Can one brand of ammo be inaccurate compared to another brand?

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by SubZero, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. SubZero

    SubZero New Member

    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?
  2. TLuker

    TLuker Active Member

    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:

  3. bigdaddy573

    bigdaddy573 New Member

    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
  4. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. RaySendero

    RaySendero Active Member

    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
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  6. Ruger52

    Ruger52 New Member

    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:
  7. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. buckhorn_cortez

    buckhorn_cortez Member

    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.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  11. SubZero

    SubZero New Member

    That part I've learned to understand, but with Federal, I'm finding that I can't even get the shots to be consistent in terms of placement. It's frustrating to think you made all the scope adjustments and should be spot on, only to have a shot not go in the bullseye.

    I did not have that issue with Winchester Super X, so even though it costs more, I will get that brand from now on.

    For the life of me though, I just did not expect a brand to vary round to round, which is what I think may be happening.
  12. SubZero

    SubZero New Member

    It something I honestly never would have expected. Shot by shot variation.

    I appreciate you sharing that info. I thought I was going nuts or had a bad scope or something, but it is a new Remington 700 ADL .270, and while the scope is sort of on the cheap side, I didn't want to think it was not working at all.

    Hopefully, switching back to Winchester Super X will fix the problem and I'll be properly sighted and back in the bullseye.
  13. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

    That's an easy solution for now if you are happy with the results.

    I still think that it is premature to place the fault on the Federal Brand.

    Occasionally a manufacturer will recall certain lots due to non-conformance issues. At that point you would have cause.

    Your box of Federal may perform superbly in another rifle.

    Although it would be nice to know what ammo your rifle likes before you fire a shot, it won't happen.
  14. SubZero

    SubZero New Member

    I'm going to snag 4 boxes of Winchester Super X for each of my rifles - the .270 Win and the 300 WSM, shoot 2 of them each to make sure they are zeroed in and shooting accurately, then keep the other 2 boxes of each and set them aside for future use, when accuracy counts most. Same lot, hopefully it will increase the chances of all working as expected.
  15. big shrek

    big shrek Well-Known Member

    If you want to get really OCD about it, take a micrometer to each bullet before firing and record the results...
    sometimes there will be differences in width in the same bullet or case...crimp...

    and indeed, through much testing I often wonder if MFR's send factory seconds to Walmart...
    I know 7-Up used to do it, wonder if everyone else does too...
  16. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards. Staff Member

    30 year old ammo, from back around the end of the high quality era. Now all the economics classes are taught to balance (i.e. compromise) between quality and profit. :mad:
  17. SubZero

    SubZero New Member

    If the 8 boxes of Winchester Super X that I got at Cabelas (4 of .270 Win and 4 of 300 WSM) can't do the trick then I'm screwed. :)

    Gonna zero both rifles in using that ammo and stick with that ammo. Hopefully it will reduce the chances of problems.

    I'll set aside the rounds from this purchase that I didn't use to zero the rifles in so that in a pinch where accuracy is key, I can use those, as they should be from the same lot.

    Appreciate all the feedback from folks here. It's been fun to expand my knowledge.
  18. Old_Crow

    Old_Crow New Member

    I have always had better luck with winchester rifle ammo. Other brands are loaded hotter than winchester. Today a lot of Winchester ammo is not made by winchester. It's hard to say that you will always get better results from winchester ammo anymore.

    I know with my BAR it doesn't matter what brand of ammo as long as the bullet is the same weight and type. This season I switched to Brown Bear I haven't noticed any difference in accuracy. The only difference I noticed was the steel cases are abrasive.

    Accuracy is relative. I will shoot a less accurate round nose bullet if I know I am going to have to shoot into brush that certainly deflect a more accurate boat tail or ballistic tip.