Category Archives: Ammunition

ammo, or ammunition category will be host to all topics related to factory ammo and ammunition. Everything from 22 LR to Bulk Pistol Ammo will be discussed here.

Sierra Announces Five New SIG V-Crown Bullets

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Sierra SIG Sauer V-Crown Bullets Nov 2015

Sierra Bullets, in partnership with SIG Sauer, has announced the availability of five new members of the V-Crown self-defense-bullet line. The V-Crowns deliver Continue reading Sierra Announces Five New SIG V-Crown Bullets

Brooklyn Lawmakers Want to Severely Tighten Ammo Sales

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If two New York lawmakers from Brooklyn are successful at passing new draft legislation aimed at tightly restricting the sale of ammunition in the state, will legitimate gun owners there turn to reloading Continue reading Brooklyn Lawmakers Want to Severely Tighten Ammo Sales

Hodgdon’s Step-by-Step Loading Help

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Midsouth Shooters Supply sells a ton of Hodgdon powders, because, of course, the company makes great products our customers love. But Hodgdon powders are also popular because the company’s experts are willing to help folks get started in the craft or guide experienced hands toward new reloading ventures. Whether you’re new to reloading or a seasoned vet, there’s always something more to learn.

That’s where Hodgdon’s Reloading Education section comes in. The company has stockpiled a wealth of information that can help take your handloading to the next level. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at Hodgdon’s online system for building top-rate rifle, pistol, and shotgun loads and give you some pointers on how to make time-saving and money-conserving choices on brass, bullets, and powders.

Click here to see the landing page on which Hodgdon begins the education process.

Select the Reloading for Beginners tab to learn the basics, from the effect of crimp depth in shotshells to reloading the .223 to matching shot type and size to reloading data.

Midsouth also recommends you spend some time learning about Safety. Click that tab to brush up on the do’s and don’ts of reloading, starting with the basic reloading precautions created by the NRA.

Then, select the Tips and Tricks tab for informative posts on key topics in the reloading community.

Here’s a sample of some of the things you’ll find on the site:

Reloaders Corner: Pressure Curves for Semi-Automatic and Bolt-Action Rifles

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The following is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, Top-Grade Ammo, by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing.

When you’re handloading for semi-automatic rifles and bolt-action rifles, it’s helpful to realize they are not to be approached the same way. Continue reading Reloaders Corner: Pressure Curves for Semi-Automatic and Bolt-Action Rifles

10 Great Things about Kel-Tec’s PMR-30

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A few years ago, one of our Midsouth staffers asked an FFL friend to find him a Kel-Tec PMR-30, which were in short supply at the time. He purchased one for $600. Now, at a vastly better price, “The Shot Report” e-letter readers have a chance to win one in our giveaway.

Besides just the sheer joy of getting something cool for free, there’s a lot to like about the PMR-30 pistol. So, to fill you in on some of the best aspects of this handgun, we compiled a top-ten list of great things to like about Kel-Tec’s PMR-30, and we wish you luck when it comes time to draw for it.

#10

Ammunition for the PMR-30 is affordable, if sporadically available recently. A lot of shooters love the similarly sized FiveseveN handgun, but just the 5.7 ammo that runs that handgun will turn a big wad o’ cash in your pocket into a small wad o’ cash PDQ. The PMR-30, on the other hand, chambered for the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, offers a lot of load availability and pricing. We currently list 14 different .22 WMR packages from CCI, Hornady, and Federal in bullet or shotcharge weights of 30, 40, 45, 50, and 52 grains. You can shoot this surprisingly powerful round for as low as 20 cents a round (actually, 19.88 cents/round for the Federal FMJ 40-grain load #129-737).

#9

First reaction of most shooters who handle the PMR-30: “It is so light, it feels like a toy.” The gun and magazine together, unloaded, weigh only a pound, and with a full complement of 40-grain cartridges, it comes in at 20.2 ounces.

#8

You can shoot the heck out it. Our staff has poured about 1000 rounds through one PMR-30, and everyone who shot it has loved it. But note that Kel-Tec says, “The PMR-30 pistol functions best with high-power ammo, often with bullet weights of 40-grains and up. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: CCI Maxi Mag 40gr, Winchester Super-X 40gr, Remington Premier Magnum 33gr.” Also, Kel-Tec notes, “Low-power ammo and/or lightweight bullets may cause failure to feed problems due to the lack of energy to cycle the slide all the way back. The following are currently low power, and may not function reliably in the PMR-30 pistol, especially if the grip is not held firmly: Winchester Dynapoint 45gr, Winchester Supreme 30gr.”

