A Close Look At: Ammo

Ammo: What's New, Improved And Nifty

As I write this, we’re starting to pull out of the empty-shelf syndrome, as ammunition slowly, ever so slowly, starts to reappear on shelves. Even the basics like .22s, .38 Specials and standard rifle ammunition have been in very short supply. Those of us who shoot the more obscure firearms have several manufacturers who can supply us with our needs, including some things that have not been seen for years, even decades. Grandpap’s old Victory Model from WWII chambered in .38 S&W or grandmother’s Pocket Positive .32 Colt can now be loaded with suitable self-defense ammo once again. Let’s take a quick gander at what’s going on “out there.”

There are many folks, especially seasoned citizens, who simply cannot handle recoil. For them, the .22 Magnum becomes not only a great choice, but perhaps the only choice. CCI’s Personal Protection .22 Magnum has a “Flyin’ Ashtray-style” hollowpoint, and clocks out at over 1,200 fps from an easy-to-carry Smith & Wesson .22 Magnum Kit Gun. It’s specifically designed for penetration when fired from short-barrels.

There are whole lot of excellent revolvers chambered in .38 S&W/.38 Colt New Police and .32 S&W Long/.32 Colt New Police. For many decades, it’s been impossible to find anything but very light loads for these two cartridges because of the proliferation of weak top-break designs. Now Buffalo Bore offers self-defense loads for both cartridges, along with a warning to use them only in solid frame revolvers. In addition to these, Buffalo Bore also offers two +P .32 Magnum loads: one, a jacketed hollowpoint, and the other, a hardcast bullet.

Way back in 1917, the first Smith & Wesson and Colt sixguns were chambered to handle .45 ACP using the moon clips and then a few years later the “rimmed” .45 Auto Rim arrived. DoubleTap offers a full line of .45 ACP loads suitable for self-defense and back these up with .45 Auto Rim loads. DoubleTap also appreciates the 10mm load and offers several versions of this excellent semi-automatic cartridge.

For nearly 30 years Garrett Cartridges offered serious hunting loads, concentrating on only .45-70 and .44 Magnum. Now friend Randy Garrett has found it necessary to retire and has turned the business over to another friend, Ashley Emerson who has moved the business to his home stomping grounds in Texas. Ashley has already come up with another load for the .45-70, with a 420-gr. hard cast bullet at the original Springfield Trapdoor load of 1,350 fps. Used in a shorter-barreled Thompson/Center Contender, in spite of some velocity loss, they will certainly easily handle anything in the lower 48.

Black Hills provides large quantities of ammunition to military, police and us ordinary shooters. They were the first to provide such oldies as .44 Russian and .45 Schofield, at the same time producing a large list of various .223/5.56 ammunition. Their .45 ACP ammunition is some of the best found anywhere and they’re now offering a loading using the all-copper, deep-hollowpoint cavity Barnes 185-gr. Tactical JHP. Out of a 5″ 1911, they clock out at a very effective 975 fps. About perfect, I’d say.

With the continuing popularity of the .380 ACP cartridge, Barnes Bullets answered the call by including the chambering in their TAC-XPD line of defensive ammunition. The TAC-XP’s all-copper construction and deep hollowpoint cavity provides consistent expansion and penetration while delivering 990 fps. I’d expect these 80-gr. bullets to be quite useful in home-defense scenarios — offering sufficient stopping power with less recoil. Also available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP +P.

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