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Posted: 1/13/2016 9:42:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Molon]
Winchester Ranger 5.56mm 64 grain RA556B Ammunition


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Today, we have a wider selection of quality self-defense ammunition for our AR-15s to choose from than ever before. The construction and function of these modern self-defense loads is not limited by the archaic confines proffered by the Hague Conventions and far surpasses the consistency of terminal ballistic properties of “old school” loads such as M193 and M855.

There are two modern schools of thought regarding the selection of the type of projectile to use in a self-defense load; the first preferring a fragmenting, heavy (75-77 grain) OTM type bullet and the second opting for an expanding “blind-to-barriers” bullet. The top performers in the fragmenting, heavy OTM type  category are Hornady’s 5.56mm 75 grain TAP T2,   the Nosler 77 grain Custom Competition and the new Black Hills Ammunition load utilizing the Sierra 77 grain Tipped MatchKing.  


A plethora of 5.56mm/223 Remington loads utilizing expanding barrier-blind projectiles have come to the market in the last several years. One of the top performing loads in this category is currently issued by the FBI; the Winchester Ranger 5.56mm 64 grain RA556B.  Terminal ballistic testing conducted by Dr. G.K. Roberts using the scientific standard of properly prepared and validated 10% ordnance gelatin has shown that this load has an average penetration depth of 17.1” in bare gelatin with a recovered diameter of 0.46” (when fired from a 16" barrel.)  After passing through an intermediate barrier of automobile safety glass, the load has an average penetration depth of 13.6” with a recovered diameter of 0.35” (again from a 16” barrel.)

The Winchester RA556B load is topped with the Nosler 64 grain Bonded Solid Base projectile.  This bullet has a copper base that comprises almost one-third of the length of the projectile.  Obviously, the lead core is bonded to the copper jacket.  The bullet has a cannelure and a “Protected Point” design for reliable feeding in AR-15s





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Winchester’s RA556B ammunition is loaded in WCC 5.56mm brass that has the annealing iris still visible.  The primers are crimped and sealed.  The case mouth has a heavy collet crimp and “black Lucas” sealant.  The cartridge is charged with “ball” powder.



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A ballistic table on the back of the RA556B ammunition box claims that this load has a muzzle velocity of 2935 FPS, but unfortunately there is no mention of the barrel length used for this figure.  The standard barrel length for assessing the velocity of 5.56mm ammunition is a 20” barrel.  A review of Winchester’s law enforcement ammunition catalog revealed that the above figure was indeed derived from a 20” barrel with a NATO chamber and a 1:7” twist.




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Speed is fine . . .

I chronographed the Winchester Ranger 5.56mm 64 grain RA556B ammunition from a semi-automatic AR-15 with a chrome-lined, NATO chambered 20” Colt M16A2 barrel with a 1:7” twist.




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Chronographing was conducted using an Oehler 35-P chronograph with “proof screen” technology. The Oehler 35P chronograph is actually two chronographs in one package that takes two separate chronograph readings for each shot and then has its onboard computer analyze the data to determine if there is any statistically significant difference between the two readings. If there is, the chronograph “flags” the shot to let you know that the data is invalid. There was no invalid data flagged during this testing.

The velocity stated below is the muzzle velocity as calculated from the instrumental velocity using Oehler’s Ballistic Explorer software program. The string of fire consisted of 10 rounds over the chronograph.




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Each round was single-loaded and cycled into the chamber from a magazine fitted with a single-load follower. The bolt locked-back after each shot allowing the chamber to cool in between each shot. This technique was used to mitigate the possible influence of “chamber-soak” on velocity data. Each new shot was fired in a consistent manner after hitting the bolt release. Atmospheric conditions were monitored and recorded using a Kestrel 4000 Pocket Weather Tracker.




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Atmospheric conditions

Temperature: 76 degrees F
Humidity: 45%
Barometric pressure: 29.96 inches of Hg
Elevation: 950 feet above sea level


The muzzle velocity for the 10-shot string of the Winchester RA556B ammunition fired from the 20” Colt barrel was 2976 FPS with a standard deviation of 20 FPS and a coefficient of variation of 0.67%.

