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jim boyd's picture
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Barnes X Bullets

Guys,

I asked about acceptable elk cartidge / bullet combinations and have been overwhelmed by the knowledgeable responses.

Some opinions vary - and I think that is a good thing - it allows me to "see" both sides of each point that is made.

I will reply to that other post in just a second - I am having problems sorting through it all.

I do not know where you guys get all of this information - but your heads must be about to burst trying to hold it all in.

Shooting, for some of you, must be your central obsession!

Let me take this a step further - for elk sized game - what are the current opinions about an all copper bullet, such as the Barnes X, on elk?

We can leave that other set of debates behind - and let's just assume a 165 grain, 30 caliber bullet leaving the muzzle at 2800 FPS - I guess that is a fairly standard 30.06 offering?

Is the all copper bullet a good bullet for inflicting the type of massive damage that is required for an ethical and effective elk kill? (there, I did it without using terms like killing power, knock down power, etc!)

I keep reading about the ability of a bullet to make it through bone, etc... and the all copper bullet is supposed to be excellent at staying together and not shedding a lot of weight as it passes through the animal... and from what I read, they mushroon very well.

I have shot several deer with them - with most of them DRT's - and have been pleased but have never been able to recover the bullet.

Thoughts and opinons?

Thanks guys -

Jim

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If I was you and wanted to

If I was you and wanted to use your 7mm-08 and where you have been shooting a 139gr Hornady I would just step up to the Barnes TSX 140gr bullet. You can find reloading information on the Barnes site. http://www.barnesbullets.com/images/7mm-08RemingtonWeb.pdf You can get it going around 2800fps witch isn't too bad.

jim boyd's picture
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Critter - thanks! To be

Critter - thanks!

To be honest, some of the comments about the 7-08 and elk have sort of frightened me a little bit...

I worry that a shot that is not perfect would wound and lose an elk (I know this is true with any rifle, even a cannon) or that I would somehow be at a disadvantage and have to (ethically) pass on - say - a 300 yard shot because of the -08.

If there is even a slighter advantage to a 150/165/180 grain 30 caliber bullet at 2800 - 3000 FPS on elk, I would probably upgrade to a different rifle.

I can use my brother's 30.06 or would even consider a purchase - I have at least 22 months before I can go.

I know what the -08 will do on a deer and am very confident in that - I would hate to go on the trip of a lifetime and "worry" that i did not bring enough rifle to adequately, effectively and ethically take an elk (if I even get a shot!!!!).

I was wondering about the Barnes bullet on elk in general.

Thanks, Brother, I appreciate ALL of the information!

Jim

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All about shot placement

Yes, a 30-06 with a barnes bullet and proper shot placement will kill elk dead every time. 

Gosh - I was tempted to just post "Yes", lol

Beyond that, you are far better off to use a rifle and a cartridge that you are familiar with than to buy a new rifle just for the elk hunt.

 

That is, unless you have the time to get in a significant amount of pactice (say at least 500 shots) with the new rifle before taking it hunting.

Just my humble opinion.  Your mileage may vary....

 

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elk medicine

If you do end up buying a new rifle for an elk hunt, you might as well step up a bit, even from 30/06, IMHO. You've shown numbers that tell us the 7/08 is adequate for any whitetail or mule deer that's ever walked. You might as well make a significant step up in power, if you buy.

Something to consider might be to buy a like rifle to your lighter caliber deer rifle, giving you the plus of practice time with a smaller chambering as also being worthwhile for the larger one. A good way to accomplish this is to buy a T/C Encore, for example. I happen to own one with two barrels; one in 25/06 and the other in .35 Whelen. 

Shooting the 25/06 chambering is perfect practice for the heavier chambering too as I am literally using the same stock, forend, trigger and rifle length as when shooting with the .35 Whelen barrel. I have completed the illusion by even having nearly identical scopes mounted on both barrels. Shooting the .35 Whelen has never bothered me recoil-wise, but if doing hundreds of rounds of practice is the goal, using the lighter caliber will certainly make it more enjoyable.

You can utilize any similar combination, including having another 7/08 (barrel for the Encore) and the Whelen and accomplishing exactly the same thing.

Just another way to look at "things"!  Yes

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Be kinda of silly to say no.