#7

Capacity. The “full complement” mentioned above is 30+1 rounds. Start shooting the first of the month, keep shooting all month. If you like to do math and not have loose rounds in your range bag, then cipher this:

We added three steel magazines to the two polymer mags purchased with the handgun, which gives a loaded-round count of 150 rounds in magazines, or the tidy equivalent of three 50-round boxes of ammo.

#6

The PMR-30 uses a double-stack magazine, and loading 30 rounds into it takes time, and holding pressure on the cartridges to put 30 in can tire your hands. To make this process easier, loading tools are available and recommended. Just do an online search for “PMR-30 loading tools” and several sources will pop up.

#5

The trigger is a crisp single action with an over-travel stop. Our staff PMR-30’s trigger breaks at 3.9 pounds, with no creep and a clean reset.

#4

Another favorite feature on the PMR-30 is the fiber-optic orange rear-sight dots and green fiber-optic front-sight dot. Even newbies understand and can see how to align the three dots, and they’re very visible on almost every target color. In fact, the color scheme is superior in low-light conditions.

#3

The sights and good trigger translate to pretty good accuracy. With Winchester Dynapoint 45-grain JHPs  at 15 yards, we can shoot some 2-inch groups off sandbags, but the average group size is closer to 2.5 inches. Our older version also likes Remington Magnum Rimfire 40-gr. PSPs, which come in around 2.7 inches as a group average.

#2

The PMR-30 produces surprising power and penetration. Super-X 22 WMRs are rated at a muzzle velocity/muzzle energy of 1910 fps/324 ft.-lbs. out of a rifle barrel, and in the PMR-30 itself, we got 1339 fps/159 ft.-lbs., only a 30% decrease. In Ballistic Technology’s wax-like, easy-to-use Handgun Bullet Test Tubes, we were able to accurately measure penetration and wound-cavity size. We fired a round into two 11-inch-long, 3.5-inch-wide Handgun Test Tubes set end to end. The Remington PSP had enough energy to punch a quarter-inch-wide hole 4 inches deep into the second tube (15 inches overall penetration).

#1

We have tested ten .22 WMR samples in the Kel-Tec for function and reliability. We encountered no function problems with any of the 10 brands. Some of our friends have mentioned two instances where the 30th round stuck in the magazine and didn’t feed. It only happened with Winchester Dynapoints in both of the polymer factory mags, so it may be an ammunition-specific issue. More likely, it’s that they did not follow the recommended loading sequence religiously. Failure to load the magazine properly can result in rim-lock, which will lead to a failure to feed. Most likely, after they got 15 to 20 rounds in the magazine, they didn’t tap the magazine on the bench to seat rounds.

All in, the lucky winner of the PMR-30 we’re offering will likely have himself or herself a ball with this handgun — with a red-dot or laser, it would be a wicked squirrel gun out to… as good as you are. Most of us are happy when the gun is better than we are.

A heads-up: You’ll notice we’re currently out of stock on all .22 WMR. Unfortunately, right now, ammunition manufacturers just can’t keep up with demand, and they won’t give us any expected dates of delivery, so we’re leery of letting folks backorder, when it may be a while before it can be fulfilled. If some looks to be coming in, we’ll try to let you know as soon as it hits the receiving dock.

Black Friday 2015 Breaks Sales Records

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More Americans had their backgrounds checked purchasing guns on this most recent Black Friday than any other day on record, according to data recently released by the FBI. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, one of the largest retail-sales days in the country.

Stephen Fischer Jr., of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, wrote in a release, “This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014. The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012.”

Other Black Friday shopping days in 2014, 2013 and 2012 occupied the FBI’s “top 10” list of the most background checks processed in a 24-hour period.

Since 1998, FBI data shows that the bureau has processed requests for more than 222 million firearm purchases. The highest per annum total recorded in the 17-year span was in 2013, with just over 21 million requests.

