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  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 3:25 PM
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Default Questions on reloading for "lead free" pig hunting - FHL

I used to hunt hogs quite a bit, and was pretty good at it. That was a while ago, and for a variety of reasons I haven't hunted them in several years - long enough, in fact, that when I killed my last pig lead was still legal.

Fast-forward to today.... I've got the jones to go, and Fort Hunter Liggett is calling my name. I've got the CA license, the tag, and the paperwork is en-route. I know factory lead free ammo is available, and I know where to get it..... but at ~$35 a box of 20, I think I'll reload. I can get a 50 count box of BarnesX bullets for about the same price, and being a life-long shooter and competitor I am well versed in reloading - besides, I have powder, primers, and brass all over the place.

So - question #1:

If I'm stopped in the field, how does the warden know if I have copper or lead core bullets? Do they test them somehow? I know most traditional hunting bullets have a SP tip, but what about the others - Hornady V-Max, Sierra HPBT's, etc?

Question #2:

The lead free bullets boast near 100% retention, and while I have no experience with them I would think the traditional lead bullets would perform better for killing - are the lead free bullets more, less or about the same in efficiently dispatching the animal?

Question #3:

Are there any additional considerations besides the usual reloading procedures that I'm already familiar with? I have good, known loads with specific bullets at specific charges with specific powders - does anything change that needs to be accounted for,?
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:01 PM
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COPPER SUCKS! Head, neck, high shoulder & quartering shots only.
Call Barnes tech on reloading and they will give you the real scoop on the loads. I found 1-2 grains over there published max is where you get the pedals to break off and expand the wound channel otherwise pin hole in and pin hole out. I miss lead every time I kill big game out of state.

The accuracy is great, you do need different bore cleaners. And lighter bullet weights seem to be the way to go faster equals more expansion.

Pm me if you have any questions.
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:02 PM
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lead free bullets have a specific velocity needed to expand correctly make sure you are loading for the correct expansion velocity. I personally love barnes and reload all my hunting rifles in barnes and lead for plinking. Not sure how they check for lead free. Someone once told me if you dont have the box they will cut the bullet to check them. Supposibly they have a device now but I would count on it. I would carry the barnes box or something to show they are lead free. Certain calibers work better than others in lead free
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:43 PM
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Most have found they need to drop down a weight for the copper. I usually shoot 180 or 200 grains on elk but used a 165 grain for my FHL cow hunt last year. Hit her right in the boiler room and she stumbled about 40 yds and piled up. Pinky finger hole going in and about a thumb size hole on the backside. Someone posted a good write up on how the copper needs to be a little faster to expand right. The depredation guys I know were getting pencil holes in and out on their pigs until they dropped down. From the elk I've seen at the skinning shack at FHL it seems to be the same, the guys shooting regular lead weights had to pump several rounds into an elk to drop them because of the pass throughs with not much trauma. I shot a a video of a lot of these elk to show the damage the copper was doing in certain calibers and slugs.
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:43 PM
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What caliber are you loading?
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Old 12-06-2012, 4:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDave View Post
What caliber are you loading?
+1

I only load copper rounds for my rifles. Since nearly all my hunting is in a lead free zone I don't even load range ammo in lead anymore. It's more pricey but I like to practice with the same ammo I hunt.

Let us know what you are reloading and we may be able to help out. I exclusively reload Barnes TSX and have no complaints on expansion.

In the times I have run into a game Warden they have asked for proof that I was hunting with lead free. Since I reload I carry a loose projectile to show them it is a copper round and they have found this as acceptable as I told them my load data they seem to take my word for it. If it is factory lead free I guess you could carry the ammo box top if you need to prove it.

When reloading copper it is also different since the length of the projectile is longer for the same grain weight of a lead projectile. Plus copper has gas checks cast into the projectile for the difference in case pressure. Consult the projectile manufacturer for load data on lead free.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2012, 5:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDave View Post
What caliber are you loading?
30 caliber, 30-06 specifically. I have an established load for either Sierra 168gr HPBT Match or 165gr Game-Kings that works very well. It gets me about 2600fps, and the GK's kill hogs dead. The load I have for this caliber is not at max (43gr H4895), so I have room to bump it up if need be.

