TSX Bullet info from This season

jjhack

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Hi folks,
Back from RSA with lots more experinces with big and "really" big game here are some observations and opinions about the performance of the Barnes TSX bullets this year. There were 52 animals shot with the TSX and a nearly equal amount of game taken with several other brands. This is the first year that every hunter in camp came with “Premium” bullets. Not a single hunter used a common “cup and core” style bullet. I hope that my rants on this subject have finally paid off regarding the advantage of the additional cost for premium bullets.
Since this is article is primarily for the TSX bullet, I will describe the events for those and use the other brands as a balance of performance. To attempt to create a document with the detail needed for each brand,….. well it would take a long time, and a lot of space here. Furthermore there was far more detail and resolution with the TSX as more game was harvested with the TSX then all the other bullet brands combined.
The best news of all is that there was not even one animal lost with the TSX bullet this season. Considering all the game shot with the TSX, both 165 grain in 30/06 and 270 grain in 375HH this is an impressive achievement. There was game wounded with several different bullets that took some time to recover, and required follow up shooting. This was as far as I could tell more likely due to shot placement and not with the projectile. As is the case every year, no matter what the skill level of the hunters, or the cartridges chosen, game will be shot poorly and we will have tracking and follow up days during each safari. There are just so many animals shot, and so many brushy and quick situations. This often creates less then perfect shots, it’s just the way things seem to happen.
We recovered only 7, 30/06 TSX bullets, and we recovered no 270 grain bullets from the 375HH. The 270 grain TSX seems to open quicker and with more violence then the smaller 30/06 bullets. That 270 grain bullet chews a hole through bone and tissue like few other bullets can. The damage path with that 270 grain bullet with a MV of 2800 fps is one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen, quite a bit more disruptive then even the 300 grain TSX has been. The typical 300-350 fps faster speed of the 270grain is a significant improvement on the terminal performance. The 270 grain in my opinion is enough bullet for anything alive on this planet. I have said many times before and will confirm this again, it’s enough for Cape buffalo. The penetration of this bullet in my experience is equal or greater then any 300 grain expanding bullet with a lead core. It takes a lot of tissue compression or an exceptional range to collect one of these bullets inside game.
We recovered well over a dozen bullets, or parts of bullets from all the other cartridges used. The skinner used for many of these hunts had very strict instructions to recover every bullet and fragment he could from the game. It’s my first experience this year with so many fragmented pieces of the Nosler Partition. I would never have believed that so many little pieces could be found by the skinner. Nobody with any amount of experience argues the performance of the partition being somewhat of a baseline for bullet performance. Better then the Partition is all good, but worse performance is a problem that needs strict attention.
We recovered a number of jacket pieces and lead segments from several different animals shot with the Partition. This shows that even the legendary Partition will go to pieces when shot with high velocity cartridges and close range at heavy game. I have seen Partitions come apart before but this year was more then normal. The up side was that nothing was lost with a Partition. Although there was a few very long grueling follow ups looking for wounded animals. (shot placement was a strong contributor on some of these)
If my count is right 31 animals were shot with my 30/06 using the 165 grain partitions, and another 6 were shot with the same cartridge and nearly identical loads by other hunters. 37 animals this year were shot with the 165 grain 30/06 bullet. Some notable trophies were 2 huge waterbuck, 7 Blue Wildebeest, 4 Zebra’s, 4 Gemsbok, 6 warthogs, and 4 Kudu. 7 recovered bullets, the rest simply passed right through.


The first and third bullets are from 300 meter plus shots on Zebra and wildebeest. The second bullet is from a length wise shot at a warthog from only 30 meters. The fourth bullet is from the 175 meter shot I made on the Zebra. Note the length of this bullet from a Zebra shot at 180 meters compared to the bullet used on a similiar shot on a Zebra at just over 300 meters. The reduced velocity of that longer shot still allowed a complete expansion of the bullet.

