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6mm - Barnes TTSX

The following is  from a reader located in the U.S who took his son hunting with a .243 caliber rifle. To ensure adequate penetration on wild pigs, the gentleman selected the 80 grain Barnes Vortex TTSX factory load (approx 3330fps in 22" sporter rifles). The range of this pig was 60 yards. It can be considered medium in size and although it shows Sus Scrofa attributes, note the Kunekune tassel at the jaw line.

In the first photo, we can see where the bullet struck behind the shoulder (behind the shield). The exit wound is disproportionate to caliber as a result of the high impact velocity and rapid expansion.

6mm barnes TTSX entry

Entry wound as seen beneath the hide.

6mm barnes TTSX entry side

Penetration was certainly adequate. Nevertheless, the exit wound is smaller than the entry, indicating that its energy was spent very quickly. The TTSX can help wring extra performance from the .243 when hunting larger bodied animals, but it does have its limits. On very large animals or at extended ranges, this bullet design can offer less than ideal performance and kills can be quite slow. As with all bullet designs, the Barnes has both strengths and weakness. In this case, the strengths of the Barnes were put to very good use.

6mm barnes TTSX exit side

In the photo below, we can see the full extent of the internal (heart) wounding. Heart shot game tend to run a good distance and unless the reader corrects me, I will assume the same occurred in this case. Regardless, the heart has been destroyed, ensuring a clean kill. The wound can be described as disproportionate to caliber as a result of high velocity interrupted by bullet expansion leading to hydraulic wounding.

6mm barnes TTSX heart wound

The blood trail.

6mm barnes TTSX blood trail

It takes time to really get to know the smaller bores and how various bullet designs can be put to use. For example, if a very small projectile fails to expand (e.g low velocity / tough construction / lack of game resistance), wounds can be very small.  To render large wounds from the likes of the .243, bullet makers generally produce bullet designs that shed weight - or what some might call 'bullet blow up'. Those big internal wounds that you might have witnessed when using a .243, go hand in hand with weight shedding. The risk (especially with the .243) is shallow penetration. It is therefore up to the hunter to educate himself.  We may choose a bullet somewhere in the middle, one that sheds say 50% weight but retains its shank. In other cases we may wish to work at the opposite extremes, depending oh how much penetration we need versus expansion.


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We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.