What’s the point of having a gun if you don’t have ammo? You’ve got to feed your firepower, and there are literally dozens of companies making high-quality ammunition for your handguns, rifles and shotguns—even muzzleloaders.
Here are some of the best cartridges, buckshot rounds, slugs and more—including components like low-flash powders and highly efficient bullets—hitting the market in 2015 to help you maximize your firepower.
While handgun (.25 to .45 ACP) and shotgun (.410 to 12-gauge) ammunition comprises a much bigger part of Aguila’s product line than its rifle ammo (.223, .30 Carbine, 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO), the rimfire component has drawn the most interest. Aquila manufactures 19 types of rimfire ammo, including the Long Rifle Super Max, which fires 30-grain soft-point and solid bullets at 1,700 fps. The SSS Sniper Subsonic round launches a 60-grain bullet from a hull half as tall as a Long Rifle’s. Aguila’s rimfire list includes two 5mm Remington loads, as well as a 40-grain jacketed soft point offering in .22 WMR. And much more! For more information, visit aguilaammo.com
More than 30 powders, ranging in burn rate from Red Dot and Unique for shotguns to Reloder 25, 33 and 50 for rifles, make up the Alliant line. Moisture-resistant BlackMZ, a black powder substitute, has joined it. Powder Pro 1000 excels in rounds like the .30-30. AR-Comp is specific to the .223. Alliant’s Reloader’s Guide has data for cartridges from the .32-20 to the .458 Lott. For more information, visit alliantpowder.com or call 800-379-1732.
Renowned for deep penetration and high weight retention in tough game, the TSX has spawned the Tipped TSX, with poly nose, and the “long-range” LRX, with a long tapered heel for higher ballistic coefficient. Barnes offers selected TSX bullets in its VOR-TX line of ammo. This year the VOR-TX rifle line has added 62- and 70-grain 5.56mm NATO loads. New Range AR loads include a 52-grain 5.56mm and 90-grain 300 Blackout. A new Precision Match line includes offerings in 5.56mm, .308, .300 Winchester and .338 Lapua. For more information, visit barnesbullets.com or call 435-856-1000.
This Utah-based company manufactures hard-cast and jacketed pistol (plus some rifle and muzzleloader) bullets from proprietary lead alloy. The jackets are of 99.9-percent copper. From 71-grain .32s to 405-grain .45-70s, the line includes a new HHP Hybrid Hollow Point for self-defense loads in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Other profiles: wad-cutter to flat-point, and round-shouldered to pointed. Berry’s produces also .50-caliber polymer-tipped bullets for muzzleloaders. For more information, visit berrysmfg.com.
Black Hills Ammunition
From .223 to .338 Lapua, the Black Hills line has grown to include cartridges like the .260 Remington and .300 Whisper. Choose from a dozen .223 loads with 36- to 77-grain bullets. The smokeless Cowboy Action series comprises 14 lead-bullet loads, from .32 H&R to .45-70, at black-powder velocities and modest pressures. Black Hills’ stable of new handgun ammo, from .380 to.45 ACP, hurls jacketed (and Barnes TAC-XP) bullets at threat-stopping speeds. The popular 9mm and .45 each boast six loads. For more information, visit black-hills.com or call 605-348-5150.
Brenneke’s current line includes the Magnum Crush, a 1.5-ounce lead slug that hurls 3,752 ft-lbs of energy from 3-inch 12-bore shells. Designed for rifled barrels, it has an integral tail and is coated to reduce fouling. Similar in form are the Green Lightning, Black Magic and Tactical Home Defense slug loads in 12 and 20 gauges. Brenneke also markets 0.63-ounce, 28-gauge and 0.25-ounce .410 slug loads. The company’s 12- and 20-gauge K.O. slugs are bargains. The SuperSabot, a lead-free, 1.13-ounce expanding slug, comes in 2¾- and 3-inch 12-gauge loads. For more information, visit brennekeusa.com or call 800-753-9733.
CCI is a rimfire dynasty, with dozens of loads from the 16-grain .17 HMR Green load to the 27-grain .22 Short hollow point to the 32-grain .22 LR Stinger and the 40-grain .22 WMR MaxiMag JHP. The Quiet-22’s segmented hollow point breaks into three pieces on impact. There’s a dimpled-nose Gamepoint for the .17 HMR and the .22 WMR, a subsonic hollow-point load for the .22 LR. This 40-grain load clocks just 1,050 fps but is deadly on small game. CCI also offers Match, Suppressor and shot loads as well as Short and CB rounds. For more information, visit cci-ammunition.com or call 800-379-1732.
