Historical Evolution of Shotgun Shells

A Historical Overview of the Evolution of Shotgun Shells

Shotgun shells have evolved over the course of several centuries to serve a wide range of purposes, from hunting and sport shooting to military applications. These are the key developments in the evolution of shotgun shell types:

Key Advancements in Shotshell Development

Early Black Powder Shells (Late 18th Century):

The earliest shotgun shells were simple paper or brass hulls containing black powder and lead shot. They were ignited by a percussion cap, and the shot pattern was often inconsistent due to the irregular shape of lead pellets.

Paper Hulls (Late 19th Century):

In the mid-1800s, paper hulls became a popular alternative to brass. They were more affordable and biodegradable, but they were susceptible to moisture, which could affect their performance.

Pinfire and Centerfire Priming (Mid to Late 19th Century):

The pinfire and centerfire priming systems replaced percussion caps, offering more reliable ignition. This innovation allowed for the development of more versatile shotgun shells.

Smokeless Powder (Late 19th Century):

The introduction of smokeless powder in the late 19th century revolutionized shotgun ammunition. It burned cleaner and provided higher velocities, making shotguns more effective for a variety of applications.

Plastic Hulls (Early 20th Century):

Plastic hulls began to replace paper as a shell material in the early 20th century. These hulls were waterproof and more durable, enhancing shell performance and reliability.

Different Shot Types (20th Century):

Shotgun shells were adapted for various purposes, with different shot types, including birdshot, buckshot, and slugs, for specific hunting and defensive needs.

Gauge Standardization (20th Century):

The standardization of shotgun gauges, including 12-gauge and 20-gauge, helped simplify ammunition production and usage. Each gauge corresponds to a specific bore diameter, making it easier for shooters to choose the right shells for their firearms.

Magnum and Specialized Loads (Mid to Late 20th Century):

Magnum shotgun shells, with larger powder charges, were developed to increase velocity and energy. These were especially useful for waterfowl and turkey hunting.

Specialized loads like steel shot, which were less harmful to waterfowl, were developed to meet environmental regulations.

Non-Toxic Shot (Late 20th Century):

Environmental concerns led to the development of non-toxic shot materials like steel, bismuth, and tungsten, which replaced lead shot in many hunting situations.

Modern Shell Varieties (21st Century):

Advances in materials and manufacturing have led to a wide variety of shotgun shell types, including low-recoil loads for beginners, subsonic shells for suppressed firearms, and specialty rounds like breaching and less-lethal munitions for law enforcement and military use.

Innovations in Wad and Slug Design:

Modern shotgun shells feature advanced shotshell wad designs and slug configurations, improving accuracy and performance for both hunting and tactical applications.

Continued Development & Research

The evolution of shotgun shells has been driven by advancements in materials, propellants, and design, leading to more efficient and effective ammunition for various purposes. Today, shotgun shells continue to evolve with ongoing research and development, ensuring they remain versatile tools for hunters, sportsmen, and professionals.

Evolution of Bullet Design: A Journey Towards Maximum Terminal Performance

The pursuit of maximum terminal performance (a bullet’s ability to incapacitate or kill a target on impact) has driven the development of bullet design for years. Over centuries, bullet design has evolved from simple lead balls to highly engineered projectiles.

Historical Perspective

  1. Early Bullets: The earliest projectiles used in firearms were simple lead balls or musket balls. These primitive bullets lacked any design sophistication and relied on their mass and velocity to cause damage. Their spherical shape and lack of aerodynamics limited accuracy and terminal performance.
  2. Minié Ball: In the mid-19th century, Claude-Étienne Minié introduced the Minié ball, a conical-shaped bullet with a hollow base. This design improved accuracy and terminal performance by allowing the bullet to grip the rifling inside the barrel, causing a  stabilizing spin. When the gun fired, the hollow base expanded, sealing the bore and increasing efficiency.

