Ammo Question


December 25, 2011, 01:09 AM
Hi Guys,

I am trying to understand something here so I hope you help me out.

For the sake of discussion, assume I am talking about 308 ammo.

Now bascially if you had to choose ammo and you had a range of brands to choose from, why would you choose it, and why is there such differences between manufactors for the same calibre in terms of accuracy?

The reason i ask the question is I am trying to justify the cost differences between brands.

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December 25, 2011, 01:19 AM
Yes. There is certainly a difference in quality between different brands of ammo. The established standard for very accurate loads is Federal Gold Match.

Not all ammo needs to be sub-MOA accurate. Hunting at regular distances and game doesn't require super accurate ammo. The guys who REALLY need accuracy usually load their own. The factories don't try too hard to compete with it, because there aspects of handloading that they can't do. For example, when you handload, you can take a measurement to the rifle you are loading for, and seat the bullets so that when you chamber the cartridges, they are right behind the rifling without touching it. No matter how good factory ammo is, they can't do that. There are custom ammo makers who will do it for you, but they aren't cheap.

December 25, 2011, 01:25 AM
Some companies use different materials to make their product. Different percentages of alloys and metals, different weights of gun powder and different weights of the actual projectile used will make prices vary. For example, a bullet made by federal, 150 grain with say 42 grains of powder would cost less to produce than a bullet that is 180 grains with 44 grains of powder. Also, you must consider different brands trying to capitalize on adding an extra layer of say teflon or chromolly. There's many factors that go into the bullet making process.

December 25, 2011, 09:05 AM
Generally, with ammunition, you pays for what you gets. Cheap ammo uses components based upon cost rather than quality or consistency.
No ammunition company will or could produce match grade ammo & sell it at WalMart prices.
True different brands, weights or bullet construction will shoot better or worse in YOUR rifle. It's your job to test the various brands and bullet types to find what your rifle likes and shoots best and suits what you are using your rifle for.

December 25, 2011, 05:42 PM
Thank you everybody.

I decided that when i get the rifle (i have settled on a Remington 700 SPS), I will buy a box of 20 from various manufacturers.

Thinking :
Black Hills (20)
Federal Gold Match (20)
Wolf (20)
Brown Bear (20)
Silver Bear (20)

Some people might think i am crazy for buying and testing a range of ammo, but i want the best i can afford and the best ammo that wont corrode the barrell..

December 25, 2011, 05:44 PM
Wolf (20)
Brown Bear (20)
Silver Bear (20)None of those three are even in the running with the first two you listed.

Not even close.

Besides not being match accurate, it is all steel case Russian ammo with copper washed steel jacket bullets.


December 25, 2011, 06:23 PM
One thing to consider as you get into a rifle, is the twist rate of the barrel, in relation to which ammo you will try out.

The SPS, according to Remington's site states a 1:10 twist. Barrel twist is the relationship of how quickly the rifling revolves around the inside of the barrel in a given length. 1:10 equals one revolution in 10 inches of length.

The chart below gives the basics of bullet weight per twist, YOUR rifle may shoot and stabilize bullets up to or past those weights. Or not. It may prefer a certain weight or even a certain type or brand.

You would hope to be able to shoot cheap 150 gr ammo for plinking, then go to a GMM 168 gr or 175 gr for serious target work. PRVI has a 168 gr and 175 gr match ammo that is cheaper, and shoots decently.

.308 8" For bullets heavier than 220gr.
10" For bullets up to 220 gr.
12" For bullets up to 170 gr.
14"* For bullets up to 168 gr.
15"* For bullets up to 150 gr

December 25, 2011, 07:57 PM
Another very important thing about different ammunition manufacturers is the powder composition. Different makers use different blends of various powders and others, such as Hornady, make their own custom powders. You have faster/slower burn rates which equal different pressures. For longer barreled rifles, you MAY want a little slower burning powder to get greater peak pressures and more speed. For shorter barrels you MAY need a faster burning powder to get a full efficient burn and maximum speed and efficiency out of the shorter barrel. It's all in a microsecond as far as difference but those couple of microseconds can equal a great number of difference in pressure.

As for your choices in ammo that you posted, I would completely drop the last 3. They are junk ammo pretty much to be used for cheap plinking with AK's and other "rattle bangers" that will run it. They are not in any way a very reliable, consistent ammunition.

December 25, 2011, 09:51 PM
For precision shooting at anything over 100 yards, the Federal Match ammo is hard to beat. It groups much more consistently than the Russian or military surplus ammo, except for the surplus Lake City sniper rounds, which are getting hard to find, and expensive.

December 25, 2011, 11:13 PM
In my experience, the three Russian ones, there is little difference in accuracy between the three. I like the Silver Bear because it is a touch slicker and feeds really well, but they aren't made for accuracy.

