Those rifles were a Ruger No.1 in .45-70 LT, which I had an enduring relationship with, and still maintain pleasant memories of till this day. The other is my current Ruger No.1H in .458 Winchester Magnum that has become a favorite.
Yet I’ve lamented not having more of those excellent 300gr TSX bullets available for hunting purposes. That’s not to suggest I’m poor in .458-caliber projectiles. Without counting each bullet individually, a quick count of 24 boxes of .458″ bullets – some still full but most with anywhere from around 20% to 80% still available – an educated guess would be around 500 available as hunting bullets. But the majority are intended for large and dangerous game. And some of those will find use in range shooting for testing MV and accuracy in the use of appropriate propellants, while others will get tested in various media for weight retention and penetration. Those are my current plans, subject, of course, to potential events over which I’ll not have control.
For hunting purposes in this area, bear will be the main target along with some potential predators. For that I’ll load up the 250gr MonoFlex from Hornady and the 300gr TSX by Barnes at about the same MVs. I could use one or the other without changing much, with the 250 for practice and short range hunting.
The SAGA: I first came across those 300gr TSXs in 2013 at the same store as the most recent find on the last day of November/2022. That was at EPPS a few miles north of Orillia in Ontario, about an hour’s drive NW of my home. I’ve done a lot of business with them over the past forty years or so. Originally, I bought four boxes (80) of Barnes 300gr TSXs at $29 and change for each. That works out to a bit over $33 with tax in – exactly what I paid last week for the only box remaining in their inventory nine years later! How’s that for inflation missing out on a chance to make me poorer over “the way things are going”?
Since my Number 1H in .458 is yet to be bloodied, that’s the best all-around bullet of my current “500” in .458-cal for hunting Central and Northern Ontario for the species I’ll hunt – God willing – over the next few hunting years left to me, if the Federal Government doesn’t steal my guns before that! (The Ruger No.1 is on the list of those to be banned!!! That’s not law yet, but it’s on an amendment list to Bill C21 that involves thousands of long guns!)
But let me tell why that relatively light for caliber TSX has impressed me:
- Its MV
- Its accuracy
- Its toughness
- Its penetration
- Its recoil
In 2013 they were bought for my Ruger No.1 in .45-70 LT as a hunting bullet. Since that rifle had proven it could safely fire the 500gr Hornadys accurately at ~2200 fps, the 450 AF at +2300 fps, and the 350gr TSX at 2600 fps, I was quite realistic in believing it could shoot the 300gr TSX at 2700 fps. As a fact, my records show it attained 2645 fps/4660 ft-lbs from 68 grains of H4198 in March, 2014, and 2741 fps/5004 ft-lbs in April, 2014, from 70 grains of H4198. However, 68 grains of H4198 under the 300gr TSX became my “standard load” for that rifle over the next several years, though it shot everything well, including: 500gr Hornady RN Interlocs at ~ 2200 fps, 480gr DGXs at +2200 fps, 400gr Colorado Custom RN (original Barnes), 405gr Remington, 350gr TSX, etc.
From 10 ft, the 300gr TSX (on the right) was fired from my #1 in .45-70 LT into a box of dry books and glossy magazines at about 2650 fps and weighed 300 grains after that ordeal. It out-penetrated a 286gr Partition from my 9.3 x 62 by several inches, which retained 73% at 209 grains when shot from 10 ft at about 2640 fps – and it was quite disfigured (I think after it was “punched” by the 300gr TSX!)
< The 300 TSX on R, the remains of the 286 Partition in center. And a 286 Partition from a bear that also retained 73% at 211 grains. See the dimple in the disgruntled one? That’s where it got punched as it wandered into the path of the big fella on the far right! Do we understand the significance of all this… why that “little” Ruger No.1 in .45-70 LT became my favorite all-time BG rifle?
And that “little” bullet was it’s perfect match!
Still, the Saga continues in it’s new found friend – another Ruger single-shot, the 1H in .458 Winchester Magnum!
It is singing a new song at a higher pitch!!< Add 20 fps for correction to MV as that number was recorded at 15 feet from the muzzle! And I’ve recorded higher than that but no pic was taken.
However, my current hunting load will be much milder: With four in the buttstock cartridge holder, overall weight will be 10.75 lbs, and that will assist in the reduction of the speed of recoil, down to around 14.5 fps with further assistance from those Mag-Na-Ports. In foot-pounds that will work out to 35. At this stage of my life (87 a few days after Christmas) every fps reduction in recoil thrust helps, though good accuracy will be foremost.
