New Barnes bullet testing.....

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Fiftydriver, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Well, this past week I was able for the first time to test the 265 gr Tipped TSX bullet out of my 338 Allen Magnum. The rifle was one of my 32" Xtreme Heavy Sporters that I made for a customer.

    The customer wanted a bullet option for closer range hunting, 500 to 800 yards on game up to elk size critters. Now the 300 gr SMK is my standard bullet choice for the 338 Allen Magnum but at 500 yards it will turn into nothing but scraps with the AMs velocity potential. Past 1000 yards, it performs great.

    Looked around and noticed that Barnes had their 265 gr TTSX out. First off, let me discribe this bullet a bit. Barnes lists them as having a BC of roughly .570. In all honesty, this is a mystery to me. Here is why. When I set this new bullet next to a 300 gr SMK with a BC in the .800 to .820 range when fired from my 338 Allen Magnum, the first obvious difference is that the TTSX bullet is roughly 0.075" longer. In fact, its not much shorter then the Barnes 300 gr VLD!

    The Ogive design is nearly identical to the 300 gr SMK in profile and length. The boat tail design is SLIGHTLY shorter then the SMK but not by much. Seeing this, I had a very hard time believing that this bullet had a BC of sub .6.

    For testing this rifle, the customer wanted me to test the 300 gr SMK, 300 gr Rocky Mountain Aluminum tipped bullet and the 265 gr TTSX. I did some quick velocity development at the shop and was impressed to see that with 148.0 gr of H-50BMG, the 338 AM could drive the 265 gr TTSX to a legit 3500 fps, 3497 fps on average to be specific for five shots. Extreme Spread was 18 fps. Not amazing but plenty good.

    A few days later I was able to get out to the range and test these bullets. I started with the 300 gr RMB loaded to 3300 fps and zeroed the rifle at 1100 yards. After testing those bullets I switched to the 265 gr TTSX. The first shot landed dead center in the group that had been made with the 300 gr RMB. This impressed me. Does not say alot about the BC value but with the same sight adjustment, it impacted at exactly the same point as the 300 gr RMB which is advertised to have a BC in the .97 range. To be fair, I believe the BC of the 300 gr RMB is closer to the .850 range from what I can tell comparing it to the 300 gr SMK.

    Accuracy was very good for the Barnes. I shot three, three shot strings and 8 of the 9 shots landed in a sub 5" cluster. The one shot did fly a bit to the right to open the total group to around 3/4 moa but that easily could have been me with a slight pull or the wind catching me a bit.

    I was very impressed to see how well this bullet shot at this level of velocity. Obviously there was no slippage of the lands even in the 1-10 twist at this velocity.

    Giving this bullet a conservative BC of .750 with a 3500 fps velocity, at 1000 yards, this bullet should retain just under 2400 fps and have just shy of 3300 ft/lbs of retained energy. THis should be PLENTY for complete expansion on game. In fact, Barnes says that this bullet will expand at velocities as low as 1600 fps. I find this a bit optomistic from what I have seen from other X bullets but even if we put a velocity limit of 1800 fps on this bullet, it will reach out to 1600 yards with 1800 fps and a retained 1900 ft/lbs of energy.

    Remember these numbers are with a conservative BC of .750. I would not be surpised to see the BC of this bullet be in the .83 to .85 range but I have not proven that with testing at several different ranges and figuring moa adjustment needed for these other ranges. IF it does have a BC in the .85 range which again, would not surpise me, it will retain 1800 fps out to +1800 yards. For a true extreme terminal performance bullet, this is most impressive.

    When I was done with the accuracy testing at 1100 yards, I drove over and recovered some of the fired bullets. The SMK will be in a mangled ball of copper and lead when fired into this wet sand at this range from the 338 AM. THe RMB remains were pretty limited. There were some larger jacket frags but not much more then that.

    I only found a couple of the Barnes bullets. Not sure if the others bounced out of the dirt and were somewhere on the hillside but the two I Did find were laying on the top of the impacted sand, each had fully expanded to the base of their HP. Each had lost one part of one petal but other then that, looked picture perfect retaining 90 and 92% of their original bullet weight.

