There were enough new ammo introductions at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas to cover ever shooter’s palate, from the long-range warrior to the competitive pistol champion. Several manufacturers introduced brand-spanking new offerings for newly developed cartridges, like Hornady’s Precision Hunter in 6.5 PRC and Federal Premium with the 224 Valkyrie. There’s been quite a few exciting additions for competition shooters, too, with range-friendly loads from Federal and Inceptor that are capable of knocking down steel targets while reducing splash back from projectiles. There was even quite an assortment of new shotgun loads for wingshooters and turkey hunters.
Here’s a look at the 10 best new ammo introductions for 2018:
Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 PRC
Considered by Hornady to be the big brother to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the new 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC) is designed to be a low recoiling, highly accurate cartridge that dominates in long-range situations. With moderate powder charges, Hornady was able to produce a cartridge that is effective past 1,000 yards and can still be housed in medium to short action bolt guns. Hornady’s Match load utilizes the 147-grain ELD bullet, while the Precision Hunter line features the 143-grain ELD-X. The Precision Hunter variant has a muzzle velocity of roughly 2,960 fps, with 2,780 ft.-lbs. of energy.
MSRP: $34.99 (According to BassPro.com)
Winchester Hybrid X
One of the most unique new loads for 2018 has got to be Winchester’s Hybrid X in 9mm, which features a 124-grain projectile that’s composed of a polymer/copper tip, with lead core and copper jacket. The fluted tip and copper/polymer material follows the same principles as the Polycase Inceptor ARX, except that Winchester added a lead core to increase the bullet weight to 124 grains. According to Winchester, the bullet is designed to create a massive wound channel similar to the ARX, but increased weight means deeper penetration, somewhere in the 10- to 12-inch range on ballistic gelatin. The lead and copper components separate, sending massive wound channels in different directions.
New for 2018, PMC introduced its SFX line, a 9mm personal defense load that meets law enforcement protocols and is engineered for reliable operation in semi-auto handguns. The bullet is also designed to promote smooth and reliable feeding, allowing for extreme performance and reliability with hollow point ammunition, all while maintaining reliable expansion on target. The new SFX ammunition is a re-engineered upgrade to the Starfire line.
Designed to give wingshooters greater payloads of large pellets at higher speeds, HEVI-Snow is sure to be a staple for snow geese hunters. HEVI-Snow is rates at 1,550 fps and, according to the company, delivers roughly 7 percent more energy than other steel shotshells. The new shotshells will be available in 12 gauge only, and are safe to shoot with standard steel-rated barrels, according to the company.
MSRP: $16.99 (Found on Bass Pro.com)
Kent First Dove
New for 2018, Kent introduced three dove loads to cover a broad spectrum of hunting applications and shotgun needs. Among them is First Dove, a value-priced shotshell for high-volume situations. That means if you’re planning a worldwide tour of wingshooting and want to save a few bucks, or if you’re like me and go through a box of shells per dove, this is the load for you. First Dove is available in 2¾-inch shells for both 12 and 20 gauge. Diamond Dove is a high-velocity, high-payload shell that’s ideal for high-flying doves like the White Wing, and Steel Dove meets the requirements of those needing non-toxic shot.
Black Hills Honey Badger in .45-70
Black Hills introduced its Honey Badger handgun load last year, a cartridge that features a Lehigh Defense solid copper bullet with four wide, sharp flutes. The bullet does not rely on expansion for creating a massive wound channel, so common barriers cannot clog a hollow point and prevent optimum performance. The .45-70 load features a 325-grain bullet that creates a 7-inch wound channel up to 3 feet deep. Talk about stopping power! The load figures to be lethal on hogs and other big game.
MSRP: Averages around $1.40/round (According to Midway USA)
The Inceptor ARX bullet has been around for a while now, so shooters have come to trust the performance of the copper-polymer projectile. New for 2018 is Inceptor’s Sport Utility Ammo, which features a Round Nose Precision (RNP) bullet that’s designed to shoot to the same point of impact as the defense variant. The beauty of the new RNP ammo is that it’s highly frangible, making it ideal for training purposes. When shot against a steel target, standoff distances of just a few feet are required, providing a safe, accurate ammunition for training. The new RNP ammunition is available in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, .45 Auto, and .38 SPL.
Federal Syntech Action Pistol
Federal hit a homerun with the original Syntech ammunition, providing shooters with a synthetic bullet that is safe, clean and ideal for training. The company is back this year with a slightly modified load designed specifically for competition shooters. The Syntech Action Pistol load features a Total Synthetic Jacket (TSJ) bullet in weights that are more suitable for knocking down steel targets, including a 150-grain 9mm round. The TSJ features a flat point, as opposed to typical round tip ammunition utilized with FMJ ammo. Syntech Action Pistol will also be available in .40 S&W with a 205-grain projectile and .45 Auto with a 220-grain bullet.
MSRP: $16.50 (Found on Bass Pro.com)
Federal Heavyweight TSS
Federal Premium offered three updated turkey loads for 2018, including the new Heavyweight Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). The material used is about 20 percent denser than previous Heavyweight shot, almost 60 percent denser than lead, and harder than steel. As a result, the TSS loads provide consistent velocity, pattern efficiency and penetration—everything a turkey hunter could dream of. Since a denser projectile maintains its energy longer in flight than a less-dense object, TSS makes for a lethal, high-energy-on-impact turkey load that’s sure to expand lethality at greater distances.
MSRP: $25.99 – $47.99 (According to Cabela’s.com)
Federal Premium Valkyrie
One of the hottest new cartridge introductions is the 224 Valkyrie, which offers less drop at 1,000 yards than the 22 Nosler, .223 Remington or 6.5 Grendel. The best news for those in love with the Valkyrie is that Federal now offers the round in several cost-friendly lines of ammunition, covering the needs of competitive shooters and hunters alike. Federal now produces a 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra Matchking, 60-grain Nosler ballistic tip, 90-grain Fusion big game hunting load, and the always-affordable 75-grain American Eagle TMJ.
MSRP: $12.95 –$32.95