September 2007 Barnes Bullet-n
|Randy Brooks Message:|
Hunters should heed this Boy Scout motto. If you haven’t made the right preparations, your hunt could be a disappointment—even an outright disaster.
Depending on where and when you’ll hunt, physical conditioning can be vitally important. If you’re not physically able to handle the challenges wilderness presents, your hunt could be over early. Anyone planning to hunt sheep, goats or anything else in mountain country should begin training as soon as possible. You can’t get in shape to climb high slopes by hitting the gym for a couple of hours each week.
The best way to get in the right condition is to drive to the nearest mountain, strap on a 40-pound pack, then start hiking the steepest slopes you can find. Don’t push yourself too hard, at first—begin without the pack and follow less demanding trails. As your strength and stamina improve, tackle steeper and longer trails. Before you board that plane, you should be able to hike five or six miles up mountain trails—with pack—without excess fatigue. If you don’t live in mountain country, run up and down the steps of the nearest stadium.
While it’s vital to build muscle and stamina, it’s difficult for those living at sea level or a similarly low elevation to become conditioned to the thin air they’ll breathe at 7,000 or 8,000 feet. Acclimation can take several days, and isn’t something you can do at home.
Mental conditioning is also important. Talk to your guide or outfitter about the challenges you’ll face so you’re mentally prepared for them.
Weather can be another challenge. Living in Texas or Tennessee doesn’t prepare you for the wet, cold conditions encountered in Maine, Montana or Minnesota. Hunt Saskatchewan or Alaska in late fall, and you’d better be prepared for knee-deep snow and subzero temperatures.
This means shopping for quality cold-weather gear, including full-length underwear, warm pants (I like wool), and layers of wool or synthetic outerwear. A waterproof, breathable parka is absolutely necessary in many parts of the country. Insulated boots are another must. Buy the right size to wear with heavy socks, then be sure the boots are well broken in. New boots on the trail guarantee painful blisters.
If you know someone who has hunted the area, get his (or her) input. Having the right clothing is one key to a successful hunt. You’ll also need the right equipment. Don’t skimp when buying sleeping bags, binoculars, knives and other necessary gear. The same holds true for the luggage-type gun cases required to protect your firearms from airline baggage manglers. Purchase the best quality you can afford, and you won’t be disappointed.
Go to the shooting range early to make sure your rifle is properly sighted in with the ammo you plan to use. Put this off to the last minute, and you may not have time to correct problems you might discover with your rifle, scope or handloads.
Before buying your license, be aware you may need a Hunter Safety card. Older sportsman who began hunting before the Hunter Safety program existed may not have one of these cards. Certain states require them anyhow. If you don’t have one, you may be turned down for a license. Again, check this out before you board a plane—it takes little time and effort to go through the Hunter Safety program, and you may even learn something new.
While guns, clothing and other gear are important, remember that good (make that “great”) physical condition is absolutely vital to the success and enjoyment of your hunt. If you’re out of shape, start doing something about that now! When you’re panting up mountain slopes or walking miles through the woods, you’ll be very glad you did.
Happy hunting season to everyone!
As you read Coni’s Corner this month, I am on my way to northern Utah for a mule deer hunt. As I mentioned last month, I will be hunting with our friends who own Red Creek Outfitters. We will also be with industry officials from Federal and Kimber, along with the editors of three different magazines. I am really looking forward to the hunt. I just hope my luck makes it possible for me to collect a prized trophy.
I really enjoy hunting mule deer, especially when I can do it in my home state. Along with mule deer, some of the hunters will also be looking for elk. We should also see several trophy-sized Shiras moose that live in the area. I hope to report some good news about the hunt in the October Coni’s Corner.
If you remember, I told you about the new Tipped TSX™ bullets last month. They will be among the new products we’ll offer for 2008. We will start shipping 168-grain .308s this month, and 140-grain 7mms the first of October. Other bullets will follow shortly. Here is a photo of the new bullets and the box you’ll see them in.
Beginning next year, we’ll be offering one new product we’ve had multiple requests for—a 26-grain .204 Varmint Grenade™. We will also have a 50-grain version for .22-caliber centerfires with a 1:10 or faster twist. We are very excited about these new introductions to the Varmint Grenade line. Just to refresh your memory, the Varmint Grenade is based on a design Barnes developed for military applications. The Varmint Grenade is a flat-base, hollow-cavity bullet with a copper-tin composite core. Surrounded by a substantial guilding-metal jacket, the highly frangible core greatly reduces the chance of ricochets. The bullet remains intact at ultra-high velocities, yet fragments explosively on impact with spectacular results. The lead-free bullet virtually vaporizes ground squirrels and prairie dogs, even at extended range.
