Although most of my shooting these days is with big bore handguns and heavy-for-caliber hard cast bullets at mostly sub sonic velocities, for some applications I do favor a lighter, faster bullet – and when I go this route, the Barnes line of all copper bullets with the plastic tip is my preferred projectile. Although I do like the Barnes all copper “Buster” line of bullets in my suppressed .44 magnum for hog hunting, as they seem to work similar to hard cast, again this is a “slow”, heavy bullet most noteworthy for penetration on game. The TSX is about speed – “shocking” speed – and accuracy.
I first used the 30 caliber 130gr TSX in the Federal factory loading in my .300 Winchester Magnum. I had read reports of the laser-like accuracy this round produced, as well as amazing killing power. The accuracy claim was quickly and easily verified, as my Model 70 Winchester in .300 Win Mag shoots the Federal loads better than any other round – sub, sub MOA groups at 100 yards as a norm. I had also guessed the lighter bullet would reduce recoil over a 180 gr bullet, and that also seems to be true – although my Model 70 is a heavy gun, and recoil is not really a problem. I don’t really have a “need” for a 300 magnum, except that I got a chance to buy a pre-64 Model 70 made in the first year that cartridge was available, at a good price – so why not? My first test on game with the 130gr TSX in .300 magnum was when I hit a 170 pound feral sow through both shoulders at 130 yards. The big sow simply dropped and was as they say, “dead right there” (“DRT”).
The next kill was not as impressive, though. I had taken the 300 on a trip to South Texas, hoping for maybe a longer shot than I normally get in the thick woods of Brazoria County. What I actually got was a chance at a tender young doe for the freezer at 50 yards. At the shot, instead of piling up dead, the small deer took off running! I found her maybe 20 yards from where she was hit, with both shoulders broken and her internals between them things of the past. How she was able to get even those two good jumps is a mystery to me.
For this season, hunting on my own property near Brazoria, Texas, I had decided to take a doe for meat, and if I saw one early, so much the better. Opening day was a literal wash-out, with rain all morning, but when I went to my stand Monday morning, I peeked around the front before opening the door, and there was a pretty doe about 40 yards away, almost facing me. The .300 I was carrying this day was not my magnum, but an old friend – my 1954 vintage Savage 99 lever action in .300 Savage. This has been a “lucky” rifle for me, and in the magazine were 4 rounds I had hand loaded with 130 gr Barnes TSX bullets, after again reading how well they have done for others using this bullet in .300 Savage. This doe did not run, she simply fell. The bullet entered the right (her left) side of her chest and exited behind the ribs on the far side. Since nearly all of my hand loading is for my revolvers, this was the first deer I have taken with a hand load of my own making.
My next TSX project will be using this bullet in one of my .30-06 Model 70’s.
Comparing velocity ranges with the 130 TSX, in the .300 Savage, the Federal “blue Box” 150gr load has an advertised muzzle velocity of 2630 fps. With the 130gr TSX and a “start load’ of 39.5 grains of H4895 powder, the published velocity is 2624 fps. Increase the powder charge to 41 grains and we should get 2727 fps, and with 43 grains of powder I saw 2867 fps on my chronograph. Higher velocities are doable, but considering the age of my rifle, this is enough for me!
Most 150gr .30-06 loads will be just under 3000 fps, really nearer 2800. With the 130 TSX, 3276 is easy to reach.
The .300 Win Mag, with a 150gr bullet, will usually “run” near 3300 fps (actually, 3250). I have not hand loaded for this caliber, because the Federal load has been so good, but Federal states their load with the 130gr Barnes TSX to be capable of 3500 fps at the muzzle! This is really zipping along for such a large caliber! Penetration for me has been impressive, meat damage really minimal, shock effect impressive. Besides being accurate, the down range trajectory is VERY good, making it a great long range load.
If I achieve my goal of getting a deer with the 130gr in a .30-06, I will probably next take a step back and load some in .30-30 to shoot out of my Thompson Contender hand gun in that caliber Four calibers of firearm all using the same bullet, even down to the bullet weight, is kinda special!