exploding bullets on impact...is this real or are people guessing?

Jared2700

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Sep 22, 2017
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185
I tried the Barnes bullets probably fifteen years ago when they had been out a few years and were hyped in every hunting magazine around. Never did use them on game because I could never get them to group satisfactorily (1 3/4" is a lot tighter than I could get out of my 270, I think I finally found a load that shrunk groups to a tad under 3") Finally loaded the last of them up in reduced loads (as in book minimum) for my nine year old brother-in-law to shoot at targets a couple months ago. Tried them in my STW with similar results and while others swear by them I have never tried them again.

I thought the idea was good, and for liberal states like California that banned lead they are necessary. But between the lack of accuracy I experienced and the extra size needed to get the heavier weight bullets I never felt an urge to try them again. I have loaded them for a couple people who brought me the components and already had a load worked up they wanted me to duplicate, but I never actually shot those to see how they performed. And those people were unlikely to take 200+ yard shots anyways, so the minimum accuracy bar was a lot lower.
I've never had any problems with getting a good tight group with barnes bullets. And they have a reputation of being extremely accurate. Maybe you should have tried different powders. Some people are not willing to change anything thing though. So I guess you can't help that. Maybe you're rifle just didn't like them, heck I don't know. But I have yet to have a gun that didn't shoot good groups with these bullets. They have shot as good or better in my guns. I've been shooting them for the past 30 years. And yes I use other manufacturers bullets too. So it's not just that's all I've ever shot. I really like Sierra, Nosler, Hornaday, Remington, Speer, and Barnes. Each of them have a purpose when it comes to shooting some for cheap, and others for things I just want to blow up like rockchucks ect. And some for when I am serious about making a good clean kill on larger animals like elk, muley's, hogs, and on bear. I personally think they all make good bullets depending upon what you are trying to accomplish. Don't bad mouth bullets you were the loader of, it was all up to you at that point. Just is dependent on what your bullet selection is, and the target you are looking to shoot. That is all I have to say about that. And yes I've killed animals at ranges over 1000 yards.‍☠
 

Jared2700

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Yeah, Unfortunately our opening day is tomorrow. Are you saying that even off the shoulder, the deer were not penetrated to the vitals and had to be tracked for follow-up shots OR are you saying hit off the shoulder, they still ran but died within say 100 yards and just needed the typical blood tracking job?
I was just talking to my brother about it and the bullets were not able to penetrate both sides of the deer. Also he stated that there was not much of a blood trail. His buck went the furthest from where it was shot. But I think it was less than 100yards. I'm going to try and upload a picture of the buck so you can see how big the entry hole was. Is pretty massive for a 6.5 creed. And it was on a angle toward the front of the deer from the last rib and was barely able to hit the liver and part of a lung if I remember what he said killed the buck. I hope this helps. I was looking for AZ different pictures the buck his friendshot with the same rifle. What's funny is this deer was a stag. It had no nuts.
IMG951578.jpg
 
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BallisticsGuy

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Heck
Some bullets are DESIGNED to go completely to pieces on impact. Why should it not be believable that bullets designed to expand less violently might not under some impact conditions exceed their design thresholds for staying intact. The difference between a bullet coming clean apart and not doesn't have to be a vast canyon.

I shot this jack rabbit from around 10 feet with an AR-15 with 18" barrel with a single Barnes Varmint Grenade in .223 (IIRC they were 55gr). It completely gutted the thing for me. I never touched a knife to the animal. You can see the entrance hole in the shoulder. The bullet did not exit the other side.


