Australia, Portuguese and Spanish .308 ammo, which is better?


November 24, 2004, 03:04 PM
Just buy a FAL chambered in .308 win (7.62x51 NATO), and want to pick some ammos for it. I have heard bad things about Indian and Korean ammo, so I decide to choose from the Australia, Portuguese and Spanish .308 surplus ammos. Since I have no experience about them, could you guy tell me among these three, which one is better in performance, quality, reliability and accuracy?

I also find that there are two types of Australia, one is packed in 50rd Canvas Bandoliers in a 200 rds. ammo can, another is packed in plastic boxes in a 160 rds. box. Are there any differences between these two?


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November 24, 2004, 03:27 PM
Australian and Port. stuff is very good. I have never personally shot the Spanish stuff. Indian is very bad stuff. Korean isn't too bad as far as 30-06 is concerned a few batches were corrosive but all in all seems to be good stuff. Not sure about the .308 though.

November 24, 2004, 03:31 PM
I've used the Port stuff and was impressed with it, both with the price and quality. Definitely stay away from the Indian.

November 24, 2004, 03:32 PM
My best results have been from Port and South African. My DSA STG58a will shoot 1-1/2" to 2" 5 shot 100 yd groups with both of these. I have about 3K rnds of it at home.

Dave R
November 24, 2004, 04:10 PM
I have not tried Australian, but I love the Portugese.

My CETME shoots it at 2MOA. My Rem700 typically shoots it about 1.5MOA, but I have shot a couple of sub-2" groups at 200 yards with it. Coulda been a good day?

November 24, 2004, 04:14 PM
Portugese works for me...

Are any of these corrosive?

November 24, 2004, 04:23 PM
Australian ammo isn't corrosive, I shot literally thousands of rounds over several years competing in Fullbore (palma) shooting. For many years the military ammo was the specified round for the match.

November 24, 2004, 04:35 PM
Guys, thanks for your reply!:)

Australian ammo isn't corrosive

I think all these three ammos (plus the south African ammo) should all be Non-corrosive, right?

I also heard that there are some bad batches in Portuguess, is this true?

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2004, 04:46 PM

The difference between the two types of Aussie ammo is when it was made.

The surplus that comes on 5rd stripper clips and in the bandoleers was made in the 1980's, and the ones that are in the blister packs and come 160rnds in a box are from the 1990's.

Some people say that the 90's stuff is better, but I haven't noticed a difference.

As for the quality of it, well, here is a picture. 80yards, prone supported, 200 meter sight (reason why group is high).

I just love posting that photo. :D


November 24, 2004, 05:39 PM
No idea about the other manufacturers, I'm an aussie and I shot what was available here. We bought it in 1300 round wooden crates.

My club armourer used to waffle on about the '93 ADI ammo as if it was a classic bottle of wine. :)

Itgoesboom, that is an impressive group!


November 24, 2004, 07:31 PM
There were some bad lots of Portugese. I'm thinking it was in 1979, but I can't remember. Try doing a search on the forum. Those guys know 7.62x51 ammo.

Other than that one bad batch, Portugese is very good ammo and comes in cardboard boxes packed in sealed plastic battle packs.

The Australian is excellent ammo. However, often the the Aussie ammo is pricier because you may be paying for the ammo cans, bandoliers and/or clips depending on how it's packaged.

South African is also very good ammo if you can find it. It's also packed in sealed battle packs. I've never tried the Santa Barbara 7.62x51, but I've heard good things about it. I have tried their surplus .38 Special in battle packs and it's great stuff.

I shoot Port, SA, and Aussie through my Garand and FAL. They all shoot about the same accuracy wise and are completely reliable. One of those is steel core though if that matters at your local range. I believe it's the SA IIRC. They are all non-corrosive.

Out of those, I'd buy whatever you can get the cheapest and you won't go wrong. Just don't buy loose or repackaged surplus ammo. If it's not in sealed battle packs or sealed ammo cans (unopened ammo cans will usually have a wire "lock" on them that you will have to break to open) stay away from it. Loose surplus ammo may be OK, but then again, it could have been sitting open in some damp warehouse, there's no way of knowing.

November 24, 2004, 08:18 PM
I just bought a FAL as well (21" SA58) and have 320 rounds of Aussie in two of the 160 round boxes that I am going to try out in it; hopefully next week sometime. I've heard good things, but this is my first .308 experience.

