September 2008 Barnes Bullet-N
|Randy Brooks Message:|
I’m a simple guy. I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the latest gadgets marketed to hunters. There is a vast number of shooting and hunting products available today, all designed to give us the advantage. How can we keep up with it all? To be perfectly honest, my gear has always been pretty basic and uncomplicated. I tend to stick with what I know and stay away from anything that appears to be a “gimmick”. But some of the new, high-tech items can be helpful. Particularly when an item is used correctly and to its full potential.
This summer, my neighbor came over for a visit and brought his 7mm Remington Magnum. The rifle is topped off with a new Leupold Mark IV 3.5-10x40mm LR/T scope with a Bullet Drop Compensation dial. “Coni has to have one of these for her elk hunt this year,” he said. So, we gave it a try.
Coni and I shot a dozen times from our back porch at targets 500 to 800 yards away, with astonishing accuracy. Leupold’s Bullet Drop Compensation dial was simple to use, and produced highly accurate results! You simply determine range to the target (we used a laser rangefinder) adjust to the corresponding laser-engraved mark on the elevation dial and take your shot. The dial is set up for the bullet, velocity, altitude and temperature you specify when ordering it from the Leupold Custom Shop. You can order dials for as many bullets as you choose.
Coni and Jessica will be hunting elk this year using a new Weatherby Back Country rifle chambered for the .300 Weatherby. The rifle will wear a Leupold 3.5-10x40mm LR/T scope with its Bullet Drop Compensation Dial set for the 180-grain TTSX. With practice, long-range shots can be more precise—and more ethical—for hunters using equipment like the Bullet Drop Compensation dial. My wife and daughter look forward to using it when elk season rolls around.
For years, I’ve created my own trajectory tables using the Barnes Ballistics software and taped them upside-down to the offside of my stock. This gives me a quick, easy reference I can use before squeezing the trigger. It provides a little extra insurance when taking a longer-range shot. I’ll certainly continue using my own, tried-and-true (not patented, feel free to duplicate if you wish!) bullet drop compensation tool system taped to the side of my stock when I’m not taking advantage of newer technology. Over the years, I’ve developed what’s worked well for me. I’m comfortable with it, and my senses stay sharp.
One more important tool I pack around with me is a positive attitude. I actually have a spot picked out in my trophy room for the next animal I’ll be hunting. I envision success, and I’m pretty sure that helps me achieve it. I visualize the end result—what I want to achieve—then work backwards through the steps that will get me there. This mentally prepares me for the task. I believe success begins with positive thoughts—it’s up to us to make it happen.
Here’s hoping you find much success of your own in the upcoming hunting season.
It’s hard to believe it’s September already.
This is a special month for me because I have an elk hunt scheduled here in Utah that starts September 13th and ends September 23rd. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but we have fantastic elk here in Utah. I’ve put in for a Utah elk permit for a number of years, and finally drew out.
We’ve been out scouting in the hills behind my home with our good neighbor, Terry, who has lived in the area his whole life. We moved into our home about five weeks ago, so we are very new to the area. Terry knows the hills around there like a woman knows a shopping mall, so hopefully with his direction we can find a good one.
He asked if I was prepared to take a long shot. “Well, I can certainly do it if I have to.” I replied. With the help of spotting scopes and range finders, taking a long range shot may be my only chance at one of these guys. The big boys just don’t let you get close unless they happen to make a big mistake—and you’re lucky enough to catch them making that mistake.
I will certainly give 100 percent of my time and energy to make my hunt successful. With a lot of luck, a good aim and a good bullet—I think I know where I can get the bullet—I should come home with a nice trophy. I’ll be shooting 180-grain Tipped TSX in a .300 Weatherby, which will have a Leupold Mark IV 3.5-10 x 40mm LR/T® riflescope. Randy mentioned how this riflescope works in his article this month and I am very excited to be using it this year. At this point in time, everything is working great and I am ready for the hunt. With Weatherby, Leupold and Barnes on my side – what more can a girl ask for?!
A good share of my hunting success comes from having confidence in the products I am using. I never doubt the bullet will do its job as long as I do mine. For some of you who have been long-time Club X members and read the article I wrote about my Australian hunt back in June, 2007, you know I have a lot of confidence in Barnes Bullets. For those who didn’t read it, I’d like to recap a portion of the story.
While hunting early one afternoon, we spotted a lone water buffalo bull. The guide said he was a good one, so we made the stalk. My first shot was well placed, but the stubborn animal didn’t go down. Instead, he turned and ran at us. As I watched him through the Leupold scope coming at us, I thought to myself, “You only have one shot! Make it count!”
I put the crosshairs on his chest and fired. The moment the bullet hit, he turned, went a short distance and fell. He was about 40 yards away when he went down.
The guide had his gun aimed at the buffalo, too, but didn’t have to shoot. The guide told me he was proud that I’d kept my cool and made the shot at a charging buffalo that was coming to eat our lunch. Tom from Federal Cartridge, who was hunting with me, said it’s obvious I have a lot confidence in my product to stand there and face this big, charging beast. If the bullet hadn’t worked perfectly, the outcome could have been much different. I do have a lot of confidence in my products. The thought of the buffalo not going down at my shot never crossed my mind.
