Review: Federal HST 10mm

HST bullet expansion

Federal Cartridge Company has been a leader in service and personal defense ammunition for many years. The original Hi-Shock hollow point, the Hydra Shock and now the HST are respected resources for personal defense.

The 10mm was developed by a number of learned individuals, with Colonel Jeff Cooper playing a large part in promoting the cartridge. The 10mm was seen as a cartridge with increased penetration, energy and range.

The Colonel wanted a cartridge that would do things at 50 yards that could not be done with the .45 ACP. The modern 10mm is a highly developed and superbly accurate cartridge in the right handgun.

10mm HST range
There are things that may be done at long range with the 10mm that are not possible with the .45 ACP pistol.

While the short .40 S &W cartridge was adopted by many more police agencies and enjoys an excellent reputation, the 10mm has many diehard fans. The popularity of the 10mm has waxed and waned, but presently enjoys a resurgence in popularity.

There are even revolvers available in the form of the Ruger GP100 and the newly re-introduced Smith and Wesson 610 that feature the 10mm auto.

Federal HST
The Federal HST is a formidable loading.

Meet the Federal HST 10mm

Among the newest and most interesting loads is the Federal Premium HST 10mm. This cartridge features a 200-grain bullet at about 1100 fps in most handguns.

The HST is designed to offer consistent expansion and a balance of expansion and penetration that favors the FBI’s demands for penetration. The HST is designed to retain 100 percent of its bullet weight after penetration at least 18 inches of gelatin.

HST expansion
The HST is a reliably expanding bullet.

Feed reliability is important. This cartridge combination is designed for good feed and cycle reliability. I obtained a quantity of these loads and tested them in two handguns:

Ruger GP100 – 4-inch barrel

Ruger 10mm revolver
Ruger’s 10mm revolver makes for a good package for those preferring the wheel gun.

Rock Island Commander 10mm – 4.25-inch barrel

Ria Commander 10mm
RIA’s powerful Commander 10mm is another option.

The factory tests their ammunition in a 5-inch barrel, so I expected less velocity than the specified 1130 fps. I did get less velocity, but not that much less.

How the HST 10mm Performs

Expansion and penetration were tested using water jugs. These aren’t gelatin, but then again, gelatin isn’t flesh and blood, either. Water is fine for comparing loads; it simply overstates penetration by about 10 percent compared to gelatin (in most cases).

10mm HST expansion
Note excellent expansion from 10mm HST.

Here are the results:

Federal 200-grain HST 10mm
Firearm Velocity Expansion Penetration
Rock Island Armory Commander 4.25-inch barrel 1110 fps .68-70 20 inches
Ruger GP 100 4-inch barrel 1101 fps .68-70 20 inches

The HST fed smoothly in the RIA pistol with no malfunctions. The use of nickel-plated cartridge cases is a plus for Federal Premium. As for accuracy, here are the averages of two five-shot groups at 25 yards:

Firearm Accuracy
Rock Island Armory Commander 1.9 inches
Ruger GP 100 2.5 inches
Fusion Commander 10mm 1.75 inches

HST 10mm: Main Takeaways

The loading is accurate enough for most purposes. This isn’t the hottest 10mm load available. The Federal 10mm 180-grain bonded core, as an example, breaks 1275 fps in most handguns and makes for an excellent hunting load.

The HST offers superior wound ballistics to many handgun loads with good control and accuracy. While the 10mm is a powerful number, fast repeat shots are not difficult with the HST.

The 200-grain HST is a reliable loading with much to recommend for home defense or personal defense in a concealed carry handgun.

Federal Hydra Shock
The Federal Hydra Shock is loaded to about 1050 fps and offers a low-recoil option.


Speer 200-grain Gold Dot
Another choice is the Speer 200-grain Gold Dot.

Are you among the 10mm diehards? Let us know your thoughts on these loads in the comments below.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (15)

  1. I have 4 other factory loads on hand that exceed this bullets energy and velocity.
    Grizzly 200gr 1250 4.5″ barrel
    I chronograph these at 1450 out of a 6.6″ barrel.

    Liberty ammo 60 gr at 2550fps

    Ammo Inc (the new HPR) 200gr at 1270

    Hornady 180 gr at 1400.
    These makes hst on the low end of the spectrum by far.

