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Old March 1, 2011, 09:34 PM   #1
pat77
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Lead free rifle bullets ????

I have seen everywhere the hype about hunting with lead free bullets, it seems like there are articles in every magizine. I have never shot one or hunted with one, I stand by my Sierra Gameking 150 grain .284 bullet, but I am really curius about trying lead free bullets. What do you think ?????
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Old March 1, 2011, 09:43 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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I use the 110gr Barnes TTSX in my 7mm-08 Encore Pro Hunter. It chronographs at 2,835 fps from the 15" barrel. I have only shot one deer with it, from about 40 yards, and it was like he was hit by Thor's hammer. He went over on his side with his feet almost straight up in the air and by the time his feet came down, he was dead.

I'm a big fan of fast, light, flat shooting bullets for critters that are easy to kill, which includes deer. The problem is, most bullets simply will not hold together reliably at speeds you can get from a rifle, and I can't get the speeds from the heavier bullets in my Encore, so I chose a bullet that can do both.

The 110gr TTSX can exceed 3,300fps (predicted) in a 24" barrel. The predictions match for the 15" barrel so they should for the longer one as well.
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Old March 1, 2011, 09:56 PM   #3
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I shot a 6pt bull elk this year w/ a 168gr TTSX out of my .300wm. Hit him high in the spine and he went down like a rock. Recovered the bullet. It had to be 90+ percent there. I will continue to evaluate it but so far looks good. I occasionaly hunt pigs in Ca so have need of one.
FWIW, my Springfield O3A3 does not appear to like them. I loaded some up and could not get it to group well. During the same range session I was able to tighten it back up to 1MOA w/ my Harnaday 150gr load.
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Old March 2, 2011, 09:49 AM   #4
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Two that come to mind are Barnes and Nosler. I'm sure that there are others. Several years ago I read a report in one of the shooting rags. The guy was using Barnes bullets and he said that they loved speed. He was shooting antelope with some sort of custom 6mm wonder cartridge and said that he didn't want a bullet failure.

I can understand that. I was shooting a .243 this year with cup-and-core bullets and had a bullet blow up on a rib of a whitetail deer. I recovered the deer but I wasn't impressed with that bullets performance.

I've been thinking about giving lead-free bullets a try. As long as I get the same accuracy, I don't have a problem using a lead-free bullet for some applications.
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Old March 2, 2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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For those of us who don't travel much in rifle circles, a quick question.

Are these bullets about performance or are they about making non-lead projectiles for places like California where the laws are, well, different?

I suppose it's about both, but what has driven the development of them?

I have a personal issue in that when I see "non-lead" I think "tree hugger" and though I love the environment and the outdoors, I do not like wackos and I do NOT want to support wackos.
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Old March 2, 2011, 10:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens
I have a personal issue in that when I see "non-lead" I think "tree hugger" and though I love the environment and the outdoors, I do not like wackos and I do NOT want to support wackos.
I can understand that feeling. I remember reading about Barnes bullets long before the lead bans in California, and I think that those guys were just trying something new, being innovative. Barnes started working with an all-copper bullet in 1985, trying to make a premium hunting bullet. I'd say that he succeeded fairly well. Barnes postion on the lead ban can be found here. (.pdf alert)

The lead ban in California didn't come into effect until 2007, IIRC, and wasn't a factor in the development of Barnes all-copper bullets. I'm sure that the ban is driving some companies to make lead-free bullets, but we've seen a phenomenal growth in the engineering of premium bullets in the past 20 years. The stuff we're shooting now is light-years better than the stuff we shot when I began rifle shooting in the late '60s.

SO, with other companies developing lead free bullets, I'm sure some of it is driven by the California ban. I'm also sure that some of it is driven by old-fasioned competition. Barnes has a winner, and other companies are going to try to get a slice of that pie.
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Old March 2, 2011, 10:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for your post -- that and the included links have summed it up very well for me and I'll have to get over my knee jerk reaction.

Great post!
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Old March 2, 2011, 10:51 AM   #8
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I use Barnes XPBs... they work well.

thats in pistol tho... sorry...didnt see the "rifle in the original post"
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Old March 2, 2011, 12:27 PM   #9
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IMHO its going to work just as well as lead free shotgun pellets.:barf::barf::barf:
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Old March 2, 2011, 01:11 PM   #10
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I'm waiting on the U-238 core bullets
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Old March 2, 2011, 01:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wogspotter
IMHO its going to work just as well as lead free shotgun pellets.
Shoot an animal with one. Your humble opinion will change.
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Old March 2, 2011, 01:26 PM   #12
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ive tryed the ttsx in 243 and did not do so well could not hold a group at all
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Old March 2, 2011, 06:17 PM   #13
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The big selling point when Barnes first came out with their X bullet was that you didn't need to worry about the jacket separating from the core because there was no core. It was just a hunk of coppper that should stay together. I tried them early on before I was a handloader. I shot a couple elk with them and they did the job, but it didn't seem like the accuracy was as good as other premium factory ammo.

