Please give feedback on your PERSONAL experience with Federal XM855PD/CS ammunition

I have not had any problems with this ammunition

I have had minor problems with this ammunition, but will continue to use it

I have had major problems with this ammunition, and will not use it anymore

(170)  84.16%

(26)  12.87%

(6)  2.97%
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Total Votes: 202
Does not play well with others
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Posted: 11/14/2007 4:35:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2010 11:41:58 AM EDT by Zhukov]
Due to the previous thread being archived, I have to start a new post. Please do not vote again if you have previously done so.

Previous results
425 responses
297 had no problems
96 had minor problems
32 had major problems

This thread is ONLY about the LOOSE boxed XM855PD or XM855CS variants (or any others which Federal has deemed to create).

Please add your personal experience with Lake City XM855PD/CS ammunition to this thread. When you do, please give information about:
1) Firearm used in
2) Approximate number of rounds fired.

I am trying to solicit only information about your PERSONAL experience with this ammunition. If you haven't used it, then please don't clutter up the thread. Information about proper functioning (or lack thereof) is obviously the most important, but factors such as the accuracy or other peculiarities you've noticed are informative also. If you have had problems with this ammo which were severe enough to cause you to stop using this ammo, then please describe them. And one more minor request: keep your reviews objective.

This is part of the FAQ Troy has written about this ammo:

This comes up over and over again, so here are the facts. And, no, no one here knows what "PD" really stands for, if anything.

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the only remaining small-arms ammo factory owned by the government, and is the source of most ammo used by the US military. [Due to the drastic increase in ammo usage with the WoT, Winchester/Olin, the only other company with the loading machines to make mil-spec ammo, has been given a contract for a few million rounds of ammo.]

Lake City, while owned by the government, has always been run by civilian contractors. From 1986-1999, it was operated by Olin (Winchester). The Winchester "white box" "Q-load" ammo (such as Q3131) was Lake City-manufactured ammo stamped with Winchester (WCC) headstamps.

Starting in 2000, the contract to operate Lake City was given to Alliant Techsystems (ATK), who had just bought all the gun-related companies that were formerly owned by Blount. This "shooting sports group" included: Federal, Speer, CCI, RCBS, Weaver, Outers, Ramline, and perhaps one or two others. ATK chose Federal to run Lake City, and thus, the "Federal XMxxx" loads were born.

The US military has extremely tough and strict requirements for ammo, and many layers of Quality Control (QC) checks to ensure that contract ammo is up to spec. Obviously, as with any mass-produced item, some of the product is going to fail QC.

LC-produced ammo that passes all the QC checks is packaged up and sent out to fulfill military contracts. I call this "Grade 1" ammo, which means "the best." Note that ammo that is delivered to the military can no longer be surplussed as whole ammo, due to an Executive Order by Klinton in 1997, so as a rule, this ammo will never be available on the commercial market.

Ammo that fails QC in a minor way, such as not being completely moisture-sealed, but is otherwise good ammo is "Grade 2". That's what "XM193" is that Federal sells in 20-round boxes: Grade 2 ammo. The same with XM855.

Ammo that has more serious problems, such as severe dents, bent rounds, split necks, and so on, is "Grade 3" (or worse). Federal is selling this as XM193PD and XM855PD, and packs it loose in 500 round boxes. (For those who haven't been around long, loose-packed ammo is almost always Grade 3 or lower quality, no matter who you buy it from. If it was higher quality, it would have been boxed up and sold at full price!)

It is important to understand that batches of Grade 2 ammo may be made up of a mix of Grade 1 and Grade 2, and that Grade 3 ammo may have both Grade 1 and Grade 2 ammo mixed in. The grade is given based on the worst ammo in the lot.

XM193PD (Grade 3) is sold at a discount compared to the boxed XM193 (Grade 2), and real M193 is not available to the public (unless it was surplussed before 1997). Discounted prices on ammo generally mean the ammo is lower quality, especially when the same ammo is sold for two or more different prices, so this really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Also note that the PD loads are clearly marked "For Practice Use Only", another indication that this is DEFINITELY NOT Grade 1 (or even Grade 2) ammo.

Hopefully that clears up any confusion you might have. For those who have purchased "PD" ammo, make sure you hand-sort it first, and cull out any bad rounds. Also, be prepared for a squib load or any other unusual behavior, and make sure you know what to do when and if something occurs.

Finally, do NOT use the PD ammo for anything "important", and especially not for duty or defensive use. This is bargain ammo that will give performance and reliability in proportion to its selling price. TANSTAAFL!

