Littlestone Ammunition Sample Pack and SureSHOT Review

Littlestone Ammunition

SureShot

By Bruce Flemings

All Littlestone Sample Packs include a 17”x 20” sheet of gridded target paper, aiming spot, target pasters, color coded ammunition and evaluation worksheet. The 50-round 9mm +P sampler reviewed sells for $56.82 plus shipping.

All Littlestone Sample Packs include a 17”x 20” sheet of gridded target paper, aiming spot, target pasters, color coded ammunition and evaluation worksheet. The 50-round 9mm +P sampler reviewed sells for $56.82 plus shipping.

Littlestone Ammunition is a Monroe, Georgia, based company specializing in custom handgun ammunition for personal defense, hunting and competition. The Littlestone website currently lists loads for .380 Auto up to .460 Rowland. Sneaking a peek at their “Coming Soon” section reveals available caliber expansion will extend the product range from .32 Auto to .500 S&W at some point in the future. The Littlestone Excel Elite ammunition line is crafted by hand from the highest quality components. Every round of Littlestone ammunition is hand inspected before it gets packaged and shipped to the customer.

As a custom ammunition maker, Littlestone provides a variety of products and services. Littlestone One-Gun Excel Elite ammunition is loaded for a customer’s own handgun to the customer’s specific accuracy and performance requirements. Customers ship their handguns to Littlestone and loads are developed and tested in the customer’s handgun. The Custom-Quality Excel Elite ammunition products are proprietary house loads that Littlestone has developed and maintains in-stock for immediate shipment. Reduced price reloading services are also available for One-Gun and Custom-Quality ammunition. The Excel Elite Sample Pack products are unique in the market and the focus of this review.

Fifty-round sample packs include 10 rounds of five different loads. Our sampler included a diverse group of cartridge lengths and bullet profiles.

Fifty-round sample packs include 10 rounds of five different loads. Our sampler included a diverse group of cartridge lengths and bullet profiles.

Littlestone Sample Packs allow the purchaser to test two to five different Excel Elite loads with a single box purchase. Twenty-round Sample Packs contain two loads with ten rounds of each load. Fifty-round sample packs have five different loads with ten rounds of each load. The Sample Pack allows the shooter to try several different loads without incurring the expense of buying a full box of each load. All Sample Packs include a 17” x 20” target sheet that is gridded in ¼” blocks, target orange aiming sticker, target pasters and ammunition evaluation sheet.

To keep you organized during the evaluation process, each round of ammunition is color-coded by load type. The color coding on each round matches up with the color-coded ammunition evaluation sheet. Littlestone does a great job providing detailed instructions, tips and best practices on the evaluation sheet to get the best results from your testing.

Range testing was done from a portable bench and solid rest.

Range testing was done from a portable bench and solid rest.

Littlestone provided the 9mm +P Sample Pack 4 for this review. The Sample Pack contained three different hollow point bullet types (solid copper, bonded and non-bonded). Bullet weights ranged from 95 to 115 grains. Overall impressions of the ammunition were good. The ammunition was clean and appeared to be assembled with care. I couldn’t wait to get out to the range and see how the ammunition performed. Since Littlestone develops its loads and performance measures in a 4” test barrel, I used a 9mm pistol with identical barrel length for the evaluation.

Ammunition Range Evaluation
Heading out to the range, I set up the portable bench, pistol rest and chronograph. For video purposes, I opted to use a fresh shoot-and-see type target for each load tested. The target stand was placed at 20 yards as that is the maximum line of sight distance in my home, plus a few extra yards to keep things challenging. I slowly and methodically worked my way through one five-round string of fire with each of the five loads in the Sample Pack.

Viewing the test data for all five loads showed our 4” FNS-9 had a preference for some of the loads included in the sample pack.

Viewing the test data for all five loads showed our 4” FNS-9 had a preference for some of the loads included in the sample pack.

Overall impressions from the range test showed very small velocity spreads with some loads and large spreads with others. Also, my velocity data fell short of the Littlestone published velocity specifications for all loads. These variations could be attributed to the barrel in my specific pistol or could be due to other factors. Accuracy was acceptable with all loads tested. Even with the new handgun, I was grouping the best three of five shots into 1.25 inches or less at 20 yards.

When shooting is complete, SureSHOT evaluates the results against your weighted evaluation criteria and recommends the overall best load, or the best load based on a single performance criteria.

When shooting is complete, SureSHOT evaluates the results against your weighted evaluation criteria and recommends the overall best load, or the best load based on a single performance criteria.

I did experience limited issues with feeding and last round slide lock activation with the solid copper hollow point loads. This could have been caused by shooting from a rest instead of shooting from a solidly braced standing position. This is great information to learn about my pistol and worthy of retesting when shooting from a standing position.

I really like the Littlestone Sample Pack concept. I think it’s a great way to try several very different loads in my pistol without having to invest in multiple boxes of ammunition. With current ammunition market pressures and prices, it could save you a significant amount of money on ammunition that doesn’t work well with your pistol.

Geek Alert—The Littlestone SureSHOT App
Littlestone has developed its own ammunition evaluation application for all internet-connected devices. Instead of, or in addition to, logging your testing results on the Sample Pack Evaluation Sheet, you can input your data into the SureSHOT app. The app has some really nice time-saving features that include pre-loading the contents of the Sample Pack you are evaluating, automatic calculation of group size and distance from point of aim, and recommendations for the best-performing load based on your selected performance criteria.

