Loaded with either a 150 or 165 grain SST bullet, this is nearly a 308 Win look-alike. The paperwork says its powder capacity is less than the 308, but claimed velocities are higher. No doubt they are cramming a new powder into it, changing some dimensions ("optimized case geometry") and calling it a new cartridge... hardly a new idea. New cartridge = sales of new rifles, and T/C is looking to sell its new bolt-action ICON rifle. I would be more likely to buy one, however, in a well-established chambering rather than a wanna-be. But then again, I have never claimed to be normal.
Claimed muzzle velocity (MV) is 3000 fps with the 150, and 2850 with the 165.
308 Marlin Express
Gee whiz, another one that looks a lot like a 308 Win! Its claim to fame is that it is a semi-rimmed cartridge designed for use in a tube-fed lever-action (Marlin's specialty), with a plastic-tipped streamlined bullet we're told is perfectly safe to use in a tube mag. This cartridge is no doubt meant to sell more rifles for Marlin, namely its tried-and-true 336, and more recent XLR models. Nothing wrong with buying a new rifle!
Like the 30 T/C, this cartridge boasts "optimized case geometry." (So if the 308 Marlin Express and the 30 T/C are both optimized for the best ballistics in a short 30-caliber cartridge, why are there two of them? Things that make you go, "Hmmm.")
The only factory load currently listed pushes a 160-grain Evolution bullet at a rated 2660 fps MV.
At least this one doesn't look like just another copycat cartridge... though with at least seventeen other cartridges in existence already bearing the 375 title, one may ask, "Why bother?" But it does sport some improvements over other 375s. This thumper's case is the same length as a 30-06, so a standard-length action can handle it, and the case is fatter than an '06, so it has a more defined shoulder to provide better headspacing than, say, the 375 Whelen.
With 270-grain ammo, 2840 fps is the claimed MV... with 300, it's 2660.
Hornady claims this one is nicknamed "The Thumper," and it looks like a wild child indeed for an AR platform. The concept of big bore ARs is a fairly new one on me, and I do like it more than the little 223 Rem. This new ammo is loaded with a 0.452" 250-grain SST bullet with flexible ballistic tip, and overall length is the same as the 223 (2.250"). No ballistics info was provided on this blonky cartridge, but it ought to knock hell out of anything it hits.
450/400 Nitro Express 3"
The nerve of Hornady, calling the dainty 450 Bushmaster a thumper, when I'm sure it's tame next to this venerable behemoth. This is actually a new take on an old cartridge, which was first introduced in 1902. Ballistics are about the same as they were back then... Jeffery claimed 2100 fps MV with a 400-grain bullet pushed by cordite powder. The new loading is rated at 2050 fps MV with 400-grain bullets, either soft point or FMJ solid.
One improvement that this new loading brings is consistent powder burn, regardless of climate. Cordite can make no such claim, and as a result reduced loadings were once available for use in extremely hot climates.
This is another oldie, originally brought out back in the early 1900s, inspired by the British 400/360 Nitro Express. Suitable bullet weights are around 270 to 286 grains, and for reloading, bullets should measure 0.365". It has enjoyed popularity for hunting African heavy game - even elephant - and should easily handle anything in North America.
The new ammo will use a 286-grain "Spire Point Recoil Proof" bullet, which Hornady says will be loaded to original factory specs. In that case, muzzle velocity may fall somewhere between 2270 and 2455 fps.
There's nothing that most of these cartridges will do any better than cartridges currently on the market, but for folks who just have to have something new, they do offer newness. Even the resurrected oldies are ancient enough to feel new again, prompting those with money burning holes in their pockets to feel all warm and fuzzy when they lay down their cash for guns with which to burn the ammo.
Not that there's anything wrong with that!
- Russ Chastain