At HuntStand, we like to go boom, and so we’re stoked to drop the hammer on the best new rifle ammo for 2023. Popularity in long-range rounds for western big game continues to grow, while on the flip side we’re seeing a major resurgence in straight-walled cartridges paired with lever guns for nostalgic brush-busters. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find small—but meaningful—advances in practical ammo for whitetail country.
Remington Premier Long Range Featuring Speer Impact
Speer’s Impact bullets are legendary and a top choice of the reloading crowd. Now, for 2023, you can have Speer’s kingpin bullet with molecularly bonded construction and a high ballistic coefficient in a Remington box. Dubbed the Remington Premier Long Range Featuring Speer Impact, the bullet’s patented SlipStream Tip initiates expansion at velocities 200 fps lower than standard polymer tips to ensure you bring home the backstraps and the headgear when shooting at extended distances. The Impact is sleek and slim, and the tightly tapered hybrid ogive combined with its boattail make it comparable to a match-grade bullet.
Remington 360 Buckhammer
Straight-walled calibers are the rage, especially in the whitetail woods, and Remington has cooked up a good one as part of the best new rifle ammo for 2023. Enter the 360 Buckhammer, a bullet optimized for lever-action rifles with ballistics that deliver buck-dropping ability beyond 200 yards. The round is lethal, and according to those who’ve tapped a Remington 360 Buckhammer primer, it produces low recoil, which is excellent news for small-framed shooters. This round is worth a look in Remington’s Core-Lok SP in grain weights of 180 and 200.
Hornady 7mm PRC
As with many horizontal bow makers, Hornady tends to drop new products in October, which was the case with its 7mm PRC rounds. Filling a void between the ultra-popular 6.5 PRC and the .300 PRC, the 7mm PRC is a long, ballistically perfect make that comes in a 175-grain ELD-X load, a 180-grain ELD-M, and a 160-grain CX load in Hornady’s Outfitter line. Our favorite is Hornady’s 7mm PRC 175 gr ELD-X Precision Hunter, which has a muzzle velocity of 3,000 fps and a G1 ballistic coefficient of .689, which is remarkable. The 7mm PRC is set to take on any big-game animal in North America and abroad.
Federal Power-Shok 360 Buckhammer
It’s nothing new for ammo powerhouse Federal to release a smattering of new cartridges, but it’s a pair of straight-wall Power-Shok additions making the most noise. Available in 180- and 200-grain options, Federal’s Power-Shok 360 Buckhammer was specifically created for lever-action guns. The caliber is perfect for whitetail fanatics from East to West, especially those who prefer to sling lead in locales that were once regulated to slug-only hunting. Federal notes maximum performance beyond 200 yards, and the .358-diameter jacketed soft-point bullet promises exceptional energy transfer.
Federal Hornady ELD-X
When we see Federal and Hornady branding on the same box, we buy that box and give the ammo inside a dance. A legendary collaboration like this belongs among the best new rifle ammo for 2023. Available in an array of popular calibers, this match-grade-accurate bullet hits like a tank and guarantees expansion across a range of velocities, meaning whether your target is 50 yards or 500 yards, terminal performance will be achieved. The bullet’s tip is a non-standard polymer tip, and it has been specially crafted to resist deformation, maximize ballistics, and initiate extreme-range expansion. Other call-out features include the concentric copper jacket, robust shank, boat-tail, and nickel-plated brass.
Browning Silver Series
Offered in an array of calibers, Browning’s new-for-2023 Silver Series utilizes proven, traditional bullet technology with a twist. That twist is a classic soft-point bullet design with nickel plating to ensure maximum corrosion resistance and smooth chambering in bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles. The heavy soft-points hit with fury and cause massive trauma on wild beasts.
Browning Max Point
Browning knows the whitetail is the most sought-after animal in North America, so why not design ammunition designed to drop big white-tailed bucks in their tracks? Don’t worry, they did, and they did it well. Dubbed the Max Point, this rifle ammunition was designed to transfer on-impact energy quickly to ensure the drop-’em-in-their-tracks performance. Offered in a pile of favorite deer calibers, Max Point is also great for mule deer, pronghorn, and other medium-sized big game. The HuntStand community is teeming with whitetail hunters, so this one easily made the cut as part of the best new rifle ammo for 2023.
Winchester Power-Point .35 Whelen
A classic caliber that, over the years, has been used for elk, deer, hogs, bears, and about every game animal, the .35 Whelen needs no introduction. Branded by many as the poor man’s magnum, Winchester adds the .35 Whelen to its tested-true Power-Point line. A design that gives the shooter downrange precision and maximum lethality, Power-Point bullets showcase a copper jacket with strategically placed notches around the jacket’s mouth to initiate rapid and uniform expansion. Winchester’s Power-Point .35 Whelen is offered in a 200-grain bullet option, which will be effective on big game.
Barnes knows what hunters want, and the current lever-action craze is off the charts. So, this savvy manufacturer created a full line of lever gun ammunition and branded it Barnes Pioneer. The big focus when creating Pioneer was consistent feeding and cycling, and early indications tell the mission was accomplished. The first offerings in the lineup include .30-.30 Win., .45/70, .357 Mag., and .45 Colt. Yes, some lever gun cartridges are also revolver cartridges, and if you have a revolver in the calibers mentioned, this is some mighty fine ammo.
Berger Elite Hunter 6.5 PRC
Berger’s Elite Hunter lineup is cheered by the shooting masses, and for 2023, Berger has added the 140-grain Elite Hunter to its 6.5 PRC line. Crafted to be a whitetail and other medium-sized big-game wrecker, the bullet boasts a hybrid-ogive profile for long-range precision. Promising results that rival those of precision handloads, Berger’s Elite Hunter 6.5 PRC is loaded with clean-burning and temperature-sensitive propellants. Another hat-tipper is that Elite Hunter bullets utilize Berger’s J4 Hunting Jacket, which means the bullet must penetrate between 2 and 3 inches before producing extreme hydrostatic shock.