A few months ago, Federal Ammunition announced American Eagle Syntech—a new concept for range use. While there are many highly-developed loads for personal defense, seldom has much effort been expended in developing range ammunition. American Eagle Syntech is the first range-specific ammunition designed to reduce fouling and extend barrel life with a high-tech polymer bullet coating.
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The Shooter’s Log is often asked about the ‘best’ handgun load. Unfortunately, many correspondents fail to share the intended mission of the load. The mission has a strong influence as to the desired bullet weight, velocity, and penetration. As an example, you may be perfectly happy to run the .44 Special or .45 Colt with a 255-grain SWC at 700 fps for cowboy action or target practice. If hiking in country in which the big cats or bears may be more than a nuisance, the same bullet up to 1,000 fps would be a better choice.
The .41 Magnum is a useful, powerful, accurate, and well-balanced cartridge. Perhaps, it is one of the best revolver cartridges ever designed. Yet, it seems to be almost on its last leg, and far down the list in popularity compared to the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum. This is understandable in some ways, but the cartridge is just too good to die.
There are few subjects as prone to create an argument as personal defense handguns and calibers. Some have a “devil may care” attitude and deploy anything, stating most are the same, while others go into great, even minute detail, in their testing and choices. Critical Defense and Critical Duty loads are not really variants of the XTP but fresh designs for a specific purpose. They have Hornady quality in common, however. These loads make the most of a handgun caliber.
I admit, I have been a prepper—to various degrees—for decades. In that regard, my plans have always been to bug out if things got rough. With that in mind, a seismic shift went through our prep plans when we came to the obvious conclusion that unless it was BAD, we needed to bug in.
While hollow point or expanding bullets have been the standard for personal defense for decades, they are far from perfect. There has been a tremendous amount of development in ammunition during the past few years. Among the most interesting of these has been the advances in nonexpanding ammunition. These loads are intended to produce good wound potential for personal defense without the problems of jacketed hollow point manufacture and performance.
The newest and brightest addition to the AR-15 family is a 5.56mm-diameter cartridge with more punch and long-range potential than the .223 Remington. The .224 Valkyrie is designed to remain supersonic to 1,300 yards, but design and performance are not always one in the same. The Shooter’s Log put the Valkyrie through its paces, even if we did put our thumb on the scale by using a $4,000 Wilson Combat Super Sniper.
Personal defense ammunition doesn’t always have a valid understudy for training. A high velocity loading may strike to a different point of impact in relation to the point of aim compared to a standard velocity, training load. SIG Sauer has developed a line of ammunition that is well suited to personal defense and training. The line is called 365 after its successful compact 9mm handgun.
You may choose a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, but the shotgun offers the greatest wound potential and the greatest versatility, but the gun alone is not enough. For maximum effectiveness, you’ll want to match the right ammunition for the situation, but here are four choices from Hornady that you cannot go wrong with.
Double Tap has earned a well-deserved reputation for quality control and maximizing the individual calibers it loads. From .38 Special to .45 ACP, a number of our author’s tests have found Double Tap’s offerings to be well thought out and ballistically impressive. One load gave almost a full inch of expansion. Read the article to learn which one.