Remington’s new Core-Lokt has been tested and reviewed

Amid ongoing ammo shortages, Remington Ammunition is under new ownership and is firing ammo right now. After the many problems the Remington brand has suffered in recent years, the return of Big Green ammunition is good news for all hunters and shooters.

A fresh start for the Remington ammo bodes well with the new Core-Lokt Tipped bullet, which begins appearing in August 2021. While Remington is certainly not abandoning the traditional Core-Lokt, this updated load features a polymer tip, better ballistic coefficient, jacket and core Better mechanically locked. It is designed to increase accuracy with a more rear center of gravity. Besides better ballistic performance, the polymer tip works to initiate rapid expansion. A “lock” that is not a molecular bond, but is essentially a mechanical connection that prevents the core and jacket from separating, resulting in an enlarged mushroom, but retaining high weight. That’s just what anglers want.

Specifications and Features Core-Lokt Tip

A box of Remington Core Lock

  • Core-Lokt tapered jacket allows for quick stretch and good weight retention
  • The large green polymer tip increases the ballistic coefficient and initiates consistent expansion
  • The base of the boat tail increases the ballistic coefficient
  • Rear center of gravity compared to the old Core-Lokt for increased accuracy
  • Available in 9 cartridges including .243, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag
  • Price range: $44.99 to $65.99 per box ($49.99 for a 180-grain box of .30-06)

History of the Remington Core-Lokt

There is perhaps no single hunting ammo load more iconic than the Remington Core-Lokt, and it has been putting the game on the table for hunters for decades. In fact, it is perhaps the most popular deer hunting ammunition in history. The iconic load featured a tapered soft-point bullet with the jacket mechanically “sealed” on the core. It was a bullet ahead of its time when it was introduced in 1939, and it offered rapid expansion with good weight retention which led to its huge success and popularity. In fact, I fired my first 220-grain Core-Lokt ammo animal, my first rifle, a Remington Model 710 in .30-06.

Unfortunately, quality control issues in the past have seriously damaged the reputation of Core-Lokt ammunition. Although Core-Lokt has always maintained a loyal following, stories of primers and bullets falling from cartridges that were fresh on the shelf have not been in favor of the brand. I haven’t experienced any of it firsthand, but stopped buying it over a decade ago after running into issues with accuracy. I couldn’t get the stuff to fire, even in the guns I used to like. Turning 4-inch groups at 100 yards isn’t going to cut it. For years, I viewed it as unwanted ammunition.

The new Remington Core Lock is inverted

I was eager to get hold of this ammo and got several boxes of the .30-06 with 180 grain bullets, the right cartridge and weight for almost any North American game. My biggest questions revolved around ammo accuracy, consistency, and quality control. A fresh start with good quality control would be a huge refresher for the brand, and consistently more accurate ammunition would make it back on my list.

I examined the ammo carefully, looking at each cartridge. I noticed the typical factory crease on the case, and the only obvious discrepancy I found was the contrast in the patina on some of the primers. Some were bright copper, some darker, but apart from aesthetic inconsistency, they never caused me any concern. With a box of these Factory loads, I measured the overall length of the cartridge to get a feel for the symmetry of the seat depths. The maximum contrast was 0.011 inches with a standard deviation of 0.003 inches. I compared this to some of my own hand-loading ammo, as well as a box of premium factory ammo, both of which were also polymer-coated bullets. My OAL handload varied by a standard deviation of .002 inch with a maximum variance of 0.006 inch. The standard deviation of other fancy factory ammo was .001” with a standard deviation of .003 inches. Overall, this is a very good consistency for factory hunting ammo, and I couldn’t find any flaws or outliers in the cartridges because they came chambered.

Remington Core-Loct Inverted Mushroom
Core-Lokt Tipped Leads are engineered for rapid expansion and high weight retention. outdoor vista

performance in the game

In the year that I have been shooting Remington Core-Lokt Tipped ammo, I have not shot a lot of critters with it, but with a small sample size, I liked what I saw. I shot a caribou last winter with a .30/06 load, and it passed a 250-yard shot. He was quiet, and quiet is a good thing. This fall, a friend and his son took two cute Bull Ibex with a 130-grain .270 Core-Lokt Tipped load, which was also quiet. Both 130-grain bullets passed and were not recovered. It’s a bullet that seems to have great terminal performance and good penetration.

