Friday, July 22, 2016

Ammunition Review - Ammoman

Eric, from Ammoman (your first stop for on-line ammunition purchases) asked me if I would review some of the ammunition that they are selling. I'm happy to do that here on the Virtual Mirage Blog. An excuse to go to the range and shoot? No, I don't need an excuse, but this provides a compelling reason. Feed my addiction AMMO MAN!

In order to conduct the test properly, I traveled to Arizona to shoot. Don't fret, it's a 3 hour drive. It takes me as long to drive 40 miles into Los Angeles during the morning rush as it does to drive 210 miles to Arizona, but I can put cruise control on when driving to AZ in the Ford Raptor, with the music cranked up.

Testing took place between 7:00 and 8:30 am (to avoid heat and the breeze that throws off hyper accuracy, which is what was at stake here). By 9:30, it was 95 degrees and time to pack up and head back for the coast and those naturally balmy breezes that Orange County California is heir to.

Testing Platforms:

1. JP LRP-07   (semi-automatic rifle) (more on LRP here)

2. Barrett MRAD, chambered for .308  (bolt action rifle) (more on MRAD here)

Both rifles have Schmidt and Bender Police Marksman 2 rifle scopes.

The Ammoman testing ammunition:

PMC .308 Win (7.62X51) "Bronze" 147 grain FMJ-BT

PMC 7.62X51 "XTAC" 147 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Boat Tail (BT)

Notes: My standard go-to war shots for these rifles is the Federal Lake City Match 175gr HPBT XM118 Long Range primarily because I like to engage paper targets at the outside of the .308 effective range (700 meters +) and the cartridge is designed for that application.  I also shoot .308, 168 Grain HP-BT - Federal Premium Sierra Match King Gold Medal. Thus the comparison PMC ammunition.

The lighter 147 gr. bullets had a different Point of Impact (POI) from the Lake City Match (sighted in) as one would expect, but the groupings were impressive at 100 meters with both rifles, achieving an average 1.5 MOI with the LRP-07 and 2.25 MOI with the Barrett MRAD, firing three round groups.

I did not fire 7.62X51 through the LRP. I tested both sets of ammunition through the MRAD and they performed substantively the same. Any variance was likely due to shooter error.

    "Although not identical, the 7.62×51mm NATO and the commercial .308 Winchester cartridges are similar enough that they can be loaded into rifles chambered for the other round, but the Winchester .308 cartridges are typically loaded to higher pressures than 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges."

The LRP has a heat sink on the barrel, providing the same results with a hot bore as with a cold bore. The MRAD groupings were made after firing ten rounds, slow fire, to heat the bore and provide uniformity. I am impressed with the PMC ammunition a standard hunting ranges. The test was at 100 meters, but the groupings were good at 300 as well.

To make things a bit more interesting, I fired the PMC .308 ammunition from the LRP at targets at longer ranges (600, 700 and 800 known distance targets). As expected, they did not meet the standard set by the XM118 cartridges, but nobody would expect them to.

Testing platforms:

1. Glock 21 Gen 1 (.45 ACP) with internal modifications including a tougher recoil spring to compensate for +P and +P+ ammunition, a titanium guide rod in the recoil mechanism and a one-inch longer-than-stock Lone Wolf barrel.

2. Kimber Raptor 2 (.45 ACP), stock Kimber, Colt 1911A1 style handgun.

The Ammoman testing ammunition:

Winchester Training Ammunition - .45 ACP 230 grain FMJ

Winchester .45 ACP 230 grain Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) ("Duty Ammunition")

Going into the testing I wondered how the Winchester FMJ ammunition would cycle in the Model 21, modified to cycle hotter ammunition with more recoil. I have fired standard Orange County (CA) Sheriff's Department range ammunition through that pistol (with the original barrel and the longer Lone Wolf barrel) without any problems, but you never know. The Glock has had well over 10K rounds fired through it.

The Kimber is a newer handgun, tuned for standard .45 ACP ammunition (though I load +P ammo in the magazine for carry purposes as a matter of course)

The focus of the test was to determine whether the training ammunition would print the same as the duty ammunition. One common faulty training habit is to practice with one type of (usually hardball) ammunition and carry a different type jacketed hollow point that has different recoil and POI characteristics from what you train with.  It's an economic thing and we all fall prey to that from time to time.

Winchester's solution was to offer two (different price points) types of ammunition that would offer the same recoil for training purposes as it does for combat purposes.

The Winchester ammunition performed as advertised and I found no difference in recoil or grouping between the training ammunition and the duty ammunition.  Will I cast off my Hornady Critical Defense +P or my custom load +P+ ammunition for daily carry? Possibly not, but that's just because I want a .45 ACP  cartridge that shoots about 200+ FPS faster.

Source: Ammunition Review - Ammoman

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