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Get More From Your Gun

June 24, 2020
Tom Gresham

Promotional consideration brought to you by Black Hills Ammo

As good as guns are today, I think the advancements and the variety in ammunition really is the big story, and I wonder if most shooters really understand just what they can do with this.

I'm the last person to say you shouldn't buy another gun, but at the same time, you can get so much more from the guns you own just by exploring the amazing selection of loads available off the shelf.  In truth, this wonderment of factory ammunition is somewhat new.

Only 40 years ago you had to handload if you wanted to try different bullets. In factory loads, you had Remington, Winchester, Federal and Weatherby. You could select bullet weights, and by switching brands you could choose from a small offering of bullets. Handloaders, on the other hand, could pick from Hornady, Sierra, Nosler, Bitterroot, Speer, Barnes, and several others. They could also buy or even cast their own lead bullets.  

Here's the important part. Handloaders understood (and still do) that changing bullets and tweaking loads is the best way to get the most from your gun. You can choose bullets of different shapes, weights, and construction. You can find the load your rifle "likes."

Today, you can do the same thing with factory-loaded ammo. Where Hornady just made bullets back then, they now are a major ammunition company. Same with Barnes and Nosler. Most other ammo companies load bullets from many companies.

I particularly like what Black Hills Ammunition does. As Jeff Hoffman (founder and president) says, he uses bullets from many makers and he can build ammunition that performs at its highest. In my experience, if your .223/5.56 rifle won't shoot accurately with Black Hills ammo, you have a rifle problem. After all, their web site shows at least 24 different loads. Want to shoot light loads in your revolver or lever-action rifle? Just choose from the Cowboy Action line. It's a great way to tame a .45 Colt or .45-70 so that you can shoot all afternoon without the effects of heavy recoil. In the rifle lines, Black Hills loads bullets from Nosler, Sierra, Hornady, Barnes, and more.

The innovation from ammo companies these days continues to amaze me. The Honey Badger line is startling. It looks funny, but it really works.

Buffalo Bore also built a reputation on its specialized (heavy) loads. For hunting or bear protection, the solid and expanding bullets in its handgun ammo -- pushed to the highest (while being safe) velocities -- are worth a look.

Don't get me wrong. I love handloading, and you almost certainly can fine-tune a custom load yourself that will show off the potential of your rifle or handgun.

A shooter or hunter who picks one load without experimenting just isn't getting all he or she can. Your .308 Winchester can be a varmint rifle, a deer or elk rifle, a grizzly rifle, or a long-range competition gun, just by swapping loads.

Besides, the hunt for even better performance is fun. Why wouldn't it be? It requires more shooting. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.

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