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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 1/22/2004 3:36:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/4/2004 1:10:29 PM EDT by Zhukov]
Please add your personal experience with surplus Santa Barbara SS109 ammunition to this thread. When you do, please give information about:
1) Firearm used in
2) Approximate number of rounds fired.

From chasmcg's post out of a 16" barrel:
Velocity: 2911fps, StdDev: 11.87

I've added this poll since Santa Barbara is the cheapest SS109 variant around and is still widely available for about $150/1000.

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 post is part of a larger information-gathering effort I'm trying to start about ALL ammunition popular in AR's:

Here are some previous threads about this ammo. If you have already described your experience in one of those posts, then just vote. There's no need to repost.
Link Posted: 1/22/2004 9:45:45 PM EDT
Bushmaster m4 and now my bushmaster 20". FTE FTE FTE FTE pretty much sums up my experience. Almost every single round FTE's for me. My first time shooting this ammo i fired around 200 -300 rounds. I only had about 10 or so fte's but all the brass cases even the ones that ejected had massive deformation on the rim. It was like i grabbed it in a pair of wire strippers and tried to strip part of it off. The rounds that fte'd had large portions of the rim either torn off or pulled back around the case towards the primer. My second time shooting it i took out my 20" as people have said that the problem seems to come from short length gas systems. This is not the case. With my 20" i had almost every single round fte. I fired only about 40 rounds because after awhile it got really old clearing the mag locking the bolt back ramming cleaing rod down the barrel repeat. The ammo is accurate seems to be loaded fairly hot but the whole FTE thing kind of ruins it.
Link Posted: 1/23/2004 9:01:54 AM EDT
Fired several hundred rounds through my 20" Colt Sporter Target. No problems. Doesn't feel quite as hot as M855, but it works. Don't have any data to determine velocity
Link Posted: 1/23/2004 1:42:07 PM EDT
1) Firearm used in Russian VEPR-k2 5.56 AK variant with RPK reciever and heavy chrome lined 1/9 twist hammer forged 16" bull barrel. 2) Approximate number of rounds fired. 200 rounds. Experienced 3 FTE out of 200 rounds. Typical rim damage from extractor trying to get a grip on the case. This rifle fires EVERYTHING else successfully. I will keep shooting it as I bought a lot, but have sold the rifle. Will test it in my AR soon and report again. Thanks for running this poll !
Link Posted: 1/23/2004 2:06:03 PM EDT
Never a FTE or FTF AVG 3070 fps 20" tube. Any indications of a rim problem have been occasional "shadow" extractor marks but no "cutting" of the brass. If my rifle didn't run this ammo I would look for a weapon problem. A "battle" rifle should run this stuff with no problem. Accurate, M855 spec and CHEAP.
Link Posted: 1/23/2004 9:47:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By M199: Never a FTE or FTF AVG 3070 fps 20" tube. Any indications of a rim problem have been occasional "shadow" extractor marks but no "cutting" of the brass. If my rifle didn't run this ammo I would look for a weapon problem. A "battle" rifle should run this stuff with no problem. Accurate, M855 spec and CHEAP.
View Quote
I doubt its my gun. I have shot every other thing out there in 5.56 Russian, Chinese, Malaysian, SA, xm193, q3131a, IMI ss109, Igman ss109 you name it if its been on the market in the past few years i have shot it. None of the above fte'd. None of the above had damage to the rims.
Link Posted: 1/24/2004 3:44:40 AM EDT
cavarms govt profile upper 14.5" with brake to make the length 16.1" out of 300 rounds i have had ripped rims, fte on about 6 rounds.
Link Posted: 1/25/2004 12:25:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2004 5:15:03 PM EDT by jason_h]
I have shot 400 rnds of the stuff SG was selling (lot 03-SB-93) without any problems out of a Colt MT6400. There was a minor amount of extractor bite on the inside of the rim, but nothing I haven't seen on other makes of ammo. It should be noted most of the ammo was not shot off rapidly.

The only downsides I have seen is that (1) it is pretty dirty with the primer sealant being sprayed all over the inside of the upper receiver and bolt, (2) quite a bit of muzzle flash out of a 16" bare muzzle (visible during daylight), and (3) lower muzzle velocity than spec (about 50-100 fps slower).

The muzzle flash and slower velocities may very well be due to slower burning powder being used. In longer 20" or 24" barrels, velocities may be much better and closer to spec. Based on my experience, the lower velocities are not due to lower chamber pressures. A friend noted that SB cases were flung much further than those of spec M193. I think gas pressure is the bigger culprit here, instead of soft brass, when it comes to torn rims.