The explosive properties of this bullet produce instant fragmentation and dramatic one-shot kills. The Varmint Grenade expends its energy early, seldom exiting bobcat- and coyote-sized predators. Valuable pelts remain virtually undamaged. This remarkable new varmint bullet delivers sniper-like accuracy for dependable long-distance kills.
In addition to the new Tipped TSX™ and Varmint Grenades, we will be offering some additional weights in the Triple Shock™ lineup. You’ll be able to check our website for a list of these additions.
One other item that we’re truly ecstatic over is the new Barnes Reloading Manual #4. It will be a beautiful and very useful book full of load data for the Triple-Shock and MRX bullets, as well as the new Banded Solids. Check our website for more details about the new manual at www.barnesbullets.com. Even if you don’t reload, you’ll want one when you see it. There’s no other reloading manual out there like it.
Again, Barnes shows that we don’t want to be like everyone else. We believe in being innovators, not imitators. Our products prove that we love what we do. We want to offer products that are not only different, but work—and work well!
I hope you have a wonderful hunting season. Remember that we always want to hear from you. We would love to receive stories and pictures of your hunts. Send photos and stories to email@example.com.
To crimp or not to crimp? That’s today’s topic. Some say crimping is a good thing, while others suggest it isn’t necessary. I suggest there’s a time to crimp and a time not to crimp.
First, let’s look at a one reason to consider crimping. Are you shooting a large cartridge that develops heavy recoil? Recoil can cause bullets to set back deeper into the case. Take a few measurements prior to and after firing to see if the bullets are moving within the case. If they are, then it’s time to crimp. We’ve found the .375 and larger calibers will require crimping.
When loading Barnes Bullets, you must crimp within the crimp groove if you use a roll or taper crimp. A Lee Factory Crimp die can be used if you need to crimp with the case mouth positioned on the full-caliber portion of the bullet. It can also be used to crimp in a cannelure or crimp groove. Caution—over-crimping can bulge the case so loaded rounds won’t chamber. I suggest making a dummy round and trying to chamber it before continuing the reloading process.
Because magazine-fed bolt-action rifles push bullets deeper in the case, it’s prudent to position the lip of the case mouth so only a few thousandths of an inch of the crimp groove are showing—then crimp. This positions the bullet so that, under recoil, the lip of the case prevents the bullet from moving deeper.
Double rifles or revolvers react the opposite way. Because of heavy recoil and no magazine, bullets tend to pull themselves from the case. This requires you to position the lip of the case mouth with about half of the crimp groove showing prior to roll or taper crimping. The Lee Factory Crimp die can also be used for these firearms, but we recommend it only when you’re crimping in the groove provided. Using this die to crimp on the full shank diameter usually won’t provide enough tension to hold the bullets in place.
The new TSX and MRX bullets have less shank available that can be gripped by the case. This translates into less neck tension. Because these designs have limited surface area, we’ve found a slight crimp may help accuracy, particularly with light-for-caliber bullet weights. More consistent neck tension provides more consistent powder ignition, resulting in better accuracy. The key to success is trimming your cases to the same length. Cases with uneven lengths get more or less crimp, which defeats the purpose.
Semi-automatic rifle loads also require bullet crimping. Bolts slam back and forth with enough force to move the bullet within the case. These rifles are magazine fed, so crimping should be done as suggested above for bolt-action rifles.
Pistol cartridges such as the 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP should not be crimped because they headspace on the case lip. The forward edge of the case prevents it from moving forward in the chamber. If you roll that front edge of the case into the bullet by crimping, the round won’t headspace properly, causing real problems.
Most rifle cartridges smaller than .375 caliber fired in a bolt-action rifle do not require crimping, and good accuracy can be achieved without it. However, as with many reloading components and rifles, you may want to experiment to see what brings the best results. I suggest first loading with no crimp, then adding a crimp later if accuracy is not satisfactory.
Roll crimping with the standard seating die works best when done in two steps. First, seat bullets to the desired depth by adjusting the seat plug. Second, insert an empty dummy case in the shell holder, and with the ram at the top of the stroke, back the seat plug out several turns. Screw the die down until it touches the rim of the dummy case. Then lower the ram and give die another one-eighth turn. Now you’re ready to crimp the loaded ammunition. Run the seated rounds into the die. Check the crimp, and adjust accordingly.
I hope Septembers Ty’s Tips help you become a better hand loader.
Your patronage is appreciated!
The Eland was hit just behind the right side rib cage, and broke the left front shoulder at 175 yards. The Kudu, was shot at 150 yards. This bullet broke both front shoulders and exited.
What was truly amazing was the enthusiasm received from the guides about the performance of your bullet, they were totally amazed with the knockdown power and penetration that they saw. I think that I handed out about fifteen rounds to different guides, and promised to send some boxes of bullets to the three guides that I used. This is something that Barnes can be extremely proud of.