Modern Evolution

  1. Expanding Bullets: The next significant leap in bullet design came with the introduction of expanding bullets. These bullets were designed to deform or expand upon impact, causing larger wound channels and greater energy transfer to the target. The hollow-point bullet, which features a cavity at the tip to cause controlled expansion on impact, is a prime example of this concept.
  2. Jacketed Bullets: Jacketed bullets, made up of a lead core with a harder metal jacket, were developed to improve bullet stability and penetration. The jacket ensures the bullet maintains its shape during flight, minimizing deformation until it hits the target. This design became the standard for military and many civilian applications.
  3. Hollow-Point Bullets: Hollow-point bullets were refined for controlled expansion, optimizing terminal performance. Law enforcement agencies adopted these bullets due to their ability to create effective stopping power while reducing over-penetration. Modern hollow-points are engineered to reliably expand and deliver energy to the target.
  4. Fragmenting and Specialty Bullets: The evolution of bullet design continued with the development of specialty projectiles, such as frangible and fragmenting bullets. These bullets are designed to break apart on impact, dispersing fragments throughout the target. They’re useful in situations where over-penetration is a concern.
  5. Polymer-Tipped Bullets: Polymer-tipped bullets combine the benefits of expanding and ballistic-tipped designs. They feature a plastic tip over a lead core and jacket. The tip begins expanding on impact, while the design remains aerodynamic for enhanced accuracy and range.
  6. Controlled Chaos Bullets: Some manufacturers have pushed the boundaries of bullet design with controlled chaos bullets. They feature multiple segments or expanding petals for consistent and devastating wound channels. They provide maximum terminal performance while maintaining accuracy and reliability.

The evolution of bullet design for maximum terminal performance has been a continuous journey of innovation. From the rudimentary lead balls of early firearms to the intricately designed bullets of today, the quest for improved accuracy, reliability, and stopping power has driven the development of various bullet types.

Expanding bullets, jacketed bullets, and specialty projectiles have revolutionized terminal performance, making modern ammunition highly effective for both self-defense and law enforcement applications. As technology and materials continue to advance, the future of bullet design could hold more efficient ammunition and greater terminal performance.

A Comprehensive Guide to Competitive Shooting

Competitive shooting encompasses a wide range of disciplines, each with its own rules, equipment, and techniques. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started or an experienced shooter exploring new avenues, this guide provides an overview of some popular competitive shooting disciplines.

Precision Pistol Shooting (Bullseye or Conventional Pistol):

  • Description: Competitors shoot handguns at fixed paper targets from various distances, typically 10, 25, and 50 yards.
  • Scoring: Points are awarded based on shot placement within the target rings, with the center being worth the most.
  • Equipment: High-quality pistols with precise sights, single-action triggers, adjustable grips, and high-quality ammunition worthy of competition.
  • Technique: Steady aim, controlled trigger pull, and consistent follow-through are crucial.

Action Pistol (IPSC and USPSA):

  • Description: Dynamic shooting sport where participants engage multiple targets while moving through complex courses.
  • Scoring: Combines time and accuracy, with penalties for missed shots or procedural errors.
  • Equipment: Semi-automatic pistols, holsters, magazine pouches, or other firearm setups for different divisions.
  • Technique: Focus on speed, accuracy, and effective target transitions.

3-Gun (Multi-Gun):

  • Description: Shooters use a combination of handguns, rifles, and shotguns to shoot a variety of targets and obstacles.
  • Scoring: Typically a mix of time and accuracy with penalties for misses and procedural errors.
  • Equipment: Handgun, rifle, shotgun, holsters, slings, and shell caddies.
  • Technique: Efficiently transitioning between firearms and adapting to different shooting positions.

Precision Rifle Shooting (PRS and F-Class):

  • Description: Long-range shooting disciplines using highly accurate rifles to shoot targets at extended distances.
  • Scoring: Typically points awarded based on shot placement within target areas, often at distances exceeding 1,000 yards.
  • Equipment: High-precision rifles with scopes, bipods, and rear supports.
  • Technique: Focus on ballistic knowledge, wind estimation, and precise trigger control.

