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Posted: 10/26/2003 5:32:04 PM EDT
After a recent shooting trip had jams/failures to extract/etc. about every 5-10 shots, I vowed no more cheap ammo. These kind of malfunctions just left me frustrated at the range, and might leave me dead in a "real" situation.

Today, I had a chance to try out some of my new "standard" ammo in the same weapons (2 AR's and an AUG), and can report not a single malfunction in over 300 rds. fired. I.e., everytime I pulled the trigger, the guns went "bang".

Ammo used was Black Hills (~200 rds.) and Q3131A (~100 rds.)--I strongly recommend any who haven't evaluated this to give it a try.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 5:34:46 PM EDT
SM; What were you using as your "cheap ammo?" Tnx
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 9:08:57 PM EDT
The main offenders of late were a batch of old Israeli surplus (1990, 'TZZ' headstamp) and some some 62 gr. Barnaul (pulled through several case rims, had to knock out with cleaning rod). I was also one of the ones who previously got a bad lot of Winchester Q3131 that had the soft brass (caused ejector failures--look at http://groups.msn.com/ThePennsylvaniaAR15ShootersSite/ammofaq.msnw) Anyway, after reading lots of posts here, making a few posts of my own, and some soul-searching, I decided that the adage "you get what you pay for" applies. Granted, there are "good deals" to be had with MilSurp (e.g., SA has a great reputation), but it's still going to be a crap shoot. I'm at a point where I'd rather go with the closest ammo to a "sure thing" that I can afford.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 9:22:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2003 9:22:34 PM EDT by Troy]
Link Posted: 10/27/2003 3:23:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/27/2003 3:25:09 AM EDT by Siglite]
I don't shoot near as much as some of the folks here in this forum, so my ammo allowance goes alot farther. I learned alot from the experience of others on this board, and at the matches and ranges I currently shoot at. I shoot XM193, Q3131a and my reloads only. I stay away from Olympic , Barnaul, wolf. I just don't shoot enough to see the savings advantage of running ammo of lesser quality through my rifles.
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 3:14:41 PM EDT
Following up on my original thread, I thought I'd add today's range experience. It's best summed up in the following image: [img]http://mywebpages.comcast.net/darth/range_target.jpg [/img] #1, 2, 3, and 4 are IMI M855 (Headstamp TZZ 00) #5 is Black Hills 55gr. ball (remanufactured) each group is 30 rds. at close range (~30 yds.) Most importantly, there were NO malfunctions with either type of ammo. The rifle was prev- iously "Battle-zeroed" with 55 gr. ammo, so it's no surprise the 62 gr. shot slightly low. I WAS a little surprised the M855 wasn't quite as consistent as the remanufactured 55-gr. ammo, although this could be from the slightly lower velocity. Comments?
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 3:21:03 PM EDT
Wow! You're one smart monkey! [whacko]
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 4:17:18 PM EDT
shadowmonkey, The weird thing is, when I shoot 75 grainers through my ar they are dead on at 100 but all the faster, lighter stuff I shot was always lower. Opposite of what happened with you. Interesting. Looks like you had fun! Thanks for the picture!
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 4:19:26 PM EDT
actually I take that back. It's possible that the m855 is faster than the 55 grainers you were shooting.
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 4:29:48 PM EDT
You can GET top half performance with bottom half pricing if you start reloading. But a good reloading setup will cost some money. I reload about a thousand rounds for 200 dollars' worth of supplies, assuming I already have the cases. And I get assured, top quality ammo that shoots like match grade stuff. I get half inch five shot groups at 100 yards (shooting from sandbags with a 4x scope) as a matter of ROUTINE. If my 100 yard target looked like the one that was posted higher up the thread, I'd be looking for loose hardware or some other problem. My ammo shoots much better than that. Yeah, you can get ammo that's cheaper than 200 bucks a thousand, but what do you expect to pay for ammo that groups 1/2 MOA? A buck a shot? More? (Of course, your barrel has to be good enough to hold a group like this, but my barrel is a stock Bushmaster 20" chromed National Match pattern heavy barrel...nothing fancy or unusual.) My reloading setup paid for itself in the first thousand rounds, assuming this ammo would have cost a buck a shot if I were buying ammo that was that accurate. CJ
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 8:47:50 PM EDT
CJ, may I ask what reloading set up you are using? I have a Dillon 550 but am not set up for 5.56mm right now, but I will be getting the necessary parts and dies for 5.56mm in the future.
Link Posted: 11/16/2003 11:52:31 PM EDT
To the contrary my DPMS Lo Pro has no problems with Wolf, Barnaul, or surplus ammo. I used to shoot M193 from 88' but that stuff isnt as cheap as it should be for the groups the ammo forms(3 MOA). The Wolf and Barnaul shoot around 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards which I find to be satisfactory for my config(no free float tube, no custom trigger, no expensive scope). Q3131A and Olympic SS109 dont shoot twice as reliable or twice as accurate for twice the price, but I would love to reload some Sierra 68grain BTHP for my baby but my wallet doesnt permit at the moment. you should try a few things before you dismiss those more "affordable" brands as uncompatible with your rifle. #1 Get some from a different source: Maybe where you got it from had an old batch with old problems. #2 Shoot the new cheap stuff on the same outing as you shoot the more expensive stuff: As to make sure the rifle isn't a variable in this experiment.
