Ammo '06

Chris Christian dug through piles of press materials from ammunition companies to produce this comprehensive guide to the newest and best bullets this year. Give it a read and see what you should be shooting this year.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Photo Gallery: Ammo Guide 2006
Check out the latest exciting developments in ammunition.

No matter what your customers shoot, or where and how they do it, there is something for everyone in this year's crop of new loads. Riflemen will see a new .338-caliber proprietary cartridge from Federal, along with the addition of more Barnes X-Bullets to existing product lines. Winchester will unveil a new premium game bullet in a new product brand, while Cor-Bon announces its new premium big-game rifle line. Lever-gun aficionados will be excited about Hornady's new Lever Evolution loads.

On the handgun side, Freedom Arms is introducing a proprietary .50-caliber hunting round, while Federal adds two new bullets to its handgun product lines. Hornady brings out what may be the flattest-shooting load for the .500 S&W;, and for those who favor the 9mm for self-defense, Buffalo Bore adds +P+ loadings. Shotgunners will see several new Federal loads in its turkey, waterfowl, buckshot and clay-target products, while Remington adds to the Managed-Recoil shotshell line. A new SST 20-gauge-slug load from Hornady promises to be one of the fastest available.

Here's a longer look at what you'll want on your shelves this year.

Buffalo Bore
Fans of the .45/70 will want to check out Buffalo Bore's new Heavy .47/70 Govt. load. The 300-grain jacketed hollow nose (JHN) leaves the 22-inch barrel of a Marlin 1895 rifle at 2,360 fps, and the company says the load can be used safely in any .45/70 rifle or handgun built for smokeless powder, with the exception of Trap Door replicas.

The new "Lower Recoil" .44 Magnum is a re-creation of the classic Elmer Keith load. A hard-cast, gas-checked, 255-grain Keith-style semi-wadcutter leaves a four-inch barrel at 1,250 fps. Pressure levels are well under SAAMI specs, making it ideal for compact .44s, while still producing excellent penetration in game animals.

Although best known for heavy-caliber loads, Buffalo Bore will become the only company to release +P+ 9mm loads to the general public. Using the Speer Gold Dot bullet, and shot from a four-inch barrel Glock Model 19, the load yields the following velocities: 1,390 fps with 115 grains, 1,295 fps with 124 grains and 1,165 fps with 147 grains. Those looking to boost the power of their .40 S&Ws; will also find +P loads (Speer Gold Dot bullet) in 155 and 180 grains. Both calibers are loaded with flash-retarded powder to reduce muzzle flash in low light. (208-756-8085; buffalobore.com)

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Photo Gallery: Ammo Guide 2006
Check out the latest exciting developments in ammunition.

Cor-Bon/ Glaser

The all-copper Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet has earned an excellent reputation in the hunting fields for accuracy, penetration and expansion, with almost 100 percent weight retention. This year Cor-Bon will introduce it in its new DPX Hunter line of rifle ammunition.

Loaded to SAAMI velocities, it will be available in: .243 Win. (85 grains), .25/06 Rem. (100 grains), .270 Win., .270 WSM and .270 Weatherby (130 grains), .280 Rem. (140 grains), .30 Carbine (100 grains), .30/06 (168 grains), .308 Win. (130 and 168 grains), .300 Win. Mag., 300 WSM and .300 Rem. Ultra Mag. (180 grains), 7mm Rem. Ultra Mag. and 7mm Rem. Mag. (160 grains) and the .480 Ruger (275 grains). (800-626-7266; corbon.com)

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Photo Gallery: Ammo Guide 2006
Check out the latest exciting developments in ammunition.

**Federal Cartridge **

There are lots of new products from Federal this year, and the one making the biggest splash may well be the new .338 Federal. The first cartridge to carry the Federal name, the .338 is a .308 case necked up to accept a .338-caliber bullet. Designed for big-game hunters, the new round offers a faster muzzle velocity than the .308 Win. with heavy bullets and produces the same muzzle energy as the 7mm Rem. Mag. (but slightly less recoil). And it operates from a short-action rifle. For 2006 it will be available in three loadings in the Federal Premium line: 180-grain Nosler AccuBond (2,840 fps and 3,223 foot-pounds of energy), 185-grain Barnes Triple-Shock (2,760 fps; 3,129 foot-pounds) and the 210-grain Nosler Partition (2,630 fps; 3,225 foot-pounds). Federal designed the cartridge in conjunction with Sako, so look for it in the company's Sako 75 line.

In the Premium Vital-Shok line, Federal will expand its offerings of the Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet (TSX) with the addition of .243 Win. (85 grains), .308 Win., .30/06, .300 Win. Mag. and .300 WSM (165 grains) and the .300 Weatherby, .300 H&H; and .300 Rem. Ultra Mag. (180 grains).

Big-bore fans get the TSX bullet under the Premium Cape-Shok label with the addition of .375 H&H; (300 grains), .416 Rigby and .416 Rem. (400 grains) and .458 Win. Mag. (500 grains). In addition, the Cape-Shok line will now include the .458 Lott with a 500-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw and a 500-grain Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solid.

The new Barnes Maximum Range X-Bullet is a departure from the pure copper construction of its other bullets. The jacket and upper half of the bullet is copper, but it has a tungsten core and a polymer tip. Designed for deep penetration and consistent expansion, this new bullet will be offered in Federal's Premium Vital-Shok line with loads in .30/06, .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag. and .300 WSM, all with a 180-grain bullet.

