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Barnes TTSX 130 grain - .308 Win


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#1 ratassassin

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 02:48 PM

Posted ImageI'm not a Barnes fan but need to find a good lead free hunting load for my .308 varmint rifle because I live in Condor country and want to hunt coyotes and possibly pigs one day at Tejon Ranch. This is for my Howa .308 Win. varmint rifle with 24” stainless heavy barrel 1:12” twist, Bell and Carlson Medalist stock and Timney trigger. I decided to try the polymer tipped Barnes TSX bullets after I didn’t have much luck with the 150 grain Hornady GMX, and I read that the polymer tipped Barnes bullets are more accurate than the BTHP's. So I ordered a box of the 130 grain tipped TSX bullets from Midsouth Shooters Supply. At $30 a box of 50, they’re expensive bullets to load test. But I forced myself not to think about the cost as I was determined to do it right and see if I could find the accuracy node. I also decided to use Ramshot TAC for my load tests because it’s a lot cheaper than Varget at $17.35/lb. from http://www.powdervalleyinc.com (or $15.63/lb if you buy the 8 lb bottle for $125.00) and I had a few pounds left over from load testing for my Tikka T3 Lite .223 Remington. TAC is a spherical powder that meters nicely. Barnes’ manual doesn’t have load data for the polymer tipped TSX but their website recommends using the same data as TSX or MRX bullets of comparable weight. So I loaded 50 rounds in 10 five-shot sets in .3 grain or so increments from 45.5 to 48.0 and shot them at the range this morning. Barnes’ load data says the max load is 50.0 grains but I’m using LC military brass. Various reloading sources recommend knocking down the load by 3% if using military brass which would have given me a max of 48.5 grains. My best group was 5 shots in .465” (a little larger than a dime) at 100 yards with the following load.Barnes TTSX 130 grain lead freeRamshot TAC 47.3 grainsCCI 200Brass: Lake City 2x fired, full length sizedCOAL: 2.810” (this is from the Barnes manual)Sectional Density: .242BC: .350I haven't chronned the load yet but I believe it’s running around 3,000 fps.Posted Image

#2 Frank

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:06 PM

Excellent write up, Mike. Very thorough! Sounds like you have a real winner with that 130gr ttsx in your 308. And unlike the leaded stuff, these lighter weight non-lead bullets will perform just as good or actually better from what I read than say the 150gr lead bullet in the 308. Higher velocity, flatter trajectory, deeper penetration, less recoil & close to, or at 100% weight retention. LOTS of pluses! And it's a GREAT looking bullet.While I hate Barnes, we are sometimes forced to use them & is what I have been testing in my oldest son's 270 wsm. I want him to be able to have one round/load that he can hunt anywhere with. Condor or Colorado for example. Plus the possibility of more areas &/or states becoming lead free. A sickening but potentially true thought.So far the 130gr tsx "factory" fodder has shot the best, pretty good accuracy actually. I do not want to handload for t/his rifle & why the factory stuff. Anyway, a few weeks ago I picked up a VERY EXPENSIVE box of factory 110gr TTSX ammo but have yet to try it at the range. This is an awesome looking round with an "advertised" velocity of 3500 fps which really satisfies my need for speed. LOL Doubt if my son cares much about that, & is obviously where I have failed in my teachings. LOLI'm really hoping that 110 gr ttsx shoots accurately as that will become his deer hunting bullet. We'll see! Anyway, good to hear your outstanding results with the 130 gr TTSX. :nice_need_pics: Frankp.s. My guess is, your load may be closer to the 3100 fps mark? Excellent speed for sure. Will be intersting when chronographed.

#3 ratassassin

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 05:55 PM

Thanks, Frank. I would prefer to use lead core bullets too because they've been a lot more accurate in my experience. But we have no choice. And I wouldn't mind using the lead free stuff if it was comparable in price and accuracy to the leaded bullets. But Barnes hoodwinked us all and is gouging everybody. When retail price for 20 rounds of factory TSX ammo runs $45-$49 a box, you know they're taking advantage of the situation at our expense. I calculated that the cost of my handloads -- even paying Barnes' exorbitant price for the unloaded bullets -- is down to $0.87 per round using Varget (which is more expensive than TAC), excluding brass costs but including shipping and haz mat fees. The State of California should require Barnes to sell its lead free bullets and ammo at no more than cost plus 10%. I haven't had too much luck with Barnes TSX BTHP in my .223 Remington. So I was looking forward to trying the tipped versions in my .308. And there isn't much load data published on the TTSX so that's why I included all this detail to try to help other reloaders. Your guess is as good as mine on the speed. Barnes' published data for the TSX 130 gr BTHP is maximum load 50.0 grains TAC running at 3139 fps with 92% load density. Since I'm shy of that by 2.7 grains, I figure my load is running around 3,000. Although, the tipped TSX have a higher BC than the BTHP so maybe they're flying faster. But I'll chron it as soon as I order another couple boxes of bullets and make up some more. I also bought the 110 gr TTSX and 150 gr TTSX to try. I've loaded Sierra Varminter 110 gr for my .308 and got .60 MOA 5-shot groups with it. So I'm hoping the Barnes stuff will be as accurate. If you have bit the bullet and bought factory TTSX 110 gr, you might want to check the COAL and see what they're loading it at, then compare it against the book. It would be interesting to see if it's different. I stood one of the TTSX 150 gr bullets up next to a Hornady AMAX 168 gr and the TTSX 150 gr was actually longer. (I don't know what the difference in the ogive is, though.) I'm hoping my Howa likes the TTSX 150 gr as much as it likes Hornady's AMAX 168 gr. We'll see.

#4 Frank

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 06:53 AM

Good idea on checking & comparing to the book on the COAL of the 110gr TTSX factory ammo. I will do that for sure. Yeah, proofs always in the pudding on chronographing loads & is always guess work until chrono'd. I am occasionally reminded on how far off a certain load can be compared to book or even what another rifle is getting with the same load. Unbelievable sometimes! Your 24" barrel should also be a big help & glad to see that on your 308. Your 110gr TTSX bullet also has my attention (along with your 130), me being a recovering speed junkie and all. LOL This stuff can be interesting & frustrating at the same time. But really rewarding when you hit pay dirt (great load) though.Look forward to your future loading results. Frank

#5 Caneman

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 07:34 AM

Awesome sub moa group, thanks for the report.It took some experimentation also but I was able to find a sub moa load for the Barnes TSX 150 gr .308 using H4895, Varget was pretty good as well coming in at moa.

#6 ratassassin

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 05:45 PM

Thanks, Caneman. What is your barrel length and twist? And what muzzle velocity gave you the best TSX 150 gr groups? I'm going to try some 150 gr TTSX soon.

#7 Caneman

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:16 AM

I don't know the twist but it is a 22" barrel. Best load was 43.1 gr of H4895 giving a velocity of 2700, that group was .69 moa and by far the best. 43.7 gr of Varget came it just slightly under moa, this was the best for that powder. RL15 was highly recommended but the best I could get to moa was 1.30. I still need to chrony Varget but 43.0 gr gave me 2580, so I am guessing 43.7 is about 2650.

#8 ratassassin

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 05:43 PM

Cool, thanks. I may have to get some H4895. I could load .204 Ruger with it as well.

#9 CA Desert Dog

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:28 AM

Well I am happy that somebody is getting the lead free stuff to shoot accurately.

#10 ratassassin

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 06:19 PM

Well, it happened once. We'll see if it's repeatable.




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