21 Rifle, Handgun, and Shotgun Ammo Introductions From the 2022 SHOT Show
Despite difficulties keeping current product on the shelves, ammo makers have come out swinging with a surprising number of new rifle, handgun, and shotgun loads for 2022
We’re lucky we have so much new ammo to talk about for 2022. With such high demand for ammunition lately, it’s been all but impossible for manufactures just to make enough of their most popular existing products, let alone produce new ones. And yet, here it is SHOT-show time again, and we’ve got a surprising number of new centerfire, rimfire, and shotgun ammo for target shooting, hunting, self-defense, and even suppressed shooting. The only thing that’s missing is a new load to knock out the sickness that’s disrupted life as we know it for the past two years. But while we wait for that, here are 21 of the hottest new cartridges, loads, and line extensions for 2022.
1. Berger 6.5 PRC and .300 PRC
Although Berger has a long history of making some of the best long-range bullets available to handloaders, the company is relatively new to the ammunition game. Still, they’re checking all the right boxes with loads made specifically for shooters looking to go long. For 2022 they have extended their line to include the 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC cartridges. The 6.5 load features a heaviest-in-class, 156-grain Berger Elite Hunter bullet, which has an amazing G1 ballistic coefficient (BC) of 0.679 and an advertised muzzle velocity is 2960 fps. The 300 PRC load has a 205-grain Berger Elite Hunter bullet with a 0.631 BC and an advertised muzzle velocity of 2895 fps. —Richard Mann
2. Browning Pro 22 Rimfire Ammo
Browning’s new 22 LR rimfire load has a 40-grain, lead round-nose bullet and a muzzle velocity of 1085 fps. Savvy shooters will realize that this is a subsonic load, and as a result, the problem of accuracy degradation during the transition from supersonic to subsonic flight is avoided. Though this load could be used for close-range small-game hunting, if head shots were taken, with its precise target crimp on the bullet for optimum alignment with the rifling, the Pro 22 is at its best for precision target shooting. It will be available in 100-round value packs. —R.M.
3. Buffalo Bore .38/40 Heavy
The .38/40 Winchester was the original 10mm or .40 Smith & Wesson. Of course, the .38/40 has been lingering in obsolescence for nearly 100 years. Still, there are lots of old Winchester rifles and Colt six-guns out there in this chambering. Unfortunately, current factory loads for the .38/40 are more or less limited to punching paper and ringing steel in cowboy-action matches. Buffalo Bore has solved that this year with their new .38/40 Heavy offering. It features a 180-grain hardcast bullet rated at 1000 fps from a revolver and at 1400 fps from a rifle. This load is sufficient for big game up to around 300 pounds and delivers deep-penetrating performance without exceeding the SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) maximum average pressure limit of 14,000 cup. So now you can grab granddad’s old .38/40 and go hunting. —R.M.
4. CCI Blazer Brass-Cased 9mm
For many years, shooters have turned to CCI Blazer ammunition for volume shooting because the aluminum-cased ammo is substantially less expensive than conventional brass-cased ammo. The downside to the aluminum cases, however, is that they cannot be reloaded. For 2022, CCI is introducing a new Blazer load for the 9mm Luger with reloadable brass cases. It has a lead-free primer and a flat-nose, 100-grain, lead-free bullet. This makes the new load ideal for indoor ranges. Now, you’ll be picking up your brass and leaving no lead in the air. And the price remains quite reasonable for brass-cased ammo. —R.M.
5. Federal HST Magnum Revolver Loads
When it comes to defensive handgun ammunition, Federal HST loads are highly regarded for their ability to defeat intermediate barriers, deliver wide bullet deformation, and penetrate to depths within the FBI’s suggested minimum and maximum limits. Until now, HST ammunition has only been available for pistol cartridges, but for 2022 Federal has added two magnum revolver loads to the Personal Defense HST lineup. One is a 104-grain HST load for the .327 Federal Magnum and the other is a 154-grain load for the .357 Magnum. Like all HST loads, these new magnum revolver loads feature high-performance primers and nickel-plated cases for optimum ignition and reliability. —R.M.
6. Federal 30 Super Carry
One of the most intriguing ammo introduction for 2022 is Federal’s new 30 Super Carry, a brand new cartridge specifically designed for those who carry a concealed pistol for personal protection. From an external and terminal ballistics standpoint, the 30 Super Carry will run right with the 9mm, but offers some key advantages. It generates between 10 and 20 percent less recoil, for one thing. And maybe more importantly, given magazines of the same size, it offers a higher capacity than the .380 Auto or 9mm Luger. The new cartridge is interesting enough that I posted a stand-alone review of the product last week, which you can read in full here. —R.M.
7. Federal Upland Steel with Paper Wads
Picking up hulls is easy. Recovering wads is tough, and those wads wind up in rivers, and, eventually in oceans and on beaches. Already shotshell manufacturers are introducing ammunition that does away with the single-use plastic wad, substitutinbg biodegradable materials. Federal’s new Upland Steel loads not only contain non-toxic shot, they have a paper over-powder wad, cellulose filler, and a paper shotcup sturdy enough to protect barrels. Paper-wad Upland Steel will come in 1-ounce 12-gauge loads of No. 6 and 7 shot at 1330 fps. I have shot a lot of doves with steel 7s and love the idea of doing it without strewing plastic everywhere. —P.B.
