Keeping The Bang Going!

Highlights From The Ammo Side Of Things

From a small handful of ammo makers years ago, to today’s almost limitless choices, the good old days are now — times 10 at least! While the basic technology of primer-powder-bullet still reigns king, design brilliance in those categories is at an all-time high for sure. If you can “think it” chances are good someone is making it. Small boutique shops or “millions-of-rounds-a-day” big guy makers keep us raising our eyebrows daily going “Hmm … how’d they do that?”

Aguila is a name you need to pay attention to. They make 21 varieties of .22 rimfire ammo alone, as well as dozens of affordable and high quality pistol, rifle and shotgun rounds. Their “Minishell” abbreviated shotgun rounds deserve a hard look too. Aguila is the largest maker of ammo for Latin American countries and works from a factory in Mexico originally started by Remington. Hey, they also make 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum ammo!

Hornady’s iconic Critical Defense and newer American Gunner line-ups are mainstays for shooters today. The American Gunner line-up offers Hornady quality components at an affordable price point and has loads for target, defense and small game hunting in handgun and rifle calibers. The Critical Defense line uses the FTX bullet from Hornady and is in police and CCW holsters everywhere. Look for .25 ACP and .32 ACP loads now!

Eely is another “sleeper” for many American shooters, and if you’re one of them, you’re missing out. Known for their world-famous match-grade .22 ammo, their comprehensive website gives access to the actual stats of certain match-grade loads by lot number! What a great idea. If you really want to see what your uber-accurate .22 can do, experiment with some Eley and you might see magic happen in front of your eyes!

Called “BPR” for Browning Performance Rimfire, we mostly just liked the nifty “mini” crate packaging! Hidden inside the sliding top crate is a box of 400 40-gr. lead RN .22 LR rounds rated at 1,255 fps. While they say it’s for “Target and Hunting” we’d prefer an HP for small game unless you’re a careful shot and can take a squirrel out with a head shot every time. And what a great “goodie” box the crate would make once empty!

The classic Federal Hydra-Shok has been upgraded to a new “Deep” model. The original design keeps being upgraded and the current loads in 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP, offer deeper penetration than ever before using a more robust center post. Federal says it goes an average of 15″ and penetrates barriers even better than before. The Hydra-Shok has a long history of riding in police duty guns and is considered a premium defense load.

For you reloaders, the new Hornady “Digital Cases and Parts Dryer” is something new. Basically, you can dry your washed cases using a digital timer and control, setting the seven-level temperature where you want it. It can also dry bulkier items like guns coming out of a sonic cleaner, electronics or anything else you need to dry which you can fit inside.

Remington is now offering a new line of what I’d call “conventional” or traditional revolver ammo. And, this can be used in lever guns too. Using traditional bullet designs like SWC, WC and RN lead, they’re made with Remington Kleanbore priming and typical quality components. Calibers are from .32 S&W to .45 Colt in 50-round boxes. They even have .38 Short Colt!

The Golden Saber “Black Belt” also from Remington is a cutting-edge design in modern defensive ammo. The distinctive black “belt” driving band is a unique feature and their “Mechani-Lokt” belted waist locks the lower portion of the bullet in place mechanically for weight retention and penetration. The nickel-plated case and brass-jacketed bullet fight corrosion, and spiral cuts on the bullet nose help assure reliable expansion and penetration.

SIG’s new “365” 9mm ammo is specifically designed for concealed carry guns. The HP load is a 115-gr. V-Crown bullet going 1,050 fps from a 3.1″ barrel (the size of the SIG P365 carry gun). I noticed in shooting, the load definitely had a slightly softer recoil impulse than other similar 9mm loads I’ve fired. The 115-gr. FMJ load mirrors the HP performance and is good for general shooting and training. A great combo.

Federal’s Syntech line (under the American Eagle brand) is specifically made for action shooting and is the “official” ammo of the USPSA. The flat nose/lead core bullet has a synthetic polymer jacket reducing friction for 14 percent cooler shooting, while meeting power factor requirements. The 9mm 150-gr. bullet averages 870 fps, lowering recoil for fast follow-up shots. The flat nose bullet also helps deliver more energy on steel targets and has less lead splash. They’re available in various bullet weights in 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP.

Shotgun ammo in Handgunner? If you’re a weekend club shooter you might need some birdshot for the shotgun stage of the match, right? And if you buy Rio’s new “Patriot Pack” of 100 rounds of “wing and target” loads, they’ll donate $1 directly to the NRA through 2019. They’re also working on a discount to NRA membership by following a link on the Patriot packaging. These rounds are made in America at Rio’s Texas facility, where they put out over 300 million shells yearly for American shooters!

Wadcutters return! Buffalo Bore, Atomic and Federal are all offering various forms of wadcutter designs geared specifically toward revolvers and defensive carry. Buffalo Bore’s is a 150-gr. hard cast full wadcutter, Atomic’s is a 148-gr. lead HP (like the old reversed hollow-based wadcutter concept), and Federal’s HST Micro slings a 130-gr. HP bullet (loaded flush with the case mouth) and is specifically loaded for 2″ revolvers. This wadcutter/flat nose design has legendary street performance creds.

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