 

Jared2700

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Yeah, Unfortunately our opening day is tomorrow. Are you saying that even off the shoulder, the deer were not penetrated to the vitals and had to be tracked for follow-up shots OR are you saying hit off the shoulder, they still ran but died within say 100 yards and just needed the typical blood tracking job?
Oh I forgot to say that the deer was on the move when he shot, and was about 475 yards. He also stated that he thinks you could shoot the deer through the front shoulder and kill it. I once had a deer tag that I wanted to shoot my pre-64 264 feather weight Winchester that I had just bought and all I had was some 140 grain Sierra's that were match kings I had loaded up. Ended up shooting two different deer, with the first one making it to another hunter who also shot it putting a really big 4x4 down that I had already shot. Needless to say he ended up with the buck. I ended up getting a nice size 2x2. Had I had better bullets I would of had that buck. It was lack of penetration that was the problem. The 2 point I shot was a direct hit at 100 yards in the shoulder. Shrapnel was in the adjacent side but didn't go through all the way. Followed up by a neck shot for the final shot. Hope this helps. Good luck with your hunt. Make sure not to move toward your deer until you are sure it's down. That way if not you could follow up with a second shot. That is how I lost the 4x4. I thought it was down, and it got back up as I was head across to him. It was a real bummer.
I was just talking to my brother about it and the bullets were not able to penetrate both sides of the deer. Also he stated that there was not much of a blood trail. His buck went the furthest from where it was shot. But I think it was less than 100yards. I'm going to try and upload a picture of the buck so you can see how big the entry hole was. Is pretty massive for a 6.5 creed. And it was on a angle toward the front of the deer from the last rib and was barely able to hit the liver and part of a lung if I remember what he said killed the buck. I hope this helps. I was looking for AZ different pictures the buck his friendshot with the same rifle. What's funny is this deer was a stag. It had no nuts.View attachment 158051
 

Jared2700

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Sep 22, 2017
Messages
185
Some bullets are DESIGNED to go completely to pieces on impact. Why should it not be believable that bullets designed to expand less violently might not under some impact conditions exceed their design thresholds for staying intact. The difference between a bullet coming clean apart and not doesn't have to be a vast canyon.

I shot this jack rabbit from around 10 feet with an AR-15 with 18" barrel with a single Barnes Varmint Grenade in .223 (IIRC they were 55gr). It completely gutted the thing for me. I never touched a knife to the animal. You can see the entrance hole in the shoulder. The bullet did not exit the other side.


Gutted on impact nice! I like the picture by the way!
 

GPR23

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Jan 10, 2018
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I haven't read this entire thread but didn't see this mentioned so thought i would throw it out. I think speed of the bullet and twist rate also play a very important factor on if a bullet will "splash"

I hand load some 53gr 223 ammo. In my ar-15 with a 8 twist barrel i have had the load splash on a coyote shoulders. In my remington 700 with 12 twist barrel i have never had that issue. They both have same length barrel with very similar muzzle velocity. However the higher RPM of the 8 twist makes the bullets more fragile and prone to "splashes" or exploding on impact.
 

Bigeclipse

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Aug 10, 2012
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1,575
I was just talking to my brother about it and the bullets were not able to penetrate both sides of the deer. Also he stated that there was not much of a blood trail. His buck went the furthest from where it was shot. But I think it was less than 100yards. I'm going to try and upload a picture of the buck so you can see how big the entry hole was. Is pretty massive for a 6.5 creed. And it was on a angle toward the front of the deer from the last rib and was barely able to hit the liver and part of a lung if I remember what he said killed the buck. I hope this helps. I was looking for AZ different pictures the buck his friendshot with the same rifle. What's funny is this deer was a stag. It had no nuts.View attachment 158051
wow that definitely worries me since I will be hunting 50-400 yard shots on whitetails using a 6.5prc which is a bit faster than your bros creed so even more likely to blow up. It is what it is for this season. I will definitely be changing bullets for next season.
 

Rich Coyle

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Aug 14, 2013
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Grants Pass, Oregon
I tried the Barnes bullets probably fifteen years ago when they had been out a few years and were hyped in every hunting magazine around. Never did use them on game because I could never get them to group satisfactorily (1 3/4" is a lot tighter than I could get out of my 270, I think I finally found a load that shrunk groups to a tad under 3") Finally loaded the last of them up in reduced loads (as in book minimum) for my nine year old brother-in-law to shoot at targets a couple months ago. Tried them in my STW with similar results and while others swear by them I have never tried them again.

