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.