Skeet and Trap Shooting:

  • Description: Clay target shooting sports where participants use shotguns to break moving clay pigeons.
  • Scoring: Based on the number of targets broken out of a set number of attempts.
  • Equipment: Shotguns, clay targets, and throwers.
  • Technique: Proper stance, follow-through, and understanding the flight paths of clay targets.

Sporting Clays:

  • Description: Similar to skeet and trap but with a more diverse range of target presentations and layouts.
  • Scoring: Scored based on the number of successfully broken targets.
  • Equipment: Shotgun, clay targets, and diverse equipment for target presentation.
  • Technique: Adaptability and quick target acquisition for varied and challenging target presentations.

Benchrest Shooting (BR and F-Class Benchrest):

  • Description: Shooters fire from a fixed bench for the highest accuracy at extreme distances.
  • Scoring: Targets have small scoring rings, and competitors aim for minimal group sizes.
  • Equipment: Highly specialized rifles with heavy barrels, precision optics, and benchrest accessories.
  • Technique: Concentration on minimizing shooter-caused variables for precision.

Cowboy Action Shooting:

  • Description: A sport that emulates the Old West, where participants use single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and shotguns to shoot targets in themed scenarios.
  • Scoring: Combines time and accuracy, with penalties for misses and procedural errors.
  • Equipment: Old-style firearms, period-appropriate attire, and holsters.
  • Technique: Focus on quick draws, efficient reloads, and maintaining character.

Before participating in any competitive shooting discipline, research the specific rules and regulations, acquire the necessary safety equipment, and receive proper training. And always prioritize safety and responsible firearm handling. Competing in these disciplines can be highly rewarding and challenging, offering opportunities for personal growth and skill development in a safe and enjoyable environment. Most competitive shooters tend to lean towards a preference of personally reloading their own ammunition for precision and accuracy.  Powder Valley is the ultimate reloading supply store for your competitive shooting needs.

A Guide to Selecting Home Defense Ammunition: Making Informed Choices for Safety

Choosing the right ammunition for home defense is critical to keeping yourself and loved ones safe while minimizing the risk to innocent bystanders. Here are some steps to help you make the best choice:

  1. Know Your Local Laws: Before purchasing any ammunition or firearms, make sure you’re familiar with ammunition and self-defense laws and regulations in your area. Laws can vary widely by country, state, and even city, so it’s important to do your research.
  2. Select a Suitable Firearm: The best ammo will depend on the type of firearm you choose for self defense. Common choices for home defense include handguns, shotguns, and sometimes rifles. Ensure your firearm is reliable and easy to use and stay on top of regular maintenance.
  3. Consider Caliber and Gauge: The caliber or gauge of ammunition you choose should match your firearm. Common calibers for handguns include 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. For shotguns, 12-gauge and 20-gauge are common choices. Select a caliber or gauge you can handle comfortably and accurately.
  4. Choose Ammunition Type: Different types of ammunition are designed for different purposes. For home defense, you generally want ammunition that provides effective stopping power while minimizing over-penetration (the bullet passing through walls and potentially harming innocent people nearby). Hollow point bullets can be a great choice for handguns because they expand on impact, reducing the risk of over-penetration. For shotguns, buckshot or specialty home defense shotshell rounds are good options.
  5. Test Ammunition: Test your ammunition with your firearm to ensure it functions reliably and accurately. Go to a shooting range and practice with the ammunition you plan to use for self-defense. This will help you become familiar with how your firearm handles that particular ammo.
  6. Consider Recoil: Recoil can impact your accuracy and follow-up shots. Choose ammunition you can control comfortably, especially if you’re not an experienced shooter. High-recoil loads can be challenging to handle effectively.
  7. Seek Professional Advice: If you’re uncertain about which ammunition to choose, consult a knowledgeable firearms instructor or self-defense expert. They can provide guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances. In another helpful article, we discuss some of the most popular ammunition choices for self-defense.
  8. Stock Up Responsibly: While it’s important to have enough ammunition for self-defense, make sure you store it securely and responsibly, following local regulations. Keep it out of reach of children and unauthorized individuals.
  9. Regularly Inspect and Replace: Ammunition can degrade over time, so periodically inspect your home defense ammunition for signs of damage or corrosion. Replace old ammunition so you know your supply is reliable.

