What .308 Ammo to choose?
So, having been in the world of the M1A/M14, I have become kind of an ammo snob. Not necessarily out of name recognition for the manufacture, or because I think that only expensive ammo or items will do. This has come from the conclusion that I dropped a lot of money into the rifle of my dreams, and I want this rifle to function for many, many years. I would also like to have great accuracy as well, so I have conducted a test of 3 different types of ammo. I started the visit by shooting some Venezuelan surplus ammo, approximately 20 rounds. This was done to get the rifle zeroed, the barrel warm and fouled a little, in an effort to try to create a non cold barrel environment. I was shooting at a local range, 100 yards, benchrest with sandbags. There was little wind and the temp was about 70 degrees. All rounds were fired from a Springfield Armory M1A Standard 22” with Basset low rise mount, Vortex rings and Vortex Viper scope, set to X14. All shots are taken with the crosshairs set for the center of the bulls-eye.
The first being PPU PRVI Partizan Match Line 308 Winchester 168gr ammo
Ammo is manufactured with Boxer primers, making it reloadable. Found it at a local shop know for its vast reloading supplies and components. If I remember correctly, I think I paid about $15.00 for a box of 20, taking it to .75 cents a round. On inspection, the box is well made, no issues. Once open though, the flimsy holder and inner box did very little to keep the rounds separated. The rounds themselves were nice shinny with no wear or corrosion. Headstamp was legible and easy to read. Loading them into the CMI 20 round mag was flawless. I proceeded to fire 5 rounds at the target in slow succession. The first round hit about 1.5” high and 1” left, second and third hit 2” high and .75” left, fourth was a flinch/stringer hitting 1.5” high and .5” right and the last hit within the second and third grouping.
The second was Federal Sierra Gold Medal 308 168gr ammo
Ammo is made with Boxer Primers, making them reloadable. Found this ammo at the same shop as the PRVI, but was slightly more expensive at around $19.99 a box, taking it to almost a $1.00 a round. The box seemed a little sturdier then the PRVI, but the most drastic difference was in the plastic holder that held the 20 rounds. Each round was secured tightly, and the holder could be reused in the future. Just like the PRVI, the rounds, cases and headstamps are clear and legible. Each round feed easily in the CMI mags. First and second rounds hit in a nice group just 1.75” high and zeroed with no left or right drift, third round was a flinch/stringer hitting .5” high and maybe .15” left, fourth round hit slightly to the right of the first and second round group and the fifth was a flinch/stringer hitting 1.75” high but 1.25” right. Flinching sucks!!
The third was Portuguese Military Surplus 147gr
The third was Portuguese Military Surplus 147gr, that I found locally at $100 for a sealed battle pack of 200 rounds. I bought 2 sealed packs, and I am seeking more. At just about .50 cents a round, it is great shooting ammo, clean and non-corrosive. The only complaint I have is that it was manufactured with Berdan primer, making it virtually not reloadable, but still fun to shoot. In the sealed battle pack, sealed boxes held 20 rounds with nice legible labels identifying it. The rounds were bright and shinny with no corrosion. The battle pack plastic material is great and if it is truly sealed, will keep out the unwanted efforts of time and environment. Each round loaded into the mag and off I went, but instead of only doing 5 rounds, I went shot 10 rounds in 5 shot sessions. The first shot hit at .5” high and .5” right, second hit .25” high and .10” right, third hit .10” high but 1” right and the fourth and fifth hit in a nice group just 1” high and about .75” right. No flyers, no flinches and no strings. Second session produced a nice grouping, but had a flinch/stringer. First round hit almost dead center with the vertical being dead on but .25” high, second hit 1” high but .10” left, third .5” high and .25” right, fourth was .75” high and 1” right and the fifth and final hitting .75” low and .25” right.
Some things that I gathered from these 3 different types of ammo
First is my rifle is defiantly zeroed for a light round, around 147gr. Second, my rifle holds tight groups with the slightly heavier and match grade ammo. Third, I got to work on the flinching thing. Fourth, I need to work on getting reloading equipment to cut down costs and develop a specific load that my rifle will do great with. Fifth, I need to buy more military surplus ammo as the prices have gone up about $10-$20 per 100 just within a 3 month time frame. Sixth, I need to test out more types and weights of ammo.
