I was talking to Steve Bowers (Shooting Times contributor and walking encyclopedia on all things ballistic) and mentioned about your question.
He's used Barnes XXX successfully - but it was on bears in Canada! It's a very hard bullet, designed for penetration of big animals. In his view not suitable for any UK deer species because you'll be lucky to get any expansion on inpact and the bullet will sail on through.
It'd be interesting to hear of anyone elses experiences...
Dont know about barnes bullets, but for a good all round bullet in the UK on Roe Fallow etc i use Nosler ballistic tips, In the words of Ian Fleming, "delivery like a brick through a plate glass window"...... and as for weight whisper it..... 70 grains is plenty.
the carcass damage seems fine we send most of our deer to the game dealer and have never had any complaints. The 70 grain round has several advantages
1. its very fast and hence flat giving you a wide range without much adjustment needed
2. very safe, always fragments in the carcass so no chance of the bullet exiting and ending somewhere it shouldnt.
3. For maximum knockdown energy to be transferred the round needs to stay in the carcass and that nearly always happen with this bullet.
1. Not a good brushcutting round as it deflects very easily
For anything bigger ie Red and Sika we use Hornady interlock 100gr partition bullets they hold together well enough to punch through heavy shoulder bone yet still defrom enough to do critical damage. my only concern over the Hornady round is if you only hit soft tissue the round goes straight through so much of the knockdown energy is lost
Ive used the Barnes tsx for the last year and a half in .308. To date i've taken a bull tahr,1 nanny tahr, 1 chamois and around 15 wallabies in Newzealand. plus 6 muntjac and 1 fox in this country all at ranges from 10yds to 350yds with no problems at all.
Iam a bit surprised to find so called experienced deer stalkers advocating the use of 70 and 80 gn bullets. Ok if your spot on range and angle wise you have a kill if not the consequences can be horrendous!! Bullet blows up on impact, huge surface wound, long agonising death for beast. People in the know stipulate 100 gn bullets for medium to large deer , they are right.!!!Roe can be killed cleanly with .22 centre fires if you are a marksman.
the last thing you want is bullet blow up as it has lost it,s energy what you want is for it to expand so it disipates it,s energy inside the animal and if its blowing up it,s probilly going to fast speed isn,t everything. No bullet will shoot through brush ect relyably if you can,t see the target clearly don,t take the shot.
Also if you look at Noslers data i,m sure you,ll find that Balistic Tips were designed for varments try Partitions at clear targets and you,ll get the best of both worlds soft tip and a solid base.
I have been using 150grain tsx's and tipped tsx's in my 308win for some time now. I have to say that they expand beautifully and instantly on impact. Because there is no lead core then there is nothing to break away from the body of the bullet. Because the bullet tends to remain intact the overall mass remains in one piece giving exceptional penetration despite expansion to double original diameter. Because the bullet is copper then the 150 grain bullet is plenty long enough to give a good B.C. and the sectional density helps with penetration. The lighter bullets therefore give a flatter trajectory than the recommended 165 grain bullets for a .308.
In terms of accuracy well, i used final finish bullets to fire lap my Steyr-Mannlicher hammer forged barrel and a recent group put five rounds into .3 in c.c. at 100 yds which is better than i can shoot in the field! Great, great bullet and am very confidant in their terminal performance. I will be trying the new Nosler Etip and Hornady GMX at some point to check them out also but that is 'cos i can't leave such things alone not because of the Barnes bullets performance.
Hope that helps.
+1 for the Barnes TSX. Have been using them in my 7mm RM (140g TSX) and have always had bang flops with good (not excessive) expansion. Meat damage not too bad either for such a fast bullet. Have some loaded for the 308 but have not used them yet. Will report back when I do.
I think what I would suggest is using a lighter bullet weight than usual when using the tsx ie 130grain where you would use 150 grain lead based bullets.
My friend also shot a fox with a tsx (6.5mm i think) and that seemed to expand fine as well. I havent experienced any problems with bullets pencilling through with the tsx so far. From what I have seen on the web the bullets seem to start expanding faster than many other designs but doesnt blow up like the less well constructed B tips can do. Give them a go, I dont think you will be disappointed.
I have been using Sako's loading of the 165 gn Barnes TSX in .308 for the last couple of years and am very impressed with the results. I hope the following pictures of muntjac and roe shot just this week with said round will speak for themselves.