Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ammo Review

Today we shall review some ammo that I tried recently.

Hornady 55 grain Spire Point ammo.

A box of 50 was to be had from Academy for 27.99 (plus taxes, of course). Cost was $0.56 per round. The allure is this: 55 gr FMJ ammo is generally inexpensive, and because of that, is often stocked by folks who prep for SHTF situations.

Other brass cased 55 grain FMJ ammo could be had for $7 per box of 20 - or $0.35 per round. However, Hornady is known for making very accurate ammunition. Would this ammo be more accurate? And if so, would the increase in accuracy be worth the additional cost?

It is important to note that Hornady advertises this ammo as having a muzzle velocity of 3240 fps and a bc of .235. True M193 has the same velocity and a slightly higher bc - .243. Competing ammo listed comparable statistics.

If Hornady obtained the muzzle velocity from a 20" barrel, then I should have been getting pretty close, based on my setup of the day.

My rifle, "Lucy." She has an 18" SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) barrel from White Oak Armament. The barrel is free floated. She has a Geissele trigger. I used a Vortex Strike Eagle variable power optic set at 6x for this evaluation.

The Standard
Prior to firing the test ammunition, I fired a 5 shot  group using Hornady 75 grain match ammunition.

As usual, the 75 grain match ammo from Hornady yields a group of approximately 1 MOA. Of note: this optic is zeroed using 55 grain Federal American Eagle ammo. The Hornady match has almost exactly the same POI at 100 yards.

The Evaluation:
A 10 shot group of the subject ammo was fired from 100 yards.

The Point of Aim (POA) was the bottom of the rectangle. As you can see, the group seems centered about two inches low and about an inch right of the POA.

The group measured just a hair over 2 inches in maximum spread. 2 MOA is the result.

Most M193 clone ammunition is lucky to get a 4 MOA group. The Hornady is clearly the better choice for precise work.

The only drawback is that it did not retain the same or a similar POI compared to its 75 grain brother. So, if you plan to use this ammo at short range in conjunction with heavier Hornady ammo for long range, be aware of the shift.

If you shoot precision for fun and / or for sport, this ammo is probably not for you.  Handloading can yield the best results. I have found that Hornady 53 grain ammo is insanely accurate - under 1 MOA. It also holds nearly the exact same POI as the Hornady 75 grain ammo.

Precision at a distance is better handled with Hornady 75 grain match, Federal 69 grain Gold Medal Match, or any one of a number of heavy loads available from reputable manufacturers.

So is this ammo worth the price difference?
Ultimately, only you can decide. It is twice as accurate as regular M193 clone ammo. But it is also 60% more expensive. How important is precision to you for your bulk ammo?

Also of note, in Tennessee (where I live) this ammo would be legal to hunt deer with, due to the Spire Point. M193 clone ammo - FMJ or FMJBT would not.

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