Archive for the 'Ammunition' Category

After 50 Years, The Army And Marine Corps Are Closing In On Dumping Brass-Cased Ammo

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 5 hours ago

Wheee … big news for the DoD.

After more than 50 years of failed attempts, the U.S. military may be on the verge of ending its love affair with brass-cased ammunition, something that predates the Spanish-American War.

Advancements in body armor, communications equipment and other tactical gear have weighed down U.S. combat troops in the Army and Marine Corps, pushing individual loads well past 100 pounds and degrading service members’ physical performance, U.S. military studies have shown.

Both services have launched multiple efforts to lighten the weapons and equipment grunts carried while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but ammunition weight has always been an Achilles’ heel for these efforts.

Oh bull.

We suit these guys up in 30+ pounds of body armor with Kevlar and SAPI plates, and then add cameras, comms equipment, helmets, etc., etc., etc., and then spend millions of dollars to design polymer case ammo as a solution?

My reaction is good!  That will relieve the pressure on the civilian market and [hopefully] the costs of real ammunition.  That’s more for me for less.

7.62×51 NATO Versus .308 Winchester: What’s The Difference?

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago

This rule is backwards from the 5.56mm versus .223 rule, in which a chambering for 5.56mm can shoot both, but not necessarily the other way around.

Is COVID-19 Creating A Nationwide Ammunition Shortage?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 2 days ago


We’ve seen subtle signs of a panic buying here and there the past few weeks but it looks like the lid is about to blow off.

A reader from Arizona, Brent Stuart, tried to purchase two cases of pistol primers last week from Sportsman’s Warehouse in Phoenix, AZ, this afternoon and was told he could only purchase one case. The clerk at the counter told him there was a new corporate policy limiting the amounts of firearms, ammunition and reloading components purchased in a single day. According to the employee, he had received a copy of a memo from corporate headquarters that morning limiting firearm, reloading components and ammunition purchases temporarily.

Online ammunition retailer,, reports a significant increase in sales since February 23, 2020. The company believes that this surge corresponds with the public concern regarding the COVID-19 virus.

Online ammunition retailer,, reports a significant increase in sales since February 23, 2020. The company believes that this surge corresponds with the public concern regarding the COVID-19 virus.

When compared to the 11 days before February 23 (February 12 to 22), in the 11 days after (February 23 to March 4),’sber of transactions increased 68%.

Alex Horsman, the marketing manager at, said of the surge, “We know certain things impact ammo sales, mostly political events or economic instability when people feel their rights may end up infringed, but this is our first experience with a virus leading to such a boost in sales.”

We queried another big box store, Cabela’s and Bass Pro-Shops, who reported that ammunition is selling at a record pace. Week to date tallies for Herter’s 9mm 115-grain FMJ ammunition is 5,589 boxes. That’s 279,450 rounds and it’s not even Saturday. Month to date sales are 40,152 boxes for 2,007,600 rounds and we are not even halfway through March for just that one type and brand of 9mm ammo.

In my little neck of the woods, the shelves at Academy Sports are bare.  There is nothing on them.  The same holds at Cabela’s.  I suspect that even in normal times it would take months to recover inventory.  With the upcoming election cycle, these aren’t normal times.

Why .22LR Won’t Be Available For A Very Long Time

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

He does a good job of explaining the rush on ammunition, and the resulting push to get 5.56mm/.223, .45 ACP and 9mm out the door.  He also explains the retooling process necessary to get .22LR produced, the lower profit margin, and the uncertainty the upcoming election cycle will bring.

You Do Have Enough Ammunition, Don’t You?

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks ago

News from Montana.

Stores across the country are seeing people stocking up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

One other thing people are stocking up on across the country and in Missoula is ammunition.

“I think it’s just people concerned about shortages of all kinds of stuff, so they are trying to buy more ammo before there is a real shortage,” Missoula Axmen salesman Danen Brucker said.

Brucker says they get freight in everyday and it almost always includes ammunition.

“It’s a little bit like the toilet paper shortage you know there really wasn’t a toilet paper shortage until people thought there was and people went out and bought a bunch,” said Brucker. “We saw something with 22 ammunition for a couple of years where people were just buying way more than they could ever use, so yeah we might get to the point where we see a true shortage, because people are just buying so much,” Brucker added.

I don’t.  I’m not of the opinion that you ever have enough ammunition.

Bullets In The Rain

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

How do bullets behave in the rain?

