New-Cartridge Trend Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down

posted on April 2, 2023
Trend Toward New Cartridges

The pace of new cartridge introductions from major manufacturers has increased dramatically in the past five years, and the trend shows little signs of slowing. Even this partial list of those standardized and approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) demonstrates the age of rapid development enjoyed by today's enthusiasts. 

In 2018, for example, Federal’s new .224 Valkyrie centerfire cartridge was standardized and accepted by SAAMI. The cartridge—which is based on a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22 caliber—was created specifically for the AR-15 platform. Its design, however, allows the use of heavier, more ballistically streamlined bullets for more energy than delivered by .223 Rem. The same year, Hornady rolled out the 6.5 mm PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) and its bigger brother, the .300 PRC. The name was a wise choice, as it turns out, because it gained favor with precision shooters and competitors almost overnight.

Improved performance is the recurring theme throughout this list. Whether developed for semi-automatics, bolt rifles, lever guns, pistols or single-shots, there’s a reason these firms spent thousands of dollars and manpower hours in researching and bringing these new cartridges to market. There is arguably, one exception to that trend, though.

In 2019, SAAMI standardized the 1 3/4" shotshell when Federal submitted its loads for acceptance. The “shorties,” as they’re often called, have been around for at least a decade. Despite that tenure, there had been no official maximum pressures or precise dimensions officially recognized. SAAMI, which has been in that business since 1926, took care of it that year. Also, in 2019, Winchester’s straight-wall .350 Legend cartridge was endorsed by the organization.  

In 2020, Wilson Combat’s .300 HAM’R was approved. Then that pace of new cartridges increased dramatically. The 2021 list includes the .429 DE (Desert Eagle) from Kahr, .300 Norma Mag. (Ruag Ammotech), .338 Norma Mag. (Ruag Ammotech), .277 Fury (SIG Sauer), 6.5 mm Weatherby Rebated Precision Mag. (Weatherby) and 6.8 Western (Winchester).

The next year, SAAMI approved its first composite case with True Velocity’s 6.8 mm True Velocity Composite. In 2022, the organization also standardized the 6 mm GT from Hornady and Federal’s .30 Super Carry.

We’re just beginning the third month in 2023, and SAAMI has already signed off on the .338 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum, Federal’s .360 Buckhammer and Winchester’s .400 Legend, and Hornady added a 7 mm PRC to its growing family of cartridges.

With the recent volume, odds are good a company or cartridge has been overlooked—or standardized shortly after this article appeared. Regardless, there’s no denying the industry is hard at work, giving gun owners more options than ever before.


Colt Grizzly 357 Magnum New 2024 F
Colt Grizzly 357 Magnum New 2024 F

New For 2024: Colt's Grizzly & Kodiak Revolvers

Colt's new Grizzly and Kodiak revolvers are chambered in .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum, respectively, and each features barrel porting and an unfluted cylinder.

Review: Savage Impulse Mountain Hunter

If ever there were a company comfortable breaking with convention, it’s Savage Arms of Westfield, Mass. Essentially, if a new niche is identified, a quality product satisfying that need will be created.

April Marks 57 Months Of Million-Plus Firearm Sales Figures

April 2024 marked the 57th month in a row that more than 1 million firearms purchased in the United States resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) processing a National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) check.

Legendary: Sturm, Ruger & Co. Turns 75

Started as a partnership between two young men in 1949, the firm now simply known as Ruger has achieved amazing success in the American firearm market. Today, three-quarters of a century later and counting, it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

New For 2024: Springfield Armory SA-16A2

Springfield Armory's latest addition to its AR-15 family is the SA-16A2, a faithful recreation of the original M16A2 that served as the U.S. Army's principal service rifle for decades.

The Armed Citizen® May 20, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.