8. HeviShot HeviXII 3-inch 28-Gauge
HeviShot is among three ammo makers loading shells for Benelli’s new 3-inch 28-gauge semiauto shotgun, and, I would imagine, for other 3-inch 28s to come. These shells contain HeviXII, which is the new name for Original Recipe HeviShot, the 12-gram/cubic-centimeter pellets that were the first denser-than-lead shotgun projectiles. Available in 1-ounce loads of No. 4 and 6 shot at 1350 fps, these should be more than enough for ducks and even geese (in 4 shot) over decoys. While I don’t entirely understand this new small-bores-for-ducks trend, I have no doubt that these will be a hot item for those who do.
9. Hornady CX Bullet
The big news from Hornady is the new CX bullet. CX stands for “Controlled-alloy eXpanding,” and this is a mono-metal, lead-free bullet, similar to Hornady’s popular GMX. Made from a single piece of copper alloy, the CX is designed not to separate during penetration and to drive deeply, with near 95 percent weight retention. The CX should be ideal for all forms of big-game hunting. What sets the CX apart from the GMX and other mono-metal bullets is Hornady’s Heat Shield Tip, like that found on their ELD-X bullet. This tip resists aerodynamic heating and prevents ballistic-coefficient degradation during flight. Also, new groove geometry along the bullet’s shank reduces the bearing surface and barrel fouling. CX bullets will be offered as reloading components for most common big-game hunting calibers, and they will be loaded in the Outfitter line of ammunition for the most popular big-game cartridges. —R.M.
10. Hornady Subsonic .350 Legend
Also new from Hornady is a subsonic expanding-bullet load for the .350 Legend. The .350 Legend cartridge has found favor with a much broader group of shooters than was originally thought possible. Intended as an option for deer hunters in states requiring straight-wall cartridges, the Legend has been embraced from coast to coast in compact bolt-action rifles and in AR-15s. Because of this, a subsonic load that deforms/expands during penetration was a logical next step, and Hornady has made it happen. The new load can be found in Hornady’s Subsonic ammunition line and features a 250-grain Sub-X bullet with a sectional density of 0.280 and a G1 BC of 0.265. Hornady says it is suitable for medium-size big-game animals, weighing between 50 and 300 pounds, and it will be offered in 20-round boxes. —R.M.
11. Norma Rimfire Ammunition
Norma is offering three new rimfire loads for the .22 Long Rifle this year. The new Xtreme LR-22 is intended for long-range competition shooting, while the ECO Power 22 and Hunter Power 22 loads are designed for hunting. The ECO load features a lead-free 24-grain bullet that travels at a blistering 1700 fps, with 155 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The solid zinc hollow-point fragmenting bullet with copper plating has four petals that sheer off and radiate outward from the primary bullet path to enhance wounding. The Hunter load is topped off with a 40-grain hollow-point and has a muzzle velocity of 1260 fps with 142 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. This bullet is designed to deliver controlled expansion, and both the ECO and Hunter loads should be excellent for small-game hunting. All new Norma rimfire loads will be offered in 50, 500, and 5,000 boxed quantities. —R.M.
12. Nosler ASP Personal Defense Ammunition
Since 1948, Nosler has been giving hunters some of the most innovative and best bullets available, from the Partition to the AccuBond. Although the company has offered handgun bullets and even handgun ammunition in the past, now it looks like they’ve become deadly serious about it. For 2022, Nosler is introducing the ASP (Assured Stopping Power) line of handgun ammunition. These new loads—offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, 10mm, and .45 Auto—feature a new hollow-point bullet design with a skived jacket to deliver reliable and controlled bullet deformation over a wide range of impact velocities. The lineup includes subsonic loads for the 9mm and .45 Auto, and ASP bullets will also be offered as components for reloaders. —R.M.
13. Peters Premier Blue Paper Shotshells
There’s a lot of “new” retro gear this year at SHOT, and Remington is reaching way back to bring out a paper-hulled shotshell for clay shooters. Marketed under the Peters name, the shell is made in the classic blue Peters color and comes in a throwback box that would complement any classic double. But looks are about the only old-school thing about these shells. Under the hood, they have a modern competition wad, a payload of screened high-antimony lead shot, and an all-brass head. Remington says that the paper hull will reduce felt recoil, but we have yet to try them out. They’re available now on the Remington website while supplies last. —Matt Every
14. Remington Core-Lokt Tipped
Big Green is back with a variety of new rifle, handgun, and shotgun loads for 2022, and one that is sure to get plenty of attention from hunters is the new Core-Lokt Tipped centerfire rifle ammo. An update of one of the most trusted lines of cartridges ever made, the Core-Lokt Tipped was soft-launched in 2021, and so I got a chance to test it. The takeaway: Don’t worry. Remington hasn’t messed up your favorite ammo; all they really did was alter the original Core-Lokt bullet to accept a polymer tip to improve accuracy and increase BC. According to my tests, which you can read in full here, the new bullet shoots flatter and remains just as lethal as the original. —R.M.
