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Thread: Lead free bullets

  1. #1

    Lead free bullets

    Has anybody used lead free bullets in the field? For the past eighteen months or so I have been using Sako loaded 165gn Barnes Triple X rounds in .308 on everything from muntjac to reds and found them to be much 'cleaner' than the more usual lead rounds. Grouping on the range is invariably one inch or less at 100yds with even a couple of 3-shot clover leaves. I see Federal also offer their own loading of the Triple X while Winchester have just launched their own version, the E-tip. I have a few observations I am happy to share but thought it might be useful to kick off the conversation by inviting a few comments from other users. Any copper converts out there?

  2. #2
    Enter stage left………………………………………..Mark H.

  3. #3
    I have some home loads in .270 130gr with the Barnes X bullet, they are very accurate, but have yet to shoot a deer full stop so cannot coment on there use. Have read about them on various places and the Americans seem to like them, but some have questions about expansion on soft skinned animals some uk replies were unfavorable, mentioning little expansion. So I would be pleased to hear your experiences of these hollow points compared to lead etc.

  4. #4
    I suppose the most obvious difference is the almost complete lack of fragmentation. I once went through a box of Winchester soft points and must have produced some of the worst carcasses of my career. The jacket appeared to have a star crimp around the nose and the consequences were all too obvious. Putting one of those into the shoulder of a muntjac made a real mess and I resolved to search for something more discreet.

    With the Barnes, the entry point is invariably just a pinprick and often quite difficult to find. This would tend to support the theory that they might not expand sufficiently on thinner skinned animals. Seemingly, this attribute also translates into a less visible bullet strike. One observer actually thought I had missed a roe buck until it ran on and revealed the more obvious consequence on its opposite flank! So, maybe a later expansion than a lead bullet but the job was just as well done further in where it really mattered; and there again the effects seem to be different but equally fatal to those seen with lead.

  5. #5
    Only time I had americans over who used Barnes X bullets it was a mess.
    No expansion and red deer running off and dying about a mile away.

    That was about 20 years ago. I believe they started to use them on Rhum when the culling started in earnest a few years later, and they had similar problems as I knew one of the stalkers, and he questioned me about the clients who has used them.

    In Africa I have heard good reports about them, but personally I wouldnt use them on british deer.

    Thats my experience of them, but I know some folk who will disagree

  6. #6
    Sikamalc, that sort of experience would be enough to warn anybody away from them, but I'm tempted to ask whether the mess might have started with the person pulling the trigger.

    Amongst the deer I have taken with them was a fully grown lowland red hind at 120 yds with a clean boiler room shot and she just turned on the spot, sat down then went over. Another hind was hit smack on the button and barely made 20yds before she went over. A sika stag went down cleanly at a similar distance. In all cases there was no question of the bullet not expanding. I wonder if Barnes have changed the composition or structure in some way since your unfortunate experience?

  7. #7
    I seem to remember some discussion of this on AR and there was some suggestion that the cavity which promotes expansion may not have been as large, or fully formed, in some of the Barnes bullets. It was suggested this was a production problem. There were also some who suggested that it was possible for the cavity to become plugged with skin, hair or the like and so prevent expansion. Some suggested that this is why there is now a version of this bullet with a plastic tip as it would initiate expansion and would also prevent the cavity becoming plugged. There were certainly a number of people posting who had bad experiences with the Barnes bullets but, equally, there were many posters who had never had a failure.

    Despite this I'm sort of put off by the potential for failure, especially when the simple exposed lead tip bullet works so well on our deer. However, if you want to avoid lead, and that does seem an attractive option, then Barnes are currently one of the few options.

    I suspect, with some states in the US banning lead, that we might not be long before we had a considerable choice of lead free bullets and that can only be a good thing as it will drive the technology (and it doesn't seem complicated to me) forwards and give us all more options.

  8. #8
    EXIT stage RIGHT, ta da da da da DA

  9. #9
    Did I say Triple X? I meant Triple Shock. That or TSX. DOH!!!!
    It would appear that the opinion is divided between those who like them and those who couldn't give a 4X about a TSX.

    Given that the expansion problem has been overcome I suppose the main attraction is weight retention. I did experiment with the more traditional Norma Alaska 180gn for a while and found, as you might expect, that these lumbering bricks were much less destructive than lighter loads - but what an expensive experiment that was!!!!

  10. #10
    Has anyone considered what happens to these bullets that don't fragment!
    where do they go once they have exited the deer, being deflected by bone intact still doing xxxxx amount of fps.
    Now you try to explain to your flo that it was a safe shot with a good back stop when he's holding a spent bullet head that someone has found that clattered of his roof or wall...
    Was it not one of the reasons why fmj's were restricted!

    just a thought


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