Kind of off topic, but DSA's recommended break in procedure is 20 rounds with the use of a copper solvent... does Hoppes qualify, or should I use something else?

itgoesboom, I like your picture also.

November 24, 2004, 08:18 PM
I've shot Aussie, Port, Spanish, and South African through my Ohio Rapid Fire built FAL. All are reliable, non-corrosive and accurate. I wouldn't hesitate to put any of these through any gun I own. I have even put some Indian through it with no problems but plan to keep my distance in the future. Although, from what I've seen, as long as the obviously bad rounds are culled then it goes bang probably 99% of the time.

November 24, 2004, 08:55 PM
Also, since the ammo is "military surplus" (I assume that means either produced under a direct military contract, or to exact military spec, or both) I assume it is suitable for serious purposes. If so, what are the ballistics like, and what is the bullet's primary method of damage infliction? Fragmentation? Tumbling, etc? I'm thinking of the Aussie ammo.

November 24, 2004, 09:15 PM
The Aussie ammos primary means of causing damage was punching on through. It's very consistent and for many years was considered target grade ammunition. We shot it at distances to 800m with the expectation of hitting the centre. I never saw a round fragment when it hit the butts, as for tumbling, if it hits something at 2400fps I doubt it will have time to upset before it's exited.


November 24, 2004, 09:33 PM

The Aussie ammo is a little lighter, and a little faster at 144gr and 2890 fps.

As far as I know, none of the surplus .308 ammo fragments. AFAIK, it will tumble once, about 6" in, and then continue base foreward until it stops.

So the means of stopping is really just punch an entrance and exit wound; air in, blood out.


November 24, 2004, 10:31 PM
I've shot all three in FALs, HK91s and CETMEs...

All three are excellent.

Buy what's cheapest, and buy a lot...

November 25, 2004, 07:23 AM
I've had good results with Australian milsurp .308, both '80's and '90's production. However, my all-time favorite remains the Hirtenberger Austrial milsurp .308... I did Thunder Ranch's GPR course with that, and was routinely getting 1-1½ MOA groups from a Steyr Scout rifle. Very accurate stuff - and no, you can't have any of the approximately 1,000 rounds I still have squirreled away! :D

November 25, 2004, 11:12 AM
None of this stuff is steel jacketed, is it?

November 25, 2004, 03:20 PM
I've got a DSA STG58a with a 1st Gen 14x Springfield scope, it runs like a sewing machine with both Australian and the Portugese. Only advantage I see is that the Portugese is reloadable.


November 26, 2004, 12:23 AM
The Portuguese M961 Ball that we're talking about here, while excellent ammo (and my first choice among those under discussion) is berdan primed and not easily reloadable. But then, it would cost you more to reload it than the ammo costs to purchase to begin with...

Also, I should point out that the Portuguese has a mild steel jacket that is coated with guilding metal. It is also lead cored, so it is not AP. The steel jacket material that is used is quite mild, and some reports say that it is softer than most guilding metal jackets. That means that bore wear will not exceed that from guilding metal jacketed bullets. Also, to put this into perspective, most Norma ammo is manufactured with mild steel jackets, and we all know that Norma is crap (obviously, facetiously said...).

But it will attract a magnet, if that it important at your range.

November 26, 2004, 12:35 AM
I'm mostly worried about barrel wear. What is the jacket material on the newer Aussie surplus?

Also, is there steel cored "AP" .308 of any kind out there on the civie market?

November 26, 2004, 01:43 AM
Don't worry about bore wear with the Portuguese any more than you worry about bore wear with any other ammo that you shoot. Get some Portuguese. It's great ammo. And it looks like the supply is drying up (AIM claims that they're almost out, with no more in the pipeline).

I don't know of any 7.62x51mm AP ammo that is available right now. Of course, it is banned in many places, and there are laws that govern it's sale...

The last AP that I saw (and I bought several hundred rounds, which I stupidly fired in practice) was some Israeli stuff sold about twenty years ago. It looked like it had spend a few months on the bottom of the Red Sea, had then been tumbled "clean", and then boxed up and sold as "excellent condition" ammo. It looked awful, but it actually shot pretty well.

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