Best known for its Glaser Safety Slug (now in two lines for warm- and cold-climate carry), the CorBon stable now includes JHP, DPX (for deep penetration) and Pow’RBall bullets in its pistol ammo. For 2015 the Hunter series has added Swift A-Frames in six chamberings from the .357 to .500 S&W. Riflemen can get A-Frames in loads from .30-30 to .338 Lapua and .375 H&H, and Swift Sciroccos in others. Fast-stepping lead-core PDA loads for the .223, .243, 300 Blackout and .308 complement DPX tipped, copper, hollow-point rounds from the .223 to .45-70. The firm also makes .475 Turnbull and .400 CorBon ammo and is offering DPX bullets to handloaders. For more information, visit corbon.com or call 800-626-7266.
Cutting Edge Bullets
The ESP Raptor, a machined brass bullet with three driving bands, can be loaded either end down! The nose and tail tapers are the same. Load the solid tail first and you have an expanding hollow point, to which you can add a snap-in polymer tip. Flip the bullet around and you have a solid for dangerous game (diameters to .50), or one that limits damage to coyote pelts (in .22, .24 or .25). Cutting Edge also has lathe-turned copper Match Tactical Hunting bullets and FMJ Match Tactical bullets. The Cutting Edge SealTite band, slightly larger than the bore diameter, corks gas. For more information, visit cuttingedgebullets.com or call 814-345-6690.
With more than 300 loads and 50 bullet types, DoubleTap has shed its image as a small defense-ammunition concern. It serves long-range enthusiasts with loads for the likes of the .30-378 Weatherby. Handgun rounds include the .45 GAP and .45 Auto Rim, plus hunting loads for the .500 S&W. For more information, visit doubletapammo.com or call 866-357-1066.
For 2015, the Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded Tip stable of Federal’s big-game ammo includes the .223, and the .30-30 has been added to the Trophy Copper line. Lead-free Trophy Copper hollow points have proliferated at Federal, from an 85-grain .243 load clocking 3,200 fps to a 225-grain .338 Winchester at 2,800 fps. High ballistic coefficients keep them lethal at long range. Unlike some lead-free loads, Federal’s Trophy Copper loads are stoked to lead-bullet velocities, so they trump the competition far from the muzzle. Federal has also added a .380 HST to make pocket-sized handguns suitable for self-defense. The American Eagle “value” brand unveiled its first .17 WSM load this year: a 20-grain bullet at 3,000 fps. You’ll also find a new American Eagle offering in .338 Lapua (a 250-grain JSP). For more information, visit federalpremium.com or call 800-379-1732.
For 2015, Fiocchi is offering Defense shotshells with slugs (lead, rubber and frangible) or shot. All are 12-gauge, 2¾-inch cartridges. Fiocchi’s growing centerfire rifle stable has two new subsonic 300 Blackout offerings with 208-grain A-Max and 220-grain MatchKing bullets. Other cartridges range in size from the 4.6x30mm to the .300 Winchester. The Defense pistol and revolver line, from .25 to .45 ACP, features a range of bullet types. Cowboy Action ammo, .32 S&W to .45 Colt, is loaded to blackpowder pressures with lead bullets. Fiocchi’s Classic series features lesser-known rounds like the 7.63mm Mauser and 8mm Steyr-Roth,in jacketed-bullet loads for safe use in early firearms. Fiocchi still excels at making hunting and match-grade .22 rimfire ammo. For more information, visit fiocchiusa.com.
Shipped in compartmented red plastic boxes, Garrett ammunition is as carefully packaged as it is manufactured. Hammerhead bullets are hard-cast, using Hensley & Gibbs custom molds. You won’t see bullet failure; from 310 to 540 grains, these missiles drill wide, deep holes. Flat meplats help ensure straight-line penetration through thick bone and muscle. Garrett ammunition is uncomplicated, but it’s also tailored to specific firearms. You can get loads for an early 1886 Winchester, or a new Ruger No. 1. Labels show pressure levels as well as velocities. Even cartridge length is noted when it matters. For more information, visit garrettcartridges.com.
Goldbelt Wolf customizes and delivers a full array of weapons systems, ammo, and accessories to federal and foreign law enforcement agencies and defense contractors. It’s recognized as a leading distributor of weapons and ammunition for several major American manufacturers. In addition, the company holds international representation agreements for weapons, ammunition and specialized demolition and explosives. For more information, visit goldbeltwolf.com or call 703-584-8889.