15. Remington Premier TSS
Just in time for the upcoming spring 2022 gobbler season, Remington has introduced a Premier TSS turkey load in 12-gauge, 20-gauge, and .410 bore in No. 7 and 9 shot. Turkey hunters who’ve made the switch to TSS know all about the benefits. No matter the gauge, TSS delivers tight, lethal patterns to longer ranges than lead. The only thing is, you’re going to pay for that performance, and Remington TSS loads are no different. At over $10 per shot for 12- and 20-gauge shells, they aren’t cheap. But when you’ve got a gobbler hung up at 50 yards that you’ve been waiting for all morning, your wallet is the last thing on your mind. —M.E.
16. Underwood .45 Auto Extreme Defender
The .45 Auto cartridge is more than 100 years old, but its popularity has not waned. It’s still one of the top three self-defense cartridges in America. But most .45 Auto loads designed for personal protection use bullets weighing between 160 and 230 grains. They work well, but they sort of lumber along like a tired old mule. Underwood Ammunition is well-known for innovative ammunition offerings, and for 2022 they have introduced a lightweight, high-velocity option for the .45 Auto. This Xtreme Defender load features a 120-grain solid-copper bullet that will penetrate to around 15 inches in ordnance gelatin. The +P version screams downrange 100 fps faster, and it will drive about 20 percent deeper. Either should be ideal for protection against bad guys or angry critters. —R.M.
17. Winchester Copper Impact
Better external ballistic performance at long range comes from bullets with higher ballistic coefficients (BC), and with their new Copper Impact line of ammo, Winchester has accomplished higher BCs by incorporating a longer ogive and a boattail into the design of the bullet. For optimum terminal performance, Winchester added their Extreme Point to help initiate immediate expansion. All this, combined with a lead-free bullet that will retain most of its weight, makes for a deep-penetrating big-game stopper that can be used from coast to coast. Now Copper Impact ammunition is available for more than a dozen loads, including the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.8 Western, and even the .350 Legend. —R.M.
18. Winchester .22 Magnum Silvertip
If you like the idea of a .22 Magnum for protection from two-legged or four-legged critters, like a rabid raccoon, Winchester has the load for you. For 2022 they have added a Silvertip load for the .22 Magnum. It features a 50-grain, nickel-plated, jacketed, hollow-point bullet with a profile that has been engineered for functionality in handguns. More specifically, this load has been perfectly tuned for use in short-barreled handguns, which are routinely carried for self-defense. The .22 Magnum might not be the best defensive handgun cartridge, but for shooters who cannot tolerate recoil, it is a viable option. With this new Silvertip load, it becomes a more practical choice. —R.M.
19. Winchester Blind Side 2
Blind Side 2 literally takes some of the edges off of the original Blind Side. Where the original hexahedral Blind Side shot—think tiny steel dice—stacked more efficiently in hulls and created greater wound trauma, the new pellets have a rounder, more aerodynamic shape but with the same flat sides. You can still fit 15 percent more of these into a hull than you can round pellets. They still hit hard, and now they will fly truer and pattern tighter, too. Blind Side 2 also offers the Drylok wad system to help keep the components dry. It will come in 3-inch 12-gauge, 1-13/8-ounce 1400 fps loads of BB, 2, and 3 shot; 3-½-inch 12-gauge, 1-5/8-ounce, 1400 fps loads of BB and 2 shot; and 3-inch, 20-gauge, 1-1/16-ounces of 2 shot at 1300 fps. —P.B.
20. Winchester Bismuth
Winchester joins the list of ammo makers offering bismuth-loaded shotshells with both a 12- and 20-gauge offering. Having a density halfway between steel and lead, bismuth hits much harder than steel and won’t damage older gun barrels, either. Winchester claims its pellets are the smoothest, roundest bismuth shot in the industry, and the loads contain plastic buffer to protect the tin-plated pellets (bismuth is brittle) and shoot patterns as tight as 90 percent at 40 yards. It also boasts Winchester’s proven Dry Lok technology to keep moisture out of the shell. It will be available in 3-inch 12-gauge, 1-3/8-ounce loads of 4 or 1 shot at 1450 fps and 3-inch 20-gauge, 1-1/8-ounce loads of 4 shot at 1300 fps. —P.B.
21. Winchester Super Pheasant Diamond Grade
Pheasant season just ended here, and for the 30th or so year in a row, I relearned that wild pheasants are tough birds. Super Pheasant Diamond Grade is here to help. Winchester’s Diamond Grade shot contains 8 percent antimony, making these the hardest lead pellets in the industry, and therefore ideal for penetrating pheasants from stern to stem, as you often have to do on going-away birds. The Diamond Grade shot in these shells is size 5, which has long been my favorite lead pheasant pellet. There’s a 2¾-inch, 1-3/8-ounce, 1300-fps load that should be about perfect for general use on pheasants; a 3-inch, 1-5/8-ounce, 1350-fps load for the long going-away birds; and a 1-ounce, 1300-fps, 20-gauge load that should be great to 35 yards or a bit more, depending on your gun’s choke.