If you're like most dealers, you experienced the buying frenzy last year. Customers, concerned with potential bans by the federal government snapped up just about everything shooting-related, including ammunition. Many dealers were caught off guard with a short inventory of this very expendable commodity, and had to watch while other dealers, who had planned ahead, made some serious sales.
I've spoken to many dealers who said they see a lot of new faces in their stores. Most of these first-time customers are anxious to learn more about their new sport. Much of that learning involves shooting, and the new gun owners are doing lots of it! Retailers are discovering that a well-stocked ammunition shelf, with a range of ammo from premium brands to inexpensive reloads, has paid off in repeat sales to these eager new shooters.
With most hunting seasons over, dealers look forward to ammunition sales continuing with all those new target shooters, skeet shooters and just plain plinkers. Here's a sample of what's available for your ammo shelves.
If you think big-bore, think A-Square. How about the .700 N.E. or the .50-70? If that's not big-bore to you, you probably need a gun carnage to wheel around what you shoot!
A-Square's line starts with the .22 PPC - I believe the only factory loading of this caliber - and ends with the .700 N.E. with a 1,200 grain Monolithic bullet! In between is a comprehensive line loaded with their famous Monolithic Solids, Dead Tough Soft Points and Lion Load Soft Points (along with selected Nosler and Sierra bullets).
A-Square continues to offer proof ammunition in a wide variety of calibers to bona fide type 07 or 08 license holders, and they have the ability to custom manufacture cartridge cases (from .222 to .50 BMG) in lots as small as 5,000 rounds. Their in-house ballistic lab can offer a complete work-up on whatever load a customer desires.
A-Square also offers black-powder loads and cases, such as the .40-70. These are loaded to original specs, using black powder and newly manufactured brass.
Obsolete British cartridges are a specialty for A-Square, particularly double-rifle cartridges.
American has, in a short time, established itself as a supplier of quality newly manufactured ammunition, from 9mm to .45 ACP. Their lead-free ammo, loaded with American's C3 bullets, help to eliminate lead contamination in both indoor and outdoor ranges.
American's newest innovation is Alpha Delayed Expansion ammo, a new style of hollowpoint. Available in 9mm 115 grain, 40 S&W 180 grain and .45 auto 185 grain, the ammo is packed in air-tight aluminum pull-top cans with a plastic see-thru cover.
American offers the dealer an alternative and gives the customer another choice at the ammo shelf.
Black Hills Ammunition
Black Hills reports no new products this year because the demand for its current line precluded them from adding the predicted new calibers. Their status as a "mid-level" producer is rapidly changing as they've added new equipment and employees, increasing their production by 50 percent.
Black Hill's 68-grain .223 Heavy Match HP, specifically designed for the fast rifling twist in the AR-15A2 or Mini-14, has been winning high-power rifle matches since its introduction. Freedom Arms has chosen Black Hills to manufacture their specialty .454 Casull loads.
Complementing the .223 ammo is a complete line of handgun loads in both newly manufactured and reloaded variants. Black Hills assures customer satisfaction with a money-back guarantee on their products and makes it clear in their catalog that everything is American Made. Black Hills recommends placing orders now. They anticipate demands to continue at current levels through most of 1995 but said they will honor the prices in effect when orders are placed.
Known throughout the world for their Speer/CCI lines, Blount continues their legacy of producing quality premium and practice ammunition. Most shooters are familiar with the "Blazer" line of aluminum-cased, non-reloadable ammo. CCI's Clean-Fire ammo uses a Uni-Core bullet, fully encased in a copper jacket, plus primers that contain no lead, barium or other toxic metals. As a result, it virtually eliminates lead at the firing point, yet still packs the punch of regular service loads.
Speer continues to offer the premium "Gold Dot" ammunition in their "Lawman" series. The Gold Dot bullet jackets are electrochemically bonded to help virtually eliminate core/jacket separation, the main cause of bullet failure. Gold Dots are engineered to expand at least 150 percent of their original diameter. The Gold Dot bullet is also offered in Blount's Blazer line, which gives shooters an inexpensive way to experience the reliable stopping power of the Gold Dot bullet.
Makers of new and reloaded production ammunition, C.P. has announced the introduction of their new 9x23 Super brass. This is a new caliber patented by C.P. Bullets and manufactured under contract by Winchester/Olin. The CP 9x23 Super casing has the overall length of a standard .38 Super, fully tapered and without the rim, similar to the 9x19. The result is a rimless casing with nearly double the wall thickness of a standard .38 Super forward of the extractor groove. There are many applications in the competition, police/military and personal protection markets where this casing will prove ideal.
