July 24, 2023
Remington has thrown its hat into the long-range hunting ring with the unveiling of its new Premier Long-Range ammunition. Of course, this area of the firearms community has received a lot of interest and new products in the past few years, so my first thought was, “Is there anything about this ammunition that makes it special?” Yes. This ammunition has a bonded very low drag (VLD) bullet that doesn’t exhibit the accuracy issues that can come with other bonded bullets. If a rifleman is interested in accurate long-range hunting ammunition featuring bonded bullets, Premier Long Range was developed for you.
The bullets Remington loads in its Premier Long-Range line are Speer’s Impact. These bullets have previously only been offered to reloaders where they have a reputation for being both accurate and offering retained weight once recovered from animals. Speer designed these bullets from the ground up for long-range shooting, so they have aggressively pointed noses (ogives) and a boat-tail. Notably, Speer borrowed the Slipstream tip from Federal to complete its assembly of the Impact projectiles.
Polymer-tipped bullets are my personal preference for hunting ammunition because they provide consistent terminal performance. When a polymer-tipped bullet impacts an animal, the tip gets pushed down inside the bullet to kickstart expansion. If you get the chance to look at bullets fired into ballistic gelatin, you’d notice that polymer-tipped bullets only penetrate 2 to 3 inches before upsetting and expanding. Bullets lacking a polymer tip usually penetrate 6 to 8 inches before expanding when fired at high velocity into gel. However, as velocity decreases, bullets without a polymer tip can penetrate much further before expanding. If the impact velocity is low enough, these bullets won’t expand at all. When that happens in the field, it can be like stabbing the animal with an ice pick. Sure, it could eventually prove to be lethal, but there’s also a good chance that the animal is going to get away.
The Slipstream tip is made from a high-temperature-resistant polymer, so it won’t deform in flight and generate an inconsistent ballistic coefficient (BC). There’s a lot of heat and pressure on the bullet’s nose when traveling at 1,800-plus feet per second (fps), and ensuring that the polymer tip won’t melt or deform came to everyone’s attention a few years back. This was due to the advanced radar systems in use with most bullet manufacturers.
The Slipstream tip has a melting point of 434 degrees, so there is no way it’ll deform when fired out of a rifle. Even at rifle velocities, there’s not enough friction in air to generate that kind of heat.
Perhaps the most unique feature about Speer Impact bullets is the bonded copper jacket. Unlike just about every other bonded bullet, Impact bullet jackets are plated to the lead core rather than glued. I toured the Speer bullet plant in Lewiston, Idaho, and saw the big vats where the plating occurs. The advantage plating offers versus the gluing process is increased uniformity in jacket/bonding agent thickness. Maintaining a consistent jacket around the lead core is essential for good accuracy because any variations in thickness make the bullet fly like an out-of-balance tire. A pocket of bonding agent between the core and jacket throws the bullet out of balance and, when fired and spun at 275,000 revolutions per minute (rpm), that bullet isn’t going to land in the same spot as the others.
One aspect of the plating process is that it requires a softer lead core than what’s found on other bullets. This further aids expansion at longer shooting distances. When combining the polymer tip with the softer-than-normal lead core and plated jacket, Impact bullets offer good terminal effects at velocities as low as 1,800 fps.
The Complete Package
While the Speer Impact bullet was a great place to start, turning it into loaded ammunition takes some work. I spoke with Jon Langefelt, Remington’s head of engineering, research and development, about Premier Long Range and asked why they felt this product was needed.
“We wanted to have ammunition that was competitive in the long-range hunting market,” Langefelt said. “Using the Speer Impact bullet gave us the long-range terminal performance we wanted, then we loaded it to the same parameters as our match ammunition. It had to have the same low standard deviation (SD) for velocity and had to meet our accuracy requirements.”
That process took some time and a lot of research. Remington tested various powders, primers and seating depths to get the best and most consistent performance. Remington defined that performance through accuracy and velocity standard deviation (SD). My testing of the .300 Winchester Magnum load in Nosler’s new Model 21 chassis rifle showed that Remington did fine work.
