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.