    Now I have just started testing these bullets but so far, Accuracy is right there with the 300 gr SMK and that is saying alot. Velocity is very high, consistancy is good and so far terminal performance looks impressive. My only real worry is how these bullets will expand on soft hits at long range, such as clean chest impacts on smaller game such as deer and pronghorns. Only one way to test this though!!!

    I will also be testing these bullets in my 338 Allen Xpress where I suspect they will be able to be driven to 3200 fps. Even at this reduced velocity, they should still retain 1800 fps out to 1450 yards or so.

    I have never been a huge Barnes bullet fan. In fact I distain the old standard X bullet. I fully admit that the new TSX design is a vastly improved bullet but it has also always been a bit weak as far as long range expansion was concerned. The tipped design will hopefully solve this problem. Time will tell.

    I also ordered in several other of the TTSX bullets to test in my Allen Magnums. Namely the 200 gr TTSX for my 300 Allen Xpress and the 120 gr 6.5mm TTSX for my 6.5mm Allen Magnum.

    The 200 gr TTSX is another impressive bullet. It is easily 50 thou longer then even the 240 gr SMK!!! I am hoping and expecting to see this bullet reach 3450 fps in my 300 AX, excited to see!!! I can drive the 200 gr Accubond to 3500 fps in my 300 AX with a 30" barrel length so time will tell.

    The 120 gr TTSX is another neat bullet. Only slightly shorter then the 142 gr SMK or 140 gr A-Max. The 142 gr SMK can be drive to 3550 fps in a 30" barrel length so who knows what the 120 gr TTSX will be able to handle and it should also be able to survive the impacts as well!!!

    Time will tell, will keep you all posted.
     
  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Kirby:)

    Would you still try/use Retumbo in the 338AX for this bullet weight? Or are you thinking H1000 or 4831??
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Well now! That is some good credible information.

    Very informative post......!
     
  4. Nomosendero

    Nomosendero Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the report, very informative!! It is interesting how Barnes appear conservative with the 265 BC rating, in the old days they were overly optimistic with some BC ratings, good to know.

    I am also anxious to hear how the 120/.264 & 200/.308 turn out, I just got a new .264, might be up there with 130 Acc.
    Thanks
     
  5. partisan1911

    partisan1911 Well-Known Member

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    I have been looking for a bullet to replace the 225 Accubond I have been shooting out of my 338 lapua. I have had less than optimal results on game using it and have a brown bear hunt coming up. The rifle is based off a Remington action so it sounds like I would not be able to use the 265gr Barnes bullet. Have you looked at the Barnes 225gr TTSX and have any comments on it?
     
  6. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing.

    I have been looking forward to testing the new 175LRX bullet. It is rumored that it will have around a .507ish BC. I was hoping for .525+ and that may be a tall order from barnes but it is doable for the right form factor. It is my opinion that a mono metal 175 bullet could be made to have up to about a .575 G1 if made right. I find that .638 for the GS 177 hard to believe but since they wont ever return emails or proccess orders, I cannot even try them to see for myself. It's too bad becuase it seems like even if .638 is too high, they probably have close to .58+ with a published expansion figure of 1500-1600 FPS. It would at least be nice to try them. I just ordered a 10x barrel just to run them but since they wont even accept may orders and emails I am about to just give up and cancel the order on the 10x barrel.

    The last time I talked to one of Barnes techs, he said they should expand on game as low as 1400FPS. He said 1600' for water jugs and to subtract 200' for flesh for 1400'.

    I find that very tough to believe especially scince the time before that they said 1800FPS for water filled jugs and 1600 for flesh.

    In any event, it may be worth a good unbiased test. It may just be the best overall bullet for my 308s if the BC is near the .520 mark. Hopefully.

    It would be interesting to see what the BCs of the 265 Barnes is at 338 Edge velocities.

    Thanks again.

    M

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    SBruce,

    I used Retumbo with the old Wildcat 265 gr Wildcat AT RBBT and it was an ideal powder for this bullet weight just as it is with the 300 gr. It will be the first powder I test with this bullet and I suspect it will be the only powder tested.
     