For those of you who might not be familiar with the coefficient of variation (CV), it is the standard deviation, divided by the mean (average) muzzle velocity and then multiplied by 100 and expressed as a percentage. It allows for the comparison of the uniformity of velocity between loads in different velocity spectrums; e.g. 77 grain loads running around 2,650 fps compared to 55 grain loads running around 3,250 fps.

For comparison, the mil-spec for M193 allows for a coefficient of variation of approximately 1.2%, while one of my best 77 grain OTM hand-loads, with a muzzle velocity of 2639 PFS and a standard deviation of 4 FPS, has a coefficient of variation of 0.15%.




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Accuracy is final . . .

I conducted an accuracy (technically, precision) evaluation of the Winchester Ranger 5.56mm 64 grain RA556B ammunition following my usual protocol. This accuracy evaluation used statistically significant shot-group sizes and every single shot in a fired group was included in the measurements. There was absolutely no use of any group-reduction techniques (e.g. fliers, target movement, Butterfly Shots).

The shooting set-up will be described in detail below. As many of the significant variables as was practicable were controlled for. Also, a control group was fired from the test-rifle used in the evaluation using match-grade, hand-loaded ammunition; in order to demonstrate the capability of the barrel. Pictures of shot-groups are posted for documentation.

All shooting was conducted from a concrete bench-rest from a distance of 100 yards (confirmed with a laser rangefinder.) The barrel used in the evaluation was free-floated. The free-float handguards of the rifle rested in a Sinclair Windage Benchrest, while the stock of the rifle rested in a Protektor bunny-ear rear bag. Sighting was accomplished via a Leupold VARI-X III set at 25X magnification and adjusted to be parallax-free at 100 yards. A mirage shade was attached to the objective-bell of the scope. Wind conditions on the shooting range were continuously monitored using a Wind Probe. The set-up was very similar to that pictured below.




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The Wind Probe.

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The test vehicle for this evaluation was one of my semi-automatic precision AR-15s with a 20” stainless-steel Lothar Walther barrel. The barrel has a 223 Wylde chamber with a 1:8” twist. Prior to firing the Winchester RA556B ammunition, I fired a 10-shot control group using match-grade hand-loads topped with the Sierra 55 grain BlitzKing. That group had an extreme spread of 0.635”.




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Next, three 10-shot groups of the Winchester RA556B load were fired in a row with the resulting extreme spreads:

2.03”
1.77”
1.90”

for a 10-shot group average extreme spread of 1.90”. The three 10-shot groups were over-layed on each other using RSI Shooting Lab to form a 30-shot composite group. The mean radius for the 30-shot composite group was 0.66”.




The smallest 10-shot group . . .

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The 30-shot composite group . . .

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No canines were harmed during the testing of this ammunition.


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…..
Link Posted: 1/13/2016 10:35:45 PM EDT
[#1]
Well at least it's velocity was reasonable.
Link Posted: 1/14/2016 2:40:31 AM EDT
[#2]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By LS1POWERED:
Well at least it's velocity was reasonable.
View Quote


True, and accurate for what it is.

Link Posted: 1/14/2016 3:42:12 AM EDT
[#3]
Damn I'm glad your posting here again! I really enjoy your reviews. By chance have you reviewed and posted for the .223 Speer 75 grain Gold Dot load yet?
Link Posted: 1/14/2016 9:17:02 AM EDT
[#4]
Good stuff to read on a cold winter day, thanks!
Link Posted: 1/14/2016 9:50:24 PM EDT
[#5]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By nmguy23:

By chance have you reviewed and posted for the .223 Speer 75 grain Gold Dot load yet?

View Quote
























I won't be able to test it until this spring.

...
Link Posted: 1/15/2016 2:51:14 AM EDT
[#6]
Good to hear. I look forward to reading about it.
Link Posted: 1/15/2016 1:10:48 PM EDT
[#7]
Link Posted: 1/24/2016 12:35:43 PM EDT
[#8]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MRW:

bAM!

View Quote


Head-shot!
Link Posted: 2/27/2016 10:06:19 PM EDT
[#9]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By nmguy23:
Damn I'm glad your posting here again! I really enjoy your reviews. By chance have you reviewed and posted for the .223 Speer 75 grain Gold Dot load yet?
View Quote



Merci beaucoup.


