A Whole Shot-Load

Drool-Worthy Ammo Intros Fired Up The Greatest Show On Earth

The annual SHOT Show is a chance to see what’s what, and the 2018 edition was no exception. I’ll dispense with the usual scene-setting blather and get right to what pegged my subjective “Ammo Meter” into the red zone. And this is only a slice of the whole pie.

Speer is offering a new 200-gr. 10mm GDHP (1,100 fps) in the Personal Protection line, which should be ideal for fans of this resurgent “Heavy .40” powerhouse.

Federal appears to be going all in on the hot new .224 Valkyrie. They’re offering a 90-gr. Sierra MatchKing BTHP in the Gold Medal Line (2,700 fps), a 60-gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip in the V-Shok line (3,300), a 75-gr. FMJ in the American Eagle line (3,000) and a 90-gr. SP in the Fusion line (2,550). In addition, they’ve got an all-new 9mm Hydra-Shok Deep 135-gr. personal defense load said to provide 50 percent more penetration than the original Hydra-Shok.

Black Hills has expanded the HoneyBadger series to include a 125-gr. .44 Special offering (1,250 fps) and a seriously thumping 325-gr. .45-70 concoction (1,900). And, of course, the South Dakota-based outfit is covering the bases on the burgeoning 6.5 Creedmoor with the Black Hills Gold 143-gr. ELD-X (2,750) and 147-gr. ELD-M (2,700). To be honest, we haven’t seen a cartridge take off like the 6.5 Creedmoor since, well, the .17 HMR.

DoubleTap’s new Defense offerings include a .357 SIG 147-gr. Controlled Expansion JHP (1,255 fps), a 6.8 Remington SPC 90-gr. Bonded Defense JSP (2,805) and a .300 AAC Blackout 125-gr. item (2,400). DT’s Hunter line now has a .454 Casull 300-gr. Controlled Expansion JSP (1, 650 fps), a 6.5 Creedmoor 120-gr. Swift Scirocco II (2,900), a .26 Nosler 145-gr. Barnes LRX Lead-Free (3,400), and a .300 Remington Ultra-Mag 180-gr. Swift Scirocco II (3,325). One of the more interesting things in DT’s Long Range line is a .300 Win Mag 210-gr. Bonded (2,825 fps), which should provide all the downrange muscle any responsible adult could ask for.

Hornady’s Dangerous Game Series has several new entries, all featuring DGX Bonded bullets. They include a 300-gr. 9.3x74R (2,260 fps), a 300-gr. .375 H&H (2,530), a 400-gr. .404 Jeffery (2,300), a 400-gr. .416 Rigby (2,415) and .416 Ruger (2,400), a 480-gr. .450 Rigby (2,400), a 500-gr. .458 Lott (2,300), a 500-gr. .458 Win Mag Superformance (2,140) and a fairly scary 570-gr. .500 Nitro Express (2,120). For high-volume fans of the .223/5.56, Hornady has introduced a new military-grade line of Frontier ammo.

Fiocchi’s Extreme Rifle line has several new offerings employing Swift’s excellent Scirocco II BT Spitzer. Loads include a 130-gr. .270 Winchester (3,050 fps), a 150-gr. 7mm Rem Mag (3,100), a 150-gr. .308 (2,875), a 165-gr. .30-06 (2,875) and a 180-gr. .300 Win Mag (3,020).

Winchester’s Super Suppressed line of subsonic ammo is targeted toward the low noise-signature set and features a 200-gr. .300 Blackout, 168-gr. .308, 147-gr. 9mm, 230-gr. .45 ACP, and a 45-gr. .22 LR and .22 WMR. Additionally, the Big Red has jumped on the polymer-tip defensive handgun bandwagon with the Hybrid-X line, which features a 124-gr. 9mm offering at 1,225 fps. Shotgun-wise, the company has a new Xtended Range Bismuth load. It’s a 3″ 12 featuring 1-5/8-ounce of No. 5 shot at 1,200 fps. This one should be just the ticket for turkey.

Rio has two new shotshells in their Lead Hunting line, 12- and 20-gauge 2-3/4-inch Wing and Target, both featuring 1 and 7/8-ounce of 7-1/2 shot respectively.

