Hunting > Big Game

Going Lead-Free For Wyoming?

Together with the Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet, the author stalks and takes quite the unusual antelope.

The antelope buck, one of two marked by 4T Outfitters guide Ty Tillard, along with its cohorts, slowly progressed across the barren landscape outside of Douglas, Wyo. Reaching the drainage, the group, which numbered more than 50, halted. A few bedded, others fed intermittently and some stood guard. A single doe, straggling several hundred yards behind the herd, held the distinct-looking buck's attention. Fortunately, the pair didn't intend to join the group they had other intentions.

Formulating a plan, Tillard, Chandler Bates, director of business development for Barnes Bullets, and I, watched the buck and more importantly, the doe, while reading the lay of the land to make an approach. Like the group, the pair also stopped when reaching drainage, albeit much closer to our position. Our best opportunity to intercept the buck was at hand. We set off.

In a single-column, with Tillard leading, we snaked across the landscape, using the terrain to obscure the antelopes' keen eyesight. In a few minutes, we were crouching mere yards from the hill's crest. Easing upward, Tillard confirmed the buck's whereabouts, and ranged it 259 yards. He gave a nod. We slowly belly crawled across the crest, the bipod already deployed, while Bates watched the situation unfold from behind. Despite our cautiousness, the buck immediately spotted us.

Instead of fleeing, the buck took a step toward us then another, and another. Obviously curious, the buck stopped and stared, standing erect and motionless. Rested solidly atop a bipod and a Swarovski EL binocular- the latter of which supported the buttstock the Zeiss' crosshair was solid. It would have normally been a chip shot, but I refused to take it. Even with sub-m.o.a. performance from the SSK Industries-tuned Thompson/Center Encore and International Cartridge Corporation (ICC) ammunition, a stiff crosswind eliminated the possibility of a full-frontal shot.

Less than 10 minutes later, the buck finally offered an acceptable angle. At 249 yards, the buck paused, offering a shot opportunity. After accounting for the necessary compensation in windage, I applied pressure to the trigger. Upon discharge, the buck took several steps forward, obviously hit. It then presented the picture-perfect broadside shot. An immediate second shot finished the buck.

A post-mortem inspection revealed the first .30-cal., 150-gr. Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet (TTSX)-with a muzzle velocity of 2864 f.p.s., for 2,732 ft.-lbs. of energy-entered one inch left of the desired point of impact a minute windage miscalculation. Nonetheless, upon entering the rear of the right front shoulder, the bullet delivered excellent terminal ballistics, including would-be-lethal damage to the lungs and liver before exiting through the left flank. The shot would have proven lethal; however, I opted to deliver a second bullet to speed expiration. The second TTSX entered nearly dead-center on the right shoulder, causing significant disruption to vital organs before exiting the left shoulder. Bullet performance was admirable-typical of the TTSX.

Read more in Dynamic Duo—Barnes and ICC.

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