Now that I load my own, I just haven't gotten around to experimenting with the all copper bullets. There are too many other fine bullets out there to keep me occupied so far. Besides the all-copper bullets, I know Hornady and maybe someone else makes a bullet out of gilding material. I can't remember now if that makes them slightly softer than the all-copper variety, but I'm sure there is some official explanation why it is better.

So, the original idea was about performance on game. The lead ban in some places puts a new angle on it.
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Old March 2, 2011, 08:02 PM   #14
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Hmmm, some interesting posts. I live in Ca. and do hunt in some of the "lead free" zones; but, the whole state isn't lead free YET. That could change.
As to lead free bullets, I shoot both the Barnes TSX and Hornady's GMX and have had very good results on paper and in the field[mule deer and antelope]. These are very good bullets. They are longer than the same weight lead bullets, but after talking to techs at both companies, I load them to the same OAL as regular bullets. Calibers are 25-06, 270 Win and 30-06. Hope this helps.
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Old March 2, 2011, 08:11 PM   #15
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I obviously can't speak to the results of every individual who's had problems with the accuracy of the TSX bullets, but at least some of them have not loaded the bullets as per Barnes instructions, which specify starting at .050 from the lands and testing at distances from .030 to .070.

My 15" 7mm-08 Encore Pro Hunter shot 1" groups with 110gr TTSX bullets with no "tweaking" at all, starting at .050. I will be searching for an even better load this summer.

I'm sure some guys have done everything right and some guns just won't shoot the Barnes bullet, but the same can be said of every bullet ever made. Some guns just don't like some bullets.
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Old March 2, 2011, 09:55 PM   #16
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One thing that looks to me like an advantage to all copper bullets is that you can shoot a lighter weight bullet with a higher balistic coeficiant. This should translate into higher velocities and flatter trajectory. Haven't tried any myself, but they do look good on paper.
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Old March 2, 2011, 09:57 PM   #17
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Touche, peezakilla. I couldn't agree more.
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Old March 2, 2011, 10:00 PM   #18
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Opps, sorry for the misspelling peetzakilla.
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Old March 2, 2011, 11:02 PM   #19
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Cheytac uses hand-lapped solid copper bullets for their .408. Which is ridiciously accurate. I've never used them, but the brochure looks nice.
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Old March 3, 2011, 02:18 AM   #20
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I just can't wait until every round sold in Calif. needs to be lead free - we'll have to start driving to arizona just to catch some range time without spending $1 per round.
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Old March 3, 2011, 03:04 AM   #21
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I accept that some folks are happy with lead free bullets.Cool,use them.I prefer lead in my bullets.Please give the same respect to my choice I give to yours.
If the lighter metal,copper,actually gives better performance than lead,why not aluminum?
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Old March 3, 2011, 04:09 AM   #22
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Wouldn't a lighter bullet have less inertia and therefore less penetration? Perhaps at such high speeds and such relatively small weights there isn't any real difference.
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Old March 3, 2011, 08:48 AM   #23
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HiBC, who's knocking lead bullets? I think most shooters use leas bullets for obvious reasons: availability, price and they work just as well. One of the reasons some hunters in Ca use them is the "Condor Crap". Other people use them because they do indeed work. Just like lead bullets. Don't believe there's any disrespect for lead shooters whatso ever.
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Old March 3, 2011, 09:17 AM   #24
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDSGJA
Wouldn't a lighter bullet have less inertia and therefore less penetration? Perhaps at such high speeds and such relatively small weights there isn't any real difference.
There certainly are instances where lighter bullet mean less penetration but it's sort of a "all else being equal" scenario and, well, all else AIN'T equal.

Plus, we're generally talking about situations where penetration by ANY bullet is mostly only stopped by destroying the bullet.... like whitetail deer. Pretty much any bullet that stays intact on impact at rifle speeds is going to fully penetrate a deer.

The 110gr TTSX that I use is very light for a 7mm bullet and it blows right through deer like a knife through butter.

Plus plus, sometimes I'd like a little LESS penetration.... what good is 2,000 ft/lbs if 1,500 of it ends up in the ground on the other side of the animal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
I accept that some folks are happy with lead free bullets.Cool,use them.I prefer lead in my bullets.Please give the same respect to my choice I give to yours.
If the lighter metal,copper,actually gives better performance than lead,why not aluminum?
No one's really bashing lead. I use mostly lead bullets, just not in my 7mm for deer.

"Lighter" is not the point. Stronger is the point. I've seen Remington "Core-Lokt" bullets literally shatter on impact when hitting whitetail deer at close range. Yes, the deer was dead but next time it might not be. Those bullets simply can not reliably withstand impact speeds of 2,900+ fps.

A Barnes TTSX or Hornady GMX is not going to shatter on impact. If I were hunting somewhere that impact speeds would be lower because my closest shots were going to be 200 yards I'd use a traditional bullet. Where I hunt, a long shot is 75 yards and less than 20 is common. I need a bullet to survive those sorts of impact speeds.
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Old March 3, 2011, 04:00 PM   #25
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I wonder how fast you could push a solid copper bullet out of a 45-70 marlin guide gun.....
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