....
Link Posted: 2/28/2016 8:19:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: hamourkiller] [#10]
I recovered this Nosler 64 gr BSB from a good sized 8 point. My wife shot it through both shoulders at 50 yards.
It was buried in the hide of the off side shoulder.
The bullet broke large bones in both of the shoulders.
I am sorry but have forgotten the recovered weight but think it is around 48grs

It is not the most accurate bullet but it does well on deer.

My load is to pull green tip ball (Federal and IMI) and seat this bullet in its place.

Link Posted: 2/28/2016 10:11:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: bfoosh06] [#11]
Good ammo.... good enough that I am willing to sacrifice a some accuracy in order to utilize the bullet at good velocities.

Sadly its cost makes it hard to practice with.... Is the Winc. 62gr OTM meant for that purpose ? It seemed to have a similar accuracy and speed.


Molon, what is a "Butterfly Shot" ? .... I can't say I have heard that term before.
Link Posted: 2/28/2016 7:47:02 PM EDT
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bfoosh06:
Good ammo.... good enough that I am willing to sacrifice a some accuracy in order to utilize the bullet at good velocities.

Sadly its cost makes it hard to practice with.... Is the Winc. 62gr OTM meant for that purpose ? It seemed to have a similar accuracy and speed.


Molon, what is a "Butterfly Shot" ? .... I can't say I have heard that term before.
View Quote

The very poor ballistic coefficient means that by around 100 ish yards, 62gr gold dot will be outpacing it, though. At 100 yards, they are all flying plenty fast.
Link Posted: 3/1/2016 12:33:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: QCB] [#13]
Hamourkiller,

That is a great looking bullet.

I have got expansion and quick kills on coyotes out to 350 yards with the 64 grain Nosler bonded solid base, but I am using CFE223 and Remington 7 1/2 primer in WW brass and getting 100 fps more than RA556B, which is already alot faster than Federal MSR.  

Alot of people complain about the Noslers BC but it is intended to stabilize in SBR's and slower twists.  Most Law Enforcement or home defense use of a 556 will be under 100 yards.  I'd rather have an indestructible bullet than a copper plated lead bullet like the MSR/Gold dot going at 222 velocity, or a poly tip with high G1 BC.

What I dont like about the Nosler is that regardless of MV, it shoots high and left of anything else I shoot other than Mk318 which regulates right on top of it.  Go figure???.  

Ive reloaded and shot about 500 of the Noslers now, mostly with CFE223 from a 1-9 16 inch and 1-8 20 inch with Wylde chamber.  I still have not needed to discard any brass due to over-loading the soft WW brass cases.  Velocity sounds high but seems to be perfectly safe.  The Nosler manual shows CFE to have a large advantage over any other powder for velocity and it does.  Accuracy is 1 1/2 inch or less ES from my Lothar Walther barrel which normally looks like Molon's better reloads. (Great barrel).  So its not a tack driver, but after using bonded bullets since Bill Steigers invented them in the 1960's I know that I want to push a hard bullet as fast as I can.  since they dont fragment you get more penetration the faster you push them and larger temporary cavity too.  

It's a great bullet and what I use for hunting and self defense.  

If you dont reload, I think that Beck loads them to descent velocity.  Unfortunately, Nosler reloads to SAMMI rather than NATO velocity.
Link Posted: 3/1/2016 1:01:39 AM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By QCB:
Hamourkiller,

That is a great looking bullet.

I have got expansion and quick kills on coyotes out to 350 yards with the 64 grain Nosler bonded solid base, but I am using CFE223 and Remington 7 1/2 primer in WW brass and getting 100 fps more than RA556B, which is already alot faster than Federal MSR.  

Alot of people complain about the Noslers BC but it is intended to stabilize in SBR's and slower twists.  Most Law Enforcement or home defense use of a 556 will be under 100 yards.  I'd rather have an indestructible bullet than a copper plated lead bullet like the MSR/Gold dot going at 222 velocity, or a poly tip with high G1 BC.

What I dont like about the Nosler is that regardless of MV, it shoots high and left of anything else I shoot other than Mk318 which regulates right on top of it.  Go figure???.  

