By: Warren Gray
Copyright © 2022
“I have used S&B Blue ammunition now on sufficient outings
to be totally happy with its performance under field conditions.
Consistent, supremely accurate…in terms of deer dropping to shot.
S&B Blue works like a dream, decision and permanent change made.”
— Chris Dalton, Top Pro Stalker, Viking Arms,
Summerbridge, England, 2022.
Sellier & Bellot (S&B), the noted, ammunition manufacturer from Vlašim, in the Czech Republic, only 30 miles southeast of Prague, bears an unusual and uncharacteristic, French name. It was founded in 1825 by Louis Sellier, a German businessman of French origins, and Jean Maria Nicolaus Bellot, a Frenchman, originally creating percussion caps (156 million in 1837 alone), and later transitioning to cartridge production in 1870. Since 2009, it has been a subsidiary of the Brazilian company CBC (Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos, or Brazilian Cartridge Company, in English.)
In October 1918, S&B became the principal supplier of handgun ammunition for the Czechoslovakian Army and police; and they expanded into the Asian and South American markets with great success. By 1945, their range of commercial ammunition was extended to 40 rifle calibers, 10 pistol calibers, and 20 revolver calibers. The company currently has 1,600 employees, and an annual revenue of about $185 million, with $390 million in total assets as of 2018.
This author has used Sellier & Bellot ammunition in the past, but the long-standing, European company previously sold mostly full-metal-jacket (FMJ) loads in the United States. These were less than desirable for hunting rounds or self-defense ammunition, so S&B loads were mainly useful only for target practice. But, they have since branched out quite a bit, highly diversifying their cartridge offerings in many, many calibers. They currently produce the following load types:
Rimfire ammunition: This includes .22 Short, .22 Long Rifle, and European loads in 4mm, 5.6mm, and 6mm. Their hottest load is a .22 LR high-velocity, 40-grain round, using nickel-plated brass and a round-nosed, lead bullet, at 1,270 feet per second. .22 LR hollowpoint rounds are offered in either high-velocity (1,235 fps) or subsonic (1,020 fps) variants.
Rifle ammunition varieties:
Hunting loads, with Hornady PTS bullets: These are polymer ballistic-tip (green), standard, lead-and-copper bullets, made in .17 Hornet, .243 Win., 6.8mm Rem. SPC, .270 Win., .308, .30-06, and .300 Win. Mag., among other calibers.
Hunting loads, with Sierra SBT bullets: These use spitzer boat-tail, GameKing bullets, produced in .22-250 Rem., 7mm Rem. Mag., .308, .30-06, and numerous, European calibers.
Hunting loads, with Nosler Partition (NSR) bullets: Produced in .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, .308, .30-06, and a number of European calibers.
Semi-jacketed, soft-point (SP) bullets: These are produced in a wide variety of calibers, ranging from .22 Hornet to .45-70 Government, with 30 calibers in between.
Semi-jacketed, soft-point, Cutting Edge (SPCE) bullets: Hunting rounds that lock the copper jacket and lead core together. These are mostly hunting loads in 7x64mm, 8x57mm, .308, and .30-06.
Hollowpoint, capped (HPC) bullets: These have with hollow, copper, ballistic tips instead of plastic tips. They are mostly hunting loads in 7x64mm, 8x57mm, .308, and .30-06.
Target/Match cartridges: This is open-tip, match (OTM) ammunition, designed for enhanced accuracy. They are mostly military loads, such as .223 Remington, 5.56x45mm, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.8mm Rem. SPC, .308 Winchester, .300 Win. Mag., .30-06, 7.62x54mmR, and .338 Lapua Magnum.
Full-Metal-Jacket (FMJ) cartridges: This is military-style ammo, including .223 Remington, 5.56x45mm, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.8mm Rem. SPC, .303 British, .300 BLK, .30-06, 7.62x51mm NATO, 7.62x54mmR, and other conventional loads.
With eXergy (XRG) bullets: These are solid-copper, hunting bullets with an aluminum tip to seal the hollowpoint cavity until impact, produced in .270 Winchester, 7mm Rem. Mag., .308, .30-06, .300 Win, Mag., and various, European calibers.
With eXergy (TXRG) Blue bullets: These are solid-copper, boat-tail, hunting rounds with a blue, plastic, ballistic tip. They’re manufactured since 2008 in 6.5mm Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .300 BLK, .30-06, .308, 7mm Rem. Mag., and a number of European calibers. Viking Arms of Summerbridge, England, recently listed S&B eXergy Blue as their “Rifle Ammunition of the Year” for January 2022.
For example, my primary hunting rifle is a Remington 700 in .30-06. Sellier & Bellot manufactures no less than 16 different loads for it, including five FMJ cartridges (there’s even a very-high-velocity, 124-grain version, at 3,115 fps), and two TXRG sold-copper cartridges, in 165 or 180 grains.
Shotgun Shells: These are available as buckshot loads, magnum buckshot, spherical balls, slugs, rubber balls, rubber buckshot, or door-breaching (12-gauge only) loads in .410, 20-gauge, and 12-gauge chamberings.
Pistol and revolver cartridges: These cover the full spectrum from .25 ACP to .460 S&W Magnum, with one of the more-interesting loads being a 100-grain, 9x19mm soft-point at a blazing 1,404 fps! Differing pressure specifications between the U.S. and Europe means that European loads are typically about five to 15-percent hotter. For example, Remington’s 71-grain, .32 ACP metal-case (MC) cartridge averages 905 feet per second, while the Sellier & Bellot 73-grain, full-metal-jacket (FMJ) ammo runs at 1,043 feet per second, or 15.25-percent faster, with 36-percent greater muzzle energy!
Nontox pistol and revolver cartridges: These are available in 9x19mm through .45 ACP chamberings, including a 91-grain, 9x19mm, fully-jacketed, solid-zinc bullet at 1,493 fps, offered “for training and target-shooting applications.”
XRG Defense (XRG-D) cartridges: This is Sellier & Bellot’s latest addition since March 2022. The brand-new cartridges are produced in .380 ACP (77 grains @ 1,115 fps), 9mm Luger (100 grains @ 1,312 fps), .40 S&W (130 grains @ 1,247 fps), 10mm Auto (130 grains @ 1,362 fps), and .45 ACP (165 grains @ 1,148 fps, costing $30 for 25 rounds.) Most unusually for the company, however, these are all solid-copper, hollowpoint (SCHP) rounds!
S&B made the following announcement: “This solid-copper, hollowpoint bullet construction results in near-100-percent weight retention, regardless of the barriers encountered. Light-for-caliber bullet weights produce low perceived recoil, high velocity, and reliable expansion from today’s compact, personal-defense handguns. The impressive, real-world performance of XRG Defense has been proven by many European law enforcement units.” In fact, the XRG Defense series has been used and tested since 2013 by European police organizations on an experimental basis, and have been released only recently in the United States.
While Barnes Bullets and CorBon have been pioneers in producing high-quality, SCHP bullets and ammunition, S&B has finally branched out into this vital, state-of-the-art, self-defense market niche. This is a bold leap forward for traditional, European ammo manufacturers, where even conventional, hollowpoint bullets have been either discouraged or forbidden until very recently. Sellier & Bellot, therefore, is making a great advancement in order to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced world.
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Warren Gray is a retired, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism, and is an NRA member. He served in Europe and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author, historian, and hunter. You may visit his web site at: warrengray54.vistaprintdigital.com.