168 Gr. Barnes XLC Bullet test

Ian M

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Have been working up hunting loads for this relatively new bullet and getting the best accuracy to date from any Barnes bullet I have shot. Standard Deviations running in the single digits, as low as 4 and 6.

Accuracy in a Rock barreled .308 Win. is very close to what we get with 168 Matchkings, J-4's etc. Near capacity load of Varget, Win. case and primers - shooting some very nice groups for a hunting bullet. Actually got over 2940 fps with one load, seems to shoot best at about 2770 tho. This is with a 26 inch barrel.

Intend to hunt with this load for mulies.
 

Ian M

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45.5 Varget, BHA brass, Win. primers - shoots really good.
Going to compare it with the new Black Hills GOLD ammo, it also has the 168 Barnes loaded, should be interesting.
 

Brent

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I just bought a box for the Ultra and the 308 win. The 308 never shot the 165 XLC under 1.5" so we'll see how these do. Thanks for the info. Wish I had some loaded for today at the range.
 

Dave King

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Ian

Thanks for the tip on the Barnes 168 XLC bullets, they're great! I got the package last evening and tried them this morning (raining and windy but I need a load for canada).

I loaded with 44 - 45 grains of Varget and shot at 100 yards.

I believe I'll stop using the 168 and 175 MatchKings for game and shoot the Barnes 168 XLC from now on. There dosen't appear to be any loss of accuracy from my 308 using the Barnes (Who wuda thunk a Barnes could do that?).

I have 2 groups and I'll post pictures (I placed the Dime after the shoot to give some size to the picture).

http://www.the-king-family.com/UserPages/DaveKing/images/Barnes168XLC.jpg
 

Brent

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Well, I couldn't resist loading some 168 XLC's to take with me for the 300 Ultra. I loaded them with RL25 from 94.5gr to 99.0gr in .5gr increments at 3.660 OAL. They were the last ones fired and the Oehler stopped reading at 4:30 when the fog and dusk teamed up on it, ****.

I did determine that the first five rounds from 94.5 to 96.5 shot about two inches at 200yds then at 97 things went to the right two inches and all were under an inch with the last five rounds, that's a huge bonus, the speed has got to be way up there.

Thanks guys, I'm really glad I tried them today also.

Pressure was measured with the Oehler 43 and held 57-58k psi all the way through the first five rounds. 6-10 were 60,63,61,63k and 65k psi respectively.

Temp was +31F today and still no snow yet.
 

Luke Mason

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Brent,
I recently spoke with the Barnes people about the reported accuracy variances from different users. After listening, it appears that their bullets require a greater freebore than most. While most users are attempting to come within: slightly contacting - .005 (or slightly greater), their bullets seem to like .030 - .070 of freebore. They explained that the differences in material used require that bullet to be longer in profile, and that during testing the groups tightened up only after they increased the gap. Perhaps experimenting with this will bring your groups down in size. I would be curious to know what your seating depth is with your current results. Good luck.
 

Brent

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Luke,

They were seated to 3.660" OAL and measured with Stony Point 30 Cal comparitor insert they measured 3.065" to the ogive. This is max OAL in my mag box, and came .094" from contact of the lands with this depth.

OAL at land contact was measured at 3.754" and with the 30 Cal insert measured 3.160" to the ogive.
 

Brent

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Luke,

They were seated to 3.660" OAL and measured with Stony Point 30 Cal comparitor insert they measured 3.065" to the ogive. This is max OAL in my mag box, and came .094" from contact of the lands with this depth.

OAL at land contact was measured at 3.754" and with the 30 Cal insert measured 3.160" to the ogive.

They are shooting under an inch at 200 yards with 97-99gr so I'll settle on a load of 98gr and use it for now and see how it goes.
 

kraky

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Sep 4, 2001
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Don't want to "rain on the parade" but I just tried a load in my '06. Shot 3" at 100 yds. I will try some different powder combo's. I did have them set about .050" off the lands. There are some other guys on other forums that haven't had great luck with them either.

BUT, WHO EVER HEARD OF A BULLET THAT WORKED WITH EVERYTHING!!??

I just don't want everyone to rush out and buy them thinking their rifles are going to become instant match grade shooters--that would be unfair to you guys who are having good luck--you wouldn't be able to get more!!
 

Dave King

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My load AOL of 2.810 places those bullets within a few thousanths or actually touching the lands, my 308 is pretty short throated.

I also check runout, it's caused me problems in the past and now I use Wilson dies and still check.

[ 11-19-2002: Message edited by: Dave King ]
 

Brent

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Kraky,

Have you tried a range of loads with the bullet, it may be you are just above or below the sweet spot if you just tried one load.

Most of the other Barnes bullets shoot between 1-4" in my other guns too, so I was quite surprised the went 1/2 MOA with this one. The tight spot seems to be centered around 98gr so I'll be shooting that for a while.
 

Luke Mason

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Guys,
I recently spoke with the owner of Swift Bullets; he is a long range hunter/precision shooter.

During our conversation, I asked him about performance differences with the Scirocco.

This may all be basic info to some however, I thought this may help.

He suggested the following:
1)Find what he referred to as the velocity "sweet spot". He said that from his experience there is a high velocity, and low velocity that the rounds like to work in.

He also said that if your using a velocity that is somewhere in the middle of this range, that you'll have the problems your having. His suggestion was to either slightly increase or decrease your velocity by 50-75fps, and increase in these increments until groups tighten. He typically works his loads in the lower sweet spot for overpressure reasons, however if your V is already in the conservative range, then perhaps boosting it a bit would get you in the zone.

He boost or lowers his V until it tack drives, and then goes a bit more to see if it tightens further. If it starts to spread, which he said it eventually will, he simply comes back to where it last printed best.

2) Once you have locked into the sweet spot, his next suggestion was to work with the different powders that are suggested in the Swift manual (they list 9 different powders). He said that from his experience(as a hunter/precision rifleman), that one powder will throw rounds into wild spreads, and that others will bring the group where you want them.

3)The last thing he suggested, was to vary you seating depths. He is using .015, on his personnel 7mag. I think your rat-tail idea is a good one. Hopefully this will allow you to have the freebore that your wanting.

Hope this helps someone.
 

Ian M

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I believe that it is fair to say that every rifle makes its own rules about bullets and a lot of other things. So far the Barnes bullets have been shooting well in the test rifle, and I am pleased that Dave and Brent are also getting good accuracy. We killed a mule deer buck with it the other day and hope to recover the bullet when the carcass is skinned.
No doubt some rifles won't, we shot the Barnes bullet in two Savage Tacticals and accuracy was more in the 1.0"-1.5" range, but the loads weren't tailored to each rifle as they should have been.
Only one way to find out how they will work in your rifle and that is to give them a fair try - which can be a pain in the butt and pocket-book given the variables to consider.
I understand that the degree of precision used to make this bullet has been enhanced as compared to most of the Barnes X bullets - that is why they expect better accuracy and usually get it.
 

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