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March 2009 Barnes Bullet-N

Randy Brooks Message:  

Bullet testing in the field is one of the necessary things I enjoy most. In addition to using Barnes bullets, I also use competing bullets for comparison. For the majority of the 35 years I’ve owned and operated Barnes Bullets, I’ve hunted more than 100 days each year. I consider hunting an unbelievable opportunity, and I intend to continue doing it for the rest of my life.

Just last week, I had the pleasure of hunting with some NRA executives and other industry manufacturers. We were hunting nilgai on the Yturria Ranch near Brownsville, Texas. Nilgai are very large antelope that were brought to Texas in the 1930s by a group of landowners. Their thriving population now offers some exciting hunting. Nilgai are noted for their very dense, heavy bones. Because they’re big and extremely tough, they provide some of North America’s toughest bullet tests.

I shot a large bull at a range of 180 yards, using a .300 Weatherby Magnum and a 168-grain Tipped Triple-Shock X Bullet. When hunting big, hardy game like this, most experienced guides recommend using a larger caliber. However, I know full well the capabilities of the TTSX, and felt comfortable with my choice for these notoriously hard-to-kill animals.

When I squeezed off the shot, the sight picture looked good. Instantly, the bull was down in the three-foot-high grass, three legs quivering in the air. Frankly, even I was astounded when the animal dropped on the spot. I’d aimed for the shoulder, but this was the reaction I’d expect from a brain or spine shot. I couldn’t imagine how I’d missed my mark so badly – even though the results were dramatic and instantaneous.

Upon examination of the dead animal, I could see that the bullet had struck exactly where I’d aimed. The bullet had entered the left shoulder, shattered the humerus, took out the top of the heart and bottom of the lungs, then broke through a rib on the off side.

Bob Morrison, president of Taurus, and my guide Barry Botsell were with me. All of us were pretty dumb-founded at how quickly the big animal had gone down. I’ve had similar experiences with our copper bullets and once again, the TTSX performed above even my expectations. This incident demonstrated the tremendous killing power of the copper X Bullet technology, which is far greater than that of its lead-core counterparts.

As luck would have it, another hunter was using a competitor’s bonded lead-core bullet. He shot a nilgai at a similar range. The bullet’s impact was in almost exactly the same spot I hit mine. The competition’s lead-core bullet broke up on impact, failing to penetrate into the heart-lung area. It took several more shots over a period of time to finally put him down.

I’d like to point out that the same TTSX bullet I killed my nilgai with, also expands instantly on striking much smaller, thin-skinned game. The tip initiates expansion, creating the characteristic four-petal “X” pattern with invariant, consistent results. Just a small amount of opposing material is needed to initiate expansion with the TTSX, as opposed to the forced deformation required by lead-core bullets. This is a perfect example of Performance vs. Deformance. My personal choice is Per-formance!

Wishing you good hunting,

Randy Brooks

This year seems to be starting out at 110 miles per hour. I’d swear Christmas was only yesterday, and now we are looking toward spring. I will be glad to see green grass and colorful flowers. Our winter here in Utah has been unbelievable, but we are happy about the amount of moisture we have received. Our mountain snowpack is well above normal, which means drought is unlikely this year. That’s good news in a desert state that’s supposed to be the second driest in the country (only Nevada is drier).

We just finished a consumer show here in Utah called the Western Hunting Conservation Expo. It was another great show and a lot was accomplished to further enhance wildlife here in Utah. The last night of the show, a dinner/auction was held at which many Utah wildlife conservation tags were auctioned off. Bids on some of the tags were mind-blowing. For instance, the statewide mule deer tag went for $205,000. The Statewide elk and Rocky Mountain Bighorn tags sold for $110,000 apiece. The winning bid for the Statewide Desert Bighorn permit was $65,000, while the Statewide moose tag went for $27,000, Two Henry Mountains deer tags were auctioned. One brought in $90,000, and the other netted $87,500.

All the money from these tags will go back to enhancing wildlife here in Utah. For that, we are very grateful to the successful bidders. Without this kind of money, wildlife growth in Utah would not be as successful as it is. Also, attendees at the show could purchase a $5.00 chance to draw a prized conservation tag for the animal or Utah hunting area of their choice. A lot of people took the opportunity to try and draw this tag. The event provided an inexpensive chance to draw that tag of a lifetime.

Last September, Denny Austad, who lives in neighboring Idaho, shot a world record Rocky Mountain elk (aka the Spyder Bull) while hunting on public land here in Utah. Mr. Austad is a highly ethical hunter who gives a lot back to the sport. We congratulate him on a tremendous trophy—which, by the way, was taken with a 168-grain .308 Barnes Tipped TSX. The bullet was fired from the .300 Austad II, a cartridge he developed.

Approximately 100 other hunters who paid $280 apiece for their elk tags were also hoping to get this magnificent bull last year. He was photographed and caught on video prior to the 2008 hunting season by many, so his existence was well known. Then, just before the season opened, he disappeared as if he had vanished into thin air. He survived through the archery and rifle seasons. Just a few days before the muzzleloader season ended, Denny was able to connect and the magnificent bull was taken on public land.