My best three-shot group at 100 yards yielded a group size of .42 inch. The muzzle velocity measured 2,871 fps with an extreme spread (ES) for five shots of 22 fps and an SD of 9.6. From an accuracy perspective, that’s an excellent group size for any type of bullet. However, that’s almost unheard of for a bonded bullet. Likewise, the velocity numbers also looked really good. It’s not uncommon to see extreme spreads and SDs that are twice as large on factory-loaded ammunition.
The BC that Speer lists for the 190-grain Impact bullet is .596 (G7). I didn’t have a lot of ammunition to test, but I think that number might be a shade high. Part of the preparation for taking this ammunition on an elk hunt was truing the bullet’s actual trajectory to the calculator’s output. There are a few things that influence the bullet’s BC including the bore’s rifling, the powder in the case and the muzzle device used on the rifle. Shooting the 190-grain Premier Long-Range ammunition out of the Nosler Model 21 with the new Silencer Central backcountry Banish attached, I calculated an actual BC of .57 (G7). Given the performance that this ammunition offers, that’s an excellent number. This information makes it one of my top picks for a long-range hunt, especially after factoring the accuracy it displayed.
I took this new ammunition on an elk hunt in Texas. Texas is not the first place I think of when elk come to mind, so I was surprised to find myself in the mountains at 5,500 feet above sea level in the western part of the state. High West Outfitter guided the hunt and did an excellent job on a large tract of private un-fenced land. It took a couple days of cat-and-mouse, but I eventually took a nice bull from 468 yards. At that elevation and under those conditions, the 190-grain bullet connected with the bull at 2,505 fps. It was a round through the high shoulder.
Like most hunts, we got the elk at last light and couldn’t spend a lot of time looking for the bullet. There was no exit and only few fragments in the chest cavity. We did recover one petal of the jacket that peeled back from the bullet’s nose and dropped off the core. It was excellent performance from the new ammunition. I also watched Remington’s Joel Hodgdon take a bull from about 490 yards with similar performance. This experience showed me the .300 Win. Mag. projectile hit, expanded rapidly, crushed the internals. Following Hodgdon’s Texas hunt, his bullet was found lodged on the far side of his large animal. Perfect.
Remington’s new Premier Long-Range line offers a tipped and bonded VLD bullet that is more accurate than most bonded bullets. Unlike a tipped unbonded bullet, the Impact stands a better chance of not fragmenting completely if it encounters a heavy bone, or if the animal hunted is only 50 yards from the muzzle. Many long-range bullets have thin jackets that can shed the core if the impact velocity is too high, but the plating process of the Impact bullet means that jacket/core separation is less likely to happen. The box may say “Long Range” — and it’s certainly good for that — but if you have to take a close shot Premier Long Range can handle that, too.
Extra: Shoot Quietly
Silencer Central has a new suppressor for hunters: The Banish Backcountry. I used one on this hunt and can’t speak highly enough of its performance and capabilities. For those who don’t know, Silencer Central sells suppressors and can mail them directly to your house once the paperwork makes its way through the government’s system. If you live in a state that permits suppressors, you can order from home and wait until it shows up months later.
The Banish Backcountry is only 51/2 inches long and weighs 7.8 ounces. Those numbers suggest a tiny suppressor that should be loud, but I was never uncomfortable shooting with the suppressor and no other ear protection. I was surprised by how quiet the rifle was with the Backcountry in place. Silencer Central’s website says the suppressor reduces the sound level to 137 decibels (dB), which is hearing safe — for a .300 Winchester Magnum!
It is not possible to disassemble the Backcountry, a feature for which many Silencer Central suppressors are known. I prefer centerfire cans that are welded together like this one because they tend to be more durable. The Backcountry uses a threaded rear cap with the 1.375x24 universal pattern common today. It comes with a direct-thread adaptor, which can be changed to any mounting system that uses this universal pattern.
Enjoy articles like this?
Subscribe to the magazine.
Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine