and more customers become acquainted with Barnes products. If you don’t yet have this DVD, be sure to go to and order your copy today. It’s well worth the few seconds it takes to request one. If you live in the continental United States, your order is totally free! (A modest shipping charge will apply for those residing outside the USA.)

We hope you’re having a good winter season. I know I’m ready for warmer weather. In Utah, we’ve been bombarded with repeated snowstorms, so there shouldn’t be a water shortage here this summer.

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have. Always know that we sincerely appreciate your business and support.

Thanks so much,


Ty’s Tips

Question: I have a question about cleaning. I use your TSXs in each of my rifles, and get great accuracy and terminal performance. However, I’m having trouble removing copper from the bore of a .300 Dakota when I shoot 180 grain TSXs at 3195 fps.

I’ve used CR-10, Sweets, Wipe-Out and even JB’s paste. After following the recommended procedure, using both a patch and a brush, for each of these products I still see a copper wash in the grooves (not on the lands) near the muzzle. When I use CR-10, the only blue visible on a follow-up wet patch is a faint tint from the brass jag.

Suggestions? Am I moving that 180 at too high a velocity?

—Bob Growney

Answer: Velocity and the TSX Bullet are not the issue. With their reduced amount of bearing surface, TSX’s do not foul any more than gilding metal jacketed bullets. Other cartridges are capable of much higher velocities, yet they don’t have this problem. More than likely, there is a rough spot in this particular barrel that tends to collect copper. We recommend lapping to smooth it out.

Once the rough spot is removed from the bore, the paste will be the most aggressive product for removing copper from your bore. However, any of the other products you mentioned will work. They’ll just take more time and effort. I’ve found that using a very tight patch along with one of the solvents or paste will speed up the removal of copper.

Thanks for the great question.


Speaking of barrels, below is a barrel break-in procedure I mentioned in a previous edition of Ty’s Tips. It’s a bit time consuming, but in our ballistics lab we go through a lot of barrels and we’ve found it’s well worth the time to go through this break-in process. What’s your rifle worth to you?

(From Ty’s Tips March, 2005) This month I would like to touch on barrel break-in procedures. Breaking in a barrel provides the following distinct advantages:

A. It will smooth out and burnish tooling marks remaining in the bore, which will result in reduced fouling.

B. A smoother bore often delivers higher velocities and prolongs barrel life. Barrels differ widely. No two will perform exactly the same—one will deliver greater accuracy with a certain bullet, while another will prefer some other brand or weight. The only things you can count on are that every barrel has its own personality, and properly breaking it in is likely to improve its manners at the range.

Our break-in procedure requires you to shoot 10 bullets, cleaning between every shot. Then fire another 10 bullets, cleaning between every other shot. Next, shoot 10 more bullets, cleaning the bore after every fifth shot. We suggest using jacketed bullets to break in a barrel. Jacketed bullets have a copper/zinc outer surface that does a very nice job of burnishing the bore.

When cleaning, it is very important to use a bore guide to avoid damaging the chamber’s precise dimensions. We also suggest using a bore brush of the correct diameter, and tight-fitting patches. Loose patches won’t clean very well, consequently extending your cleaning time. Barnes’ CR-10 is one of the better copper-removing solvents on the market. Used correctly, it can save time and effort.

The above procedure will take a few hours, so be prepared to spend the necessary time. You’ll be rewarded with a barrel that should shoot better, requires less cleaning, and will last for years to come.

Success Story

Lloyd Gubler

Recently while working a security detail for the former President George Bush, Sr. at the S.C.I. show in Reno, my father and I stopped by your booth. My father expressed some troubles he had experienced with bullet expansion on game with .500 S&W hunting rounds. The very informative young man working the booth referred us to the Barnes .500 XPB bullets, and assured us of the product’s quality.

Having hunted in many different types of conditions in areas ranging from Costa Rica to the Arctic Circle, New Zealand, and the very wet coast of Alaska, we can state without a doubt that your product has been very efficient. This year after 18 years of trying, my father, George Gubler, was lucky enough to draw a mountain goat tag. This would be the most meaningful hunt he would ever experience.

Upon getting the news, he immediately contacted your company to inquire about your TSX bullets. The woman he talked with described the quality of the bullets, and backed that up by sending a few boxes for my father to try out. My father worked for the military side of government several decades ago. His job required him to be proficient with a firearm at 500+ yards. He has maintained this skill for more than 40 years and regularly averages nine out of ten kill-zone shots at those ranges.

Our October goat hunt was under very severe weather conditions at elevations that would test both my father’s skill, and the quality of the rifle and ammo he used. His .300 Sendaro Ultra Mag matched up well with your 180-grain TSX bullets.

We spent the better part of a day working our way to an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet. A snowstorm provided few windows of opportunity to spot my father’s trophy. The goat was very weary, watching from his icy cliff face perch for any trouble that might approach. We were eventually pinned down at the edge of an aspen grove for nearly 30 minutes. Daylight was fading and the wind blew between 20 and 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph. Conditions were anything but favorable, but my father was very confident in his ability and in the fine equipment he had been practicing with.

I ranged the goat at 726 yards—a difficult shot in perfect conditions. I’m an amateur video producer, and had been waiting for an opportunity like this for some time. I watched as my father made the shot. His accuracy was amazing, and the goat fell approximately 150 ft.