The velocity consideration is a good tip - that's exactly the type of info I needed to be aware of. I happened to go into a Big 5 today to see the offerings, and did notice that the Winchester ammo is relatively hot at over 2900fps. That's a good deal more giddy-up than my stately 2600fps.

Also a good tip - dropping down in bullet size. I would have assumed that I would just replace a lead 165gr bullet with a 165gr copper and be done. Now I know better, and will buy the 150gr projectiles.

Pass-through and pinholes are exactly what I was hoping NOT to hear. But I must confess that I guessed that would be the case. I tend to favor head-shots when possible anyway, so that might help - I'd rather kill on-the-spot or miss clean, and I hate ruining meat.

I'll order the Barnes 150gr TSX, unless you guys recommend the TTSX over the TSX. I'm not sure what the difference is. I can call Barnes tomorrow.

The real ***** of this is that my two favorite hog hunting rifle are side-lined for the time being, as they need .303 diameter bullets (sporterized .303 Brit and a beautifully done 7.7 Japanese Arisaka). 180gr Core-Lokt bullets are outstanding one-shot stoppers at relative low (~2400fps) velocities. I've killed some nice pigs with those two guns, but until I find copper .303 bullets they stay in the rack.

Last edited by bigbossman; 12-06-2012 at 5:20 PM..
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Old 12-06-2012, 7:35 PM
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I load the barnes 150gr TTSX bullets for my future son-in-law and he has taken several deer and a number of hogs all oneshot clean kills.
I found with research that much of the trouble people have had from the barnes bullets came from 1) Using too heavy of a bullet. The barnes acts like a lead core bullet 30% heavier than the barnes.2) The TTSX(tipped) will open faster than the TSX(non-tipped) and use has shown it to be true. The above info came from speaking to barnes and is in their manual also The TSX will also sometimes not open at all.This did not come from barnes. 3)To get good expansion the bullets need to be pushed fast. Load to max. Some people will download because they get slightly better groups. That works against you when hunting on several levels especially with barnes and other brands of no lead bullets. 4) The load data for barnes is different than for lead core bullets so do not just use your favorite lead core bullet load when loading barnes bullets.You can when loading Hornady GMX bullets. The Nosler E-Tip are like the old barnes without the pressure relief grooves and should only be loaded to the middle loading in the Nosler book.This info comes from the 3 bullet manufactures.
My load for the 30-06 shoots 3 rounds touching each other off a front sandbag rest out of his Rem rifle. It is new brass(I always use new brass for BG hunting rounds) I used rem and win, A MAG primer(I used win and CCI) with a Lee hand primer, 52.0 grs of IMR4064, with a C.O.A.L 3.218 or close to it. No special case prep except to partly run them into the decap die to be sure the mouth was round. I also chamfered the inside of the case mouth since the barnes bullets are all copper.
If I can be of any help contact me and I will give you my phone # and answer any questions you may have.
The barnes book lists51.0 grs of H4895 powder as the most accurate load. I used IMR4064 as I have had excellent results over my chrono and accuracy testing. I also had much more of it than I had the H-4895 powder. I did not run my load over the chrono as the results were excellent and I did not have the time to do so. I can give you info on other powders if you like.
I"personally" plan to work up a 130gr TTSX load for my 308win, 30-06 and 300 win mag because I think the 130gr bullet will do even better on deer and maybe pig. I would also try the 150gr TTSX bullet in the 300win mag. I use 150gr Nosler PAR or 150gr Hornady Interbond bullets in them normally. My pet load in the 30-06 for deer is a Speer 130gr HP. It just plain works. It is also super accurate. We have taken hundreds of deer and never lost one or had to track them. Meat loss is usually less than a 150gr SP bullet.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2012, 7:40 PM
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Call Barnes before you do anything tech support is the best! I called Nosler and they were no help.
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Old 12-06-2012, 7:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divernhunter View Post
I load the barnes 150gr TTSX bullets for my future son-in-law and he has taken several deer and a number of hogs all oneshot clean kills.