I’ve heard a fair bit of conjecture over the years about what happens when a bullet flies through the rain. Speculation varies from nothing to maybe something. Until now, all I’ve had is an opinion. After conducting tests at EMRTC (New Mexico Tech) ( for Guns & Ammo TV, observed by a team of ballisticians, I can honestly answer, “A lot more than you think.”

The most common speculation I’ve heard is that a pressure wave forms on the supersonic bullet’s nose and pushes anything out of the way — and water never touches the bullet. I’ve also heard that even if water hits the bullet, it moves too fast and has enough mass that a drop has no effect. Both hypotheses are false.

The impetus for this test was Dave Emary who write’s this magazine’s “Bullet Board” column. Emary shared with me an experience he had shooting a High Power Match at Camp Perry, Ohio, during which some serious rain showed up. Dave was shooting and doing just fine until he had one bullet barely clip the edge of the entire 600-­yard target board. It wasn’t just a few inches away from the rest of his group — it was a few feet! Dave was shooting an M1A chambered in .308 Winchester using 180-­grain bullets when his bullet hit about 3 feet away from his expected impact.

[ … ]

… EMRTC had the instrumentation to film a bullet hitting a drop of rain, so we decided it was time to find out exactly what happens when a bullet hits a drop by filming it occur in high speed.

Engineer David Hibbert and a couple of PhD candidates determined that a drop of rain induced a 3.2-­degree yaw on our 125-­grain bullet. Thanks to some judicious pixel counting by our big-­brained team of scientists, we also determined that the bullet’s yaw was not directly correlated to the flight path; 3.2 degrees is some serious yaw. We observed 4 inches of deflection at 50 yards, however, the bullet could have hit multiple water droplets due to our test setup.

[ … ]

Does this mean that shooters need to worry about shooting in the rain? No. Even in a pretty steady rain, the likelihood of hitting a drop with a bullet is pretty low. However, there are a couple of instances where it would be worth remembering this study, should you find yourself shooting in wet weather.

Via Woodpile Report.  This is an interesting result, but not one I would try to plan or train for.  On a related note, I recall one time that “Myth Busters” tested the notion that walking faster or running in the rain caused you to get less wet than if you walked slowly.

It’s not true.  You can see rain drops in terms of specific concentration, or drops per cubic foot or cubic meter (or your favorite volume dimension).  You’re going to walk through the same number of water droplets running as you will walking.

For those who care.

Federal American 223 Versus Federal American 556

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

More Reliable Lever Gun Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Outdoor Life.

Federal’s Hammer Down line is targeted directly to lever-gun hunters. Federal worked directly with Henry Repeating Arms on this project to solve common loading, feeding, and cycling issues with standard ammunition by deburring and adding slight chambering (sic) at key spots on the cases. They also added a higher quality bullet, a controlled-expansion bonded bullet that will perform better than typical lever-gun offerings. You’ll get reliable cycling, as well as expansion without sacrificing penetration. If you’re a lever-gun hunter, especially in straight-wall states, you’ll want to check this out. It’s going to be hitting the shelves in standard lever-gun cartridges from .327 Federal magnum up to .45-70..

The author at Outdoor Life didn’t mean “chambering.”  He meant chamfering.


“We needed to develop a complete line of optimized ammunition for use in lever-action rifles while still functioning in handguns. During development, we looked most specifically at terminal performance across all cartridges when shot in a lever-action firearm,” Federal Ammunition Centerfire Rifle Product Line Manager Eric Miller said in a statement. “With HammerDown, we believe we have accomplished that goal.”

It’s fairly pricey.

  • .357 Magnum 170-grain, $19.99
  • .327 Federal 127-grain — $19.99
  • .44 Rem Mag 270-grain — $19.99
  • .45 Colt 250-grain — $19.99
  • .30-30 Win 150-grain — $19.99
  • .45-70 Govt 300-grain — $38.99

Here is a video from SHOT Show.

Ammunition Sales Are Way Up In Virginia

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

News from Virginia., an online ammunition retailer based in Houston, Texas, recently recorded a massive upsurge in their web traffic and sales in the state of Virginia. The company reports the number of Virginians accessing their website in 2020 has increased by 137 percent as compared to the same time period in the previous year. Their revenue from sales to Virginia accordingly increased by 174 percent. Virginia, once one of’s top 20 markets, has skyrocketed to the top five among far more populous states including California and Texas. “I doubt that any other businesses are affected as much by politics as firearm and ammunition manufacturers and retailers,” said Brandon Black of “We’re now seeing a massive number of Virginia shooters stocking up on ammunition in anticipation of new laws that they believe will make it harder to purchase rounds legally.”

