HSM Ammo: An Overlooked Gem

By Mark Hampton
Posted in #Gear
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HSM Ammo: An Overlooked Gem

December 3rd, 2021

6 minute read

While enjoying a range session shooting various firearms, it’s not uncommon for fellow shooters to come over and visit. They always inquire about what guns, optics and ammunition I’m testing. Overall, it’s been surprising to me to learn the number of shooters and hunters who are not familiar with HSM ammo. I’ve been pleased with the performance of HSM products for many years and I hate to see this premium ammo go unnoticed.

HSM ammunition at the factory
HSM supplies the shooting public with a variety of high-quality, affordable ammunition for various applications. Chances are there is a load from them for your need.

Source Code

I guess it would be logical to first look at the company’s background. Back in 1968, the business was founded by Bill and Catherine Campbell in a small town in Montana. The start-up company began as the Hunting Shack – a name originating from the appearance of the shack-like building in which they were making ammo.

Bill Campbell of HSM ammunition
Bill Campbell founded HSM back in 1968. Since that time, Campbell grew the company into what it is today.

The first cartridges assembled were .38 Special. Back in the day, this cartridge was widely popular, especially with the law enforcement fraternity carrying revolvers at the time. The company’s success with the law enforcement community grew by leaps and bounds, which promoted growth and evolved into other segments of the market including Cowboy Action, self-defense, and match ammunition. Life was rolling along great until a fire in September of 1987 destroyed the home of the Hunting Shack — a total loss.

Moving to Stevensville, Montana, Bill Campbell and his family built a new “shack” and started all over again — a daunting task to say the least. Currently, the modern ammunition facility has grown to a 40,000 square foot space residing on 18 acres of Montana real estate. The American dream is still alive today.

HSM manufacturing facility in Montana
The HSM manufacturing facility in Montana occupies 40,000 square feet and sits on 18 acres.

During the 1990s, HSM supplied our troops with sniper-grade ammunition for the Gulf War, providing both .308 Win. and .300 Win Mag. loadings. Other government agencies were also supplied ammo. Loads included the 7mm Mag., .38 Special and .223 Rem. At this point, HSM had earned a well-deserved reputation thanks to its reliability and accuracy standards.

Moving Forward

As time passed, HSM expanded its market share into more commercial venues with the introduction of their Bear Load followed by Trophy Gold with Berger VLD bullets. Then, HSM incorporated Game King, Pro Pistol Hunter and Low Recoil ammunition featuring Sierra bullets. Currently the company offers a variety of premium ammunition for a multitude of applications including Dangerous Game, Bear Load, Pro Pistol Hunter, Varmint and Varmint Blue, Match, Lead Free, HSM Classic, Training, Self-Defense, Frangible, and Cowboy Action. HSM has certainly grown from its humble beginnings in a hunting shack!

HSM Ammunition employees
These dedicated, hard-working Americans assemble HSM ammo in Montana.

HSM has an extensive line of ammo for both hunters and shooters alike. Got rhinos raiding your garden eating all your tomatoes? No worries, HSM’s Dangerous Game ammo is available in .375 H&H, .416 Rem. Mag., .416 Rigby, and .458 Win. Mag. So, you’re all set when cape buffalo and other dangerous game is on the menu.

Woman inspecting ammo at HSM Ammunition factory
HSM’s quality control is exemplary. Here assembled rifle rounds are inspected by a dedicated staff member.

My wife, Karen, has really enjoyed shooting several 6.5 Creedmoor firearms recently thanks to the HSM Low Recoil offering. Partnering with Sierra bullets, this ammo features a distinct orange ballistic tip. The company states felt recoil is 53% less, and I believe it. This ammo can certainly perform on game with a lot less recoil for those who don’t want their teeth rattled after pulling the trigger. Calibers available include .243 Win., .270 Win., 7mm-08 Rem, 7mm Mag., .308 Win., .30-06 and .300 Win. Mag.

For serious hunters, HSM manufactures several premium rounds including their Game King line-up featuring Sierra bullets. Available in most popular hunting calibers in suitable bullet weights, this accurate ammunition is perfect to help notch your tag or fill a freezer. HSM also offers their Trophy Gold line-up consisting of Berger VLD bullets in over 35 calibers, from 6mm BR to .338 Norma.

Handy Choices

As a dyed-in-the-wool handgun hunter, I’ve been pleased with HSM’s Pro Pistol Hunter offerings. Featuring Sierra Jacketed bullets, the line-up covers most popular handgun cartridges utilized by hunters. My experience with .357 Mag., 10mm Auto, .41 Mag., .44 Mag. and .460 S&W Mag., has shown excellent accuracy from many range sessions. My latest range trip with HSM 240-gr. ammo in .44 Mag. yielded a most impressive five-shot group from 100 yards inside 2”. Fortunately, I had a witness or I’d be reluctant to share. For deer and hogs, the Pro Pistol Hunter is an ideal choice.

HSM ammo line
HSM’s line of premium ammo is available for a wide range of purposes.

Serious varmint hunters are not overlooked. HSM offers their Varmint Blue in one of my favorite varmint calibers – 223 Rem. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. HSM provides ammo in 25 calibers with a total of 66 varmint loads. Whatever vermin is in your crosshairs, HSM has a load specifically designed to handle the task.

If you find yourself in one of those lead-free only hunting zones, no worries – HSM has teamed up with Barnes bullets and developed 17 different calibers from .223 Rem. to .350 Rem. Mag. Restrictions and lead-free zones don’t have to give you heartburn anymore.

Cowboy Action shooters also have some practical options to choose from including .32-20 Win., .38 Special, .38-40 Win., .45 Colt, .38-55 Win, along with several other popular calibers for this endeavor.

HSM Cowboy Action ammo
Cowboy Action ammo is available in most popular calibers for the shooting activity.

In today’s world, many law-abiding citizens are concerned with personal safety. HSM provides several options including their training, self-defense, and frangible line-up designed for the specific purpose of personal protection.

If accuracy is your main objective, HSM offers an assortment of calibers including my favorite — .308 Win. Their 168-gr. HPBT Match ammunition has performed superbly on the range from both handguns and rifles.

Low recoil ammo from HSM
HSM’s Low Recoil ammo is perfectly suited for those recoil-shy shooters.

With the popularity of the .350 Legend gaining ground, HSM offers two hunting options. First, their 147-gr. Speer UHP followed by a heavier 170-gr. Hornady Interlock. For states that only allow straight-wall cartridges, these two options from HSM provide a solid choice.


As you can see, HSM manufactures a lot of premium ammunition for the hunting and shooting community. After shooting their ammo for years there is one aspect I do not like – my handloads do not shoot as well as HSM factory ammo! OH well, looks like I’ll just have to keep shooting their ammo!

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Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton has hunted on six continents, in over 30 countries, 25 states, and six Canadian provinces. He has taken over 200 species of big game with a handgun. His hunts entail 30 trips to Africa in 10 countries, 25 hunts in Asia in 11 countries, plus many other remote destinations. Mark has been promoting handgun hunting and continues to do so today in various platforms. Today, he is the Executive Director of the Grand Slam Club. Mark is actively involved in the hunting community and writes for several nationally recognized publications. Mark and Karen, his lovely wife of 40 years, reside in south Missouri and enjoy hunting on their farm.

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