For high-volume shooters, Gorilla delivers high-quality .223, 300 Blackout and .308 ammo with accurate Sierra MatchKing and BlitzKing and Hornady A-MAX bullets in a useful range of bullet weights. For more information, visit gorillaammo.com or call 772-766-5805.
Hodgdon lists more than 80 types of powder, including Extreme powders that perform well across a wide temperature range. Top choices for mid-capacity hulls include Varget and CFE 223 (for Copper Fouling Eraser, a perfect match for lead-free bullets). Retumbo and US869 have joined H1000 and H4831 (also in Short Cut form) as the best in big cases with small bores, like the .26 Nosler. The IMR line boasts the 8208 XBR, perhaps “the least sensitive powder to temperature change in the universe!” It’s ideal in small rifle cartridges. For 2015, three new extruded Enduron propellants span a wide range in burn rate: 4166 in .308-sized hulls; 4451 for the .30-06, .270 and .300 WSM; and 7977 for full-length magnums. Hodgdon also offers Superformance and LeverEvolution fuels pioneered by Hornady. For more information, visit hodgdon.com or call 913-362-9455.
New in 2015 for Hornady is the Full Boar line of rifle ammo in eight chamberings from .223 to .300 Winchester. All feature mid-weight GMX bullets. For small game, there’s a 20-grain .17 WSM load and a Superformance 75-grain V-MAX load for the .243. Hornady has also added a 285-grain A-MAX .338 Lapua offering to its Match series and a 1-ounce rifed slug to its stable of shotgun loads. Handgunners will notice a new Critical Duty 135-grain FlexLock load for the .357 Magnum and a 100-grain FTX Critical Defense Lite option in 9mm. A new American Gunner series comprises six XTP loads for popular pistol rounds from .380 to .45 ACP. New for handloaders in 2015 are 155-grain .308 BTHP and 100-grain .277 GMX rifle bullets. For more information, visit hornady.com or call 800-338-3220.
Howell Machine specializes in custom building new ammunition manufacturing equipment, repairing and refurbishing existing equipment, fabricating custom machine components and providing process improvement expertise. By utilizing the philosophies of high quality, advanced techniques and superior customer service, Howell Machine has built an industry-wide reputation for manufacturing reliable, functional and quality-oriented machines and components. Since 1989, Howell Machine has been a premier supplier of custom equipment and technical expertise to the ammo industry. For more information, visit howellmachine.com or call 208-743-7418.
A new HPR line of Emcon cartridges in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP was designed for use with suppressors. It employs quieter but also cleaner loads for extended baffle life. Black Ops ammo for these cartridges, plus .223, boasts HyperExpansion bullets. HPR offers dozens of handgun loads, from .380 to .45 Colt, and .222, .308 and 300 Blackout (supersonic) ammo for rifles.. There are 18 options for the .223 alone! For more information, visit hprammo.com or call 928-468-0223.
Lapua has expanded its selection of brass cases, adding the .300 Blackout, 8x57IS and the 7mm-08 in 2015. A new polymer-tipped Naturalis bullet, in .308, .323 and .366, appears in Lapua’s hunting cartridges as well as in its list of components. There’s also a new 300-grain FMJBT Lock Base for long shooting with the .338 Lapua. There’s also a new 90-grain offering in 6mm BR. Lapua features a dozen loads for the 6.5x55mm and four more for its own 6.5x47mm. For more information, visit lapua.com.
Magtech/Sellier & Bellot
The Czech firm of Sellier & Bellot appeared 190 years ago with a five-year license to manufacture primers, granted by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz I. Production soon rose to 700 million primers per year, and Louis Sellier and Nikolaus Bellot looked for new horizons. Recently on this timeline, Magtech joined S&B, with comprehensive lines of rifle, pistol and shotgun ammo from South America. Magtech’s list includes hollow point and Cowboy Action loads, plus ball and CleanRange lead-free ammo. S&B offers a wide range of LRN, FMJ and JHP bullets in 9mm, .38 Special and .45 Colt, with high-performance FMJ and JHP loads in .357 SIG, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Its JHP and SP ammo in .357 and .44 Magnum and .45 Colt are potent enough for big game. For more information, visit magtechammunition.com or call 800-466-7191.
