Aguila Ammo Review: Is It Any Good?
Aguila ammo is a relative newcomer to ammo shelves inside the United States, but the company has been cranking out rifle, pistol, shotgun, and rimfire ammo for more than 60 years. Today, its products can be found in more than 45 countries.
Aguila makes high quality, reliable ammunition. Centerfire ammo is brass-cased, boxer primed, non-corrosive, and works well in semi-automatic pistols and rifles. Aguila shotshells are quality and innovative, and its rimfire offerings are clean, consistent, and a fantastic value.
Today, Aguila has facilities in both Mexico and Texas and produces a wide variety of ammunition. The company’s lineup includes the most desired ammo for all manner of shooters, from military and law enforcement to competitive shooters, hunters, plinkers, and citizens interested in self-defense.
What Kind of Ammo Does Aguila Make?
The most popular firearms used by citizens today are 9mm pistols and semi-auto rifles chambered in .223 Remington (most notably the AR-15 and its variants).
Aguila is keenly aware of these facts as well as Americans’ hearty appetite for the .22 LR rimfire cartridge, which is widely used for small game hunting and as a low-cost training alternative to larger calibers. They established themselves as a leading supplier during the .22 shortage of the early 2010s.
No matter what you’re looking for, the Texican ammo manufacturer has something to satisfy your craving for things that go bang. There aren’t many widespread complaints against Aguila’s ammo. In our experience, it’s proven to be clean burning, reliable, and sufficiently accurate.
In all, Aguila offers 16 pistol loads that range from a .25 ACP mouse gun load up to the mighty 10mm Auto. The entire lineup is extremely well rounded and covers the most popular bullet weights and styles. Most are full metal jacket (FMJ) target and practice ammo. But you’ll also find some hollow point loads that cater to home or self-defense needs.
Aguila’s pistol offerings strike a near perfect balance between quality and affordability, with an emphasis on reliability. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel in terms of pistol rounds with such huge demand in place for common loads.
Aguila focuses a lot on centerfire pistol ammo because it’s often the best choice for police and military sidearms, as well as armed citizens. There is a wide variety of calibers available, with many different bullet styles that excel at different tasks. In general, centerfire pistol rounds deliver greater reliability, accuracy, and terminal performance than rimfire ammo such as the .22 LR.
Aguila offers an excellent variety of calibers with a blend of performance, recoil, capacity, and value that appeal to just about every shooter. Within the 9mm cartridges alone, they produce four different load variants. From heavier subsonic loads, to the spicier self-defense +P options, Aguila really covers it all.
Aguila offers rifle ammo in the most common calibers and the most versatile and popular loadings. The AR-15, which has now become the most popular rifle in America, is most commonly chambered in .223 Remington and its military cousin, the 5.56 NATO. Of these, Aguila cranks out four different versions of these rounds, from bulk 55 grain FMJ to a 62 grain green tip M855 clone.
Aguila also offers 7.62x51mm NATO, .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 Blackout, and .30 carbine. All feature reloadable brass cases and noncorrosive primers, which makes Aguila rifle ammo an even better deal if you reload your own rounds.
All of these loads are fitted with FMJ projectiles, so they’re more than likely not legal to use for hunting where you live. Most states require hunters to use soft points, hollow points, or other types of ammo designed to expand upon impact for maximum lethality and therefore the most ethical and humane kills. That being said, Aguila rifle ammo is clean, accurate, reliable, and a great value. It’s a good way to get trigger time without shooting up all your premium hunting ammo.
When it comes to rimfire ammo, Aguila is an undisputed leader. The company has a huge variety of rimfire offerings, not just different flavors of .22 LR (although it does boast 13 different .22 LR loads).
Most people who train with firearms consistently shoot some sort of rimfire ammo, and the bulk of that tends to be .22 LR. It’s economical, and doesn’t have much recoil or noise to speak of. Cheap bulk boxes of .22 are famous for having numerous duds and less-than-stellar accuracy, but Aguila places an emphasis on quality that yields a more reliable and accurate round.
Aguila offers hunting, plinking, and specialty rimfire rounds. As far as .22-caliber offerings, the 30 grain Supermaximum delivers great performance on small game while the Super Colibri excels in urban and less permissive environments because it has no gunpowder. It only uses a primer charge that sends the 20 grain projectile flying with a “pop.”
