Supply chain problems and high demand have led ammunition manufacturers to concentrate on meeting the demand for their most popular cartridges and introduce fewer new rifle loads so far in 2022. On the other hand, products announced in time for the SHOT Show indicate that research and development continues at a healthy pace. This has led to improvements in loaded cartridges and also in components like projectiles, powders and cartridge cases. These developments are leading in the direction of improved ballistic performance, better accuracy and enhanced terminal effects on game. This, in turn, will enable shooters to take full advantage of the latest innovations in rifles, optics and accessories.
Best Rifle Ammunition 2022
However, 2022 is not just seeing the appearance of some exciting new rifle cartridges. It is also a year in which the re-opened Remington ammunition facility in Lonoke, Arkansas, is continuing to increase production. The increase is already beginning to reduce some of the supply chain problems that have radically diminished ammunition availability and therefore increased ammo prices over the last couple of years. Furthermore, 2022 is also a year in which tried-and-true lines of ammunition are being re-introduced or extended. As they increase production, Remington, Federal, Winchester, Berger and many other ammunition manufacturers will be able to more closely tailor ammunition to the type of hunting, competition and informal shooting in which rifle owners participate. One can never precisely predict the future, but all things considered, 2022 is shaping up to be a better year for ammo than 2021.
Elite Hunter 6.5mm PRC Elite Hunter: Berger ammunition has a new 6.5 PRC load that features a 156-grain Elite Hunter hybrid bullet, which is the heaviest bullet in its class. It’s streamlined design and heavy-for-caliber weight give it a G1 ballistic coefficient of .697. This cartridge develops a muzzle velocity of 2,960 fps and a muzzle energy of 3,035 fpe. Sighted in at 200 yards, it drops only 17.8 inches at 400 yards. It still move at 2,429 fps while delivering 2,045 fpe. MSRP is $70 per 20.
Elite Hunter .300 PRC Elite Hunter: Berger’s new .300 PRC cartridge launches a 205-grain hybrid bullet from the muzzle at a factory-rated 2,985 fps, producing a very respectable 4,057 fpe. At 400 yards, it is still going 2,416 fps and delivering 2658 fpe, which is as much energy as a .308 Win produces at the muzzle. Sighted in at 200 yards, it drops only 17.5 inches at 400 yards thanks to its G1 ballistic coefficient of .631. MSRP is $74.
.223 Remington: This year, Berger is producing two long-range .223 Rem loads. The first is a 73-grain BT target load, and the second is a 77-grain OTM tactical load. The target load has an initial velocity of 2,850 fps and drops 90.9 inches at 600 yards when sighted in at 200. The tactical load starts out at 2,750 fps and has a similar trajectory. MSRP for both loads is $39. (bergerbullets.com)
Browning PRO 22: This subsonic load is designed for accuracy and is compatible with both handguns and rifles chambered for .22 LR. It has a 40-grain bullet and a precise target crimp to help ensure consistent alignment of the bullet as it enters the barrel throat. Its subsonic muzzle velocity also eliminates the transonic accuracy degradation that faster .22 LR rounds experience when they transition from supersonic to subsonic flight. Therefore, PRO 22 is a good choice for those who compete. (browningammo.com)
Hammerdown: Federal is introducing a new 220-grain .35 Rem loading and a 270-grain .444 Marlin load in 2022. Both of these loads have nickel-plated cases and cartridge geometries designed to make them easy to load and cycle in lever-action rifles. Their jacketed soft-point bullets have electroplated jackets to help keep the jacket and core together. On impact with the target, this plated jacket expands well yet still retains the durability to break bones and the mass to penetrate deeply. MSRP for the .35 Rem load is $52 and $63 for the .444 Marlin. (federalpremium.com)
Hyperperformance Hunt: Fiocchi’s Hyperperformance Hunting is a new line of ammunition for the hunter who desires ammunition that combines high velocity with a flat trajectory. It is available with premium-quality game bullets from Hornady, Swift and/or Sierra for maximum on-target impact at long range. It is available in .243 Win, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem, 7mm Mag, 300 BLK, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield and .300 Win Mag.
