Ammo Review: Federal HST 10mm


HST bullet expansion

Federal Cartridge Company has been a leader in service and personal defense ammunition for many years. The original Hi-Shock hollow point, the Hydra Shock and now the HST are respected resources for personal defense.

The 10mm was developed by a number of learned individuals, with Colonel Jeff Cooper playing a large part in promoting the cartridge. The 10mm was seen as a cartridge with increased penetration, energy and range.

The Colonel wanted a cartridge that would do things at 50 yards that could not be done with the .45 ACP. The modern 10mm is a highly developed and superbly accurate cartridge in the right handgun.

10mm HST range
There are things that may be done at long range with the 10mm that are not possible with the .45 ACP pistol.

While the short .40 S &W cartridge was adopted by many more police agencies and enjoys an excellent reputation, the 10mm has many diehard fans. The popularity of the 10mm has waxed and waned, but presently enjoys a resurgence in popularity.

There are even revolvers available in the form of the Ruger GP100 and the newly re-introduced Smith and Wesson 610 that feature the 10mm auto.

Federal HST
The Federal HST is a formidable loading.

Meet the Federal HST 10mm

Among the newest and most interesting loads is the Federal Premium HST 10mm. This cartridge features a 200-grain bullet at about 1100 fps in most handguns.

The HST is designed to offer consistent expansion and a balance of expansion and penetration that favors the FBI’s demands for penetration. The HST is designed to retain 100 percent of its bullet weight after penetration at least 18 inches of gelatin.

HST expansion
The HST is a reliably expanding bullet.

Feed reliability is important. This cartridge combination is designed for good feed and cycle reliability. I obtained a quantity of these loads and tested them in two handguns:

Ruger GP100 – 4-inch barrel

Ruger 10mm revolver
Ruger’s 10mm revolver makes for a good package for those preferring the wheel gun.

Rock Island Commander 10mm – 4.25-inch barrel

Ria Commander 10mm
RIA’s powerful Commander 10mm is another option.

The factory tests their ammunition in a 5-inch barrel, so I expected less velocity than the specified 1130 fps. I did get less velocity, but not that much less.

How the HST 10mm Performs

Expansion and penetration were tested using water jugs. These aren’t gelatin, but then again, gelatin isn’t flesh and blood, either. Water is fine for comparing loads; it simply overstates penetration by about 10 percent compared to gelatin (in most cases).

10mm HST expansion
Note excellent expansion from 10mm HST.

Here are the results:

Federal 200-grain HST 10mm
Firearm Velocity Expansion Penetration
Rock Island Armory Commander 4.25-inch barrel 1110 fps .68-70 20 inches
Ruger GP 100 4-inch barrel 1101 fps .68-70 20 inches

The HST fed smoothly in the RIA pistol with no malfunctions. The use of nickel-plated cartridge cases is a plus for Federal Premium. As for accuracy, here are the averages of two five-shot groups at 25 yards:

Firearm Accuracy
Rock Island Armory Commander 1.9 inches
Ruger GP 100 2.5 inches
Fusion Commander 10mm 1.75 inches

HST 10mm: Main Takeaways

The loading is accurate enough for most purposes. This isn’t the hottest 10mm load available. The Federal 10mm 180-grain bonded core, as an example, breaks 1275 fps in most handguns and makes for an excellent hunting load.

The HST offers superior wound ballistics to many handgun loads with good control and accuracy. While the 10mm is a powerful number, fast repeat shots are not difficult with the HST.

The 200-grain HST is a reliable loading with much to recommend for home defense or personal defense in a concealed carry handgun.

Federal Hydra Shock
The Federal Hydra Shock is loaded to about 1050 fps and offers a low-recoil option.


Speer 200-grain Gold Dot
Another choice is the Speer 200-grain Gold Dot.

Are you among the 10mm diehards? Let us know your thoughts on these loads in the comments below.


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