The newest supersonic 300 Blackout FMJ load from Aguila offers high performance and low recoil. Designed for tactical and self-defense applications, the bullet weighs 150 grains and is made to perform in 16-inch barrels. This round offers a velocity of 1,900 fps at the muzzle and 1,721 fps at 100 yards. Aguila offers some of the most consistent factory ammo available at an affordable price. For this load, 50 rounds are loaded per box.
Whether you are varmint hunting, target shooting or on duty protecting our country, Black Hills’ “factory new” ammo is designed to provide you with optimum results. With .223 rounds available from 36 to 77 grains in a myriad of bullet profiles, you will always find a cartridge for your intended use. Those with ARs in less traditional chamberings will enjoy the selection of .30-caliber loads, including the .300 Whisper. If you want to burn up some targets without burning up your wallet, take a look at the factory remanufactured rounds, which are held to the same high standards as every other load from Black Hills Ammunition.
The 6.5 Grendel was one of the first alternative calibers specifically built for the AR-15 platform. Federal’s Fusion MSR line of hunting ammo is specifically designed to perform to its ballistic peak through 16-inch barrels in AR-15s. The primer, propellant, bullet and case are all optimized for hunting in MSR-style actions. The new 120-grain 6.5 Grendel load was designed for deer hunters and features a skived bullet tip for long-range expansion. The round has a muzzle velocity of 2,600 fps and muzzle energy of 1,801 foot-pounds. In a 10-mph wind, the bullet will drift approximately an inch at 100 yards.
The new Edge TLR line of ammo was designed for long-range hunting. This style of hunting not only requires extreme accuracy, but also full expansion and deep penetration. The Edge TLR uses what Federal calls a Slipstream polymer tip to initiate expansion at long range. At close range, the bullet’s copper shank and bonded lead core retain weight for consistent, lethal penetration. The bullet’s long, sleek profile offers an extremely high ballistic coefficient. AccuChannel groove technology improves accuracy and reduces drag. This ammo is available in .308 Winchester with a 175-grain bullet and offers a muzzle velocity of 2,600 fps with a muzzle energy of 2,627 foot-pounds. The wind drift at 100 yards in a 10-mph wind is approximately 0.6 inches.
Shooting the 6.5 Creedmoor in a larger AR-platform rifle can be a real pleasure. Federal’s Trophy Copper hunting rounds are low on recoil, high on accuracy and lead-free. The new 120-grain 6.5 Creedmoor load features a polymer-tipped copper bullet that retains 99 percent of its weight, penetrates deeply and expands consistently. Plus, its grooved shank increases accuracy, and the nickel-plated case prevents corrosion and aids in easier, faster extraction in semi-automatic rifles. With a muzzle velocity of 2,875 fps, the round still has steam out to 300 yards with a velocity of 2,338 fps. The drift in a 10-mph wind at 100 and 300 yards is 0.7 inches and 6 inches, respectively.
The Black line of ammunition from Hornady features a number of loads optimized for performance in a variety of AR-platform systems—direct impingement or gas piston, suppressed or unsuppressed. The ammo also performs with gas tubes in rifle-, mid-, carbine- or pistol-length configurations. The 6.8 SPC load uses a 110-grain V-MAX bullet that delivers 1,588 foot-pounds of energy at a velocity of 2,550 fps. For those hunters who use the .450 Bushmaster round, the Black line offers a 250-grain FTX load at 2,200 fps and 2,628 foot-pounds at the muzzle. At 100 yards, the .450 Bushmaster has a velocity of 1,840 fps and 1,879 foot-pounds of energy. The .223 Remington load in the Black line features a 75-grain BTHP bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2,790 fps.
Nosler has amped up the .22 caliber in the AR-15 platform with the introduction of the .22 Nosler. This round delivers 30-percent more energy and is nearly 300-fps faster than a .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO round, approaching the .22-250 Remington caliber. You can retrofit your old .223/5.56mm AR with a new barrel and magazine combo, a dedicated upper or even a complete rifle made by Noveske Rifleworks. Two loads are offered: a 55-grain Ballistic Tip with a muzzle velocity of 3,500 fps and a 77-grain Custom Competition bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3,100 fps. The new .22 Nosler is a hard-hitting, accurate round.
