Black Hills Ammunition Review: Trusted by Professionals, Loved by Civilian Shooters
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If you’re into tight shot groups, incredibly consistent shot-to-shot muzzle velocity, and the best long-range ammo available on the market, then you should be loading your mags with Black Hills Ammunition.
Used by multiple Special Operations groups of the U.S. Military and law enforcement, Black Hills prides themselves on producing some of the highest quality ammunition for professionals and civilian shooters alike.
With a full line of cartridges for semi-automatic handguns, centerfire rifle, and revolvers, Black Hills Ammunition caters to shooters who want to squeeze out every ounce of accuracy from their firearms.
Yes, Black Hills ammo is excellent because of their extreme quality control standards. They produce factory new and remanufactured ammunition that is often used by the military and law enforcement as well as firearms manufacturers like Mossberg, Springfield, Sig Sauer, Ruger, and Browning use Black Hills ammo for testing.
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The establishment of Black Hills Ammunition is nothing short of a picture-perfect representation of the American Dream. Founded in 1988 by Jeff Hoffman and his wife Kristi, Black Hills Ammo has become synonymous with accuracy, reliability, and consistency in the shooting industry.
In 1982, the Hoffman’s had an opportunity to buy into a blooming startup, Black Hills Shooter Supply. The pair borrowed $12,000 while Jeff worked as a police officer and held down two additional part-time jobs and Kristi worked a full-time job to make ends meet.
Black Hills Shooter Supply was a successful venture, selling ammunition and reloading supplies. However, in 1988 the Hoffman’s decided to split up the company and founded Black Hills Ammunition, taking with them the reloading machines while their partner retained the Black Hills Shooter Supply end of the business.
The Hoffman’s worked the ammunition end of the business on their own and were strapped for cash until one phone call changed everything.
Jeff had sent the Illinois State Police a sample of their 9mm Luger self-defense ammunition for testing. Shortly after receiving it, they received an order for 700,000 rounds. It was this moment that put Black Hills Ammunition on the map as one of the top-tier ammunition remanufacturing companies in the market.
Fast forward 30 years, and Black Hills now resides in a 60,000 sq ft factory with a 7,200 sq ft warehouse on 10 acres of land in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The company’s next breakthrough was in 1996 when they received their first U.S. Military contract for the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU). Black Hills was tasked with loading the AMU’s V8 load, a 80 grain OTM cartridge designed for the 600 yard single-shot slow fire course of fire.
The catch was that the AMU wanted Black Hills to produce a round that maintained their required velocity and did not exceed SAAMI max pressure specs. However, this was a mathematical impossibility given the powder of the time.
Black Hills went to work and were able to replicate the load, however they explained to the AMU that it was impossible to create the cartridge within SAAMI pressure specs. However, considering Black Hills was able to save 10,000 psi while still maintaining accuracy and muzzle velocity, the AMU was thoroughly impressed and contracted Black Hills to manufacture their 73 gr Berger and 69 gr Sierra MatchKing loads as well.
Since then, the company has also manufactured ammunition for the USMC Rifle Team as well as the Navy and Air Force teams as well. Black Hills has also loaded military competition cartridges for 6mm Benchrest, 9x19mm NATO, and 45 ACP.
In 1999, Black Hills Ammunition caught the eye of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). SOCOM requested that Black Hills work with them jointly on the development of the Mk12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) weapon system.
The Mk12 was developed for long-range engagements and was expected to maintain accuracy up to 600 yards. Black Hills was tasked with developing the ammunition for this rifle and they used the proven 77 grain open tip match (OTM Sierra MatchKing bullet used by the AMU. Paired with a 5.56 NATO case, loaded to increased pressures, and utilizing a low flash powder blend, Black Hills successfully created the first 5.56 NATO sniper cartridge.
Adopted in 2002, the MK262 Mod0 has remained one of the most accurate military 5.56 NATO loads fielded by Special Operations units and is available for civilian purchase.
Although Black Hills has an exceptional military line of ammo, their real following began with the civilian shooter in mind. The company has numerous centerfire cartridges available semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, as well as semi-auto and bolt-action rifles.