I found with research that much of the trouble people have had from the barnes bullets came from 1) Using too heavy of a bullet. The barnes acts like a lead core bullet 30% heavier than the barnes.2) The TTSX(tipped) will open faster than the TSX(non-tipped) and use has shown it to be true. The above info came from speaking to barnes and is in their manual also The TSX will also sometimes not open at all.This did not come from barnes. 3)To get good expansion the bullets need to be pushed fast. Load to max. Some people will download because they get slightly better groups. That works against you when hunting on several levels especially with barnes and other brands of no lead bullets. 4) The load data for barnes is different than for lead core bullets so do not just use your favorite lead core bullet load when loading barnes bullets.You can when loading Hornady GMX bullets. The Nosler E-Tip are like the old barnes without the pressure relief grooves and should only be loaded to the middle loading in the Nosler book.This info comes from the 3 bullet manufactures.
My load for the 30-06 shoots 3 rounds touching each other off a front sandbag rest out of his Rem rifle. It is new brass(I always use new brass for BG hunting rounds) I used rem and win, A MAG primer(I used win and CCI) with a Lee hand primer, 52.0 grs of IMR4064, with a C.O.A.L 3.218 or close to it. No special case prep except to partly run them into the decap die to be sure the mouth was round. I also chamfered the inside of the case mouth since the barnes bullets are all copper.
If I can be of any help contact me and I will give you my phone # and answer any questions you may have.
The barnes book lists51.0 grs of H4895 powder as the most accurate load. I used IMR4064 as I have had excellent results over my chrono and accuracy testing. I also had much more of it than I had the H-4895 powder. I did not run my load over the chrono as the results were excellent and I did not have the time to do so. I can give you info on other powders if you like.
I"personally" plan to work up a 130gr TTSX load for my 308win, 30-06 and 300 win mag because I think the 130gr bullet will do even better on deer and maybe pig. I would also try the 150gr TTSX bullet in the 300win mag. I use 150gr Nosler PAR or 150gr Hornady Interbond bullets in them normally. My pet load in the 30-06 for deer is a Speer 130gr HP. It just plain works. It is also super accurate. We have taken hundreds of deer and never lost one or had to track them. Meat loss is usually less than a 150gr SP bullet.
Excellent info! I have a ton of 4895 because I used to campaign HighPower matches, back when the M1-A was king. It works REALLY well in gas guns, and works great in my bolt gun, so I never worked up anything else.

Now - that being said, I have a pound of 4064 on-hand, as well as new brass and mag primers. If you're recommending the TTSX, I'll go with that. PM sent - I'd like to chat tomorrow sometime if it's convenient.....
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Old 12-06-2012, 8:59 PM
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ttsx are also more accurate than the tsx. I like the nosler lead free stuff too its comparible to barnes. Ive loaded both in my 30-06 and gotten good 1-3" groups using 165gr. the 165gr barnes shot very similar to my 180gr hornady sst when I had first sighted in my rifle so I didnt have to move my sight too much
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Old 12-07-2012, 5:36 AM
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TTSX are deadly on hogs and they are very accurate. +++3 on dropping bullet weight, max pressure for speed, and load em long (dont know the specific term for it but the Barnes are long and slender at the tip, so make sure they dont have a big jump to make before hitting the rifling after being fired)
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Old 12-07-2012, 5:47 AM
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I loaded some 30-06s up with Barnes TXSs this year for deer. I stopped at the range to sight my old sporter Mauser in and the first three shots were under 1moa at 100 yards. I then adjusted my scope, fired a couple more rounds and left. Barnes bullets and their tech support are both great.
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Old 12-07-2012, 5:53 AM
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even when they expand perfectly, barnes all copper bullets (I have not tested other brands) penetrate much deeper and backstop awareness is even more important.
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Old 12-07-2012, 6:29 AM
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I would go with the 130-150gr bullets for more speed.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/815...free-box-of-50
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/392...free-box-of-50
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/414...free-box-of-50


Here are some lead-free bullets for your Brit and Jap rifles

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/170...free-box-of-50
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/913...free-box-of-50
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Old 12-07-2012, 6:47 AM
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My experience with big bodied mule deer in Nebraska with the original Barnes X bullet was excellent. 130gr in .308 pushed to the max.