Be kinda of silly to say no. Of course it;s a good bullet. Question for me is, is it really needed? If I were using a 30-06 with a 165 gr I think it would be a good idea. But I would not use a 30-06 with a 165gr bullet, i would use a 180gr bullet and though I really like cup and core bullet's I believe I'd opt for one as a bonded type bullet. Now the closest thing I could get to a bonded type, due to my thrifty nature is the Speer Hot Core bullet.

It will all boil down to how much bullet do you need in the cartridge befor you need to resort to speciality bullet's to hold the bullet together? If a 180gr bullet will reach the vitals of an animal and disrupt them in cup and core configuration, do you really need an X type bullet? If that cup and core bullet will penetrate completely thru the animal, what possible advantage could an X type bullet have?

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The Barnes X is definately

The Barnes X is definately one of the best bullets a hunter can buy.  I would suggest you consider what rifle/bullet combination will offer you the best penetration vs. thinking about what bullet performs better than another.  What I mean is this - the Barnes X will perform in any caliber, but shot out of a .338 Win., you'll have a much greater chance for complete penetration vs. the 7mm-08.  When you hunt Elk, you want complete penetration in order to provide you with a better blood trail to find the down Elk.  Bull elk will most likely run a distance after being shot.  Your larger, magnum calibers will have more traumatic effects on elk thus giving you a better blood trail.  Keep in mind, you 7-08 will kill an elk just as dead as the .338, but if you hit the shoulder, the bullet may not pass through the elk completely thus leaving you a lot of work to find the elk.  The bullet will only perform as well as the caliber is matched to.

If you decide to buy a new rifle, keep in mind the difference in cost between a magnum and standard caliber (of common calibers) is only about $50 - $75, depending on the manufacturer.  I would say that stepping up from the 7-08 to a 30-06, IMO, is counter-productive.  The 7-08 can kill an elk, mule deer, antelope, etc. just as dead, but may not be up to challenge at longer distances.  If you're going up in calibers, consider this - the Ruger M77 in 7-08 is marked at $827 new.  The .300 Win. Mag. is also, $827.  You'll spend a little more on ammo, but the results will be dramatically different.  On a side note, the .338 Win. Mag is also $827.  My point is this, by a rifle you're comfortable shooting but one that will give you much greater penetration/performance when compared to your 7-08.  Good luck.

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Jim, I've been hunting elk

Jim,

I've been hunting elk since 1966, and have killed a pile of them.  When I started, I was living in Colorado, and for my own first elk rifle, I built a .30-06.  Back then, that was the preferred elk cartridge for many of the locals in NW Colorado.

The first few elk that I shot with that rifle, I shot with Hornady 150 gr cup and core bullets.  These bullets worked great on deer, but I thought I needed more penetration on elk, so I started using 180 gr Sierras.  These bullets also worked fine for elk, and I continued using them until I converted my .30-06 to .30 Gibbs, which is roughly equivalent to the .300 Win. 

My .30 Gibbs was pushing the 180gr Sierras out at just under 3000 fps which I felt was opening the Sierras too quickley for good penetration, so I switched to 180 gr Nosler Partitions.  The Partitions worked very well on a lot of elk and 2 moose.   Many times the Partition would quickly expand blowing the front half of the bullet off, and the rear half would be just under the skin on the off side of the animal.  No exit blood trail, but the animals were never very far from where I shot them.

Ever since I started hunting, I've wanted a .300 Weatherby.  A couple of years ago, I fulfulled that dream and bought a .300 Wby Vanguard.  I stocked it in an extra fancy piece of walnut, checkered it with multi-panel pattern, did a few other modifications, and I now have my new favorite elk rifle.

I started using Barnes TSX bullets about 5 years ago.  I had booked a cape buffalo hunt in Zimbabwe so I built a .375 Ultra mag for that hunt (my avatar).  I had excellent results with the TSX bullets on that hunt and on a subsequent hunt with them in South Africa.

Because of the good results that I had with .375 cal TSX bullets from my .375 RUM, I decided to try them in my new .300 Wby.  I started with 180 gr bullets, and they shoot 3 shot MOA groups at 3200 fps.  I also loaded some 168 gr TSX bullets, and at 3290 fps, they also shoot 3 shot MOA groups.