Remember that your primary goal in a home defense situation should be to protect yourself and your loved ones while minimizing the risk to others. Engage in proper firearm safety training and consider other non-lethal options such as alarm systems, security doors, and self-defense courses to complement your overall home defense strategy.

Competitive Shooting’s Impact on Ammunition Advancements

Competitive Shooting and the Demand for High-Performing Ammunition

Competitive shooting competitions have played a significant role in driving improvements in ammunition technology. These competitions provide a platform for shooters to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of accuracy, consistency, and performance. As a result, the demand for better ammunition has grown, leading to several key advancements:

  1. Accuracy: Competitive shooters demand extreme levels of accuracy. To meet these demands, ammunition manufacturers have invested in precision engineering and quality control. They develop specialized loads with consistent powder charges, bullet weights, and bullet designs to maximize accuracy.
  2. Consistency: Consistency is crucial in competitive shooting. Ammunition must perform predictably from shot to shot. This has led to advancements in quality control processes and the use of high-precision machinery to create more consistent rounds. These improvements benefit not only competitive shooters but also hunters and law enforcement agencies.
  3. Reduced Recoil: Reducing recoil is important for fast follow-up shots and maintaining accuracy. Ammunition manufacturers have developed low-recoil loads that still deliver excellent performance. This technology can benefit not only competitive shooters but also those who use firearms for self-defense or in tactical situations.
  4. Custom Loads: Competitive shooters often work with ammunition manufacturers to develop custom loads tailored to their specific needs. These loads can be optimized for a particular firearm and shooting style, leading to better performance and scores.
  5. Specialized Ammunition: Some competitive shooting disciplines, such as long-range precision shooting or three-gun competitions, have specific ammunition requirements. Manufacturers have responded by creating specialized ammunition optimized for these events, including long-range cartridges with improved ballistic coefficients and shotgun loads designed for quick reloading.
  6. Improved Bullets: Bullet technology has advanced significantly, with designs that enhance accuracy, reduce drag, and improve terminal ballistics. Competitive shooting has driven these developments, particularly in the field of long-range precision shooting and practical shooting sports.  As a result of these advancements, high-quality bullets are now readily available for ammunition or for competitive shooters who prefer reloading their own ammo.
  7. Reduced Fouling: Fouling buildup in firearms can affect accuracy. Ammunition manufacturers have developed cleaner-burning propellants and coatings to reduce fouling, ensuring that firearms remain accurate over the course of a competition.
  8. Safety: Competitive shooting events often have strict safety requirements. This has led to innovations in ammunition design to reduce the risk of misfires, hangfires, and other safety concerns.
  9. Environmental Considerations: Competitive shooting has also played a role in pushing for environmentally friendly ammunition options. Manufacturers have developed lead-free ammunition to meet both regulatory requirements and environmental concerns.
  10. Cost Reduction: As competitive shooters often go through large quantities of ammunition, there has been a push for more affordable yet high-quality ammunition options. This has driven innovation in manufacturing processes to reduce costs while maintaining performance.

In summary, competitive shooting competitions have been a driving force behind innovations in ammunition technology and the reloading industry. The demand for improved accuracy, consistency, and performance in these events has led to advancements that benefit not only competitive shooters but also hunters, law enforcement, and recreational shooters.

History of Lehigh Defense 

Lehigh Defense has established a unique niche in the firearms industry with its groundbreaking innovations in ammunition design. Since its inception, the company has been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge Lehigh bullets that exceed performance expectations. This article dives into the fascinating history of Lehigh Defense. 

The Formative Years of Lehigh Defense 

Lehigh Defense’s story began over two decades ago with the production of Swiss CNC machine Match Solid Bullets for competition use. Since then, the company’s unwavering desire to transform the firearms and ammunition industry has propelled them on their path of innovation and excellence. 

