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SubZero 11-02-2012 11:39 PM

Can one brand of ammo be inaccurate compared to another brand?
I was at the range trying out some Federal ammo. The other day with my 300 WSM and today with my 270 Win.

Previously I had been using Winchester Super X, which is more expensive, so I thought I'd try the Federal, which was available at Walmart for noticeably less in the 270 Win.

But in both the 300 WSM and 270 Win, it honestly seems like the Federal is not very accurate. It almost seems like the bullets "bounce around" and don't end up precisely where I expect them to be.

It did not seem that way with the Winchester Super X at all, so I'm confused.

Is it possible that the Federal rifle ammo is just not as accurate as the Winchester Super X?

TLuker 11-03-2012 12:14 AM

Yes it is very possible. Normally more expensive ammo shoots more consistently because the manufacturing tolerances are more precise. In addition, some guns just like whatever type of ammo. The first thing I use to do when I bought a new rifle was get several different types of ammo to see which one it liked. Now I reload, and the first thing I do now is try several different loads to see what a gun likes.

Occasional you will find a gun that likes cheap ammo, but that doesn't seem to happen very often. :confused:

bigdaddy573 11-03-2012 12:18 AM

Your guns might not like the federal ammo i go back and forth with Winchester silvertips to Remington soft point and they both are very accurate out of my 22-250 and my 30-06 is accurate with federal shells so my guess is your guns dont like them

KG7IL 11-03-2012 12:29 AM

I sure expected to see more posts, especially from the folks that know more than me.

A particular load should be consistent. This does not mean accurate, but consistent. Pressure, Pressure Curve and the release of the Projectile should be consistent. That consistency may (or may not) be accurate in your rifle. A rifle may like a certain interior ballistic better than others.

Twist favors a particular weight to stabilize the bullet, barrel dynamics further determine the stability as it leaves the barrel.

This is why handloaders will try different bullet, shapes and weights, powerder, primers, sizing method and pullet crimp. Much attention is paid to the case, sizing, capacity, concentricity and such. With carefull shooting and good notes, they arrive at the 'perfect load'.

For most of the folks, trying several different factory loads is the way to go. Careful shooting and good notes still apply. Since rifles differ in chamber, throat, rifling, crowns and barrel dynamics, no one round should be expected to be the most accurate in all rifles of that caliber.

You will want to try several shapes, weights that meet your shooting A 190 gr performance boat-tail may be right for your accuracy, but not meet your terminal ballistics requirement (i.e. deer instead of paper).

I have seen barrel weights (or vibration changers) but never tried them. I wouldn't recommend these gimmicks for now.
Keep the rifle simple and work with factory loads for now.

So ... ... many variables. Don't let price be your guide if you are really looking for Consistent-Accuracy. As noted above, you rifle may like inexpensive ammo.

RaySendero 11-03-2012 12:44 AM


Originally Posted by KG7IL (Post 999805)
I sure expected to see more posts, especially from the folks that know more than me.

I have a rilfe that likes the 150 Win. but doesn't like the 150 Rem.

It doesn't mean that Winchester is generally better than Remington. It does mean that I'll not buy the Rem any more for use in that rifle. :D

Ruger52 11-03-2012 01:23 AM

My Remington BDL chambered in 270 Win.hates federal ammo. Sadly I bought a bunch at a gun show, so I will be re-selling it soon. With winchester silver tip, or soft tips, or nosler boattail, it is moa at 300 yards. With the federal, I was on paper, but seldom in target circle. I suppose you could hit something accidently with that ammo. Funny thing is I use Federal in my AR and it works great. :confused:

KG7IL 11-03-2012 01:51 AM


Originally Posted by Ruger52 (Post 999877)
My Remington BDL chambered in 270 Win.hates federal ammo. .... Funny thing is I use Federal in my AR and it works great. :confused:

My Gawd, don't shoot that 270 in your AR.. ;)

Just cause one type of federal works in rifle A, doesn't mean other type of federal will work in rifle B. Don't be confused. just add that to your notes and keep trying.

Rick1967 11-03-2012 01:54 AM

Another thing to think about is barrel temperature. If you are testing several different loads, keep in mind that your gun my shoot differently when it is hot then it does when it is cold. I would not fire a whole box of something and then switch to something else. When I test ammo I shoot 3 shot groups of different ammo. After 9 rounds the barrel is warm and I go back to the first type of ammo and start again with all three types.

Txhillbilly 11-03-2012 03:22 AM

Every gun is different.You can take 2 of the exact identical guns and they may shoot the same ammo completely different.
Just because your gun shot Winchester X ammo good and Federal ammo bad doesn't mean that the Federal ammo is bad/different,your rifle just doesn't like to shoot that particular ammo.
Each mfg has their own powder that they blend for their ammo,and each is different.The bullets might also be the same weight,but the bullets themselves are very different even if they are the same type in most cases.

If you don't load you own ammo,the only way to find out what your rifle shoots best is to buy several types/brands of ammo,along with several different bullet weights.It is expensive,but that's just how it is.

Anytime you change the ammo that you shoot,the point of impact will usually be different from where you have your scope zeroed with the original ammo that you sighted the gun in with.

buckhorn_cortez 11-03-2012 03:33 AM

Here's the problem I've been finding with Federal lately, even the alleged "target" ammunition. The rounds are not concentric. They vary as much as 0.009" out of concentricity. So, from round-to-round, you can't get good grouping as the bullets get deformed by the forcing cone as the bullet goes into the barrel.

I was attempting to sight in a .308 and would get three on top of each other, one an inch away and another up to three inches from the group - in all different directions. The inconsistency was all due to the ammunition concentricity.

I came to that conclusion after sand bagging the barrel so it could not easily move, and finding the same type of grouping. I purchased a Hornady concentricity gage and started looking at the ammunition and found the average variance to be 0.005" - can't be accurate with that kind of variability.

After tweaking a box of 20 rounds to 0.002" max deviation, I got a 0.4-inch group at 100 yards.

While all of the suggestions so far can result in accuracy problems, with Federal ammunition, I'd look at concentricity or change to a different manufacturer.

The interesting thing is, I found three boxes of 30 year old Remington .270 about 2 weeks ago, and a friend and I checked that for concentricity and the WORST round was only 0.002 out of concentricity.

Most of the .270 rounds were 0.000 or 0.001 - that's the way they should be.

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