We had some great shopping deals this year, in our humble opinion. We hope you found a great price on something you were looking for. Check back in a couple of weeks for other bargains and clearances.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, setting a single-day sales record.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, setting a single-day sales record.

Ruger Introduces GP100 in .22 LR and Takedown 10/22 with Target Barrel

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Sturm, Ruger & Co.  has recently introduced two new rimfire products: a new Ruger GP100 is chambered in .22 LR, and the Ruger 10/22 Takedown line now includes a model with a target barrel. MSRP for the GP100 22 LR revolver #1757 is $829. MSRP for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown w/Target Barrel #21133 is $629.

The new Ruger GP100 ten-round revolver has a 5.50-inch half-lug barrel to reduce weight and it uses an improved fire-control system that uses a lighter mainspring than previous Ruger double-action .22 LR revolvers.

“This .22 LR revolver has the same light trigger pull as our centerfire GP100 revolvers,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger President and COO.

The GP100 in .22 LR features a windage-and-elevation-adjustable rear sight with a white outline, a light-gathering fiber-optic front sight, and the original full-size GP100 rubber grips with hardwood inserts. The stainless-steel construction should make this GP100 an easy firearm to maintain.

This newest entry into the 10/22 Takedown line has a target barrel with a .920-inch diameter 16.10-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel. Fluted for weight reduction, the barrel also includes a 1/2″-28 threaded muzzle and is fitted with a thread cap. This new target barrel takedown model also incorporates the Ruger Modular Stock System and comes with both low and high comb, standard length of pull modules.

Readily separated into two subassemblies, the 10/22 Takedown offers a convenient transport and storage option. The barrel and forend of the 10/22 Takedown can be separated from the action and buttstock by pushing a recessed lever, twisting the subassemblies and pulling them apart.

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown with target barrel is shipped with a carrying case with extra pockets and magazine pouches. The 5.5-pound Ruger 10/22 Takedown is 34.50 inches long when assembled; each subassembly is less than 20.25 inches long when disassembled. It otherwise functions like the standard 10/22 action and comes with one ten-round rotary magazine.

If you already own a 10/22 or a 10/22 Takedown and want to add a target-contour barrel, click here to see similar barrels we have in stock. The very similar Green Mountain barrel (Item # 186-901503, $126.45) has the same OD, length, and fluting, but isn’t threaded at the muzzle. For both the Takedown Target and the GP100 22 LR, you’ll need ammo. Click here to see our full selection of rimfire ammo. If you plan to run a suppressed accessory on the threaded muzzle of the new Takedown, try the subsonic offerings.

Norma Target and Match 22 LR Ammo

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Top Performance in 22 Long Rifle

 

Norma Brand of Target and Match 22 Long Rifle

Norma USA is known as a premium brand, both for their ammunition, as well as their components. More recently, they’ve been one of the few brands to consistently provide the market with 22LR ammunition. Many folks have been forced to participate in this brand transition, simply based on availability. What’s amazing is the consistency seen, even after many of the bulk 22LR have resurfaced, as demand has slackened. Norma USA has even went a step further, offering a match grade 22LR, in their MATCH-22.

We were able to reach out to a representative at Norma USA for a quick word on what makes their 22LR a cut above the rest, and what we can expect from the new MATCH-22 that recently hit the market. – “Only certain production lots of rimfire production live up to the exacting standards of Match ammunition. Each production lot is rigorously checked for performance.- Accuracy is a key component of testing and when a certain lot exceeds the accuracy standards in place for Tac-it is then tested for “match accuracy” and if all the test ammunition for this particular lot exceeds Tac and meets Match standards-then that lot is packaged as Match Ammo. Our loading facility, selection of components and rigorous testing to exact specifics are just the norm for Norma Precision Products- Norma customers expect this- they know we cost more for a reason and settle for nothing less! Neither does Norma!”

This NEW! introduction of NORMA-USA’s MATCH- 22 Ammunition is designed and engineered specifically for competitive shooting and target practice where every point counts. Assembled with the finest components and primer/powder combinations, you’ll be sure to obtain outstanding accuracy on the range. It also feeds reliably in all 22 rifle actions, including semi-automatics.

Just to get an idea of how things are done in the Norma Factory, please watch the video below. They’re not making 22LR, but you get a true sense of what precision and quality means to Norma.

