Nosler Ammo: Reviewing a Titan of the Ammo Industry
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Nosler ammo is a name that’s likely familiar to many firearms enthusiasts, particularly hunters, long-range shooters, and reloaders. They’re, of course, famous for the iconic Nosler Partition projectile, but there’s so much more to this 75-year-old company.
Our readers have been asking all kinds of questions about this brand, so today, we’re going to answer them in full, in-depth Nosler ammo review.
We’re going to see how this titan of the industry stacks up to the modern competition and find out if they’ve kept up with the times or chosen to rest on their laurels. Let’s answer some of the most important questions that you have asked us about Nosler ammo.
Nosler has historically made some very high-quality, performance ammo, and they continue to do so today. Nosler ammo is very, very good.
American-made ammo tends to be of the highest quality simply because that's where the most demanding market is, and Nosler has consistently worked to meet or exceed those demands.
Still, quality in anything is about effort, not geography. That said, gun owners in this country tend to be a bit more exacting in our ammo choice just because we have A) so many choices and B) the strongest gun culture in the world.
And Nosler has been one of the premier suppliers of high-quality ammo to the US market for 50+ years. My 70-year-old father still swears by their hunting bullets in particular and has done so my entire life.
And if you think you’re picky about your ammo, you should sit down with him one day for a chat so you can see what picky really looks like. And if you want to know more about Nosler ammo and what we have in stock, you can check our full listing of available Nosler ammo.
- High-quality brass, primers, and projectiles
- A wide variety of projectiles are available
- Very consistent muzzle velocity (fps)
- Hunting, match, and self-defense options are available
- Ballistic tip (polymer tip) rounds for most calibers. Polymer tips are tube-magazine safe
- Easy to find components to reload your own ammo similar to your favorite factory load
- Excellent customer support
- Nosler rifles are optimized around their ammo and make great use of match-grade offerings
- Small company with small output (hard to find certain things in stock compared to, say, Remington, Hornady, or Winchester)
Nosler has a huge variety of calibers available for handguns and rifles, though some are hard to find in stock (especially some of the more niche rifle ammunition options). The full list of offerings includes:
- 17 Remington Fireball
- 17 Remington
- 204 Ruger
- 22 Hornet
- 221 Remington Fireball
- 222 Remington
- 223 Remington
- 22 Nosler
- 22-250 Remington
- 220 Swift
- 243 Winchester
- 6mm Creedmoor
- 25-06 Remington
- 257 Roberts +P
- 257 Weatherby Magnum
- 6.5 Grendel
- 6.5x55 Swedish
- 260 Remington
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- 6.5 PRC
- 264 Winchester Magnum
- 6.5-284 Norma
- 26 Nosler
- 6.8mm Remington SPC
- 270 Winchester
- 270 Winchester Short Magnum
- 270 Weatherby Magnum
- 27 Nosler
- 280 Remington
- 7mm-08 Remington
- 7x57 Mauser
- 280 Ackley Improved
- 7mm Rem SA Ultra Mag
- 7mm Remington Magnum
- 7mm Shooting Times Westerner
- 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum
- 28 Nosler
- 300 AAC Blackout
- 30-30 Winchester
- 308 Winchester
- 30-06 Springfield
- 300 Rem SA Ultra Mag
- 300 Winchester Short Magnum
- 300 Win Mag
- 300 H&H Magnum
- 300 Weatherby Magnum
- 30 Nosler
- 300 Remington Ultra Magnum
- 30-378 Weatherby Magnum
- 8x57 JS Mauser
- 325 Winchester Short Magnum
- 338 Winchester Magnum
- 338 Remington Ultra Magnum
- 338 Lapua Magnum
- 33 Nosler
- 35 Whelen
- 375 H&H Magnum
- 416 Remington Magnum
- 416 Rigby
- 458 Winchester Magnum
- 458 Lott
- 470 Nitro Express
- 450 Rigby
- 500/416 Nitro Express
- 500 Nitro Express
- 9mm Luger
- 40 S&W
- 10mm Auto
- 45 Auto (ACP)
Nosler ammo is made in Bend, Oregon, considered by many to be the capital of outdoor sports on the West Coast. They also recently opened a 30,000 sqft facility in nearby Redmond, Oregon, which will house their brass-making operation and other ammo facilities.
The original Bend plant is primarily focused on bullet manufacturing, which has long been Nosler’s bread and butter.
Nosler started as a personal project of hunter John Amos Nosler. In a similar story to the birth of Hornady, Nosler was unhappy with factory ammo available in America after the close of WWII and started making his own.
Jacketed projectiles of the day used a simple copper-alloy jacket around a lead core which, while great for penetration, expanded poorly and was liable to waste energy by passing all the way through medium to large game.
Alternatively, soft-point ammunition, such as what was used by some snipers during the war, would expand, but the exposed soft lead tip would often cause the round to deform and fragment into pieces too small to ensure an ethical kill on large game.
In 1946, John Nosler shot a moose with a .300 H&H Magnum soft-point and was disappointed when the round just didn’t have the penetration or weight retention to reach a vital organ.
That long walk through the woods looking for a bleeding moose would go on to be the catalyst for Nosler to start making his own bullets, designed to expand readily but stay together during a high-velocity impact with dense muscle and hard bone.
And so, the now world-famous Nosler Partition Bullets were born.
The original Nosler Partition featured a front core that was open to allow for expansion, but a partition line of solid copper at the midpoint of the round kept it from expanding past that point.
This gave the round the structural strength of an FMJ round to handle intense impact velocities but with an expanding tip for greater wounding and, thus, a better chance at an ethical kill.
Nosler would go on to add a Ballistic Tip (polymer tip) to this design, which improves aerodynamics without sacrificing the expansion capabilities of the hollow point design. Similar designs exist from other manufacturers these days, including Hornday (ELD, V-Max, etc.), but it all started at Nosler.
Today, Nosler focuses on high-performance ammo, components, and now rifles. And they’re growing every year, with new product offerings that continue to raise the ballistics bar.
You can read more about the company by checking out the full history of Nosler ammo.
Nosler ammo is so expensive compared to some other brands because of the increased quality control and overall quality of what Nosler produces.
That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with more mass-market ammo, far from it. We love any ammo so long as it goes boom when we tell it to and so long as it doesn't cost too much for the performance it gives.
Having said that, Nosler makes premium ammo for a premium market. They're targeting (pun intended) the upper end of the hunting, competition shooting, and reloading markets. They're a relatively small company, so they simply don't have the output to compete with the big names when it comes to budget-priced ammo.
What they can do, and have done for years, is produce extremely high-quality ammo and reloading components for the market segment that is the most demanding (and therefore most willing to spend extra money for increased quality).
Nosler ammo is available in a variety of different bullet weights. Their big game hunting rifle ammo and high BC match-grade ammo tend to have heavier projectiles towards the upper end of the norm, but there is a large range available.
Nosler 9mm ammo is very good. In particular, in our testing, their Assured Stopping Power (ASP) line of defensive ammo performed extremely well compared to other high-end defensive ammo options.
Nosler, Inc is one of those brands that you've probably heard of or seen on store shelves but maybe not known that much about. Well, after reading this Nosler ammo review, you should know everything you need to know about this awesome brand that is so beloved by the firearms community.
Whether you’re looking for sub-MOA shot groups at the range or trying to bring down that trophy buck, Nosler has something for you.
Nosler makes a variety of great products that you can check out in our full Nosler listing, and if you want to learn a bit more about other ammo brands, you can check out our Hornady ammo review or Prvi Partizan review.