FIELD & STREAM 2005 BEST OF THE BEST AWARDS
This year, seven of our field editors looked through the thousands of new products offered by the outdoor industry, tested hundreds of them, and finally came up with a list of the 22 best. These are Field & Stream's Best of the Best.
WINCHESTER .325 SHORT MAGNUM
Shortfats and super shortfats have been arriving by the battalion in the last few years, and everyone assumed that the next Winchester addition would be a .338 shortfat. Everyone was wrong. Winchester Western ballisticians concluded that if they wanted to design something bigger than .30 caliber, then .32 was the way to go. Thus, the .325 was born (going by the metric system, that’s an 8mm short magnum).
The .325 is a highly efficient cartridge that throws medium-weight bullets at very respectable velocities and delivers a lot of wallop at the muzzle without undue recoil at the other end. W/W currently offers a 180-grain Ballistic Silvertip at 3000 fps, a 200-grain AccuBond at 2900, and a 220-grain Power-Point at 2800. Now let’s see if Winchester comes up with a 220-grain Fail Safe loading. That will transform a highly useful cartridge into a truly formidable one. $37¿¿¿$53 per box, depending on the bullet; 618-258-2000; winchester.com -D.E.P. FEDERAL PREMIUM VITAL-SHOK TRUBALL RIFLED SLUG
This new line from Federal redefines Foster slug accuracy. I had no trouble shooting 2-inch groups at 50 yards with 12-gauge TruBall slugs in a smoothbore. Most Foster slugs won’t group tighter than 4 or 5 inches at 50 yards, and many do worse than that. What’s the secret? A little plastic ball-which fits into the TruBall’s hollow base and sits in a dimple on the wad-keeps the slug centered in the bore as it expands upon firing. The ball also helps the wad and slug separate cleanly as they exit the muzzle.
TruBalls are real tack-drivers by slug standards. What’s more, you get revolutionary accuracy for only a dollar more per box than traditional Fosters. They come in 12- and 20-gauge and 12-gauge low-recoil versions. $5 for a box of 5; 800-322-2342; federalcartridge.com -P.B.