Trends in Ammo

This year, you'll see some hard-hitting new products

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Trends in the ammo business continue on the fast and hard-hitting track. This year should bring some intense shotshell loads in the waterfowl category, with more price-sensitive options in the nontoxics. Centerfire ammo continues to get fatter and faster, with even more offerings for home safety and law enforcement. This translates to a greater selection and more reasons for your customers to buy some new ammo in ’05. Here’s a look.

Winchester Ammunition
When you decide to offer the most powerful production handgun cartridge in the world, you better have a bullet up to the task. Winchester has it-the new 400-grain Platinum Tip Hollow Point. This heavyweight for the 500 S&W; delivers massive knockdown power on big, dangerous game. SRP: $43.82.

Winchester will also offer a new Super-X load for the .204 Ruger, which features a 34-grain jacketed hollowpoint bullet. SRP: $15.93. Booth #3251 and #3351. (618-258-2000;

Sierra Bullets
Sierra will add two new bullets to the popular BlitzKing line for 2005, ideally suited for the .204 Ruger and other .20-caliber cartridges and the .20 Tactical.

The no. 1032 BlitzKing is a 32-grain flat-base bullet sporting a MatchKing jacket and proprietary acetyl-resin tip for superb accuracy and rapid expansion. The no. 1039 BlitzKing is a 39-grain boattail bullet, also with the Match-King jacket and acetyl-resin tip.

Both bullets are designed to handle high velocities for varmint hunting and plinking. SRP: $16.13 per box. Booth #101. (800-223-8799;

Late-season pheasant hunting can test the skill, patience and especially the ammunition of the serious upland hunter. New for 2005, Remington has tilted the odds in the hunter’s favor with the new Nitro Pheasant shotshell loads.

Designed to deliver maximum performance, these shotshells consist of premium, extra-hard Copper-Lokt plated shot, protected by Remington’s famous Power Piston wad and encased in a unique sparkle-hull design.

The Nitro Pheasant high-brass loads deliver a 12-gauge, 1-ounce payload at 1,400 fps and a 20-gauge, 1-ounce payload at 1,300 fps. For hunters that prefer a magnum shot charge, Premier Pheasant loads are also offered in a 12-gauge, 13/8-ounce payload at 1,300 fps and a 20-gauge, 1¼-ounce payload at 1,185 fps. Booth #482, #601, and #1005. (800-243-9700;

Like most companies in the bullet business, Nosler’s Ballistic Lab has provided custom ammunition for some of the biggest names in the shooting industry for years.

Now, how would you like to tell your best customers that they can get the same loads used by their favorite shooting and hunting writers? Imagine them walking into elk camp and telling their buddies, “I’m shooting the same loads as Jim Zumbo!”

That’s a pretty strong selling point. Initial offerings include more than 200 different loadings for 39 hunting and varmint cartridges-all with premium Nosler Partition, Ballistic Tip, AccuBond or Solid Base bullets. SRP: $28.95 to $154. Booth #3979. (800-285-3701;

[pagebreak] Hornady
There was a time when hunting deer with a shotgun slug meant close shots only. Those days are over. Hornady’s SSTTM Shotgun Slug transforms your favorite rifled-barrel slug gun into a weapon that will outperform some centerfire rifles. The Hornady Shotgun Slug allows you to bring unheard of accuracy and terminal performance to slug-only areas.

The accurate SSTTM bullet delivers sub-two-inch groups at 100 yards with the flattest trajectory on the market. The polymer tip of Hornady’s field-proven SSTTM helps it slice through the air, minimizing drop and wind drift. And when the bullet strikes its target, the tip initiates violent expansion, transferring its energy payloaad to ensure a swift kill. Booth #627. (800-338-3220;

Barnes Bullets
Designed for stopping dangerous African big game, Barnes’s new Banded Solids feature multiple bands, or rings, cut into the shank of each round-nose solid bullet. These bands relieve pressure as the bullet passes through the bore and virtually eliminate copper fouling. The new Banded Solids deliver exceptional accuracy and penetration. These flat-nosed, homo-geneous copper-zinc-alloy bullets will not disintegrate or deflect when impacting heavy bone.

Barnes Banded Solids will be available in the following weights and calibers: .375, 270-grain FN Solid; .375, 300-grain FN Solid; .416, 350-grain FN Solid; .416, 400-grain FN Solid; .458, 400-grain FN Solid; .458, 500-grain FN Solid. SRP: $29.99 to $57.99. Booth #145. (800-574-9200;

Terminal Velocity
Federal Ultra-Shok High Density

Last fall on a duck hunt in the Dakotas, I had the pleasure of shooting several boxes of Ultra-Shok High Density Tungsten waterfowl loads from Federal. It would not be an exaggeration to call them devastating.

In fact, they were hardest-hitting waterfowl loads I’ve shot to date, and they have the ability to consistently fold ducks at a distance past 60 yards. Statistically, the HD shells deliver twice the energy of steel loads at 50 yards.

The new loads are 3.5 times softer than tungsten-iron yet have the equivalent density. They also manage 20 percent more payload than the previous 11/8- to 13/8-ounce loads, have guaranteed uniform pellet size and perform with 15 percent less wind drift than steel shot.

Available in 12-gauge, 3-inch and 3½-inch loads in BB or no. 2 size shot, the shells come in boxes of 10 and retail for within cents of last year’s Federal Tungsten Shells. SRP: $19.95 for 3-inch, $21.95 for 3½-inch. Booth #3551. (800-322-2342;