This past year, I used the 168 gr TSX bullets on a Texas exotic hunt, and the results were almost instant one shot kills on the 3 animals that I shot.  I then used my new .300 Wby with the 168 gr TSX bullets this past fall elk hunting. 

I spotted about a dozen elk in scattered timber about 370 yds up a hill above me.  I snuck around and up the hill to about 100 yds from the herd.  When the bull walked into an opening, I put a 168 gr TSX bullet just behind his right shoulder.  The bull staggered, turned around, took two steps, and fell dead.  Luckily, there wasn't a cow behind him, or I would have had two elk.  The TSX bullet went through that bull like at knife goes through warm butter.  There was a quarter size hole through his lungs, and a two finger wide exit hole behind his left shoulder.

I have shot quite a few elk with very similar shots as this only with 180 gr Partitions.  All the elk were just as dead, but the amount of bloodshot area of the ribs was many times larger with the 180 gr Nosler Partitons at 2990 fps than the bloodshot area from the 168 gr TSX at 3290 fps.

I don't shoot TSX bullets in all my hunting rifles, but they work great in the two rifles that I do.

I didn't have a camera with me when I shot this bull, but here's a picture of him the next day at home.

When I skinned the front half, I took a couple of pictures of the bullet entrance and exit holes.  I placed a .300 Wby case by the holes for size comparison.  The top arrows point to the holes in the carcass and the bottom arrows point to the holes in the hide.

A lot of guys will recommend calibers of .338 and up for elk.  I've always lived in elk country, so I don't have to pay thousands of dollars for an out of state or guided elk hunt.  I practice to 450 yds, and hunt with rifles that are capable of killing elk at that range, but I like to get closer than 200 yds for the shot.

Maybe if I was on a multi thousand dollar guided elk hunt and my only shot was the last hour of the last day at the south end of a big bull heading north two ridges away I might want something larger than a 168 gr .30 cal TSX bullet...NOT.

jim boyd's picture
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Great point AFHunter and I

Great point AFHunter and I agree... at this point I lean toward the 300 WinMag... I just hate the reciol of the darned thing and I am not even shooting it!

Buffy - great photos and an incredibly well made argument... sounds like you have forgotten more about firearms that most folks ever know....

Jim

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Hey Jim, I agree, I hate the

Hey Jim, I agree, I hate the recoil to.  Just another thought, I used to own a .300 Win. with the BOSS on it.  Probably not worth the extra money to buy the BOSS system, especially if you reload.  But, a good gunsmith can port the barrel for you which makes recoil comparable to a 30-06.  One caution if you do this though, don't forget the hairing protection!  I made that mistake only once!!

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I also hate recoil, and I've

I also hate recoil, and I've employed various methods to reduce the felt recoil in my guns.

The first thing to do is to make sure the rifle/shotgun fits you.  The comb of the stock may have to be raised or lowered, and the length of the stock may have to be lengthened or shortened.  Also changing the sometimes cheap, hard factory recoil pad with one that better ones that reduces recoil like a Limbsaver will both add length and better absorb the recoil.

Adding weight will reduce recoil but this may be counterproductive on long carries.  And if you add weight to the buttstock, you should also add weight to the forend to maintain the balance of your firearm.

Adding a mechanical or mercury recoil reducer to your stock.  These work by both adding weight and by mechanically delaying some of the recoil so it doesn't all hit your shoulder at once.  I have installed these devices in both of my Trap and Skeet shotguns, a pump field shotgun, and in my .375 Ultra mag and my .300 Wby rifles.

Muzzle brakes and porting the barrel will also significantly reduce the felt recoil of a firearm.  Again, both of my Trap and Skeet shotguns are ported, and my .375 Ultra mag and .300 Wby magnum rifles have KDF muzzle brakes installed on them.  And I ALWAYS wear ear protection whenever I am shooting any firearm.

And the last thing that I do for reduced recoil is that I reload lighter loads for practice and general shooting.  I don't compete in Trap or Skeet anymore, but I still shoot about 5,000 12 ga shells per year.  For Skeet and 16 yd Trap, I'm loading light 7/8 oz 12 ga loads.  For plinking and short (100 yd) practice with my rifles, I shoot light loads with cast bullets.  This keeps me familiar with my guns without getting beat up with heavy recoil.

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