Bargain-priced is the direction new rifle ammunition is headed and its somewhat of a bid to wean shooters away from handloading. Hunting ammunition leans toward all copper or copper-alloy bullets or jackets bonded to lead cores with pointed plastic tips that makes them sleek as a javelin. If ammunition companies neglected to introduce at least a couple new 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor loads, they just are not up with the times. On the long and short sides, Federal’s .224 Valkyrie is taking off as a long-range target cartridge and Winchester’s 350 Legend is intended for ordinary shots at deer.
A couple of new 7.62x39 loads are available from Nosler and Winchester.
Let’s see what is new this season.
Ammo Inc. has quite a few tactical ammunition lines such as Ops, Night Ops, Stelth and Streak. Black Label is Ammo Inc.’s new line that features a slick black molecular alloy on the case and bullet to enhance feeding and extraction. Black Label .223 Rem. are loaded with Hornady 55-gr. V-MAX bullets with a muzzle velocity of 3196 fps. From a Savage Predator Hunter .223, Black Label averaged .77" for three groups at 100 yards. AmmoInc.com
Barnes has two loads for the 6mm Creedmoor. Vor-TX LR cartridges are loaded with 95-gr. LRX BT copper bullets and a temperature stable propellant. The LRX bullet has a G1 .436 Ballistic Coefficient (BC). Precision Match cartridges are loaded with Barnes Burners 112-gr. OTM BT lead-core bullets with a G1 .624 BC. BarnesBullets.com
Browning Long Range Pro cartridges are loaded for long shots at targets with Sierra Tipped MatchKing bullets in four .30-cal. cartridges and of course the 6.5mm Creedmoor. The 6.5mm is loaded with 130-gr. MatchKings at 2900 fps. MatchKing 195-gr. bullets are loaded at 2650 fps in the .30-06, 2850 fps in the .300 WSM and 2900 fps in the .300 Win. Mag. The .308 Win. fires 168-gr. MatchKings at 2680 fps. BrowningAmmo.com
Federal is charging full steam ahead with three additional loads to further the success of its .224 Valkyrie. Federal has also been busy with Varmint and Predator loads and adding Berger bullets to its Gold Medal cartridges and Edge TLR, Trophy Copper, Berger Hybrid Hunter and Barnes Triple Shock bullets to hunting cartridges. FederalPremium.com
New Valkyrie loads include Gold Medal cartridges loaded with 80.5-gr. Berger Hybrid bullets with a muzzle velocity of 2925 fps, Varmint & Predator loads with 60-gr. Hornady V-MAX bullets at 3300 fps and Premium with 78-gr. Barnes Triple Shock bullets at 2850 fps.
Federal loaded all-copper Triple Shock (TSX) bullets for years in various cartridges, then dropped them in favor of its Trophy Copper bullets. TSX are such good game bullets, though, Federal has reintroduced them in the Premium line in 17 cartridges from the .223 Rem. to the .300 Win. Mag.
TSXs are also accurate. I shot Premium .223 Rem. cartridges loaded with 55-gr. TSX and they averaged .77" for three, three-shot groups at 100 yards fired through a Savage Predator Hunter rifle. Premium 7mm-08 Rem. 140-gr. TSXs averaged an inch shot through a Win. Model 70 Featherweight. Premium .300 WSM 165-gr. TSX loads averaged .97" shot from a Win. Model 70 Featherweight.
Varmint & Predator loads feature Hornady V-MAX bullets in seven cartridges from the .204 Ruger shooting 32-gr. V-MAX bullets at 4100 fps to the .308 Win. loaded with 110-gr. V-MAX bullets at 3300 fps.
Berger Hybrid Hunter bullets are loaded in seven cartridges from the .243 Win. to .300 Win. Mag. The 7mm Rem. Mag. is loaded with Berger 168-gr. bullets with a G1 BC of .566 at a velocity of 2870 fps.
Several additional loads are the Edge TLR 130-gr. bullets loaded in the 6.5mm Creedmoor and 155-gr. bullets in the .280 Ackley Improved, Trophy Copper 55-gr. bullets loaded in the .223 Rem. at 3240 fps and 250-gr. Trophy Copper bullets at 2850 fps in the .338 Lapua Magnum.
Hornady celebrates its 70th anniversary introducing its Outfitter brand of rifle cartridges and continues adding loads to established cartridges, also the .224 Valkyrie and .300 Precision Rifle Cartridge to six of its current lines of rifle cartridges.
The .300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC) is the big news. The cartridge is based on the .375 Ruger case with a 30-degree shoulder. The Hornady Precision Hunter .300 PRC cartridges are loaded with 212-gr. ELD-X bullets that have a .673 G1 BC and a muzzle velocity of 2860 fps. Match cartridges are loaded with 225-gr. ELD Match bullets with a .777 BC and 2810 fps muzzle velocity.
