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Bullet Report: The Barnes VorTX

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It is my usual job to write articles about reloading, but we just returned from a trip hunting plains game, where I used the new Barnes VorTX ammunition that has just come on the market.

Recovered .330 Win Mag 225 gr VorTX TTSX bullets from various animals.

On this trip, I took 18 animals with this new ammo in three different calibers. I used the 225-grain .338 Winchester Magnum ammo for most of the Blue Wildebeest, Gemsbok and Eland, and recovered several bullets that were perfect examples of what a bullet should look like. The five bullets had an average weight of 223.6 grains.

In the .300 Winchester Magnum, I used the 180-grain VorTX ammo for a couple Blue Wildebeest and Gemsbok plus a Namibian Mountain Zebra from which I recovered a perfectly expanded bullet that weighed in at 179.1 grains.

My .270 Winchester loved the 130-grain VorTX also. That load was impressive on Springbok and Blesbok and when it also took a great Gemsbok with one shot that was truly impressive.

Not only did we use the VorTX ammo, but also some of Federal Cartridge Company’s new Tipped Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullets in my .300 Winchester Magnum. This ammo shot great at the range, and was also had the highest velocity of any 180-grain factory ammo I’ve used in a long time.

Pictures of two recovered  225 gr Speer Deep Curls from the 338 Win Mag.

Gemsbok and Blue Wildebeest were no match for these Tipped Bear Claws either. Two bullets were recovered that looked quite nice with weights of 144.5 grains & 143.3 grains.

Just a week before we were to leave, I finally got my hands on some of the new Speer 225-grain Deep Curl bullets for the .338 Winchester Magnum. Not having a great deal of time to experiment, I just took my old standby load of 70 grains of AA 4350 powder and was delighted that they printed the same point of impact as the 225-grain VorTX ammo did.

This new 225-grain Deep Curl bullet accounted for four Gemsbok, two Blue Wildebeest, one exceptional Wart Hog, and a nice old Kudu Bull.

Recovered .330 Win Mag 225 gr VorTX TTSX bullets from various animals.

Bullets were recovered from the Wart Hog and Kudu showing the nice bonded core design and five ragged pedals for internal destruction. The shot on the Kudu was at 150 yards, and it broke both shoulders, stopping against the skin. Needless to say, that bull did not go anywhere but "down". The recovered bullets weighed 146.5 grains & 175.6 grains.

Terry Blauwkamp is a lifelong hunter and a veteran of many African safaris. His reloading expertise extends beyond the standard American calibers to metric and classic African calibers.

Both the Barnes VorTX and the Federal Premium ammo performed flawlessly. With today’s technology, factory loading capability far exceed our wildest dreams when we started reloading 50 years ago, and there are plenty of times when factory ammo will out shoot my reloads, but no matter what ammo or bullet… bullet placement is still what counts.

Feel free to write Terry anytime at

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