People from all walks of life have taken great trophies in Utah. In 2003, a coal miner killed the then-new Utah state record elk. Then a high-school teacher killed the next state record elk in 2005. NBA great Karl Malone shot an even bigger bull—yet another new state record—in 2007.

While most people can’t afford to pay high prices for hunting tags, we appreciate the ways we benefit from the sale of a few higher priced tags. Thanks to the state of Utah allowing hunters to bid on tags as mentioned above, our Utah hunting is the best in the nation because that money goes directly back to wildlife. The average hunter can take a record-book animal on public land if he or she chooses to put the necessary time and effort into the hunt. Many everyday sportsmen have the chance to shoot world-class trophies here in Utah, thanks to all the money that’s being put back into wildlife.

Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife—a sportsman’s lobby group here in Utah that Don Peay put together many years ago—has been highly successful in making Utah the best it can be for wildlife and hunting. Many states are now following what Utah has done to help their wildlife succeed as ours have. They are even forming their own SFW chapters.

Hunting in Utah was virtually over 20 years ago. There were no sizeable elk, the deer herds were diminishing, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Desert Sheep and wild turkeys could not be found. Since that time, thanks to many manufacturers and businesses in the state, along with sportsmen who donated time and money, and those people who have the resources to pay a premium for wildlife tags, we have $150 million new dollars for wildlife. Thanks to this kind of financial backing, we have seen a 400 to 500 percent increase in wild turkey, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, mountain goat and bison numbers—and it doesn’t stop there. The recovery of Utah’s game population is a success story beyond words.

A tremendous threat to our herds and hunting today is WOLVES and other predators. When it comes to controlling these predatory animals, the anti-hunters fight us every day. The Northern Yellowstone elk herd population has dropped from 22,000 to 6,000, and thousands of tags have been cut, and even some hunts eliminated. This all means less money for the State of Wyoming wildlife.

We all need to pull together—every sportsman and sportswoman—and do what Utah has done. We must invest money in habitat, control predators and grow more game.

If you would like more information about the SFW organization, please go to

Happy Hunting


Ty’s Tips

Question: I recently acquired an HB .22-250 Tikka that was built around 1972. Do you have any idea what rate of twist this barrel would have? Also, is there a general guideline for bullet weights vs. twist for .22-caliber rifles? I am thinking of setting up my .22-250 with a Leupold 4.5-14-5 VX-L (with the crescent shaped objective) scope because I want to keep the Tikka rings and cannot mount an objective lens larger than 36mm in diameter.


Answer: Bullet length is a critical factor for obtaining proper stability—and consequently good accuracy—from a firearm with a given rifling twist. Most .22-250 rifles have 1 in 14-inch twist barrels. However, I’m not sure what twist your particular rifle has. Here’s an easy way to determine rifling twist:
Insert a cleaning rod fitted with a tight patch a few inches into the barrel. Use a piece of tape to mark where the muzzle meets the cleaning rod. Then place another piece of tape on the rod at least 16 inches back from the first piece. Using a pen, draw a line parallel to the cleaning rod on top of the rear piece of tape.

Push the cleaning rod into the barrel. Watch until the mark makes one full revolution. When the mark is again at the top of the tape, place another piece of tape where the cleaning rod meets the muzzle. Now, simply measure the distance (in inches) between these two pieces of tape. This shows you how many inches it took for the cleaning rod to make one revolution. This is your barrel twist.

Knowing the rifling twist rate is necessary to help you determine the maximum bullet weight or length your rifle will shoot well. Notice that the Barnes Reloading Manual gives twist recommendation for bullets that need faster twists than are commonly used.

Question: I want to shoot 130-grain TTSX bullets in my .308 Winchester Encore Rifle. What is the COAL (Cartridge Overall Length) with the 130-grain TTSX? Is the data the same as that used for the TSX?

If I load 130-grain TTSX bullets .050-inch off the lands (as recommended) the COAL will be 2.95 inches. Is that a problem with 130-grain TSX bullets? I just need a solid starting point. Any info would be appreciated.

—Michael S. Long

Answer: If you aren’t able to measure the distance to the lands in your rifle, I’d suggest using the COAL listed for the 130-grain MRX because the 130 grain TTSX has the same ogive as that bullet. We do recommend the same load data for both TSX and TTSX bullets.

Ideally, we recommend seating .050-inch from the lands (as you have done) and use the measurements from your particular rifle, regardless of the COAL the manual suggests. You will have some limitations—they are as follows: 1. The loaded cartridges need to fit the magazine of your rifle. 2. You need to have a minimum of .21-inch (about two-thirds of the diameter of the bullet) of shank in the case neck for proper neck tension.

Due to the short shank on the .308 caliber 130-grain TSX, we think you’ll have better accuracy if you crimp (crimping provides better neck tension). We recommend a light crimp using the Lee Factory Crimp die.