C.P. will continue to manufacture their complete lines of ammo and bullets from 9mm to .45 ACP. Their Custom Competition Quality line includes loaded ammo in 9mm, CP 9x23 Super, .38 Super and match loadings in 55 grain .223 and 68 grain HP.
Known for their handgun defense loads, many people don't realize that Cor-Bon also loads premium rifle ammunition. Using Barnes Original, "X", Nosler Partition, Swift A-Frame, Trophy Bonded and Woodleigh bullets, Cor-Bon's ammo line-up runs from the .223 Remington to the .600 Nitro. The needs of domestic hunters who turn to the .308 or .300 Winchester Magnum are nicely met, while the "Dark Continent" crowd (or even those Walter Mittys among us) are covered with .416 Rigby, .460 Weatherby Magnum and even the .505 Gibbs.
Cops across the country are familiar with Cor-Bon's defensive loads for handguns. Their high velocity and specialty bullets translate into superior performance. They now have bonded core hollowpoint loads in 9mm (124 grain and 147 grain) and 230 grain .45 ACP. Their .41 Magnum Urban Defense Load gives all those .41 owners out there a real problem-solver for home defense. They even load .454 Casull and the JDJ calibers for the hand cannons from SSK Industries.
Dynamit Nobel RWS
This company makes more than just air rifles! Twelve-gauge Rottweil Brenneke slugs have helped to define shotgun slug performance for years. Dealers should remember these popular slugs are also available in a 1-ounce (440 grain) 20 gauge 3-inch magnum load for those eastern whitetail hunters. Thanks to their RWS centerfire rifle ammo in both European and domestic calibers, and their lines of percussion caps, Flobert cartridges, plastic training ammunition, match .22 rimfire and magnum loads, and Norma brand of loaded ammo, Dynamit Nobel has something for everyone. The exotic brand name and unusual products are an attention-getter on the ammunition shelf, and help to give your customers another way to "tailor" their ammo to their particular needs.
Got questions about steel shot? Contact Federal about their guide to patterning shotguns for steel shot. Their informational brochure and patterning kit, available for sale in your shop, will dispel the many myths associated with steel shot. Federal's long list of shotshell loading can handle any need your customers may have.
Federal Centerfire ammo is loaded with premium components such as their Trophy Bonded bullet, Nosler's Partition or Sierra's Boat-Tail bullets. Their premium line offers attractive and durable nickel-plated cases and eye-catching packaging. If dependability and performance is important, (and when isn't it?) look to Federal's famous Hydra-Shok line of handgun ammunition. The choice of the FBI and many other law enforcement agencies, it has a proven track record in the field and in the streets.
Federal's "Big 5" - their Premium, Gold Medal, Classic, American Eagle and Promotional ammo - can give you a product for every shooters' wishes, along with Federal's name and reputation.
Fiocchi of America Inc.
Don't be fooled into thinking that Fiocchi just imports specialty ammo! In reality, in just 10 years, they have gone from 100 percent importing to 85 percent manufacturing in Ozark, Mo. In fact, Fiocchi of America can best be labeled a large manufacturer and small, specialized importer.
Fiocchi is working to expand their line of pistol and target ammunition manufactured in Ozark. Look for a new 12-gauge 7/8-ounce ultra-low recoil target load, and a complete velocity range of 1-ounce loads covering the 1,150 to 1,250 fps range. These loads allow shooters to switch from standard 1 1/8-ounce loads to 1-ounce loads without changing their style or leads.
Look for the distinctive Fiocchi boxes offering premium cartridges in both domestic and European calibers, along with new shotshell loads.
Glaser Safety Slug
The originators of "pre-fragmented" projectiles available for law enforcement and civilian use, Glaser continues to offer a complete cross-section of specialty ammo. Available in 18 calibers, from .25 ACP to .30-'06 rifle, Glaser comes in two styles. Glaser Blue uses #12 shot in the projectile core to minimize ricochet danger and Glaser Silver uses #6 shot in the projectile core to maximize penetration. Some calibers are available in both styles.
Accuracy has always been excellent with these innovative rounds, with 1-inch groups at 100 yards common in the rifle calibers according to factory literature. With a reputation built upon performance in the field and on the streets, Glaser Safety Slug may still be the premier round for home defense.