Remaining fragments from two different Partition bullets, the small lead pieces I collected seem to have vanished on my way home? The other two partition bullets have the typical recovered appearance. Nothing wrong with this so long as penetration is sufficient. They will as a normal design lose the front half of the bullet during penetration, this is not a bullet or design failure.
I shot a zebra at about 175 yards, a rather long shot for our habitat, but it was all I had available. The bullet struck a quartering away direction and came to rest under the skin in front of the off shoulder. The entry was behind the last rib. This bullet was about one foot per second from being an exit hole. The skin in front of the bullet was cut in three places about 1/8” for each hole. Had that bullet been any faster it would have poked clean through. The hole was actually bleeding and looked like and exit hole. It was visually bulging with the bullet just under the skin. The same bullet and load passed through several wildebeest, and other Zebras as well. One was recovered under the skin of the chest on an impala with a perfectly centered “Texas heart shot” Another from a Blesbok’s shoulder with a very far 300 yard plus quartering away shot. That was well over 30” of penetration at a laser measured 300 plus yards! I have seen countless Zebra, eland, and wildebeest in my career shot with a 375HH and a bonded core bullet. A large percentage of these animals have managed to contain the large mushroomed bullet under the skin on the exit side. Yet the 30/06 with much less energy has exited or at least equaled the penetration when the 165grain TSX bullet is used.

This is the exit side of a warthog, the blood trail would have been sufficient although in this case not needed. The warthog only ran about 50 meters.

Accuracy is unmatched with proper load development and ammunition construction techniques. This is where many of the critics come out of the woodwork where problems arise. This is not your Daddies bullet, and as such does not always work with the same procedures you have used for load development with other bullets. I’m not going into how to develop and load ammo here, just want to say that it may take some time to sort through the best combinations of powder, primer and seating depths. When it all comes together the accuracy and performance are just magic on big game.
I closely inspected every carcass shot when the skinning was complete and meat was hanging in the cool room. In every single case when a chest shot was made through the ribs, the entry was easily identified when compared to the exit. The exits were on average 4 times the size of the entries. This confirms without any question the bullets expand even when the exit holes in the hide don’t look as if they had expansion. The photo here of the warthog is a typical example of the exit hole and the blood loss.
On a few occasions there were petals broken off of the recovered bullets. Twice there was a single petal broken off, and on one rather close shot all four were broken off with the bullet entering the back of the warthog near the tail and coming to rest inside the skull. This was about a 30 yard shot on a medium female warthog used to feed the staff. The bullet actually entered with only a small partial hole right next to the wagging tail! I made this shot in a deliberate attempt to see just how far the bullet would go, or if it would still have enough power to break the skull. In addition I wanted to see just how straight it would travel through the inconsistent tissues involved through its damage path. The heavy bones of the pelvis, organs, muscle tissue and skull might cause a variance in straight bullet travel. However there was no bullet deflection at all in this test . The travel was as straight as a ruler could have made it. Overall I cannot find fault with the TSX in anyway again this year. I shot several 130 grain TTSX bullets at impala, none recovered and the internal damage was significant. Actually the same as the plain old TSX.
I don’t see a measurable difference in the performance between the two. I suppose if you’re of the mind that the plastic tip will improve the ease of the bullet opening and provide you with a flatter shooting projectile, the TTSX is made for you. I don’t see any need to change a single thing from the 165grain TSX bullet at about 2900fps from the 30/06. Several of the hunters and I joked that so many guys bring huge case capacity magnums, and then spend time looking for wounded game. I cannot stress enough that not a single plains game animal was lost with the 30/06 and the 165 grain TSX bullets again this year. There were however a number of wounded animals with magnum cartridges. One second time plains game hunter commented that his next safari will be with one of his 30/06 rifles. He used my 30/06 to finish his safari after a problem with his 338 came up.
It’s no wonder the locals throughout much of Southern Africa regardless of the country feel so comfortable with the smaller 308, 30/06, and 270 cartridges. Once the decision is made to jump from these cartridges they move right up to the 375HH, and from there the 458. Those local Southern African hunters regardless of the country don’t really buy into the hype and need for the over bore magnums. Now with the improved bullets available like the TSX they can have an easy to shoot, economical cartridge that will easily out perform the bigger magnums using a cup and core bullet. There is no doubt that a 30/06 shooting a 165 grain TSX bullet at 2900fps will easily provide more over all lethal performance than a 300 win mag shooting a 180 grain cup and core bullet at 3100fps. I’ve seen this plenty of times where the TSX from the old non-magnum will exit while the heavier cup and core bullet will fragment into many small pieces and have no exit hole, and quite often under penetrate.
As I have written before, and a fitting close to this article. Any bullet can have a failure depending upon the definition of “failure”. For my money and with the experiences I have had since using this bullet. I would prefer a bullet fail to an un-opened solid, or lose all the petals, then to have the whole bullet crumble away or fall short of desired penetration needed. Even if the bullet fails to an unopened solid, or has all the petals break off. If the aim was true to begin with, then the bullet will impact the organs you were aiming at and destroy them. Many times a hunter will criticize the performance of the bullet or at least be left wondering how the bullet could have failed him when the game is lost. I suspect that most of these animals were not hit well, rather then having a bullet failure. We have seen a number of cup and core bullets, fall short of the penetration needed. Having that thick very elastic hide so typical of many African animals absorb much of the impact. Which then causes the rapid destruction of the bullet, while it continues to disintegrate in the next few inches falling short of the off side lung. An animal pouring blood from the entry inspires confidence at the point of impact. However after several hundred yards of tracking the hunter asks how can this be? How can that much blood be seen and the animals travel so far? A herd animal with one good lung can run dead on its feet for a very long time trying to stay with the group.
With a bullet that crumbles or falls short of the desired organs, you will be tracking and hoping for many hours and kilometers that you find the game. This makes for long evening around the campfire while everyone else is laughing and enjoying the hunt stories, and you sit stressed out and wondering just how much of your trophy will be left from the hyenas and jackals. That is if you’re lucky enough to even find it in the morning!
 

