TEST: RWS HIT Ammunition

The brand new RWS HIT (from 'High Impact Technology') hunting lead free ammunition is presently available in the following popular calibers, .30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum e .308 Winchester, plus the recently introduced .270 Winchester loading. All .30 caliber loadings use a 165 grain HPBT (Hollow Point Boat Tail) bullet, while the new .270 uses a 130 grain HPBT bullet. 

RWS HIT bullets
Monolithic RWS HIT bullets built in nickel plated copper and the aerodynamic polymer tips

There has been a lot of interest and discussion about these hunting loads in the last few months, in particular in regards to the new RWS HIT nickel plated solid copper bullet featuring 100% mass retention at impact without fragmentation.

The HIT bullet features many important innovations.

Its HIT-Matrix polymer tip and Boat Tail configuration highly improves the bullet Ballistic Coefficient (manufacturer declares a value of 0,420),  allowing for a better ballistic curve, improved accuracy and a flat trajectory.

The cylindrical portion of the bullet's body features transverse grooves (called Performance Grooves) to limit friction and bullet deformation during barrel travel.

Another innovation is the TC-Tip (Twin Compression) construction of the polymer tip, conceived to improve expansion at impact thanks to the combined effect of the two hollow chambers placed on the point and rear end of the polymer tip separated by a small partitioning wall, and the hollow point on the nose of the HIT solid copper bullet defined ACC (Active Crater Cavity).

RWS HIT .30 caliber
All .30 caliber RWS HIT loadings use the same 165 grain nickel plated solid copper HPBT bullet

The ACC system absorbs the initial deformation of the TC-Tip and induces an extremely fast bullet body deformation thanks to a series of internal radial microcuts, that  increase and control proper mushroom petal deployment on impact.

The result is a very controlled and uniform expansion, both in the end mushroom shape and mass retention, with zero fragmentation, ensuring optimal stability and high penetration potential, even against thick bone or tough game.

The deformation is also completely carried out within the game body, with instant kinetic energy release.

Tissue and flesh damage is limited, much lower than the damage inflicted by leadfree standard, fragmenting hunting bullets. RWS HIT ammunition is ideal for game animals that weigh between 50 and 150 kg.

RWS HIT .308 Winchester Remington Police
RWS HIT hunting load in .308 Winchester, featuring a HPBT leadfree bullet weighing 165 grains, has been tested with a Remington Police bolt action rifle mounting a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10x40mm variable magnification riflescope

RWS states that the HIT bullet and hunting ammunition that features it are extremely accurate: on average, both for the .30-06 and .308 loadings, typical dispersion when shot through standardized pressure test barrels is 30mm at 100m, which translatas to slightly above one minute of an angle (MOA), while the average pressure, measured in said pressure test barrels, are always below the standard 4050 bar for the .30-06, and 4150 bar for the .308 Win, CIP prescribed Pmax values.

RWS ACC (Active-Crater-Cavity)
Thanks to the RWS ACC (Active-Crater-Cavity) technology, the mushrooming of the bullet at impact is extremely controlled and reliable
RWS HIT ballistic soap
Ballistic soap cavities produced by RWS HIT loadings are impressive, especially considering the bullet does not fragment on impact


A very important note from the manufacturer: RWS HIT ammunition can not be used in firearms featuring a polygonal rifling because dangerous pressure levels may incurr.

The three .30 caliber HIT loads presently available: .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum and .308 Winchester

Let's start with a first visual inspection of the HIT Ammunition.

It may seem trivial, but the first thing we noticed is the very high build and finish quality of each round:  the cases are glossy to a high shine, with no appreciable defects, with excellent dimensional consistency.

The primer is perfectly seated in its pocket and its striking surface is recessed in the case head by 0.1mm.

Overall length of the assembled round has been measured including the polymer tip, but the uniformity of the bullet seating depth in the collet  has been measured at the ogive using a Sinclair Bullet Comparator with  a Mitutoyo Absolute digital caliper.

The data we found, for OAL including the Polymer tip is  70,3mm for the .308 round, and 85,2 for the  .30-06.

As ogive measurement can be slightly different using a different tool, we do not disclose the actual values preferring to publish the tolerances:  we found an average difference between al measured rounds  of 0,10mm for the .308 and a slightly increased average of 0,12mm for the .30-06.

Averages were measured across a sample of 20 rounds (ten from each box) chosen random.