December 25, 2011, 11:29 PM
A barrel is much like a "tubular bell" (or wind chime). It rings at a certain frequency. Each round has it's own characteristic pressure spike which is like the mallet hitting the bell. If the two are in sinc, the accuracy goes up. If they are not, the accuracy suffers. And since there are so many variables in making barrels, from metals (alloys) to tapers, to twist rates, to seating into an action, there is no way to predict which ammo will work best with what rifles. It's a try and see game.

Ammo that has worked well for me: Prvi Partizan, Remington Core-lokt, Winchester Silver Tip, Lapua and some Federal. Ammo that I have not had good luck with - mostly Horandy. This is across a number of platforms and calibers. But, you results may vary?

Then there is the range of bullet weights your barrel will like. This is mostly a function of twist rate, but it is also a function of taper as that weight accelerates down the tube. Different weights are going to accelerate at different rates and "ring" that bell slightly differently :)

I've had good luck and good service from Graf & Son. Shipping is cheap at like $5. And they usually have a wide assortment. Try this for 308 listings: I usually sort by price to see what's on sale right up front :)

December 26, 2011, 02:44 AM
Thank you everyone.

I have learned a lot already, and you have given me a lot to think about.
Clearly I need to do a bit more research to choose a plinking ammo and a match (or hunting) ammo.

Also thanks for making me understand barrell twist rate, your short explaintion made much more sense than wikipedia!

Obviously I have a lot more to learn, but I am excited and look forwards to people imparting their knowledge here.

December 26, 2011, 03:33 AM
If this is your first rifle You may find the cheaper ammo fine for learning tigger control and sight picture and getting a feel for your rifle. Then you can go with the better stuff as your shooting improves.

December 26, 2011, 03:36 AM
Look into Wolf Gold. I'm not sure if they make it in .308 but the 8x57 I bought was excellent. It is PPU (privi partizan) brass, might even be their ammo relabeled and sold as Wolf. It shot excellently and the brass has been great for reloading.

December 26, 2011, 04:28 AM
Thank you Solman, yeah this would be my first rifle

Also regarding Wolf Gold, thanks i never heard of that so will read a bit more on it.

December 26, 2011, 09:27 AM
My "range" ammo for my Howa 1500 is Prvi 175gr FMJBT that I can get for $11.50 at AIM. In my rifle, I get between 1-1.5" 5 shot groups at 100 yards. With FGMM, the group size shrinks by half...but the price/rounds goes up by ~50% as well.

December 26, 2011, 10:55 AM
I believe the three primary factors for accuracy are good bedding, good barrels, good bullets. Combined, I will make the foolish statement to say these are the 90%, maybe 95% factors of accuracy. If anyone one of them is off, accuracy will be awful.

So I am going to assume, and this is a big assumption, that the bedding and the barrel of your rifle is good.

I ran an ammo test with 150 Hornday FMJís, IMR 148 FMJís, and shot some ball ammo for the heck of it.

As you can see bullets make a huge difference. Bad bullets, such as those IMI and WRA 1968 ball, shot something awful. The Horndayís are much better bullets and I hit a sweet spot in my rifle. Horndayís donít shoot that well with that same load in other 308 rifles, but they shoot fine for cheap bullets.

With match bullets the Ruger will shoot consistent tight groups.

IMI Bullets, different powder charges of IMR 3031 at 100 yards

150 Hornday bullets

1968 WRA Ball

I donít expect your Russian ammunition to shoot all that well with the cheap bullets that come in the things. I have a crate of cheap steel case Chinese ball which simply sprays groups. However I pulled the cheap Chinese bullets, took an average of the powder weights, put that back in the cases and put in good bullets. I had to use a Dremel grinding bit to bevel the case mouths or the bullets shaved, but the end result was a considerable improvement to group size. Took too much time so I did not do that again.

December 26, 2011, 11:02 AM
Good triggers and consistent triggers also help in accuracy.

December 26, 2011, 11:09 AM
All I can do is Echo the guys here, Yes. There is certainly a difference in brands.........

December 26, 2011, 11:53 AM
To be practical and not perfectionist - if you are talking about a match rig then maybe buying Federal Gold matters... if you are talking about a surplus military or commercial grade rifle I think the only think you can say for certain is that the bottom 25% of the ammo (WOLF, Bear, etc.) is certainly not as accurate or reliable or clean and from there it really has more to do with what your particular rifle happens to shoot best. My FAL shoots DAG which is Nato German surplus much better than Federal Gold.. it cycles better, it's more accurate, more reliable even... but my rifle isn't a $3000 hand tuned M1A1.

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