In 2012, as it filled a Navy contract for 50 million rounds of 77-gr. 5.56mm ammo, Black Hills added a 69-gr. 5.56 MatchKing load to the line. It also corked the .300 Whisper with 125-gr. spitzers to duplicate light-bullet loads in the 7.62x39. But the company gives equal effort to small-bore ammo for hunters. It’s paired the .204 Ruger with a 32-gr. Hornady V-Max and stoked a 36-gr. Barnes Varmint Grenade to 4,250 fps in the .22-250. BHA’s broad selection of .223 loads includes a 62-gr. TSX.

“We do distinguish between .223 and 5.56 ammunition,” emphasized Mike Wright. “Per SAAMI specs, the 5.56 NATO is loaded to higher pressures. You may see identical velocities in our data. That’s because we chronograph 5.56 ammo from 20" barrels, .223 from 24".” BHA does not recommend use of 5.56 ammo in barrels with .223 chambers.

Rifle cartridges have earned themselves more catalog space at BHA. The Black Hills Gold stable of hunting rounds comprises 41 loads in 10 chamberings, .22-250 to .338 Lapua, with bullets from Barnes and Hornady, Nosler and Sierra. Rifle loads in what might be called a target/tactical category number 31, in seven chamberings — including a 300-grain SMK in .338 Norma Magnum and a 220-grain OTM bullet at a sub-sonic 1,000 fps in the .300 Whisper.