The Swedish ammo firm has long been known for superior brass cases and powders, and for the .308 and .358 Norma Magnum cartridges. But until recently, distribution hurdles have kept these products and loaded Norma ammo from many U.S. shooters. But NormaUSA is changing that picture with dozens of loads for popular American rounds from the .243 to .300 Winchester—and improved access to them. The deep-driving Oryx bullet delivers the upset you get from Trophy Bonded and Swift A-Frame soft points. Sleek lead-free Kalahari hollow points fly flat and open violently in deer-size game. Norma’s African PH series with Woodleigh Solids and Bonded Softnose bullets serves big-bore enthusiasts. A dozen popular rounds, from .375 H&H to .505 Gibbs, come in felt-lined boxes with ballistics data and diagrams of dangerous game. Of course, Norma still makes match ammo, and sells component bullets, cases and powder. New cases this year include the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel and .26 Nosler. For more information, visit norma-usa.com.
Nosler introduced black-nickel-plated Noveske ammo, specifically for self-loaders, last year. Now it’s joined by the SSA series—cartridges for high-volume shooters using 5.56mm, 6.8, 300 BLK, .30-06 and .308 rifles. The Ballistic Tip line announced in 2014 has eight new loads this year. The Trophy Grade roster swells by 10. Six of the seven new Match Grade loads are for handguns, from 9mm to .45 ACP. In bullets, the AccuBond LR series, with ballistic coefficients to .730, has a new entry: a 142-grain 6.5mm. The 300-grain .458 Ballistic Tip is new, as are three lead-free E-Tips in .224, .308 and .338. For more information, visit nosler.com or call 800-285-3701.
Now headquartered in Texas, PMC (Precision Made Cartridges) lists Starfire and Bronze pistol ammo for cartridges from the .380 ACP to .44 Magnum, with FMJ, JHP and JSP bullets. Its centerfire rifle line—.223, 5.56, 7.62x39mm, .308 and .50 BMG—features Open-Tip Match, FMJ and (for the big .50) brass bullets. For more information, visit pmcammo.com or call 281-407-5655.
Remington’s newest bullets in the rifle line are the Premier Copper Solids, which are now polymer tipped. A 130-grain .270 Copper Solid exits at 3,060 fps but reaches 500 yards still clocking 2,040 fps, where Core-Lokt bullets from the same rifle fall below 1,900 fps. New Hog Hammer loads for seven cartridges (including .450 Bushmaster) feature Barnes TSX bullets for deep penetration in tough animals. For small game, there’s Gold Box .17 HMR and .22 WMR ammo with polymer-tipped bullets for flatter flights. Hunters using shotguns for deer are well served by AccuTip Bonded 12-gauge slugs. These sleek .58-caliber projectiles for rifled barrels have jackets of cartridge brass. An alternative, the Premier Copper Slug, a 1-ounce hollow point in 12 gauge, has just appeared in a lighter 20-gauge version. Handgun loads at Remington include the new JHP Ultimate Defense line, with nickeled cases. It joins the Golden Saber series, with bullet jackets of cartridge brass. For more information, visit remington.com or call 800-243-9700.
Its parent company, Maxam, has munitions roots dating to 1896. Texas-based Rio Ammunition offers a wide range of shotshells, including lethal and non-lethal self-defense loads. “Royal Buck” buckshot ammunition clocks 1,345 fps, while the frangible and low-recoil options clock 1,200 fps. Brenneke-style slugs, with armored and expanding versions, complement a series of “less lethal” polyethylene shot, rubber ball and beanbag loads. For more information, visit rioammo.com.
Sharps Rifle Company
It’s not what you think! This company has nothing to do with the big dropping-block single-shots that swept the plains of bison 140 years ago. In fact, the .25-45 Sharps is as far from the .45-90 and .50-100 as you could imagine! It’s the .223 necked up to .257. The result: a deer-class round that cycles smoothly through AR rifles and kicks 87-grain Speer Hot-Cor bullets downrange at 3,000 fps. No rifle alteration is necessary, save the new barrel. A practical round, it’s now loaded in several forms. For more information, visit srcarms.com or call 307-436-2795.
This company’s .338 bullets now include a 225-grain Pro-Hunter; and the Long Range Specialty stable has grown to eight. Green polymer tips now grace BlitzKing hollow points. For 2015 they’ve been added to the iconic MatchKing. New catalog items include 69- and 77-grain .224 Tipped MatchKings (TMKs), and four TMKs for .30-bores: 125, 155, 168 and 175 grains. Known for rifle bullets, Sierra also has 37 jacketed pistol bullets for defensive, target and hunting loads. Its Infinity exterior ballistics software is an industry standard. The new Version 7 has expanded tables and capabilities. For more information, visit sierrabullets.com or call 888-223-3006.
