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My big AR Ammo review.


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In the last 3 years I have shot approx 25,000+ rounds out of maybe 10 ish AR15s. Their specs range ...


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Old 11-13-2015, 10:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default My big AR Ammo review.

In the last 3 years I have shot approx 25,000+ rounds out of maybe 10 ish AR15s.

Their specs range from commercial spec (RRA, Delton, Stag, Troy, + Franken guns) to Milspec++ what I call "Boutique rifles" (LWRC , Sig 516, Daniel Defense, LMT)

Of all these only the Stag had consistent problems with Steelcase (especially Tula 55gr with which it simply couldn't function consistently) and the Daniel Defense had occasional issues with it..But that Stag was not a complete factory gun even tho lower and upper were Stag. poor choice of buffer spring may have worsened the issue.. not sure its been years...Gun would run fine with M193 style ammo.

All others had no issues w/ steel or issues only very very rarely.

Cost is important with ammo as many folks can not afford to train enough using only premium Ammo, steel routinely cossts only 2/3rds the price of brass. It adds up..
Even if the bimetal bullets really do wear out barrels twice as fast as the US style bullets by the time you have to replace 1 barrel you will have saved a couple of thousand dollars in ammo costs so the price of replacing barrel is trivial.

Every round mentioned was shot by me, or by me with a buddy, at least 1000 rds each, usually 2 or more cases.

... in no particular order:


PMC Bronze 55gr: Brass cased, among the most affordable brass rounds, good accuracy, loaded light, short cycles my tighter guns but cycles well in my more "open" guns such as LWRC M6A2 and Troy.

PMC XTac 62 gr Green Tip: in 62gr the only greentip I have ever shot that was reasonably accurate. VERY reliable due to a combination of hot load, quality brass case and clearly good QC. Great Stuff. Not cheap though and smells a bit of Kimchee after firing (I kid you not!). (Plus I am luke warm on penetrator ammo so despite the super reliability I am luke warm on this round)

PMX XTac 55gr: All comments for XTac 62 gr apply. Close equivalent to federal White Box 55gr M193. Not green tip so I like that.

PPU 55 gr: Made in Serbia. Loaded hot. reliable brass cased round. Not cheap considering it is ex eastern block but less money than Federal White Box M193. VERY good packaging. the batch I got last had each 20rd box rapped individually in plastic. Nice!

Tula 55gr: The Cheapest but the worst. Not accurate. not reliable. Short cycles my tighter guns. Only my LWRC M6 can shot it reliably. My Sig516 cna shoot it on "adverse" gas setting. Dirty. Buddies have had stuck cases with it. Since the next step up is only like 1.5- 2 cents more not worth the low price to me. Good packing though.. with plastic "ribs" protecting the ammo at least a bit form physical damage during storge /transport. And it IS the absolute least expensive ammo u can buy for AR15. Still for me not worth it.

Tula 62 gr non penetrator: I bought this as an experiment, wondering if it would be better than the 55gr , as for some reason unbeknownst to me East Block makes seem to load the 62gr a bit hotter. And it was indeed less likely to short cycle my tighter guns. Still not terribly impressed by this ammo and one of my buddies had issues with it... also as for only a penny more I can get:

Wolf Military Classic 62gr!: Accurate, rock solid reliable , never had a single malfunction of any kind and I shot this Ammo a LOT. Probably almost 8,000 rounds (even though admittedly it was shot mostly thru my LWRC and Sig516 which are my most tolerant guns). Noticeably loaded hotter than Tula 55gr. Not saying its as hot as Federal White box but definitely hotter than PMC Bronze and Tulla 55gr. Never had any shortcycling or stock cases. Shoots 1.5 MOA out of a 20 inch 1 in 9 barrel. Also is very affordable only 2-3 cents more than Tula 55gr (depending on the market at the time). Available in FMJ, HP and SP . Even the HP and SP have no issues chambering from the mag. Even though its steel case I consider this ammo good enough to be a real world carry round for BOL OPS. Well packed also.... rounds have plastic "back" holding them in the box. Not loose ammo in the box like most western manufacturers.

Brown Bear 62gr: All comments for Wolf MC 62gr apply to this round as well. Great round. It does have the lacquer though. Some dont like that. I am not worried about a little extra cleaning since the laquer also makes it GREAT cache ammo that's nearly impervious to the elements. Would buy this more if it was more available. A buddy of mine use a 62gr HP Brown bear on a Wild hog with devastating first round kill effect.

Silver Bear 62gr/Colt "zinc plated" 62gr: Made on same production line as the other 2 lines described above. Great Ammo... a couple pennies more than the 2 above since the zinc plating adds a little cost. It also commands a small premium since the zinc coating adds slipperiness for those who have AR chambers whom they dont trust with Steel case. This adds a bit of Safety margin for those who fear their chambers may not be up to handling steel.

