How Critical are Ammo Choices?


How Critical are Ammo Choices?

When you buy a new gun or go shooting with one you already own, what ammo do you use? Are you using the cheapest ammo you can find for general shooting practice, or are you making critical mission-specific choices for the most appropriate ammunition to use? It does make a huge difference.

Aside from picking ammo for hunting applications, let’s first discuss ammo for prepping, personal defense, concealed carry, property protection, and everyday carry (EDC). General advice on buying ammo for everyday practice shooting or plinking is to buy the least-expensive ammo you can find. In general, that is okay so long as you pick bullet weights that are the same as your defensive loads. If possible, try to also match the terminal ballistics of muzzle velocity and muzzle energy. You want practice bullets and defensive bullets to hit to the same point of aim if at all possible.

What benefit will it be to only practice with a standard 45 ACP load with a 230-grain round nose bullet, if your defense loads are lighter, faster, and hollow points? So, buy some extra defense ammo to use for practice. This is true for any round (380 ACP, 9mm, 40 S&W, etc).

When it comes to hunting ammo, first decide which rifle and caliber to use, based on the game being hunted. While some general soft-point bullet ammo may do well for general hunting, there are much better bullet choices for bigger game animals that are tougher to take down such as, elk, moose, goats, and sheep.

For hunting, think about range, ballistics, bullet penetration, bullet expansion, drop, and wind deflection. The bigger the game, the tougher the bullet you’ll need to get the job done. And as Robert Ruark’s famous book title suggests, “Use Enough Gun.”

One thing is for sure, ammo prices have not gone down. In fact, I just surveyed about ten national ammunition websites and prices have been inching upward over the past six months. Prices at gun shows have increased too. When you see pricing stickers plastered on top of old stickers, you know prices have gone up, even on existing stocks. Say, isn’t that against the law?

Even so, ammo is cheap compared to the failed results of using poor ammunition for the chosen task. Buy the best you can for defending life and family, and practice with it, too.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 699733342

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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