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"I'm betting that if we took a poll here, noone would like sucking on hairy balls" - TxLewis
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Posted: 11/14/2007 4:36:57 PM EDT
Some of the archived comments:

I got 2000 rounds of it, intending to use 500 and stash the other 1500. So far I've only used 90 rounds out of it.
All the rounds looked good. I didn't count them, but they all looked fine. Maybe 5 rounds total out of 2000 with the bullet seated a "wee" bit too deep. But so much as to toss them out. Out of the 90, all went bang, and they punch through 1/4" steel plates like a paper punch through warm butter. Bushmaster XM15. 11" BBL.

2k, tossed maybe 5. Not pretty but function great.

I have 6,000 rounds of XM855PD, I have inspected and gone through every round,and I have used around 2,000 rounds in a Colt 6600, 6601, and a ArmaLite M15A2. Not one single problem, I am goingto highly recommend it

I have bought this ammo from SportmansGuide twice.
Both orders of 500 rounds were great, no bent rounds.
I think the best part was the price.
1st order $104 for 500 rounds delivered (still had club membership)
2nd order came to $109 for 500 rounds delivered.

about 400 of a 1000 so far and all good to go.... i picked out about 25/35 just to be safe. not one problem

Good stuff, though you have pay attention to under powered rnds. Ihaven't had any that did't make it out the barrel though I have had a few that made me look down the barrel to be sure. About a half dozen out of 1-1.5 k fired.

Had 2 that got lodged in the throat, not alowing another round to chamber. Both were knocked out with no dammage.

1k from Ammoman--not a single problem

1. 16" Bushmaster and Mini-14
2. 250 rounds so far
No problems

several minor dings.most rounds had the green tip paint wearing off.sound fine thru a Bushy 16" and aColt MT lightwt

1400K rounds
inpectes and threw out about 15-20 rounds.
It has always gone bang.

comming up on 3k of the stuff and not a single reject or problem

I have fired around 200 rds of this ammo with no problems. 2 Bushmasters, both 16 in barrels, M4 type. At 100 yds with my EOTech 551 and 552 zeroed for 50 yds, most every shot was within 8 in dia pattern. Worked most excellent, and will save the remaining 798 rds. This was all loose packed and marked for training only, 62 gr FMJ green tips. Nato stamped and dates were 01 to 05, and in between.
Edit 5/21/06-
Ok now have fired about 700 rds thru this 1st batch. This stuff is pretty accurate. Even firing pattern group shots of 4 to 6 shots in 10-15 seconds (and faster) I have no problem being on a 8 in dia plate, with most in or near the Bullyeye at 100 yds. This ammo was from Natchez.

Been through two 1000 round boxes. Never a problem. I have pulled about 10-20 rounds per thousand that I don't think I should shoot. I really like 855PD.

I bought a case of this mostly because it was rated decent and I wanted ammo to shoot in my AR.
The AR was a Del-Ton 16" kit built on a Stag lower. barrel was 1x9 chrome lined M4 profile. I was trying to get rid of this ammo yesterday and tried to shoot 600 or so rounds and I had I would guess 100 or so rounds that wouldn't fire. Some would fire if you rechambered the round and tapped the FA, but most just a click.
I tried to see if the issue was ammunition specific and shot several magazines of Wolf without a hiccup. Worst load of cash I've ever dropped.
ETA: none of the rounds had mis-shapen bulllets or cases and all look like they should be fine to fire. To say the least I was embarassed that the M855PD shot worse than the Wolf which was more than half the price. I voted serious problem.

I picked up 500 rounds from Sportsmans Guide not realizing what it was. I culled probably about 15-20
rounds with serious problems like a primer in backwards, badly dented brass, misaligned bullets, and
split case necks. I culled another 20 or 30 that had minor bulges on the case neck that would feed in
my mini14 but not my AR. I'll probably pick up some more, but I'd prefer to not get the PD stuff again.
Although sorting through by hand only took an hour or so...

I bought a case from natchez, I sorted through it and only found 1 bad round. I put 160 rounds through my bushy, and they worked great.

On my second case of xm855pd. First case mixed 00-02 headstamps. I would say that 1 out of 5 or so were beutiful, maybe even what you would consider close to first but definitly seconds. Found about 5 or 6 that were dented and a couple FTFS. Had one case that actually split in half while shooting one day...that was fun. Second case is 04 headstamp only. Noticed a lot more primer sealant on these verses the latter and also the bullets had much more sealant on them. These are also loaded almost a grain heavier on the powder charge. Went through entire case and pulled out about 3 that were to dented to shoot and about 6 that had moisture damage. Rest of the case is fine but I did notice that these are not nearly as "pretty" as my last case but they shoot just fine. Probably my most favorite ammo to shoot out of my Colt M4 and my 20 inch match target HBAR. I can group around an inch with the HBAR on the first group after a good cleaning which is very acceptable. Great plinking ammo also, gives you a good kick compared to other surp like RORG or Guat. Im going to track down more before it is gone or gets to much more expensive.