Additional Precision Hunter cartridges include ELD-X 90-gr. bullets in the .243 Win., 162-gr. in the 28 Nosler and 7mm STW and 178-gr. in the less than popular .300 Rem. Short Action Ultra Mag.
Speaking of cartridges that don’t see much sunshine these days, Hornady has added the .348 Win. to its LEVERevolution line loaded with 200-gr. FTX bullets with a muzzle velocity of 2560 fps.
The .224 Valkyrie has made quite a name in the long-range game in the last year. Hornady is joining the game with a 75-gr. BTHP bullet that boasts a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps in its Black cartridges and they also have 60-gr. V-MAX bullets at 3300 fps in the Varmint Express cartridges.
Outfitter ammunition is loaded with GMX bullets composed of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. Cases are nickel-plated and sealed around the primer and case mouth. Twelve cartridges in the Outfitter line include the .243 Win. to .375 H&H Magnum. The .270 and 7mm Winchester Short Magnum cartridges have somewhat faded in recent years, however, the two cartridges and the popular .300 WSM are included in Outfitter ammunition. Hornady.com
A couple of years ago Norma introduced its copper Ecostrike and rapid-expanding Tipstrike bullets in its Professional Hunter ammunition. Bondstrike bullets complete the series with what Norma states is a long-range hunting bullet with a streamlined polymer tip and boattail that provides extreme accuracy and terminal performance at all distances. Norma has years of experience with bonded-core bullets in its Oryx bullets and extends that expertise to Bondstrike bullets. A .30-cal. 180-gr. is the initial Bondstrike and it’s loaded in five cartridges from the .308 Win. with muzzle velocity of 2625 fps, all the way to the .300 Rem. Ultra Mag. at 3182 fps. Norma-USA.com
Nosler has greatly expanded its five cartridge lines, with an emphasis on 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges.
Match Grade offerings have increased with 105-gr. Reduced Drag Factor bullets loaded in the 6mm Creedmoor, 123-gr. Custom Competition bullets in the 6.5 Grendel, 130-gr. RDF in the .260 Rem. and 185-gr. RDF loaded in the 28 Nosler. The 6.5 Grendel 123-gr. Custom Competition bullets have an advertised velocity of 2450 fps. Velocity was 2362 fps for the bullets fired from a CZ 527 with a 24" barrel. Accuracy was good as well, with three, three-shot groups averaging .98" at 100 yards.
The 6mm Creedmoor is front and center with a 90-gr. AccuBond in Trophy Grade ammo. The additional Trophy Grade ammo include the 160-gr. AccuBond bullets for the .280 Ackley Improved and 400-gr. Partition in the .416 Rem. Joining Trophy Grade Long-Range cartridges are the 6.5 Grendel with 129-gr. AccuBond Long Range bullets and 142-gr. ABLR in the 6.5mm Creedmoor.
The Varmageddon bullets feature a flat base and either a hollow point or polymer tip and are a less expensive alternative to Ballistic Tip bullets. The Varmageddon line has increased with 70-gr. tipped bullets loaded in the 6mm Creedmoor and 90-gr. tipped bullets loaded in the 6.5 Grendel and 6.5mm Creedmoor.
Eight cartridges have been added to Ballistic Tip ammunition with Ballistic Tip Hunting bullets. They include the 6mm Creedmoor with 95-gr. BT bullets to the 7mm Rem. Mag. with 150-gr. BT bullets and the .300 Win. Mag. with 180-gr. BT bullets. The 7.62x39 123-gr. BT bullets measure .310" in diameter. Nosler.com
Remington is putting its old Peters name on a line of rifle cartridges, reintroducing Swift Scirocco bullets in the Premier line and adding the Barnes Triple Shock (TSX) and the Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded bullets to more of their cartridges.
Remington loaded Peters brand cartridges from 1934 up until the 1960s. New Peters Premier Blue Rifle ammunition include 11 cartridges from the .243 Win. to the .45-70 Gov’t. The 95-gr. .243 Win. to the 180-gr. .300 Win. Mag. bullets feature blue polymer-tipped big-game bullets. Core-Lokt 240-gr. bullets are loaded in the .444 Marlin and 405-gr. Core-Lokts in the .45-70 Gov’t. A running whitetail buck decorates Peters boxes. So, if you’re sitting on a stand and not seeing deer—you can at least look at the one on the box.
Union Metallic Cartridge (UMC) is another old Remington line of cartridges. The UMC brand has expanded to include eight additional cartridges in value-priced 20- or 50-round boxes. New are 45- or 50-gr. JHC bullets loaded in the .22-250 Rem., 120- and 220-gr. Open Tip Flat Base bullets in the .300 Blackout and 150-gr. FMJ bullets in the .30-06.
