Recently I have had numerous inquiries
concerning Cor Bon ammunition. I had to set back and
think on some, and reflect on the fact that while Cor Bon has
been around for some time they are still regarded as a 'new'
company. Perhaps they still have something to prove, but that is
only with those who have not used this brand. Those who have
swear by Cor Bon. The diverse and expanding Cor Bon line
included not only the better known defense loads but also first
class hunting loads in popular calibers. And then there are the
less popular calibers that Cor Bon is really the only choice in.
If you wish to maximize the .41 Magnum or .38 Super, where else
can you go?
The first Cor Bon products were high quality
hunting loads, but the line is much more extensive these days.
Lets take a look at some of the high points. I cannot comment on
the loads I have not tested but it standard to reason that the
quality of each group will cross over into the others. A bridge
we need to cross is the reputation among shooters for 'hot'
loads. A hot load is one thing or the other, but in the sense
that a load is too hot Cor Bon does not meet the criteria. You
will not suffer flattened primers or sticky case extraction. The
loads are formulated to maximize performance for the caliber.
Ordinary loads are plentiful, and Cor Bon does not sell plinking
loads. Cor Bon ammunition is intended only for modern firearms
in good condition. Heavy loads may shorten the life span of any
firearm. But quality firearms are surprisingly long lived. I
donít see many of us firing thousands of rounds of Cor Bon
loads. Practice loads and competition loads, yes, but not heavy
hunting loads or +P ammunition. Cor Bon ammunition is for
serious purposes. An appropriate amount of ammunition should be
fired to ensure reliability and to properly sight the piece in.
A hundred rounds is a reasonable reliability test.
What about +P?
+P is a designation indicating the load is
loaded to above standard pressure but within a standard set by
the SAAMI for these loadings. As an example, the .45 ACP
may reach 18,000 psi (pounds per square inch pressure) in
standard loads and 22,000 psi in +P loadings. With a 230 grain
bullet, a standard load in .45 ACP may reach 850 feet per second
while a heavy +P loading may reach 920 fps. This increase in
velocity is an aid in encouraging hollow point bullet upset.
Some handguns are able to digest large amounts of these loads
without any problem. But Colts and Springfields
differ from Llama pistols and others.
As most of you know, I am not a great fan of the
9mm Luger caliber. But with some loadings the performance of the
caliber is greatly increased. Ball loadings and low velocity
jacketed hollowpoint bullets simply do not do the business. Cor
Bon's most famous loading is the 115 grain 9mm +P. At a time
when most 115 grain Jacketed Hollow Point factory loads reached
1150 to 1200 fps, the Cob Bon +P reached 1350 fps. For some time
I had loaded the Sierra JHP over a stiff charge of Herco
powder for the same results. The Cor Bon load made a tremendous
handload available to the public with factory quality control.
This is a good loading that has suffered some controversy over
the balance of expansion and penetration. It is true that the
Cor Bon load and also the police-only +P+ loadings demonstrate
less penetration and what some of us would call the ideal range.
But the loading has proven effective and in some calibers a
compromise is necessary. As for velocity, the following table
gives the results I have obtained in my personal handguns.
In my experience Cor Bon meets or exceeds their
own advertisements in four inch barrel or longer handguns.
There is also a 90 grain JHP at about 1500 fps
that may find appeal with those who wish to limit penetration.
This is at best a specialty load but one that shows good
accuracy and a clean powder burn. For me, the big news from Cor
Bon is the DPX load. This is a 115 grain load using the Barnes
X bullet. This is a solid copper bullet with a long bearing
surface for accuracy. The bullet's nose expands in a petal-like
formation when the bullet is fire into ballistic gelatin. The
body of the bullet remains solid, and the long shank gives good
penetration. This is an excellent all around choice in 9mm for
police work or personal defense. Many with extensive wound
ballistics research experience are enthusiastic concerning this
cartridge. Velocity is 1240 fps.
If you are a fan of this grand old cartridge,
Cor Bon offers the only factory loadings that maximizes the
caliber. There are two loadings, the 115 grain JHP at 1500 fps
and the 125 grain loading at over 1400 fps. Accuracy in a good
pistol such as the Kimber Target Model is excellent.