Being born and raised in Oregon, and hunting all of my life I used to use nothing but Nosler Partition. After this hunt, Barnes has now received a new lifetime fan of your Product.
-Scott Von Seggern
Quail or Dove Casserole
3 lbs. quail or dove
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
6 tbsp. butter
15 oz. can artichokes (optional)
1/4 lb. mushrooms
2 tbsp. flour
2/3 cup chicken consomme
3-4 tbsp. sherry (cream or cooking)
Salt, pepper, and paprika quail or dove and fry in 4 tbsp. butter. Place in casserole dish. Place artichokes between quail or dove. Saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp. butter. Add 2 tbsp. flour. Stir in consomme and sherry. Cook 5 minutes. Pour over quail or dove. Cover and cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Jessica Brooks, Manager
Clay Eshom, Supervisor
“The Effect of Distance From the Lands in Relation to Pressure and Accuracy”
During a very hot day in late July, we were in the lab considering how pressure and the distance bullets were seated off the lands would change accuracy. While we knew the closer to the lands a bullet is seated affects pressure, we were curious as to what specific effects seating depth would have on accuracy in a laboratory test situation.
We decided to set up an experiment to determine what, if any, changes in pressure and accuracy were noted when moving the bullet back from the lands. For our test caliber, we decided on the .308 since there are more .308 caliber firearms than any other. We chose a 180-grain TSX and used pressure barrels chambered to SAAMI pressure barrel specifications for the test.
Once our cartridge selection was made we worked up loads which were below SAAMI maximum pressure, but within a few thousand pounds of the maximum pressure to account for variation and drop-off within a given sample. We set our first distance at 0.025” off the lands, then continued to move the distance out at 0.025” intervals for five separate groups. Our one exception was the .300 Weatherby Magnum. We started at SAAMI maximum length for the cartridge and moved back in 0.050” increments.
We divided the powders into two groups, ball and extruded, for which we worked up loads and shot groups. We thought there could be a significant difference in how the different types of powders reacted. We used the same primers for both powders — if magnum primers were used for one powder type they were also used for the other. We used Federal GM215M for the magnum cartridges and Federal GM210M for the others.
To begin our experiment, we established some basic parameters in which we would operate. These parameters included case length, distance from the lands, powder type, primer type, and what information we would record from the shooting tests. We decided at the onset to perform two tests within the experimental parameters. The first test would utilize ball powders only, while in the second test we would use extruded powders. All other parts of the test remained the same for both data collections. The one other exception was with the Weatherby data. We did not start at 0.025” off the lands since Weatherby rifles have very long throats. For the Weatherby rifle, we began at SAAMI maximum length and worked back in increments of 0.050” until we had fired five separate groups.
Cartridge loads were worked up by one of our diligent Ballistic Technicians (Shooter is his nickname) until they reached an approximate pressure of 60,000 to 65,000 psi, dependent upon the SAAMI map. The barrels were first calibrated using SAAMI calibration ammunition to ensure the pressure readings were accurate. Then the five different groups were shot in order from closest to the lands to farthest from the lands. After each group a break was taken so the barrel could cool off.
We decided to use well-known cartridges featuring a variety of case capacities. We felt this would allow for a wider spectrum of differences not only within the cartridge, but also between cartridges.
The pressure seems to fluctuate between highs and lows as distance from the lands becomes larger. For example, as the distance moved to 0.100,” pressure increased with some of the cartridges, particularly the .300 WSM and the .30-06 Springfield. Some of the cartridges had pressure increases with either the ball or extruded powders but not both. This was true with the .300 RUM and the .300 Win. Mag.
As can be seen in the chart below, pressure change was not a constant for this experiment and results were highly surprising for several of the cartridges. Keep in mind, this was not an average of tests, but the result of a single test per cartridge.
We tried to work up loads that would be within the 96% range of the SAAMI maximum pressure rating for each cartridge. This proved to be somewhat tenuous, as the pressures would drop off differently for each cartridge.
*Note: beginning on the left with shot No. 1, distance is closest to the lands, and ends with shot No. 5 on the right, which was seated at the greatest distance from the lands. This applies to all charts.
When we began this experiment, we expected velocity to drop off as the pressure decreased. This seemed a valid, objective view following a law of physics that says forcing an object in one direction results in an equal force being exerted in the opposite direction.
Notice that velocity for both powders fluctuates, almost mirroring the pressure curves seen in the above chart. If pressure increases, velocity usually follows suit. Thus if the pressure drops, so does the velocity. However, this was not always seen in our tests because of the randomness of primer ignition and powder burning rate. We note here that when testing bullets for our regular production, we may fire a thousand rounds to ensure the bullet performs optimally, and this effect of reduced pressure and higher velocity has been seen quite often during these tests.