Pete Vogel and Mike Cyrus joined Dave Fricke at Lehigh Design in 2004 to use cutting-edge technology to design and manufacture solid brass and copper bullets, including reloading bullets

Dissatisfied with the outdated products on the market at the time, Lehigh Defense delved into uncharted territory with extensive research and rigorous testing to develop a high-performance bullet that would shatter world records and offer unparalleled reliability. 

Lehigh’s Emergence as a Leading Force 

However, the company did not stop there. They shifted their focus to hunting ammunition and its terminal performance, inventing the first Controlled Fracturing bullet for the Muzzleloader industry. What began as a Knight Rifle exclusive has since grown into a full line of Controlled Fracture ammunition. 

The success of the Controlled Fracturing bullet catapulted Lehigh Defense into the spotlight, and the company’s reputation for precision and dependability grew. 

In January 2022, Lehigh Defense joined the group of Wilson-owned firearms and hunting companies that included Chip McCormich Custom, Circle WC Ranch, Khumba Bush Camp, Scattergun Technologies, Wilson Custom Ammunition, and Wilson Combat.  

Lehigh Defense currently has two manufacturing plants: one in South Dakota and one in Pennsylvania. A new facility in northeast Texas is expected to increase production capacity even further. 

Diversification of Lehigh’s Expertise 

As their reputation grew, Lehigh Defense continued to experiment with and improve their ammunition designs. They developed a Subsonic bullet that could match or even outperform the terminal performance of high-velocity bullets. 

Furthermore, Lehigh Defense expanded its product line to include personal defense ammunition with both terminal and barrier performance, capitalizing on the predictability and effectiveness of Controlled Fracture technology. Law enforcement and military personnel have come to trust this revolutionary ammunition because of its exceptional bystander safety. 

The Xtreme Penetrator bullet was released in the spring of 2014 after three years of development. The advantages of solid copper construction were combined with a unique nose geometry in this innovative design, resulting in exceptional penetration and controlled expansion. The Xtreme Penetrator quickly became a popular choice for self-defense applications due to its ability to penetrate through barriers. 

Lehigh’s Commitment to Innovation 

Lehigh Defense has remained committed to its mission of transforming the industry throughout its history. A dedicated team of engineers, researchers, and designers is constantly pushing the envelope of what is conceivable in their relentless pursuit of novel approaches and ground-breaking technologies that will improve the performance of firearms and ammunition. 

To ensure that its products meet the changing needs of shooters worldwide, the company intends to continue challenging conventional norms, investing in cutting-edge research and development, and collaborating with industry leaders. 

Shaping the Future 

Powder Valley is extremely proud of Lehigh Defense’s significant contributions to the advancement of the ammunition industry, and we are confident that the future holds limitless possibilities. Lehigh Defense is poised to continue shaping the industry with its dedicated commitment to innovation, dependability, and superior performance. 

The company’s innovative designs, including the Controlled Fracturing and Xtreme Penetrator bullets, are evidence of its commitment to revolutionizing the industry. These innovative bullets show they’re able to produce ammunition with exceptional terminal ballistics, nimble precision, and unwavering dependability. As the firearms market continues to evolve, their industry recognition, valuable partnerships, and unwavering pursuit of innovation position them for continued success. 

Get Lehigh Bullets from Powder Valley Today 

Lehigh Defense is a dependable source of bullets that pushes the boundaries of possibility for shooters and firearms enthusiasts. Put it to the test! Shop Lehigh bullets from Powder Valley today. 

History of RCBS 

For 80 years, RCBS has been a leading provider of reloading equipment. From die and shell holders to bullet casting, to case processing, RCBS manufactures everything a reloading enthusiast needs to keep their ammunition stocked.  

In celebration of the company’s 80th anniversary this year, we’re going to take a look at RCBS’s remarkable history, from its humble beginnings swaging .22 rimfire cartridges to becoming the leading manufacturer of reloading equipment. 

