Things That Don’t Suck: Remington Core-Lokt Rifle Ammunition


You can walk into almost any sporting goods store in America that sells ammunition — and certainly any gun store — and find green boxes of Remington Core-Lokt ammo on hand. You can’t say that about a lot of the premium loads. That kind of availability alone doesn’t suck.

I would love to be able to find Winchester’s big game long-range load, with AccuBond LR bullets, anywhere and everywhere. Or Federal Premium Nosler Partition. Or even Nosler’s own AccuBond loads. But, as we all know, you can’t always count on it.

But you can just about always count on finding the box of Core-Lokt you need.

That isn’t to say it isn’t without its limitations That also isn’t to say that ammunition hasn’t gotten better since its introduction back when FDR was in the White House. Or that premium ammunition or careful handloading isn’t worth it.

I carry premium ammunition in my concealed carry pistols, as do many others. Federal HST, Speer Gold Dot and others have established track records. While I can probably find Winchester White Box JHP and Remington UMC JHP a little more readily (if Paul Herrell reads this, I hope he can forgive me) I can’t seem to give up buying the good stuff. Clearly, I’m not above spending a bit more on gun food.

Frankly, premium ammunition proved its worth with the advent of Bitteroot Bonded, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw and Nosler Partition back in the 1940s. Today’s modern projectiles make it so the hunter or target shooter can take accurate shots at distances that were thought impossible even 20 years ago.

These rounds have also contributed to people taking longer shots at game than they should, but that’s another can of worms.

I’m well aware that it isn’t the best. Yes, better rounds have come in the mean time; yes, your grandfather used it.

In many of the popular rifle calibers, Core-Lokt typically isn’t the best for any applications exceeding about 400 yards; the ballistic coefficient just isn’t there and in .30 caliber bullets and above. It starts to drop like a stone.

At short range, it doesn’t expand especially well. At long range, the drop in velocity also doesn’t do expansion any favors. When it does expand, it sheds more weight than many other hunting loads do.

But…it also works reliably enough that I’m not too put out if it’s all I can get my hands on.

Besides its amazing availability, it also has the virtue of being inexpensive. Not necessarily cheap, but not expensive. My most common purchase of good ‘ol C-L is usually a box of 150-grain or 165-grain .30-06, which usually commands anywhere from $22 to $25 for a box of 20. I can find cheaper brands and boxes, and certainly more expensive ones. Premium loadings from Federal, Winchester, Remington and others typically command $35 on up.

If I had to choose one box and brand for the rest of my life…Core-Lokt makes a pretty good case for itself as the best all-purpose rifle ammunition.

What do you think? Is there a budget brand of hunting, target or carry ammunition that you stick to despite “better” loads being out there? Sound off in the comments.


  1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    {The sound of crickets chirping softly on an early fall evening…}

    *snicker* 😉

  2. avatar John says:

    When I was 13 years old I shot a 600 pound bull elk with Core-Lokts 9 TIMES with a 30-06 at ranges between 15-40 yards. 6 shots went into the heart and lungs, the other 3 went into the neck. The exit wounds were the same size as the entrance wounds, they just penciled through him. Very little damage to the internals. There is no doubt in my mind that they are the worst bullet on the market. It is downright irresponsible and unethical for you to recommend Core-Lokts to anyone. Just because garbage is widely available doesn’t make it any better.

    1. avatar Kahlil says:

      Sure it wasn’t a fluke or a FMJ and not CL? When I still had my .303 that was pretty much all I shot and it performed and expanded without issue.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      Having recovered rounds from deer that went in .270 and opened up to nearly .500 I don’t think CL is garbage. But you buy what you like.

    3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      That was quite a patient elk to stand there “15-40 yards” away while you were plugging him with ineffective shots, including at least one full reload!

      Actually I’ll take “things that didn’t happen” on this one.

      1. avatar Daniel says:

        I’ve shot a a single white tail at least a couple hundred times usually hitting the kill zone with my crossbow and it didn’t even fall down. Of course the foam is starting to get chewed up a little.

        1. avatar GS650G says:

          Winner right here!

      2. avatar Chris in VA says:

        I agree with this comment and the article. For my short .303 Jungle Carbine or any of the 16″-18″ .308s, this ammo has been nothing short of amazing on 80-200 lb hogs in SC. Sure, a few weren’t dead right there, but C-L ammo is the one thing Big Green hasn’t screwed up yet. If I could only choose one load to stockpile in either .308 or .303, this would be it, period.