Have fired off close to 1500 rnds of both 93 and 94 vintage. No problems whatsoever, even under rapid fire conditions. Accuracy out my rifle was 3 moa from bags with two different optics and FF barrel, not so good.
Link Posted: 1/25/2004 3:32:38 PM EDT
20" Colt 1:7, no failures of any kind in 2,000 rounds. The most accurate surplus I've ever shot.
Link Posted: 3/29/2004 6:55:49 AM EDT
I fired 90 rounds of SB ammo yesterday through my Colt AR15A2 Gov't. Carbine, with no FTF or FTE. However, a few of the rims were a little bent where the extractor made contact, and a few primers had backed out a small amount. Accuracy was nothing to brag about out of the 16" barrel, but a lot of it may have to do with me since I haven't shot that rifle in quite a while, and it was quite windy. I don't have a chrono so I don't know what velocities I was getting, but the ammo seemed pretty hot. All in all the ammo was fine for the type of shooting I was doing. I will probably order more of it in the near future.
Link Posted: 4/24/2004 6:39:17 PM EDT
RRA 16" crowned barrel. 400 rounds with no FTF or FTE. I like it and will buy more if the opportunity presents itself.
Link Posted: 4/25/2004 5:43:39 AM EDT
No problems that would deter further use, only 1 minor incident last week, was letting people play with my 7.5" w/Warrior muzzle can, had 1 that the head swelled slightly, and extractor tore a chunk off the rim, just had to "tap" the case out..
Link Posted: 4/26/2004 4:24:40 PM EDT
I have shot thousands of rounds of the SB ss109. SOME lots are made from soft brass and the rims get ripped off by the extractor. FTEs get very frequent when your rifle gets HOT and dirty and failures with this ammo has nothing to do with the reliability of your rifle. SB ss109 has been refered to as "bolt gun ammo" It's very accurate in my ARs, I have shot 1-3 MOA groups with about 2+ MOA being the norm.

I think I have 1000 rounds sitting around somewhere if anyone local is interested.
Link Posted: 5/26/2004 10:34:21 AM EDT
Would this ammo be 55gr or 62gr? Also is it always green tip?

Link Posted: 5/26/2004 4:25:09 PM EDT
OVer 10k of it down range.

First lot 99'ish was fine (4K) shot it for service rifle matches more accurate than IVI Downloaded from M855 - aprox 150fps lower than similar IVI and LC loadings.

Bought 6K in 2000 - FTE FTE FTE - soft brass ripping rims on all M4/C8 carbines aprox 5% of time - enough a rundown or rapid was thrown due to ammo.

Switched it into 20" guns - no problems - and then idea - I used it in FATBOY tubed carbines - no more ripped rims.

Stopped using it as my dillion 650 makes better ammo.
Link Posted: 5/27/2004 9:24:14 AM EDT

is the SB santa barbara or sellier belliot

Link Posted: 5/30/2004 6:19:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/18/2004 8:56:27 AM EDT
I am updating my review of this ammo from March of this year. I shot sixty rounds of this ammo (the same lot of the ammo I shot back in March) and had three FTEs. It took a cleaning rod to punch out the offending brass. Two of the rims were torn off, the other was just bent enough to prevent extraction. I fired this ammo from my pre-ban Colt AR15A2 HBAR that has NEVER malfunctioned. The ammo apparently jinxed one of my USGI thirty round mags (Parsons) because it suddenly had feeding problems. The only difference from firing this ammo back in March was the weather. It was in the mid-90s, hot as Hades. This could have made the ammo a little hotter than when I fired it in the relative cool temps of March. This is definately not SHTF ammo, and remember to bring a cleaning rod when heading to the range if you plan on shooting this ammo. I had to drive my ass all the way back home to get my rifle running again.
Link Posted: 6/18/2004 7:17:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By M4-CQBR:
Would this ammo be 55gr or 62gr? Also is it always green tip?

It's 62gr and it does NOT have a green tip.

100 Rounds fired from a 20" Bushmaster with no problems noted.
Link Posted: 6/19/2004 3:54:25 PM EDT
Oops! Breaks AFreeMans number one ammo rule...

It is not made in USA, nor South Africa, nor Isreal.

