Ammunition review and reference
Last Updated :: 5/29/2012 8:06:35 PM EDT

I will make a blanket statement here by adding one ammo manufacturer which hasn't been rated: American Ammunition (AMERC headstamp). There have been many reports of this ammo, and the brass itself being substandard. Please avoid it at all costs. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more info.

For chronograph data of many of these loads, please refer to this link.

Due to the large variety of ammunition available, I've decided to include two general-purpose review links for heavy match ammo, and hunting-type ammo. For example - the ammo review thread for Federal .223 may not be the appropriate place to add review for a Trophy-bonded bear claw ammo. Consider these two threads for "odds-and-ends".

For the following ammo reviews, the numbers in parantheses list (in order): the number of responses, percentage of people WITHOUT problems, percentage of people with MINOR problems, percentage of people who won't use it. The table is ordered to rank the ammunition based on the lowest percentage of people of have no major problems. In case of a tie, the number of responses and the amount of people experiencing minor problems will be used as a tie breaker.
                                             AMMO / LINK TO REVIEWS                 
 1)  914 responses  (93.1% /  5.3% /  1.6%)  WINCHESTER Q3131A / IMI M193
 2)  510 responses  (94.5% /  3.7% /  1.8%)  BLACK HILLS   
 3)  817 responses  (93.3% /  4.8% /  2.0%)  WINCHESTER .223CAL 
 4) 2437 responses  (93.0% /  4.9% /  2.1%)  FEDERAL/LC XM193 (Boxed)
 5) 1620 responses  (93.6% /  3.9% /  2.5%)  FEDERAL or AMERICAN EAGLE .223CAL
 6) 1509 responses  (92.0% /  5.5% /  2.5%)  PMC 
 7)  230 responses  (90.0% /  7.0% /  3.0%)  FIOCCHI
 8)  106 responses  (95.3% /  1.9% /  2.8%)  WINCHESTER Q3131A1 (*)
 9)  520 responses  (89.4% /  7.1% /  3.5%)  FEDERAL/LC XM855
10)  572 responses  (92.3% /  3.8% /  3.8%)  WINCHESTER Q3131 (*)
11)  706 responses  (84.8% / 10.8% /  4.4%)  GUATEMALAN M193 (*)
12)  416 responses  (88.5% /  7.0% /  4.6%)  PRVI Partizan/Monarch GREEN box
13)  526 responses  (83.7% / 11.4% /  4.9%)  CENTURION/US Loosepack (*)
14) 1337 responses  (86.4% /  8.5% /  5.2%)  REMINGTON/UMC
15)  310 responses  (75.2% / 19.7% /  5.2%)  WOLF PERFORMANCE AMMUNITION (WPA)
16)  432 responses  (81.7% / 12.5% /  5.8%)  BARNAUL/BROWN Bear/BLUE or RED box Monarch
17)  584 responses  (73.8% / 20.0% /  6.2%)  FEDERAL/LC XM855 (Bulk Pack)
18)  946 responses  (85.9% /  7.4% /  6.7%)  SELLIER & BELLOT
19)  998 responses  (79.5% / 13.2% /  7.3%)  RADWAY GREEN (o)
20)  426 responses  (85.2% /  6.8% /  8.0%)  PMP (South African) (*)
21)  644 responses  (76.0% / 15.5% /  8.5%)  WOLF (Military Classic)
22)  888 responses  (77.9% / 13.1% /  9.0%)  WOLF M193/Prvi Partizan M193 (*)
23) 2667 responses  (75.1% / 15.2% /  9.7%)  TULA / WOLF Black Box / Herter's (Polymer Coating)
24)  246 responses  (78.5% / 11.8% /  9.8%)  IGMAN/HOTSHOT
25)  343 responses  (77.3% / 12.8% /  9.9%)  GEORGIA ARMS
26)  245 responses  (82.4% /  6.9% / 10.6%)  HUNTING SHACK MUNITIONS (HSM)
27)  865 responses  (81.7% /  7.2% / 11.1%)  SILVER/GOLD BEAR
28)  767 responses  (69.8% / 17.7% / 12.5%)  ADCOM M855
29)  520 responses  (74.8% / 12.3% / 12.9%)  ULTRAMAX
30)  270 responses  (59.2% / 24.8% / 15.9%)  FEDERAL/LC XM193PD (o)
31)  115 responses  (58.3% / 22.6% / 19.1%)  SANTA BARBARA SS109 (o)
32)  209 responses  (66.0% /  6.7% / 27.3%)  WOLF (Lacquer coating) (o)
33)  166 responses  (54.8% / 16.9% / 28.3%)  NATEC/PCA Spectrum polymer-cased (o)
34)  115 responses  (53.0% / 18.3% / 28.7%)  MAINE CARTRIDGE CO. (o)
35)  405 responses  (42.7% /  8.6% / 48.6%)  OLYMPIC (o)
(*) - this ammo may be obsolete or difficult to find. Please let me know when/where you've seen this ammo.
(o) - this ammo is obsolete and the thread has been locked for further reviews. All existing comments can still be read.