Sig Sauer recently stepped into the ammo production arena with its V-Crown JHP pistol cartridges, and now the company is offering a dozen of these loads from .380 ACP to .44 Magnum and .45 Colt, as well as a smaller line of FMJ loads. New match-grade 300 Blackout subsonic and supersonic loads complete Sig’s current stable, but it’s growing fast! For more information, visit sigsauer.com or call 603-610-3000.
Speer is now offering Short Barrel ammo—loads specifically for snub-nose handguns, even in .357 and .44 Magnum. The company is also offering Lawman training loads from .32 to .45 ACP. Deep Curl bullets, sold as components, give hunters a lethal edge with both rifles and handguns. The Grand Slam is essentially the Deep Curl bullet without bonding. Speer still offers its Hot-Cor soft points, plus hollow-point bullets for target and varmint shooting. The TNT Green is a lead-free alternative. Varmint Soft Points are designed to kill quickly but minimize pelt damage in furbearers. For more information, visit speer-ammo.com or call 800-379-1732.
The new Swift plant in Quinter, Kansas is chugging out an expanded line of A-Frame and Scirocco bullets. The A-Frame is designed to drive deep and retain at least 90 percent of its weight after crashing into heavy muscle at speeds to 3,300 fps. The same goes for the streamlined Scirocco, also bonded but without a mid-section dam. Both bullets expand at impact velocities as low as 1,750 fps. The A-Frame line (40 bullets from .257 to .509) has flat-nose options for lever guns and revolvers, plus dangerous-game bullets. For more information, visit swiftbullets.com or call 785-754-3959.
From .380 ACP to .500 S&W, Ultramax offers remanufactured pistol ammo with a variety of bullet types, from lead to jacketed to frangible. All of the loading is done on automatic machines set to ensure sizing to SAAMI specs—after the cases are inspected, washed and tumbled bright. The Cowboy Action stable includes 22 loads in 17 chamberings, up to .45-90. For more information, visit ultramaxammunition.com or call 800-345-5852.
You know its labels: Ramshot, Accurate and Blackhorn 209. Burning rates in these lines of propellants span the spectrum from autopistol to long-range rifle. Blackhorn 209 delivers a clean burn in muzzleloaders. Magpro, an excellent slow-extruded powder, is short-cut for easy metering. The Western manual contains loads (with barrel length and twist) for cartridges from the 5.7×28 FN (35-grain bullet) to a .550 Magnum (800-grain). For more information, visit westernpowders.com or call 406-234-0422.
Along with its high-quality, custom-grade firearms, Wilson Combat offers an extensive line of handgun and rifle ammo. Wilson’s ammo features U.S.-made brass cases, bullets and other components, with clean-burning, low-flash powders that help preserve your firearm’s longevity as well as your night vision. Rigid taper crimping and post-manufacture tumble polishing enhance the ammo’s feeding and extraction reliability. The operating pressures are tailored for different barrel lengths while achieving consistent velocity measurements and superb accuracy. For more information, visit wilsoncombat.com or call 870-545-3618.
Never have shooters had more or better bullet options in Winchester centerfire rifle ammo than they do now. The Power Max Bonded’s lead core is nearly inseparable from its cupronickel jacket. Super-X Power Core 95/5 hollow-points—95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc—drive deep, too. The XP3 taps both designs, with a lead-heel core behind a copper hollow-point nose with a polymer tip. The New Razorback XT was developed for hunting feral hogs. It boasts copper hollow-point bullets with beveled nose cavities to power through tough hide. The nickel-plated hulls hold flash-suppressed powder. For more information, visit winchester.com.
Wolf Performance Ammunition
The firm’s PolyFormance coating on its steel-case loads ensures slick feeding in autoloading rifles and handguns favored by high-volume shooters. Choose from six military rifle rounds (including the 5.45x39mm and 7.62×54 R), and five pistol cartridges. All but the .40 S&W and .45 ACP are Berdan-primed. The bullets are mostly FMJs, with some JHP and JSP offerings. Wolf catalogs steel-case ammo for the 6.5 Grendel as well, with a Combat Coating. The Military Classic stable includes more polymer-coated steel loads. Wolf Gold rifle and pistol ammo comprises Boxer-primed brass hulls with expanding as well as FMJ bullets. For more information, visit wolfammo.com or call 888-757-9653.