My first AR build...ammo question

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by DickTheNickhead, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. DickTheNickhead

    DickTheNickhead New Member

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    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!
     
  2. sputnik1988

    sputnik1988 Active Member

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    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.
     

  3. DickTheNickhead

    DickTheNickhead New Member

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    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...
     
  4. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    Hit this thread:
    http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f20/ar15-primer-beginners-guide-59600/
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  5. DickTheNickhead

    DickTheNickhead New Member

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    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?
     
  6. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. fsted2a

    fsted2a Active Member

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    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.
     
  9. DickTheNickhead

    DickTheNickhead New Member

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    Exactly what I wanted to hear..thank you
     
  10. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    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.
     
  11. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    On an AR I built (my build is a sticky in the AR-15 sub-forum) I had some problems early on that turned out to be the Remington UMC ammo. AR-15's can be finicky, but will usually eat almost anything. If you're having problems focus on the magazine and the ammo choice before the rifle.

    In a 1:7 twist, you should probably stick with 69-75 grains as your self defense ammo. What I really mean is that you are blessed to be able to run ammo that heavy. You get better penetration with heavier ammo.

    I like Hornady TAP (75gr) and Winchester Ranger HPBT (69gr). I also own a lot of BVAC, but they seem to have disappeared. Also, I'd rather not do business with Cheaper than Diamonds anymore.

    At the range, don't forget to actually shoot some of your SD ammo to check its accuracy and function, but they will be $1 per trigger pull. But you could just stick to 62 FMJ are fun (M855 penetrators are cheap). Probably even 55gr would be fine.
     
  12. ccase39

    ccase39 Member

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    Ding ding ding. If you do this you may find that your AR will eat anything you run through it. You never know unless you try. I run all kinds of different stuff, brass, steel, brass and steel in the same mag, several different grains, etc etc. Mine has eaten everything I have run through it. I have not had one problem in about 3k rounds. I don't have a very high end rifle either. Totally stock except the hand guard and some accessories.
     
  13. DickTheNickhead

    DickTheNickhead New Member

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    Perfect.
    Reading all this crap on the forums kinda freaked me out..,
    Then I reassure myself by realizing the military wouldn't use a design so "finicky".
    ...thanks y'all
     
  14. fsted2a

    fsted2a Active Member

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    Even some of the lower priced AR's will generally eat what you run through them. Overkill, and others are right. If you got a box of ammo, don't be afraid to shoot with it. It might surprise you. It won't really hurt your gun, just might cause you to spend a little more time cleaning your rifle though.
     
  15. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    I just bought an AR for a REALLY good price and I never asked the question, "Have you had any problems?" He was a youngin' who didn't know much and just had the vibe that told me it probably had had problems.

    I noticed some red flags that could have caused problems that could EASILY be remedied by me for very little money. AR-15's are very easy machines to figure out, generally. I think he just got frustrated...just a guess, though, cuz I haven't even shot it yet.
     
  16. fsted2a

    fsted2a Active Member

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    Chris, I think you need to close a window or two. Sounds like you are posting on a different thread.:eek:
     
  17. AlphaKoncepts

    AlphaKoncepts Member

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    http://chicagogunsmith.com/blog/ar15-barrel-options-definitions/40/

     
  18. Ruger52

    Ruger52 New Member

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    I have 2 Ar's. One a DPMS AP4, and a Colt LE. Both carbine length. They both eat anything I feed them. However I use a good rule. When shooting tula or wolf steel case it is best to shoot that either at the end of the session, or if that is all you are shooting. Combining tula shot first, then brass can cause a jam. However I was told this after shooting both in alternating mags, with no problem, with both the DPMS, and the Colt.
    I do have a propensity to lube the heck out of any semi auto guns. I know in real life, this isn't practical. I mean on the battlefield ya don't ask for a time out to lube your weapon. LOL

    With a custom build, take it slow and easy at first, and see what your creation likes. I bet it will like most anything, and will when broken in a bit.
    Happy shooting.
     
  19. DickTheNickhead

    DickTheNickhead New Member

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    Why would brass cause problems and not steel?
    Is it really the metal of the casing that's causing it? Or is it that specific ammo?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  20. AgentTikki

    AgentTikki New Member

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    Mostly because cheap russian steel ammo is underpowered. They don't put a lot of powder in there. Since the gas system relies on gas pressure, less powder means there is less pressure, less pressure means less gas to drive the system.

    Buy full power 5.56 nato ammo like m193 or m855 and shoot it back to back with the cheaper russian Tula or Wolf. You will feel a difference in recoil.