Please participate and add to the knowledge by clicking on the ammunition you have experience with. Click on the link for the ammo you have experience with, fill out the poll, and add your comments to the end of that thread. This is especially important if you have a negative experience with that particular kind of ammo.

Note about various types of FEDERAL XM193: You may notice that XM193 has several different types in the ammo review below. According to Federal, there are no real differences between these types: "All XM193 is the same. The letter designation after the XM193 is only for packaging designations. They all go through the same loader, inspection process and are all the same quality of ammunition no matter the suffix." On the other hand, the ammo reviews seem to clearly indicate that there are quality differences between them. There are basically what I would consider two main designations for this ammo:
  1. Boxed. The boxed ammo may be designated XM193, XM193A, XM193C, etc. In the review below, please check the "Federal/LC XM193" review for all versions of boxed XM193.
  2. Loose-packed. In the 2005 time frame, loose packed ammo was being sold on the market as XM193PD (and the XM855PD equivalent). It was quite apparent that this ammo was much below the standard of the boxed ammo: Split necks, loose bullets, severely dented cases, etc. As of early 2009, this ammo has not been available for several years. XM193BK has recently surfaced on the market, but there's not enough known about it yet to see if it's more like XM193PD in quality, or if it's different enough to warrant its own review
Some additional info thanks to JadeRaven:
  • A - 900 round case on 10rd stripper clips
  • AF - 900 round case on 10rd stripper clips
  • BK - 1000 round bulk case
  • BL - 100 round bulk box (10 boxes per case)
  • C - 20 round box (25 boxes per case)
  • CBP - 200 round box (2 boxes per case)
  • F - 20 round box (25 boxes per case)
  • J - 30 round box on 10 rd stripper clips (30 boxes per case)
This list may not be all inclusive.

Reference links to MOLON's ammunition reviews


Bushmaster specifically prohibits using this ammo. (LINK HAS CHANGED - If anyone has tracked down the new location for this, please IM me)

As mentioned above, AMERC ought to be considered off-limits. I have searched the archives and found just some of the many first-hand comments about AMERC:

sambeaux: Mine are pretty similar to other posts. My brothers and I each bought a couple of boxes of 45ACP, and I also bought a box of 9mm. Frightening stuff. Bullets were noticeably deformed in some cases. Most bullets looked like they'd taken a trip through a ball mill... Numerous dings and dents. Sound and recoil indicated highly erratic pressures. Some rounds were almost silent, some cause a big BOOM. Most of the primer pockets were loose enough that I could push in a new primer with my fingers. The brass for the 45 was also interesing. I could not chamber any of my reloads using the Amerc brass in an AMT Hardballer. Loads from the same session using other brass chambered fine. I ended up pulling all the bullets and throwing away all the A-Merc brass. Never been brave enough to buy American again.