Aguila also offers two versions of the hard-to-find 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum that are ideal for plinking and vaporizing varmints.
Aguila made waves and brought attention to their entire product lineup with the introduction of the Minishell in 2017. The 1 ¾” 12 gauge shotshells were received enthusiastically because their size instantly increased capacity to firearms that have a fixed-length tube for holding shells.
For instance, common shotguns like the Remington 870 can hold six 2 ¾” 12 gauge shells, but could hold nine of Aguila’s Minishells. Their smaller size also offers reduced recoil, which can make them a great potential option for home defense.
To boot, the shells worked as advertised, and continue to be popular today. When a new product falls on its face and suffers mishaps and QC issues, it’s usually dead in the water. This dedication to quality applies to everything Aguila does, not just the nifty little shotgun shells.
By sheer number of loads, shotgun shells are Aguila’s bread and butter. The company offers a whopping 64 different shotshells, from .410 bore to 3 ½” 12 gauge hunting loads (including a number of 16 gauge and 28 gauge options). Aguila’s shotshell selection allows you to take on anything from sporting clays to home invaders.
As evidence of Aguila’s commitment to producing quality shotshells, the company is an ammo sponsor for five professional shooters (four of which are shotgun specialists).
Aguila at the Range
For this review, we tested two flavors of .22 LR, along with a box of 115 grain FMJ 9mm Luger and 12 gauge Minishells at the range. The .22 was shot through:
- A well-used Ruger 22/45 pistol
- A newer Taurus TX22 pistol
- A dedicated .22 LR conversion AR-15
- A Ruger 10/22 in a rest with a Feddersen barrel (among other upgrades).
Note: The 10/22 has been proven to hold .75 MOA 5-shot groups at 50 yards with premium target ammo.
The 9mm was put through:
- A Glock 17
- A Springfield Armory Hellcat
The Minishells were shot through a regular Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag.
Let’s dive in, starting with the rimfire cartridges.
Test conditions were 25°F, with variable winds at 800 feet of elevation. The winds were gusting up to 10 miles per hour. This might not sound like much, but tiny bullets traveling at roughly 1,050 fps are hugely affected by wind. Both loads featured 40 grain bullets, with the blue box being traditional unplated lead and the red featuring a copper-plated bullet.
Shooting impressions of both were that the blue box had a milder report and even less recoil than the red box. But we’re talking .22 LR here, so both recoil and report are negligible to begin with. Both are from Aguila’s Super Extra lineup of standard velocity .22, meaning they’re not hyper velocity supersonic rounds and would suppress well.
Rimfire Accuracy/precision testing
First, we tested the unplated lead bullet. The average velocity of a 10-shot string from the 10/22 was 1,117 fps measured 2 feet from the barrel, while the three 5-shot groups measured 1.25”, 1.25”, and 1.80” for an average of 1.43” at 50 yards. Extreme spread (the difference between the fastest and slowest shot) was 57 fps.
Unplated blue box accuracy/precision results
The plated bullets (in the red box) fared better in accuracy/precision, consistency, and velocity. Average velocity was 1,251 fps with an extreme spread of 45. Groups measured 1”, .8”, and 1.6” for an average of 1.13”, which is extremely acceptable given the gusty conditions during our testing.
Copper-plated red box accuracy/precision results
Accuracy was not tested with the .22 LR AR conversion, but all 30 rounds shot through this firearm functioned flawlessly.
The rest of the 100 rounds were put through the pistol duo. The unplated round (the blue box) registered an average of 935 fps from 10 shots through the Ruger’s 5.5” barrel with an extreme spread of 138 fps. Oddly enough, the shorter 4.1” barrel of the Taurus TX22 produced faster speeds at 949.6 fps from a nine-shot string (the chronograph errored on one shot) with an extreme spread of 53 fps.
Throughout the testing and shooting of all 100 rounds of supplied ammo, there were zero malfunctions of any sort in all of the four firearms. This might be a better measure of performance than velocity or accuracy, based on the intended use of this ammo. Neither the plated or unplated ammo are marketed as hyper precision rounds, but still make fantastic everyday plinking rounds. Aguila’s .22 LR offerings are as reliable as anything else on the market, and deliver an above-average degree of accuracy and precision.