Varmint Hunting and Bullet Swaging 

The story of RCBS begins in the year 1943, in Oroville, California, with Fred T. Huntington. Huntington was a prolific hunter but had a hard time finding high-quality bullets suitable for hunting varmints, particularly .22 rimfire cartridges.  

Remember, by 1943 World War 2 was in full swing, and every factory available had to produce ammunition for the war effort. In total, U.S. factories produced an estimated 41.4 billion rounds during the war. However, this colossal demand left civilian shooters with what little was left over.  

Huntington, however, discovered a solution. When he read about using a die to swage .22 rimfire cartridges to form jackets for bullets, he started making his own dies in one of the backrooms of his father’s laundromat.  

Huntington’s dies became popular enough among other hunters and shooters that by 1948 he relocated to a small shop, and then a larger building in 1954. By 1958, RCBS had expanded its operations to encompass a 7,500-square-foot factory, one that now covers 50,000 square feet.  

While RCBS has outgrown the laundromat, it remains located in Oroville, California, staying close to its roots as a reloading equipment manufacturer. 

Why the name RCBS? 

The name RCBS can be somewhat confusing for those trying to figure out what it stands for.  

In truth, the name is a reference to Huntington’s original .22 swage dies. Those dies were meant to make jacketed bullets for shooting rock chucks, also known as yellow-bellied marmots, a species of small mammals found in the western United States.  

Huntington named his product the Rock Chuck Bullet Swage, or RCBS. RCBS would later become the company’s name, in recognition of the creation that started it all.  

Other Innovations 

Huntington didn’t stop with just bullet swaging dies. One of his greatest innovations was the very first removable shell holder for reloading presses. Up until his creation, shell holders were built into the ram of the reloading press. This meant that if you wanted to switch out the shell holder to reload a different caliber, the entire ram had to be switched— a slow, complicated process. 

Huntington’s invention made it far easier for a reloader with different calibers of ammunition to quickly resupply, without having to take apart their press every time they wanted to switch.  

Acquisitions and Growth 

In July of 1976, RCBS was acquired by Omark Industries and became part of its Sporting Equipment Division. Later, in 1985, Omark was purchased by Blount, Inc, a tools producer focused on construction and manufacturing.  

In 2001, Alliant Techsystems, an aerospace, defense, and sporting goods company purchased RCBS, only to later create a separate division known as Vista Outdoor for its sporting goods.  

Even today, RCBS remains close to its roots by remaining in Oroville, California, and the Huntington Sportsman’s Store, run by Fred’s son, Fred Jr., remains right next door to RCBS’s factory.  
Through it all, RCBS has remained committed to its customers as the leading manufacturer of ammunition reloading equipment. High-quality die and shell holders, presses, and case processing kits are just some of the high-quality products the company offers. RCBS has even expanded into items like bullet molds, for shooters that want to try their hand at crafting their own bullets from scratch.  

Where to Purchase RCBS Equipment 

Powder Valley is America’s #1 supplier for reloading supplies, from gunpowder to casings, to reloading presses. We offer a full range of RCBS equipment, including presses, shell holders, decapping pins, and die sets. Start shopping or contact us today for more information.  

Ammo Storage Ideas

Every gun owner wants to avoid the sunk cost of their ammo going bad because of humidity or other environmental factors. In addition, comprised ammunition can cause serious damage to the weapon or even the shooter. So, how can you preserve your ammo and keep it organized for reloading efficiency?

Here are some of the best ideas for how to store your ammunition.

Why Is Ammo Storage Important?

Safety, Security, and Preservation – in that order. Those are the key considerations for storing ammo and firearms. It’s important to note that some state and local laws may require ammo and firearms to be stored separately. Be sure to check your local laws.

Keep these points in mind when you’re considering how to store your ammo:

  • Ammo should be stored separately from firearms, so they can only be accessed by those with the authority to do so.
  • Storing ammo and firearms separately may reduce the risk of children or other family members loading and improperly using a firearm.
  • Chemically reactive primer and propellant need to be stored in certain conditions to keep them from getting ruined.
  • Storing ammo correctly extends its shelf life by preventing it from expiring or going bad.
  • Ammo is expensive. You save money by keeping your ammo preserved.

