Rifle Ammo

Understanding Rifle Ammo

Named primarily for the spiral grooves inside the barrel called riffling, rifles have the primary advantage of range and target acquisition, while keeping the shooter at a safe distance. If asked, no two gun owners, whether civilian, military sharpshooter or police officer, would have the same recommendations for best rifle or ammo. A big part of that decision comes down to the type of rifle you own and your intended purpose for using it.


Understanding Rifle Types

The two most common types of rifles are the traditional bolt action and the modern semi-automatic. The bolt action rifle operates by the user engaging the rifle’s bolt to advance and eject the ammunition between shots. Bolt action guns are well regarded for their precision and accuracy, you’ll often find these gun in the hands of hunters, snipers or long distance competition shooters.

The semi-automatic rifle functions by using the energy from the fired round to cycle the bolt and load the next round into the chamber. Semi-automatic rifles are a popular choice for home defense, multi-gun competition and range training scenarios. Both bolt action and semi-auto rifles use ammo with necked down casings as their primary cartridges.

Popular Rifle Ammunition For Training & Home Defense

Several necked down cartridges rise to the top as some of the most popular rifle rounds. The .223, otherwise known as the 5.56x45mm NATO is ammo commonly used in the AR-15 rifle platform. .300 AAC (Blackout) is another necked down cartridge used by AR rifle owners, this subsonic round features a heavy bullet weight and is popular with shooters who own suppressors.


The 7.62 x39mm is a Russian designed round utilized by the AK-47 rifle platform. This round is used by militaries the world over thanks in part to over 100 million AK pattern rifles having been produced. This hard-hitting .30 caliber round comes in two common varieties, FMJ and HP, and is suitable for everything from hunting to home defense.


Popular Rifle Ammunition For Hunting & Precision Shooting

Bolt action owners who focus on hunting or precision shooting have plenty of necked down cartridge options as well. The .308 is the higher-pressure civilian version of the 7.62x51mm military cartridge, it’s excellent for hitting targets or dropping game a long distances. With heavy bullet weights and velocities that can reach 3000 fps, this rifle ammunition will handle just about anything you put in front of it.


The .30-06 began its life as a military designed and designated ammunition. This 200 grain round is popular with bolt-action hunters and vintage military rifle owners. With capabilities of velocities reaching 2900 fps, it has the power to take down just about any game in North America. The 6.5 Creedmoor round is a relative newcomer, being introduced in 2007, but what it lacks in experience, it more than makes up for in performance. This screaming round features velocities over 3,000 fps and is popular with the hunting and long distance communities.


Rifle Ammunition Types

The most common bullet types for rifle ammo are Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), Hollow Point (HP), Soft Point (SP), and V-Max or Nossler poly-tip variations. If you are training or plinking at the range, FMJ bullets are the most cost-effective solution. HP bullets are a favorite of hunters due to their ability to expand on impact and deeply penetrate soft targets at distances. SP bullets are another expanding bullet option, popular with hunters, featuring a metal jacket with an opening at the tip. Poly tipped bullets are designed to enhance accuracy for matches, while providing large wound channels to bring down game for hunting purposes.


For cowboys who prefer to shoot lever guns, there’s plenty of rounded bullet options too. The Lead Round Nose (LRN) bullet has been around since the 1800’s and has a lot of history. The rounded nose design has excellent ballistic performance, falling somewhere in between the FMJ and HP for hunting or self-defense. This bullet type is ideal for target shooting and training, it’s also widely available meaning the pricing is affordable.