      3. avatar John says:

        I shot 4 times before the other 6 bulls ran away. It wasn’t one full reload, it was single and double feeding. Mass panic and grabbing bullets out of all pockets and backpack. When I was 12 I shot a 2 yr old raghorn 4 times in a group the size of a softball at 75 yards, dad had to cut his throat to finally kill him. When i was 14 i shot a forky mule deer 4 times, 200 yards, 300 yards, 300 again, and after chasing him for a while a final one at 400. All these animals we skinned them out enough to see where all bullets impacted, every shot was exactly where you would want them. After that we started using Federal Trophy Bonded and we quit having these problems. You people need to stop being cheap and actually buy premium bullets, or start reloading and use premium bullets with better accuracy.

        1. It is 0410 hours on March 4th, 2020, I’m having my morning coffee and find this. I am an honorably retired former U.S. Army Special Forces Team Sergeant (SFQC 3-83) , Delta Force (OTC-18) Sniper Team Member, Assistant Sniper Team Leader, Sniper Team Leader, Unit Sniper SME / Master Sniper, and Special Forces Advanced Skills Training Company First Sergeant. I personally know or knew a good number of key players in the ammunition business. Regarding claims of any projectiles ineffectiveness or instant death and processed into sausage in one shot and on the spot, here we go. If you were close enough to hit any animal in the heart, you could have shot it in the head ! Not that shooting it in the heart wouldn’t do it quickly enough. For the record, a .270 Winchester loaded to SAAMI rated PSI with a Hornady 140 BTSP Interlock will put a hole in three quarter inch steel plate at 120 meters, and nothing on Earth has a skull that tough, nothing. I once asked one of our Delta Force gunsmiths what barrel was the best brand and he replied, ” whatever brand of barrel we have back there in that “F______ trash can” is the best barrel in the world. They actually used an old, tall, steel trash can to store match grade barrels in and his point was, if your gunsmith is good and you can shoot it really doesn’t matter. The same goes for bullets, so get some range time in at the temperature you’ll be hunting in and “go get ’em”

        2. avatar Lester says:

          Hey John. I Have great difficulty in your story. I have shot a lot of deer down here in New Zealand and never have I had an animal wait in place or walk a few meters while I shot holes in it. At the sound of a gun or even a poor shot they have run.
          While I haven’t shot a Wapiti (elk) I have shot some large Red stags And Sika out to 300 meters no problem.
          The best projectile I ever had in my Remington model 7 260 was a 120 Core-Lokt . Nothing Walked or ran far. Accuracy in the little gun was great. Only problem is Remington stopped making this weight of projectile.

          But your story makes for a good fire side yarn

          “The poor workman always blames his tools”

    4. avatar SomeDudeThatHasAnAssloadOfGreentip says:

      Pretty sure you only hate on Remington cause the internet told you to.

    5. avatar Southern Cross says:

      I shot quite a few feral pigs with PMC’s 139g SP in 6.5×55. Distances were 40m to 200m. All were one-shot-kills. Even on quartering angle shots. Piggies would jump 2 foot in the air when struck and hit the ground dead.

    6. avatar Hugh Glass says:

      Bet you’ve been telling that story a long time, and I bet a lot of people have formed an opinion based on it.

    7. avatar Jeffrey C Schmoyer says:


  3. avatar GS650G says:

    Used it in my .270 without issues. I liked the 150 grain pill.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    In my .30-30 I liked the 170 grain C-L. Out of my 336 it had an edge in accuracy over other weights and brands.

    1. avatar RL_n_EP says:

      Amen JWM. if I can’t reload, & I even purchased bulk 170gr C-L’s back when they were cheap, the factory 170 core-lokt is my 1st choice. My Marlin favors the heavy stuff.

      It is accurate, expands great, & has plenty of power for deer, hogs, & black bear.

  5. avatar Andrew says:

    Another budget conscious, but excellent and easy to find round is Fusion.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      yes, fusion is good.

  6. avatar Red says:

    People still buy ammo in retail stores? Really?

    Online, in quantity, is the way to go.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Or DIY like I did with most of a crate of Turkish 8×57. Swapped the 154g FMJ for a 170g RNSP, and dropped the charge to 44.5g of the original powder. 2720fps and hit things like a sledgehammer.

      1. avatar Perry says:

        Reloaders warm my heart, especially when they re-purpose scrap ammo.

        I recently loaded Fed TBT 180gr .308 over 40.7gr CFE223 in a Hornady Match case. Sub-MOA in the RAR, which seems to like 2600fps.

  7. avatar Tod says:

    I’m an under-200yrd shooter and core-lokt is all I use. Good, reliable, predictable, and effective on multiple game in multiple calibers. I have a plethora of rifles and core-lokt feeds them all.