I thought the idea was good, and for liberal states like California that banned lead they are necessary. But between the lack of accuracy I experienced and the extra size needed to get the heavier weight bullets I never felt an urge to try them again. I have loaded them for a couple people who brought me the components and already had a load worked up they wanted me to duplicate, but I never actually shot those to see how they performed. And those people were unlikely to take 200+ yard shots anyways, so the minimum accuracy bar was a lot lower.
Sounds like you are not loading them far enough away from the lands. I once found a load at .180".
 

David Lindler

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Jun 11, 2018
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south carloina
E
I just can't figure out what part of this thread he is taking side on. Mabe cutting edge bullets are great I have no experience with them. I have shot dozens of different types of bullets. I have nearly 30 years of experience with Barnes bullets and have killed all sorts of things with them. Yes I have fought bullets in my deer and elk,but it was lights out every time. Maybe if you were to take a Texas heart shot then it would have a probability of the animal running off. But I've seen this happen to some inexperienced shooter that were using barnes and they still end up disrupting enough of the animals insides, and most of the time they were able to track it down and take it home. I seen others people make bad shots and lose the animal with other rounds. So my opinion is Barnes X bullet is a good way to go. I think most people here are decent shots, and we are not going to be taking chances with wounding game. I'm not here to criticize, just here to share some knowledge. Have a good evening!
Experiment with hammer or cutting edge bullets for the best of both worlds massive tissue damage, but deep penetration to assure good blood trails uf needed. Both are very accurate.
 

UplandFreak

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Nov 6, 2019
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Western US
Yeah, Unfortunately our opening day is tomorrow. Are you saying that even off the shoulder, the deer were not penetrated to the vitals and had to be tracked for follow-up shots OR are you saying hit off the shoulder, they still ran but died within say 100 yards and just needed the typical blood tracking job?
I have taken a few big mulies and a couple elk with the eldx - it will blow through a shoulder and make it to vitals.
 

bearcat2

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Jul 13, 2009
Messages
119
I wasn't meaning to bad mouth Barnes bullets. I was commenting because memb was one of the few people I have seen report accuracy problems like I had with them. I expect that the newer ones are easier to find accuracy nodes with, I know several people who use them and swear by them.

And yes I used several powders and tried quite a few loads in two different 270 rifles, one that was finicky and generally shot nothing well and another that was a quite accurate rifle. In the STW I tried a couple loads but nothing extensive because I had a couple other bullets that shot lights out in it.
 

memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
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Winchester, Wy.
bearcat2, many folks had accuracy issues as well as pressure problems with the original Barnes X bullet. The accuracy issues were compounded by a rough ( less than pristine, polished Match Grade) bore. I had pretty good luck with accuracy, as I was using a match grade barrel. I had friends that ha horrendous accuracy, which improved greatly, after they polished their rifle bore! To further compound accuracy problems, the Barnes’ Bullets didn’t like to be shot behind your typical “gilding” metal jacketed bullets.

I was told very early early on, to treat the Barnes as though you were shooting cast bullets”! Remove all traces of previously shot bullet materials and accuracy should be better. This seemed to be true. This was easy for me to do, as once I went to the X Bullet....I’ve never gone back to cup and core bullets! memtb
 

Gnan222

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Aug 27, 2017
Messages
9
I’m a huge berger fan, killed several deer and a couple elk with Berger’s from a 264 wm and a 300 wm. Everything I’ve shot previously has had the lungs completely liquified and died very very quick. However, I just returned from an unsuccessful elk hunt and wanted to kill something with my 300 wm shooting berger 190 vlds @ 2925. Shot two coyotes at around 50 yards and one of them exploded on impact, has me very leery to continue to deer hunt with this rifle at the closer ranges I’ll be hunting at. Probably going to switch back to my 308 for the rest of the season. The pic below is the blowup, this is the entry and nothing made it further that what is seen here. The coyote was dead before it hit the ground but I don’t like that a 190 @2925 only did this at 50 yards.
 

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