Below is a review video made by a friend of Midsouth, 22plinkster. He’s a 22LR specialist, and renowned trick shooter. He put the norma TAC-22 to the test in 5 shot groups, using an AR-15 platform 22 LR, and a CZ bolt action 22LR. The results are pretty telling. At the time of his video production, the MATCH-22 ammo wasn’t available. He does go on to clarify why the MATCH would outperform even the TAC-22. He quotes the price at $6.50, which is a suggested retail price, but make sure to click below to check price and availability. Based on performance, the value is definitely there. Watch the video, and see for yourself.

Hornady Full Boar Ammo

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Hogs Hate It, We Love It!

Hornady Full Boar Ammunition

Time to bag some bacon with Hornady’s latest offering, the new line of center-fire rifle ammo called Full Boar Ammunition. This pork specific ammo has been tailor made to drop pigs throughout a wide range of calibers. Each round is loaded with the GMX bullet. If you haven’t used one of these bullets yet, you’re in for a whole new experience in coreless, ballistic joy. About the bullet being coreless, it’s a monolithic style bullet made of a unique homogeneous copper allow with no lead core. This is great news for our folks who live in eco-friendly regions, and need to avoid the lead. To aid in the expansion process, the plastic tip does some double duty. It keeps the drag down, and upon impact, pushes into the cavity, initiates the expansion, thereby mushrooming the bullet. Also, since there is no true core of the bullet, there’s no separation of components, so it just obliterates bone and soft tissue, without sacrificing velocity. With a high BAL CO for their respective weights, and a very uniform pressure curve, expect these rounds to give an optimal performance time, and again.

From Hornady.com- “Whether down in the swamps, or running the hills – the toughest game demands the toughest ammunition – Full Boar® Full Boar® ammunition from Hornady® features hard hitting GMX® bullets for deep penetration and maximum weight retention. These monolithic copper-alloy bullets deliver 95+% weight retention and uniform, controlled expansion for unmatched terminal performance on the toughest game. Loaded with premium components, Full Boar™ ammunition is available in a variety of popular calibers and is designed to work flawlessly in all guns, to include ARs and other semi-autos. The GMX® is California compatible and approved for other areas that require the use of non-traditional bullets. Hornady® Full Boar® ammunition – proudly made in the USA!”

Having hunted hogs in southern Alabama, it’s crucial to ensure your kill. It’s become such a problem across the southern states, that leaving your shot to chance just won’t cut it. Many folk’s livelihood depends on the land, and hogs are doing their dead-level best to tear it up. We hope that, with new ammo available that’s specific to the purpose of dropping hogs, more people will get excited about killing these pests, and enjoying the quality and accuracy of a superior product. Having used several other brands of ammo, in varying calibers, we were excited to get out hands on this new offering from Hornady. We expect quality from them, and they always deliver. Below is the full list of Full Boar we carry at Midsouth:

.223 Full Boar Ammo
  • .223 Remington
  • 50 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
.243 Full Boar Ammo
  • .243 Winchester
  • 80 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
6.8mm Full Boar Ammo
  • 6.8mm SPC
  • 100 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
270 Win. Full Boar Ammo
  • 270 Winchester
  • 130 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
7mm Remington Full Boar Ammo
  • 7mm Remington
  • 139 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
308 Winchester Full Boar Ammo
  • 308 Winchester
  • 165 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
30-06 Springfield Full Boar Ammo
  • 30-06 Springfield
  • 165 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
300 Win Mag Full Boar Ammo
  • 300 Winchester Magnum
  • 165 Grain GMX Bullet
  • 20 Rounds
  • Click Image for Pricing
Great Performance Means More Bagged Bacon

Turkey Shot and Choke Tube Experiment

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We Put Shotshells and Choke Tubes to the Test

It’s Turkey Season again here in Middle TN, and we have the distinct pleasure of having an expert on hand. He’s the newest member of our team, Jacob. He took our choke tubes, Ammo Selection, and a few targets out, and put them through the ringer. Combining his knowledge of turkey hunting, with his experience in the field, he put together some great results on what the right kind of gear, in the right combination, can do for your turkey hunt. Want to drop more birds? Here’s Jacob with his findings:

A Turkey Season Experiment with Jacob

Hello Midsouth Readers,

With so much going on, I as many people, don’t get to hunt as much as I want to. So when I do get the chance to go after turkey this spring, I definitely want to capitalize on that opportunity. The last thing I want to do is miss my target or worse wound the animal. Knowing capabilities and limits of your equipment is paramount in filling your turkey tag. This was the driving force behind why I decided to do a pattern test for my newly dedicated turkey gun. So I set out to test a few choke tubes to see how each performed at various ranges.

