Is your favorite brand of ammo out of stock and you’re wondering what to buy instead?
Let’s talk about the best ammo brands out there for hunters, target shooters, and those looking to defend themselves
With times being what they are, many of us are thinking about stocking up on ammo.
If you’re looking for another brand because your preferred flavor isn’t available, or you just want an idea of which brands work, here’s an overview of the best ammo brands around.
Note: just because something isn’t on this list doesn’t mean it isn’t good ammo. It may just mean it’s a little overpriced or hard to get a hold of. There’s plenty of good ammo out there.
But the best is right here.
Also, before you come for us in the comments…this isn’t in order of best to worst — just the order we felt like typing it in. We know you like Hornady best, but please be gentle in the comments. We have feelings, too. <3
And yes…almost everything is sold out but stock is slowly trickling in…
Best Ammo Brands
1. Federal Premium
This company has been around in one form or another since the 1920s. And Federal Premium Ammunition has become one of the premier ammunition manufacturers during that time.
They’re so prolific, you’re almost guaranteed to find Federal ammo on the shelf just about anywhere ammo is sold (assuming the panic buyers haven’t snapped it all up).
No matter what type of ammo you’re looking for, they’re sure to have some options available, from cheap birdshot and plinking-grade .22 LR all the way up to more expensive match-grade centerfire rifle ammo for you PRS folks.
Gold Medal Match is a good option if you’re looking to hit something really, really far away.
No, that’s not a typo. It really is a thing that exists and it’s for…stuff.
Ostensibly, it’s another stab at .357 Magnum power with a smaller cartridge. This means a full six shots in a revolver where .357 Magnum would leave you with just 5.
Should you rush out and buy one? Maybe not, but it is pretty cool, and I bet none of your buddies have one.
And don’t worry, Federal and other manufacturers make plenty of defensive and target loads for it.
Finally, the American Eagle line (the red box on every ammo shelf) is a great budget option that can really run with some of the more expensive stuff, particularly 9mm and .45 ACP.
Some Federal ammo that might be in stock:
Cascade Cartridges, Inc has been around since 1951, when the company was founded by Richard Speer and Arvid Nelson.
CCI is probably the biggest name in rimfire ammo…and with good reason.
Their Stinger and Standard Velocity .22 LR are two of the most popular rounds on the planet, and you can find them for sale just about everywhere.
Their Mini-Mag .22 LR is also one of the best of the best.
They’re mostly associated with rimfire ammo, including .22LR, .22WMR, and .17HMR. As far as the latter goes, their V-Max stuff is top-notch.
They don’t just make awesome rimfire ammo though. CCI produces one of our most-beloved handgun practice ammo lines — Blazer Brass.
This is some of the best budget-friendly centerfire ammo on the market, and you best believe we’ve shot thousands of rounds of it. For cheap plinking ammo that could do as competition ammo in a pinch, it’s not bad.
Check out some possibly in-stock CCI ammo:
This company is owned by the same parent company as CCI (and just about every other shooting sports and outdoors company on the market).
It was founded by Vernon Speer, brother of Richard Speer, the founder of CCI.
The idea, at least as I was told, was that CCI would make cartridges and primers and Speer would make bullets.
Today, Speer does make a lot of bullets, but they also make high-end defensive ammo.
They’re one of the premier manufacturers of defensive ammo in general with many major police departments and government agencies trusting their hollowpoints above all else.
Speer is so beloved by LEO shooters that they actually have a line of ammo called “Lawman” designed specifically for duty use.
They also make the ever-popular Gold Dot line that is one of the industry standards for carry ammo.
Oh, and just like CCI, they make all their stuff right here in the USA — Lewiston, Idaho to be specific.
4. Sellier & Bellot
“S&B” or Sellier & Bellot, is a Czech manufacturer that’s been in the ammunition business since the days of percussion caps.
They’re actually one of the oldest continuously-functioning companies in the entire world.
S&B even made percussion caps for the French infantry following the death of Napoleon.
In other words, while the name may be unfamiliar to those outside Europe, this manufacturer is a company worth knowing.
Their line of hunting ammo topped with SBT Gameking bullets is a great choice for hunters looking for extra precision.
Their huge catalog also includes things 6.5×55 and 303 British. So, if you own an older European gun, particularly a milsurp of some kind, there’s a good chance they make ammo for it.
5. Prvi Partizan
This Serbian company primarily made ammunition for the Serbian Army and national police units.
Today, Prvi Partizan ammo is available all over the world, including your local sporting goods store.
They are actually the third largest ammo supplier to the U.S. believe it or not.
And if you happen to have, say, a rifle you picked up at a gun show that’s chambered in something ridiculous like 7.65x53mm Argentine…there’s a good chance Prvi Partizan makes rounds for it.
They’re actually one of the only manufacturers producing 8mm Lebel.
Of course, they also make some more standard offerings as well, and they’re all rock solid.
Prvi Partizan is one of the easier-to-find budget plinking options around.
It’s definitely military-grade and a long way from match quality, but it does go bang every time.
If you’re looking for 9mm, 5.56, or 7.62 and you aren’t going to be defending life and liberty with them…Wolf isn’t so bad.
Yes, it’s low-quality ammo. No, it’s not going to stand up against the more expensive offerings. But it’s also cheaper. Much cheaper, in some cases.
They mostly make FMJ ammo, but there’s something to be said for the “buy it cheap and stack it deep” mentality — particularly if want training ammo.
And that’s why Wolf (and Tula) are on this list of “best” manufacturers. When you want to rip through 200 rounds at the range with your buddies without having to hide the credit card bill, look no further.
