Barnes 127 LRX Gel Block Test
Welcome back to the ballistic gel tests series as I dive into the Barnes 127 LRX.
I had been searching for multiple different types of bullets that I could use in .264 that was non-lead. Ultimately, so I could hunt in states that only allowed specific types of ammunition.
With so many choices, I decided to try out the 127 LRX.
Moreover, let's dive into this projectile and look at some of it's specs.
The first thing I wanted to see, is how well a specific bullet will perform, compared to what is advertised.
Of the same lot of bullets, I selected 100 projectiles at random to test the dimensions of each individual bullet. Here are the results below:
Very accurate results. However, like all projectiles, they will either produce a ton of variation or very little. Here's another similar article I wrote on the 140 Match Burner which had produced similar results. Moreover, this projectile had produced less variance than the Match Burner, which, is typical of copper projectiles versus traditional projectiles.
With a published .264" diameter, I was seeing 0.26394" consistently across the board. In this case, off by 0.00006".
The length is advertised at 1.399", in which I had found my specific lot to be 1.4034 on average. Only a 0.0044 difference!
Published at 127 grains, I found my lot to be 127.12 on average. Only a 0.12 grain difference, which, is great.
Load Workup for the Barnes 127 LRX
As an avid user of Shooters World, I have found their powder, Long Rifle, to yield exceptional low SD, ES, and produce great nodes. If you had read my last article on the Match Burner, I had mentioned that this powder also has virtually no muzzle flash. It is a short cut extruded powder, which ultimately works great in volumetric powder throwers because of it's kernel characteristics and properties. Plus, it is temp insensitive in my testing of it.
I first want to mention the long stretch in the data. I reload at the range in an enclosed area. After reviewing the speeds, I wanted to jump to a higher grain of powder to see if I could find more nodes. I found a good node at the end, but was running pretty hot. Slight bolt lift, nothing too crazy. Primers looked fine. However, when hunting at different times of the day, even with temperature insensitive powders, velocity will rise slightly. Given that this was conducted at 72 degrees, I played it safe and opted for 39.7 grains with a 2823 average velocity. Among that, It produced an SD of 3 and an ES of 5.
Please keep in mind, the suggested maximum powder charge weight, according to Shooters World, is 41.5 grains with a 129 grain Hornady SST going 2747 FPS. If you do copy my load data, please workup in very small increments and be aware of any pressure signs that might show with your reloads.
Use load data at your own risk. Reloadingallday is not responsible for errors with load data on this website.
So, what all components were you using, barrel length, build, etc?
Here's my hand-loading equipment and components listed below for those who are interested. If not, just skip on down to the rest of the article.
1. Forster Coax
3. Criterion Remage Drop-in 26" 1/8 twist
After confirming my load development at 39.7 grains yielding 2823 FPS, I was able to produce a group of 0.376"-0.26394= 0.11206" grouping with 5 shots. Pair this with the exceptional low SD and ES, I'd say this is one hell of a tack driver ready for hunting.
At what speed will the Barnes 127 LRX expand?
With my finalized load workup, I wanted to try some other speeds to replicate what the bullet will do at further ranges. This will show various amounts of expansion, variances in the neck, max penetration, and more. These test were preformed with Clear Ballistics, passed BB test, and with rib bone to replicate as closely as possible to what would happen on game.
First test 38.5 grains, 2794 FPS MV, shot taken at 100 yards. Temp: 86 F. Humidity: 48% Pressure: 29.03
This was very interesting. With a slower speed at 100 yards, the projectile broke completely through bone and went through both blocks resulting in knocking the wood completely off the table. The wood was not broken nor was it penetrated. This is semi wet lumber, which is a lot weaker than bone to put into perspective. Bone was placed inside gel at approximately 3" deep.
All that said, it still retained most of its weight weighing in a 121.76 grains!
please note that multiple rounds were fired on same gel block before re-melting. 3 rounds to be exact.
Results of gel block below:
Second Test 39.7 grains, 2861 FPS MV, shot taken at 100 yards. Temp: 86 F. Humidity: 48% Pressure: 29.03. Please note that velocity rose since temperature was hotter this day of testing.
