Accuracy of reloads vs factory ammo


March 2, 2008, 02:33 PM
Just got back from the range, and boy was I surprised at the difference.
First up, 44mag lead FN that was grouping 4" from center at worst from a lever-action carbine with open sights from 50yrds out. Factory ammo was Winchester JSP's that had several flyers and most were over 6" from center before I adjusted POA to keep respectable looking paper.
Next up was some 45acp I bought from a commercial reloader on deal of 500rnds of 230gr TMJ for $128 delivered) vs $155 with tax for 500rnds of CCI Blazer at wallyworld. I was shooting with a Springfield Loaded 1911 in SS at about 15yrds. The difference was only slightly noticeable from the two, but still there.
My question. Is this the normal results one should expect or was this just a fluke and factory ammo is usually pretty accurate? Also, I am gathering materials and equipment to start reloading and was wondering how many times I can reload 44mag, 38spl, 357mag, 9mm and 45acp before brass is whooped. Thanx.

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March 2, 2008, 03:30 PM
Most factory ammo is pretty accurate. Some is superb. Bargain bin commercial reloads may not be and only made as cheaply as possible. One great thing about reloading for ones self is we can control this.

March 2, 2008, 03:33 PM
"Good" Factory Ammo is usually pretty accurate. The issue is who makes good factory ammo?

All precision ammo does is take the variable other than shooter/gun out of the equation. How much of the inaccuracy is the ammo, how much due to gun (loose parts, bad trigger, etc), and how much due to the shooter flinching, poor grip, bad habits?

Accuracy of ammo is one factor, certainly, but the largest one for many is cost. Reloading can be done for a fraction of the cost of New.

March 2, 2008, 03:37 PM
Generally speaking, reloads that have been matched to a firearms particular likes are more accurate than factory ammo. I always reloaded all of my pistol match ammo (except .22 rf of course) for two reasons, 1, It is a lot cheaper, especially if you are shooting hundreds of rounds each week. 2 It is more accurate when tailored to my pistols taste.
My DPMS .308's best 100 yd group with factory ammo was .88" C - C with most of the factory stuff a lot worse. My reloads run as small as .43" to about .75" with an average of around .68".
YMMV but it usually pays to try many different loads, powders & bullets. When you find what your firearm likes, stay with it. The testing of course is always a good reason to go to your range for the day. It's real hard work too! ;)


March 4, 2008, 01:24 AM
You did not mention the brand of leveraction, but if it was a microgrooved Marlin M1894, then awful groups with soft lead bullets will be the norm.

This was my experience. However a microgroove Marlin will shoot very well with jacketed.

Lever action rifles have too many things hanging on the barrel. I have found that as the forend handguard moves on mine, the point of impact changes. Than you have all the bands, cartridge tube, all rattling around in chaotic directions on each shot.

So, depending on the mechanical tightness of the system, you may have been shooting within the limits of your carbine.

Brand name factory ammunition is very good stuff. However, if you are diligent and experiment with the variables, reloads can be made that will shoot better. Factory match ammunition is superb. When shot in match rifles with match barrels it is hard to improve on Federal gold medal match, or Black Hills. But because you can tailor your reloads, you can get small improvements over the best factory match ammunition.

March 4, 2008, 04:13 AM
I was shooting a new(3mos old) Puma mdl 92 16" barrel in stainless steel. And, for the record, the reloads were 240gr lead flat-nose that gave the best results. 15 total reloads were shot that all hit in the black 8/9/10 bullseye rings. 15 Winchester 240gr Jacketed soft points were the factory loads used that half made into the black after I adjusted my POA to get them there. The other half were flyers up/down/right, but still on the paper. All this was done at 50yrds with open sights from a bench resting on my elbows. I was just making the observation that the accuracy I was getting was better with the reloads then the factory ammo, wondering if it was normal or just a fluke.

March 4, 2008, 06:50 AM
Where I can tell a LOT of difference is between 45acp 230gr factory jacketed ammo and 200gr lead SWC reloads out of my 1911 and 45acp revolver.

The factory ammo isn't in the same league in group tightness as the reloads.

I've tried this with many different brands of factory ammo, they don't compete.

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