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-   -   My first AR build...ammo question (http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/my-first-ar-build-ammo-question-93290/)

DickTheNickhead 07-03-2013 06:29 AM

I'm building my first AR (5.56, 16" mid length gas system, if that matters) and my question is which ammo should I use and which ammo should I stay away from?
Is it true that each gun will have ammo that feeds properly and some that the gun just doesn't like?
Which ammo is good? Which ammo is bad? And what makes it good or bad?
Which ammo is clean and which ammo is dirty?
....sorry, I'm a total n00b. I'm learning everything from YouTube and this forum. I have no family or friends to teach me, so I'm depending on you guys...thanks in advance!

sputnik1988 07-03-2013 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DickTheNickhead (Post 1293619)
I'm building my first AR (5.56, 16" mid length gas system, if that matters) and my question is which ammo should I use and which ammo should I stay away from?
Is it true that each gun will have ammo that feeds properly and some that the gun just doesn't like?
Which ammo is good? Which ammo is bad? And what makes it good or bad?
Which ammo is clean and which ammo is dirty?
....sorry, I'm a total n00b. I'm learning everything from YouTube and this forum. I have no family or friends to teach me, so I'm depending on you guys...thanks in advance!

As a general rule 'cheap' = dirty.

A little carbon never hurt a gun, being dirty is a temporary problem with an easy solution.

As for reliability, yes you will have to test different ammo to see what yours likes and doesn't like.

Some will tell you to stay away from steel cased ammo for whatever reason. But it works well for its intended purpose, it does cause slightly more barrel wear than brass ammo because of the bi-metal jack eating on the steel cased stuff.

I honestly don't think an AR gets hot enough to melt the laquer or polymer on the casing, but some would disagree.

I would still run brass if u could afford it though, American eagle is decent stuff.

DickTheNickhead 07-03-2013 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sputnik1988

As a general rule 'cheap' = dirty.

A little carbon never hurt a gun, being dirty is a temporary problem with an easy solution.

As for reliability, yes you will have to test different ammo to see what yours likes and doesn't like.

Some will tell you to stay away from steel cased ammo for whatever reason. But it works well for its intended purpose, it does cause slightly more barrel wear than brass ammo because of the bi-metal jack eating on the steel cased stuff.

I honestly don't think an AR gets hot enough to melt the laquer or polymer on the casing, but some would disagree.

I would still run brass if u could afford it though, American eagle is decent stuff.

Okay, so I'll look for brass...
What about grain?
I'm running a 1:7 twist (if that matters)
And I'm buying this thing for home defense and for fun at the range for not much longer than 100 yards...

Overkill0084 07-03-2013 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DickTheNickhead (Post 1293749)
Okay, so I'll look for brass...
What about grain?
I'm running a 1:7 twist (if that matters)
And I'm buying this thing for home defense and for fun at the range for not much longer than 100 yards...

Hit this thread:
http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/ar15-primer-beginners-guide-59600/
Quote:

What twist rate is good for me?

The longer the projectile, the faster the twist is needed in the barrel. Nowadays, the most common rate is 1x9 (one twist per nine inches), which is optimal for stabilizing 55 grain. 1x9 means one full revolution (twist) every 9 inches. This twist will adequately stabilize and 62-69 grain bullet but may have trouble with the heavier/longer 75 grain and up bullets. I cannot be exact here because every barrel manufacturer is different, and every barrel is different. This is just a general guideline.

The second most common twist is 1x7. Most milspec barrels are 1x7 because they need to stabilize the very long tracer rounds. It will adequately handle a 55 grain projectile. And handle 80 grain bullets and everything in between. The optimal projectile is about 75 grain. It should not be used for very short projectiles i.e. 40 and 46 grain projectiles.
The third most common twist is 1x8. This is usually used by precision oriented stainless barrels. The most notable exception is S&W’s MP15, which uses this rate. My personal belief is that this is a great middle of the road rate and should be used more often. It handles the 55 grain projectiles well as well as everything up to 77 grains. You would need to test it out for yourself. It’s optimal at about the 67 grain size.
There are slower twist barrels such as 1x12 twist. These barrels are optimal for smaller projectiles, like 36 and 40 grain bullets. These are usually for varmiters that use specialized bullets for their hunting needs.

