There is nothing I like more than tinkering with guns.Whether its glass bedding a rifle, smoothing a trigger pull, checking out some new optics, or trying different hand loads, shooting always offers something new and exciting to discover for the curious.
Over the last year I had heard some intriguing things about Barnes all copper bullets, the TSX or Triple Shock X-Bullet. Made out of a copper allow known as guiding metal these projectiles have lower chamber pressures, can be loaded to higher velocities, expand to twice their original diameter and penetrate far better than standard lead bullets. The only negative I could discover was their price; about .68 cents apiece!
Hoot man! I can absolutely guarantee these bullets were not invented in Scotland where the natives (and their migrated progeny, me!) have the proper, reverential respect for a penny! However, the more I read, spoke to guides and hunters, the more I wanted to try them.
Thank goodness for son-in-laws and daughters who can look with good humor upon someone as tight and parsimonious as their beloved father. When my birthday rolled around, funds became available to purchase a box of the improved Tipped Triple Shock X-Bullet which had an even higher ballistic coefficient due to their plastic tip.
Since the solid copper bullets retain much of their shape and weight, penetrating far better than lead, the people at Barnes told me I could easily drop a bullet weight or 2 from traditional lead bullets. Since I usually shoot 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips or 150 grain Nosler partitions, the 130 grain TSX looked like the bullet of promise.
A quick trip to the Wheeling, WV Cabala’s store immediately became necessary and I soon had a box of these 130 technological wonders clutched in my hot and curious hands. They were no sooner in the car than the box was open and the bullets under acute inspection. Yes, there was little doubt, they were sleek looking, deadly little beauties.
Once home again, I went on line and printed off the Barnes reloading data. The tables revealed these bullets could be pushed up to 3,298 fps with 60 grains of H414! Wow that is smoking fast for a 30-06 deer load! However, I didn’t have any H414 on hand so I substituted 64 grains of Win 760 powder instead, one grain under maximum. That load pushed the 130 grain TSX out the barrel at 3200 fps which is mighty impressive velocity for the venerable 30-06.
Having knocked off many a deer and a caribou or two with Nosler 150 grain partitions at 2,850 fps (51 grains of IMR 4064 out of a 24-inch barrel) one could only imagine the potential these bullets presented.
On the range the bullets shot just as accurately as advertised; 5/8ths of an inch at 100 yards! Despite the high velocity, the 130’s kicked noticeably less than the 150 grain bullets.
Let’s see, great accuracy, over 250 fps higher velocity, lower recoil and better penetration. So far, these bullets were living up to their reputation. However, the real test was to come during the upcoming deer season.
The first day I was able to draw a bead on a large buck, quartering away from me at 186 yards. I squeezed off the shot, the buck flinched, staggered off 25 yards and collapsed. The TSX entered at the last, left rib, angled forward and exited the right front shoulder. The exit hole was 2 inches in diameter.
Later a doe presented what I thought was a clear shot at 167 yards. At the crack of the rifle she flinched, but ran off in a manner that concerned me, showing none of the panicked sprint usually associated with a mortal hit. When I went to investigate, what appeared to be a clear shot was actually a mess of briars and thin saplings invisible through the scope. I had little doubt the bullet deflected and hit the deer somewhere other than my aim point. By the intervention of Providence or sheer dumb luck we accidently stumbled across the deer half a mile from the shot, dead. The bullet had indeed tumbled, hit the deer very low in the chest going sideways, tearing a huge hole in the bottom of the rib cage.
Wow, that was incredible bullet performance, a lead core bullet would have broken up to some degree and could never have inflicted that amount of damage.
My good buddy Steve Colley who experienced scope problems with his rifle blistered a nice 5-point at 200 yards with this load, striking the buck behind the shoulder. That deer made it barely 30 yards. Again, a big 2-3 inch exit wound and no jelly mess.
The next day Nick Colley made a terrific shot on a speeding 8-point going directly away in a briar-multi-floral rose tangle. The TSX shattered the hip joint and pelvis, traveled the entire length of the deer and then broke the dense, lower shoulder bone before exiting! There is no doubt in my mind this 130 grain bullet will shoot clean through an elk. I have never seen anything like it!
Despite the severity of Nick’s hit, little meat was lost, the all copper bullet limiting damage to a 4-inch cylindrical path.
Barnes TSX bullets certainly live up to their reputations. They are very accurate, allow you to drop your bullet weight for a substantial gain in velocity yet still penetrate as well or better than a heavier lead core bullet.
As you can see, I’m a believer in the TTSX line of bullets and would encourage you to try them, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.