Like many people who have good taste, I love 10mm. I also like 40 S&W, the 10mm’s smaller, angry brother. But today we’re going to talk about what the best 10mm ammo is for a variety of applications.
A Brief History of the 10mm
Everyone is broadly familiar with the history of the 10mm round, starting with the infamous Miami FBI shootout. To avoid re-hashing all of that, suffice to say that after the incident, everyone drew the wrong conclusions and now we have more calibers. One of those calibers is 10mm, which holds a strong niche following among big bore enthusiasts.
This is because the 10mm, at full power, offers similar and in some cases superior, terminal ballistics to magnum revolver cartridges. Hot 10mm loads have been used to kill everything dangerous that walks on 4 legs in North America. Plus, the round can be downloaded to more sensible pressures and used for personal defense. So today we’re going to offer some selections for the best 10mm ammo for three things: plinking, hunting/dangerous game, and self defense.
The Best 10mm Ammo for Plinking
Let’s be honest. You’re probably not going to be spending a lot of time on the range having long range sessions with your favorite 10mm pistol or revolver. The Ruger GP100 Match Champion 10mm is fun to shoot, but after about 200 rounds the recoil really wears you down.
In my opinion, the best 10mm ammo for plinking is definitely Federal American Eagle 180 grain FMJ. At 1030 FPS, it’s not loaded super hot, which means you can shoot more. It is pricier than some of the other options on the market. It runs, in 2022’s ammo market, about $45 a box. However, Federal’s quality control is among the best, even on their value American Eagle brand.
Best 10mm Ammo for Hunting and Dangerous Game
There are lots of opinions about what types of projectiles are the best for hunting. However, since “best 10mm ammo for bear” is a trending google search, I’m going to assume that most people using 10mm in the woods are using it for protection. However, for this category I’m going to recommend a single manufacturer. The Buffalo Bore 10mm lineup covers everything you might need in the words.
The 180 grain JHP at 1300 FPS would be a good choice on light-skinned game such as deer and possibly wild hogs. The solid lead 220 grain round which is making a whopping 700 foot pounds of muzzle energy would be good for animals with thick skulls like bears, mountain lions, or anything else where penetration is going to be important. Just make sure your gun can handle those pressures. I’d be skeptical running something that spicy through a polymer pistol. I’d probably go with a S&W 610 or a Ruger GP100 Match Champion.
The Best 10mm Ammo for Self-Defense
While it’s certainly not the most popular self-defense caliber, 10mm is certainly viable for it. This is where polymer framed guns like the Springfield XD 10mm shine. Luckily, there are a number of great defensive rounds available.
From Federal Premium, you can get the excellent 180 grain HST round. Winchester offers a 10mm load in their Defender lineup. Lastly, Hornady offers a 175gr Critical Duty load in 10mm. Any of these could easily carry the title of best 10mm ammo for self-defense.
Ultimately, the best 10mm ammo selection is up to you. There are loads of options, and thanks to many manufacturers getting back on board with the cartridge, there are quite a few great 10mm pistols and revolvers available.