The Top 10 New Hunting Loads from SHOT Show 2018

The latest ammo introductions for hunters

This year's SHOT Show was a year of mild, yet pleasing, ammo line extensions, improvements, and additions. No real showstoppers cropped up, but a few ooh's and aah's were forthcoming. Here's a look at my top picks, in no particular order.

Hornady Subsonic .300 Blackout

Hornady Subsonic .300 Blackout
Hornady's new subsonic ammo.Hornady

Hornady is a veritable giant in today's world of ammo manufacturers, and you'll see several of their offerings on this list. They produce quality ammo, and this new subsonic ammo will be no exception. The 190-grain SUB-X leaves the muzzle at 1,050 fps, retaining 900-plus fps (the velocity necessary for the SUB-X to expand) to a rather surprising 300-plus yards, a product of traveling below the speed of sound where vibration and resistance is minimal. This load is perfect for thumping hogs below the sound barrier. Hornady

Browning BXS Solid Expansion

Browning BXS Solid Expansion
A new lead-free offering from Browning.Browning

Lead-free bullets and ammo are slowly but surely entering every hunting arena in the US, and Browning is joining the march with this new offering. It's a polymer-tipped, solid copper bullet seated in a nickel case and designed for controlled expansion and deep penetration. Presently available in 6.5 CM (120-gr. 2,850 fps), .270 Win (130 gr. 3,100 fps), .308 Win (150 gr. 2,820 fps), .30-06 (180 gr. 2,750 fps), 7mm Rem. Mag. (139 gr. 3,150 fps), 300 WSM (180 gr. 3,000 fps), and .300 Win Mag (180 gr. 3,000 fps). Browning Ammo

Hornady Precision Hunter

Hornady Precision Hunter
Hornady's newest addition to its Precision Hunter line.Hornady

This ammo has made quite a splash in the long-range shooting and hunting world during recent years, so it's exciting to see new offerings in Hornady's Long Lean & Mean line of ammo. The one that excited me most is the .280 Ackley Improved stuffed with a 162-grain ELD-X, which hits the road at 2,850 fps and has a G1 BC of .630. I'm a fan of the .280 AI, and its good to see major ammo manufacturers picking it up. Other new additions to the Precision Hunter line include 6mm Creedmoor, .25-06, .257 Weatherby Magnum, 6.5 PRC, .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, .338 WM, and .338 Lapua mag. Hornady

Black Hills Honeybadger 45-70

Black Hills Honeybadger 45-70
A solid copper offering from Black Hills.Black Hills

Another of my favorite ammo manufacturers is offering a 325-grain "Honey Badger" bullet stuffed into a .45-70 Gov't. The solid copper, non-deforming, non-fragmenting projectile exits the barrel at around 1,900 fps, and when shot into ballistic gelatin creates a temporary wound cavity up to seven inches in diameter and almost three feet long. Seems the flutes in the forefront of the bullet have a hydraulic effect on soft tissue. The Honey Badger line is designed for home and self-defense, but with that kind of performance it would appear ideal for hunting anything up to and including the big bears. Black Hills

Federal Premium Edge TLR 7mm, .270

Federal Premium Edge TLR 7mm, .270
Federal's new “Terminal Long Range” hunting bullet was one of the biggest launches last year.Federal Premium

Last year one of the most exciting new-ammo announcements was Federal's new "Terminal Long Range" hunting bullet. The design has since been busy proving itself in the field with impressive results. Now Federal is announcing that Edge TLR ammo will soon be available in 7mm Rem Mag (155 gr.), .270 Win (140 gr.), and .270 WSM (140 gr.). Another exciting development for handloaders is that the TLRs will be available in component form in 140-grain .277, 155-grain .284, and 175- and 200-grain .308. Federal Premium

CCI Mini-Mag 22 LR SHP

CCI Mini-Mag 22 LR SHP
CCI has upped the bar again with its new 40-grain SHP.CCI

A decades-long leading producer of rimfire ammo, CCI has upped the bar again with its new 40-grain SHP (segmented hollow point) ammo. The projectile is designed to split three ways upon impact, creating three different wound channels and bringing quick demise to marauding varmints and tasty small game. Touted to be super clean and reliable, this new rimfire ammo will be loads of fun to try out. CCI Ammunition

Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact

Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact
This ammo is designed to hit deer-sized game hard.Winchester

Another first solid copper, polymer-tipped bullet from a major manufacturer, this ammo is designed to hit deer-sized game hard. It features a large-diameter point for rapid expansion, and the solid copper construction will promote weight retention. Great for areas that require lead-free ammo, the XP Copper Impact is available in five cartridges: .243 Win (85 gr.), .270 Win (130 gr.), .308 Win, .30-06, and .300 Win. Mag. (150 gr.). Winchester

Nosler Ballistic Tip 280 AI

Nosler Ballistic Tip 280 AI
Nosler is also introducing a 6.5 Creedmoor 120 BT (pictured).Nosler

I would be remiss not to mention Nosler's steadfast dedication to the .280 Ackley Improved. It's a cartridge that has had a faithful following for decades, but is just recently coming into its own due to the modern trend of shooting into the next county. Known to produce some of the finest quality brass in the industry, until recently Nosler has been the only major manufacturer who produced .280 AI. Now they are adding a 140-grain Ballistic Tip to their array of .280 AI loads, designed to be devastating on deer, hogs, and such. Nosler

Federal Premium New 224 Valkyrie

Federal Premium New 224 Valkyrie
Federal designed the new 224 Valkyrie to be the most potent cartridge chamber-able in an MSR 15 platform.Federal Premium

I've saved the two most exciting announcements for last. You've probably already heard of them, if not you should pick up your pillow and pull your head out from under. Federal designed the new 224 Valkyrie to be the most potent cartridge chamber-able in an MSR 15 platform (a position contested by the 22 Nosler cartridge). It shoots a streamlined 90-grain projectile hard enough to keep it supersonic past 1,300 yards. An explosion of ammunition offerings have leaped forth from a myriad of manufacturers, including Federals own Fusion 90-grain hunting load. Federal Premium

Hornady's New 6.5 PRC

Hornady's New 6.5 PRC
Hornady’s new 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is quite possibly the finest mule deer and pronghorn cartridge ever designed.Hornady

The big brother to the wildly popular 6.5 Creedmoor, Hornady's new 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is quite possibly the finest mule deer and pronghorn cartridge ever designed. I have no personal experience with it yet, but numbers don't lie, and this new cartridge shapes up. It won't have the barrel life of the 6.5 CM, nor the mild attitude, but it will perform as fast and efficiently as sanity allows. Check out Hornady's new Precision Hunter 6.5 PRC loaded with the 143-grain ELD-X. It travels at 2,960 fps, dropping only 18 inches at 400 yards. Hornady