  8. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Roy,

    I would love nothing more then to see a LR type 375 cal TTSX come from Barnes, deep HP cavity to increase over all bullet length, four relief bands, good long boat tail, Ogive design the same as the 338, not the blunt rounded design. Bullet weight in the 300 to 325 range, BC in the .85 range. Would turn the 375 AM into a MONSTER of a terminal machine.

    Think they will do it for us???????
     
  9. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    I think you need to check you scope adjustments and measure your bore to scope height use a G7 BC and get rid of your chronograph.......j/k :)

    I have not tried that bullet yet, but am glad to hear this info. Barnes has already announced that they want the long range market, why they have not devoloped a bullet that will get the job done is anyone guess......or maybe they have.

    As an aside there was a thread over on 24hr campfire where your name came up. I think I may have called you a genius in that thread....don't let it go to your head:)
     
  10. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Nomosendero,

    Like I mentioned, I have not done any bullet drop testing to figure an accurate BC from actual drop numbers but sitting these bullets side by side, I see no way how these bullets will have a BC as low as advertised.

    Looking at the 200 gr 30 cal, its significantly longer then the 240 gr SMK, its ogive is MUCH more aggressive then the old outdated 240 gr SMK, boattail very similiar but slightly shorter, Meplate much better for the tipped TTSX, I see no way how it can not at least match the .711 BC of the 240 gr SMK......

    Same goes comparing the 265 gr to the 300 gr SMK.

    I also have some of the new 285 gr tactical TSX bullets in 338. They are roughly the same length as the 265 TTSX but they have a much larger by comparision meplat which can not help BC.

    Unless the releif groove on the side of the bullet create some type of drag, I see no way these bullets will have a BC that low. To that point, I do not see how a relief groove on the side of the bullet will effect BC dramatically as the shock wave created by the meplat and ogive should make the ballistic effect of the relief grooves basically irrelevant. Maybe not, we will see.
     
  11. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    partisan1911,

    I am not ready to say the TTSX is a better bullet then the Accubond. Ballistically, I think it will top the Accubond pretty handily. That said, I have never had a 338 that would not shoot the Accubond extremely well. Just not enough TTSX bullets in the air and into game YET to fully endorse that bullet as my choice yet.

    So far however, I am very impressed. Again, more time and testing to be done and then the all important field testing!!!

    I have seen the 225 TTSX. In all honesty, I was hoping they would come out with a 250 gr TTSX but it seems they are not ready to do that yet. Personally, I think the 225 is a bit light for my chamberings and I would prefer to have a bit more bullet length and BC then just shear velocity.

    I think the 265 gr TTSX should be usible in anything from the 338 Win Mag on up.

    For my wildcats, the 338 AX and 338 AM, I just want a bit more bullet weight which seems to improve consistancy with the larger powder charges of slow burning powder.
     
  12. buckbrush

    buckbrush Well-Known Member

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    Any idea why Barnes would grossly underestimate the BC like that? Calculation error?
     
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    M.E.

    I am also a bit leary of the expansion claims. Yes the tip will help with expansion but being such a hard bullet design, retained energy also has alot to do with bullet deformation. NO bullet energy does not kill big game, but ENERGY does do the work that kills big game, by that I mean energy is what forces a bullet to deform from resistance, energy is what moves vital tissue from its original location and damages it. I still believe 1800 fps should be considered minimum with even these tipped bullets.

    My wish list would include a 160-165 gr LRX in 7mm that would be longer then a 180 gr VLD from Berger. Loaded in my 7mm AM, and a BC in the mid .6 to low .7 range would really get my attention with a 3500 fps muzzle velocity.....

    Hopefully they are serious about designing new rounds for the long range big game hunters. We will see.
     
  14. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Eddybo,

    Someone on 24hour called me a genius????

    Usually I only get hammered over there for my wildcat designs that do nothing but eat rifle barrels!!!

    Obviously whoever said it does not know me very well. Genius is hardly an adjective I would use to discribe myself!!! LOL