I have bought a couple cases of this stuff and have shot about half of it. There were 20-30 rounds in each case that were badly dented or had ripped necks, but there were still more than a 1,000 good looking rounds in each box. One case had green tips, the other did not. Accuracy is decent. Other than on my last range trip, I have had not problems with this ammo.
I had a weak round on the last trip to the range. The report was quiet, but the bullet did manage to make it out of the barrel. There was not enough oomph to strip the next round out of the magazine, but it ejected the weak round OK.
I would not bump fire with this ammo.

I shot @ 750 rounds a few weeks ago. I had one round that seemed quiet. I dropped mag, cleared chamber it had live round in it. hit the take down pin and checked barrel all was clear. This had been my only problem so far. If you call this a problem.

I just picked up 1000 rnds of this stuff.
I've fired roughly 200. Out of that 200 I haven't found any obvious defects in the cases, All rounds fired, and all rounds had enough energy to load the next round. Penetration was EXCELLENT and a round even managed to neatly cut a 6 penny nail (sunk behind 4 inches of wood) in half.
At 100 yards this stuff groups like shit. Out of a 20" bushmaster I couldn't get it under a 6 inch group (and that's assuming a couple of really wild ones were my fault). At 200 yards they were literally all over the place most missing the target completely.
In the same outing I used 68gr blue box Black Hills and with a couple exceptions was inside 1.

I purchased 1000 rounds of this from Midway awhile back, put it into stripper clips and bandoleers. While doing this I found maybe 4 or 5 rounds that were damaged, rest of it looked like regular GI ammo.

I have purchased 10K rounds of xm855pd and gone thru ~1k.
Averaging approx 7-12 throwaways/1K box. No other issues encountered.
Averaging 3-4MOA @ 100yds out of two Colt M4gery/Carbines (1/7 twist) with EOTech when on bench and taking time. I imagine I could have *much* more accuracy with a scope optic but that is not the application for this rifle (I have my Sako trg-42 .338LapuaMag w/US Optics SN-3 3-22x for long-range accuracy apps).
I'm quite pleased with empirical observations (no chrono) of the power, 62-grain steel-core bullet (penetration), consistency, accuracy and price. Purists & dinged rounds aside, I honestly can't see any problems with utilising these rounds in any real-world app, training or not. I don't mind a few throwaways/1K at the price point ~ most of mine was purchased @ $170/1k delivered up to $200/1k delivered most recently. I certainly would not want to be shot with it... and I suspect any BG's wouldn't be alive long enough to express their offense at being hit with such unworthy ammo.

i fired 200 rds today through bushmaster varminter scoped.... out of 200 rds maybe 3 felt irratic in the power dept.... i printed 1 inch at 100 yrds on paper .... then went to shooting 4 to 6 inch rocks on metal stakes at 500 yrds.... this is the max range at my rifle range.... i could hit the rocks about 4 out of 6 times.... i do not know if it was me or the ammo...... i would not have bought if i had known it to be PD... i bought at gunshow for $225 and thought it was regular 855.... i will not buy again.... i want the good stuff .... although it is decent ammo for practice...... havent sorted through the rounds just shot it... 01-05 headstamp

I've mostly used Lake City XM855PD in my rifle. Out of about 2500 rounds fired through my rifle about 2000 rounds have been XM855PD. I haven't had any trouble at all.

I've purchased about 8k rounds of XM855PD over the past year through various vendors. I would have to say that I have tossed out about 10-20 rounds due to issues with the brass (usually large dents, but have also encountered some torn necks). I have also had 1 squib with the XM855PD.

I bought one thousand rounds from Ammoman, looked at it, and sorted it. Out of that onoe thousand rounds I found three that I wouldn't gamble with even putting in a magazine. The ammo was headstamped 06. With shooting ball park of 500 rounds without a problem I ordered four more thousand. Three of these four thousand rounds where headstamped 06 and the fourth is stamped 05. I haven't gone through any of these with a fine toothed comb, maybe I'll do that if I ever get scared. The price was right, and the ammo was available. If I had it to do all over again at the same price yes, I'd jump all over it. Don't see prices coming down for a good while.