We tested the round run-out using an older but still very accurate coaxial Bersin Munition Tester concentrity measurement device, finding an average  0,10 mm value, with a tolerance across both calibers of about 0,02 mm.

to put this in perspective, many so-called commercial "Match" loadings have higher measured run out  values.

RWS HIT 30.06 Springfield
The twenty round box artwork of the .30-06 Springfield caliber RWS HIT ammunition
RWS HIT round box
The twenty round box artwork of the .308 Winchester caliber RWS HIT ammunition

Live fire testing

And now, for the live fire testing of the RWS HIT ammunition at the range. We received two boxes each of .30-06 and .308 Winchester ammunition to test, and we chose two very different firearms  to shoot the ammunition, a Benelli Argo Endurance semiautomatic rifle chambered in .30-06 and a classical Remington 700 Police bolt action rifle in .308 Winchester.

RWS HIT .308 Winchester
Spent case of an RWS HIT .308 Winchester round: limited case body swell, clean collet and case lengthing in the norm
RWS HIT .308 Winchester
The case head presents no deformation, primer cratering nor excessive flattening due to unusual pressure

We chose the Benelli Argo Endurance, using the stock Battue open sights because it is ideal for wild boar driven hunt and also to check smooth operation of the ammo in a semiautomatic hunting rifle, while the Remington Police bolt action - with a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 3,5-10x40mm variable magnification riflescope - has been chosen for its great precision, with which we have been able to test the accuracy of the RWS HIT hunting ammunition. We tested the .308 loading at 100 and 200 meter range, while the .30-06 has been tested at 50 and 100 meters.

RWS HIT .30-06 Springfield at a 50 meter distance
At a 50 meter distance, the average group of the .30-06 Springfield HIT ammunition measures 30 millimeters
RWS HIT .30-06 Springfield at a 100 meter distance
At a 100 meter distance, the average group of the .30-06 Springfield HIT ammunition measures 45mm: this is a very good value, considering that we obtained this group with Battue type open sights
RWS HIT .308 Winchester at 100 m
At a 100 meter distance, the average group of the .308 Winchester HIT ammunition measures 22mm, well below 1 MOA. This is exceptional for a hunting round
RWS HIT .308 Winchester at 200 m
.308 HIT ammunition at 200m: the group is just slightly above 40 mm. With a 100m zeroed gun, we dialed seven .25 clicks on the elevation turret (1,75 MOA or 102mm)

The RWS HIT .30-06 loading performed flawlessly in the Argo Endurance semiauto rifle, with a strong ejection and a very manageable recoil, although the kick is quite sharp.

Bullet muzzle velocity (Vo) is around 850 m/s in a 600mm barrel, with a manufacturer declared muzzle energy of 3874 Joule. Second shot follow up is easy and fast, more so than other .30-06 hunting loads in this rifle, even from the same manufacturer.

Groups are excellent, considering we used the stock Battue open sights, that feature a reduced sight radius. The best three round group  at 50 meters measures 30mm, and our average is around 35mm with an occasional flyer opening up the group to 50mm, while the group at 100 meters spreads to an average 53 mm (one group with a flyer went up to 65mm), with the best group measuring  45mm.

Remington Police
The .308 Winchester chambered Remington Police bolt action rifle mounting a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10x40mm variable magnification riflescope during live fire testing of the RWS HIT hunting ammunition

Of course, switching to a telescopic sight equipped bolt action rifle things change dramatically... Using our Remington Police with the Leupold riflescope, the diameter of the three round group at 100 meters measures 25 mm on average, with the best group of the day measuring 22 mm; at 200 m, the rifle/ammunition combination consistently prints 40mm groups.

The manufacturer's .308 Winchester ballistic tables for the RWS HIT hunting load give a 125mm drop at 200 m with the gun zeroed at 100 m, and we have been able to fully confirm this. Bullet muzzle velocity (Vo) is 821 m/s in a 600mm  (23,5")  barrel, with a manufacturer declared muzzle energy (Eo) of 3606 Joule.

Benelli Argo E 2010 wood
Benelli Argo Endurance semiautomatic hunting rifle, chambered in .30-06 Springfield. We used this gun for 50 and 100 meter live fire testing, using the stock Battue type open sights

We have been favourably impressed by the live fire testing performance of the RWS HIT leadfree hunting ammunition, in both .30-06 Springfield and .308 Winchester loadings.

Excellent accuracy, flawless and reliable feeding in both semiautomatic and bolt action rifles, and very manageable recoil. Stay with us for an in-depth and full featured test on live game in actual hunting scenarios!

 For further information visit RWS website

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