Terminal performance testing of the three unique bullet types included with the sample pack, added another dimension to the evaluation. From L to R, Sierra 115 grain, Speer Gold Dot 115 grain, Barnes TAC-XP 115 grain.

Terminal performance testing of the three unique bullet types included with the sample pack, added another dimension to the evaluation. From L to R, Sierra 115 grain, Speer Gold Dot 115 grain, Barnes TAC-XP 115 grain.

Terminal Performance Testing
While I had the ammunition available, I thought it would be interesting to do a terminal performance test on the three different bullet types included in the Sample Pack. Using a block of Clear Ballistics Gel covered by four layers of 14 ounce denim, I shot one round of each bullet type into the denim-covered gel block. While two of the three bullets failed to expand fully, they all displayed enough expansion to see the terminal performance differences between the bullet types. The solid copper hollow point loads continue to impress me with their ability to shrug off clothing barriers and perform as designed.

A chronograph was positioned 10 feet in front of the rest to capture velocity data. Our targets were placed at 20 yards.

A chronograph was positioned 10 feet in front of the rest to capture velocity data. Our targets were placed at 20 yards.


Ammunition evaluation criteria can be customized to your preferences and weighted appropriately. The zoom feature lets you plot the impact point of each shot on the target, and SureSHOT calculates the group size and variance of point of aim vs. point of impact.

Ammunition evaluation criteria can be customized to your preferences and weighted appropriately. The zoom feature lets you plot the impact point of each shot on the target, and SureSHOT calculates the group size and variance of point of aim vs. point of impact.


For fans of social media, SureSHOT can share your results with Facebook and Twitter.

For fans of social media, SureSHOT can share your results with Facebook and Twitter.



Accuracy was limited by the shooter. All loads grouped three or more shots into 1.25 inches or less at 20 yards.

Accuracy was limited by the shooter. All loads grouped three or more shots into 1.25 inches or less at 20 yards.


The Littlestone SureSHOT application is web-based and can be used on any internet connected device. SureSHOT allows you to do your evaluation in the field without paper.

The Littlestone SureSHOT application is web-based and can be used on any internet connected device. SureSHOT allows you to do your evaluation in the field without paper.


{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Doc June 30, 2014, 8:56 pm

    Here is the best generalized information I can give you: brand names make cheap and high-end optics, they make their money off the high end, but if their low-end doesn’t work, they are ‘trash’ since most folks don’t often pay more for a scope than they do their rifle. 400-600 yards is a LONG way to be shooing ANYTHING with good accuracy – I’ll guess an older Rem 700 .270 family (eg Win mod 7, Browning Bolt — you get the picture, even older CZ would be OK) —

    What are you shooting Targets? You will be using a used middle end optic scope – Hunting? 1) that’s too far to hunt anything with ethics (you or your game). If you are hunting that far out, you can afford the scope you need, ammo will soon eat up the price difference). Nikon, NightScope, Leupold, all make good scopes and you may well find one at a gun shop that someone traded up for – eg I traded a middle of the road Nightscope for a Mark 5 and that knocked about $700 off the price. They had an older 3-9 30mm Leupold for $300, and I saw a bell dinged Nikon mid-level scope for $225 (‘she shoots where she’s zeroed, but no one wants her because of the ding’ — and when you stop and think, it can take nothing to dig a bell, or it can take a LOT to ding a bell)

    Who did Leupold just buy? They would be worth checking out. Look for mid-level Brand name scopes USED.

    I traded some high-end Austrian glass (stock scope) straight across for a high end US Optics a guy had laying around and wanted my scope so bad he could taste it. The key was ‘Stock Scope’ and he was a collector. And ‘he could taste it’ meant I traded UP just south of 2 and a half times what I’d even THOUGHT about – maybe a year before it was Fix Truck? Scope? Fix Truck? Scope? and the truck won out because the waiting list was 8 or 10 months or more or the scope – I don’t recall anymore. BUT I got the truck, and about a year later (as if I’d ordered it from the shop) I got my US Optics illuminated custom made scope that made twilight turn into noon-day-sun. All for a crappy T post ‘original’ scope. Go figure.

    A LOT of folks have old scopes hanging around — they sold the rifle it was on, and got a new rifle and celebrated by adding a new scope to her. Ask around — you are asking for one hell of a lot of scope for very little money — and I can’t help but ask – what kind of rifle are you shooting that you need a scope at that range? I learned on my Grandfathers 1903-A1 and she’d take a deer with just a ladder sight at about that distance if I had to, but most my deer came inside of 100 yards, except in the desert when they were closer to 150, and antelope at 200+, but I could hold that with the ladder sight and front post. And an Ought Six is a mighty savage firearm.

  • Lloyd Hooker June 30, 2014, 12:29 pm

    I would like to know more about a good inexspencive scope for 400-600 yard target shooting ,I am now useing a Osprrey 4-16-50mm , I would like to upgrade but with not a lot of money to spend I am asking you to help me in making a good choise on teh nexy scope buy. I have $ 150.00 in this last buy would not be hurt to go up yo $240,00 if its an real iimprovement.
    thank you ,Lloyd Hooker

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