Using the Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend shell in the past, I knew its ability to knock a bird down at extended ranges. Selling for around 5 to 6 dollars per shell, the price alone puts this ammunition into the premium category. The price is not the only factor making this a premium ammo. It produces dense patterns of a unique material called Hevi-Shot. It’s heavier than lead, so when smaller pellets of Hevi-Shot make contact with the target they can produce an energy transfer equal to that of a larger lead pellet. These Magnum Blend shells are loaded with an equal mix of #5, #6 and #7 shot all in one shell. Having a variety of shot sizes in one shell increases pellet count, ounce for ounce, over a standard shell loaded with the same size shot. More pellets in the shell means more pellets down range. We tested the 12 gauge 3” shells, along with the 3.5” shells, to see the how much variation there was between each pattern. The 3” shell is loaded with 2oz of shot and shoots at 1200 FPS. The 3.5” shell also shoots at 1200 FPS but has a 2-1/4oz payload. I tested both shell lengths at 40, 50, and 60 yards with the 4 chokes listed below. Click Here for a Rebate on Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend Shotshells.

      Choke Tubes Tested:

 

  • Rhino Ported Turkey Choke .660 Constriction
  • Indian Creek Black Diamond Strike Turkey Choke .665                    Click Here for Pricing.
  • Hevi-13 Turkey Extended Range .656                                              Click Here for Pricing.
  • Carlson Ported Super Full Turkey Choke .665                                 Click Here for Pricing.

We also wanted to test a shell that was at a more economical price point. For this option I chose to test the Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey Shell. Selling for less than 1.30 a round, I wanted to see the how well this “budget” shell performed out of my gun. The Hornady shell has an unconventional wad design they call a Versa-Tite Wad (Click Here for Picture) . The use of specialized turkey choke tubes are not needed with this system to produce great patterns. Hornady actually recommends the use of a modified or improved cylinder choke while shooting these loads. So I really wanted to see how well these turkey load performed with my factory modified choke. These 12ga loads are 3” in length, with 1.5oz payload shooting out at 1300 fps. Hornady manufactures these shells with #4, #5, or #6 nickel plated lead shot giving you the option of what shot size you want.

The gun I used for testing is a 12ga Benelli Nova with a 26” barrel. Those that are familiar with the front bead on a Nova know that the large red bead is great in low light conditions. The down side to such a large front bead is that it covers a larger portion of the target when you try to shoot long ranges (50 yards plus). That is one of the reasons why I wanted to outfit this dedicated turkey gun with a red dot sight. I chose to outfit the Nova with the Burris FastFire 3 with a 3 MOA dot. The Fastfire 3 is simple to operate and install, with one button to turn it on and control the brightness settings. Hit the button once to turn it on to the automatic brightness setting. Push the button again to cycle between the manual settings of high, medium, and low. Press the button one more time to completely turn the unit off. Although the Burris Fastfire 3 is covered by the Burris Forever Warranty, I chose to outfit it with the protector mount for added durability. I wanted a red dot that would be reliable because equipment failure is the last thing I want when I have a gobbler strutting at 40 yards. The Burris FastFire 3 with protector mount fit the bill for me.

Zeroing the red dot:

To innately zero the FastFire 3 I shot light field loads at 10 steps on a fresh sheet of paper. I chose field loads for two reasons. 1.) They are a lot less abusive to your shoulder than a turkey shell. 2.) They are a lot less expensive. At that distance, there was just a big hole in the target where the shot and wad went through, which is what I wanted to see. The choke that was in the gun while shooting at this distance was the Rhino. After a few shots and some windage and elevation adjustments to the Fastfire 3, the dot was right on the hole in the target. Just like different rifle ammo has varied results out of the same rifle, the same holds true for shotshells. So next I shot the 3.5” Magnum Blends at 50 yards to see where the pattern was hitting the target. After shooting one shell each through the four chokes, it appeared that the pattern was just on the top half of all the targets. After making elevation adjustments, I was satisfied.