I love the groupings I got with the more expensive ammo, but at double the cost of the surplus stuff, it is not feasible just for range outings. Since this range test, I have taken my M14 out to 300 yards with the Portuguese ammo. It did very will, hitting almost dead center where I aimed my crosshairs at a 2’X2’ steel plate. Hits were consistent and produced that gong sound that just makes me grin ear to ear. I have also just purchased locally, 1000 rounds of some Austrian Military Surplus Hirtenberg ammo. The ammo is primarily 1980 headstamps, but has some 78 and 73 mixed in. I have yet to take any of it out for testing, but as soon as I do, I will get a review created and posted here.
My next article is going to be a step by step process on how to create a range book, with range cards, target diagrams, Mildot info and much more. Thanks for reading the article and keep shooting.
Let me start off with this, the customer service and support offered by Vortex Optics in Madison WI is top notch. I originally purchased the Vortex Crossfire 4-16X50 Illuminated MilDot from OpticsPlanet.com. First outing with the crossfire was not good. 15 rounds into the very first range trip with the scope and new M1A, the crosshairs started to rotate counterclockwise 45 degrees. The range trip was not a total lose, as I was able to dial in the iron sights. The original order was plagued from the get go, with me receiving wrong items and about 2.5 weeks after my mine was laid down, I finally got the original Crossfire.
So I went through the hassle with Opticsplanet.com, and to make a long story short, I ended up with getting my money back. Now being skittish with the Vortex brand, I was not only upset that the scope was a bust, all my research into the Vortex seemed to have been in vane, or so I thought. The day I got my money refunded, I was on the phone Vortex Optics to vent and give them a piece of my mind. Well, I was quickly turned when I spoke with Brian Widder and Scott Parks. Brian was a manager and calmed me down. Scott is their resident “scope guy” and I soon learned also has an M1A. Scott listened to my issues and concerns and suggested I take the plunge again, only on a Viper this time. I hoo’ed and hah’ed for a second, and Scott had me sold. Yes, it was a little more money, but a better scope, and Scott reassured that the Viper was the way to go, as that is what he had on his M1A.
One week later, I received the Vortex Viper in the mail. I felt like a kid on Christmas. The box was packaged well and came with the standard bikini scope cover, lens rag and instructions. In my hands, the scope felt solid. The glass was crisp and I observed little to no fuzziness out to the max 20 magnification. Now, I have great corrected sight and this may lend to the glass being clear, but there is no reason that I would not feel confident with the scope on any rifle in just about any condition. One of the major things I loved about this scope is that the elevation and wind turrets are not secured via allen wrench. They are the style that you adjust for zeroing in, and then pull up and reset. The turret covers were solid as well, with the large threads to avoid stripping.
Some of the other great upgrades/additions is the parallax adjustment is on the opposite side from the wind turret. All other scopes I have used have the adjustment between the eyepiece housing and scope tube. In its place is the magnification adjustment. The adjustment feels great when rotating it in either direction. The rings adjustment is fluid and seems to be “just right” for the amount of pressure needed for movement. The eyepiece has a clarity adjustment that I assume would help correct fuzziness that might occur within the different magnifications. I was able to look out to about 300 yards, viewing through the ranges of magnification and was able to view everything with great detail. The MilDot is clear and will serve its purpose of range finding and sizing targets. The scope came with instructions on using the MilDot and advised to use it set to the 14 power magnification with a set formula. I will try this and also try the tried and true method of 10X with another formula.
Anchoring the scope to the Bassett Machine Mount is the Vortex Brand Low rise Tactical rings. The rings have the normal “tactical” style anchor knob that secures it to the mount. They have a flathead screwdriver slot which makes it a little easier to tighten them down. I really don’t understand why manufactures do this. A socket and ratchet is a better way to torque them down, as the flathead screwdriver required is usually larger then what most people have and leaves more damage then the socket. The thing I found really appealing with these rings is the 6 torx head bolts used to secure the 2 halves of the rings. Vortex also includes a small torx wrench for this application.
At the end of the day, I am very happy with the purchase for the Vortex Viper. The only complaint I have with the Viper, is that it is not offered with the illuminated recital. The only regret I have with the purchase is going through OpticsPlanet.com.
