View Full Version : 165 grn. .308 Barnes Triple-Shok X bullet for elk?

December 13, 2007, 01:32 PM
Wandering in my local gunstore, I found a table of ammo on sale. They had Federal Premium Vital Shok ammo in .308 Winchester, loaded with Barnes 165 grain triple shok X bullet. Marked down from $37 to $19. So I bought a box. Two other brands of 165/168 grain rounds have shot very well through my .308, so I'm assuming that this stuff will be pretty accurate, too (although the proof is in the puddin'). Maybe I'll be able to use it for elk hunting someday in the future; the box says it is OK for big game hunting.

Is the Barnes 165 grain triple-shok X bullet a good one for elk? Does it penetrate well, with controlled expansion? I don't know anything about the round. Anybody have hunting experience with the triple-shok X bullet?

If it's good for elk, maybe I should go back and buy another box; I don't think I'll beat the sale price of $19 per box.

December 13, 2007, 02:02 PM
That would be a great round for elk hunting. It is solid copper, no lead, so penetration is no problem at all. The copper has a small hollow hole down the middle allowing for expansion, although you won't get the kind of expansion you would with other lead-core bullets. However, a good heart-lung shot with any bullet will kill, expansion or not. You might want to take a look at http://www.federalcartridge.com/default.asp?br=1 for more info. And yes, you won't beat 19$, so I'd get another box or two. Good choice of ammo!

December 13, 2007, 02:14 PM
All copper round, huh? I've never used one of those, before.

December 13, 2007, 02:54 PM
The Barnes TSX is supposed to be an improvement over the old Barnes X bullet. These bullets are supposed to leave less copper fouling in the barrel and provied reliable expansion with maximum weight retetion of the bullet. I think on average recoved bullets retained most of their orginal weight with many retaining almost 100% of it.

I'd check out the Barnes web site and find out at what velocity these bullets reliably expand. Then make sure your hunting ranges stay close enough so you don't fall below the minimum fps. I've found some rumors that they pencil through game and don't leave much blood trail. I know the Nosler Partition (my choice for premium bullets) needs 1800 fps to get full expansion, but I don't have a clue on the TSX.

I think that they are decent bullets, but I've never tired any because of the expense. I hand load and a lot of the cartridges (19) and these bullets are around $0.60-1.00 each, not much of a cost effective bullet. The people who love them swear by them and the people who hate them, well you get the picture. I had some of the older X bullets given to me in 7mm and .338 calibers but I haven't loaded any yet.

If they give you great accuracy don't hesitate to hunt with them.

December 13, 2007, 07:07 PM
I have shot a few deer with 140 grain Barnes X in .284 at about 3150 FPS muzzle.They did not expand well at all on deer size game. So, I'm sure penetration will be adequate on elk. They don't deform in the magazine if it makes any difference. The TSX may be much better. I didn't care for the original prefering the old standby Partition for elk and Sierra Game Kings for deer.

December 14, 2007, 12:00 AM
I like (and use) the Sierra Game Kings for deer, too.

Well, it sounds like the x-bullet it is designed with penetration in mind, so I think it'll work for elk. And at $20, I might pick up another box or two.

Hopefully the rifle will like 'em.

December 14, 2007, 12:37 AM
My guess is that it'd work real well:


December 14, 2007, 01:56 AM
I recovered this bullet from an elk I shot this year. It's a Barnes 180gr XLC doing 2650fps from my .308 Weatherby Vanguard. Range was 50 yards, maybe 60. She was running full speed from right to left quartering away. This bullet hit behind the left shoulder about 6", blew up the first lung then the second and lodged in the neck. Total distance traversed was around 30" maybe substainally more, on the biggest cow my hunting partner (a former guide who's been killing elk for 35 years) has ever seen. Retained weight is 179.8gr, and expansion is .635". You wouldn't believe the dressed weight if I told you, so I won't, as I still can't believe it myself, but this old herd cow was as big as a decent sized bull - what a lady.

Barnes bullets work on elk. It's only my third elk, but they've all done their job so far.


December 14, 2007, 03:17 AM
the proof is in the pictures :D i used a 168 gr TSX handloads in my 300 win mag for this elk (my first one) dropped him pretty quickly at 330 yards

so yes they work great,if you dont load, i would go buy every box they got. Im also itching to use the new MRX from barnes, which is the same thing as the TSX but it has a ballistic point on it, so it increases the BC



December 17, 2007, 04:36 PM
Well I contacted Barnes and asked a couple of questions on the bullets I have to load in a .338-06 and a .280 Rem on Friday and just got their response back.

My email:I was just recently given some Barnes 210 grain XBT .338 dia bullets and some 160 grain X-Bullets in .284 dia. I'll be loading these in a .338-06 and a .280 Rem for hunting purposes. What is the minimum FPS needed for reliabe expansion on these bullets and on the TSX as well? I'm hoping to get around 2600 fps at the muzzle with both of these bullets. Can you supply some load data as well for both of these cartridges with the X-Bullet?

Their reply:
Thanks for the email. The 140 gr X bullet needs about 1800 fps to open and the .338 210 gr TSX needs about 1600 fps to open. I've attached the data for both.

Dave Card
Barnes Bullets, Inc.
Customer Service
[email protected]

So if you go with the minimum fps for expansion of 1800 fps then your .308 from Federal's web site list it at 1799 fps @ 400 yards with 1185 pounds of energy. So I'd say if you keep your shots inside of 400 yards it should be plenty of bullet for elk. I'd go back and get some more boxes of ammuntion at that price.

December 17, 2007, 04:57 PM
Interesting stuff, Taylor; thanks for the update.

Keep my shots within 400 yards?!? :D No problem with that!

December 17, 2007, 05:06 PM
I wonder what depth of penetration they need to open compared to a traditional spire point? I like the concept, but did indeed punch some holes through a couple of does that may not have been over 14 inches thick like a military bullet. However, I have seen it happen with 150 gr Hornady interlocks cruising along at probably 3200 FPS at impact. Then on another deer hit within a couple inches of the same spot, it looked like he had been hit with a truck. No such thing as 100 % reliability, I suppose.

December 17, 2007, 05:27 PM
Keep my shots within 400 yards?!?:D No problem with that!
I used to say the same thing, but stuff happens and you shoot a nice deer way past that range. I try and stay withing a closer range than that but one never knows what kind of shots one will get. Just make sure it is a good one.:cool:

December 17, 2007, 05:35 PM
but stuff happens and you shoot a nice deer way past that range

Yeah, I miss it completely. That's what happens to me, anyway. :D

December 17, 2007, 06:23 PM
Barnes TSX? You bet! I became a "Barnes Believer" this season. They are as all have posted, Expensive!. I took me 30 of the 50 bullets in the box to get my load where I wanted it. But hey, I still have 17 left for the next couple of seasons. 270 Win. 130 gr TSX just under 3200 FPS. Three 1 shot kills this season.
5 X 5 bull Elk (Really big bodied animal). shot was 150 yd Hit was just behind the shoulder and he went less than 20 yds. Lungs were vaporized. Bullet was a pass thru.
4 X 4 Whitetail buck. 240 yds High in the pocket, dropped in his tracks.
Whitetail doe. 220 yds, hit was 1 rib further back than I would have liked, both lungs gone, liver gone, stomach rupture:barf: so keep'm tight to the shoulder or in the shoulder. she staggerd less than 5 yds. Luckily that animal was taken very close to home so I hosed her out soon after I field dressed her. I lost the tenderloins.
I probably wouldn't take a shot over 300 yds on Elk but wouldn't hesitate to take a longer shot on a deer.
All shots were pass-throughs