Here is how the shot sequence went:

(Click Each Choke Tube Name for Target Image)
Target 12 – Magnum Blend 3” at 50 yards – Rhino, Indian Creek, Hevi-13, Carlson -Targets 12-15
Target 16 – Magnum Blend 3.5” at 50 yards- Rhino, Indian Creek, Hevi-13, Carlson -Targets 16-19
Target 20 – Magnum Blend 3.5” at 40 yards- Rhino, Indian Creek, Hevi-13, Carlson – Targets 20-23
Target 24 – Magnum Blend 3” at 40yards- Rhino, Indian Creek, Hevi-13, Carlson – Targets 24-27
Target 28 – Magnum Blend 3.5” at 60 yards- Rhino, Indian Creek, Hevi-13, Carlson – Targets 28-31
Target 32 – Magnum Blend 3” at 60 yards- Rhino, Indian Creek, Hevi-13, Carlson – Targets 32-35
Target 36 – Magnum Blend 3” at 25 yards- Rhino, Indian Creek, Indian Creek, – Targets 36-38

Hevi-Shot:

I tested the Rhino, Indian creek, Hevi-13, and the Carlson in that order at all previously specified distances. Each shell, choke, and distance combination was shot on a clean target. The targets that were used for testing the Hevi-Shot shells were a 16” bullseye. For each shot I held the 3MOA dot right in the center of the bullseye. The wind that day was blowing from left to right at about 10-15 mph. There were some shell/choke combinations that patterned well, but you could tell that the pattern was pushed to the right. I am sure it was a combination of shooter error, wind, and not having the gun sighted in for each set up that resulted in some patterns being pushed right (trust me, my shoulder was feeling each shell that was sent down range.) I am sure that it had an effect on my accuracy throughout the testing. All tubes provided good patterns but I did find each shot to be a little different. The Fastfire 3 red dot seemed to be sighted in better with Rhino. As a result those patterns landed more center on the paper. That doesn’t mean that the other tubes produced bad results just that their pattern is off to the right. So when you look at all the targets below keep that factor in mind. A few adjustments of the red dot can have that shell/choke tube combination hitting dead center. Not wanting to change the setup for each choke tube I continued the test. During the shooing I did not analyze how each pattern was hitting the targets. After I was done with the test I took the targets home to count holes in the paper. One thing that I noticed while evaluating the targets is that pattern was shifting down at 60 yards depending on the shell/choke combination. This tells me that all shots 50 yards and closer, I would put the dot on the wattles of the turkey. At 60 yards I think it would be better to shift my point of aim up to the bird’s head.

After shooting at 60 yards, I wanted to see how the pattern hit at 25 yards. Targets 36, 37 and 38 were all shot at 25 yards. First shot at 25 yards was with the Rhino and then with the Indian Creek. The pattern on target 37 was good but you can tell I pulled the shot to the right. Target 38 proved that to be true, as the pattern was in the center of the paper and there was no change in the setup. I ended up running out of the 16” bullseyes targets and then switched to the turkey target with a 10” circle for target 36 and 37. Click Here for a small chart on hits within the desired area for the Hevi-Shot Magnum Shotshells.

After shooting the Rhino at 25 yards I was ready to test the Indian Creek. I began to unscrew the Rhino tube and noticed it was extremely hard to unscrew. I just thought that the threads had gotten dirty and it was causing some resistance. Once the threads were exposed on the tube, I expected the resistance to be gone. It wasn’t. I continued to work the tube free and noticed that tube had swollen. There were scratch marks on the choke tube where it made contact with the internal threads on the barrel. I called Rhino to ask them about the issue. The man I spoke to on the phone basically told me that the choke was ruined and there was nothing they would do about it. He told me that Hevi-shot, from time to time, would have a batch of “hardened shot,” and that was the reason the tube was damaged. I asked him if there was anywhere on the package or website stating that it may be harmful with the use of Hevi-Shot. He said no. The package does state that it’s not rated for steel shot but it says nothing about Hevi-Shot. His explanation did not satisfy me, as all other chokes tested did not have any indication of deformation, just the Rhino. The company basically told me I was SOL. I don’t think I will be buying another Rhino choke to replace the damaged one. He did offer to inspect the barrel for me if I shipped it to him. He stated that if the tube was bulged then it was a possibility that the barrel was bulged as well. Instead of paying the shipping to send my barrel to Florida to be inspected, I took it to a local gunsmith. The gunsmith measured the internal diameter of the barrel in several places and assured me the barrel was safe for use. Click Here to see the choke tube for yourself.

