Q. What ammunition does Derek F. recommend for self-defense, storage, plinking, training and match use?
Self-defense ammo: It all depends on the rifle I pick up. With a 1/7 twist rifle, I’m a fan of the Nosler 77gr., which I handload myself as close to NATO pressures as possible. With a 1/9 twist rifle, the 68gr Hornady gets my nod, which I also handload. With either of these rounds, I expect to be able to defend myself out to a distance of approximately 200 yards and no farther. Anything beyond that distance and I’d rather retreat/evade. I have no idea what kind of weapon I will be facing, and I’d rather not take the chance of engaging a scoped rifle with iron sights at long range. I try to cycle through this ammo as quickly as possible, so long term storage is not a concern for me with my defensive ammo.
Plinking ammo: I’ll shoot just about anything…as long as it is relatively accurate, goes boom each time and cycles reliably. I’ll use this ammo for hitting reactive targets out to 300yds such as fruits, steel plates and propane tanks. Basically, if it goes “clang” or explodes, I consider it plinking.
Training ammo: I alternate between Q3131A and XM193. I don’t really have a preference as far as accuracy/reliability are concerned, however Q3131A is easy to find locally, thus it is the slight favorite. For training ammo, I want the utmost in reliability and accuracy while still keeping M193 spec. This is probably the most common ammo that I will find in a SHTF situation, so it is what I train to use.
Storage ammo: When it comes to storage, I'm more packrat than human. I currently have in excess of 20k rounds of Q3131A and XM193 stored on stripper clips in bandoliers in both .30 cal and .50 cal ammo cans. Each ammo can contains 2 stripper clip spoons for ease of loading along with a pack or 2 of desiccant. I rarely drop below the 10k mark, and when I do I make sure to pick up another case or two. My BoB consists of 1000 rounds of Q3131A in 20 round mags and on strippers."
Match ammo: I don’t do much match shooting, but when it comes to absolute accuracy, I usually go with the Sierra 77gr MatchKing in the Federal Gold Medal Match loading. With this round, I am able to get sub-MOA groups out to 300yds using a 16” M4 barrel.