Hansen Cartridge Company
Look for several new loadings for both rifles and handguns from Hansen. The .40 S&W 180-grain FMJ "Combat" Hollowpoint at 987 fps, .45 match 185-grain SWC FMJ, .50 Action Express 300-grain JHP and the .222 Remington 55-grain Posi-Feed Soft Point are just some of the recent additions to the line. A new extra-loud training blank (smokeless) in .30-'06 Springfield should find a market with re-enactors and for function-testing all of those surplus Garands recently imported. Looking for a 7.62x39 123-grain soft point to feed those hungry SKS rifles beginning to show up in the hunting field? Look no further; Hansen offers a load at 2,400 fps.
Using only virgin components, clean-burning powders, non-corrosive primers and waterproof packaging helps to make Hansen Cartridge Company's products attractive to the reloader, and makes them uniquely suited for long-term storage.
Hornady's introduction of their "Light Magnum" ammunition technology has taken the industry by storm. Light Magnum combines special powder design with advanced loading technology to transform standard rifle calibers into virtual magnums, while maintaining standard pressures and temperatures. The result is greater velocity, flatter trajectory and more energy than ever before possible in "standard" calibers. Light Magnum is now available in .303 British, .257 Roberts, .243 Winchester, 7x57, and 7mm-08, in addition to the existing calibers.
The ballistics of the new Light Magnum loadings are impressive. Would you believe 2,830 fps at the muzzle for a .303 British, and 2,325 fps at 200 yards? That means at 200 yards, Light Magnum delivers essentially the same velocity as a standard .303 load does at the muzzle! All done without increasing chamber pressure!
Don't forget Hornady's new "Vector" ammo. Basically a "cool burning" tracer-type round, its innovative design lets both a neophyte shooter, and a seasoned handgunner learn more about bullet trajectory by actually watching the path of the bullet. A "must-have" on the ammo shelf!
M & D Munitions
Not a newcomer to the manufacturing scene, for the past 32 years M&D has been making quality ammunition at reasonable prices. Recently, M&D expanded their product line from reloaded ammunition (in the familiar orange boxes) to factory-new ammo in silver and blue boxes.
M&D offers their loads in a lead-free format, using a totally plated bullet and lead-free primer. This enables you to shoot a 100 percent lead-free round at the shooting point with a product that is necessary for the health conscious shooters of today. This same round has become popular with indoor range operators across the country.
M&D has full casting and swaging facilities so you can have a choice of bullet configurations, shapes, weights, hardness and coatings to customize the rounds you sell.
Famous for their Starfire line of defense ammo, PMC now has a .380 ACP loading. Specifically tuned to .380 velocities, the 95-grain Starfire bullet consistently expands to more than one and one half times the original diameter and penetrates 9 to 10 inches in 10 percent ballistic gelatin. This approaches the performance of the standard 9mm load. Starfire is also available in 9mm, .38 Special +P, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, .40 S&W and 10mm Auto.
Using the renowned Barnes X-Bullet, PMC/Eldorado now offers two new rifle loadings to compliment their line of premium rifle rounds. The .338 Winchester Magnum and the .375 H&H Magnum, loaded with Barnes bullets, are now available to the non-reloader. At 2,780 fps with a 225-grain bullet, the .338 speaks with authority. Two bullet weights are offered in the .375: the 270 grain at 2,690 fps and a 300-grain load at 2,530. The X-Bullet has gained a reputation for highly reliable expansion, deep penetration and excellent weight retention.
Good news for .30-30 shooters, PMC now has a .30-30 Starfire load offering the broad expansion of the Starfire hollowpoint. Like the Barnes X-Bullet, it delivers the advantage of a hollowpointed, solid-copper bullet to drive deeper, yet still retain its weight, even when smashing through hide and bone. The .30-30 is offered in a 150-grain load. A heavier bullet is not necessary due to the tough construction of the Starfire bullet.
With a reputation for accurate, carefully loaded new ammo, Pro Load offers Professional Grade ammunition. Loading handgun ammo, from .380 through .45 Winchester Magnum, Pro Load offers quality components, such as Hornady's XTP bullets, throughout their line. Pro Load's ammo is known for its low standard deviation from round to round, and consistently tests in the upper percentage in accuracy and reliability. Pro Load's new boxes proclaim "Made in the United States of America."
Remington hasn't been resting on its laurels the past year. New additions include shotshell, pistol and rifle ammo.
With the explosive interest in sporting clays, Remington has added a specialty loading in .410 just for clays. Big Green's new load of a full 1/2-ounce of #8 1/2 shot at 1,200 fps in .410 assures sporting clays shooters a slick new addition to their ammo battery.
