Nick Latus finds he is more than impressed with the value for money semi-jacketed ammo he has on test from a long established Czech company
The company Sellier & Bellot has produced ammunition in the Czech Republic under its trademark since 1825, making it one of the oldest engineering companies not just within that country, but globally. Producing pistol and revolver ammo in calibres from 6.35 Browning up to .45 APC, and rifle ammo in calibres from .22 Hornet up to 9.3×74, Sellier & Bellot lays claim to producing one of the widest ranges of ammunition products in the world.
As the Czech Republic is a contracting state of the Brussels Convention, all the ammunition produced there for the civilian market is designed and tested under the standards of the Permanent International Commission for Firearms Testing (CIP). It is only once it has passed this certification that the ammunition is released onto the market, after which it is still subject to regular testing to ensure conformity with the requirements of CIP. This testing is performed by the Czech proof house for firearms and ammunition.
In 2009 Sellier & Bellot reached a milestone when the Brazilian company Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos S.A, also known by the name of Magtech, became its owner. Along with another group member, the German company MEN, it has taken Sellier into a more competitive position and made it one of the largest ammunition producers in the world.
For the hunter, Sellier uses tried-and-tested expanding bullet heads from well known manufacturers including Nosler, Barnes and Sierra. Along with non-corrosive boxer primers and clean burning powders, this allows it to produce accurate rounds of ammunition consistently.
York Guns, the UK importer, kindly sent me through a sample of rounds in .30-06 calibre. Each box, which contains the customary 20 rounds, is of strong construction with clear graphics showing the calibre of its contents and bullet type and weight. Opening the box reveals a sturdy cardboard inner, which separates the rounds. This may not be as classy as some other well known manufacturers, who supply rigid plastic carriers, but the packaging is more than adequate, and most hunters care little about such nuances. It’s what the round does out hunting that is of real interest to the stalker, and any perceived negativity of cardboard inners is irrelevant once the ammunition is transferred to bullet pouches for use out in the field.
Checking each round visually, I could find no defects. The brass was consistently clean with no dents, and each primer was seated neatly within its pocket. The bullet tips of my test sample were of 180 grain weight and what Sellier and Bellot call SPCE. This is a semi jacketed bullet with a cut-through edge creating a cleaner entry channel. With this design, the amount of expansion depends upon the target resistance. Therefore it expands to a lesser extent on lighter-skinned game, but it is certainly suitable for all cloven-hoofed game hunting. Measuring a sample of rounds from random boxes using a comparator on my micrometer, I found that COL accuracy was very good at + or – 2 thou, which for competitively priced ammunition is excellent.
They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so using my Sauer 202 as a test rifle I headed down to my range to see what the ammunition could really do. I know that my rifle can shoot ½MOA with my 180-grain homeloads, so it was going to be interesting to see how this factory ammo compared.
With the target board set at 100 metres, I loaded three rounds and made safe. Shouldering the rifle, I took aim and touched off the trigger. My rifle is known to be a bit punchy as it is a lightweight model and I don’t use a moderator, but the recoil from this ammunition was more than acceptable. Surprisingly, the sight picture remained clear with all three shots.
Through the scope I could see the resulting group was good, and upon measuring it proved to be 16mm c/c – so well under 1MOA. I repeated the test, and this time I measured their speed through the chronograph. The results were two rounds the same at 2,555fps and one round at 2,550fps. Consistency figures this close are usually only found with home-loaded ammunition, so this was remarkable. Taking an average of these speeds showed that these rounds were producing just over 2,600ft/lb of energy at the muzzle. This was certainly enough knock-down power for all European species and African plains game, plus most of what the Americas have to offer.
Away from the test bench I have successfully hunted muntjac, roe and fallow using this ammunition, and the results have been the same despite the differing body sizes. After all, a clean kill is just about as conclusive as it gets.
To summarise, I found that this ammo was always deadly accurate and showed both a tidy entry and adequate exit wounds with minimal meat trauma. Indeed, I got just about everything anybody could just about ask for from this affordable hunting round, and I for one will be using it in future for all my stalking and boar hunting requirements.