    At the range I shoot it puts game down as long as I do my part. I rely on it exclusively.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Good to see someone who keeps the distances close. To me long-range shots on game should be apologized for and not boasted about. Although I do know of circumstances that can make a normal range shot difficult.

  8. avatar Ian says:

    They don’t make it in 300 BLK though. Bummer.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      That’s why god gave us reloading presses.

  9. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    If using bullets on game, I’d go for a premium ammunition. Both CL and the Winchester SP grey box have killed a lot of deer for me in the past. I’ve blown holes through the vitals to have whitetail run 40-150 yards. After switching to premium ballistic tip or HP from brands like Barnes that dump all the energy into the animal instead of sailing all the way through, I notice a lot more dead right there.

  10. avatar MIO says:

    I did not have a good experience with this ammo at all. 60yd broadside at a 100lb doe. Went in 4″ and angled almost straight up through the backbone. Yes it killed her but not the way it should have. I’ll pass on this stuff.

  11. avatar Larry says:

    Studies have been done since the 1960’s that show Core-Lokt bullets are amongst the very best hunting bullets out there. I remember old gun magazine articles from the late 1960’s through to the early 1990’s where bullet expansion tests were conducted. The Core-Lokt bullets expanded in a consistent, significant manner over a large range of shooting distances. Many premier bullets did not expand well once you got out to long shooting distances.

    Typically, the premier bullet is marketed for accuracy, not bullet expansion.

    Now you would have to go back to old magazines and find those

  12. avatar RidgeRunner says:

    I put a lot of whitetails on the ground with Core-Lokt in 30-06 and 30-30 before that. Never had an issue, but moved on to ballistic tips, first Feds with Nosler tip, currently Browning’s 06 offering. Browning A-Bolt likes those. Never shoot past 200 yards, and now bowhunt mostly. Like, today.
    I will say that Buffalo Bore’s premier 06 whitetail round does a helluva number on deer, as is their Deer Grenade in .44. But expensive, and Brownings get the job done, I like it.

  13. avatar miforest says:

    drew a michigan elk tag. aske my guide who is involved in taking huge mi elk 6-10 times a year . has been at it for over 15 years . his advice on guns . ” practice till you can hit up to 400 yds . use a bullet of 150 grains or more in a gun you aren’t afraid to shoot. Use normal ammo that has bee around for a while . in my experience core lokt always expands good and penetrates good . avoid the fancy new stuff, we see bullet failures from time to time with the $3 a round stuff.
    in my personal experience Winchester power point works great for black bear and deer . It worked on my elk , a one shot kill .

  14. avatar James Ivy says:

    I have never used Remington’s rifle ammo before, after doing some chrono work with there pistol ammo I was very unimpressed in fact concerned enough not to purchase anymore. I’ll have to try there rifle ammo and give it a fair shake also wouldn’t mind I know there struggling. I used .243 once fired brass of there’s and found it was on par with other brands.

  15. avatar AZredevil666 says:

    In preparation for a pronghorn hunt several years ago, I tried at least a half dozen different factory loads, some costing close to $50/box, and settled on the 140 grain (7mm mag) Core-lokt simply because it shot the best in my rifle. Lucky for me, it also happened to be the cheapest of the bunch. When it came time to pull the trigger, I dropped a 12″ buck (well it was a trophy to me) dead in his tracks at 400 yards. I’ve since made a personal choice to switch to solid copper bullets, but there is nothing wrong with the green box if you do your part. Happy hunting!

  16. avatar Solomon says:

    They might be good on game but I’ve never had a rifle that liked them. I can find federal in just as many stores and they shoot better at that for less $

  17. avatar Armita Clinic says:

    Pretty sure you only hate on Remington cause the internet told you to.
    درمان اضطراب بدون دارو

  18. avatar Jerry says:

    This deer season in michigan I had 3 308 rounds not fire. Contacted Remington and returned ammo to them. They evaluated and told me the primer pockets were not formed properly. Said sorry and replaced the ammo. I went home with unused deer tag.

    1. avatar Lester says:

      Hey Jerry that’s true bad luck.
      Given the millions of rounds Remington make and sell you got three duds.
      Compare that to say Jeep vehicles. How many vehicles do they make each year and how many brand new cars are faulty. A higher percentage than faulty Remington bullets.
      It’s Murphy’s law, when that trophy Stag walks out the ammo or gun fails or the scope fogs.
      My son borrowed my rifle during the Roar. A good stag answered his calls and my one and only reload with no powder was in the chamber. Bugger..
      2020 will be better. Enjoy.

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