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NEW FOR 2005: AMMUNITION
A survey of centerfire, rimfire and shotgun fodder

It may indeed be possible to have too many firearms. After all, a guy with too many may not get around to shooting them all. But one thing is crystal clear: It's impossible to have too much ammo. So with that bit of high-volume philosophy in mind, let's take a look at some of this year's most appealing introductions.

Heavier indeed: Buffalo Bore has turned its attention to the .38 Special with two new seriously enhanced loads featuring a 158-grain Lead Semi-Wadcutter HP at 1,000 fps and a 125-grain Gold Dot at 1,050 fps. Both velocity figures are taken from 2-inch S&W; J-frames, and the loads feature flash-suppressed powders. In addition, the company has a pair of heavy 10mm loads (a 200-grain FMJ FN at 1,200 fps and a 180-grain GDHP at 1,350 fps). For .44 Mag fans, Buffalo Bore also has a 340-grain LBT-LFN number at 1,478 fps. www.buffalobore.com

Buffalo Bore Heavy .38 Special

Small-game special: There's been a lot of fuss over the varmint applications of the .17 HMR, but CCI has come up with a heavier, 20-grain GamePoint load at 2,375 fps that makes a lot of sense for hunters concerned about meat and pelts. www.cci-ammunition.com


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CCI .17 HMR GamePoint

Enhanced lineup: Federal's new centerfire rifle ammo features a boattail bullet (the tentative brand name is "Fusion") with a jacket that's chemically bonded to the core plus a nose that's been skived to produce controlled expansion over all velocities. The big news on the smoothbore side of the ledger is the FliteControl wad system, which releases the shot farther from the muzzle than a traditional wad. This setup will be used in 12 separate loads this year, including two new turkey loads, which feature the company's new Mag-Shok Heavyweight high-density No. 5 and No. 6 shot. Slug shooters will be interested in the company's Vital-Shok TruBall rifled-slug loads that are claimed to be more accurate than the competition, thanks to a wad/slug system that centers the slug in the bore and separates cleanly after exiting the muzzle. Federal now offers a trio of 230-grain loadings for the .45 GAP--a Premium Hydra-Shok, a Premium HST for law enforcement and an FMJ in the American Eagle line. www.federalcartridge.com

Federal Mag-Shok Heavyweight

Super enough: Garrett has a considerable reputation for hotrodded .45-70 loads with super hardcast bullets. Now the company has two new SuperJack offerings loaded with jacketed Woodleigh Weld-Core projectiles. The first and most potent is a 500-grain number at 1,600 fps. The second--and probably the one best suited for North American-game applications--is a 350 grainer at 2,000 fps. www.garrettcartridges.com

A load of loads: Hornady's big news is a new line of personal-defense ammo under the TAP for Personal Defense (FPD) umbrella. All feature black nickel cases and a staked primer. Offerings include .223 (55, 60 and 75 grain), .308 (110, 155 and 168 grain), 9mm Luger (124- and 147-grain XTP), .40 S&W; (155- and 180-grain XTP), .45 ACP (200- and 230-grain HTP). There's also an invigorated .30-30 load in 150- and 170-grain persuasions. According to Hornady, a new propellant permits velocities close to the .300 Savage at conventional pressures--meaning you're good to go with your Marlin 336 or Winchester Model 94. www.hornady.com

Hornady TAP Personal Defense

For the defense: MagSafe Ammo has a fragmenting defensive load for the .500 S&W; that consists of 25 pieces of No. 2 plated shot suspended in a marine epoxy, which adds up to a 210-grain projectile. It's called the Defender, and it clocks 2,150 fps. Recoil is said to be one-third less than standard .500 loads. www.magsafeonline.com

New spectrum: PCA-Spectrum specializes in Natec polymer-cased ammunition, which reduces weight and is said to reduce heat transference to the firearm. The Natec lineup features a full menu of .223 and .308 loadings. Current .223 offerings include a 55-grain FMJBT, a 55-grain Sierra BlitzKing, a 69-grain Sierra MatchKing, a 55-grain PSP and a 55-grain HPBT. The .308 loads feature a 150-grain FMJBT, a 150-grain GameKing and a 168-grain MatchKing HPBT. www.natec-us.com

The complete package: Long famed for bullets, Nosler Inc. now offers a line of NoslerCustom Ammunition that includes more than 200 different loadings for 39 big-game and varmint cartridges. The line includes Nosler Partition, Ballistic Tip, AccuBond and Solid Base bullets. www.noslercustom.com

Small-bore sizzle: Remington's got two new Premier AccuTip-V loads for the .204 Ruger in 32- and 40-grain persuasion at 4,225 fps and 3,900 fps, respectively. The company's also got a Premier Accutip-V .17 Mach 2 load at 2,100 fps, which should be dynamite for small game. New in the UMC line is a pair of 230-grain loads for the .45 GAP--an FMJ and a JHP. In the Managed Recoil centerfire rifle line are two new offerings: a 125-grain .308 load and a 150-grain .300 Win. Mag. load. For the very significant 6.8 SPC, Remington's got a 115-grain Core-Lokt Ultra. And fans of the .280 will want the new 140-grain AccuTip loading in that caliber. Finally, check out the new max dram Nitro Pheasant loads, available in 12 and 20 gauge featuring No. 4, 5 and 6 shot sizes. www.remington.com

Remington Nitro Pheasant

Hot, hotter: Last year Speer came up with a .38 Special Plus-P load featuring a 135-grain GDHP designed for optimum ballistics from a 2-inch revolver. Now the company has expanded the concept to the .357 Magnum. This one should be a "go to" load for wheelgunners. www.cci-ammunition.com

Short-package slammer: Winchester has upped the power parameters of its short-magnum lineup with the .325 WSM. Designed to replicate .338 Win. Mag. performance in a short-action platform, the .325 WSM is available with a 180-grain BST (3,060 fps, 3,742 ft-lbs.), a 200-grain Accubond CT (2,950 fps, 3,864 ft-lbs.) and a 220-grain Power-Point (2,840 fps, 3,939 ft-lbs). www.winchester.com

Winchester .325 WSM
 
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