It has been repeated a zillion times that a lighter monolithic expanding bullet can do the work of an older and heavier type cup-and-core. I believe that, but also better than some premiums with bonded lead cores – subject, of course, to some variables that always seem to happen in any hunt. If there is a weakness with the TSX it’s their toughness – a perfect paradox! So…. they work best on tougher and larger critters when hit through the shoulders, or at an angle where penetration must be deeper and longer. That’s been pretty much established to cause adequate expansion of the petals. For that reason Barnes added the polymer tip in the cavity of some to initiate expansion more quickly as well as to increase the ballistic coefficient to maintain adequate velocity for expansion at longer ranges.
A fellow contributor to the .458 Win Mag thread on 24hr Campfire (“The great .458 Winchester Magnum… everyone should at least own one”) by the handle of “Cold Trigger Finger (CTF) has greatly impressed me with his use of that “little” 300gr TSX. You see, he lives and works with heavy equipment in some remote parts of Alaska and has had to defend himself against grizzly attacks more than a few times at “in your face” ranges! His weapon is a short-barreled .458 Win Mag firing handloaded 300gr TSX’s. He has stopped and killed several big bears with that “little” 300gr TSX at an MV of about 2700 fps!
Some will argue, of course, that they’ve had no problems with expansion of TSX’s in their experience. However, it’s very likely they’ve been shooting lighter BG with smaller calibers and light-for-caliber TSX’s. For example: a 130gr TSX BT at 3150 fps from a .308 Win on a 165 lb whitetail at 120 yards is still going 2867 fps at impact! That would be total devastation from any angle! And the bullet would never be found for examination. Without a second thought, I think that bullet would have retained 130 grains in a fully expanded form! The same for still smaller calibers and lighter bullets. Because they can be pushed faster than a “normal weight” bullet, and because they retain about 100% of unfired weight, no argument prevails against using a “lighter-for-caliber” projectile.
Yet for heavy and potentially dangerous game (an Alaskan grizzly) a 300gr/.458 TSX is also a light-for-caliber projectile that performs well above its weight expectations! It’s main fault, of course, is its relatively low BC of 234. And that means that despite stratospheric MVs, they plummet rather quickly! A heavy .458″ bullet will be started much slower but maintains its downrange speed much better. So it’s somewhat of a balancing act.
A light-for-caliber has a flatter trajectory with less recoil, but may lack the “punch” necessary at distance!
Here’s the scoop on my currently proposed load for that 300gr TSX from my Ruger No.1H in .458 Winchester Maganum:
Bullet: 300gr TSX
MV: 2752 fps/5037 ft-lbs (330 fps less than a top load from the same 300 TSX from six grains less of H4198)
Propellant: 75 grains of H4198, Rem cases, WLRM primers, 3.32″ COL. Three fired on Oct 8/19: 2734, 2728 and 2736. Add 20 to each for correction to MV. This load was fired on Oct 8, 2019 at our range. They went into 7/8″ (.875″) at 100 yards.
Recoil = 35 ft-lbs at 10.75 lbs.
Recoil velocity = 14.5 fps
As stated: 2 lbs extra weight isn’t to be feared, but 35 ft-lbs spread over 14.5 fps is considerably better than a 500gr at 2200 fps from an 8.5 lb rifle making 72 ft-lbs – that being my former love affair! But yes, that 300gr TSX at 2650 fps from the Ruger No.1 in .45-70 LT was adequate for most things to 325 yards at 46 ft-lbs recoil – 11 ft-lbs more than in my current proposed load of 2750 fps (100 fps faster) in the Ruger No.1H…
So the trade off is (using the same 300gr TSX) 2750 fps vs 2650 fps – a 100 fps distinction. That’s about 25 yards difference for the same effect on the same game animal or DG = 350 yards to keep impact velocity above 1600 fps for the Ruger 1H in .458. Then, a saving of 11 ft-lbs in recoil for two extra pounds of weight! Was it worth it? To me… Yes! Another advantage: less pressure insures longer case life for the .458. And… 2980 fps from that “little” 300 TSX would only add another 60 yards to its effective range over 2750 fps.
And (again)…. in a full life of around 70 years as a hunter, the farthest I’ve ever killed anything with a rifle was…? 350 yards! Don’t tell anybody, but those were groundhogs… you know… woodchucks, NOT ground squirrels! There’s a big difference (at least to a .22 LR), a ground hog can outweigh a ground squirrel by 2 – 3X… that’s why I always choose a bigger cannon – not that we have ground squirrels in this part of the world – but my “larger cannon” was a .223 Rem! Have you ever been charged by a woodchuck? I’ve seen it happen… that can be frightening… it clamped its jaws tight on a hunting boot of my SIL! I didn’t dare shoot his boot with the latched-on-woodchuck because his toes were in there somewhere…
Till the next,