Everything You Need To Know About Barnes VOR-TX Ammo
Barnes Bullets

Everything You Need to Know About Barnes VOR-TX Ammo

Barnes VOR-TX ammo is the company's line of factory ammunition incorporating their famed copper Triple Shock X bullets.

Though Barnes Bullets is probably most famous for the revolutionary X Bullet the company began selling commercially in 1989, the company didn't sell loaded ammunition featuring the X Bullet or its descendants until the Remington Outdoor Company acquired Barnes a few years ago (Sierra bullets recently acquired Barnes after Remington declared bankruptcy).

Sensing a gigantic opening in the market with hunters who did not hand-load, but wanted to use the legendary Barnes Triple Shock X (TSX) or Tipped Triple Shock X (TTSX) bullets, the company started producing Barnes VOR-TX rifle ammo in 2010.

Before going any further, it might be useful to start a little closer to the beginning of the story for Barnes Bullets, specifically with the development of the Barnes X Bullet a few decades ago.

During the 1980s Barnes Bullets was primarily engaged in manufacturing their Banded Solid line of ammunition. Those non-expanding copper/zinc alloy bullets were highly regarded among dangerous game hunters, particularly for follow-up shots on cape buffalo, but it was a relatively small market.

For that reason, the company owner Randy Brooks started working on a new controlled expansion bullet design with a broader appeal among hunters. Instead of going the traditional bullet design route of a lead core and a copper jacket, Brooks decided to build a monolithic copper bullet instead.

Happy with the performance of the bullet on an Alaskan Brown Bear in 1986, he refined the bullet design slightly over the next couple of years. Named for the "X" shape formed during expansion, the Barnes X Bullet was first offered for retail sale in 1989.

Though some hunters loved the rapid expansion, massive energy transfer, and high weight retention characteristics of the bullet that resulted in maximum tissue and bone destruction, the Barnes X was not without detractors.

Many hunters and shooters were skeptical of the new lead free bullet because it was so unconventional. Others complained of inconsistent accuracy or excessive copper fouling.

So, Brooks went back to the drawing board and looked at a number of different solutions to those problems. He eventually decided to cut multiple grooves into the bullet to act as relief valves. In short, this resulted in reduced pressure, less copper fouling, and improved accuracy.

Formally introduced in 2003, Barnes named the new bullet the Triple Shock X (TSX) and it's still a mainstay of their product line. The TSX is available in a flat base (FB), boat tail (BT), or flat nose (FN) configurations.

Barnes has since introduced several other bullets based on the original X Bullet.

Released in 2008, the Tipped TSX (TTSX) is essentially a TSX bullet with a polymer tip to help initiate expansion, increase ballistic coefficient, and improve the overall long range performance of the bullet.

Rolled out in 2013, TAC-TX bullets also incorporate a polymer tip, but they're designed for straight penetration and reliable terminal performance after penetrating through a barrier during self-defense, law enforcement, and military applications.

Released in 2017, the LRX is specifically designed for long range match accuracy with a longer nose profile, a boat tail, and an even higher ballistic coefficient.

All of these bullets use the same basic design where the nose peels back into four razor sharp-edged copper petals. They're designed for maximum weight retention, pass through penetration, and double diameter expansion for devastating energy transfer.

These characteristics combine to make the Barnes TSX, TTSX, TAC-TX, and LRX some of the deadliest bullets on the planet.

Unfortunately, factory ammunition loaded with the TSX and TTSX bullets was really tough to come by for a long time and handloaders were really the only shooters who could use those bullets for many years.

That all changed with the long anticipated release of Barnes VOR-TX factory loaded ammunition in 2010.

Not only does Barnes VOR-TX ammunition use those legendary bullets, but the company also advertises that the ammo offers handloaded precision for excellent accuracy.

Barnes currently produces VOR-TX rifle ammunition in the following calibers: .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, 5.56x45mm, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, 7mm-08 Remington, .280 Remington, 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 AAC Blackout, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 WSM, .300 Win Mag, .300 Remington Ultra Mag, .300 Weatherby Magnum, .338 Winchester Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum, .35 Whelen, and .45-70 Government.

The .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington chamberings both use a TSX flat base (TSX FB) bullet. The 5.56 NATO, 270 WSM and 7mm Rem Mag are all available with a TSX boat tail (TSX BT) bullet. The .30-30 and .45-70 loads use a TSX flat nose (TSX FN) bullet.

Additionally, Barnes manufactures their VOR-TX rifle ammo in .300 AAC Blackout loaded with either a 110gr TAC-TX FB or a 120gr TAC-TX BT bullet and in .338 Lapua with their 280gr LRX BT bullet. 

All other chamberings in the VOR-TX line use the TTSX boat tail bullet.

In addition to their regular VOR-TX line, Barnes also produces the VOR-TX LR Rifle line of hunting ammunition, which is designed for shots out to 700 yards. This line of ammo utilizes the more aerodynamic LRX BT bullet and is available in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 7mm Remington Ultra Mag, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Remington Ultra Mag, .338 Remington Ultra Mag, and .375 Remington Ultra Mag.

Additionally, Barnes also manufactures their VOR-TX Safari line of hunting ammo, which is designed for use in big bore rifles on the biggest and toughest species of game on the planet. This ammunition utilizes the TSX FB and Banded Solid Bullets. It's currently sold in .375 H&H, .416 Remington Magnum, .416 Rigby, .458 Winchester Magnum, .458 Lott, .470 Nitro Express, and .500 Nitro Express.

At the same time, Barnes produces their Barnes VOR-TX Euro line of rifle ammo designed to meet CIP (instead of SAAMI) specifications for the European hunting market. This ammo utilizes the TTSX bullet and is available in 7x64mm Brenneke, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 8x57mm Mauser, and 9.3x62mm Mauser.

Finally, in addition to their rifle ammunition, Barnes also manufactures VOR-TX handgun ammunition loaded with either their TAC-XP or XPB bullets in .357 Magnum, 10mm Automatic, .41 Remington Magnum, .44 Remington Magnum, .45 Colt and .454 Casull.

Those are all great loads for hunting with a handgun or for bear defense.

So, regardless of whether you're hunting whitetail deer in Texas with a .357 Magnum handgun, red stag in New Zealand with a .300 WSM, or cape buffalo in Mozambique with a .416 Rigby, there is a Barnes VOR-TX load that will work really well for you.

You're almost guaranteed a quick, humane kill if you put one of those bullets through the vital organs of whatever animal you're pursuing. So, make sure to add some to your wish list or pick up a few boxes before your next hunt!

Like what you see? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on the Big Game Hunting Blog. Subscribe to his show: the Big Game Hunting Podcast or check out one of his African hunting safaris.