I hope next month I’ll be talking about my successful elk hunt. If not, I’ll chalk it up to another great hunting experience—because they’re all great! There’s nothing like hunting and viewing wildlife.
I wish everyone a great hunting season. Thanks for reading the Barnes newsletter—and especially for your business and support.
Question: I want to try my new Remington R15 .223 rifle for deer hunting. I am told your TSX BT 70-grain bullet is what I want. My problem: Your bullet box says 1:8 twist or faster. My R15 has a 1:9 twist and a 22-inch barrel.
Your 223 Remington page shows a twist rate of 1:12 and a 24-inch barrel. A note below the data says the 70-grain TSX needs a 1:8 twist or faster. What is correct? Can I safely load to magazine length and shoot your 70-grain TSX BT? Thank you very much.
—Kevin J. Higgins.
Answer: Allow me to clarify. The .224-caliber 70-grain TSX bullet does require a 1:8 twist or faster to stabilize properly. However, the SAAMI specification for rifling twist in a 223 Remington is a 1:12. When we shot the data for Reloading Manual #4, if SAAMI specified a twist in a particular cartridge, that’s what we went with. I’m afraid the .224-caliber 70-grain TSX bullets will probably not work well in your rifle. I’d recommend you try the 62-grain TSX that can be stabilized in the 1:9 twist barrel.
Question: My .38-55 shoots very well with factory loads, but terrible with my cast loads. Winchester’s factory jacketed loads mic .376” and they shoot into an inch. You folks sell .375” and .377” diameter bullets. Which should I use? What is your best guess?
Answer: The bullet diameter you choose will be determined by the groove diameter of your particular rifle. Because the .38-55 operates at a fairly low pressure, bullets that are much smaller than groove diameter may not be completely obturating in the bore. This could most certainly affect accuracy. For barrels with a groove diameter of .375” and smaller, we recommend the .375” diameter bullet. For barrels with a groove diameter larger than .375”, we recommend the .377” diameter bullet.
I recently returned from hunting coastal black bear in southeast Alaska. I wanted you to know that it was a successful hunt, and that I used your 140-grain Tipped TSX bullet in my 7mm Remington Magnum. When the outfitter saw what I was shooting, he was apprehensive. He thought my choice of bullets was questionable.
To make a long story short, I got my opportunity the first evening of the hunt. I shot the bear at 185 yards while it was quartering towards me. The bullet broke the near shoulder and proceeded to totally penetrate the bear, exiting just in front of the last rib on the opposite side. The bear went only 10 yards before collapsing. Needless to say, the outfitter was impressed with the devastation the wound created. He said he was now a believer in the Barnes TSX bullets! Thank you for making a great bullet! It was a great hunt that ended on a great note.
The skull of this B&C bear measured 20 9/16.
1 lb boned and cubed boar meat
1/2 lb bacon
1 onion chopped
1 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs. parsley flakes
1 can stewed tomatoes (16 oz)
1/4 cup sliced carrots
2 medium potatoes
2 Tbs. cornstarch
In a skillet fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, cool, crumble and set aside. Pour off all but about 3 Tbs. of bacon grease. Cook boar meat cubes, onion, garlic, and curry powder in remaining grease until meat is browned. Stir during cooking. Stir in 1/4 cup of water.
Remove from heat and set aside. In a 2 qt casserole combine parsley, stewed tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. Add meat mixture to casserole and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Mix 2 Tbs. cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and stir into casserole. Bake for 30 more minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Ballistics Lab Manager
Here’s a test question for you: True or false? Barnes Banded Solids create higher pressures, and therefore should not be fired in some double rifles, particularly older guns with softer barrel steel.
Answer: False! Read on. I’ll explain why and bolster our case with test data.
Rumors are floating around on internet forums, chat rooms, blogs and by word-of-mouth that some firearm manufacturers are recommending full metal jackets or soft points only for use in their rifles, no mono-metal solids. Because our Banded Solids are in the mono-metal class, customers have asked for our feedback. More specifically, people want to know if our Banded Solids create higher pressures than the competition’s jacketed soft points and full metal jackets to the point their rifle could be damaged. For the record, we’ve been presented with one occurrence of this nature to date, but it didn’t involve a Barnes solid. Holland & Holland reported to us that a monolithic solid manufactured by another company actually damaged one of their rifles. However, this particular company was at one time using melted down, reclaimed cartridge case brass to manufacture their monolithic solids. Barnes has always used pure, virgin material for our Solids, and now Banded Solids.
According to some blog and forum posts, there are a number of factors involved that must be taken into account such as barrel thickness and even the age of the barrel. Let’s look at the facts. Mono-metal solids are made of a solid alloy such as bronze or brass. Full metal jackets are made from a steel cup with a copper wash applied to the surface of the steel. A lead core is inserted in the base and the “cup” is then closed to form the base of the bullet. If what these folks are saying is true about thin barrels and older steel being more “sensitive,” then wouldn’t steel on steel produce a higher friction coefficient than brass alloy on steel?
