Barnes VOR-TX 45-70 Government Ammunition
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- Last updated: 08/11/2023
The choice of .45-70 Government factory ammunition is pretty limited in the UK, with only a handful of brands available, so opportunities to try some are limited. The Barnes VOR-TX ammunition on test carries a hefty price tag, at around £5 per round, but it looks very interesting.
Testing it was an opportunity not to be missed.
The ammunition carries a 300-grain Barnes TSX FN (Triple Shock X Flat Nose) bullet, which is an all-copper (lead-free) projectile that’s designed for hunting relatively large game. Despite being described as Flat Nosed, the bullet actually has a massive hollow point occupying almost all of the front of the bullet. This deep hollow point ensures significant expansion, described by Barnes as “double-diameter”, which provides maximum energy transfer to the target. Plus, all-copper bullets like this also provide maximum weight retention and excellent accuracy.
The stated performance figures are 1925 fps / 2469 ft/lbs at the muzzle, and 1505 fps / 1509 ft/lbs at 100 yards. So, impressive performance from a 24” test barrel. The ammunition comes with a warning that this is a ‘full-pressure’ load that cannot be used in all .45-70 Government calibre guns. Barnes has confirmed that the chamber pressure for this round has been kept below 28,000 psi, which is the maximum recommended by SAAMI.
For a calibre which is often credited with having a trajectory like a rainbow, this ammunition is actually fairly flat shooting. When sighted in at 100 yards, the bullet drop at 200 is only 15”.
Out of a Perdosoli 1886 Guidemaster with a 19” barrel, the muzzle velocity was pretty close to the stated figures, at around 1880 fps. Barnes state that at speeds over 1150 fps, the bullet will expand to at least 1.7x its original diameter, and at 100 to 200 fps faster, expansion will be 2x. This equates to very impressive stopping power.
It would be fair to say that this ammunition is not for the faint-hearted! The recoil is ‘significant’, particularly when fired from a short-barrelled rifle. That said, after the apprehension of the first shot, and an anticipatory flinch, it was surprisingly manageable. Once you get comfortable with the liveliness of this particular round, it is actually fun to shoot.
Wild boar shooting is usually done at relatively close, and often rapidly reducing distances. With this particular quarry being less than friendly, you need ammunition you can rely on. The Barnes ammunition on test is reassuringly effective, with reports of its immense stopping power against very large game regularly coming from countries like America, and a one-shot-kill always seems to be the outcome. While accuracy might not be as pinpoint as match-grade ammunition, the VOR-TX is certainly more than capable of delivering sufficient accuracy to do its job on the intended target.