by Keith Wood - Friday, October 28, 2016
This first time I saw Ted Nugent, I didn’t know what to think. I’d gone to a concert sometime in high school and the opening act was some crazy guitar player running around shooting flaming arrows and riding on a life-size bucking bison in between earsplitting guitar solos. I do know that I was, at the least, a bit intrigued. A few minutes into the show, he tore into an R-rated song that was, shall we say, “critical” of gun control advocates. I was sold. Twenty years later, I met him backstage at the NRA Annual Meetings, where he was about to greet the crowd with a Gibson guitar in one hand and an AR in the other; his energy and enthusiasm was just as forceful on that Sunday afternoon as it had been for decades. Uncle Ted is loud, his riffs are powerful, and his opinions are spit out at the pace and fury of a belt-fed machine gun. Who better to inspire a line of handgun and rifle ammunition?
Ted Nugent Ammo is a series of loads for six handgun and seven rifle cartridges, custom-loaded by DoubleTap Ammo in Cedar City, Utah. Like its namesake, this is powerful ammunition intended for maximum performance. Mike McNett, owner of DoubleTap, was adamant that this wasn’t just going to be ordinary ammunition with Ted’s name on the label. "When we decided to team up with Ted Nugent, we knew we’d have to make some serious and innovative ammunition. These loadings represent what the best technology combined with our modern loading techniques can accomplish," he said.
Ted Nugent Ammunition features a single load for each cartridge in which it is chambered, so there are no decisions to make. Nugent ammo is loaded for the 9mm Luger, 357 Mag., .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, .44 Rem. Mag., .45 ACP, .223 Rem., .243 Win., .270 Win., 30-30 Win., .308 Win., .30-06 Sprg., and .300 Win. Mag. Each load is designed so that it can be used an all-around load for either personal defense or hunting, though judgment is called for when using the smaller cartridges for hunting—I wouldn’t recommend chasing elk with the 55-grain Sierra Blitzking loaded in the .223 and the 9mm wouldn’t be my first choice for deer.
We obtained samples of Ted Nugent ammo in several chamberings and chronographed four of the loads. As is fitting for ammo loaded with Ted’s name on it, this stuff was hot—no target loads here. We started with the .308 ammo and were pretty surprised to see the Oehler 35P print out the velocity of the first shot: 2881 feet per second at the muzzle. Yes, our test rifle has a 26” barrel but nearly 2900 fps with a 180-grain bullet in a .308 is serious velocity. Accuracy, by the way, was very good. I’m actually not a huge fan of the .308 as a cartridge but this load would get it done on just about anything but the planet’s largest game.
Next up was the 55-grain Sierra Blitzking load in the .223 Rem. The BlitzKing is a bullet designed to expand violently upon impact, making it a good choice for home defense where over-penetration can get good people killed. This load would also be ideal for varmints though I personally wouldn’t want to risk using it on deer-sized game due to the bullet construction: I’m not saying that you couldn’t kill a deer with this load, but it’s not a great idea. Velocity averaged at just under 2800 feet per second at the muzzle, which seems slow until you take note that our test rifle only has a 14.5” barrel (with an integral muzzle device to make it NFA compliant).
Ted’s 9mm load has self-defense written all over it. A big magazine full of 115-grain JHPs at nearly 1300 feet per second is good peace of mind while you wait for the cops to show up. As I mentioned, I don’t consider the 9mm a big game hunting cartridge but it would put meat on the table if used very carefully. Most importantly for a self-defense cartridge, Ted’s 9mm load fed, fired and ejected with 100 percent reliability.
Finally, we tested the 10mm. If ever there was a cartridge that should be associated with "The Nuge," the 10-mil is it. The loud and powerful 10mm was too much gun for the FBI but it’s the only concealable semi-auto cartridge that I consider as a viable option for real hunting. Ted has shot quite a bit of game with his Glock 20 and is known to carry that gun for self-defense as well. DoubleTap Ammo, who loads the Ted Nugent brand, makes more 10mm ammo than any company on the planet. This load uses a 180-grain Sierra JHP at a screaming 1239 feet per second out of my Zev Tech-tuned Glock 40 MOS. That velocity is 50 fps faster than the maximum 180-grain load in the Nosler loading manual with the same barrel length. I can’t wait to try this load out on a hog or two this fall.
Other loads are available as part of the Ted Nugent line and we would expect similar performance out of all of them, we just didn’t have the appropriate guns on-hand to test them all. We did not perform formal accuracy testing, since doing so without firearms of known performance would lack viability, but our anecdotal accuracy experience with each of these loads was excellent. Ted Nugent ammo won’t make you a better guitar player but it will do duty as full-power ammunition for whatever the world throws at you.
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