There’s a certain gleeful joy in turning money into noise. We’d be the first to admit that sometimes you have to pew pew just for the sake of pew pew.
So with that in mind, remember that just because something isn’t top-of-the-line, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time.
In the case of Wolf, if you’re looking for ammo that goes bang and won’t break the bank, you found it.
BUT…they also have Taiwanese manufactured brass .223 that kicks butt.
Best .223 Bang-for-the-Buck
Best .223 Bang-for-the-Buck
Unless, of course, you’d rather pick up some TulAmmo. TulAmmo is made by Tula, a Russian arms company about three hours drive South of Moskow.
You Mosin Nagant fans probably recognize the name and yes, this is the company that made several bajillion Mosins for the Russian army. They helped beat the Nazis.
Today, their ammo is widely known as one of the better cheap and cheerful options when it comes to plinking rounds.
Until about a decade ago they actually made all of Wolf’s ammo, so they’re very similar but I’ve always had better luck with TulAmmo. Your mileage may vary.
That said, both are good and specialize in polymer-coated, steel-cased ammo in military calibers. However, neither will win any accuracy awards.
Overall, don’t tear yourself up choosing between the two. Go with the cheaper option, that’s what you’re here for right?
This is a name you’re probably already aware of…but we’re going to talk about them anyway because holy crap they make good stuff.
Seriously, Hornady is far and away one of the best major manufacturers of premium ammo –if for nothing else than sheer consistency and availability.
If you’re looking for off-the-shelf ammo that can compete with hand-loaded stuff, this is the place to start your search.
Their ELD-M line of centerfire rifle ammo is particularly good and is a favorite around the office for testing long-range setups, especially in 6.5 CM, .308 Win, and other rifle cartridges in that class.
They developed 6.5CM so it makes sense they’d do well with it.
Beyond that, this ammo maker produces some of the finest defensive munitions with the Critical Defense and Critical Duty lines both being extremely popular with concealed carriers and police officers respectively.
You want to talk about a legend…Winchester is the legend. And their ammo is a big part of that reputation.
“Winchester white box” is the gold standard for middle-of-the-road ammo almost anywhere you go.
They began making ammo back in 1873 and were one of the first companies to really bring together ammo and firearms manufacturing. Not to mention, they’re responsible for helping make firearms such an institution in America, particularly after the first World War.
This company makes its products in Alton, Illinois, including its rifle, pistol, and shotgun offerings.
Besides their standard “white box” offerings that come in every common caliber you can imagine, they offer defensive ammo in their Silvertip line and they leaned into the law-enforcement market with the Active Duty line.
Rest assured, whatever ammo you need, you can find it in a Winchester box.
PMC ammunition is made by Poongsan Corporation (no I didn’t make that name up) in South Korea.
They specialize in everything from small arms ammunition all the way up to artillery shells. In other words, if it goes boom, they know about it.
The company has only been around since the late 60s, but in that short time, they’ve become one of the most prevalent manufacturers in the world.
Every piece of ammo they make is manufactured to the standard of South Korean and NATO allied militaries. So, you know it’s good stuff. Not great, mind you, but no military ammo is going to win you accuracy medals.
This is good, honest, hard-working, and dependable ammo. Very working class stuff here, and that’s why we love it.
They offer mostly centerfire rifle and pistol ammo, with an emphasis on military-style FMJs. Not a lot of hunting options, but for ratting away for the apocalypse, or just general target practice, PMC is good stuff.
An Italian company, Fiocchi was founded in 1876 by Giulio Fiocch. And the company is still in Fiocchi family hands — making it one of the oldest family businesses still operating.
Based out of Lecco, Italy, their products make their way around the world.
Fiocchi is a huge manufacturer, and they produce a genuinely staggering amount of ammo for all kinds of centerfire and rimfire firearms. But their big thing has always been shotgun shells.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to get a hunting shotgun in most European countries, so people tend to gravitate towards those over pistols and rifles, but still.
Fiocchi makes every kind of shotgun shell you can imagine, from cheap birdshot to serious defensive buckshot to slugs to freaking birdshot tracers for trap shooting.
The company also makes handgun and rifle ammo. Like Prvi Partizan and others, they manufacture some interesting niche cartridges like the historic .455 Webley and .303 British.
Oh, and to make things even better, even though it’s an Italian company, over 3/4ths of the ammo sold under the Fiocchi name in the U.S. is manufactured by American workers in Missouri.
We know, we know, Remington has been through the wringer when it comes to bankruptcy and buying/selling. But hear us out.
They recently moved away from Remington after the company filed for bankruptcy and is now housed under Vista Outdoor — ya’ know, the one that owns Federal.
Since its move to Vista, the company has steadily churned out all sorts of ammunition — from rimfire to shotgun and everything in between.
Overall, we like the direction that Remington’s ammunition seems to be headed. And in an ammo shortage, every little bit counts, right?
While we probably won’t tote it in our daily carry guns, we do appreciate the value the company brings to range days, training, and plinking.
And, better yet, we got to tour their facility recently. So, if you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors…check out the article here or the video below.
There are a number of great ammo brands out there and no matter your intended purpose or budget, there’s something for everyone.
When it comes to choosing ammo, consider your purpose and budget and finalize it from there. You really can’t go wrong with any of the above options.
What’s your favorite ammo brand? Let us know in the comments below. Also, check out Best Places to Buy Ammo Online for our recommended spots to stock up!
Best Ammo Brands for Plinking, Accuracy, & Self-Defense is written by Megan Kriss for www.pewpewtactical.com