Caribou taken with Core-Lokt Tipped
Caiden TerBeek with cute bull ibex taken with Remington Core-Lokt Tipped ammo in .270 Win. Brett Terbeck

Remington Core-Lokt precision core

Appearances are one thing, but how good does the new Core-Lokt Tipped shoot? Because it is an all-rounder load for an all-rounder, and for the sake of nostalgia, I wanted to see how accurately it shot in the first rifle I ever bought, the old Remington Model 710. To be clear, the Model 710 is anything but a stylish, high-performance rifle. However, this one has always worked well, and I’ve used it to take a lot of game, including several moose, sheep, caribou, and bears. I used to shoot Core-Lokt ammo in them and being able to use them again with confidence will bring things full circle. With this rifle, I shot eight 5-shot groups, averaging 1.48 inches. Many shooters would scoff at anything over an inch long. But for shooting 5-shot groups with hunting ammunition, with that old rifle, it’s pretty good. My smallest group was 0.83 inches and my largest group was 1.88 inches.

For another point of reference, I shot five 5-shot groups with a Winchester Model 70 that I know handles a variety of loads well. Among these groups, the Core-Lokt Tipped group averaged 1.39 inches. With that rifle, my smallest group was 0.96 inches and the largest was 1.49 inches.

Velocity was also pleasantly in line with the ammo score. The 180-grain load I used advertises 2,745 fps at the muzzle (likely from a 24-inch barrel). Among the 22-inch barrel of my Model 710, it averaged 2,528 fps with a maximum spread of 67 fps and a standard deviation of 19.3 fps.

Consistent accuracy across calibers

After initial testing of Core-Lokt Tipped ammo in .30/06, I had the opportunity to shoot the 150-grain Core-Lokt Tipped load in .308 Win. Through a variety of rifles, the 130-grain bullet in the .270 Win. In Weatherby Mark V Hunter. Across the three calibers, the Core-Lokt Tipped is proving to be one of the more accurate factory hunting loads I have tested this year.

I tested the 150-grain .308 Core-Lokt Tipped load in six different .308 rifles, along with 9 other types of .308 hunting ammunition at the factory. The Core-Lokt wasn’t always the best shooting load for each rifle, but overall, it had the most consistent accuracy of any ammunition tested. The average size of the 29 five-shot group through six guns was 1.54 inches. The two guns with the best averages with Core-Lokt Tipped ammo were the Tikka T3X Lite (1.25 inches) and the Christensen Arms Ridgeline Titanium (1.22 inches). These were five-shot, three-shot groups satisfied with factory triple MOA accuracy guarantees in all the rifles they had.

Core-Lokt Tipped ammo has proven to have consistently good accuracy in 130-grain .270 Win. Carry too – a cartridge not known for the accuracy of the factory’s superior ammo. The Core-Lokt Tipped was one of six different factory hunting loads I tested in the Weatherby Mark V Hunter, and it was the second most accurate load in that rifle. The raw average for all 12 groups scored with the Core-Lokt Tipped was 1.53 inches, behind the more accurate ammunition in that gun which averaged 1.46 inches for its five-shot groups. With this gun, the first three shots printed under an inch about 75 percent of the time.

Where the Core-Lokt Tipped falls short

While I have no complaints about the practical quality and performance of this new line, I would like to see more attention to detail in the coloring of the primers. Do we urgently need raw materials and components? yes. Does a slight difference in the appearance of the primers in an ammo case make any difference? Mostly not. But there are dozens of purists who will view this launch with a keen, skeptical eye, and a certain percentage of them will turn away from a perfectly good, consistent product because of inconsistent appearances.

What Core-Lokt Tipped does well

This new offering seems to be more consistent in accuracy, speed, and quality control than some of what you’re used to finding off the shelf. It brings better-shooting bullets that will still give the final (if not better) results that sold Core-Lokt fans on in the first place.

Relay

The sample size I was able to test indicated that the Core-Lokt Tipped would be a great all-around load. It’s made with the deer hunter in mind, but is well suited for a wide variety of game. There is no cheap decent ammo these days, but this load should fall in the middle of the road on price, bringing better consistency, accuracy and modern performance for the money. At a time when options are scarce, it is a welcome sight and an exciting new beginning for Remington.

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