Hyperperformance Match: Fiocchi’s Hyperperformance Match ammunition is designed with the goal of delivering a point-of-impact that is as close as possible to the point-of-aim. The ammo is available with Sierra Matchking bullets in .223 Rem, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Win and .300 Win Mag. (fiocchiusa.com)
CX: The big news from Hornady this year is the development of the CX bullet and its use in several lines of Hornady ammunition. The CX is made from the same alloy of copper used in the GMX bullet, but CX has Hornady’s Heat Shield polymer tip that resists deformation due to friction with the air and a revised boat-tail design that gives it a high ballistic coefficient when combined with Hornady’s secant ogive.
CX also has an optimum groove geometry that reduces bearing surface and chamber pressure. The grooves also help reduce copper alloy fouling in the bore. The new bullet will be available in 10 Superformance loads from .223 Rem to .300 Win Mag, 18 Outfitter loads from .243 Win to .375 H&H Magnum and two Hornady Custom loads in 6.8mm Rem SPC and 300 BLK. All of these loads are designed for hunting, especially in states where the use of lead bullets is not allowed.
Sub-X Subsonic: Hornady is adding a new 250-grain .350 Legend load in its Sub-X Subsonic line of ammunition. It is designed for close-range hunting with suppressed rifles or long-barreled handguns. This bullet has an expansion tip in its meplat, a skived jacket and a lead core to ensure good expansion on game animals while its heavy-for-caliber weight helps ensure excellent penetration. (hornady.com)
Eco Power-22: Norma’s Eco Power .22 LR high-velocity round has a hollow-point fragmenting bullet with a copper-plated zinc core. It leaves the muzzle at a higher velocity than many other .22s and is intended for hunting small game and varmints. The front section of the bullet fragments causing rapid energy deposition. Meanwhile the base drives deep in the target to assure adequate penetration. This load is primarily intended for rifles, but may be used for plinking and target shooting in .22 LR handguns rated to fire SAAMI specification ammo for this caliber. MSRP is $8 per box of 50.
Eco Speed-22: Eco Speed is a totally lead-free cartridge. It has a 24-grain flat-nose bullet with a copper-plated zinc core, which leaves the muzzle at a high velocity and offers a very flat trajectory. This plinking and target load is primarily intended for rifles but may be used in .22 LR handguns rated to fire SAAMI specification ammo for .22 LR. MSRP is $8 per box of 50.
Xtreme LR-22: This new load features a patented 43-grain bullet that has an unusual design. This projectile has an elongated tip and a unique rocket tail on its base. The rocket tail streamlines the base, which helps keep the bullet stable and allows it to retain velocity better than flat-based .22s. Thismakes Xtreme LR-22 especially accurate for shooting beyond 300 yards. Although designed primarily for rifle shooting, this load should also be very good for long-range handgun competition in handguns rated to fire SAAMI specification .22 LR ammunition.
Golden Target: The Golden Target line of centerfire cartridges designed for high-level competitive shooters has undergone a major upgrade this year. Its projectiles have G1 ballistic coefficients ranging from .393 to .684. Golden Target is available in nine calibers and 13 different loadings ranging from .223 Rem to .338 Lapua Magnum. (norma-ammunition.com)
Core-Lokt Tipped: Remington’s Core-Lokt Tipped ammunition has field-proven Remington Core-Lokt bullet construction with a new wrinkle. It also has a “Big Green” polymer tip that improves ballistic coefficient and also rapidly initiates bullet expansion. Therefore, the polymer tip conserves downrange energy and promotes expansion, while the Core-Lokt jacket holds the core and jacket together preserving this line’s reputation for deeply penetrating the target. Core-Lokt Tipped is offered in 12 calibers from .243 Win to .300 WSM. MSRPs range from $45 per 20 to $66 per 20, depending on caliber.
Core-Lokt: Shooters who prefer Remington’s original Core-Lokt hunting ammo won’t be disappointed. Remington is continuing it, and it is already beginning to appear on gun store shelves. The Core-Lokt line will have two new loadings. The first is a 180-grain soft point in .350 Legend, which will retail for $33 per 20, and the second is a 260-grain .450 Bushmaster load with a pointed soft-point bullet that retails for $62 per box of 20. Both of these new cartridges offer smooth feeding in semi-automatic rifles.