  2. All of you complaining about lack of power need to go look at Fenix ammo. 10mm, 180 grain speer gold dot @1350 fps. Also check out Double Tap Ammo as well for some other full power 10mm.

  3. 200 grain should be going 1250 at least in 10mm… otherwise, you’re just shootin a very expensive .40
    220 at 1200
    200 at 1275
    That’s what the centimeter is really for.

  4. I’m not one of the Tim Taylor’s of the handgun shooting world, “Needs More Power! arr, arr, arr”. I consider myself a purest… and I have to agree with Jonathan. A 200 grain projectile with an “advertised” MV of 1130 FPS, YAAAAWN!!!! Particularly when you consider the original 200 grain Flat Nose Hard Cast projectile produced by Norma back in 1983, when the 10mm was first released. It had a MV of 1200 FPS. My question is; why is it the Big Four ammo manufacturers (Federal, Winchester, Remington and Hornady) seem to be “afraid” to produce 10mm ammo that actually meets original Norma 10mm ballistics (200 grain Hard Cast @ 1200 FPS, 170 grain Jacketed Hollow Point @ 1300 FPS and a 165 grain Jacketed Hollow Point @ 1400 FPS). Most of the 10mm ammo produced today by the Big Four, just barley exceed 40 S&W ballistics enough to still be considered 10mm. If I wanted to shoot 40 S&W, I would have bought a 40 S&W handgun. Ok, I’ll end of my rant for now.

    Side note, since it was mentioned in the article. The Federal Vital Shock 180 grain Trophy Bonded. That is truly a 10mm round. It’s a !80 grain Jacketed Flat Nose soft led projectile with an advertised MV of 1275 FPS. Out of my Colt Delta Elite, I’ve Chronographed MV’s (at the low end) of 1250 FPS. And just a couple of times I’ve gotten MV’s at 1300+. Most of the time though, my Chronograph results have been pretty much right at the 1275 mark. Due to the type and size of the 4 legged predators in my area, It’s my Go-To for Back Woods Carry. The big problem is being able to find it. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to replenish my stock, and it just became available this week at just two online resellers. So I bought a case from each.

    Now if you want to write an article about the benefits of a true 10mm round, write one about the the Trophy Bonded. Maybe then, if they’re paying attention, Federal might develop the incentive to make it more readily available to us true 10mm fans.

  5. Sounds like a pretty light loading for the 10mm. I’m averaging 1206 fps with 180 grain bullets out of a 6″ barrel Glock. I would expect at least super sonic with 200 grain. But then, I bought this gun for hunting. It is way to large for concealed carry.

    And Michael, 155-165 grain bullets are for .40 S&W. If you go 10mm, your going for power.

  6. The Hydra-Shok at 1050 would be a pretty good self defense load, This 200 gr at 1100+fps is over the top for defense against humans. How many walls do you want to shoot thru? It would make a great hunting load for whitetails and larger critters. The 10mm sits with the other too powerful for self defense loads with the .41 & .44 mag.
    For self defense, NOTHING BEATS THE 1911 in .45 ACP WITH 230gr Hydro-Skok bullets at 830 fps!

  7. There’s nothing wrong with the 185-200 grain 10mm load especially for the 50 & 100 yd. Turkey and Javelina competition shooting, but you get the 155 & 165 grain H.S.T. & Speer Gold Dot and it borders on incredible!

  8. Federal has a great load there.. perfect expansion!
    However the 10mm is capable of much more.
    Like the previous reader said in his comments
    Those velocities are hot .45 rounds really..
    Let’s see some real 10mm loads tested..
    Underwood Ammo makes some of the very best ammo out there
    And have some truley spectacular true 10mm loads!!
    Would love to see some 10mm in 1600fps loads tested!
    Anyways just my humble opinion, thanks for your great testing

  9. I’ve been a .40 fan for a good number of years, but I’ve been debating picking up a 10mm.5 I just haven’t decided upon the platform I want to choose. Luckily, there’s not a huge number of models to choose from. Decisions, decisions.

  10. What’s so puzzling? Higher weight, high velocity, more muzzle velocity. Simple math. But hopefully we can see some real ballistic (gel) data soon!!!

    Try it in the cmmg 10mm too!!

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