Swift Sciroccos are one of the best big-game bullets, with a lead core bonded to a pure copper jacket and a high BC. Remington is again loading Sciroccos in its Premier line in nine cartridges. The .243 Win. is loaded with 95-gr. Sciroccos with a muzzle velocity of 3120 fps and the .270 Win. with 130-gr. Sciroccos at 3060 fps. The 7mm Rem. Mag. and Ultra Mag. are loaded with 150-gr. Sciroccos and the .30-06, .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag. and .300 Rem. Ultra Mag. with 180-gr. Sciroccos, while 165-gr. Sciroccos are loaded in the .308 Win.
Remington has been making Core-Lokt bullets since 1939. Adding to the roster are 62-gr. Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded bullets loaded in the .223 Rem. with a muzzle velocity of 3100 fps. Additional Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt include a 100-gr. in the 6mm Creedmoor with a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps, 150-gr. at 3230 fps in the 7mm Rem. Ultra Mag and 180-gr. at 3175 fps in the 300 Rem. Ultra Mag.
Remington is loading more Barnes Triple Shock bullets, made by its sister company Barnes Bullets, in Hog Hammer Rifle and HTP Copper cartridges. Turning pig into pork, Hog Hammer loads include 120-gr. TSX bullets at 2910 fps in the 6.5mm Creedmoor, 130-gr. at 3050 fps in the .270 Win. and a thumb-size 300-gr. fired from .45-70 Gov’t. at 1925 fps. HTP Copper loads include 50-gr. TSX bullets at 3850 fps from the .22-250 Rem. and 140-gr. bullets fired at 3135 fps from the .270 WSM.
Remington Premiere Match cartridges include the 6mm Creedmoor loaded with 112-gr. Open Tip Match Boattail bullets. The bullet has a high .624 G1 BC and is loaded with a temperature stable propellant. A 140-gr. OTM BT bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2700 fps in the 6.5mm Creedmoor has been added to High Performance Rifle cartridges. As for performance, the 6.5mm load averaged .83" for three groups at 100 yards from a Ruger American Predator rifle. Remington.com/ammo
SIG’s Elite Performance Ball .223 Rem. and .308 Win. ammo is engineered to match the ballistics of SIG cartridges loaded with expensive Elite Hunting Copper Game bullets. The .223 Rem. is loaded with 55-gr. FMJ bullets with a muzzle velocity of 3240 fps and .308 Win. has 150-gr. FMJ bullets at 2900 fps. The .308 Win. load averaged 1.08" for three groups at 100 yards shot through a Mossberg MVP rifle.
In the works at SIG are Elite Hunting Copper Game bullets in 80-grs. for the .243 Win. and 150-gr. for the .30-06.
SIG’s .300 Blackout SBR Elite Copper Duty is designed for short-barrel rifles. The load’s 120-gr. Lead-Free Monolithic Copper bullet develops 1897 fps of velocity from 6.75" barrel. The Blackout round is fired by flash-reduced propellant to minimize muzzle flash. SIGSauer.com
The 350 Legend is the big news that Winchester says is the fastest straight-walled centerfire rifle cartridge in the world. The 350 is intended mainly for deer hunters in the several states that require straight-wall cartridges. Winchester certainly contemplated a variety of shooting and hunting purposes for the 350 with five initial loads that include Deer Season XP 150-gr. at 2350 fps, Super-X 180-gr. Power-Point at 2100 fps, Power Max Bonded 160-gr. at 2225 fps, USA White Box 145-gr. FMJ at 2350 fps and Super Suppressed 265-gr. at 1060 fps. Winchester says the 350 has an effective deer-hunting range up to 250 yards and carries more bullet energy than the .30-30 Win., .300 Blackout and .223 Rem., yet its recoil is 20 percent less than the .243 Win.
The 350 case looks like a .223 Rem. case necked out to .358-cal. The 350 case has the same case head as the .223 Rem., but it is slightly larger in diameter. Overall cartridge length of the Deer Season XP 150-gr. bullet is just short of 2.26", the same as the .223 Rem.
USA Ready are bargain-priced cartridges intended to compete with hand-loaded cartridges. A lot code on each USA Ready box can be looked up via Winchester’s website that states velocity and pressure data from that lot. Four rifle cartridges are loaded with open tip bullets that include the .223 Rem. 62-gr. at 3065 fps, 6.5mm Creedmoor 125-gr. at 2850 fps, .300 Blackout 125-gr. at 2185 fps and .308 Win. 168-gr. at 2680 fps.
Winding it up for Winchester is a 7.62x39 Deer Season XP load with a 123-gr. Extreme Point with a large polymer tip to aid rapid expansion. Velocity is 2380 fps. Winchester.com