A new full-power load resurrected the 10mm Auto, transforming it into a potent big-game platform. Hogs. Bears. Deer. Whatever the target, most handgun hunters traditionally opted for stout revolvers chambered in .44 and .41 Rem. Magnums, .357 Magnum and the like. Semiautomatic handgun options have been slim. That is changing with ammunition such as the new Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded Jacketed Soft Point in 10mm Auto.
The accurate, powerful new round from Federal Premium gives hunters who have always wanted to use a semiautomatic handgun a serious big-game option.
As a cartridge, the 10mm Auto has experienced an unusual ride. Developers first envisioned it as a high-power round for law enforcement. And it is built for that, thanks to high-velocity loadings that delivered more foot-pounds of energy than most personal defense and law enforcement cartridges available at the time. When the FBI deemed the recoil too heavy for most of its agents, ammunition manufacturers strayed from the original plan, watering down most 10mm Auto offerings to produce ballistics almost identical to the .40 S&W.
The new Vital-Shok load is totally different. Unlike its more recent predecessors, it is a full-power cartridge that takes complete advantage of the caliber’s true capability and offers the muscle for deer, bears and hogs as well as personal protection. Its 180-grain bullet leaves the muzzle at 1,275 fps (compared to the usual 1,030 fps) with 650 foot-pounds of energy—an increase of more than 50 percent from typical commercial loads.
This performance, which falls roughly between the .357 and .41 Magnums, is impressive yet still sells the load short because the numbers came from testing with a 5-inch barrel. Handgun hunters using 6-inch barrels should experience better velocity and energy in real-world conditions.
Better Ballistics, Better Bullet
The new Vital-Shok load’s Trophy Bonded Jacketed Soft Point bullet design makes the cartridge even more effective. Based on Federal Premium’s proven Trophy Bonded Bear Claw rifle bullet, the heavy jacket features a formed inner profile that pre-programs and controls expansion to ensure deep penetration, consistent expansion and high weight retention.
Combined with the full-power ballistics, the new round delivers knock-down power that has never been seen in 10mm Auto loads and is the ideal choice for hunters looking to put a semiautomatic pistol in the field. Among the most accurate is the GLOCK Model 20 10mm.
The big GLOCK is the single most accurate GLOCK I have ever fired, often giving a 1.5-inch, 25-yard group with quality ammunition. I like the 1911 a lot, although the Colt offerings are not as accurate. The early Delta Elite pistol sometimes did not hold up well to 10mm ballistics. Late model Delta Elite pistols are a different story. Then there is the Kimber 10mm, seldom seen and immensely interesting.
When all is said and done, the 10mm offers excellent performance, and the new Federal load offers a great option.