Field Test: Barnes Bullets VOR-TX Rifle Ammunition

A man shot a bear through both shoulders, dropped it stone dead and Barnes Bullets VOR-TX ammunition was born. We field test this once cult-like projectile.
Field Test: Barnes Bullets VOR-TX Rifle Ammunition

One of the things that I love about America is the entrepreneurial spirit that so many Americans have used to turn their passions into successful businesses. And if you’re looking for a shining example of this among our nation’s firearms and ammunition makers, you need look no further than Randy and Coni Brooks.

In the early 1970s, Randy, a struggling silversmith and army veteran, and wife Coni abandoned the jewelry business, moved to their hometown of American Fork, Utah, and Randy went back to a former gig loading custom ammunition. Soon Fred Barnes encouraged them to buy his old namesake business Barnes Bullets back from new owners, who themselves were struggling mightily with it. They took the plunge and — before they knew it — their basement became a workshop where Randy, Coni and their two young daughters Jessica and Chandra began seating bullet cores in jackets.

Along the way and prior to the company’s sale to Freedom Group (now Remington Outdoors) in 2010, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and who knows who else helped the small-town bullet factory grow up.

Barnes Bullets became a hit.

Barnes Bullets: A Company Profile

Of course it wasn’t smooth as silk, and I encourage you to read about the company’s detailed history. Their signature bullet, the all-copper, core-less X Bullet, was conceived by Randy while on an Alaskan brown bear hunt in 1979. It wasn’t until 1985 that, after much trial and error, Randy fashioned 20 prototype .375 X-Bullets, handloaded them, and went on another brown bear hunt. He shot his bear through both front shoulders, which dropped it stone dead. “I knew right then and there the all-copper bullet would be the future of our company,” he told me years later.

Barnes Bullets VOR-TX ammunition

“I knew right then and there the all-copper bullet would be the future of our company." — Randy Brooks, Barnes Bullets, Photo: Barnes Bullets

Remington bought the company with an eye on melding the manufacturing capability of Remington with the highly-respected and much in demand Barnes all-copper bullets. In 2010, Barnes VOR-TX ammunition became a reality, the named derived from “the whirling, destructive power of Barnes all-copper bullets"  — the Triple-Shock X (TSX) and Tipped Triple Shock X (TTSX) — along with the company’s signature X, a Barnes trademark for more than two decades.

For decades Barnes Bullets were a cult-like projectile available only to handloaders. In the early 1980’s Randy and Coni introduced Barnes Supreme ammo, which came in a wide array of popular rifle and handgun calibers. It was around for a few years before being discontinued as the company focused solely on bullet production.

The Barnes Bullets VOR-TX Line

The introduction of the VOR-TX line – available in 15 calibers in that first year – allowed those who hunt with factory ammo to have access to the all-copper Barnes bullets. The goals? Accuracy, precision and terminal performance.

To achieve all three, VOR-TX ammo features Remington brass and primers, with propellants selected to meet the performance objectives of TSX, TTSX and TSX-FN (flat nose) bullets. Also, because it's manufactured at a lower production rate from standard Remington ammo, each round is hand-inspected for consistency.

In 2018, VOR-TX ammo is available in no fewer than 26 calibers from .223 through 9.3x62mm, and in a Safari line of seven cartridges from .375 H&H through .500 Nitro Express.

Barnes Bullets VOR-TX ammunition

In 2018, VOR-TX ammo is available in no fewer than 26 calibers from .223 through 9.3x62mm, and in a Safari line of 7 cartridges from .375 H&H through .500 Nitro Express. Photo: Bob Robb

I’ve played with VOR-TX ammunition off and on since its inception, both on the range and in the field. First and foremost, I’ve found them to be extremely accurate in several different rifles, which for me is the acid test. If I can’t hit what I’m shooting at, what’s the point? They penetrate deeply, while still expanding rapidly, with the nose peeling back into that classic four-petal shape with devastating, sharp edges. The all-copper bullets also meet the requirements of lead-free states.

My latest VOR-TX experience was on a mid-November elk and mule deer hunt in Montana’s Madison Valley. Using a Remington Gen 2 bolt-action rifle topped with an EOTech Vudu 5-25x50mm scope and loaded with VOR-TX ammo featuring the 180-grain TTSX bullet, accuracy was amazing – at 100 yards off the bench, two shots touching, the third under one-half inch away. Consistently. I shot a dandy muley buck at 100 yards and a 5x5 bull at 275 yards; neither ran very far after impact.

Barnes VOR-TX is the real deal, providing handload accuracy in factory ammunition topped with terminal performance that’s as deadly as anthrax. It’s not the cheapest product on the market but, at the end of the day when my hunt is on the line, I’m not worried about spending a few extra dollars for the best ammo I can use. Are you?

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Featured photo: Barnes Bullets



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