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Posted: 12/7/2003 10:34:02 AM EDT
For all of you that say we never talk about firearms stuff…

I and my friend Tman went to the range to test various types of .223 ammo. (We did this mostly because Ar15 was down and we were looking for something to do in the mean time.)

I used my DPMS Sweet Sixteen, with a 16 inch stainless heavy barrel, chrome bolt, Accuwedge, Leupold 6.5 X 20 X 50 scope, etc. It is a fine shooter as you will see in a moment.



I fired 2 rounds to foul the barrel and then shot 8, five-shot groups, at 100 yards, as numbered below. There were no "called" flyers. Only one group was shot with each ammo type, but I believe it is informative.

Ammo tested was as follows:

#1 - Israeli IMI, 2002 1 ¼ group

#2 - South African M1A3, 1988 1 1/8 group

#3 - Federal Cartridge USGI, 1970 2 ¼ group

#4 - Federal XM193, Lot 23 2 ¾ group

#5 - Malaysian 4-85, M193, Lot 15 2 ¾ group

#6 - Winchester Q3131 3 3/8 group (1 ½ w/o flyer)

#7 - Remington 55Gr SP, R223RI 1 7/8 group

#8 - Handloads, Sierra 52 gr HPBT, Between ¼ & 3/8 group
25.0 gr, AA-2460







I am glad I shot the handloads last, as it seemed that the groups were getting larger as I shot. I feared fouling was the problem, but the last group is what the rifle will usually do with these handloads.

Conclusions:

1. Military ammo isn't as accurate as many believe.
2. Anyone that says they routinely shoot sub-MOA groups with iron sights and military ammo has a problem with truthfulness.
3. Some military ammo shoots better than others.
4. Military ammo is not "more accurate" when shot from a bench-rest quality rifle.
5. Nothing will match well-developed handloads.

And take one more look at group #8. That's what a fine target AR will do.