Success Story

Roger Libby


For some time now, I have wanted to try Barnes Triple-Shock bullets in my .270 WSM. Recently, I purchased a couple of boxes of Federal ammunition loaded with 130-grain Triple-Shocks. I was fortunate enough this year to draw a once-in-a-lifetime permit for bighorn sheep here in Washington, and knew that I wanted to use only the best bullet I could find.

With a hunting trip in Idaho scheduled prior to my sheep hunt, I hoped that I would have an opportunity to test this bullet on some other animals before making my final decision. Well, I got that chance, and I’ve attached the photo’s to prove it. The first shows a beautiful 14-inch pronghorn antelope that I took at 356 yards. He dropped in his tracks. Second, I took a huge-bodied whitetail buck shot quartering away at 360-plus yards. He went less than 100 yards before going down from the double lung shot.

Those two shots convinced me that this was the bullet I was going to use without hesitation on my coveted sheep hunt. Enclosed is a picture of my huge California bighorn ram. He was bedded down 143 yards away, slightly quartering to me. The shot entered his left shoulder and killed him instantly. If I had not anchored him where he was, he would have rolled several hundred yards down the steep mountain, probably destroying his cape.

This was a dream come true for me, and I can’t thank you enough for your tremendous product. I am now a “Barnes Believer.”

—Roger D. Libby

Recipe of the Month

Grilled Citrus Salmon Fillets

1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons peeled, finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
6 (6-ounce center-cut) pieces salmon fillets with skin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender purée citrus juices, brown sugar, onion and ginger until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade. Transfer remaining marinade to a large zip-lock style plastic bag and add the cilantro and salmon fillets, seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Marinate salmon in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Prepare grill.

Remove salmon from marinade and discard marinade. Pat salmon dry. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill, skin side down, on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals for 4 minutes. Put lid on grill and grill salmon until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. (Salmon may be grilled in a hot well-seasoned ridged grill pan with a lid over medium heat.) Carefully transfer salmon with a metal spatula to a platter and remove skin.

Pour reserved juice mixture over salmon and serve.

Serves 6

Barnes News


Congratulations Club-X Prize Winner!

Bill Floyd

Bill won the Alpen Pro Model #390 10×42 binocular

I live in Southern California, and like many, I started hunting and fishing with my dad and uncles when I was young. I have hunted in Wyoming and Utah for deer, elk and antelope with some success. I hunt in the lead free zone in California for pigs. I have reloaded for my rifles and pistols for more years than I care to remember.

—Bill Floyd

Prize for March

MTM Range Box

MTM is always looking for a way to improve your day at the range, and we believe we have with the new Shooting Range Box. We feel it is the ultimate range box maintenance center that you’re going to find on the market. Sporting a gun cleaning kit on top with a rifle maintenance cleaning stand base. It utilizes a two-piece design for compact transport and convenience. This setup is a must have for breaking in a new barrel, testing loads and sighting in rifles. Everyone knows, how you run the first box of ammo though your new barrel, will effect it’s group sizes the rest of its life. That is why competition benchrest shooters clean their barrels on average every 6 or 7 shots.

The gun cleaning kit top section offers loads of divided space for jags, brushes, solvents…etc, keeping items sorted and organized. The two trays can be positioned four ways. By positioning the left tray forward for example, you can create a protected space for your shooting glasses if you wish. The long section in the front is for break down cleaning rods, bore guides, tico tools, chamber or choke tube brushes, the large aerosol cleaning spray cans, etc.. With it 18 compartments and bore brush guide the Shooting Range Box has more features than any range bag made.

The base or ‘rifle shotgun cleaning stand’ offers plenty of deep storage for supplies and ammo. A pair of adjustable gun forks featuring soft, over-molded rubber padding offers easy positioning of firearms with a firm, non-marring hold. The overall length of the Shooting Range Box provides excellent stability for nearly any size firearm. The bottom base is big enough to hold our largest ammo box the R-100, and most bottles of cleaning solvents will sit up right, without leaks. Made in the USA with chemical resistant polypropylene. Size 25″x 11.5″x 8.75″ high. We suggest you read your gun cleaning instructions that came with firearm and maintenance it with the tips they suggest. MSRP of $49.95.

For more information visit

Parting Shots


I’m just writing to brag a little on your bullets. I finally got to recover one the other day. Carolyn and I were checking cattle one evening and were heading out when a big feral boar crossed in front of us. He was quartering away slightly to the left about 70 to 80 yards out. I shot him with a 6.5 caliber 120-grain TSX boattail with my Cyle Miller 6.5/.284 rifle. The bullet entered on the left side just at the last rib, broke the rib, traveled through part of the abdominal cavity into the chest cavity, took out the right lung, and fractured the right shoulder blade. It stopped in the shoulder muscle just shy of the skin. The boar, which weighed about 275 lbs, wheeled to the right and ran about 30 yards, falling over dead. The bullet traveled about 24 inches through muscle, internal organs, and bone. When I recovered it, the bullet was opened into four perfect petals. It spread from .264 inch to .580-inch diameter and actually weighed 120.2 grains. I weighed 5 or 6 new bullets and they all weighed exactly 120.0 grains. That’s about as good as it gets!

—Tom Gary

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