May 2008 Barnes Bullet-n
|Randy Brooks Message:|
When I was 10 years old, Gordon Eastman came to my elementary school. He showed our class film footage of magnificent sheep named after the famous explorer, Marco Polo. From that day forward, I wanted to hunt Marco Polo sheep. The experience was out of my reach for various reasons until 2000. That’s when I booked a hunt to Tajikistan to fulfill my lifelong dream.
I built a .300 Weatherby rifle specifically for the hunt. I then developed a handload with our 168-grain match-grade X-Bullet. It shot like a house of fire. Anticipating the possibility of extreme-range shooting—frequently necessary in that region—I sighted the rifle in to impact three inches high at 100 yards. This load put my rifle dead-on at 325 yards, and 18 inches low at 500 yards. I used the Barnes Ballistics program to create a trajectory chart, which I taped to the outside of the rifle’s stock, upside-down, for quick reference. I ended up taking a sheep at just over 550 yards.
Less than a year later, we were filming a mule deer hunt in Northern Utah. We spotted a great buck bedded down, sleeping under a small group of trees. We stopped and examined the deer through binoculars. He was definitely a shooter, a buck of a lifetime in fact. We spent a few minutes glassing the terrain, and figured there was no way we could get closer. We ended up waiting several hours for the deer to stand up.
With that much time to get ready, I was in a perfect position. I was shooting the same rifle with the same load I used for the Marco Polo sheep the previous year. I knew exactly where my rifle was shooting, and we ranged the buck at 540 yards. I asked the cameraman if he was ready. He said he was, and I pulled the trigger under what I thought were dead-calm conditions. The shot missed the deer clean. Confused, the buck didn’t know where the shot had come from. He ran through some trees, crossed a draw, and stood broadside looking around while trying to get a read on the situation.
I took the next shot at an even farther distance—and connected. I wondered how I could have missed a shot that I’d had all the time in the world to prepare for—particularly when I’d used the same gun and load a year earlier to make virtually the same shot in harsher conditions, and had no problem hitting the animal in a vital spot.
A few explanations came to mind. Maybe I just flat blew it? Or could the elements have affected the bullet’s path to that extent? Do we really know what wind does between zero and 550 yards? How many times does it change directions or create swirling down-drafts (especially at high elevation)?. Then there are afternoon thermals to consider. And that’s just for starters. It’s tough to know what conditions are downrange when you pull the trigger.
Several years ago, Skip Talbot broke the world record at the .50 Caliber Shooter’s Association World Championship match with a 750-grain Barnes Solid. His five-shot group measured 2.6002 inches, center-to-center. Talbot shot his record group on a range with wind flags every 100 yards, using a 54-pound gun under benchrest conditions. Another group he shot minutes later, under the same basic conditions using the exact same components, measured more than 12 inches. Skip has passed on, but he is still one of the most respected long-range shooters in the industry. Shooting small groups at extreme ranges was one of the things Skip was very passionate about, and guys like him understand there are no constants and there’s nothing easy about shooting long distances.
I respect long-range shooting. To learn and hone the skill, it’s good practice to shoot rocks, cans, and paper targets at long distance. It’s a lot of fun and helps you become more familiar with your rifle. Modern equipment has taken much of the guesswork out of long-range shooting; however, Mother Nature still prevails. Be smart, and take only ethical shots you have a good chance of making. Throughout my many years of hunting I’ve been humbled more than a few times, but with knowledge and skill gained through long, patient practice, you may be surprised at how far you can cleanly kill game.
I really want to wish everyone a good spring season. We have had a lot of winter here in Utah, and we’re glad of it. Our drought is finally over, but we’re all ready for warmer weather and some fun in the sun. Many of our people are out hunting turkey here in the state of Utah, and we’re receiving reports of heavy rock-chuck activity in the area! By the time this newsletter is sent out, we’ll have the results of Utah’s hunt draws so a lot of us are looking forward to preparing for a great fall hunting season.