Fast fwd and I could not get the TSX's to group in my .308s. Switched to Hornady 150gr GMX @ 2% over max gives me a 5 shot group in a single hole. No signs of pressure and they are compressed loads.

In working up the above loads, my 5 shot test groups were all very similar at roughly 1.5". I have not pushed past max + 2% as I see no benefit and I am out of case capacity. YMMV, and carefully watch for pressure, but work up and watch groups.

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Old 12-07-2012, 7:12 AM
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I really prefer the Hornady line of GMX.
Lead works better from my standpoint.
The non leads usually are a little longer to get the weight/thus the lighter bullet.They do open after several inches.We had a gelatin test go on at our local gun club.Observation was about 8-10 inches of penetration before starting to open.They had deeper penetration than a corelock remington,which kind of blows to smithereans upon entry.That is not saying much to me.I have used the Bergers lately,Speer Grandslams,Nosler Partition and Bondeds.These bullets have opened,shed around half of their weight and produced more kinetic shock than anything.
I have witnessed several animals,with less than perfect shots run off a long way having holes through both sides from the non leads.These guys that used them will never use them again.Say what you want about the non lethal shooter,but a couple were lung shots.
If you have to use them,well I guess you are stuck anyways.
I have quite a few loaded and have used them on coyotes.They do alot of jumping jacks when hit.If you call that entertainment.
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Old 12-07-2012, 7:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
I used to hunt hogs quite a bit, and was pretty good at it.

So - question #1:

If I'm stopped in the field, how does the warden know if I have copper or lead core bullets? Do they test them somehow?

Wardens are smart and trained well. They know the bullets that are certified lead free by name and sight. When there is a question about a hunter shooting a bullet that may contain more than 1% lead, they ID you, get your info and sample of your ammo and send it to be tested. Ticket by mail or in person later....
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Old 12-07-2012, 9:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solus View Post
ttsx are also more accurate than the tsx.
Great to know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spelunker View Post
TTSX are deadly on hogs and they are very accurate. +++3 on dropping bullet weight, max pressure for speed, and load em long (dont know the specific term for it but the Barnes are long and slender at the tip, so make sure they dont have a big jump to make before hitting the rifling after being fired)
That would be COL - Cartridge Overall Length. Another good tip - seat them close to the lands

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSACANNONEER View Post
I loaded some 30-06s up with Barnes TXSs this year for deer. I stopped at the range to sight my old sporter Mauser in and the first three shots were under 1moa at 100 yards. I then adjusted my scope, fired a couple more rounds and left. Barnes bullets and their tech support are both great.
Excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDave View Post
I would go with the 130-150gr bullets for more speed.

Here are some lead-free bullets for your Brit and Jap rifles
Thanks so much for those links! After I finish fooling with the 30-06, I'll get the Enfield and the Arisaka back on-line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyup View Post
Wardens are smart and trained well. They know the bullets that are certified lead free by name and sight...
I presumed they were, and have no intention of trying to skirt the law. I was just curious about how they can tell - the only way I could think of was to cut them with a big pair of lineman's dykes.

