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Black Hills Ammunition Loads Barnes Varmint Grenade Bullets

July 26, 2012
Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

In June 2008, I wrote an article about the new Varmint Grenade bullet from Barnes. This is an excellent bullet for the varmint hunter who reloads, but there are many hunters who don't. For those hunters, the 36 gr. Varmint Grenade is factory loaded in .223 Remington exclusively by Black Hills Ammunition in Rapid City, South Dakota. Black Hills just started loading the Varmint Grenade bullet last year making it available in both their new ammo (red box) and remanufactured ammo (blue box). The advertised velocity of 3750 fps is comparable with various reloading specs available from Barnes.

I had the opportunity to shoot the Black Hills .223 Varmint Grenade ammunition (new) in two different bolt action rifles, the new Savage Model 25 and a Savage 111FP. With assistance of several others, the ammo was also tested in several other bolt action rifles and semi-auto rifles. In comparison with other .223 factory loads, the Black Hills .223 Varmint Grenade is very accurate and top quality ammunition.

The technician at Black Hills did advise that this cartridge may not cycle the action in semi-auto rifles with a 16" barrel due to the short barrel, light bullet and high velocity. For longer barreled semi-auto rifles, it cycles without any problem.

Article Photos

Black Hills Varmint Grenade

Black Hills packages the .223 Varmint Grenade ammunition (new) in a box of 50. The typical price is around $42-$46, or the equivalent of a box of 20 selling in the $16-$18 range. This is a comparable price with quality ammunition from other manufacturers. Black Hills also has the .223 Varmint Grenade available in their remanufactured (blue box) ammunition.

For varmint hunters who don't reload, Black Hills is producing an excellent product with the Barnes Varmint Grenade bullet for the .223 Remington. For military style competitive shooting, Black Hills offers a good selection of .223 ammunition with heavier projectiles with better ballistic coefficients and a proven match history.

If you have never used Black Hills ammunition in your .223, this is definitely a cartridge you should try. However, not everyone uses a .223 for varmint hunting. Black Hills is also loading the 36 grain Varmint Grenade in their .22-250 Black Hills Gold Ammunition. Velocity is advertised at 4250 fps.

For more info, check out their web site at:


Black Hills Ammunition... An American Success Story

Jeff and Kristi Hoffman started twenty-five years ago in a small rented building making remanufactured ammunition for local police and a few dealers. Jeff was a young police officer at the time and had the full support of his wife in this business venture. He also had ballistic knowledge and a love of the shooting sports imparted by his grandfather. Their parents backed them by sharing business experience, by being a model of what is possible with hard work and even took a risk financially to guarantee a small loan to get started.

Today, Black Hills Ammunition is manufacturing and supplying thousands of loyal dealers across the country. They produce new ammunition for all four branches of the U.S. Military, including all current contracts for 5.56 match ammunition. They also supply ammunition to most the U.S. firearms manufacturers and many custom gun makers. Plus, law enforcement agencies nationwide use their ammunition for duty and training.

For Jeff and Kristi, their recipe for success is to make ammunition the only way they know how, the best it can be, and further, to treat their customers fairly and provide outstanding personal service. This simple formula has worked for them.

In writing the product review for their ammunition with the Barnes Varmint Grenade bullets, I was very impressed with all of the staff at Black Hills. They were very professional and extremely helpful with information, support and answers to questions. Black Hills Ammunition rates an A+.

First Published August 2006



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