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What Are Popular Ammo Brands?

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The selection of the right ammunition brand is and always will be a matter of personal preference. Some shooters will try a brand, absolutely despise its performance, and never touch it again. Others will be a little less picky and shop based upon current availability and price. That said, it’s also a well known fact that cut-rate surplus ammunition can be a risky venture to use in some firearms, and it can actually be dangerous to use or damage your firearm. Of course there’s no way to know that you’re getting bum surplus ammo until you shoot it yourself, but most gun owners aren’t willing to take that risk. We shouldn’t have to tell you that if something explosive is priced too good to be true, then there’s probably something amiss. If you’re one of those who likes to play it safe, then sticking to brands you know will lead to far less heartbreaks.

Here’s a brief synopsis of brands we carry that are made in America, but treat this list as a basis for further research. Check out the reputation of the brand with your particular firearm, and then make sure it functions well for you. One thing is for sure, if you choose a brand that rigorously tests their ammo as it comes off the line, you stand the best chance of getting an ammo worth shooting time and time again.

Winchester (Rifle, Shotgun, Handgun and Rimfire)

Winchester is a legendary firearms and ammunition brand built on nearly 150 years of tradition. Founded in 1866, Winchester manufactured the guns that won the west, and they were the first partner of “the Edison of guns” Mr. John Browning himself. They are just as well known for their ammunition, and Winchester ammo can be found around the world in their signature white and red ammo boxes. Rifle, shotgun, handgun and rimfire, they make it all in almost every caliber imaginable. The primary Winchester ammunition factories are located in East Alton, Illinois and Oxford, Mississippi. Popular Winchester variants include Super-X, Defender, and Match ammunition.

Remington (Rifle, Shotgun, Handgun and Rimfire)

Remington is another storied American manufacturer of American firearms and ammunition. The Remington Arms Company was founded in 1816 in New York, and it holds the distinction of one of the longest continually operating manufacturers in America. Today the company is headquartered in Madison, North Carolina and they also produce all four primary ammunition types: rimfire, centerfire rifle, pistol and shotshell. Popular variants include Core-Lokt, Premier, and Hypersonic loads. You can also get ammunition from a subsidiary of Remington, UMC. The United Metallic Cartridge company was the first to make the .22LR and centerfire cartridge, and today you can still purchase this high-end ammunition in select calibers.

Federal Premium (Rifle, Shotgun, Handgun and Rimfire)

Not to be overlooked, Federal Premium Ammunition is another true American original. In 1922, Charles Horn purchased a small factory in Anoka, Minnesota and began an aggressive marketing plan for his ammunition that included stocking his ammo in barber shops, gas stations, and grocery stores. His plan was successful, and by WWII Federal Premium had become an important supplier of ammunition for the war effort. Other notable Federal accomplishments include the first color coding of shotgun shells by gauge, the manufacture of the first steel shotgun loads, and the development of Hydra-Shok loads for law enforcement purposes. Federal Premium is still located in Anoka today, and they make all four primary types of ammunition. Popular product lines by Federal Premium include Premium Personal Defense, V-Shok and American Eagle.

Hornady (Rifle, Shotgun, Handgun and Rimfire)

The Hornady ammunition company was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1940. Hornady was an avid shooter, but he demanded more out of his ammunition, and so like so many notable entrepreneurs, he set out to make something up to his standards himself.  The company began by salvaging surplus ammunition and spent casings from WWII and re-purposing it for hunting and target shooting purposes. As the company grew, it impacted ballistic design with their signature secant ogive bullet and later were the first to produce the .17 HMR load. Today the Hornady factory is located in Grand Island, Nebraska. Hornady is available in all four primary ammunition types, and popular product lines include Critical Defense, Superformance, and American Whitetail.

Nosler (Rifle And Handgun)

Nosler is an ammunition brand specializing in rifle and handgun ammunition. Founded in 1946, the company was started by John Nosler after a failed hunting expedition. Nosler realized that the primary FMJ bullet type was not very well suited for hunting, and as a result he began to experiment with hollowpoint hunting ammunition. This eventually led to the development of Nosler Ballistic Tip ammunition where a hollowpoint round is coated with a rubber tip to improve the energy conveyed upon the target without sacrificing the aerodynamic shape of the bullet. Nosler’s plant is located in Bend, OR and popular product lines include Ballistic Tip, Match Grade, and Trophy Grade.

Speer Ammunition (Handguns)

Speer Ammunition founder Vernon Speer began making his mark on the ammunition market by making bullets in 1943. Vernon was a pioneer of rifle bullets for hunting, but he also saw success with the first mass-produced jacketed handgun bullet. Speer Ammunition was born when Vernon began putting that jacketed handgun bullet into ammunition as the Lawman round. Today Speer makes both bullets and ammunition, and their ammunition comes in three wildly popular varieties for handguns: Gold Dot, Lawman, and Lawman Clean-Fire. Headquartered in Lewiston, Idaho, Speer Ammunition is the favorite of law enforcement professionals around the globe.

CCI (Rimfire And Handgun)

CCI, or Cascade Cartridges Inc., was founded by mechanical expert Dick Speer in 1951. Brother of Vernon Speer of Speer Bullets, Dick began making specialty rounds for Weatherby and Newton rifles, but his breakthrough came when he helped to pioneer new handgun and rifle primer designs. Today CCI is a leader in rimfire ammunition, and they also produce centerfire pistol ammunition in select calibers. CCI is located in Lewiston, Idaho just like his brother’s company Speer, and their popular product lines include Mini-Mag, Stinger, and Quik-Shok.

Final Thoughts

See an ammunition brand you trust that is missing? Here at GritrSports we’re always looking to diversify our brand list, so leave us a comment below and let us know what you want to see!

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