DickTheNickhead 07-03-2013 03:37 PM

So basically as long as I buy ammo that's between 55 grain and 75 grain it will be fine?
I've heard ARs can be "finicky" with ammo..
What does this mean? How will I know if the ammo I buy isn't ideal for my rifle?
Will it jam? Not feed properly? Be inaccurate? What characteristics will I see with ammo my rifle doesn't like?

purehavoc 07-03-2013 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DickTheNickhead (Post 1293813)
So basically as long as I buy ammo that's between 55 grain and 75 grain it will be fine?
I've heard ARs can be "finicky" with ammo..
What does this mean? How will I know if the ammo I buy isn't ideal for my rifle?
Will it jam? Not feed properly? Be inaccurate? What characteristics will I see with ammo my rifle doesn't like?

Brother your over thinking all this , buy ammo, shoot it and have fun , if you have a problem come back ;)

SSGN_Doc 07-03-2013 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DickTheNickhead (Post 1293813)
So basically as long as I buy ammo that's between 55 grain and 75 grain it will be fine?
I've heard ARs can be "finicky" with ammo..
What does this mean? How will I know if the ammo I buy isn't ideal for my rifle?
Will it jam? Not feed properly? Be inaccurate? What characteristics will I see with ammo my rifle doesn't like?

What I usually tell folks to do is buy a little bit of several types of ammo and try them out before buyng any brand in bulk.

Some AR's don't like some of the Russian Steel cased ammo. this can be for a variety of reasons. The chamber may not be chromed, the gas port may be a little narrow, or so far out toward teh muzzle that it does not provide adequate gas impulse to cycle the action completely. Most of the steel cased ammo is kind of on the under powered side of the spectrum. In general, Carbines and Midlength gas systems seem to be a bit more tollerant of steel cased ammo than rifle length gas systems.

Another reason to try different brands and bullet weights is to see which ones you can get the best accuracy out of. Once you find the sweet spot for your rifle, then you can stock up. If you are looking atusing your AR for home defense, I recommend trying some hollow or soft point ammo in the 50-62 grain weight range. These seem to fragment more reliably and will reduce overpentration risk inside of a home. If one brand in this weight range is not accurate, try another.

Experimenting with different ammo is part of the fun of owning an AR. Welcome to the AR world.

fsted2a 07-03-2013 04:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DickTheNickhead (Post 1293813)
So basically as long as I buy ammo that's between 55 grain and 75 grain it will be fine?
I've heard ARs can be "finicky" with ammo..
What does this mean? How will I know if the ammo I buy isn't ideal for my rifle?
Will it jam? Not feed properly? Be inaccurate? What characteristics will I see with ammo my rifle doesn't like?

Your barrel and bolt can be determining factors in how "finicky" with ammo your rifle is. My personal setup has a bushy barrel and bcg, (I had 4 at one time, now down to 1 due to selling the other 3 to buy ammo) with an ARES Black lightning piston system. After that, whatever interwebz parts I could get my hands on. It doesn't care what ammo I feed it. Steel, brass, blanks, it shoots 'em all.

DickTheNickhead 07-03-2013 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by purehavoc

Brother your over thinking all this , buy ammo, shoot it and have fun , if you have a problem come back ;)

Exactly what I wanted to hear..thank you

Overkill0084 07-03-2013 06:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DickTheNickhead (Post 1293813)
So basically as long as I buy ammo that's between 55 grain and 75 grain it will be fine? Pretty much.
I've heard ARs can be "finicky" with ammo. Haven't we all.
What does this mean? It depends on who you ask.
How will I know if the ammo I buy isn't ideal for my rifle? Will it jam? Not feed properly? Be inaccurate? What characteristics will I see with ammo my rifle doesn't like? I could vary from slightly larger groups to stuck cases or jams. But for the most part, you won't notice anything with most ammo.
I would stay away from large bulk purchases of steel cased ammo until you've had a chance to shoot some in smaller quantities. Some rifles eat it without a second thought, others choke on it. You really won't know till you shoot some for yourself. Just about anything else should be a non-issue.

Ask enough people and any type of gun can be "finicky."
Most properly assembled/maintained firearms will function without drama when using the correct ammo (even AR-15s.) The ones that don't are actually fairly rare.

Shoot more, worry less.


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