I'm picked up my first AR-15 today and need to start gathering ammo to test in it. I have four categories I want to pick the best ammo for, and hopefully one or more may actually be the same ammo. The AR has a 16" Stainless Ultra Match barrel from Olympic, if anyone has experience with those. It's a 4-groove 1:8 twist barrel.
The first category I want to find the perfect ammo for is "Bragging Rights" and all that matters is that it will print little tiny groups at the range. That's it. This ammo has no other job in life than to make me look good. This is the ammo that will back up any trash talking I ever decide to do (I haven't really done any yet, but you never know...). Money isn't all that much of an object, as I won't be shooting much of it.
The next category is "Coyote Curse" and I want it to be as accurate as possible with terminal performance on the coyotes being the ultimate benchmark. When I shoot a coyote with these, I want it to drop like the hammer of Thor hit it, but without destroying too much of the hide. I don't want it to blow up too quickly and not get penetration, but I don't want it to pencil through without expanding either. Yeah, I know. Keep dreaming. I just want the ammo closest to that dream. It doesn't have to actually achieve it.
The third category is "The Exterminator" and, for this category, I want long distance accuracy and explosive terminal performance. This is the round that reaches out there and touches them, and "touches them" into little pieces. This is the ammo to use for prarie dogs and sage rats. Flat shooting, accurate, and BOOM when it hits. Price is more of a consideration here, as more of these rounds will be used than with the previous two, but it's not the most important concern. The Winchester USA 45-grain Varmint packs are the leading candidate for this category already. I've never seen a .223 that they didn't shoot well in.
The last category is "Plinker" and it's just as it sounds. The ammo needs to be cheap, accurate, shoot clean, and cycle well in my AR. This ammo will probably make up 75+% of the rounds shot through the gun. I'll practice with the other rounds, so cost is a bit of a concern with them, but this category lives and dies by the cost per round. Terminal performance doesn't matter here, of course, as it doesn't take much to penetrate a sheet of paper, a soda can, or a milk jug. :)
To summarize, I need recommendations for ammo in these categories with these characteristics most important (in order):
Coyote Curse: terminal performance, accuracy, cost
Exterminator: long distance accuracy, explosive terminal performance, cost
Plinker: cost, accuracy, function
Thanks for recommendations to check out for these different categories. I'm hoping that there might be some overlap on categories that will let me take care of more than one category with the same ammo. I don't reload right now and probably won't start anytime soon. We're buying a house (closing in two weeks) so this AR-15 will be my last major "entertainment purchase" for a long time to come.
I bought some Federal Gold Medal 69-grain HPBTs, some Black Hills 68-grain match HPs, some Winchester USA 45-grain Varmint HPs, and I think I have some of the 55-grain Winchester USA FMJ's left from searching for a good load for my Savage heavy barrel bolt gun. I'm betting either the Black Hills or the Federal Gold Medal is going to be the "bragging rights" load, and probably the 45-grain Winchester USA HPs will be the "exterminator" load if the 1:8 twist isn't too fast for them. I guess I'll find out soon. My riser rail doesn't come in until Tuesday, so I'll just have to break the barrel in this weekend with the red dot scope.