Most handgun hunters have traditionally opted for stout revolvers chambered in 44 Rem. Magnum, 41 Rem. Magnum, .357 Magnum and the like. There have been few semiautomatic handgun options for hunters. That’s changing with ammunition from Federal Premium, the new Vital-ShokTM Trophy Bonded Jacketed Soft Point in 10mm Auto. The new round from Federal Premium gives hunters who have always wanted to use a semiautomatic handgun a serious big-game option.
As a cartridge, the 10mm Auto has experienced an unusual ride. When it was first developed, it was envisioned as a high-power round for law enforcement. And it was built for it thanks to high-velocity loadings that delivered more foot-pounds of energy than most personal-defense and law-enforcement cartridges available at the time. But when the FBI deemed the recoil too heavy for most of its agents, ammunition manufacturers strayed from the original plan, watering down most 10mm Auto offerings to produce ballistics almost identical to the 40 S&W.
The new Vital-Shok load, however, is a full-power cartridge that takes complete advantage of the caliber’s true capability and offers the muscle needed for deer, bears and hogs, as well as for personal protection. Its 180-grain bullet leaves the muzzle at 1,275 fps (compared to the usual 1,030 fps) with 650 foot-pounds of energy—an increase of more than 50 percent from typical commercial loads. This performance—it falls roughly between the .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum—is impressive, yet it’s still probably selling the load short, because these numbers were generated through testing with a 5-inch barrel. Handgun hunters using 6-inch barrels should experience better velocity and energy in real-world conditions.
The new Vital-Shok load’s Trophy Bonded Jacketed Soft Point bullet design makes the cartridge even more effective. Based on Federal Premium’s proven Trophy Bonded Bear Claw rifle bullet, its heavy jacket features a formed inner profile that controls expansion to ensure deep penetration, consistent expansion and high weight retention. Combined with the full-power ballistics, the new round delivers knockdown power that’s never been seen in 10mm Auto loads. It’s the ideal choice for hunters looking to put a semiautomatic commercial handgun to work in the field.