One thing I do like about this time of year is first hearing about new shooting-related products that will debut at the SHOT Show. Today I received an e-mail from the good folks in Grand Island, Nebraska, Hornady Manufacturing, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2009.
My atavistic eyes were first attracted to the .338 Marlin Express. The .33 Winchester has always fascinated me since first reading about it in old Elmer Keith articles. It was a .45-70 necked down to .338 by Winchester for the 1886 Winchester. I first assumed the new Hornady release was simply a necked-up .308 Marlin Express. However, the .338 Marlin Express actually stems from the .376 Steyr. Hornady claims it will match the ballistics of a .30-06 with 180-grain bullets out to 400 yards.
The .338 Marlin Express offers nearly the same velocity and muzzle energy at 200 yards as Elmer's .33 Winchester put out at the muzzle. And the 200 gr. FTX™ boat tail will only be 1.2" low at 200 yards when zeroed 3 inches high at 100 yards. The Marlin ain't Great Grandpappy's 1886 Winchester or Grandma's .348 Winchester Model 71.
Hopefully neither the .308 nor .338 Marlin Express rounds will go the way of the .307 and .356 Winchester cartridges. With the release of FTX™ bullets to reloaders, Hornady has taken a huge step in fostering their survival.
I'd say those who use a .45 Colt revolver for self-defense will like the new 45 Colt LEVERevolution® round. Us cold-weather pistol packers will benefit from Critical Defense™ ammunition for the .380, 9mm and .38 Special, which also utilizes FTX™ bullets, that "will expand reliably EVERY SINGLE TIME!" The bullets are advertised as being able to penetrate heavy clothing, even leather, unlike many conventional hollow points. If these puppies test out, Hornady will certainly grab a larger chunk of the civilian self-defense and law enforcement ammunition market it gained through TAP®.