Vortex 4-16x44 Viper HS Rifle Scope VHS-4305
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VPR-M-06MD Vortex Viper Rifle Scope 6.5-20x 50mm SF Mil-Dot Reticle Matte
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First off, let me introduce myself. I am Kyle. I am a USAF veteran, was in Law Enforcement in AZ for about 3 years and have since returned to the Telecommunications Industry. I am, at heart a technician. In the USAF I was a Telecom Tech, but I was also a Security Forces Extra. I was basically an extra base cop during exercises and so on. At every qualification, I obtained “Expert Marksman”. In the AZ Academy I placed second (using a Glock 22 in 40SW), with first going to an officer using a 9mm. I grew up around firearms, ranging from 22s to 30-06 and everything in between. I am an owner of a new Springfield Standard M1A 22” in the Walnut stock. I take great care in researching and learning every firearm I have ever owned, with the M1A being no exception.
I researched the M1A for 4 months before getting mine. In those 4 months, 3 months were spent researching scopes and mounts. Lets start with m1a scope mounts. As anyone knows, the mounts for the M1A are vast and really do not sell for under $100, with the top end at $400. I don’t know what some peoples budgets are, but mine was differently not at the $400 range for a mount. Through my research I discovered Bassett Machine, located in Dripping Springs Texas. Their website is really easy to navigate, and I found the mount subsection. They show 2 different styles of m1a scope mounts. One being the “Standard”, in two variants, the second being the “Picatinny” style in two variants. Being a modular kind of guy, I chose to start with the Picatinny style.
Bassett offers a “high” and “low” rail. Both being around the $150 range, now we are talking. I also wanted a mount that would not need to be removed to use the iron sights, I am a big believer in backup plans and options. My wants lead me to the “high” rail style, with the people at Bassett confirming that if the “high” rail is mounted on a SAI M1A, there would be clearance to use the iron sights without removing the mount or scope. From what I was able to also find, is that depending on if the receiver is of different manufactures, that the “low” rail could work, but it was a case by case basis. From the photos on the internet, the Bassett mount seemed very straight forward. It had a single bolt to attach to the rifle, with no other anchors. This intrigued and worried me, as I am a big backup kind of guy. I also had researched that SAI also had a single point mount, which received constant bad reviews. So, my research brought me to the reviews of the Bassett mount. I searched for about a month, looking specifically for reviews, and found nothing bad, only great comments and experiences.
Bassett Machine also had the instructions on how to install the mount on their website. It is very straight forward, hold mount in your hand, mate it to the left side of the M1A receiver, hand tighten the single bolt to the threading and use the included tool to torque the bolt to the machined specs. Ok, so now what was this “tool” they spoke of. Well, during the development of the mount, they discovered that the mount needed to be torque to 22lbs. Well, if I am out at the range or in the field, I will bet I do not carry a torque wrench. They thought of this as well and found that by using the weight of the rifle, and using a small piece of metal attached to the bolt, it would not only create the correct torque for installation, if using the tool every time, the mount would return within ½ moa after removal. The ring mounting area is designed to accept Weaver and Picatinny rings. This is important when putting together an optics package.
While Picatinny rings are great, they are often more expensive then their counterpart the Weaver rings. Both mount use claws and tension for mounting, but the difference is in the angles of the anchor points. Well, looks like Bassett thought of everything. Also, with any other mounts, there is no need to remove the strip clip guide of tighten down 3 or 4 allen head bolts with a tiny allen wrench. I like not having to remove factory items to add to something.
Well, with the price, ease of installation, included tool and great reviews, the purchase was made. I received my new M1A scope mount about 4 days after my web purchase. Out of the packaging it looks and feels rock solid. I have held many of mounts, with the UTG brand mounts feeling rather flimsy and was surprised with it in my hands. It included instructions with pictures and the special tool. Installation was a snap, and using the tool was a dream. First range trip out, it help up the Venezuelan and Argentine Surplus ammo, about 500 rounds and no movement. I was able to first sight the irons in, without removal of the mount or scope then moved to the scope. For the price and the final product, I am very very happy with the Bassett High Rail M1A Scope Mount and would recommend to anyone.
M1A Scope Mounts on Ebay
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