January 4th, 2013

James Mock Tests “Match Burner” Bullets from Barnes

Review by James D. Mock
Around the first of November, I received a call from Boyd Allen. During one our conversations about all things Benchrest, he mentioned that Barnes made conventional match bullets. This I did not know. Most hunters are familiar with the excellent Barnes premium hunting bullets, but many like me did not know that they make match bullets also, marketed as “Match Burners”.

Barnes Match Burner Bullets VLDAfter contacting the good folks Barnes to request some Match Burners for a review in Precision Shooting Magazine, I received a box of 6mm 68gr match bullets and a box of 6mm 105gr VLDs. By the time I got these, I learned that Precision Shooting would no longer print a magazine.

These bullets sat around the house for quite some time, but I finally got around to testing them. First of all I weighed many of the bullets and found that the nominal 68gr bullets averaged 68.07 grains and the 105s averaged 105.08 grain. The 68gr bullets were .845 inches long and measured .2432 on the body and .2435 on the pressure ring of these flat-base bullets. The VLDs measured 1.192 inches long with a diameter of .2433 at the largest point and the boat tail measured .180 long with a diameter at the base of .210.

Flat-Base 68gr Match Burners Prove Very Accurate
Although I shot the 68gr bullets in some fairly “strong” conditions, they performed well as you can see below. I loaded the rounds with 28.4 grains of the new Accurate LT-32 powder (from Western Powders).

Barnes Match Burner Bullets VLD

Above is a target with three 3-shot groups shot with the 68-grainers. I chose the following seating depths: (from left to right) .020 off jam*; .010 off jam; and .005 off jam. Since then I have shot a few more groups, and have been pleasantly surprised.

Barnes Match Burner Bullets VLD

Barnes Match Burner 105gr VLDs Perform Well
For the 105 VLDs I chose my Dasher with a 26.5″ Bartlein gain twist (1:8.25″ to 1:7.75″). Like the 68gr bullets, these VLDs were a pleasant surprise. I plan to shoot these bullets again as soon as the weather improves.

*Editor’s Note: The term “Jam” (or “Jam Length”) is used to describe a maximum practical bullet seating dimension, typically measured from base to bullet ogive. As James uses the term, “Jam” means the maximum functional length to which he can seat a bullet in his brass, with his selected neck tension, before the bullet starts to move backwards in the case (in the direction of casehead) when he closes the bolt. Thus, if James specifies a load that is “.010 off Jam”, this means that James has seated the bullet ten-thousandths shorter than maximum functional length in his gun. His bullets are still engaged in the rifling at “.010 off Jam”, and probably still touching the rifling at “.020 off Jam”. The “Jam” length is specific to James’ barrel and brass. In different barrels, “Jam Length” can vary according to numerous factors — bore dimensions, land configuration, neck tension, bullet geometry et cetera.

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