Sorry, not in my AR!
Link Posted: 8/4/2004 4:16:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/4/2004 4:18:21 PM EDT by M4-CQBR]
Went to the range this afternoon and did a penetration test between MCC SS109 and Santa Barbara SS109. Used a 1/2 thick piece of steel.
I mostly fired MCC SS109, but I had about 25 rounds of the SB. Every round of the MCC SS109 fired perfectly and completely penetrated the steel at 75yds. Awesome.
Then I loaded the SB SS109 into the M4 & went at the steel again. This time it was Bigger & Badder holes than the MCC SS109. I couldn't believe it. The SB stuff rocks and I am not trying to talk it up because I have some for sale on the EE. Both manufacturers are really great. In fact I may just keep that case of SB SS109 now. I have been hearing around the boards that folks don't like the SB.
Well I'll say this. It is accurate, hot, and clean. So is the MCC SS109 for that matter. I really like the MCC SS109.
I am going to make a drive up north and grab a few cases. If anyone is interested, maybe I'll try to put together a group buy.

Link Posted: 8/6/2004 12:32:16 AM EDT
Have a 20 inch rr arms out of 150 about 7 ftf and very dirty
Link Posted: 8/26/2004 8:37:28 AM EDT
SAMCO has this stuff listed on their website for $318 (less shipping). I was initially interested but after reading the reviews, I'll pass. Still trying to find a decent deal on some mil-type 5.56 after the local Bass Pro substituted commercial UMC for Q3131A. Does anyone know of a good deal on that Hot Shot 62gr?
Link Posted: 8/26/2004 9:14:21 PM EDT
There is an SS109 purchase in the group buy forum
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 7:10:04 AM EDT

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 7:40:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 10:26:07 AM EDT
Armalite M15A4C
About 200 rounds with no problems at all. Accuracy was pretty good at around 2.5" @ 100yds for five shots.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 3:09:55 PM EDT
Ran about 400 rounds of it through my armalite 15A4CB. No problems at all, decent accuracy.
Link Posted: 10/16/2004 3:01:17 PM EDT
Shot several hundred rds. over the summer of '03. Nothing but FTEs out of a Colt 6731 post ban, and a Bush. 16". Iwill never try this ammo again. South African battle pack, XM193, Igman, and the
ocasional LC have never failed me. I have been chronographing .556 for two years and these brands are consistant besides reliable. I don't use much Q3131A, chronographing this ammo over two years and 3 diffrent lots show some iconsistansies. Velocitys from 3000 - 3150 fps.
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 3:32:21 PM EDT
Bushmaster -- A couple of hundred rounds - One FTE . Rim torn off by ejector .
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 6:24:50 AM EDT
Bushmaster Superlight, 1 out of 90 FTE with ripped rims
Bushy-lower/JT upper 20"A2, 1 out of 90 FTE with ripped rims

I love it, got it cheap, but cannot rely on the ammo. Would a D-fender or such help?
Link Posted: 1/18/2005 11:03:47 AM EDT
Bump to make sure it doesn't get archived.
Link Posted: 2/6/2005 10:28:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/6/2005 10:29:46 PM EDT by CavVet]

Originally Posted By Zhukov:
Bump to make sure it doesn't get archived.

Glad you did.

3 outings, and I am damn glad I am out of this shit ammo.


This last one I used the wrong rod to take bang it out of my rifle (Bushy 16"), and it bent my damn rod!

I had read it was soft after I got it.

At first all was well, then I had two complete rifle lockups at our Pacific NW camp & shoots. Then had another miserable night at our last one.

Its done, I am out, moving on with my life, but I will never, and I do mean never use this shit in one of my rifles again!!!!!

Link Posted: 2/7/2005 7:28:16 AM EDT
I went through 400rds of it last year and I remember that I had two rims ripped off. Both times i had to bang the round out with a cleaning rod. The first time it happened it forced me to go home be cause I didnt bring my cleaning rod. Now i always check to make sure i've got it with me before I go to the range. Although, luckily those 2 times were the only times I've ever had that happen.

The two major failures were the only ones of any kind I had with the ammo if that means anything. Needless to say though I have not bought anymore of it since.
Link Posted: 2/28/2005 12:57:46 PM EDT
Worked fine for me for 2000 rounds and good accuracy too (saved from the archive... for now)
Link Posted: 2/28/2005 1:15:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/28/2005 2:22:04 PM EDT by RepublicanMan]
Wrong thread.
Link Posted: 4/26/2005 7:16:20 AM EDT
Bump to prevent archiving.
Link Posted: 4/27/2005 5:59:36 AM EDT
I have shot about 300rnds of this ammo. had one failure to extract. Torn rim had to push out with cleaning rod. I'll continue to shoot it.
Firearm is a Oly Arms PCR 16.
Fired 10 rnds thru a chrony Avg velocity 2880fps Sd 16.0 16" barrel