Ive reloaded and shot about 500 of the Noslers now, mostly with CFE223 from a 1-9 16 inch and 1-8 20 inch with Wylde chamber.  I still have not needed to discard any brass due to over-loading the soft WW brass cases.  Velocity sounds high but seems to be perfectly safe.  The Nosler manual shows CFE to have a large advantage over any other powder for velocity and it does.  Accuracy is 1 1/2 inch or less ES from my Lothar Walther barrel which normally looks like Molon's better reloads. (Great barrel).  So its not a tack driver, but after using bonded bullets since Bill Steigers invented them in the 1960's I know that I want to push a hard bullet as fast as I can.  since they dont fragment you get more penetration the faster you push them and larger temporary cavity too.  

It's a great bullet and what I use for hunting and self defense.  

If you dont reload, I think that Beck loads them to descent velocity.  Unfortunately, Nosler reloads to SAMMI rather than NATO velocity.
View Quote


Do you have a bullet picture, or measurement, from a 350 yard coyote?
What is the MV you are getting with those loads?
Link Posted: 3/3/2016 1:43:43 AM EDT
[#15]
12 ga,

they exit.  Yotes are only a few inches thick and 5-6 inches high.  Exit holes are dime size or larger,sometimes nickle or even quarter size if you hit bone.    Educated guess is that penetration is about a foot and a half.  Ive killed 5 or 6 in last two months, mostly at night.  (Gen 3 + ITT scope).  Dosent matter if it is shooting them off my shoe laces or near my north fenceline (400 yards), they go down.  It actually works better than the 53 grain Vmax at 3410 fps.  (They run 20-30 yards unless you hit the shoulder or spine).  

I am getting over 3100 fps in summer months and about 3050 fps right now.

that is 75 fps faster than the Ranger ammo but, as I said, I have many reloads on soft WW brass.  CFE works great with this bullet.

My verified dope for the 64 grain is +1.5 at 200, +4.0 at 300 and +7.5 at 400.  The G1 BC is probably under .230 according to JBM software.  You have to hold a little bit above the top line at 300 with the nosler using a 200 zero.  with the Vmax you can hold on the top line.  The Vmax is easier to hunt with, but I get an emmediate reaction with the Nosler.  the yotes run when hit with the Vmax.  You dont even know youve hit them, unless Im using a suppressor and can hear the impact of the bullet.  

I have landmarks at 200 and 400 where I shoot, so range estimation is not too difficult, even at night.  Sure, Id rather have a higher BC, but the protected point expands rapidly which the Nosler and Hornady poly tips do not.  And its nice knowing you can shoot through auto glass and barricades.  I know a few hide hunters here in Central Oregon who use this bullet in their 22-250 and 22-250 Improved because it requires less sewing on the hides than varmit bullets.  It will stabilize in a 1-14 twist (at high velocity).

I do not skin my dogs.  Just leave them for the eagles to eat.  It is one of their favorite foods.  Ive poked around the bones looking for an expanded bullet but have never found one.  

I would use this for deer or pigs anytime.
Link Posted: 3/3/2016 5:41:05 AM EDT
[#16]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By QCB:
12 ga,

they exit.  Yotes are only a few inches thick and 5-6 inches high.  Exit holes are dime size or larger,sometimes nickle or even quarter size if you hit bone.    Educated guess is that penetration is about a foot and a half.  Ive killed 5 or 6 in last two months, mostly at night.  (Gen 3 + ITT scope).  Dosent matter if it is shooting them off my shoe laces or near my north fenceline (400 yards), they go down.  It actually works better than the 53 grain Vmax at 3410 fps.  (They run 20-30 yards unless you hit the shoulder or spine).  

I am getting over 3100 fps in summer months and about 3050 fps right now.

that is 75 fps faster than the Ranger ammo but, as I said, I have many reloads on soft WW brass.  CFE works great with this bullet.

My verified dope for the 64 grain is +1.5 at 200, +4.0 at 300 and +7.5 at 400.  The G1 BC is probably under .230 according to JBM software.  You have to hold a little bit above the top line at 300 with the nosler using a 200 zero.  with the Vmax you can hold on the top line.  The Vmax is easier to hunt with, but I get an emmediate reaction with the Nosler.  the yotes run when hit with the Vmax.  You dont even know youve hit them, unless Im using a suppressor and can hear the impact of the bullet.  

