Here’s What’s New for Browning Ammunition in 2018
Director of research and development for the U.S. military’s Springfield Armory, which manufactured firearms from 1777 until 1968, Col. Townsend Whelen was the most notable firearms expert of his day, a man with far-reaching experience in hunting wilderness North America, and known for his quote that “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” What he did not add was that only precision ammunition is interesting, too.
During Whelen’s long life, from 1877 to 1961, and the lives of younger men, such as “Ol’‘ Elmer Keith and the great wildcatter, P. O. Ackley, the way you got to accurate cartridges was to “roll your own,” i.e., handload. Let’s be honest: Back in the day, even the (almost) poorest quality ammunition was better than the worst firearm, and average was probably good enough for most shooters; yet sticklers for excellence did not want second best, especially when shooting accurate firearms. Sometimes, though, that way madness lies. More often than necessary, the amateur handloader has squeezed just that one too-many grain of powder into the case, hoping for velocity and sacrificing accuracy, or much worse, achieving detonation.
Nonetheless, throughout the 1930s through probably at least much of the ’70s, accuracy, and to no small extent, reliability on game began, like charity, at home, for persnickety hunter and shooters who were conscientious about how they assembled their ammunition and always, always, always never strayed from the reloading manuals. It seemed to me that sometime around the 1980s, though, commercial ammunition manufacturers seemed to realize that there was a market for precision cartridges that relied on top quality components, including primers, powders, brass, hulls and wads in the case of shotshells, and projectiles. From then till today, commercial ammunition has only seemed to be improving, with even better choices of components from which shooters and hunter may choose. Which brings us to Browning.
A year or so ago, Browning decided that there was a gap in the Buckmark product line, which from firearms has grown to include outdoor clothing, gun safes and pistol vaults, gun cases, shooting accessories, knives, flashlights, trail cameras, and camping equipment. Can you spot the missing piece? Browning could, and began to bring out its ammunition line.
Browning was not inclined simply to slap its brand on whatever kind of ammunition that happened to be lying around, but to make sure that it would be, in its own words, “the best there is.” The Browning shooter has always been a sophisticated consumer of firearms; and when he sees the name on ammunition, he is going to have highly critical expectations. It’s fair to say that between the dedicated Browning firearms shooter and Browning, there is a something-more-than implicit agreement: I don’t shoot junk, so don’t try to sell me junk. Period.
Browning Ammunition is an on-going process as the brand works to meet the needs of its customers. Along with already introduced ammunition, in 2018 Browning shooters can look forward to round, zinc-chromate plated, steel shot in No. 3s, a good, non-rusting choice for decoying ducks. Small game shotshells will include 28 gauge and .410 in 7½s and 8s, respectively. Solid, polymer-tipped copper bullets will be added to the deer and big-game category in over half-a-dozen popular calibers (and forget the usual qualification about “where non-toxic projectiles are required”; I’m getting to where copper is becoming more and more my bullet of choice for big game based purely on performance). And Browning is also adding anodized-aluminum tipped, cup-and-core big-game cartridges in .270 and the increasingly popular 6.5 Creedmoor. But wait, there’s more!
There is .38 Special target rounds and 100-round packs of several calibers of semi-auto pistol ammo. And new offerings in .22 Long Rifle, .22 Win. Mag. and .17 HMR. And for the man who has everything, FMJ .223 Remington.
There will be a look at the performance of many of these offerings, and others, in blogs to come. But you have to think that maybe even Col. Whelen would approve.