Small-bore shooters will see two new V-Shok .22 Hornet loads, with a 33-grain Speer TNT slug or a 45-grain softpoint. A new .22 LR Gold Medal target round also makes an appearance.

Shotgunners will see a number of useful new loads. The Mag-Shok Flitecontrol lead turkey load will now be available in a 2¾-inch, 1.5 ounce "short-magnum" load in 4, 5 and 6 shot, with a muzzle velocity of 1,315 fps. The Mag-Shok Heavyweight with Flitecontrol turkey load adds 7 shot in 3.5- and 3-inch shells (1,300 fps). Federal claims that 7 Heavyweight shot has the same impact energy at 40 yards as 5 lead shot, and the increased pellet count of the smaller shot results in more pellets on target.

The Ultra-Shok High Density waterfowl load was well received in 2005; this year it expands with the addition of a 3.5-inch 10-gauge load (15/8 ounces; BB and 2 shot at 1,400 fps), a 3.5- and 3-inch 12-gauge (15/8 ounces for 3.5-inch, 13/8 ounces for 3-inch; 4 shot at 1,450 fps) and a 3-inch 20-gauge load (1 ounce; 2 or 4 shot at 1,350 fps).

The new Wing-Shok Quail Forever load, designed as a premium load for small game birds, features copper-plated, buffered 7.5 and 8 shot in 2¾-inch 12-gauge (11/8 ounces at 1,200 fps) and 8 shot in 2¾-inch 20-gauge (1,150 fps). A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Quail Forever. The Gold Medal Sporting Clays line expands this year with four new 1-ounce, 2¾-inch 12-gauge loads. They use a one-piece hull, 12SE wad and extra-hard lead shot in sizes 7.5, 8 and 8.5. A 3.5-dram load in 8.5 hits 1,350 fps; the other three are 3-dram loads capable of 1,240 fps.

Federal's tight-patterning Flitecontrol wad comes to buckshot users in three new 12-gauge loads with copper-plated, buffered shot in 00: a 12-pellet 3-inch load and a 9-pellet 2¾-inch shell, both at 1,325 fps, and a 2¾-inch Low Recoil load that launches 9 pellets at 1,145 fps.

Making an appearance in the Vital-Shok line this year is a new 2¾-inch 20-gauge slug load that uses the 5/8-ounce Barnes Expander sabot slug (1,600 fps). It's intended for use in fully rifled barrels.

Handgunners have not been ignored el with the addition of .375 H&H; (300 grains), .416 Rigby and .416 Rem. (400 grains) and .458 Win. Mag. (500 grains). In addition, the Cape-Shok line will now include the .458 Lott with a 500-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw and a 500-grain Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solid.

The new Barnes Maximum Range X-Bullet is a departure from the pure copper construction of its other bullets. The jacket and upper half of the bullet is copper, but it has a tungsten core and a polymer tip. Designed for deep penetration and consistent expansion, this new bullet will be offered in Federal's Premium Vital-Shok line with loads in .30/06, .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag. and .300 WSM, all with a 180-grain bullet.

Small-bore shooters will see two new V-Shok .22 Hornet loads, with a 33-grain Speer TNT slug or a 45-grain softpoint. A new .22 LR Gold Medal target round also makes an appearance.

Shotgunners will see a number of useful new loads. The Mag-Shok Flitecontrol lead turkey load will now be available in a 2¾-inch, 1.5 ounce "short-magnum" load in 4, 5 and 6 shot, with a muzzle velocity of 1,315 fps. The Mag-Shok Heavyweight with Flitecontrol turkey load adds 7 shot in 3.5- and 3-inch shells (1,300 fps). Federal claims that 7 Heavyweight shot has the same impact energy at 40 yards as 5 lead shot, and the increased pellet count of the smaller shot results in more pellets on target.

The Ultra-Shok High Density waterfowl load was well received in 2005; this year it expands with the addition of a 3.5-inch 10-gauge load (15/8 ounces; BB and 2 shot at 1,400 fps), a 3.5- and 3-inch 12-gauge (15/8 ounces for 3.5-inch, 13/8 ounces for 3-inch; 4 shot at 1,450 fps) and a 3-inch 20-gauge load (1 ounce; 2 or 4 shot at 1,350 fps).

The new Wing-Shok Quail Forever load, designed as a premium load for small game birds, features copper-plated, buffered 7.5 and 8 shot in 2¾-inch 12-gauge (11/8 ounces at 1,200 fps) and 8 shot in 2¾-inch 20-gauge (1,150 fps). A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Quail Forever. The Gold Medal Sporting Clays line expands this year with four new 1-ounce, 2¾-inch 12-gauge loads. They use a one-piece hull, 12SE wad and extra-hard lead shot in sizes 7.5, 8 and 8.5. A 3.5-dram load in 8.5 hits 1,350 fps; the other three are 3-dram loads capable of 1,240 fps.

Federal's tight-patterning Flitecontrol wad comes to buckshot users in three new 12-gauge loads with copper-plated, buffered shot in 00: a 12-pellet 3-inch load and a 9-pellet 2¾-inch shell, both at 1,325 fps, and a 2¾-inch Low Recoil load that launches 9 pellets at 1,145 fps.

Making an appearance in the Vital-Shok line this year is a new 2¾-inch 20-gauge slug load that uses the 5/8-ounce Barnes Expander sabot slug (1,600 fps). It's intended for use in fully rifled barrels.

Handgunners have not been ignored