Proven Tips for Ammo Preservation

Let’s review some of the most common and useful practices for storing ammunition.


Ammo should be kept in a cool, dry, dark climate. Modern ammo will be minimally affected by heat but could be compromised by rapid changes in climate—like humidity levels. Humidity is the enemy and can cause corrosion.

A room temperature environment that experiences few temperature fluctuations, like a basement or den, is ideal for storage because it is protected from extreme heat or cold and doesn’t experience humidity.

Any of these weather conditions can eventually cause the primer or propellant in the ammunition to expire or go bad, leading to misfires and jams later down the line. If moisture is a consistent concern, you can place desiccant packs nearby or use a dehumidifier to draw that moisture away.


Ammo should be stored so that it is readily identifiable — many calibers of ammunition look similar and could easily be mistaken and loaded into the wrong firearm if they are not properly identified.

Labeled ammo cans can serve this purpose. Powder Valley offers an array of aftermarket ammo boxes designed for different cartridge types. These utility storage boxes are built for toughness and long-term durability, protecting your ammo from water damage, sunlight, dust, and theft.

It’s also helpful to sort your ammunition by date of purchase so that when you go out shooting, you make sure to use your older rounds first.


As noted above, like your guns firearms, your ammunition should always be securely stored to prevent access from unauthorized persons. Many gun safes, for instance, have separate compartments for ammunition storage.

You can increase your firearms security with ammo and gun lock boxes and keypad vaults

from Powder Valley.

Choose Powder Valley for Your Ammo Reloading Products

When it comes to reloading and ammo, Powder Valley has everything you need for handgun and rifle ammunition in one convenient online location. When you shop ammunition with us, you can trust that your ammo comes from trusted manufacturers and is made to meet the highest standards and expectations. Start shopping today or contact us for more information.

History of Nosler

Nosler, founded in 1948 by John Amos Nosler, has established itself as an impressive, respected name among gun owners. Nosler ammunition, bullets, and brass, are considered among the best in the industry, with a reputation for excellence. This has much to do with founder John Amos Nosler’s love of the sport, which directly led to the groundbreaking innovation that continues to define the company’s products to this day.

Nosler’s Product Range

In addition to bullets, ammunition, and brass, Nosler also manufactures firearms and gun accessories, including suppressors. The company offers a comprehensive range of products designed to meet the diverse needs of gun enthusiasts. From precision bullets to reliable ammunition, Nosler covers all aspects of the shooting experience.

When you purchase a Nosler product, you’re taking part in a rich tradition that began with frustration during a hunting trip.

Hunting Gone Wrong

The story of Nosler traces back to a hunting trip in 1946 when John Amos Nosler faced challenges in effectively taking down large moose in British Columbia. The bullets he used proved inadequate in penetrating vital organs or expanding properly upon impact.

Some bullets were effective at penetrating the flesh of the animal but had issues expanding once inside. Some bullets would fracture into smaller pieces, leaving the animal wounded but still alive.

Unsatisfied with the existing options, Nosler embarked on a mission to develop a solution to these issues.

A Mission to Create a Better Bullet

In 1948, Nosler introduced the Partition® bullet, which became a turning point in the company’s history. The Partition® bullet featured a dual-core design, ensuring reliable expansion while maintaining projectile integrity for successful penetration. This breakthrough led to commercial success, establishing Nosler as a trusted provider of high-performance bullets.

Over the years, Nosler has continued to innovate in bullet designs, introducing popular options such as AccuBond, AccuBond Long Range, Ballistic Tip, Varmageddon, and RDF bullets. The company began publishing reloading manuals in 1976 to assist sportsmen in optimizing their loads. Nowadays, alongside bullets and reloading manuals, Nosler sells an assortment of ammunition, components, firearms, and accessories.