Link Posted: 12/7/2003 10:39:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/7/2003 10:40:20 AM EDT by Noname]
2. Anyone that says they routinely shoot sub-MOA groups with iron sights and military ammo has a problem with truthfulness.
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This is one of my favorites...![banana]...!
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 10:40:15 AM EDT
Schit, Group 8 ain't nuthin. Bet you can't shoot 1" groups with at 1200 meters while holding an M-16 with only your teeth !! (How dare you infer that some of us MIGHT exagerate our shooting skills.) (NICE Scope.) 5sub
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 10:42:35 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Noname:
2. Anyone that says they routinely shoot sub-MOA groups with iron sights and military ammo has a problem with truthfulness.
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This is one of my favorites...![banana]...!
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Yep, Noname, I knew this would fire a couple of you up. [:)]
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 10:44:39 AM EDT
LOL...!
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 11:04:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/7/2003 11:05:17 AM EDT by MaverickMkii]
Hmm...thats interesting. I recently had time to shoot my stock Bushmaster rifle in 20" Government profile. The only modification it has is TA31 ACOG donut. I shot 9 rounds (one round fell out of stripper clip in the bandoleer) @ 100 meters in prone position with no support except the bottom of my magazine touching the ground. 7 of the 9 shots grouped about 1", and the other two shots were flyers. (can't remember how far they were, but they should be less than 3") The ammo was Winchester Q3131A. But I have to admit that was the best group I've ever shot...my average group is more like 3 to 3.5 inches using Q3131A or XM193.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 11:04:47 AM EDT
Nice test! Interesting results. I'm really impressed with group 8. I guess you don't need a 20-24 inch barrel afterall, except for losing some FPS with a 16. Now I'm motivated to put some really good ammo through my varminter and see what it can do.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 11:06:42 AM EDT
Very nice4 shooting OldPainless. Group 8 shows what a quality rifle (and rifleman) can do.....but it also shows the quality of a good handload. I have used a similar handload and also had great results with it. [i]However[/i], I have seen a few shooters fire sub 1 moa groups with irons at 100 yards [i]while standing[/i]! Now, it was probably handloads or decent surplus ammo that they were using, but still, there are many a fine shooter that can shoot that well..... But they rarely brag, just let their scores do the talking. SGtar15
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 11:11:04 AM EDT
So where’s the Wolf results?? [:D] Actually, I’m a bit surprised that some of the military ammo actually beat out the Remington SP’s!
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 11:13:11 AM EDT
Sweet. I wish more people were like you and actually shoot their weapons rather than talk about them. Nothing beats shooting the weapon to know your weapon better. I wonder how many people ever shoot at targets other than bulleyes at 100 yards to actually know where theirs shoots at ranges beyond point blank. Five shot groups are nice too.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 11:16:14 AM EDT
I agree, however on my buget, I'm very happy with Q3131A. [coffee]
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 12:38:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sgtar15: Very nice4 shooting OldPainless. Group 8 shows what a quality rifle (and rifleman) can do.....but it also shows the quality of a good handload. I have used a similar handload and also had great results with it. [i]However[/i], I have seen a few shooters fire sub 1 moa groups with irons at 100 yards [i]while standing[/i]! Now, it was probably handloads or decent surplus ammo that they were using, but still, there are many a fine shooter that can shoot that well..... But they rarely brag, just let their scores do the talking. SGtar15
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Thanks for the kind words, Sarge. I agree that a accomplished rifleman can shoot small groups while standing on his hind legs. But they can't do it with ammo like the ones I tested in this test. The important point is this....Ammo that shoots a 2 inch group with a bench rifle, will not do any better in an iron sighted rifle, no matter who is shooting it.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 1:40:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GoldtopDude: I agree, however on my buget, I'm very happy with Q3131A. [coffee]
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You are exactly correct. I shoot a lot of military surplus ammo. And for the same reason as you do....price. But I don't fool myself into thinking that it is sub-MOA ammo. It is fine for what I use it for. But it is not as accurate as handloads.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 1:56:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Old_Painless:
Originally Posted By GoldtopDude: I agree, however on my buget, I'm very happy with Q3131A. [coffee]
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You are exactly correct. I shoot a lot of military surplus ammo. And for the same reason as you do....price. But I don't fool myself into thinking that it is sub-MOA ammo. It is fine for what I use it for. But it is not as accurate as handloads.
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Thanks for all your time and info. Thats what makes this place so great! [:D]
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 5:44:57 PM EDT
Take that small group ammo and try it in several other guns and you may find those guns do not like it as much as your gun does. That is one challenge to this sport, finding the right combination of rifle, ammo and marksmanship. I had one batch of handloads that shot 1.25 inches out of one gun and 9 inches out of another. Same day, same shooter, same range. The 9" gun was re-checked with cheap milsurp stuff to see if something was loose, group went back to under 1.5" (iron sights, 100 meters). Thank you for a very informative ammo test. I agree 100% that not all ammo is equal when it comes to accuracy, but the individual rifle/ammo combo figures into the accuracy formula as well.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 8:30:28 PM EDT
That last group is really impressive for a 16" barrel! [sniper2]
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 9:27:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Wingman26: That last group is really impressive for a 16" barrel! [sniper2]
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The length of the barrel has nothing to do with accuracy of groups, only velocity. Shorter barrels can be even more accurate as they tend to whip less.
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 3:25:19 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AK_Mike:
Originally Posted By Wingman26: That last group is really impressive for a 16" barrel! [sniper2]
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The length of the barrel has nothing to do with accuracy of groups, only velocity. Shorter barrels can be even more accurate as they tend to whip less.
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Mike is correct about barrel length. The short barrel on my DPMS is designed to be "stiff". If I was concerned about velocity, I would have a longer barrel. But most precision shooters will tell you that they believe using a longer barrel to achieve greater velocity may cause you to give up a small amount of accuracy. Quite honestly, the short barreled M-4 being used by our troops has caused enough velocity loss in the military loadings of the .556 to cause some to believe that it is at least marginal in lethality at this point. The original round was designed to give high velocity in the original M-16 barrel length and this was a big factor in its lethality. Slower velocity and longer and heavier bullets have decreased the effectiveness of this round, many believe.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 3:47:22 PM EDT
old plainless, what kind of brass did you use on you handloads? Was it commercial .223 or did you use 5.56 brass?
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 4:02:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JJREA: old plainless, what kind of brass did you use on you handloads? Was it commercial .223 or did you use 5.56 brass?
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It is military surplus brass, marked "WCC84". As a matter of fact, my friend Tman (who is retired and has nothing to do [:D]) loads these for us. He does it on a Dillon press which we believe contributes to consistancy. We did purchase Dillon small-base dies since we were loading for a semi-auto rifle. On my accurate bolt guns, especially my Accuracy International AE, I only neck size the brass about 2/3 way down the neck. I believe the chamber sized brass contributes to accuracy in a bolt gun. Of course, a semi-auto will not chamber neck-sized brass consistantly. Therefore, we full-length resize.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 4:12:23 PM EDT
JJREA I load the AR ammo for Old_Painless. We are currently using military 5.56 WCC 84. The military bass is cheap and good quality. I do not place any particular significance on the lot/type. I load on a Dillon 550 press using a RCBS powder measure mounted on it. The most significant component is by far bullet quality. We find the 52 gr. Sierra BTHP Match to be best for 100 yard accuracy in our rifles.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 5:15:40 PM EDT
thank you !!! I think it's a good idea to use military brass because if you have a 5.56 chamber as I understand it brings it closer to the lands and grooves, eh?
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 5:41:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JJREA: thank you !!! I think it's a good idea to use military brass because if you have a 5.56 chamber as I understand it brings it closer to the lands and grooves, eh?
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Actually, the issue you address can best be dealt with by the seating depth of the bullets. Overall length of .223 is usually determined in the AR by the magazine. If you load them too long, they won't fit in the magazine. We load them to max length that will reliabily feed through the mag.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 5:52:14 PM EDT
What kinda bench rest are you using in that pic?
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 6:06:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By az-ar: What kinda bench rest are you using in that pic?
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Both the front rest and the rear bag were purchased from Sinclair International (www.sinclairintl.com). Make no mistake. Excellent quality equipment makes accurate shooting possible. I've shot with home built rests and with the rest pictured. There is no comparison.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 6:26:39 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GoldtopDude: ...however on my buget, I'm very happy with Q3131A. [coffee]
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[b]DITTO.[/b]
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 6:38:20 AM EDT
Stupid question time. I just shoot milsurp ammo and I dont reload. Why is military ammo so much different? What are the factors when handloading that make the difference?
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 7:53:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By captainpooby: Stupid question time. I just shoot milsurp ammo and I dont reload. Why is military ammo so much different? What are the factors when handloading that make the difference?
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As Tman posted before, the primary difference is the quality of the bullets. Nothing will match the quality of the Sierra 1410, 52 gr BTHP. This will improve accuracy. If you are interested in lethality, that is a whole different subject.
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