You guy ROCK. Thanks for the info - it is more than I could have hoped for, and now all I have to do is get everything together and spend some quality time at the range with my rifles. Tough job, but someones gotta do it!
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Old 12-07-2012, 9:51 AM
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Make sure you have magazines that will handle the increased COL. I know in my 6.8spc that not all my mags will handle my ttsx's loaded to 2.295" COL.
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Old 12-07-2012, 9:57 AM
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The wardens carry a test kit and can snip off end of bullet and test for lead. Some hp bullets are identical in appearance to non lead. I handload everything and have the box the barnes or nosler e tip bullets came from with me. tHE EMPTY BOXES CARRY 10-15 LOADED BULLETS SO THEY MAKE A GOOD CONTAINER.

Last edited by edgerly779; 12-07-2012 at 10:13 AM.. Reason: SPELLING
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
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Make sure you have magazines that will handle the increased COL. I know in my 6.8spc that not all my mags will handle my ttsx's loaded to 2.295" COL.
My rifle happens to be built on a K98 large ring Mauser action, so I should be OK......
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edgerly779 View Post
The wardens carry a test kit and can snip off end of bullet and test for lead. Some hp bullets are identical in appearance to non lead. I handload everything and have the box the barnes or nosler e tip bullets came from with me. tHE EMPTY BOXES CARRY 10-15 LOADED BULLETS SO THEY MAKE A GOOD CONTAINER.
Snip the tip? Thats a wasted round.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:10 PM
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Snip the tip? Thats a wasted round.
I'll bet that the game warden doesn't lose too much sleep over it - small enough price for someone to pay to save the animals, you know. After all - you do wanna pay your fair share, don't you?
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Old 12-07-2012, 3:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
I'll bet that the game warden doesn't lose too much sleep over it - small enough price for someone to pay to save the animals, you know. After all - you do wanna pay your fair share, don't you?
Seems to me that when a member of law enforcement siezes your property, they are supposed to give you a property receipt.

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Old 12-07-2012, 4:30 PM
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Big deal huh 1 round. Would you rather they took all your info take the sample round anyway and meanwhile you are in the system as a potential violator while it is making its way thru the forensics people. What a dummy.
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Old 12-07-2012, 9:52 PM
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Big deal huh 1 round. Would you rather they took all your info take the sample round anyway and meanwhile you are in the system as a potential violator while it is making its way thru the forensics people. What a dummy.

So, you have no problem with agents of the government seizing your property and destroying it without compensation?

It's called 'Principles'.

Lastly, I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with my opinions. However, name calling is completely unnecessary.

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Old 12-08-2012, 9:46 AM
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I agree there is no need for insults. when one was not given to start with.
I also agree that I do not want anyone destroying a round of my ammo that I have carefully prepared and have $2+ invested in. ESPECIALLY when it is a brand that is easy to reconsize such as barnes when all their TTSX bullets have a Blue tip. If they are not trained enough to tell the common non-lead bullets then they need more training before going out into the field and looking not so smart. Another reason to have wardens etc with hunting knowledge and not just a tree hugger who has never been exposed to the sport. That is like having a sports ref that has never studied the game.
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  #29  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:25 AM
edgerly779 edgerly779 is offline
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i apologize for using dunmmy. My 85 gr 6.8 barnes mpg and my 150 grain barnes 30 cal have to be cut to be tested when loaded they look like any other hp bullet. That is why I have the box the bullets came from with me. In any case if the warden takes a bullet to test you lose the cartridge. I have been checked twice and both times they took my word after looking at barnes box. I mark all my non lead with a green felt marker so i don't mix up rounds.
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Old 01-20-2013, 1:50 PM
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bigbossman bigbossman is offline
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So - just to close the loop on this...... EXCELLENT advice all around for upping the velocity and dropping down in bullet weight. I did my workups, and settled on a load the worked well at the range.

I went out to FHL yesterday and killed a nice pig with the 150gr TTSX bullet. One-shot drop and perfect expansion - thanks everyone!:





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Old 01-20-2013, 1:54 PM
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Tripper Tripper is offline
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nice...
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Old 01-20-2013, 4:42 PM
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moy2441 moy2441 is offline
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Awesome!
Great job.
I just began reloading. I have to get hold of you later for some advice.

Last edited by moy2441; 01-20-2013 at 4:47 PM..
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