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Hornady bulk 55gr FMJBT with cannelure - what is reasonable accuracy?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by IMtheNRA, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    I bought a big box of these bulk bullets, and I tested some with 23.3 grains of Viht N-133, COAL=2.200 +/- 0.005 Brass is my own used brass, separated by headstamp, trimmed and resized using RCBS X-die.

    Shooting them to 100 yards from my Colt HBAR, 1/7, 20", iron sights, sandbagged from a bench, I get 20-round groups of about 2.5 inches, with most of the rounds within 2 inches.

    Is this pretty reasonable accuracy from these value priced bulk bullets, or, assuming that I have a decent day shooting, should I expect to get better results?

    The intended purpose for these bullets is to make general plinking, blasting ammo, so I don't expect bench rest accuracy, but I would like the ammo to perform to the best reasonable ability of these cheap bulk bullets.

    Should I be happy with 2.5" or do I need to continue to work on load development?
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    2.5" is not that great with Hornady FMJ, as they usually do better then other brands of cheap bulk FMJ.
    But it's not that surprising either.

    But no FMJ will be as accurate as any bullet design with the jacket opening in the nose.

    It's just not possible to make the exposed jacket end on the base as perfectly square as it is to make a base perfectly flat & square with the bore on an open tip bullet.
    The base is more importent to good accuracy then if the nose of the bullet being slightly off.

    Here are two groups shot with my Colt carbine.
    Same exact loads, except for the bullets.

    55 grain Nosler Ballistic-Tips vis 55 grain Win FMJ.

  3. 788Ham

    788Ham Well-Known Member

    I'm unable to post any pics of my last jaunt to the range, but no, FMJ aren't for superior accuracy you're trying to achieve. I shot some 52 gr. BTHP from Hornady @ 100 yds, .366 MOA is what was achieved with this bullet. I shoot the FMJ to rid the brass of the temp plug there, then reload the 52 gr. bullet, lot better accuracy.
  4. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    Hi guys, just to be clear - I'm not trying to create an accurate round - there are better bullets for that. I just want to make sure I'm not settling for an inferior load if this cheap bulk bullet is capable of more than 2.5" groups.

    The purpose of this particular bullet is to make cheap blasting and plinking ammo when I'm not shooting for nice groups, but banging away at soda cans and clays.
  5. ZXD9

    ZXD9 Well-Known Member

    I just looked through my data and here's what I've come up with using an RRA 16" SS 1:8 barrel. Shooting at a bench w/ scope and bipod. This is various test groups w/ two different powders and several different powder charges. Letters next to values represents different combinations.

    For my 4 shot groups here are the MOA numbers
    1.214 A
    1.228 A
    1.262 A
    1.496 B
    1.586 C
    1.603 D
    1.603 D
    1.634 D
    1.76 D
    1.997 D

    For my 5 shot groups here are the MOA numbers
    0.779 B
    1.143 C
    1.372 A
    1.402 E
    1.673 E
    2.152 F
    2.213 B
    2.347 A

    I had one 8 shot group w/ 2.65 MOA C
  6. TNBilly

    TNBilly Well-Known Member

    Just personal opinion, you're limited by sights more than anything and I'm making the assumption at that by your group size you have pretty good vision. I'd be plenty happy with your results for plinking around.
  7. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    Like TNBilly mentioned, you may be dealing with sighting errors creeping into the equation. If you have a scope setup to try, you can make a comparison between irons and scope and see if it makes a difference.
    A 2.5" 20 shot group with irons, seems not great, but respectable to me. Certainly adequate for plinking. If you have other acceptable powders, perhaps you can try them to see if you can improve your groups.
    You didn't mention if you do, but you don't need to crimp the bullets.

  8. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    That's pretty good for iron sights. To really test the accuracy potential of both rifle and bullets, you need a good scope.
  9. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Well-Known Member

    A 20-round group of 2.5" at 100 yards with iron sights? I'd be satisfied with that. I'll bet you could cut that group in half with a decent scope.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    I missed the part about 20 round groups and open sights.

    I'd take that load right to the bank for a beer can killer!!

  11. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Well-Known Member

    If the purpose is to just make cheap blasting and plinking ammo, then a good start would be to buy cheaper powder. I do love VihtaVuori powders, but it is some expensive stuff. Around here most VV rifle powder costs $30-33/lb. You can buy a pound of Win 748 for around $20.
  12. Tim the student

    Tim the student Well-Known Member

    I've made some shoot just a hair over MOA - but only 5 round groups. I think I can tweak it some more, but I'm not sure its worth the effort really. Maybe I'll do it sometime.

    That said, yeah, I'd be pretty pleased with a 20 round group of 2.5" with irons.
  13. amlevin

    amlevin Well-Known Member

    Have you tried loading your cartridge a little longer? I load the same bullet out to 2.260 and get moa performance consistently, sometimes better. If your chamber is a 5.56mm chamber this MAY help a little.
  14. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your advice, everyone! I shot some with a scoped AR, and got slightly better performance - 1.75" groups. However, this particular AR likes heavier bullets.

    Amlevin - thank you for that hint. I'm going to load a bunch of them longer this weekend and see if it helps.
  15. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Well-Known Member

    I'd say you're doing pretty good, 2.5" at 100 yds with irons out of a stock Colt AR-15.

    A couple of the Highpower shooters around me use the Hornady 55gr FMJ for practice ammo and at 200-yards in matches. The bullets will shoot very well.
  16. zeke

    zeke Well-Known Member

    2.5 inches is very good with open sights, depending on how it compares with other loads through same rifle.

    Given the costs of all the components and time have devoted into reloading practice rounds for the ar-15, am seriously considering just paying the extra for good bullets bought in bulk. Sierra 52 hpbt and Hdy 50 grain v-max come to mind. Or other weights , depending on purpose. The cheap practice bullets may not be worth the cost savings, unless loading up for close range practice.

    The Win 55 fmjbt can be seated out for much better accuracy, but it is a PIA because of the inconsistent COL and setting aside the "too longers" for another seating step.

    Have about loaded up all the win 55 fmjbt purchased during the supply shortage, and likely just switch to better bullets.
  17. WyrTwister

    WyrTwister Well-Known Member

    The Hornady 55 grain FMJBT is the most accurate cheap / bulk bullet I have tried , yet .

    God bless
  18. Cherokee

    Cherokee Well-Known Member

    "The Hornady 55 grain FMJBT is the most accurate cheap / bulk bullet I have tried , yet .

    God bless
    Wyr "

    +1, my experience as well.
  19. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Well-Known Member

    Not exactly apples to apples, but:

    My Savage 12FV will put 5 shots of UMC yellow box 55gr MC into about 1.25" @ 100yd. Same rifle with 75gr Hornady HPBT over Varget will put 5 shots inside 0.5" @ 100yd.

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