Shotgun12: The problem I had, was failure to chamber .... due to cartridges being out of spec (.45ACP).
I tried one box a while back, and had to toss nearly half of 'em, because the rounds were too large in diameter to fit in the chamber.

fxntime: After seeing a friend "reconfigure" his gun with amerc I would not touch it. See way to much of it's brass with splits to ever trust it. Pure CRAP!!!!!

brouahaha: I have seen a .45 blow up at the range. I have seen a .223 squib load. I have seen more than one split neck. None were my weapons nor ammo, but I was present. The squib and the split necks were the same schmuck who kept shooting with no regard to himself.

barrysuperhawk: I bought 100 rounds of 55gr. .223 A-Merc, in two of the 50 round blue boxes. I opened the boxes and didn't see anything amiss at the time. Later, as I set about assembling them onto stripper clips, I noticed a disparity in the oal, bullet seating. Some of the rounds have the canellure fully exposed, on others the bullet is seated well below the cannelure. The crimp seems random also. As it stands, I don't think, I want to shoot them as they are.

SP10: I have no experience with A-merc's .223, but their .45 ACP ammo is total dreck. Brass is out of spec, non-reloadable. I tried this crap 2-3 years ago and learned my lesson. 2 friends recently bought some. It did chamber (unlike some of the crap I bought) and go bang, with the occasional primer falling out of the pocket upon firing.

FlameRed: Last year I picked up a few thousand rounds of American Ammo's .223 from Natchez. Started to get primer blow out which jammed the rifles badly. American customer service was very good, and they paid to take the ammo back from me and replaced it. Took some of the replacement stuff out yesterday and got another primer blow out.

Troy: In my 9 years at, nearly half of the blown-up guns were attempting to fire American Ammuntion. $10 is a cheap lesson.

shultz: AMERC is some of the WORST ammo I've ever seen. A friend shot some .45/9mm that was scary... something like this... Bang, BANG, BOOM... very eratic and forget about groups. I had the misfortune of getting some Pistol brass with AMERC head stamps. Primer flash holes were drilled off center... some were in the EDGE of the primer pocket! I split a few cased in half to look at the cross section... web was THIN, side wall's were not uniform and the brass itself looked odd... almost like it was not all brass. needless to say I didn't reload a case... no wonder it was free myself I would ot run ONE round of that stuff through any of my Pistols... I didn't even know they made rifle ammo... no way would I shoot it.

northern: bought a case from S.G. of 30. carbine. Split cases and 2' groups it is junk!

jab: JUNK! @ the 100 yard range my rifle was sighted in on winchester white box and wolf, i had bought 500 rounds of the american so i thought id give it a try, I kid you not it wouldent even hit paper! I think i hit paper 10 out of 50 rounds. I dident think it was even posible to be that far off, i started to take a look at the rounds, and holyshit these have got to be the most deformed bullet i have ever seen. ugly real ugly.

captainpooby: I wouldnt shoot it if you gave it to me. I bought 500 rnds of .45 ACP and had several squib load a while back.

Soup-Nazi: This is the worst ammo I've ever shot. It threw a 4 foot group at 20 yards out of my AR-15, Thats right 4 feet (48 inches!!!!!! at 20 yard indoor range!!!!). Bullets were so loose in the case I could rotate them by hand. Hope you have better luck that I did.

Foxxz: Its NO GOOD! I had some .223. Cracked necks, brittle brass. Lead to cases getting stuck in the chamber and the extractor ripping the rims off.

Detslider: Here is a photo of American Ammunition's QC
The top round is obviously a short one
The middle round caused a terrible jam, notice how the casing has no flat lip for the extractor to grab on to
The bottom round is XM855PD placed for comparison
Of the 500 rounds I bought I had countless FTE, I still have a few hundred rounds left, it's so bad it makes even a day of plinking aggravating.
I like the idea of making a sticky or at least adding it to the Ammo review sticky that already exists