Establishing Excellence and Setting Standards

With a focus on quality and performance, Nosler has become synonymous with precision and effectiveness in the shooting community. In 2021, Nosler received the notable American Hunter’s Golden Bullseye Award, which decreed that the company’s Trophy Grade Ammunition was the “Ammunition of the Year. “

How Nosler Hunting Ammunition Rises Above Other Brands

Like all dedicated manufacturers, Nosler insists on using the finest materials and supplies when creating its ammunition. This insistence on quality is a large part of the reason why Nosler ammunition is lauded for accuracy and performance again and again.

The Partition® bullet, in particular, offers a uniquely impressive design.

  • The bullet gets its name from the partition situated between the front and rear lead cores.
  • When the bullet makes contact with the target, the front core expands while the partition safeguards the rear core.
  • This design ensures a substantial wound channel combined with deep penetration, which is best when going for a quick kill via the vital organs of the animal.

It’s clear that John Nosler engineered his bullets with a true understanding of the ethical hunters’ needs.

Why Powder Valley Believes in the Nosler Name

At Powder Valley, we are hunters and shooters, just like you. We share your values and culture. That’s why you can trust that we stock the finest ammunition and reloading components available—Nosler sets the standard for high quality and performance.

Powder Valley is your home for reloading components and equipment, including brass, bullets, powder, primers, and more, at the best possible price. We invite you to shop now or contact our team today to learn more about the products we carry and our commitment to quality and customer service.

A Guide to Historical Black Powder Weapons

As a gun enthusiast, you’re probably fascinated by historical weapons and how they were used. You may even have a few vintage or antique firearms in your current collection, in which case you’re already very familiar with black powder.

A precursor to the modern gun powder still in use today, black powder played a crucial role in world history and the firearms used to shape it. This guide explains the historical significance of these weapons, and where black powder stands today.

Understanding Black Powder

First developed by alchemists in 9th century China, black powder traditionally consists of potassium nitrate (also known as saltpeter), charcoal, and sulfur. When these substances are combined together in the correct manner, they create a chemical reaction that helps propel objects forward.

While the modern gun powder recipe is somewhat similar, adjustments have been made to limit the amount of smoke generated. Smokeless gun powder is also more refined, which limits how much residue it leaves behind on firearms.  

Types of Black Powder Weapons Throughout History

Muzzle-loading weapons, including muskets, are a famous example of blackpowder firearms. The first recorded instance of the word “musket” occurred in the late 15th century, and they remained a popular weapon until breechloading rifles were introduced in the 1800s. Flintlock rifles were extremely popular muzzle-loaders, and they were also available in musket and pistol form.

While slightly less common, black powder revolvers are another type of historical weapon. In the late 1800s, a new Army snub nose revolver was introduced, complete with a brass loading tool. Available in .36 or .44 caliber, black powder revolvers are usually reserved for cowboy action shooting these days.

The Reloading Industry in Modern Times

While not as common as in the past, black powder is still in use today. In addition to black powder’s use within the military and for the manufacture of fireworks, it is also used by reloaders in historical battle re-enactments and other applications where muzzleloading is required.

Reloading your own ammunition offers a number of benefits when compared to factory-created brands, particularly for the experienced gun owner.

Factory ammo is meant to be one-size-fits-all in terms of power. With reloading, you can tweak the power generated by the ammunition to ensure it meets your specific needs. You’ll also have greater control over the ingredients that go into your ammunition. This is crucial when you own a vintage weapon, which may not be compatible with store-bought ammo.

Reloading can also save money. If you’re a prolific hunter, you probably go through quite a bit of ammunition during the different seasons. By reloading your own ammunition, you can save lots of money on hunting supplies from year to year. You can also avoid inconvenient ammo shortages, which are becoming more of an issue.

Where to Find Quality Reloading Supplies

When it comes to essential reloading supplies, Powder Valley has everything you need in one convenient online location. We insist on carrying reloading powders and other supplies from trusted manufacturers to meet your high expectations. We also carry muzzleloading accessories to ensure your antique weapons receive the proper level of care. Start shopping or contact us today for more information.