There is really no demand for a match grade accurate .38 Super
load and many loadings are lackluster at best. The Cor Bon
loading will turn in 1.25 inch twenty-five yard groups from the
Kimber. I am familiar with quite a few shootings with the .357
Magnum 110 grain JHP at about 1350 fps.
(The Super will not quite equal the 1450 fps 125 grain
Magnum, but today's .357s are not that hot.) The Super should
equal this performance, but interpolation is an inexact science.
I like the Super and I like the Cor Bon load.
.40 Smith and Wesson
I respect the .40 caliber cartridge very much.
It was once viewed as a compromise cartridge but we find little
compromise in this round, it is more like a big bore than a
"gap-splitter" between the 9mm and the .45. The .40
can be quite a round in the right pistol. Many who jump on the
.40 caliber bandwagon point to the 135 grain Cor Bon load. This
one exits my Baby
Eagle at about 1325fps.
It will certainly get the job done. However, in my experience
the 150 and 165 grain Cor Bon loads are often gilt-edged
accurate. The 1200 fps 150 grain load and the 1125 fps 165 grain
load are good choices for all around use. I have taken a white
tail deer with the 150 grain load at moderate range. It was four
legs in the air, and hardly a kick.
If you like the 10mm cartridge, Cor Bon offers
top flight personal defense loads and also first class hunting
loads. The 180 and 200 grain controlled expansion loads are
ideal for hunting medium game with the 10mm. Sometime ago, I
test fired a Glock 10mm pistol with these loads. I am not
really a Glock man, but mastered the trigger well enough to do
several 1.25 inch 25 yard groups with the Cor Bon 200 grain load
- and had the nagging feeling the piece and ammunition
combination was capable of better results.
This is the big one, Elmer Keith's brain
child and despite the introduction of the .454, .480 and others,
our most popular handgun hunting cartridge. When confronting
dangerous game at short range there is no room for mistake.
The 260 grain bonded-core hollowpoint reaches 1450 fps,
more from longer barrel revolvers, and the 280 grain bullet
reaches 1350 fps. But the stopper, the great penetrator, is the
320 grain Bonded Core (BC). This load averages 1175 fps and
packs plenty of power. Penetration is on the level of a .45-70
rifle, per my testing. This is a load for those wishing to hunt
the largest bear with a handgun, or even African game in the
hands of a seasoned handgunner.
.500 Smith and Wesson
The .500 Smith and
Wesson Magnum was largely developed by Cor Bon. When we
talk about the .500, the sheer numbers are overwhelming. A five
hundred grain bullet at 1500 fps equals or exceeds the energy of
most shotgun slugs. This is the greatest of handgun cartridges
and quite possibly the most powerful that will ever be produced.
The size of the handguns involved and the ability of the human
body to absorb recoil are a limiting factor. The Cor Bon .500
Special is a potent load suitable for thin skinned game and wild
boar. However, this is load much easier on the hand and bones
than the full power Magnum loads. A 350 grain .500 caliber
bullet at 1,000 fps is nothing to make light of.
In a sense all Cor Bon loads are custom loaded,
but a standout is the PowRBall line.
Many of us own perfectly good older pistols that will not feed
jacketed hollowpoint ammunition well. Sometimes, a 1911 that
will not feed hollow points will begin to feed well when a Wilson
Combat magazine is used. This magazine feeds the bullet nose
directly into the chamber, rather than bouncing the bullet off
the feed ramp. This makes for much better feed reliability. Just
the same, some handguns will not reliably feed hollowpoint
ammunition. Cor Bon
developed the PowRBall to feed reliably in these pistols. Among
the pistols I have tested included various early model Llama
pistols - which I do not recommend for personal defense. But the
load fed absolutely reliably. Another piece that worked well
with the new Cor Bon bullet is the Beretta 1951, a 9mm
pistol that would not feed any type of hollow point.