We are experiencing some exciting times here at Barnes. We just broke ground for our new factory in Mona, Utah, 40 miles south of our present location. It will be great to have it completed. All our employees are looking forward to moving into the new facility. Our bullets are selling like gang-busters, and our .204-caliber Varmint Grenade bullets are now being shipped. Tipped TSX bullets are out there, as well. We hope you’ll give them a try. And you know we’re working on new products. If you haven’t done so, visit our online Blog and tell us what you would like to see in the way of new products from Barnes. There are a number of other topics posted, and believe me, we do read your comments and value your input.
We have finally given the Barnes Reloading Manual #4 to the printer, and it should be finished by the end of May. We can’t wait to get it in the hands of our customers. We know you have all waited a long time for the new manual. Because of the hundreds of thousands of rounds we fired in testing new bullets and loads, preparing the manual for publication has taken us longer than we thought it would. We apologize for the delay. However, we think all that effort will make our reloading manual the best you’ll find. We know you’ll enjoy owning and using it—we’re proud of the result! Look for the new Barnes Reloading Manual in stores in June. Remember, you can also order direct from Barnes online store if you just can’t wait for your local store to get them.
Thanks so much for your support of our business. We really do appreciate our loyal customers and your dedication to using great products.
Barnes has received many emails, phone calls and letters from shooters and hunters alleging that we were responsible to some degree for the California lead ban. As more controversy arises across the country over this extremely hot topic, some may feel that Barnes will profit from legislation banning lead-core bullets for hunting.
Rather than turn a blind eye to the concerns of these folks, we’ve made a tremendous effort to make certain our position is understood. To be clear, Barnes has not funded or supported efforts to further the advancement of any lead ban, nor will we ever. Click here to view Barnes’ Position on the California Lead Ban.
Fred Barnes began building lead-core bullets over 75 years ago and we’re very proud of the foundation that bullet is for this company. We still offer a good selection of Original Barnes bullets. We began producing lead-free products in the mid-80s with the introduction of the X Bullet for performance reasons, not environmental concerns. We realize all-copper bullets don’t work for everyone and we think shooters should have a choice. The majority of lead-core bullets are less expensive, and that keeps people shooting. I’ve said it over and over again: bullet bans are bad for business – the only win there is for the anti’s.
Today, Barnes offers a tremendous selection of products in several different lines that meet the needs of the hunters affected by the Condor Preservation Act. These include our new Tipped Triple Shock (TTSX), Triple Shock (TSX), Varmint Grenade, MPG, MRX, Expander MZ, XPB Pistol Bullet and X Bullet lines. We will continue to develop products based on the desired performance characteristics and demand from our customers.
We understand hunters in California are upset, and for good reason. This legislation is a travesty and we do not support it in the least. The quandary we now find ourselves in is that this “epidemic” appears to be spreading with the recent problems in North Dakota with donated venison from sportsmen being discarded due to “lead contamination”. Minnesota and Iowa followed suit shortly after. As shooters, hunters and outdoorsmen, we need to band together to try and stop these negative attacks, rather than looking to place blame and attacking one another.
Here’s a recent report of one issue that paid off due to the powerful voice of gun owners.
BULLET SERIALIZATION BILL PULLED IN KENTUCKY . . . A Kentucky bill to require bullet serialization was pulled by its sponsors less than 48 hours after it was introduced due to the voluminous phone calls received in opposition. “It goes to show that the unified voice of the firearms industry’s base, vigilant sportsmen and gun owners has a tremendous impact,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “But we should be under no illusion here. Bullet serialization remains a threat in states across the country and can be easily re-introduced at a later date in Kentucky.” Track legislation and learn more about bullet serialization in NSSF’s Legislative Action Center.
Mr. Keane is absolutely correct. We watched it happen in California. The anti’s pushed until they won their fight. Let us be even more tenacious. Remember when we cost Al Gore the presidential election? We are a force to be reckoned with!