Remington also has expanded their UMC Brand to include shotshells. Packaged in 20-round boxes, these 12- and 20-gauge loads will appeal to the budget-minded shooter.
For 1995, Remington will expand its line of premium pistol and revolver ammo by adding two specifications of Golden Saber High Performance Jacketed HP ammunition. The new offerings are in .380 ACP and 9mm (+P) calibers. Golden Saber JHP delivers deep penetration and dramatic expansion with high weight retention. These two additions help to complete the existing line, from .380 ACP to .45 ACP.
Look for two new additions to the Safari Grade rifle ammunition line. The .30-'06 Springfield and .270 Winchester are both loaded with Swift A-Frame Bullets, round out the line of "serious" hunting ammo from Remington.
Don't forget, with the popularity of the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser and the thousands of surplus rifles recently brought into the country, Remington continues to load this soft-shooting round in its Core-Lokt Line of centerfire ammo.
Since 1945, Star has manufactured reloaded ammunition for civilian and law enforcement use. After developing the process that produced the original 148-grain swaged Hollow Base Wadcutter back in the early 1960s, Star has expanded to become a major player in the reloading marketplace. Most of their business is in the reloading of customers' cases.
One advantage Star has is it manufactures its own swaged and jacketed bullets. In fact, Star sells millions of bullets to hundreds of other reloading companies. Limiting their product line to just .38 Special, 9mm, .357 Magnum, 40 S&W and .45 Auto lets them concentrate on a limited market.
Most of Star's manufacturing machinery and processes have been designed, built, perfected and maintained in Star's own machine shop, letting them custom design for their particular needs. Since 1988, Star has aggressively entered the civilian market, selling to ranges and retail gun shops, and has redesigned their boxes to reflect their interest in the retail trade.
3-D Ammunition and Bullets
New for 1995 from 3-D is its line of factory-new ammo designed specifically for law enforcement, competitive shooting and personal protection. Like 3-D's remanufactured line, each round of 3-D Blue is subject to the company's 15-step quality assurance program. 3-D Blue includes a highly specialized group of jacketed hollowpoints, selecting only the very best bullet on the market for each round. Each bullet is tested for accuracy, velocity, expansion and penetration.
The combination of 3-D remanufactured ammunition and 3-D Blue factory-new ammo offers dealers and distributors a line of reliable, proven handgun ammunition.
Weatherby starts with Norma brass, then adds premium bullets from the top names in the business: Hornady, Nosler, Swift and A-Square. The result is that each Weatherby Magnum cartridge is produced with the precision of handloading to give it the blistering velocity that has made Weatherby famous. In virtually every case, no other commercially produced ammunition provides the maximum point-blank range of Weatherby ammo.
For instance, the .300 Weatherby Magnum loaded with a 180-grain bullet leaves the muzzle at 3,300 fps, while most commercial loadings for the .300 Winchester Magnum average 2,950 to 3,000!
Winchester has many new offerings in its ammunition lines. For rifles, the Fail Safe bullet is offered in .270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum, and the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser is nicely addressed with the 140-grain Soft Point Super-X.
The Fail Safe bullet features a solid copper alloy front section which is driven by the heavy lead rear core that is locked in place with a projectile steel cup insert and sealed with a closure disk on the heel. The result is a bullet which expands quickly, on all types of game, to more than 1 1/2 times the diameter of the bullet and has virtual 100 percent weight retention.
Winchester continues to offer their Supreme SXT ammunition for handguns. The load features a reverse tapered jacket which extends completely up to the nose cavity of the bullet. The design creates positive feeding and provides consistently uniform expansion, even at low velocities. The bullet has virtually 100 percent weight retention and offers match-grade accuracy from quality handguns.
Look for Winchester's Super-X Super Unleaded handgun ammunition in .38 Special, 9mm and .40 S&W. It features a no-lead, no-antimony, no-barium and no-strontium patented primer. The fully encapsulated lead-core bullet is uniquely protected at the heel with a closure disc that seals in the lead core, preventing lead exposure upon firing.
Reliability, accuracy and affordability are three good reasons to offer your customers Zero new ammunition, reloads and bullets. Available in .38 Special, 9mm, .38 Super, .357, .40 S&W, .44 and .45 ACP, and in roundnose, semi-wadcutter, FMJ, HP and unjacketed designs, Zero Ammunition is unconditionally guaranteed.