I was able to catch all this on film, and will now be able to relive this great hunt with my family. My father and I would like to extend a special thanks to your staff for not only providing a wonderful product, but taking the time to talk with my father and offer authorative answers to his questions. We will continue to use your great products and tell our fellow outdoorsmen about your quality service.

Thank you again.

—Lloyd Gubler

Recipe of the Month

Venison Tenderloin

1 lb. venison tenderloin
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hickory chips
5 lb. of charcoal
Blackberry Sauce

Mix thyme, nutmeg, pepper and soy sauce, and marinate venison tenderloin overnight in the refrigerator. Soak 1 cup of hickory chips in a bucket of water overnight.
Build a fire in a covered barbecue grill using 5 lbs of charcoal. Allow the coals to burn for 30 minutes. If using a gas grill, preheat for 30 minutes. Scatter the soaked chips over the coals and close the lid for 10 minutes. Place the tenderloin on the grill and baste with the marinade. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the tenderloin and baste again. Close the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. The meat should be slightly pink in the center and quite moist. Serve on a platter with blackberry sauce.
Serves 2 to 4.

From The Lab

Jessica Brooks, Ballistics Lab Manager

Fred Barnes was well known for his heavier weight-for-caliber jacketed bullets. Some may be familiar with Fred’s Quick Twist (QT) line of cartridges he designed specifically for deep penetration. Probably the best known of these specialty cartridges was the 6.5 Barnes QT, which was barreled with a 1:5.5” twist. Fred offered a 200 grain Barnes Spitzer Soft Point, which had an almost sinful ballistic coefficient and delivered devastating terminal performance on game. The 6.5 QT was based on a number of cartridges, but the best performer was built on the 264 Winchester Magnum case. Another popular Quick Twist cartridge was the 226 Barnes QT, for which Fred also recommended a 1:5.5” twist barrel. With Fred’s history always present in our minds, there are many discussions (borderline fistfights, at times) in the lab about twist rates.

We happened to be shooting a gelatin test in the lab based on the .224” caliber 45 grain TSX out of a 5.56 NATO barrel with a 1:7” twist barrel at 3200 fps. The question was raised (I think a fist as well) about what affect, if any, would be seen from a much slower twist barrel, with all other variables remaining the same. As a comparison, a 22-250 barrel with a 1:14” twist was used (we didn’t have a 1:14 twist 5.56 barrel on hand.)

As illustrated in the pictures and graphs below, the results were negligible at best. Keep in mind that for optimum accuracy in a 22-250, we recommend this bullet be driven at 3,800 to 4,000 fps. Considering that the bullet may have been marginally stable out of the 1:14” twist barrel (due to the relatively low velocity for the purposes of this test) this could explain the differences in the initial expansion as well as the terminal ballistics. Notice the penetration, temporary cavity diameters and length are very close.

A future From The Lab test is planned to shoot into gelatin at actual distances down-range to illustrate a bullet’s terminal performance as the velocity and rotational spin decrease. This is expected to give us more practical information that could be useful in hunting scenarios. And truthfully, we’re just looking for more excuses to shoot tests WE want to do!

Barnes News


Congratulations Club-X Prize Winner!

David Commens

I’m 36 years old and have been competitive target shooting since I was 11. My recent successes include winning the Australian Big Game Rifle championships in both 2004 and 2006, along with winning the International Big Game Rifle Shoot in September, 2006. I am mainly a target shooter. Having a family and working keeps me from hunting as much as I would like. When I do, I like to use the new Barnes Varmint Grenade in my Sako L-46 .222 Remington rifle. With these bullets, the rifle shoots groups measuring around ½ inch across. The load I use chronographs close to 3500 fps. I currently reload for around 20 different rifle calibres and 12-gauge and 410 bore shotguns. I have boxes of Barnes X Bullets in various calibres on my reloading bench, just waiting for me to take them hunting.

—David Commens
Kingsthorpe, Australia

David won the SureFire’s 6P LED

Prize for March

BlackTrail 100oz Hydration/Hunting Pack

An ergonomic, lightweight pack designed for short trips, the BlackTrail™ is perfect for the hunter who doesn’t need a lot of gear. It features a SpaceNet molded back panel currently in use by the military for improved ventilation and near-silent zippers for stealthy maneuvers, as well as an integral BlackHawk® hydration system.

• Poly-frame sheet for stability
• Padded shoulder straps are made with non-slip HawkTex™ to help keep your rifle sling in place
• Bungee retention system allows for the storing of extra layers of clothes
• Easily attaches to the BlackHawk BlackOak™ Fanny Pack for the ultimate lightweight system
• Emergency whistle attached to front harness strap, plus internal key strap for that spare key
• Drink system protected by Microban® antimicrobial technology
• 360-degree bite valve and patent pending quick disconnect system
• BlackHawk bite valve holster keeps bite valve clean and out of the way
• Compatible with BlackHawk in-line water filtration system

Hydration Capacity: 100 oz./ 3 liters
Pack Dimensions: 19”H x 8.5”W x 3.5”D
Pack Total Cubes: 765”

For more informationvisit our website at

Parting Shots From The Lab

We’re not the only ones putting Barnes Bullets to the test! Just check out our Blog on the website under “Your Barnes Product Test Results.” Maybe you’ve got some test results of your own to add? Below is a photograph sent in from a loyal customer and long-time great friend, Joe Busalacchi. His words say it all:

“This is what the awesome power of the Barnes Grenade looks like fired from a .223. The wound cavity is into a 10 pound block of artist’s clay at 200 yards…”

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