Hornady:

Testing the Hornady shells I wanted to see how the pattern of different shot sizes varied at 30, 40, and 50 yards. Because these shells are loaded with the Hornady Versa-Tite Wad system I put the extended turkey chokes away. The targets I used to test the Hornady shells had a turkey printed on them with a 10” and a 3” bullseye on the turkeys head. I tested all three shot sizes with a modified choke at 30, 40, and 50. With a standard shell you would use a full choke to achieve a dense pattern at longer ranges. So I tested all three shot sizes at 50 yards with a factory full choke because I wanted to see the results and I had three targets left.

Here is how the shot sequence went:

(Click Each Shot Number for Target Image)
Target 40 – Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey – Modified Choke 30 Yards – #4, #5, #6, -Targets 40-42
Target 43 – Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey – Modified Choke 40 Yards – #4, #5, #6, -Targets 43-45
Target 46 – Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey – Modified Choke 50 Yards – #4, #5, #6, -Targets 46-48
Target 49 – Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey – Full Choke 50 Yards – #4, #5, #6, -Targets 49-51

First round of shots were at a distance of 30 yards. As you can see by the pictures all three shot sizes did extremely well at 30 yards (targets 40-42). As expected, the #6 put the most shots in the 10” circle with 68 hits (target 42). At 40 yards, again all three shot sizes produced good patterns that would result in a filled tag. The #6 had the most hits in the 10” circle with 24. Surprisingly the #4 were close behind with 22 hits in the circle. With the modified choke, all three shot sizes put pellets on the turkey at 50 yards but you can tell the pattern has some gaps in it. The 50 yard shots with the full choke had interesting results. It seemed to improve the results of the #6 shot but made the #4 pattern worse.

After looking at how the Hornady Heavy Magnum shells performed, I came to the conclusion that if I plan on only shooting 40 yards and closer, the #6 is a great choice. For myself I plan on using the #4 shot size. The #4 produced great turkey killing patterns out to 40 yards. If I am going to have less pellets on target at 50 yards, I want the pellet to be as large as possible. The larger the pellet, the more knock down power it has. Larger shot sizes also mean less pellets per shell. When I was younger I just went middle of the road and assumed #5 shot size what I wanted to shoot while turkey hunting. Before testing I assumed the #5 were going to be what would shoot best out of my new turkey gun. But that did not seem to be the case. Knowing how your gun patterns with the ammo you use allows you to make educated decisions. Without testing, all you can do is make assumptions. That’s why it is important to test the equipment you use. Knowing the limits and capabilities of your equipment, will allow you to have confidence when the time comes to take the shot. Click Here for a quick tally of shot totals for the Hornady Heavy Magnum Shot with Modified Choke.

The Hornady shell and the Hevi-Shot shell are two different breads. Yes they are both turkey shells but they serve different functions. If you never take a shot beyond 40 yards and are looking for a more price conscious option, the Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey load is the shell for you. Let’s face it, if the cards fall just right you might have to shoot the turkey in self-defense at 5 yards. I have seen it happen. Everyone that has hunted before has also experienced the opposite situation. A tom strutting 60 yards away with hens all around him and won’t take one step closer. No matter if you are an excellent caller and have the best decoys money can buy. When a mature long beard is with the real thing it is hard to talk him out of it. That’s when the Hevi-Shot magnum blend comes into play. With its ability to hold patterns at extended ranges, it is making gobblers feel not-so-safe anymore at 60 yards. No matter what gun, shell, and choke combination you have, knowing the capabilities of your gear is the first step on taking an ethical shot. Don’t just take my word for it, go test your own equipment and find out for yourself what your setup can do.

Thanks Midsouth Readers!
– Jacob

P.S. Although I enjoyed doing this test. Next time I think I need to test something with a lot less recoil. I’m thinking something to do with 22lr! Stay Tuned!