I have landmarks at 200 and 400 where I shoot, so range estimation is not too difficult, even at night.  Sure, Id rather have a higher BC, but the protected point expands rapidly which the Nosler and Hornady poly tips do not.  And its nice knowing you can shoot through auto glass and barricades.  I know a few hide hunters here in Central Oregon who use this bullet in their 22-250 and 22-250 Improved because it requires less sewing on the hides than varmit bullets.  It will stabilize in a 1-14 twist (at high velocity).

I do not skin my dogs.  Just leave them for the eagles to eat.  It is one of their favorite foods.  Ive poked around the bones looking for an expanded bullet but have never found one.  

I would use this for deer or pigs anytime.
View Quote

Great datapoints, thanks! Yes, that is about what I saw on the deer I used RA556B on at 25 yards. Exit about dime size. I am going to try 62gr Gold Dot this season.
Link Posted: 3/3/2016 6:35:06 PM EDT
[#17]
I have shot coyotes with a 20 inch 1-9 stainless barrel AR using MSR and before that Fusion.  Ranges in the 150-250 realm.  Accurate but barely making 2900 fps on a hot day and well under that in the winter.  About 2700 or a bit less in a 16 inch.  I wish they would load to NATO rather than SAMMI specs.  I used the MSR/Fusion because the 75 grain Hornady BTHP I was using was only going 2700 fps in red box 50 round lots and it quit fragmenting after 150 yards.  Very effective up to that range, however.  I reloaded the same bullet to 2850 with BLC2 and later CFE223 at 2,900 fps and quit the Fusion as my reloads were harder hitting at normal ranges.  I killed two with one shot once. Big exit holes with that bullet at 2,900 fps.  Lots of fragmentation and penetration. I would not be surprised if the gold dot expanded as far as the Nosler even though it is slower and has a smaller meplat. I have not printed it in 100 yd incriments at our 1000 yard range like I have the 64 nosler, 75 Hornady, or CBC 77 grai SMK ammon.  Ive still got about 200 rounds of MSR and a carbine sighed in with Fusion but I will probably replace it with my nosler reloads.    Let us know how the Gold Dot does.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 1:53:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: QCB] [#18]
I found a picture of the 64 grain nosler recovered from two five gallon nylon buckets of water, which closely duplicate IWBA gelatin. (The nylon is hard on a bullet and can tear the X petals off a Barnes X).  the water buckets closely duplicate expansion and weight retention from subsonic pistol calibers up to 450 Dakota.

Considering this was point blank range at 3070 fps, pretty impressive for a 556.  



the orange disc next to the bullet was recovered in second Home Depot bucket.  Penetration was 1 1/2 buckets (16-17 inches).



Splitting the front face of a bucket with a 556 is very unusual.  It usually takes a .270 winchester class rifle to produce that much over pressure.

Link Posted: 3/5/2016 9:32:32 AM EDT
[#19]
Thanks for the above post guys.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 3/19/2016 10:19:48 PM EDT
[#20]
Link Posted: 4/8/2016 2:39:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Molon] [#21]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bfoosh06:

Molon, what is a "Butterfly Shot" ? .... I can't say I have heard that term before.

View Quote




A “butterfly shot” is any excuse used by an Internet Commando to exclude shots from a fired shot-group in order to claim that his rifle/ammunition combination are more accurate/precise than they actually are.

The target pictured below was actually posted on this website, with the poster claiming this target proved that his NATO chambered, government profile barreled rifle and ammunition combination were capable of 1 MOA accuracy/precision.  He claims a fired bullet collided with a butterfly before impacting the target and therefore excluded that shot (along with several other shots) from the group measurement.



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....
Link Posted: 5/1/2016 10:18:45 PM EDT
[#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bfoosh06:


Sadly its cost makes it hard to practice with.... Is the Winc. 62gr OTM meant for that purpose ? It seemed to have a similar accuracy and speed.

View Quote



Range Report:  Winchester 5.56mm 62 Grain FBI Training Ammunition



....
Link Posted: 5/14/2016 4:01:44 PM EDT
[#23]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By nmguy23:


Damn I'm glad your posting here again! I really enjoy your reviews. By chance have you reviewed and posted for the .223 Speer 75 grain Gold Dot load yet?

View Quote



http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_16/694384_Range_Report___Speer_LE_75_Grain_Gold_Dot.html


...
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