Barnes Bullet Question(s)


Jun 15, 2019

I was rifling through my loading stuff the other day, and I turned up two boxes each of Barnes X (of some type) bullets, in .35 cal., which I bought several years ago from a store that was closing its gun department. Two of them are 200 grain, and two are 225 grain (in case anyone wondered). The thing is, these do not have any of the relief cuts that I see on Barnes bullets. So, my questions -

Is this just an old design?
Are those (I assume) earlier Barnes any good; i.e. do they expand as advertised? - I noticed the opening in the tip looked mighty small.
Can anyone enlighten my as to when/ why they added the relief cuts?

I'm sure I will have other questions to ask, but I'm trying to figure out if a) I could load them effectively in my Whelen, b) what, if anything I would use them on, c) a and b failing, if anyone thinks they could use them.

Thanks in advance.
Yes, these were the earlier design. Barnes attempted to lower pressure and reduce copper fouling by giving the bullets a proprietary coating (blue) before cutting relief grooves. The bullets may work. For some rifles they worked just fine; for others, they were quite finicky. You won't know until you try them. I still have a few boxes of both the original Barnes and the coated Barnes in several calibres lying around.
As DrMike has stated.
I found that in the rifles that liked the monolithic X Bullet, that they shot just fine.
My first Rem 700 Classic in 6.5x55 really liked the 140 gr X. It would consistently put 5 into under an inch at 200 yards. Took moose, deer and a cow elk with them. Worked just fine, with proper bullet placement, of course.
Another favourite was the 325 gr X in my 416 Taylor. 1/2" groups @ 100 yards consistently with open sights. Beautiful little clover leaf groups that inspired confidence with the medium bore! Was sad that Barnes dropped this weight when they did the redesign to the TSX bullet with the grooves.

Sorry, never did try them in my 358 Win. I would have played with both weights you have, to see which shot best though. Would be a great bullet to try in the 35 Whelen, 350 Rem Mag or 358 Norma Mag!
Appreciate all the feedback. It seems like this is something I'll need to play with for a while to get something useful (assuming I do get something useful). That means they're going to get pushed to the back of the shelf, for now. Come to think of it, I suppose that's why they got there in the first place:unsure:.
I've got a partial box of the old .257 "X-bullets". (90 Gr) As I recall, they shot well enough, but I thought they copper fouled badly. Its been so long ago, that I'm not really sure. I have about 40 of the original 50 bullets remaining. Should try them again. CL
I had pretty awful results with the old Barnes X bullets. Was trying 180's from a 300 Win mag.

Lots of copper fouling and mediocre accuracy. My results with the follow on TSX and TTSX bullets have been much better.

Regards, Guy
I have some laying around in .338 and .416 that came with lots of bullets I bought. Never loaded any to this day.
I have a factory box of X-bullets that came with my 416. If Weatherby used them they can’t be the worst.
As mentioned before I’ve have very good success with the TSX and TTSX bullets.
Thanks, gents. I think I will stay away from them until I have a stretch of time to play around.