I was hoping you guys could help me find the price/performance "sweet spot" and help me narrow down some choices for ammo on my new rifle. I have perused this site and others for awhile and read a lot of the stickys. The more I read, the more I am overwhelmed by the choices. I would like to start examining the accuracy potential of this rifle, and would like to begin with some smart purchases on factory ammo (yes, I am one of those guys that needs to learn to reload). However, I do not want to throw money at the vendors haphazardly. I suppose I could load up on Black Hills, Bergers, Hornady or Federal Match and that would be a safe place to start. But that stuff is expensive and I am hoping for some alternatives.
In the last year, I finally got around to putting together an AR-15 that I primarily intend to use for paper-punching (beyond 100 yards) and hunting (coyotes, jackrabbits, prairie dogs). Here are the specs on my rifle:
20" Rock River Varmint A4 upper, 1 in 8" twist SS barrel
Magpul PRS stock
RR 2-stage trigger
Vortex Viper 6.5-20x44mm scope
Leupold Tactical rings
With a firm grasp of the idea that I am the weakest link in this system, that every rifle and barrel are different, and that ammo varies from lot to lot...do you have any suggestions for some ammo I should try? BTW, I do have experience with the M16A2 platform and open sights. But I normally just shoot what is cheap or available with an eye for practical accuracy. I am new to precision/long-range shooting.
I was hoping to start out with a modest purchase of around $100 on factory ammo to see what my rifle likes before I make an investment in a larger quantity. Here are some ideas I was looking at:
I have a h&r 223 that my daughter uses for plinking with why I am at the range, I buy wolf ammo 55gr for her to use. Its cheap and I can shoot 3 shots touching with it at 100yrds. Its cheap enough and good enough I dont bother to reload for it.
I've used the 75 gr. Privi .223 in my Savage 110 fp and with it I can shoot 1/4 inch groups at a 100 yds. all day long. Working on get it out there at 1000 yds. and have some what of a grouping. I can get it out there but right now I wouldn't call it a group looks more like a scatter gun hit it at 50 yds.. But as with everything it will come with time.
My Savage also likes the 62 gr. M855ss193 will shoot that into a 1/2 group at 100 yds. basically what I'm saying is that with practice almost any ammo will do a good job.
First off, if you are going to REALLY shoot .223, you may want to consider a Dillon Progressive setup. Trust me, reloading for an auto 223 is a *BLEEEEEEP* ;) A Dillon will save your sanity!
IF you go Dillon Progressive, then I would most seriously consider:
-- IMR8208XBR Powder
-- Sierra 69gr SMK (truly excellent all around bullet)
-- Lake City 09 brand new mfg brass (500 count) from Midway is actually quite good overall. And the price is nice at only $79 on sale. They also have 1k counts as well.
-- Primers: either the Rem 7 1/2 or the Wolf SR-M
With the IMR powder you *MIGHT* give up a small bit of pure speed, but not very dang much, especially with the 69gr bullets, and if you use the nice heavy mil brass. It also flows through the Dillon nicely.
Last edited by diriel; 01-07-2011 at 01:11 AM.
I'd vote for the reloading, of course, but if you're just learning to do so, an AR isn't the platform to start with. Load for bolt guns first, and then move on to the gas guns. They're a form of advanced handloading, and need to be treated very differently than bolt guns where reloads are concerned. Get some experience with the less tempermental forms of reloading before venturing into this area.
You're 1x8" will handle anything up to (and including) most 80s with no problems. I've used a fair amount of the Black Hills 77s, and have been pretty impressed with them. Federal and Hornady also turn out some pretty reasonable ammo in the heavier weights, and they'd also be worth a try.