Sellier & Bellot ammo


Handloader Chris Redlich was pleasantly surprised by Sellier & Bellot factory ammo

Inspired by what some would describe as obsessive compulsive is my pursuit of maximising accuracy through handloading and I generally avoid buying factory ammo unless it’s a last resort. Recently I had the good fortune of reviewing a new Tikka T3x Varmint Hunter in .223 Rem but the rifle’s barrel twist of one-in-8 wasn’t enough to stabilise the lighter 50 and 55-grain bullets of my .223 handloads, so Beretta Australia responded to my concern of correct bullet weight and supplied me with the latest Sellier & Bellot (S&B) Precision Rifle factory ammunition.

The 77-grain bullets are suitable for a fast-twist barrel such as one-in-8 (one turn in 8”) and being precision match loads are ideal to test in a purpose designed long-range rifle such as the T3x Varmint Hunter. Although a well-established manufacturer with a long history, the Sellier & Bellot name isn’t as familiar to myself or my shooting peers as other renowned brands yet my experience with their factory ammo wasn’t as foreign to me as I thought.

A ‘last resort’ situation arose a few years back when I needed brass to reload for my .303 Sporter and because .303 brass for whatever reason at the time happened to be in short supply, the gunshop owner suggested I buy some Sellier & Bellot factory rounds then reload the used cases. The price was too good to refuse, the ammo shot well and the brass of such a high standard I’m still reloading those cases today.

S&B ammunition is made in the Czech Republic and the company pride themselves on the highest standard of manufacture and, as with everything specified as ‘match ammo’, their factory target ammunition is top-notch as I discovered in range testing. The business end of the cartridge is loaded with a 77-grain hollow-point boat-tail match bullet, the boat-tail base of the projectile a common feature on high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets, important for reduced drag and conducive to long-range performance. For target aficionados the 77-grain projectile has a G7 BC of 0.193 which translates to ‘long bullet’ for .224 diameter and I’m no mathematical ballistician (the specifications are printed on the box). Most ammunition manufacturers now include ballistic specs on their boxes and this is important for consumers looking for ammo that will best suit their rifle.

One thing not disclosed on the box is what type or how much ‘coal’ they use to fuel the furnace, meaning burning rate of powder and what it takes to power the projectile to greater distances, so to satisfy my curiosity I took matters into my own hands and with an inertia tool safely extracted a bullet from the case. The powder weighed 24.8 grains and was very fine in appearance. Similar to Colonel Sanders’ secret ‘11 herbs and spices’, Sellier & Bellot don’t divulge their powder recipe but I believe it to be medium-slow burning commonly used to drive larger .224 bullets of 70 to 77 grains (my chronograph recorded muzzle velocity at average speeds of 2920fps).

Interestingly, S&B tested the match ammo from a 51cm barrel which would explain their 2824fps compared to the extra 100fps in my Tikka 60cm barrel. Although not beating any speed comparisons with my lighter .223 hunting loads, velocity at the muzzle end isn’t indicative of long-range performance and way down yonder is where the heavier bullets shine. I guess my obsessive compulsion could be blamed for going to such lengths but keen handloaders considering buying  factory match ammo may find it as interesting as I did, so with all the research behind me I couldn’t wait to test this Precision Rifle ammunition.

At the range

With overall length of 56.6mm the cartridges chambered smoothly in the Tikka T3x Varmint Hunter, sighting-in a swift process with the second and third shots finding zero through almost the same hole at 100m. First impressions of Sellier & Bellot’s factory ammunition were impressive and I was confident of a perfect combination between bullet weight and heavy barrel. More importantly the accurate sighting results gave my wife Sue-Ann and I the assurance we needed to rely on the T3x Varmint Hunter at an upcoming long-range shoot.

I couldn’t think of a better place to test a factory ammo’s long-range performance than the charity Pink Shoot at Muckadilla Rifle Range in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Some may say 500-600 yards is stretching the .223 Remington’s capability but this Precision Rifle ammo exceeded all expectations. Sue-Ann produced good scores while shooting respectable groups at 300 and 400 yards but then scored even higher at 500 and 600 yards, nailing five V-bulls in a row at the 500-yard mound and many more at 600 to reinforce the 77-grain high BC credentials at extended ranges.


Sue-Ann’s target shoot proved the perfect field test for the review rifle and supplied ammunition with both achieving outstanding results at long range, Sellier & Bellot Precision Rifle proving you can depend on factory ammo to perform accurately and consistently when every shot counts. Packaged in boxes of 20, the .223 Rem match loads have a competitive recommended retail price of $43 a box at time of writing with three bullet weights available including 52, 69 and 77-grain (tested). For a full list of available calibres visit

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