Public Relations/Special Projects
Question: I have been using moly to coat my bullets, and was wondering if it would be ok to moly coat the MRX bullets prior to loading them. I vibrate the bullets with technical moly and BBs for about 30 minutes, and this usually coats them perfectly
—Regards, Aaron Yohey.
Answer: Barnes doesn’t recommend coating TSX, MRX or TTSX bullets. Grooves are cut in the shanks of these bullets to reduce bearing surface and pressures for optimum performance. Coating these bullets with moly may actually reduce neck tension. If you still choose to coat these bullets, I’d recommend crimping to insure proper neck tension.
Question: Since I’m living in a &$#@^* Condor zone in California, I have gone to Barnes Bullets for everything. Now I need to replace my loads for the .45 Long Colt. I noticed the 225-grain XPB is recommended for the LC, and the 250-grain bullet is recommended for the Casull. What are the optimum speeds for each? I have large pigs on my hunting agenda. I would like to have one load that will work in both my Ruger Bisley and Marlin lever rifle. Both will eat heavy loads without hesitation, my current loads are a 300LBT cast at 1300 feet per second (fps) for the pistol, and 1600 fps in the rifle. I love the TSX for everything in my rifles, but I have had awesome success with hard-cast flat points in the .45, and am somewhat hesitant to go with a high-expansion round. As a side note, how fast can the 160- and 185-grain .451s be pushed with accuracy? I’m thinking they would be devastating loads for hunting coyotes.
One last note: any chance of varmint grenades in bigger calibers? The TTSX doesn’t produce really dramatic results on squirrels, and it’s a bit pricey to spend a day whacking squirrels at a buck a shot. . .
Thanks, Ty; I appreciate your time.
Answer: The .451-caliber 225-grain Colt bullet requires a minimum impact velocity of 900 fps to expand. A Ruger Blackhawk with a 7 ½-inch barrel produced 14.5 inches of penetration in ballistics gelatin when the bullet was traveling at 1249 fps. Fired from the lever rifle, the same bullet impacted the gelatin at 1596 fps, giving 20 3/8 inches of penetration. The .451 caliber 250-grain Casull bullet requires 1050 fps for expansion. I’d expect good results on large pigs, particularly if you use your lever rifle. We typically push the .451 caliber 160-grain and 185-grain XPBs to about 1000 fps in our accuracy tests.
This year we have introduced the Varmint Grenades in .204 caliber, and a similar frangible MPG (Multi-Purpose Green) 140-grain .308 caliber bullet. I don’t know what larger calibers you are referring to, but this new .308 bullet will make a good squirrel buster at a reasonable price.
After reading so many great things about your Triple-Shock X Bullets, I decided to try them on my recent moose hunt in Utah. I was really impressed by the photos in your catalog showing the bullet’s four-petal expansion. However, I assumed these bullets were shot into gelatin and doubted they would perform accordingly on a game animal.
I took my moose with a 180-grain Triple-Shock bullet from my .30-06 at a range of 300 yards. The moose was facing me, and I hit him square in the chest. He took three steps and dropped. When the guides skinned the hindquarters, they discovered my bullet under the skin. It had penetrated more than four feet and was as pristine as the photos in the catalog. The guides were sold, and so am I. Thanks for a wonderful product!
Baked Dove in Wild Rice
Several dove breasts
1 box wild rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can milk
1 can water
Mix all ingredients in casserole pan and lay dove breasts on top of mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F.
Many years ago, I was in the lab working up a load for a 338 Winchester Magnum. I was having a tough time getting not only X Bullets to shoot, but it wouldn’t even put 5 target bullets closer together than 1 1/8″ – and I was on a mission! That rifle was gonna shoot sub-MOA and it didn’t have a choice.
Frustrated, I stormed into my Dad’s office and began ranting about the different powders, charges, brass and finally, primer combinations I had tried. After talking for a few minutes, he asked “Did you try a 210 primer?” What? I thought my old man had flipped his lid. Yeah, I knew I could load standard primers in magnum cartridges and vice-versa, and I knew all the general rules associated with doing so, but I needed a real solution for accuracy here. “No”, I replied “but I’ve tried everything else so what the heck!”
