Barnes bullets went lead free before they had to, read on to see why.
It’s been a long time since Barnes started turning out bullets, all the while exhibiting an almost precognitive sense of changes in the market.
Barnes started with what they now refer to as their Original Bullets. These were traditional in design with copper jackets and lead cores, but offered considerably better weight retention than anything on the market in the good old days.
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Barnes next big splash came in the form of their X-Bullets. These little beauties were devoid of lead before anyone else ever thought of losing it in bullets.
They also presaged the advent of Very Low Drag or VLD bullets. VLDs are longer with a more aerodynamic shape, which allows them to retain more energy downrange.
X-Bullets more or less stumbled into this effect simply because they had to be a little longer to reach the same weight as a lead-core round.
X-Bullets changed the way a lot of people thought about bullet performance, but they had one flaw in that they didn’t necessarily deliver great accuracy at high velocities.
To remedy this, Barnes transformed the X-Bullet into the Triple Shock line. Triple Shocks feature a few rings swaged into the bearing surface of the bullet to allow the excess copper a place to build up and made the X-Bullet a high velocity tack driver.
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Currently there is a great deal of debate (and some very questionable science) as to whether or not the use of lead bullets on big game is healthy for those who eat big game.
Personally, I think if using lead bullets on deer caused lead poisoning in hunters somebody would have noticed it about a hundred years ago; but, you don’t need that as an excuse to use lead-free bullets.
This is not to say that I don’t shoot Barnes bullets for health reasons—I do. It just has less to do with my bloodstream than my teeth.
I was raised eating wild game, and over the years several members of my family have had the poor luck to bite down on a remaining bullet chunk that was missed during butchering.
Naturally, human teeth aren’t made to bite down on copper or lead, and a cracked tooth is generally the result.
The absolutely phenomenal weight retention of X-Bullets and Triple Shocks eliminates this problem. If a bullet keeps all its material on the way through an animal there’s nothing to get lost in the mix.
Some years back I took a shot at a large mule deer buck with a 325gr Barnes X-Bullet. It was a shot from kind of a funny angle, because I found myself firing down at the deer’s back from a ridge above.
The X-Bullet hit the deer and it dropped instantly. Later on, while butchering the deer, I discovered that the bullet had traveled through more than a foot of the deer’s spine, flipped into the windpipe and eventually came to rest behind the deer’s front lip where I found it.
Yeah, it was a first for me, too. This bullet, which had traveled through about two feet of meat and bone, weighed 323grs.
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I’ve recovered darn few X-Bullets over the years, but the ones I’ve been lucky enough to find weigh nearly the same as they did originally and look just like the little, copper-colored flowers that you see in the ads.
If you like great bullet performance and you’re fond of your teeth, unleaded Barnes bullets are the way to go.