Precision shooting, factory ammo questions...
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default Precision shooting, factory ammo questions...

Hey ya'll...
I've been into skeet shooting, handguns, and the AR world for a while but my most recent interest has been precision shooting...

My question is, how bad can cheap factory ammo be? (Compared to match grade factory ammo)

For example, if I just buy a cheap white box of brass .308 stuff from Federal, let's just say, how bad can it be compared to super high end factory match grade ammo?
I know most of it depends on the shooter and many other factors, but if all else is the same, how bad can cheap ammo be for accuracy compared to top dollar stuff?
I know certain rifles like certain loads, but on average, how much more accurate is expensive factory match loads vs the cheapest factory loads?

Is it really worth paying higher prices for high quality ammunition if I'll only be getting 1/2" better groupings?
Or will I see a 1 MOA improvement by paying top dollar?
Etc.

AGAIN, I already understand that so many things factor into a rifles accuracy. But all else being the same, how much better can expensive factory match ammo be compared to the cheap stuff?
Is it worth it?
1 MOA? 2 MOA? Etc..

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Old 06-10-2014, 04:52 PM   #2
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If you buy a box of Federal Gold Metal Match, and shoot it against factory crap ammo, you will answer your own question.

Shooting non-premium ammo through a precision rifle is an oxy-moron. Precision rifles aren't cheap, but, outside of stocks, optics, triggers, barrels,,,etc...match ammo is critical.

The answer for ultimate accuracy from a precision rifle is to handload.

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Old 06-10-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
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88,

With inexpensive ammunition as a rule, you will see far more difference than a 1/2 MOA difference between it and good ammunition. As you stated, it also depends on the shooter, the specific rifle and other factors like uniform powder charges, primers and other important parts of any good round like bullet uniformity. So you can have fun with cheaper ammunition but do not expect them to compete with good match rounds like Federal Gold Medal GM308M for example in the 308 cal. and similar rounds. Your groups with cheap ammunition will do well to stay under 3 - 4 MOA at 100 yards where good quality match ammunition is 1/2 to 1 MOA. It just depends on what you want or define as accurate!

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Old 06-10-2014, 05:39 PM   #4
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I am shooting Brown Bear ammo in my 91/30. It is shooting well under a 3 or 4 inch group just propped against a tree at 100 yards plus. I shot some just plain old winchester soft point ammo with the 91/30. It put two shots touching each other at 117 yards. I have a surveyors tape. I measured the distance. My Browning shoots far better than my 91/30. Hornady Whitetail ammo is the most exacting ammo I have ever shot in the Browning. The Browning eats Winchester super X most of the time.

Weatherby guarantees their guns to shoot a .99 inch group with quality factory ammo. Weatherby means quality hunting ammo, not target ammo.

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Old 06-10-2014, 06:11 PM   #5
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consistency is the key to accurate ammo. the higher the level of the consistency of the components, generally the higher the level of potential accuracy from the ammo.

premium ammo is generally loaded to higher standards of consistency than other ammo. the quality control on premium ammo is held to higher standards than the lesser priced ammo. this is why premium ammo is higher priced. this is why many rifle shooter handload, simply because they can get a higher consistency in the handloads and also using premium components, and still make ammo that is cheaper in cost than premium factory loaded ammo.

as a handloader, you have much better control over the consistency of the ammo you load, because as a handloader, you are able to match the ammo and fine tune that ammo to a particular rifle. you are usually loading for one rifle in smaller batches than the factory, rather than thousands and thousands of rounds for thousands of rifles. you can also adjust powder charges, bullet seating depth and bullet weights to help fine tune that particular load to perform much more accurately than any factory load can.

i have seen some of the name brand cheaper factory ammo perform very well and accurately before in rifles. simply because they were probably held to more consistent loading from the factory.

and at what level does one determine accuracy? varies IMO. what works on game and gets the job done may be completely unacceptable to someone shooting in a competition. 1-3" groups at 200-300 yards will put a deer down, and would be acceptable to me for a hunting round. but for precision shooting that i like to do, that isn't acceptable to me at all.

most people who are looking for smaller groups on paper, handload. they could possibly achieve the same results with premium factory loaded ammo, but the costs are much higher if a person plans on shooting alot.

example: a box of Winchester Premium Ballistic Silvertips 140 gr bullets, for my 280 Rem. rifle cost me about $46 per 20 at the store.

even buying the cases new for the first batch of 20 rounds if i reload costs me about $34 and then reusing that same brass, the next batch of 20 rounds costs me about $13. so calculating that by the cost of factory premium ammo, once i have the brass cases for reloading, i can shoot 70 rounds of my loads vs. 20 premium factory loads.

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Old 06-10-2014, 08:00 PM   #6
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I have had rifles that would shoot roughly 1 MOA with good quality factory hunting ammo. My hand loads would do sub MOA. Just recently I took my Mini 14 out. I was getting 2-3MOA with milsurp. PMC Bronze cut that in half. A target load would probably cut that in half again. This was shooting from a rest but you never know what will shoot well until you try it. I had a small batch of milsurp 5.56x45 that shot 1 MOA in the Mini but that was a fluke and I dont have any more. Silver Bear has surprised me more than once but I never expect to get better than 3 MOA with steel cased Russian ammo or milsurp. I have only shot hand loads in my MVP and it is sub MOA. To get the most out of a rifle you really need to load your own and work the load up for the rifle. What shoots best in one may not work in another.

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Old 06-10-2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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I use winchester and federal ammo in my Marlin XL7. At 100 yards, I'm shooting about 2MOA (I've been getting better, took me a little while to not anticipate recoil). 2MOA at 100yds is well within a kill shot for just about any animal out there. It really depends on your purpose, as others said. If you want to go hunting or just have a fun day at the range, factory ammo is great. If you want to punch one solid hole in your target, time to go get premium, or better yet, hand load.

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Old 06-10-2014, 09:45 PM   #8
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I agree with everything mentioned but I would like to add that there are many different grades of ammo out there. What I considered cheap ammo when I was young was something like Remington core locks or Winchester Super X both of which are definitely a much higher grade than some of the cheap brands out there now. It's also possible to find a rifle that likes either of those and shoot some really good groups. But in general the premium ammo is going to shoot better and nothing touches handloads worked up specifically for you rifle. And some of the really cheap brands out there now do well just to go bang every time much less actually hit anything.

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Old 06-10-2014, 10:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLuker View Post
I agree with everything mentioned but I would like to add that there are many different grades of ammo out there. What I considered cheap ammo when I was young was something like Remington core locks or Winchester Super X both of which are definitely a much higher grade than some of the cheap brands out there now. It's also possible to find a rifle that likes either of those and shoot some really good groups. But in general the premium ammo is going to shoot better and nothing touches handloads worked up specifically for you rifle. And some of the really cheap brands out there now do well just to go bang every time much less actually hit anything.
I use the Super X and the core locks. So far the federal has been the best, but it also costs $4 more a box. A box of the Winchester costs about $20.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:46 PM   #10
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for factory ammo for rifles, i like the Federal Fusion line. very accurate in my rifles. sometimes i do buy the cheaper Remington ammo to shoot, but i am not as concerned with it's accuracy since the main reason is for getting the brass for reloading. pretty much that is the reason i buy most factory for in the first place.

i do keep a few boxes of premium factory ammo for just in case for a few of my rifles. i like to use them for comparison shooting to evaluate my handloads.

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