Combine the legendary stopping power of the .357 Magnum with modern bullet design and you can potentially create an amazingly effective self-defense round. That seems to be exactly what Hornady had in mind when it developed the Critical Defense load chambered for the classic Magnum.
The SHOT Show has come and gone, so there have been a lot of new product announcements to sort through. For all of you that are interested in the new ammunition that is being offered, here is a round up of the new loads introduced for 2016.
Federal Premium will introduce a new line of ammunition under its American Eagle brand at the SHOT Show. Called Syntech, the new ammunition uses a polymer jacket instead of a more traditional copper one.
The new ammo will be offered in three handgun calibers at launch: 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Bullet weights will be typical for the caliber: 115 grains for the 9mm, 165 grains for the .40 and 230 grains for the .45.
Using a polymer jacket has a number of potential advantages for the company and the shooter. First, Federal may be able to manufacture these bullets for less money than if the company used a traditional copper jacket. This can work out to be lower prices for the consumer.
Secondly, by using a polymer jacket, there can be less fouling of the bore. Plain lead bullets can leave quite a bit of residue behind that is tough to scrub out. Copper jackets reduce the fouling, but copper is still tough to remove from a bore.Â Any polymer left behind is likely to be easier to remove from the pistol’s barrel.
Another potential benefit of using a polymer jacket is a reduction in “splash back” when shooting steel. Shooting steel targets is both fun and useful as a training tool. However, one of the risks involved bullet shrapnel bouncing back at the shooter. Even when operating at supposedly safe distances, I’ve seen part of a copper jacket come back and strike a shooter just above the eye.Â In theory, a polymer jacket will not rebound off of steel in the same way that copper would.
American Eagle Syntech ammunition is not the first time the company has used a polymer jacket.Â Federal used a polymer jacket on its popular Nyclad line of ammo many moons ago, and still does on the modern Nyclad .38 Special rounds.
For these loads, Federal used a soft lead alloy that would readily expand at even low velocities. However, copper jackets would inhibit expansion, and bare lead would leave a lot of gunk behind in the gun. To solve the problem, a polymer jacket was developed.
While the Nyclad line was eclipsed by other defensive ammunition lines, I am not familiar with any problems with the ammo caused by the polymer jacket.
I do not have any word on pricing yet for these rounds. As I get additional information leading into the SHOT Show, I will update this article.
Using lighter-than-typical bullets, the new HPR Black Ops ammunition promises to deliver superior accuracy and “unparalleled takedown force.” Initially, the Black Ops ammo will be offered in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Another load in .223 Rem is said to be available soon.
According to HPR, the bullets used in the new ammo are Open Tipped Frangible (OTF) projectiles. The OTF bullet has a powdered metal core with a jacket. The jacket and core are designed to separate when striking soft tissue, yet hold together and track straight when encountering an intermediate barrier such as auto glass, sheet rock, and car doors.
Hornady announced the addition of several new products at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Hornady has earned one of the finest reputations in the industry for producing some of the most accurate and high quality ammunition on the market. These new additions look to add to that reputation and open up new possibilities.
One of those new products is the Custom Lite line of ammunition, which claims to reduce recoil 25-40% from standard loads, as well as reduced muzzle blast. Using slightly lighter bullets and modified propellants, Hornady claims a significant recoil reduction can be accomplished. This line is a great way to introduce new shooters, those shooters with smaller frames, or shooters with physical hinderances to larger caliber rifles that they would likely be prevented from shooting with standard cartridges.