It’s that time; the time when shooters find out what new and cool stuff manufacturers are offering. I’m always eager to see what new guns and optics will hit the market, but even more so to learn what new munitions I’ll be able to purchase. There’s always a hope for loads that will fill a specific niche or eliminate a handload I’ve been laboring to create.
1. Mexico-based Aguila Ammunition, which is imported by Texas Armament & Technology, has added hollow points to its centerfire handgun product line. These new loads will be available in 9 mm, .380 ACP, .357 Mag., .40 S&W and .45 ACP. As soon as they get through customs and hitch a ride to West Virginia, we’ll send them downrange, shoot them into ordnance gelatin and report
2. Though the .300 BLK frenzy has been somewhat subdued by the rise of the 6.5 Creedmoor, ammunition manufacturers are still supplementing the loads available for this popular cartridge. Federal is now offering a .300 BLK load topped off with an accurate, 120-grain hollow-point copper projectile, that’s been engineered to create large wound channels. It should be an ideal compromise load that will work for hunting and tactical situations. Twenty-round boxes will retail for about $27.
3. Here’s another, and maybe even more-interesting, .300 BLK load. Hornady’s new .300 BLK subsonic load is topped with the new 190-grain Sub-X (Subsonic-eXpanding) bullet. It features a lead core, long grooves in its gilding-metal jacket and a flat profile, utilizing the patented Flex Tip (FTX) insert inside its hollow-point cavity. This load meets or exceeds FBI terminal-performance requirements and should provide between 16 to 18 inches of penetration in 10-percent ordnance gelatin. Propelled with unique powders and optimized for subsonic use, its low-flash signature is ideal for tactical situations.
4. Winchester’s new Super Suppressed ammunition line is custom-tailored to provide quiet, clean and reliable performance in both suppressed and non-suppressed firearms. Check this out: These new loads are available for the 22 LR, .300 BLK, .308 Win., 9 mm, .45 ACP and more surprisingly, .22 WMR. Seriously, a subsonic .22 Win. Mag. load? You can’t make that at home.
5. Speaking of tactical applications, Hornady has a new line of Critical Defense centerfire rifle ammunition. Using a new breed of the FTX bullet, these are ideal in short-barrelled rifles with reduced muzzle velocities. There’s no hollowpoint to clog up, over-penetration is limited and expansion is initiated and enhanced by the soft-polymer FTX tip. All these loads will feature nickel-plated cases to aid with smooth feeding and chamber-check visibility in low light. And, additives blended with the powder reduce flash to maintain night vision. Initial offerings include a 55- and 73-grain .223 Rem. and a 155-grain .308 Win.
6. The age of the Creed has arrived. Many believed a new cartridge would never spark shooter interest like the .300 BLK did, but the 6.5 Creedmoor has. Those immersed in long-range shooting, precision marksmanship or hunting at distance, are flocking to the Creed like rats to the dumpster at a fast-food joint. Here are four Creed loads for 2018.
Nosler has added a 6.5 Creedmoor load in its E-Tip Ammunition line. It is loaded with a 120 grain E-Tip bullet and has an advertised muzzle velocity of2,850 fps. Remington jumped on the Creedmoor bandwagon too, even though the Hornady-introduced cartridge offers direct competition to its 6.5-caliber rifle cartridge, the .260 Rem. Remington now has a 140-grain CoreLokt 6.5 Creedmoor load. SIG Sauer looks to be on a trajectory to take over the ammunition market. It’s like the company introduces a new load every month. It has added the 6.5 Creedmoor to its lineup with a 140-grain Sierra MatchKing bullet, with a muzzle velocity of 2,645 fps. And here is yet another: Barnes Bullets has added a 140-grain 6.5 Creedmoor and .260 Rem. loads to the Precision Match line of ammo.
7. Speer Gold Dot ammunition is a top choice for law enforcement and Speer added a 10 mm load that takes advantage of the cartridge’s full capabilities. Many 10 mm offerings deliver ballistics similar to those of .40 S&W. Not this one. It features 200-grain Gold Dot bullets in nickel-plated cases for optimal performance from the 10 mm. Twenty-round boxes will retail for a shade less than $35.
8. For defensive handgun shooters who think the 9 mm is a mouse gun—I’m not one of those fools—Federal might change your mind. It has introduced a 9 mm load named the Hydra-Shock Deep, which utilizes a custom tailored, 135-grain, Hydra-Shock bullet that will penetrate 15 inches in 10-percent ordnance gelatin.
9 & 10. I think I’ve saved the best two new ammo introductions for last. First is the Hornady 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge). It’s like a better, faster, stronger 6.5 Creedmoor, and will push a 143-grain ELD-X to almost 3,000 fps. Federal has launched a new cartridge, too, a purpose-built lightning rod for the AR-15 called the .224 Valkyrie, and you can expect a full report on both soon.