The Barnes Banded Solid is slightly under-sized. We do this to accommodate the great variety of tolerances found in double rifles. It is a fact that some double rifle barrels are out of spec on bore and groove diameters. In a perfect world we would build bullets to fit each individual throat and barrel, but this is simply not feasible. So we try to build bullets that will work safely for the majority. SAAMI requires that diameters on all sporting rifles not exceed +.002”, but double rifles were being built long before SAAMI came into existence.
The material used to manufacture Barnes Banded Solids will not obturate at less than 45,000 psi. So how is it that a turned bullet, slightly undersized in diameter, held to precision tolerances on a CNC machine that will NOT obturate, create excessive pressure or damage a barrel that is even close to within spec? I submit that a full metal jacket comprised of a .003” thick copper-plated steel core engraving into the lands and grooves is going to be much harder on a barrel.
To further reduce bearing surface and pressure, Barnes has cut a series of grooves in the shank of the mono-metal solid that provides any material displaced by the lands someplace to go. Full metal jackets do not have this feature. Steel on steel is not the desired scenario for a rifle barrel, especially if what people are saying is true about the older barrels being made from softer material. Is the steel in the jacket material softer or harder than the barrel steel? In general, we don’t know the answer to this as the metal used for double rifle barrels has varied to such a great extent over the years. However, we know for a fact that the brass in Barnes Banded Solids IS softer than barrel steel. We also know that the grooves cut in the shank provide an area for the softer material to displace.
Still skeptical? Of course you are. You want proof and we figured you would, so we performed pressure tests. Hopefully, the results will put this myth and your mind to rest. While we were at it, we shot some penetration tests to compare Barnes bullets with one of our leading competitors on the African market.
I believe the “high pressure with all mono-metal solids” propaganda was spread via the old “someone heard something from someone” and so on, and so on. If someone out there is aware of an actual case involving pressure issues with BARNES mono-metal solids, I would ask that these people contact Barnes personally. We would like the opportunity to investigate any such claim. Based on our tests and experience, I’m comfortable stating that Barnes Banded Solids are better for antique barrels than the competition.
For our test, we fired 500 grain bullets in a 470 Nitro test barrel with 85.0 grains of RL15, Norma brass and Federal 215M primers.
This is a photo of me and the whitetail buck I took in 2007. I was born and raised in Northeast Nebraska, where I presently live with my new fiancèe. I have many hobbies, but hunting and reloading are by far my favorites. I have been reloading for about eight years now, and began using Barnes bullets two years ago. The TSXs are by far the best bullets I have ever reloaded. As you can see, they do the job. I’m looking forward to this season and taking another fine animal. Love your products. Keep up the good work. Wishing everyone a safe and successful 2008 hunt.
Buck’s New X-Tract™ Multi-Tool
Meant to make life’s chores easier, multi-tools tend to be too complex, too cumbersome and have features you hardly ever use that add to their bulk and weight. Buck Knives’ new Model 730 X-Tract Multi Tool contains only the tools you really need, and allows you to use them with one hand.
Tools include both Phillips and slotted screwdrivers that slide out from either end. The can/bottle opener is also easily accessible. And unlike other multi-tools, the X-Tract comes with a full-size Buck knife blade, which opens and closes with one hand. All lock open for secure use.
Research and field input from mountaineer/guide and Buck collaborator Peter Whittaker identified the implements most widely needed in the field. Integrated wire-cutters (10 gauge) give the pliers multi-purpose capabilities. The 3-inch-long drop-point 420HC stainless steel blade is partially serrated and has a thumb stud for easy opening.
Easy-slide screwdrivers feature a No.2 Phillips and a 3/16-inch slotted blade. All fit neatly into a durable, ergonomically shaped thermoplastic handle with a steel frame. The X-Tract comes complete with sheath and a metal lanyard loop.
Overall length with the blade open is 7-1/4 inches; closed, the X-Tract measures a compact 4-1/4 inches. Weight is 5.6 ounces. MSRP for Black, Platinum, Blue and Red models is $52; while a Realtree Camo version is available for $55. The multi-tool is backed by Buck’s 4-Ever warranty.
For additional information visit www.buckknives.com
Muzzleloader season is right around the corner. Are you ready for it? You are if you’re muzzleloader is producing groups like this with a Barnes bullet! Last month, we introduced our brand new Spit-Fire T-EZ muzzleloader bullet. We’re already getting great feedback from customers who USED to really struggle to load their ol’ smokepole. Hands down, it’s a favorite. The accuracy and consistency is there. Terminal performance is already proven because it’s constructed just like the TMZ – only this bullet has a flat base instead of a boattail.
This .9″ group was shot with 150 grains of Hodgdon 777 pellets and the new 290-grain Barnes Spit-Fire T-EZ muzzleloader bullet. Click here for more information about the new T-EZ Load muzzleloader bullet and how to place an order.