Last week, the AmmoSquared crew took our annual pilgrimage to all things “pew pew” in Las Vegas for the 2020 SHOT Show. Between the $70 Steaks, 24/7 casino cacophony, glaring lights, flamingo girls, and drumming midgets we found time to check out some gun stuff. Here is what we found…
While you can find gobs of information online and in the trade press about sexy new firearms and gear, the sometimes less sexy, but just as important world of ammunition goes unnoticed. Since we’re an ammunition company we’ll focus our SHOT Show update on ammunition.
If we were giving out awards, we would give something to the 277 Fury by Sig Sauer. Why is this cartridge so special? It’s the first of a line of “hybrid” cartridges that uses a stainless steel base (where the primer pocket is located) with a brass body. The significance of this is that the point of failure for most over pressure rounds is the primer blowing out, but with a stainless steel primer pocket there is less flex and less likelihood of that happening. That means a hybrid cartridge such as the 277 can be pushed to much higher pressures. In this case 80,000 psi compared to 50-55,000 psi for a similar rifle round. This pushes a 140 grain hunting bullet at 3,000 FPS out of a 16″ barrel or 3,200 FPS out of a 24″ barrel! All in a cartridge that is 20% lighter than a similar round.
While it is true that innovations like this don’t come cheap, it will be interesting to see where they go with this hybrid design. While at the SIG booth we saw versions of the hybrid design in 6.5 Creedmoor and 7.62mm. The 277 Fury is the commercial version of the 6.8mm Hybrid that was selected for trials by the US military.
TRUE VELOCITY / SIERRA AMMUNITION
On the other side of cartridge innovation you have True Velocity with their composite case. This has been seen on social media for at least the last year but what is special this year is that you have actual loaded ammunition available that utilize the iconic white composite case. Sierra ammunition has jumped out with their own line of precision match rounds loaded in the unique cartridge case. They claim they can fine tune the internal dimensions of the case for optimum powder burn and 10% less powder. This results in single digit standard deviation for precision shooting. They’ll roll out 308 in 168gr and 175gr Sierra Match King along with a 142 6.5 Creedmoor also in a Sierra Match King. Since a big advantage of the composite cartridge is lower weight, we imagine (hope) it won’t be long before we see hunting rounds come to market using the composite case.
Federal has a few interesting product roll-outs and line extensions to note:
- Federal Punch Personal Defense – a lower cost personal defense round than HST that has been optimized for soft tissue and not barrier penetration. Available in 9mm, 45 Auto, 40 S&W, 380 and 38 Special.
- Federal Terminal Ascent – High BC rounds for hunting. These are enhanced hunting rounds designed to deliver better downrange performance. Cartridges include: 6.5 Creedmoor 130-grain, 6.5 PRC 130-grain, 270 Win. 136-grain, 270 WSM 136-grain, 280 Ackley Improved 155-grain, 28 Nosler 155-grain, 7mm Rem. Magnum 155-grain, 308 Win. 175-grain, 30-06 Sprg. 175-grain, 300 Win. Mag. 200-grain, and 300 Win. Short Mag. 200-grain.
- Force X2 00 Buck – a 9 pellet 12ga shotgun load that fragments upon impact creating up to 18 individual wound channels.
- Solid Core Rounds – Hard cast lead handgun bullets with a polymer coating for deep penetrating animal defense. Available in 9mm, .357 Mag., .40 S&W, 10mm, .45 Auto and .44 Rem. Mag.
- Hammer Down Lever-Action Rounds – cartridges optimized for easier feeding in leverguns. Available in .327 Federal Mag., .357 Mag., 44 Mag., .45 Colt, .30-30 Win., 45-70 Government and eventually .35 Rem.
As Federal’s kissing cousin, Speer, had some interesting products to note as well:
- Speer Gold Dot for Short Rifles – as a trusted name in law enforcement Speer Gold Dot extended it’s line to rifle calibers typically used for law enforcement and home defense. These are optimized for shorter barrels and expansion. Available in: .223 Remington (55, 62, and 75 grains), .300 BLK (150 grain), and .308 Win (150 grain).
- Speer G2 Short Barrel – Speer redesigned the G2 (next generation Gold Dot) for shorter barrels. Intended for short barrel backup carry guns (as opposed to full size duty guns) Speer is offering the G2 Short Barrel in 9mm (135 grain), .40 S&W (165 grain) and .45 ACP +P (200 grains)
- Speer Gold Dot in 5.7×28 – With Ruger’s introduction of the 57 pistol, there is sure to be more interest in this cartridge. Speer introduced a self defense version of the round under their Gold Dot line.
Who hasn’t shot some good ‘ol steel case Wolf ammunition to save a few bucks. Well now Wolf is filling one hole in their steel cased line with the 300 BLK. Yep, soon you’ll be able to get a cheap 145gr FMJ 300 Blackout round in a steel casing. We call this a “Value” grade and will be a welcome addition to people trying to keep the cost of shooting 300 BLK down just a wee bit.
Nosler is famous for creating their own versions of popular rifle rounds that improve on old standards. This year Nosler announced the 27 Nosler which is sure to impress anyone used to shooting a 270 Winchester. How is it better? According to Nosler the new round is 400 FPS faster and delivers 800 FPE at the muzzle than the venerable 270 in a 150gr bullet.
If you picked up a new 350 Legend this year, you’ll appreciate a few more options from Hornady and Federal along with a new 160gr PowerMax Bonded round from Winchester. Winchester also has a new AA Diamond Grade Shotshell which high-antimony lead shot that is precision-sorted and copper-plated for denser patterns.
Was there some amazing ammunition announcement that we missed? It wouldn’t be the first time. Let us know in the comment section! Or if you have an opinion or comment about any of the above rounds tell us that too.