.224 Valkyrie: The .224 Valkyrie has been increasingly popular lately and Remington will be releasing three new loads for the Valkyrie this year. The first is a Premier Match load with a 90-grain Sierra Matchking bullet, which retails for $42 per 20. The second is a varmint load with a 60-grain Accu-Tip bullet for $29 per 20. And the third is a general recreational UMC load with a 75-grain full metal jacket priced at $22 per 20.
Match & Rimfire
Premier Match: In addition to the .224 Valkyrie Premier Match load, Remington will also manufacture Premier Match ammunition in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm PRC, 6.5mm Grendel and .260 Rem. Prices will range from $45 for the 6.5mm Creedmoor to $80 for the 6.5mm PRC. The 6.5mm PRC and 6.5mm Grendel loads will have Berger bullets while the other calibers will have Sierra Matchking bullets.
Magnum Rimfire: This year, Remington is producing four magnum rimfire loads in its Premier Magnum Rimfire line. These work in both rifles or handguns chambered for these cartridges. The first is a .17 HMR load that launches a 17-grain AccuTip-V bullet at 2,550 fps. There are also three .22 WMR loads with either 40-grain JHP, 40-grain pointed soft point or a 33-grain AccuTip-V bullets. Both 40-grain loads have a muzzle velocity of 1,910 fps. The AccuTip-V load leaves the muzzle at 2,000 fps. These are rifle velocities, and one can expect some velocity loss when fired from handgun-length barrels. MSRPs range from $19 to $21 per box of 50. (remington.com)
Outdoor Master: Sierra will produce two rifle loads in its new Outdoor Master ammunition line. The first one is a .223 Rem load with a 55-grain Sierra HPBT Varminter bullet. The second is a 300 BLK Varminter load with a 115-grain HP projectile. MSRP is $26 to $27 for a box of 20 rounds. (sierrabullets.com)
6.8mm TVC: The True Velocity Cartridge Co. is introducing an innovative polymer-cased 6.8mm round. Its most noticeable feature is its polymer composite case, which features an unusual and very short “bullnose” case neck. The case comes with a steel case head, molded into the composite material. True Velocity composite cartridge cases do not transmit as much heat to the barrel as a same caliber brass cartridge. This should lead to less case erosion in high cartridge count firearms. It also has a case architecture that allows for a very clean powder burn, leading to very consistent velocities. Ballistics of this cartridge are still confidential. (tvammo.com)
Copper Impact: Winchester’s Copper Impact line of rifle and shotgun ammunition is introducing new 180-grain rifle loads in .30 caliber. The entire line has large diameter polymer Extreme Point tips in the hollow point of the all-copper bullet. The result is a bullet that expands very quickly, providing rapid energy transfer to the target. Even so, the Copper Impact projectile’s monolithic construction retains bullet mass and provides deep penetration. Copper Impact is available in 12 popular rifle loads ranging from .243 Win to .350 Legend.
Power-Point 6.8mm Western: Winchester is now offering its recently introduced 6.8mm Western cartridge with a 170-grain version of the field-proven Power-Point bullet. This new load exits the barrel at 2,920 fps while generating 3,218 fpe. It places somewhat above the ballistic performance of the .30-06 and the 7mm Magnum. Power-Points have been a favorite of generations of deer and elk hunters who have experienced this projectile’s outstanding balance of expansion and penetration on big game. This load is very likely to perform well on game the size of all species of deer and elk.
Match & Precision
Match 7.62x51mm and Match .308 Win: Winchester’s Match ammunition line is offering two new loads with streamlined boat tail bullets. They are a 7.62x51mm cartridge with a 175-grain bullet and a .308 Win with a 168-grain projectile. While both of these cartridges are highly similar, the .308 Win operates at a maximum average pressure that is almost 2,000 psi greater than the 7.62x51mm, therefore one should be careful to avoid firing .308 ammunition is a gun chambered for 7.62x51mm.
USA Ready: Two 6.5mm offerings add to Winchester’s USA Ready rifle ammunition line. Both of these new rifle loads contain a 140-grain open-tip bullet and match primer. The 6.5mm Creedmoor offering exits the muzzle at 2,700 fps and generates 2,266 fpe, and the 6.5 PRC version has a muzzle velocity of 3,010 fps and produces 2,816 fpe at the muzzle. (winchester.com)
This article originally appeared in the June-July 2022 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.