PPU 69 gr Match: Not loaded as hot as I would like. but not so soft that it will short cycles any of my guns. Nicely packaged. The most affordable of all match ammo. Shoots 0.7 to 0.9 MOA out of a 20 inch 1in9 barrel. Priced much less than all other match grade at 50-55 cents a round (if u look for deals). Almost cheap enough to make it a "normal" carry round .. maybe for longer distance AOs such as mountains it might make a good general carry round..etc. I suspect it shoots just as well out of 1in 7 barrels than it does 1 in 9 barrels.

Wolf Gold 55gr: Excellent Brass Ammo. The Cheapest of the brass cased for those few who own an AR that cant handle steel or must shoot indoors at a range who doesnt allow steel...Loaded HOT... easily like a Federal White Box M193. I swear even tho it says 223 on the box I cannot discern a difference in ejection patterns to full power US 5.56mm ammo. One of my highest ranked choices, Made in Taiwan.

Federal White Box 55gr M193: The Gold standard for brass case 55gr ammo. Expensive though.

Federal XM855: Extremely reliable due to loaded HOT and quality brass used and clearly good QC. Accuracy not up to my standards though. Maybe 3 ish MOA. Due to widespread military issue Gold standard to some but I dislike it due to its high price, the marginal accuracy and its demonstrated poor effect on human body.

Wolf 55gr Black Box (aka WPA polyperformance): Serviceable for training. Loaded a bit lighter than the the Wolf MC 62 gr. Not as light as Tula 55gr though..Also the Black box was in the past made in a different location than the Military Classic. According to one source also made at Barnaul now.. If true I should probably rank it higher. Even so had some issues with it. even though not like I had with Tula. Some Wolf Black Box made in Ulyanovsk and some made at Luhansk cartridge works in Ukraine. LCW has been bombed by Ukrainian gov't though and their production is greatly disrupted. And what they do produce goes to the rebels.

Wolfs 62gr Black Box (aka WPA polyperformance): Had no problems with this ammo. Not sure if it is same production line as the Barnaul made mil classic, brown/silver bear etc. Good Ammo but dont quite trust it enough for me yet as a real world BOL patrol round.

Independence AR5.56: Affordable brass cased ammo. Loaded like a proper 5.56mm. reliable. a bit dirty. accuracy not evaluated

As I will remember more ammo I will add it to this post.
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Last edited by Bluez; 11-22-2015 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 11-14-2015, 08:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thank you good post. Did you roll you own also. Were most of the guns 1-9 bore or 1-7 ?Looks like I have the only gun you did not shoot ,Bushmaster M4 .
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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No I did not reload.

I live in an apt and also most 223/5.56 reloads seem to come out lighter loaded than factory.

The vast majority of barrels are 1 in 7.

I do actually prefer 1 in 9 since contrary to internet lore it shoots 55gr and 62 gr equally well.
Plus it wears better.
But the hi end rifles I like usually come in 1 in 7 due to market pressures. (in homage the god of "milspec")

If you own a gun where you are not sure it it works well w/ steel, buy a couple hundred rounds of the better steel rounds ( as I listed above) and shoot them all in an afternoon.

By then you will know if your gun has issues with it.
In my personal experience and the experience of some of my friends approx 1 in 10 ARs seem have issues with it.

if yours is like most and runs fine with it then why not save the money so you can shoot more or stack deeper?
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Only problem is with hot gun and varnish on bullets sticking. AK loves them.
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Old 11-15-2015, 11:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by kwo51 View Post
Only problem is with hot gun and varnish on bullets sticking. AK loves them.
The only Steel Ammo that is widely commercially available is Brown Bear.
All other is polymer or zinc coated.

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Old 11-16-2015, 09:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wolf did have some. Ugly, dirty but fires. If I remember correctly they were less than $200.. for 1000.

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Old 11-16-2015, 11:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by kwo51 View Post
Wolf did have some. Ugly, dirty but fires. If I remember correctly they were less than $200.. for 1000.
Prices or all Ammo including Wolf have risen.
Approx 23-26 cents a round now if ordering a case.

Wolf has switched to polymer coating some years back.

XM855 is still around 39-44 cents a round
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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223 and 556 have gone up in price and handgun ammo has been going lower...Go fiqure, they cant take our rifles away but they want our ammo prices controlled......
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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223 and 556 have gone up in price and handgun ammo has been going lower...Go fiqure, they cant take our rifles away but they want our ammo prices controlled......
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The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
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Old 11-21-2015, 12:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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PS: Ordered some Wolf Military Classic 62gr HP last week.
But this week I finally found some Brown bear 62gr HP again, which is just as accurate as the Wolf MC 62gr and has had 100% reliability in my guns (YMMV though! Steel seems to find any flaws your chamber may have and bring them to the forefront. Buy a small amount first. Try it and if you are GTG , which most will be, then stack it deep for caching)

So I had to order some though I have plenty of Ammo now.

I will gladly accept the moderate extra cleaning burden that the lacquer may impose for the extreme long term storage abilities of lacquer covered ammo .. even in the most humid environments.
Great for caching.
Here is the find:
.223*Brown Bear 223 62gr HP(500 rds)*A223BBHP
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