William W (Bill) Gabbard
When my good friend Tommy Floyd was 15 years old, he walked into Holt Hardware in Somerset Kentucky and asked for a box of 30-30 ammo. The owner promptly handed him a box of Remington Core-Lokt. The Core-Lokt provided adequate accuracy and met all young Tommy’s expectations in the field, so he never had a reason to look elsewhere. Over the years he used Core-Lokt ammo in 30-30, 308, and 30-06, and never had a problem with it.
Years ago, before I started loading my own, while searching for the most accurate ammunition for a short-barreled Remington model 7 in 7MM-08, I found that the little rifle shot the best groups with Remington Core-Lokt 120 gr loads.
Modern technology and hunters desire for “tipped” ammo have changed the landscape in factory ammo over the past few years. With more manufactures using premium bullets from other sources as well as those of their own, along with hunters demanding more accuracy at longer ranges, it was time for the Core-Lokt line to receive an upgrade. The Remington brand now owned by Vista Outdoor got the ball rolling. Nick Sachse, a 30-year veteran of Remington, said that today’s hunters seem to be searching for better terminal performance, and better long accuracy. The folks at Remington feel that the new Tipped Core-Lokt ammunition will provide this.
When talking high ballistic coefficients, better terminal performance, and accuracy most people are referring to the newer cartridges that have been introduced in the last few years. One of the things that I like about the Tipped Core-Lokt line of ammo is that Remington is applying modern technology to our old favorite calibers. Jonathan Harling of Murray Road Agency arranged for Remington to send me a sample of the new ammo in classic calibers to evaluate. They sent me samples of 300 Winchester Magnum with 180 gr bullets, 308 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield loaded with 165 gr bullets as well as 270 Winchester loaded with 130 gr pills. I felt that this was a pretty fair selection of deer hunting ammo.
With the help of friends Dustin Cooper and Richard “Casey” Sandlin, I put together a selection of rifles to test the new ammo. Like earlier ammo tests I didn’t want to rely on a single rifle liking or disliking a particular type of ammunition to determine its potential accuracy. We had two well-used hunting rifles in each caliber that had proven themselves on the bench as well as in the woods, a good pile of sandbags to shoot from and a sunny afternoon, couldn’t ask for much more.
First up was the 300 Win Mag. The old Browning A-Bolt had the best group with a 0.840 with the Remington 700 Sendero right on its heels with a best of 0.854. While we did not get a group under 0.5 inch what was impressive about the 300 Win Mag Core-Lokt Tipped was that no groups exceeded 1 inch.
For the 165 gr 308 ammo we used a Thompson Center Compass, and a Savage Model 10. Neither of these rifles were able to beat the 1-inch mark, but the Savage was extremely close with a best of 1.043. The best group the Thompson Center could manage was 1.373. Consistency was once again impressive with no groups larger than 1.5 inches. We put the better part of a box of ammo through 2 separate rifles and all groups measured between 1 and 1.5 inches!
Our old war horse 30-06 rifles didn’t fare quite so well. The late 1960’s vintage Sako shot a best group of 1.095 while the well-worn Remington managed a best of 1.352. Both rifles shot groups in excess of 2 inches as the test progressed.
There really isn’t a more classic Whitetail round than the 270 Winchester with 130 gr bullet. The Core-Lokt Tipped 130 grain box of ammo that we had did not disappoint! My old Browning A Bolt shot a 0.898 group following a little cooling time it shot a 0.628-inch group for the best three shot group of the test. Casey’s Remington 700 fired groups of .854 and .977 inch. Another box of ammo through 2 different rifles with no groups exceeding 1 inch.
The new ammunition is available with a 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 280 Remington, 7MM Remington Magnum and 300 WSM in addition to the calibers evaluated here.
Tommy has long since retired and most of his big game hunting is done with custom handloads developed for his rifle. Holt’s hardware is long gone, as is the owner that handed Tommy the box of Remington Core-Lokt ammo. Remington Core-Lokt is still around but based on this short test the new Core-Lokt Tipped is raising the bar when it comes to performance from factory ammunition.