Now, this was expected when firing on the block. It retained a ton of weight (126.70 to be exact), threw both blocks off the table at 100 yards, and expanded beautifully with no pedals shaved off. Interesting, right? the slower MV went straight through the first gel block, however, the faster load retained it's weight more and didn't penetrate completely through.
The way I personally look at both tests, is that the first test that penetrated all the way through (slowest MV), had great bullet expansion and tons of energy dumped into the block. As it exited, it was not strong enough to penetrate through the wood and left a decent size imprint. Meaning, if this was shot on game, it shouldn't penetrate through the second side of ribs. As a result, this can be used on close encounters of 100 yards or further with great performance.
However, having this performed just at 100 yards, showing a slower speed of 2794 will replicate what my MV of 2861 will do down range. Let's take a look at a ballistics chart to put some of this into perspective.
MV of 2861 FPS
Keep in mind, 2669 FPS was roughly around the speed of impact in this case with an MV of 2861 FPS when firing into the gel block and bone at 100 yards.
MV of 2794 FPS
Most interestingly, at 31.2 grains yielding a MV of 2015 FPS, it is projected that the LRX had entered the block at roughly 1858 FPS. It cut through 30" of the gel block and exited. This is where I found minimum FPS for reliable expansion. Total weight of projectile was 126.92 grains. Gel block was moved slightly around the table, but, not knocked off. The bullet also cut straight through bone, 2" neck, Temporary cavity length of 5 1/2", maximum temp cavity diameter of about 1 1/2", location of max temp cavity was at approximately 4".
Now, referencing the range card for the MV of 2861, we can see that this would be a 600 yard bullet in my case. You can most certainly push these faster by using different reloading components. However, now that I know the most reliable expansion in my handload, I know my limits when making shots at game from far away. Please keep in mind that it is advertised that lowest velocity for expansion on average is 1600 FPS. My results had varied with my specific lot of projectiles.
In conclusion, with a higher velocity, the petals will start to break off. However, the faster a bullet is going, it will result in larger expansion and less penetration. At the lower end of velocity, smaller expansion will occur but have a deeper penetration in this case, which had happened in the testing performed. Moreover, the same effect happens with projectiles such as "solids" in regards to penetrating deeper because of that lack of expansion and speeds. However, their is certainly some exceptions in relation to low velocity projectiles designed to expand massive amounts.
You might ask why didn't the first test then retain more mass then the second test at a higher velocity? Upon inspection, the petal on the slower projectile had actually broken off after hitting directly into the bone. After repeating the test multiple times with the same bone thickness, no pedals were shaved off. Fluke? Maybe so. Endless possibilities in the wold of hand-loading and tests.
After performing these experiments, seeing the little variance, finding a great node and slinging them down range, I was really impressed with this bullet.
Moreover, If this is your first time reading, the way we find our results without any bias is by gathering the data with the same rifle and handload, but, conducted by other individuals not knowing what they are shooting. These test that we have planned (30-40 different bullets tests) range from multiple different companies who were generous enough to send out a few boxes, which in return testing is performed on the same day and randomized in order so that the shooter does not know which bullet he is using. I encourage anyone, if they have the barrel life and the time, to please try and replicate your own tests and report it back to us. This way, with your consent, we can also publish this data for other handloaders with different configurations. Moreover, the end goal for this is to publish sufficient data to other reloaders to make the decision on their choice of projectiles easier. That way, if you decide to go on a hunt of a lifetime, you can make a statistical analysis of the data presented to make a decision so that hunt goes exactly as planned with no hiccups.
If you liked this article, stick around because I plan on testing and writing on a bunch more. 30-40 different projectiles in multiple calibers, subsonic and supersonic. Moreover, at the end of testing I will compare data and do "Show-Downs" to see which bullet performed the best of two being compared in my own testing.
As always, shoot straight, be safe, and happy reloading! If you liked this article and think it was worth $1, please consider donating: https://www.patreon.com/Reloadingallday
Blake has been writing reloading articles for three years and helping out within the community to further enhance reloading education. In his free time, he works within the community to help out new hand-loaders by educating them on the many variables that come with this wonderful hobby. His passion is solely based on helping others so that they may pass on that information to future generations, keeping the art of hand-loading alive.
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