Link Posted: 4/27/2005 1:03:02 PM EDT
Bought 1200 rds when SG still have them. Accuracy was good, 1.5 MOA from my Colt Match Target with Leupold 3-9x40 Tactical at 100yds. Reliability... Well, FTE is not that uncommon, typically happen after I fire 40-60rds. The same situation can be observed with my other uppers as well, and each spent case have extractor mark on the rim. Finally finish off all the rounds that I bought and probably not going to miss it much, and since I have divert my seek for accuracy to my 700VS in .308, my ARs are only for plinking now, and they are either eating XM193 or Wolf polymer (for which I have a dedicate upper to shoot just Wolf).
Link Posted: 5/16/2005 11:25:25 AM EDT
SANTA BARBRA RULES! Its better than Win M855 and lake City M855 and S&BSS109 Greenbox!
Still have 500 rounds left! Never a single problem with torn heads? Im lucky
Link Posted: 6/11/2005 11:02:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2005 11:04:09 PM EDT by MadCzek]
Recently got some of this (first time I ever shot it) and thought originally it was just 55 gr FMJ (not 62 GR SS109). Anyway, fired 150 rounds today, not one problem. For about 12 cents a round, I think its pretty good ammo. Was fired out of a Colt R6600 20" 1/7 HBAR. For the price, I'll take it over Wolf anyday. Good plinking ammo. Accuracy was 1.5" MOA at 100 yards. Loaded some Q3131A in same rife and obviously same conditions (80's and raining), and got 1" MOA.
Link Posted: 6/27/2005 6:31:17 PM EDT
1 in 20 or so FTE, Stuck in bbl with extractor chunk M. Rock River midlength and OLY CAR..
Link Posted: 6/27/2005 8:15:44 PM EDT
I only had a 400 rnd battlepack. Wish I had bought some more. Oh yea, it was fired through a 20" ASA15.

Link Posted: 7/1/2005 5:45:00 PM EDT
Shot 400 rnds yesterday through RRA 16" HBAR. 3 FTE's where rim was ripped off and had to use cleaning rod to bang it out. Prior to this, approximately 800 rnds of Santa Barbara through same RRA over last 2 years with never a problem.
Link Posted: 7/1/2005 6:40:00 PM EDT
200 rounds through my Colt MT6551. Worked great; no feeding problems.
Link Posted: 7/13/2005 3:47:18 PM EDT
Well, look like I got some that none of 3 AR's I own like. Its LOT # 02-SB-93

My 3 AR's I tried running it thru:

1) Colt 6600 AR-15A2 20" HBAR (Green Label)
2) Colt 6920
3) RRA US Prop Lower / Colt M4 upper

All 3 rifles above usually fire flawlessly. Have had some FTE's with Wolf, but all were when barrels were pretty hot (and maybe 3 out of 1000 rounds fired). The first 50 rounds or so of the Santa Barbara were ok, but then I started getting FTE's. Had to run a rod down and tap them out. A few were very stubborn and put up a fight. So in the course of shooting another 100-120 or so rounds, got at least 12-15 that were FTE's. Brass looked pretty rough when I finally got them out. After rotating to all 3 rifles, figured it couldnt be the AR's faults. Another guy at the range with a Pencil Barrelled DPMS AR tried it, and started to FTE on his first mag.

So, check your SB and see if its Lot 02-SB-93 and let us know if it works great for you. Maybe this is just a bad lot or something? But its enough for me never to buy it again.

And by the way, anyone want to buy about 200 boxed rounds of this stuff? Ha.
Link Posted: 7/13/2005 4:13:47 PM EDT
My lot, or lote, as they call it is 02 SB 93 too. I've only tried it in one rifle but no FTE's yet. I hope the next battle pack works as well as the first two did.
There sure seems to be a lot of people having trouble with this stuff so I don't think I'd push my luck and buy any more.
Link Posted: 8/29/2005 12:33:18 PM EDT
Bump to prevent archiving
Link Posted: 8/29/2005 1:11:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2005 9:21:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2005 9:24:46 PM EDT by jason_h]
I have fired off 3000 rnds of this ammo, dated 93 and 94, out of a 16" carbine. Only had two rounds fail to extract. On both occasions, high round counts had left the chamber pretty dirty, leading to the extractor popping off the case rim (did not tear rim off). Was able to get both casings out by using the forward assist to pop the extractor back on the rim and then tap the stock on the ground while pulling down on the charging handle.

Wish I had bought more. Biggest gripe about this ammo was how dirty it was. Makes wolf seem quite clean in comparison.
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