The PDP Pro lineup now offers a 55-grain .223 Remington FMJ-BT, offering the quality features of PDP Pro ammo to rifle shooters as well. Manufactured in the U.S., PDP Pro uses the best components available for consistency shot after shot. Not only is this .223 Remington load high quality, but it’s also accurate and comes at an attractive price point.
If you want to shoot premium ammunition at a reasonable cost, Prime Ammunition is an option. Prime has partnered with the world’s leading manufacturer of sporting and defense ammunition in order to provide some of the best ammo available. The 6.5mm Creedmoor Match+ round is loaded with a 130-grain OTM bullet and temperature-stable powder. Prime ammo also goes through stringent quality-control measures so you can expect handloaded accuracy and lot-to-lot consistency. The muzzle velocity is 2,851 fps with 3,172 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
Sig Sauer is now making premium ammunition right here in the U.S. in a new manufacturing facility in Arkansas. The Sig HT line of premium-grade rifle ammunition now offers a .223 Remington round. This accurate hunting round features an all-copper bullet that delivers deep penetration and consistent 1.8X-diameter expansion. It is loaded with a 60-grain bullet propelled at a muzzle velocity of 3,100 fps and a muzzle energy of 1,280 foot-pounds. Varmints and predators beware. The nose geometry of the Sig HT bullet is designed for feeding in AR-stylez rifles and features nickel-plated shell cases and flash-reduced propellant to minimize visible signature while shooting in low-light situations. Premium-quality primers are also used to minimize variations in velocity.
If you have an AR in 9mm to pair with your 9mm pistol, then you’re thinking ahead. The ability to share the same ammo between your long arm and handgun is invaluable. Speer’s Gold Dot is the benchmark for defensive ammo; many law enforcement agencies use it. Now the new Gold Dot G2 builds on this reputation with a next-generation, 147-grain bullet design with a shallow dish—instead of a large cavity—filled with a high-performance elastomer. On impact, the material is forced into fissures designed into the bullet to start expansion. Plus, the Gold Dot G2 bullet construction virtually eliminates core/jacket separation. This bullet design also passes FBI protocol testing.
Known for its world-class 1911s and AR-platform rifles, the folks at Wilson Combat have learned a thing or two about quality ammunition in their 40 years of building custom firearms and accessories. In both testing and competition, Bill Wilson and his team have put millions of rounds downrange. After years of testing and load development, Bill has engineered a comprehensive lineup of exceptional defensive, hunting and practice ammunition. These made-in-the-U.S.A. cartridges utilize brass cases and clean-burning, low-flash powders in calibers from the .223 to the .458 SOCOM, including intermediate rounds like the 6.8 SPC.
Winchester’s Super-X line of ammo is legendary for its accuracy, velocity and rapid controlled expansion. The new .308 Winchester and 300 Blackout centerfire cartridges are designed for improved terminal performance at subsonic velocities. These rounds use a bullet with a radical profile for enhanced expansion and smooth feeding in standard AR magazines. And as you would guess, they offer less noise in both suppressed and non-suppressed firearms. The 300 Blackout load uses a 200-grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1,060 fps while the .308 Winchester load uses a 185-grain bullet with a 1,060-fps muzzle velocity.
The cool thing about black guns (aka modern sporting rifles, or MSRs) is the ability to shoot a variety of calibers through the same platform. You can literally start by plinking with .22 LR ammo using a conversion-kit upper and end up hunting whitetail with an upper chambered in .450 Bushmaster. Then swap it back to 5.56mm for self-defense. Take the big-bore platform in 7.62mm, which is perfectly suited for hunting medium to big game. Perhaps you want to gun up for long-range shooting with a 6.5 Creedmoor upper. The firearms industry has created a wide spectrum of calibers for the AR, each chosen for a specific purpose.
Ammunition manufacturers understand the need for us to feed our machines and are constantly improving ammunition performance, particularly in the AR platform. Here is a look at some of the newest AR cartridges that push the envelope on bullet design and downrange performance.
For more information about the AR cartridges featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Aguila 300 BLK FMJs
Federal Fusion MSR
Federal Edge TLR
Federal Trophy Copper
Precision Delta PDP Pro
Prime Match+ Ammo
Sig Sauer HT
Speer Gold Dot G2
Winchester Super-X Subsonic
This article was originally published in “AR Rifleman” 2018. To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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