Interestingly, the Browning High Power is more feed
reliable than most give it credit for, but early model Taurus
92 pistols sometimes will not feed JHP bullets. The PowRBall
bullet feeds very well in these pieces, as reliably as the ball
loadings I use for practice. The PowRBall is simply a wide nose
hollowpoint with a polymer plug in the middle. Unlike, say, the
old BAT round, the plug does not blow away in the air and allow
the bullet to function as a normal JHP. Rather the PowRBall
polymer plug instigates bullet expansion. It works very well.
The Cor Bon PowRBall
load is my first choice for any aluminum frame .45
caliber pistol. The original Commander is a durable piece but
when semi-wadcutter or jacketed hollow point loads are used, the
feed ramp sometimes takes a bad gouging from the blunt nose of
either type bullet. For this reason, an aluminum frame pistol
must be restricted to ball ammunition or it must be designed
from the first with a ramped barrel. Modern Springfield and Para
Ordnance pistols used ramped barrels. The PowRBall changes
this. The .45 PowRBall load jolts a 165 grain bullet to about
1200 fps. There are also revolver loads available in .38
Special. My friend Michael wondered why a PowRBall in a
revolver load, but the lightweight hollowpoints with the big
ball in the nose do work well and expand well. Also, a roundnose
bullet works much better in speed loaders.
Another great choice is the new 160 grain DPX
hollowpoint loading. This is the number one choice for short
barrel .45s, at least those with ramped barrels. This load uses
the Barnes X bullet. Accuracy is excellent and the special
powder formulation really gives good results. I often carry this
load in my steel frame Officerís Model with confidence.
Accuracy is good and the loading features a good balance of
penetration and expansion.
I am a .45 man, so here are the figures on Cor Bon .45 caliber
loads I have tested. I have not tested the 165 grain load
extensively, but the 185 grain was the first Cor Bon loading and
I have fired quite a few. I find the 200 grain JHP, a good load
and consistently accurate in modern pistols. I like more
penetration than the 165 exhibits, but then it is a special
purpose loading. For police work I would prefer the 230 grain,
while for accuracy the 200 grain is usually a standout.
grain JHP average velocity
grain JHP average velocity
grain JHP average
grain JHP average velocity
Accuracy, Smith and
Wesson SW1911, five
shot group, 25 yards
Not long ago, Cor Bon introduced a new line
intended to produce top flight accuracy. This is their flagship
match grade loading. I have tested the 9mm Luger and .45 ACP
examples extensively. I have never been a fan of the 147 grain
9mm hollowpoint, but this weight is ideal for a match grade
bullet. Recoil is mild and velocity is subsonic. The Cor Bon 9mm
loading produces excellent accuracy in good pistols such as the FM
High Power. The 230 grain MATCH load uses the Montana
Gold bullet. I have used thousands of the Montana Gold
bullet over the years with excellent results. While my loads
using Starline Brass and Titegroup
powder have proven exceptionally accurate, Cor Bon factory
ammunition is comparable. Quite simply this is excellent
ammunition sure to get attention in competition circles.
Cor Bon produces good hunting loads in the
.45-70 and .30-06. The .30-06 is a recent introduction and I
admit little experience, so more on that one later. The .45-70
loads are pretty impressive. The .223/5.56mm loads include a DPX
loading that gives the caliber considerably more versatility.
However, two loads that stand alone are the 7.62 x 39mm loads.
That is simply nothing else like them available. I have tested
both in the SKS and my Century International Arms AK 47
with good results. The 125 grain JHP is really the only good
choice for personal defense. This load expands quickly and
limits ricochet and over penetration. A counterpoint is a 150
grain JSP load that makes for a hunting load in the .30-30
class- not great but superior to most of what is available.
After firing cheap Chinese surplus, you may find your rifle more
accurate and effective than you would of ventured, given the use
of Cor Bon loadings. Practice with good but inexpensive
ammunition, and use quality ammunition for serious business.
have used Cor Bon ammunition for many years with good service. I
feel that in certain calibers, Cor Bon is the best choice and
never a bad choice for use in quality firearms. Give the brand
an honest chance and you will agree.
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