Americans are no strangers to stocking up on goods that will soon become prohibited. On January 16th, 1920, liquor store shelves were stripped dry before prohibition took effect the following day. Countless smokers filled their humidors with Cuban cigars in the days leading up to the 1962 trade embargo. John F. Kennedy himself bought 1,200. Bump stock manufacturers’ websites frequently crashed during the weeks preceding the 2019 ban — even

though the rifle accessories would not be grandfathered in legally. It would seem nothing quite drives up sales more than impending scarcity.’s current records, if accurate, tell a story of Virginians who are fervently stockpiling ammunition. The retailer’s sales have increased across the state. Below, you’ll see an assortment of Virginia cities and their increase in sales from 2019 to 2020 for January 1st through January 20th:

– Arlington – 339%

– Ashburn – Up 42%

– Charlottesville – 278%

– Fredericksburg – 161%

– Newport News – 102%

– Norfolk – 113%

– Richmond – 80%

– Roanoke – 155%

– Suffolk 76%

– Virginia Beach – 207%

You  mean to tell me that ammo sales in Arlington (around the beltway) and Ashburn (home of the CIA cloud) are up that much?

And Charlottesville, and Roanoke, where the last I heard was that they rejected 2A resolutions, has ammo sales up that much?

Say, you don’t suppose that these good men from those locations need to get involved locally and ensure that their Sheriffs and Deputies and County Commissioners and County attorneys are on board, do you?

Snubnose Revolver Velocity: How Much Do You Lose?

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

Shooting Illustrated.

On average, with the shorter barrel there was a 12-percent reduction in velocity (100 fps). The smallest difference—26 fps—was recorded with the Buffalo Bore 110-grain Barnes TAC-XP load. The most-extreme variation—200 fps—was recorded with another Buffalo Bore load, the +P Outdoors-man, which utilizes a 158-grain, hard-cast, Keith-style bullet. More important than the velocity loss was how the slower velocities affected terminal performance. This is because when it comes to stopping bad guys, penetration and expansion are what matter.

The average penetration depth for the nine loads fired from both barrel lengths was 14.28 inches. The average penetration variation between barrel lengths was only 0.80 inch. For all practical purposes, that’s irrelevant; individual loads can vary more than that from shot to shot. However, comprising that average were a few extremes worth mentioning.

The 140-grain Hornady XTP load penetrated 2.25 inches deeper from the longer barrel simply because of its 99-fps faster impact velocity. With the 110-grain Hornady Critical Defense load, an 85 fps decrease in velocity caused the bullet to penetrate 1.75 inches less. However, with the 125-grain Golden Saber +P load, the longer barrel delivered 3 inches less penetration because the bullet deformed with a larger frontal diameter at the only slightly higher (57 fps) impact velocity. It should be noted that the hard-cast Outdoorsman load passed through all 28 inches of gelatin, regardless whether it was fired from the 1.9- or 4-inch barrel.

With regard to expansion, there was minimal difference. The average variation in expansion between rounds fired from a 1.9- and a 4-inch barrel was a mere .04 inch. The lone exception was the Winchester Silvertip bullet. Out of the 1.9-inch barrel, it expanded with a frontal diameter of .66 inch, but out of the 4-inch barrel it had a recovered frontal diameter of only .4 inch. The higher impact velocity (132 fps) overly stressed this bullet and caused it to shed 46 percent of its original weight. Out of the shorter barrel, the bullet retained 99 percent of its weight.

There was one load that stood head and shoulders above all others. The Speer 135-grain Gold Dot Short Barrel load only varied .5 inch in penetration depth and .03 inch in expansion, even though there was an 83-fps difference in impact velocity. Obviously, this load is aptly named; Speer purposely engineered it to deliver optimum performance from short barrels. Not only did it perform near identically from both barrel lengths, it delivered what many consider optimum terminal performance from a defensive handgun. Any load that will penetrate in excess of 12 inches and expand to 1.5 or more times its original diameter is noteworthy.

First of all, I think this is good news for ankle-carry small frame and short-barrel revolvers.  There just isn’t much of a loss in performance.

Second, it looks like Speer has done a very good job with .38 Spl. ammunition, calling it the “Short Barrel Load.”

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