As the distance increases and the pressure drops, velocity drop may be minimal or non-existent. The randomness of primer ignition and powder burning rates is one of the few things we cannot account for. While shooting enough test groups to determine the overall average would be interesting to try, the average reloader would not be able to duplicate our tests.
As seen with the .300 Weatherby Magnum, the pressure drops from 64,900 psi to 63,100 psi — a change of 1,800 psi. Yet the velocity drops from 3128 fps to 3114 fps, a change of only 14 fps. Another example of this is the 308 Winchester loaded with the ball powder. Here the pressure drops from a high of 64,800 psi to 62,700 psi, a change of 2,100 psi. The velocity drops from 2639 fps to 2637 fps, or only 2 fps.
We wanted to find out how accuracy would be affected by changing the distance off the lands. For optimum accuracy, our standard is normally 0.050” off the lands for the best accuracy. The test did show how each rifled barrel reacted to the change.
As we documented our accuracy, it became apparent that when bullets were seated close to the lands, accuracy was good. With some cartridges, we noticed that accuracy would fluctuate as we moved the bullet away from the lands. As the bullets were moved farther from the lands, some cartridges became less accurate. Surprisingly, as the bullets were moved even farther away, the accuracy would improve again.
In the overall perspective, we can say that generally pressure will decrease as the bullet is moved farther from the lands. Generally, we can say that velocity will decrease as pressure decreases the farther the bullet is seated from the lands. And generally, we can say that accuracy is depending on bullet placement from the lands dependant on the rifle the bullet is fired from.
In comparing overall accuracy between ball and extruded powders, the table below lists the average accuracy for the five groups over the full spectrum of distances the bullets were seated off the lands. As seen by the results, the differences between the powders are negligible.
Thanks for the binoculars. I am 36 years old, make home in Warren, Michigan, and live to hunt and fish. I recently started shooting Barnes TSX bullets in my .270 WSM Bansner Sheep Hunter Extreme rifle and am very happy with the results. The knock-down power was incredible and the accuracy was the best I’ve ever had. The Barnes TSX has given me the extra confidence of knowing that I DON’T have to worry about my bullet anymore. Many thanks.—Dennis Demsky
Buck’s Omni Hunter Knife
This month’s prize is Buck’s Folding Omni Hunter knife with a locking 4-inch drop-point blade. This knife measures; 5-3/4 inches closed, and has a thermoplastic handle featuring a rubber overgrip in Realtree Camo finish. A matching sheath is included. The manufacturer’s suggested price is $61.
The Folding Omni Hunter is from the new line of rugged, value-priced, American-made hunting knives Buck has introduced.. There are 12 models in the new Omni Hunter Series of fixed-blade and folding knives, with manufacturer’s suggested prices ranging from $40 to $67.
The largest fixed-blade model has a 4-inch blade, and is 9-3/4 inches in overall length. The smaller model has a 3 inch blade and measures 7-1/2 inches in length. There’s a choice of a clean drop-point blade or a combination with an inset gut-hook on the larger models. The handles on all fixed-blade models are rubberized in black or Realtree Hardwoods® Green HD™ camouflage.
All Omni Hunter knives have 420HC steel blades, which are finished with Buck’s advanced Edge2x™ technology, so they are sharper out of the box, hold an edge longer and are easier to re-sharpen. They are backed by Buck’s 4-Ever Warranty.
Visit our website at www.buckknives.com.
Time and time again, we are asked the question “TSX or Solids for African dangerous game?” Our standard response to this question is that for calibers 375 and up, we have no problem recommending only the TSX for everything up to Cape buffalo. It’s always important to take the advice of the Professional Hunter you’ll be in camp with, but every year at the various trade shows and along our many roads traveled we meet more new “TSX only” advocates. Randy Brooks has personally taken over 60 Cape buffalo with X-Bullets and TSX’s. There’s experience to back up this product!
We’ve shown how the TSX performs in gelatin, you know they’re unbelievable! But how about the Barnes Banded Solid with the re-designed nose? These bullets track straighter through dense bone and are weight matched with the TSX for those who still prefer to use a Solid as a follow-up shot to the TSX or just use Solids alone. For elephant, we still recommend Solids for penetration, and the Barnes Banded Solid gets the job done. Check out this wound channel and the trauma associated with it. The bullet was recovered down-range and is shown here after penetrating the entire gel block AND a plywood backstop. Think we ought’a load it up and shoot it again? Maybe next month…
270-grain Barnes Banded Solid
55” penetration through gelatin, backed by 4″ of plywood
8” x 9” x 55” block, 10% bare ballistic ordnance gelatin