The biggest knock against rimfire ammo in general is that it’s dirty. This claim applies to the huge bulk packs of .22, but is completely untrue of these two options from Aguila. It was all as clean as you can expect rimfire ammo to be, and its flawless function is testament to the cleanliness and quality of the brand.
Overall, it’s a step above your average bulk pack in cleanliness, reliability, and accuracy/precision. You get what you pay for, and that’s especially true in the world of rimfire.
The Aguila 9mm ammo tested for this review is boxer-primed with reloadable brass casings stamped “AGUILA 9MM” and features a nicely plated classic 115 grain FMJ bullet.
Through the 4.49” barrel of the Glock, an average velocity of 652 fps was recorded over a 9-shot string (dang chrono failed again). The extreme spread was 109. Recoil was very controllable for double taps on a standard IPSC-sized steel target. This ammo is a perfect Goldilocks load that isn’t too hot or too slow.
Through the Hellcat’s 3” barrel, recoil is a bit harsher, but that’s par for the course with tiny 9mm guns. Velocity over a 10-shot string average was 619 fps, with an extreme spread of 133 fps.
The extreme spreads could have been better. These loads weren’t tested for accuracy (mostly because measuring mechanical accuracy with semi-auto handguns is part voodoo and part luck). But these are proven guns, and the accuracy seemed to be acceptable. Throughout testing, there were no malfunctions of any kind with either gun. Again, this is paramount when it comes to handgun performance.
Minishells (red) with standard 2 ¾” buckshot loads
The Minishells are the calling card of Aguila’s shotshell lineup. This particular Minishell load features low brass hulls and 7 ½” shot.
Their 1 ¾” length is a full inch shorter than standard 12 gauge shells, giving them several advantages and only a single drawback. For starters, they instantly increase the capacity of any shotgun. A regular Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag has a capacity of 6+1 with 2 ¾” shells. With Minishells, a whopping nine shells fit in the tube, with one more in the chamber for a total of 10 shells.
Another advantage to Minishells is greatly reduced recoil. A 12 gauge shotgun can be a recoil monster, especially with 3 ½” turkey or goose loads. While Minishells are neither turkey nor goose loads, a regular game, dove, or quail load can tax a shoulder during a few rounds of trap or a day afield.
Mild recoiling shells like these are good for youth and recoil-shy beginners. You get all of the fun of the full shotgunning experience with none of the bruises. Furthermore, Minishells are a good option for when you want to take down small game but don’t want a whole bunch of shot in your meat.
The only issue we encountered with the Minishells was this: Most pump-action and semi auto shotguns are designed to function with at least the standard 2 ¾” shells. In the pump-action Mossberg, feeding and ejection issues were common, with the shells jamming the action as we attempted to eject a spent hull and put the gun back into battery. However, it’s important to note that adapters like the OPSol Mini-Clip are designed to solve this exact problem. When installed in the lift gate, this rubber wedge adapter accommodates shorter shells in 12 gauge shotguns.
However, this particular 835 is designed for use with up to 3 ½” shells and features an extra roomy receiver, which gives the little shells greater space in which to flop around and malfunction. A gun with a 2 ¾” chamber and receiver may fare better.
Minishell malfunction in a pump-action
Today’s ammo market is being flooded with more new brands than ever. While Aguila hasn’t been around for over a century like Remington or Winchester, they have been in operation since 1961. In that time, they’ve learned what their customers want, and clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to producing high-quality ammo.
The global marketplace has afforded us imports of ammunition from all around the globe. Places like Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, and Mexico are more than happy to feed Americans’ appetite for ammo. But the market isn’t one that tolerates subpar products for long. If something is outed as garbage, it falls from favor and a new or existing product takes its market share.
Since its big push into the American shooting sports scene, Aguila has managed to grow its lineup and become an accepted part of many shooters’ range days. Its clean performance, respectable accuracy, and rock-solid reliability have earned a reputation that should propel Aguila into the future.
Try a box of Aguila ammo for yourself from Pro Armory to see how it performs in your weapon of choice.