For the competitive Cowboy Action shooter, Black Hills has a wide selection of revolver and lever-action rounds that might be difficult to find at your local sporting goods store. Their Authentic Cowboy Action line has loads ready for competition in hard-to-find calibers like 32-20, 44-40, 38-55 as well as popular calibers like 45 Colt, 38 Long Colt, and 45-70 Government.
For self-defense, Black Hills has a wide variety of jacketed hollow point (JHP) ammo available in most common calibers like 9mm Luger, 40 Smith & Wesson, and 45 ACP. However, their HoneyBadger ammunition line of self-defense ammo offers shooters something novel for personal protection.
The HoneyBadger bullet is a solid copper projectile that will not deform or fragment like a JHP. Instead of using an expanding bullet, the HoneyBadger operates by firing a lighter projectile at higher muzzle velocities. The groves in the nose of the bullet force fluids away from it and causing a similar wound channel as a hollow point.
The solid construction of the HoneyBadger bullet means that it is excellent at barrier penetration, but the flutes will prevent overpenetration when it encounters soft tissue.
The HoneyBadger is available in common self-defense calibers but is also loaded in bigger rounds like the 45-70 Government, 10mm Auto, and 44 Magnum, making for an excellent bear defense round.
For big game hunters, Black Hills Gold is an ammo line that will ensure you bring home that trophy whitetail, elk, or moose this hunting season. Designed for long range precision and devastating terminal ballistics, Black Hills Gold will make short work of any game animal so long as you do your part.
No matter if you enjoy a weekend of plinking, punching tight groups of holes in paper, or you need a rock solid personal defense round for your EDC, Black Hills Ammunition has you covered.
Black Hills ammo is manufactured in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Black Hills offers a wide variety of centerfire rifle and handgun ammo in different calibers, here are some of their most popular factory loads:
- 32 H&R Magnum
- 380 Auto
- 9mm Luger
- 40 S&W
- 10mm Auto
- 45 ACP
- 45 Colt
- 38 Special
- 357 Magnum
- 44 Remington Magnum
- 223 Remington
- 5.56x45mm NATO
- 300 AAC Blackout
- 6mm ARC
- 243 Win
- 270 Win
- 6.5 PRC
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- 308 Winchester
- 30-06 Springfield
- 300 Winchester Magnum
- 338 Norma Magnum
- 338 Lapua Magnum
- 45-70 Government
The Black Hills Ammunition slogan is “The Power of Performance” to reflect their dedication to producing the most accurate and consistent ammo on the market.
The Black Hills Ammunition company’s headquarters is in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Black Hills ammo is incredibly accurate and is often used by other firearms manufacturers like Ruger, Browning, Mossberg, and Springfield to test their firearms. Most Black Hills ammo will provide 1 MOA accuracy or less.
Black Hills Gold ammo is their exclusive line of big game hunting ammo. Loaded with a variety of bullets from Barnes TSX, Hornady V-MAX, and Sierra GameKing, Black Hills Gold is an excellent choice for your next hunt.
HoneyBadger ammunition is Black Hills proprietary self-defense ammo that fires a solid copper bullet that is designed to create massive amounts of physical trauma and a large wound cavity through fluid pressure without relying on an expanding hollow point.
No, Black Hills ammo is loaded with non-corrosive Boxer primers.
Black Hills currently supplies all the match-grade 5.56 NATO ammo for the service rifle teams as well as special ammunition for several special operations groups.
Yes, there are several law enforcement departments who use Black Hills self-defense hollow point loads for their duty ammo.
Black Hills uses Winchester primers exclusively.
Yes! Black Hills uses brass cases that are Boxer primed, which are perfect for reloading.
For target practice I’d recommend Black Hills 115 gr FMJ new pistol ammo with a muzzle velocity of 1,150 fps. For self-defense I’d recommend the Black Hills 124 gr jacketed hollow point (JHP) with a muzzle velocity of 1,150 fps and muzzle energy of 364 ft-lbs.