I probably would have despised the fact that what he told me to do worked like a charm, except the X Bullets shot just under a 3/4″ group with the first load I tried. I was able to eat supper that night at a reasonable hour. With a little tweaking, I produced a 5-shot, 1/2-MOA group.
Now this doesn’t always work, and it is still one of the last options I try (normally at the point when I begin to feel the urge to pull my hair out in small clumps,) but sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference. This month’s From The Lab focuses on the different results we obtained in a 300 Winchester Magnum, shooting a 168 grain Triple Shock, with several different brands of standard and magnum primers. We chose one extruded and one ball powder for this test. Winchester brass was used and loads were fired from a pressure barrel chambered to SAAMI specifications.
Two 5-shot strings were shot per powder/primer combination, allowing the barrel to cool between strings. We used standard and magnum primers from Federal, Winchester, CCI, Remington, and standard primers from MagTech. For the extruded powder, we used 74.0 grains of RL19 (maximum load). For the ball powder, we used 72.0 grains of Ramshot Hunter (close to maximum load). Before reviewing the results, remember that reloading is not a perfect science, and this is just one test. Your rifle could produce very different results. The point is to illustrate that there are differences in components.
Some quick observations with this test are that with the ball powder, accuracy improved with the standard primer; however, the opposite was true with the extruded powder. Also, the extruded powder gave pretty consistent results across the board in terms of velocity and pressure (with the exception of the Federal 215 primer – P and V were slightly lower) while P & V results varied more with the ball powder. The Federal 210 and GM210M were the best performers in terms of velocity with the ball powder. It appears that more groups would need to be shot to make general conclusions about extreme spreads, standard deviations and their relationship to the accuracy results versus primer choice.
Click here to view the PDF of Extreme Spread (ES), Standard Deviation (SD) and Accuracy data:
Ramshot Hunter Powder
*Note: Velocity represented in fps, Pressure represented in psi
*Note: Velocity represented in fps, Pressure represented in psi
I appreciate your telephone call to inform me of my luck on winning the knife. Thank you very much. I shot this moose near Dillon, Montana, where I was living at the time. I had drawn one of the six bull moose tags available for the hunting region I’d selected. Unbelievable luck! I took this Shiras bull near Blood Dick Creek in Montana’s Horse Prairie area. The bull had a 48-inch spread with long tines. He was one of ten bulls we had watched for several days. I used a Sako .300 Weatherby and a 180-grain Barnes bullet to do the trick. The first shot hit the point of the bull’s left shoulder, but didn’t immediately put him down. The second shot struck within three inches of the first, causing him to tumble end over end. Both bullets were recovered and had mushroomed perfectly. Big moose are sometimes hard to stop.—Carl Quigley
Leatherman® Vista™ Hunting Multi-tool
The Vista hunting pruners put high-quality, shears plus the added benefit of multi-tool versatility at the user’s fingertips. The compact, folding tool frees up space and cuts out unnecessary time spent searching for stand-alone tools. The Vista’s non-slip handles provide a comfortable, solid grip and the unique open tooth design of the saw resists “filling up” when working in damp environments. A tri-purpose choke tube tool, the biggest awl we’ve ever made, stainless steel construction and more make Vista a true Leatherman design and in that tradition, the best in quality and construction.
Length Closed: 4.74 in. / 12 cm
Length Open: 8.13 in. / 20.65 cm
Weight: 8.11 ounces / 229.9 grams
Materials: 100% stainless steel
For more information visit our website at www.leatherman.com.
The 204 Varmint Grenade is finally here, so head out into that vast, untamed wilderness loaded for bear! Strike that – for squirrels, prairie dogs, rock-chucks or any other pesky varmint that dares expose itself to 26 grains of complete wreckage and ruin. Also works great on predators where minimal pelt damage is desired. Accurate, explosive and unleaded. Bullets are in stock now.