hatchet1

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:shootin-rifle:STRONG WORK!! AND UNBELIEVAVBLE DOCUMENTATION!!GLAD THEY WORKED FOR YOU FOLKS OVER THERE!! SHOT PLACEMENT IS ONCE AGAIN THE KEY TO A QUICKLY
RECOVERED ANIMAL.MAN WHAT A DETAILED POST.IM STILL NO FAN OF BARNES..
BUT BOY THEY SURE DID THE JOB FOR YOU GUYS..:shootin-rifle:
 

Duknutz

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Another great write-up JJ.Enjoyed the detail in the bullet study.
I used the old TSX(brand new then)53 Gr. on my 220 Swift.Shot 4-5 animals with it and all were pass thru's.Hard to tell on the exit,how much expansion,but no lost animals.Fallow deer and Springbok..
 

casper1974

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Barnes TSX

Here is a recovered 180gr, 300 winmag Federal Premium TSX from my Kudu. A front quartering shot that entered the front shoulder and ended just under the skin behind the last rib. My PH prefers clients use partition rounds because they see a lot of gut-shot game and this TSX pass through a gut with little damage. I like them because they shoot consistant and I'm a careful shot. I took 10 animals on my trip and only 2 made it out of eyesight before expiring. Most dropped where they stood. My blue wildebeest and zebra were both hit well and bleed like crazy, they were just too stubborn to fall. Neither took more than 10 minutes to find and finish.

 

jjhack

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I think that it's a little out of sorts to suggest a bullet type based on how they react when gut shot, I cannot imagine that here is a bit of difference. gut shot is pretty much gut shot and they are gonna run and bleed internal and be very difficult if not impossible to loacate much of the time. Unless you open up the side of the body with something .458 diameter or similiar, shooting African big game animals in the guts with a 243, 0r 300 win mag, using cup and core or a soild is not gonna have enough resolution to the results to make any claim as to what is better for gut shooting animals.
 

casper1974

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I suppose the theory is that a bullet that breaks up will do more damage, increasing the chances of not loosing the animal? Regardless, I'm real happy with the performance of this cartridge and rather than recommending something to compensate for a poor shot, I would recommend shooting practice and taking confident shots.
 

SULTANGOBBLER

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Barnes

I've been a fan for 5 years of the X- bullet.You can't beat them!!!
 

larrysogla

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I just found this article by jjhack.............but it is an excellent, very well written article with documentation. I agree with jjhack that the Barnes all copper hollow points are the way to go on big game. I have not lost a hog yet and I have not recovered any Barnes X bullets either. All were pass through, with the animal leaking oil on 2 holes.
'Nuff said
larrysogla
 

257scramjet

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yes very nice article! I'm all for barnes as well and have never had an issue..:hog chewing:
 

jesunter

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Had a bad experience on an elk with a nosler - hit it in the chest @100 yds. from the front. Went quite a ways in but broke up in small pieces. Have some MRX's with more sectional density than TSX's but from the hog hunting forum there's issues with the TSX's and even a near mauling - penetration but not enough expansion.

So without a lot of experience I still think the noslers are reducing a 30-06 180 gr. to an 80 grain .243, and the TSX/MRX are similar to FMJ's.

So I got some swift A-frames. The partition is farther forward, and the jacket seems much thicker and tougher than the NP's. Hung together w/almost 100% straight into a hillside. Can't wait to try one on game!
 

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