Whether your hunting involves rimfire rifles, big game, waterfowl or something in between, there’s a nifty new load to consider for 2017.
Federal Hunter Match .22 Long Rifle. Federal engineers have applied their ballistic brilliance to a cartridge that has been somewhat neglected during the last several years. Federal’s new 40-grain Hunter Match .22 Long Rifle load has been designed to provide true “long-range” accuracy and unmatched terminal performance out to 100 yards. With its nickel-plated case to help with flawless extraction and corrosion resistance, this load is ideal for hunters. MSRP: $7.95 for a 50-round box.
22 Nosler Added To Trophy Grade Varmint Ammunition Line. One of the most-exciting new cartridges on the planet, the 22 Nosler, is now available in the Nosler Trophy Grade Varmint Ammunition line. Nosler announced in January that the new cartridge was designed to transform any standard AR-15 into the fastest, most powerful .22 caliber available for the platform, with the least amount of modification. The new addition to Nosler’s cartridge family, which also features optimized 6.5mm, 7mm, 30 caliber and .338 magnum class rounds, delivers 30-percent more energy and is nearly 300 fps faster than a .223 Remington/5.56 NATO. Born from the idea of creating the most powerful .22 caliber centerfire cartridge that would readily function in the AR platform, the 22 Nosler’s case design takes advantage of the AR-15’s unparalleled modularity, making the conversion from a standard .223 Remington/5.56 NATO to the 22 Nosler simple, requiring only a swap of the upper to the new chambering and switching out to a 6.8 Rem SPC magazine. This effortless two-step retrofit will allow shooters to experience the 22 Nosler’s lightning fast, hard-hitting performance, while still being able to use their existing 223 bolt carrier group.
Hornady Black Ammunition. The biggest announcement from Hornady for 2017 is the new line of Black Ammunition. Possibly best described as ammunition that has been tailored to firearms generally considered to be within the tactical arena, this new lineup is also a great choice for hunters using bolt-action rifles and other more-traditional weaponry. Black ammunition departs from common specialized ammunition lines in that it is not bullet specific; it is best described as platform specific. The packaging is easily identifiable and the loads are intended to provide high performance for high-volume shooters. Initially, 14 offerings will be available and include loads for the 5.45×39, .223 Rem., 5.56 NATO, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blackout, .308 Win., 7.62×39, .450 Bushmaster, and 12 gauge. Prices range from between $15 and $40 per box.
Hornady Adds To LEVERevolution Line. If you’re looking for definitive proof that specialization and diversity in factory ammunition is at an all-time high, consider the two new LEVERevolution loads from Hornady, designed to meet the needs of hunters and others who depend on lever-action rifles and revolvers. First, there is the new 190-grain FTX load for the .41 Magnum, a cartridge that has a cult-like following but has almost fallen into obsolescence. However, the real surprise is the 110-grain FTX load for the mostly forgotten, completely antique, and almost-extinct, .25-35 Winchester. Some grandpas and sentimental whitetail hunters will really be happy with the latter because it ups the performance of their old deer getter. Suggested retail for the .41 Magnum load is $26.48. For the .25-35: $41.67.
Federal Black Cloud FS Steel Upgrade. For a decade, Black Cloud steel shot has stood among the deadliest loads for waterfowl hunting. Now it’s even better. Equipped with the new FLITECONTROL FLEX wad, it delivers improved pattern density and consistency through both ported chokes and standard tubes. The wad’s redesigned rear-deploying petals and side-mounted vents stimulate the payload for separation from the wad at the ideal moment, for dense and deadly patterns. Eight new loads for the 20, 12, and 10 gauge are available in a variety of shot sizes from No. 4 to BBB. MSRP: $20.95 per box.
Federal Hi-Bird. Federal has combined speed, hard-hitting pellets, and a specialized wad to create an all-new load that will fold the highest doves, crows and pigeons, as well as upland birds. The powerful Hi-Bird load’s two-piece wad features SoftCell technology to decrease perceived recoil and produce more consistent long-range patterns. Plus, its lead shot is engineered for the optimum blend of hardness and density. Five high-velocity 12-gauge loads are available in shot sizes ranging from No. 6 to No. 8. Price per box ranges from $10.95 to $12.95.
Hevi Shot Triple Beard. Always respected for the innovation it has brought to shotshells, for 2017 HEVI-Shot has new 20- and 12-gauge loads for turkey hunting. This all-lead turkey load combines multiple technologies to deliver better performance. The Triple Beard load combines an equal mix of premium lead antimony pellets in sizes 5, 6 and 7. Available for 2017 are a 3.5-inch 12-gauge, and 3-inch 20- and 12-gauge loads. Those old longbeards better keep their heads down! Suggested retail: $15 to $20 per box.
Norma Adds 6.5 Creedmor. The 6.5 Creedmoor continues to gain popularity with hunters, especially those who want to deliver downrange .308 Winchester-like ballistics with less recoil. For 2017 Norma—a company established for the original purpose of making 6.5×55 Mauser ammunition—has added a new 6.5 Creedmoor load to its USA ammunition line. It is loaded with the excellent and flat-shooting 130-grain Swift Scirocco II bullet, at a muzzle velocity of 2,789 fps. This load is suitable for animals as large as elk out beyond 300 yards. MSRP: $40.88 per box of 20.
PolyCase Expands ARX Line. Changing the way we look at ammunition continues to be the mission of PolyCase. For 2017 the company has added several loads that utilize its copper-polymer injection-molded projectiles. 357 Mag. aficionados now have an 86-grain ARX load at 1,650 fps and it generates 520 foot-pounds of energy. Though intended as a defense load, it should be ideal in lever-action hunting rifles chambered for the .357. If your idea of stopping stuff is to use a .45 Colt, PolyCase has a 158-grain ARX load in their Preferred Hunting line for that old cowboy classic. Additional ARX Preferred Hunting loads are available for the .458 SOCOM and .50 Beowulf. Prices range from $20 to $55 per box.
Remington Adds .300 Blackout. Next to the .223 Rem. the .300 Blackout has become the most popular AR-15 (Modern Sporting Rifle) cartridge. It offers the duality of supersonic and suppressed fire and is suitable for a wide range of hunting applications. However, the .300 Blackout is also fun to shoot and of course hunters need to practice. Remington has recognized the .300 Blackout is a true volume-fire cartridge and is now offering a new Freedom Bucket containing 180 rounds of .300 Blackout at a suggested retail price of $133.73.
Federal 209 Muzzleloading Primer. The old mountain men knew that ignition was everything when it came to their muzzleloaders. Nothing has changed, and the modern hunter who relies on the front stuffer has a new way to make his smokepole go bang. Federal has developed a new 209 Muzzleloading Primer to complement its line of B.O.R. Lock MZ bullets. The formulation provides superior resistance to moisture and more reliable and hotter ignition of both granulated powder and pellets, without causing the excessive fouling in the breech area. 100-count packs: $8.95.