I have had about a 12/1000 reject rate with this ammo from about three different lots, along with the usual extreme variations on green tip paint and primer sealant. The ones that I've feed into my 1/7 Colt and two 1/9 Bushies have all gone bang with 5.56mm force. In general, the ammo looks pretty gnarley with lots of dents and creases. A commercial ammo maker could never get away with selling stuff that looks like this. The military was right to reject it for frontline service. So why are we now paying $300/1000 or more for this stuff? What a ream job!

Bought 5000 rounds; I've gone through about 1500 in my M16s. Fewer than 10 rounds didn't get loaded because of problems I noticed with the rounds when loding magazines. No issues with any of the fired rounds.

About 500 rounds from a colt 20" upper.
A couple of rounds had feed issues. I suspect that this was due to the fact that quite a few rounds had the bullets seated at different depths, etc. Also, had one blown primer. Additionally, when loading my mags, there were about 30-40 rounds that were so bent / deformed / dented that I either could not load them into the mags or decided not to risk a kaboom.

Stag AR-15 and Ruger mini-14 thousands of rounds some of the only I wil buy.
Daddy loves you. Now go away.

"I'm betting that if we took a poll here, noone would like sucking on hairy balls" - TxLewis
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Posted: 12/10/2007 9:13:48 PM EDT

i went through 2,000rds of SS109 PD ammo that i recently traded for. I came up with about 50rds that i pulled out, split necks, lots of dented cases (some i will shoot some i won't), tilted bullets.
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Posted: 2/18/2008 3:31:53 PM EDT
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Daddy loves you. Now go away.
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Posted: 3/8/2008 9:16:21 PM EDT
Have run about 300 rds through my DPMS M4 w/o any failures. Accuracy is not great but, for mil. spec. ammo and a 1:9 twist bbl it does fine.
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Posted: 3/9/2008 3:03:37 PM EDT
I purchased 1000 rds of XM855PD from Ammoman and have fired about 700 rds of it out of a 16 inch 5.56 barrel. I did not have any problems with it. It grouped 1.5 - 2 inches at 100 yards out of my Wilson Combat upper.
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Posted: 4/27/2011 5:40:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/4/2011 7:27:05 PM EDT by WinstonStix]
Wow xm 193 is seconds or sub par? some body should have told my weapon that because it runs 3/4 " groups at a 100 yards with that sub standard stuff.
seriosly I have ran thousands of rounds of xm 193 and never had any problems at all, not one failure ever and it has been the most accurate out of the box round i have found . As far as the designations go it doesnt matter what string of characters come after the load designation those are simply packaging descriptions. XM 193bl is the same thing as XM 193j (just differant packaging) just as XM 855 is XM 855 there are no "grades " of either of these loads and Xm 855 is held to the same specifications as XM 193 with the differnce being the bullet type/weight and charge. The xm 855 is a steel core penetrator that some ranges might not allow? As far as the XM designation it was explained to me that the M designated milll spec and the X designates over run intended for civilian/domestic sales. I recently purchased two 420 rnd cans at 149.99 each, I opened one for inspection and found a very well packed container that was in fact in a slight vacume and contained 10 round stripper clips times three per cardboard sleeve all excess space was taken up by styrofoam and they included a strip clip adapter. all rounds looked great and cases were properly annealed and sealed. The cans I bought did come with Lake City tamper proof tags. As far as the "NOT FOR DUTY USE" I believe this is simply because it is a steel core round and lacks the soft tissue damaging characteristics of "defensive" loads. In short it will over penetrate in soft tissue.
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Posted: 11/27/2011 9:24:10 PM EDT
I just ordered some ... mark for results.
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Posted: 11/27/2011 9:29:11 PM EDT
Out of 1000 I have shot 820 through my LMT piston. No problems with the ammo not shooting properly. I have taken out 12 rounds due to dents and bad crimps, but thats it.

Red Dragons_F@ck Sh!t Up
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Posted: 3/7/2012 7:00:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2012 7:04:41 AM EDT by aeroc123]
Gun: ar-15 PSA upper, spikes lower with PSA lower kit
rounds fired 300

Out of the 300 - 14 ftf's on first trigger pull- 4 fired second trigger pull. 10 ftf's on 3 and 4th strike both on my at and a.friends police issue weapon.

All ejected fine, no stovepipes and mil-spec accuracy at 100 yards. Powder varied about 2 grains between rounds and bullets had a variance of .1 grains.
Primers on visual inspection,appeared fine. Sealant was evident on all pulled bullets and primers.

I bought this ammo to break in the barrel knowing it was xm so didn't expect stellar quality but the ftf rate was disappointing.
Hope this helps