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 5:43:26 AM EDT
CJ--The purpose that particular visit to the range was to assess the reliability of a particular brand of ammo, NOT to assess the maximum sub-MOA accuracy I could get out of a 16" barrel. Most of the variation is probably "user error", not the rifle. That being said... I was extremely pleased with group #5, and will take that kind of a group any day of the week. In fact, I've often heard that after a point, increasing accuracy will DECREASE reliablility, because the mechanincal tolerances are smaller, and more prone to malfunction. Assassin--my decision wasn't just based on one bad trip to the range, although that was the final straw. After shooting AR's for 10+ years, and seeing many kinds of "cheap" ammo come and go (Norinco, etc.), I just realized that my range time is far more valuable to me now than saving $0.02 per round. I know there are good lots with cheap brands, and bad lots with more expensive brands... but on the whole, I think I'll do better sticking with first-line ammo, where the QC is tighter. Also, I realize to be even pseudo-scientific, I'd have to fire many more rounds than I have, under different conditions, different weapons, etc., etc. But from an anecdotal standpoint, the difference is impressive--I've had ZERO malfunctions since I moved up the ammo chain, over 500+ rds., in the SAME rifles that were acting up before. Is this statistically significant? Only time will tell--I'll keep you posted.
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 8:29:11 AM EDT
My point is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can load up highly reliable, top quality ammo yourself...and it just so happens that it can ALSO be true "match grade" ammo for the price of the cheap stuff. What's not to like about THAT? Why make blasting ammo when you can crank out match winning stuff for the same price? That wouldn't make any sense to me. There's no ammo that I trust as much as my own. I KNOW what goes into what I load but I can't say that about ANY ammo I can buy anywhere else. How do you know that a stray rat didn't get into the powder hopper at the Lake City plant? As for my setup, my accuracy load is a Sierra no. 1400 53 gr. flattail hollowpoint over Hodgdon H322 powder (I decline to say how much because without consulting my notes I could be wrong) with a WSR primer in properly prepped good quality brass with matching headstamps. PMC brass is just fine, and so is Winchester and most other types. I load on a Dillon XL650. My loading bench setup is very rigid and stable, and that helps the powder measure to throw very consistent charges. CJ
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 8:55:09 AM EDT
Thanks for the info CJ!
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 10:58:53 AM EDT
Yes I have learned that cheep ammo is not only frustrating but is also bad for your AR.
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 11:20:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson: My point is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can load up highly reliable, top quality ammo yourself...
View Quote
CJ, Do you know any vendors that sell already primed brass? Particularly brass with staked primers? How about low flash powders (like the type Black Hills uses)? That might get me into reloading (hmmm cheap 75gr TAP). -Forest
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 11:29:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/17/2003 11:34:35 AM EDT by Torf]
Originally Posted By Forest:
Originally Posted By cmjohnson: My point is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can load up highly reliable, top quality ammo yourself...
View Quote
CJ, Do you know any vendors that sell already primed brass? Particularly brass with staked primers? How about low flash powders (like the type Black Hills uses)? That might get me into reloading (hmmm cheap 75gr TAP). -Forest
View Quote
I believe [url]rvow.com[/url] sells trimmed and primed 223 brass. Priming is easy, but trimming is a chore. Thank God you don't have to do that every single time! By the way, if you get their primed brass, the primer is crimped in place, not staked. If you want to reload the brass again, they recommend buying their processed unprimed brass, because it is not crimped. If you want cheap TAP ammo, crimping would be the way to go.
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 11:31:05 AM EDT
Keep in mind that [b]primed[/b] brass is subject to a HAZ-MAT fee, it's quite a bit more economical to buy your primers locally.
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 11:37:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/17/2003 11:40:58 AM EDT by Torf]
Originally Posted By Wingman26: Keep in mind that [b]primed[/b] brass is subject to a HAZ-MAT fee, it's quite a bit more economical to buy your primers locally.
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straight from the [url]http://rvow.com/Cases.htm[/url] page: $74 - $55 = [b]$19 extra[/b] for 1000 primers, priming, and hazmat fee. Not bad at all if you want your primers crimped. WSR primers cost about $20 locally for a thousand anyway, so where is the savings?
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 2:03:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Wingman26: Keep in mind that [b]primed[/b] brass is subject to a HAZ-MAT fee, it's quite a bit more economical to buy your primers locally.
View Quote
That is not how I understand it. Primed brass does not have a haz-mat fee, but buying primers themselves does have the fee. The reason to buy primed brass is so you can get it staked for reliability. I don't know of any reloading tool that allows you to do that (if there is someone please correct me).
Link Posted: 11/17/2003 2:16:34 PM EDT
Sounds like I stand corrected on the Haz-Mat fee, I was under the false impression that applied to primed cases as well.
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