Remington’s Golden Saber Black Belt line of defensive handgun ammo features a Mechani-Lokt belt to lock jacket to core, plus a brass-jacketed HP for controlled expansion. Loads include a 124-gr. standard-pressure and +P 9mm (1,125 and 1,180 fps), a 180-gr. .40 S&W (1,015) and a 230-gr. .45 ACP (875)

HSM’s Low Recoil line of hunting ammo employs Sierra bullets and is geared toward younger and/or recoil sensitive shooters. It includes .243, .270 Win, 7mm-08, 7mm Rem Mag, .308, .30-06 and .300 Win Mag. All feature a distinctive HSM orange ballistic tip for easy ID.

Barnes Bullets’ Precision Match line now features a 112-gr. Creedmoor offering and a 140-gr. load in both 6.5 Creedmoor and the unjustly-neglected .260 Remington. The company’s Vor-Tx Rifle line now features a 120-gr. 6.5 Creedmoor, while the Vor-Tx Long Range line features a 95-gr. 6mm Creedmoor and a 127-gr. 6.5 Creedmoor, along with a 129-gr. .270 Win and a 190-gr. .300 Remington Ultra Mag.

MVP Precision

S100 Atacama

Crazy For Creedmoor

Want proof of the exploding popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor? Try this: Mossberg alone had 14 MVP and Patriot bolt-action variants (OK, SKUs for you marketing bean counters) chambered to it at SHOT 2018, according to Mossberg’s Linda Powell. Possibly the ultimate North Haven tool for extracting the most long-range potential from the round is the recently introduced MVP Precision, which features a 24-inch medium-bull barrel. It’ll take either M1A/M14 and AR-10/SR25-type magazines. In addition, Sauer’s stylish new S100 Atacama is another bolt-action platform for the 6.5 Creedmoor — along with 4 other S100 variants. But if you’d rather not follow the Creedmoor crowd, it can be had in the venerable and time-proven 6.5 Swede as well.

The Mad Scientist from Tactical Rx: Side-panel protection from sneaky sideways
sunlight, plus an “inverted bifocal” for long and short focus.

The Eyes Have It

A couple of years back I decided to fight back against my aging eyes, which were making hitting things with handguns a real pain in the butt.

So I contacted Tactical Rx, a Denver-based company specializing in “inverted bifocal” lenses and innovative frames for shooters. Essentially, what this allows is for you to bring the sights into razor-sharp focus by simply tilting your eyes up slightly. The bottom section allows regular focus on the target, but keeping the sights sharp on the upper section is what you need to hit where you want.

Prior to purchase, the folks at Tactical Rx help you ascertain your “eyes to pistol” measurements, as well as where the dividing line on the lenses between “near and far” should be to require the least amount of eye-lift to sharpen in on the sights.

My original set was the “Director” style with amber lenses. They provided superlative service, but eventually it came time to “re-up” to my latest lens prescription. Time marches on and what was “just right” a few years back ultimately needs a bit of tweaking. I decided to try a new frame style this time — the “Mad Scientist.”
Again I chose amber, but this style offered something extra, namely two darker separate lens panels at the sides, which prevent nasty bright sunlight from leaking in from the corners! The effect is remarkably soothing, almost like shooting from inside a blind.

There’s also a very real side benefit to these things. I no longer break out in a cold sweat if I forget to bring my regular reading glasses to the range. My new set of shooting glasses also work just fine for reading tiny text messages, or figuring out what’s on the menu during our “post-range” lunch stops at whatever greasy spoon strikes our fancy.

Ph: (888) 807-5165

The Tuff-Writer: Last ballpoint you’ll ever need?

Tuff Stuff

On our range trips some kind of writing implement is mandatory. Even in this age of smart phones and digital gizmos, you sometimes have to revert to the tools of an earlier era to make laboriously crafted handwritten notes instead of unlimbering some high-tech bit of electronic awesomeness.

It was when we found ourselves running $150 worth of ammo thru a $600 pistol over a $200 chronograph while wearing around $300 worth of eye and ear protection that the concept of a tactical pen costing just under a C-note didn’t seem like such a stretch. The Tuff-Writer is just such an item. Whoever came up with the term “built to last” must’ve had this pen in mind. The one we used was part of the Precision Press series in Olive Drab. It goes for $95.95, but you can get them in brass or titanium running all the way up to $215. These are great pens. Pricey? You bet. But one thing’s for sure. You won’t be mislaying this one like you might a 59¢ Bic anytime soon. To borrow an old-timey ad slogan, “It writes first time, every time.”


Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine June 2018 Issue Now!