Freedom munition 7.62 range report

jMarine

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I recently bought some 7.62 ammunition from Freedom munition and went to the range to see how it would stack up against other similar ammo. I was simply looking for a more readily available option/load as opposed to other more superior loadings/brands. This particular loading is their rendition of M118LR, 7.62x51 175gr SMK (at least they claim it’s a SMK. I’m not positive). The rifle being used is an LR308 rifle that I built, and yes I am a competent builder. It’s based on an Aero upper and lower with a pre-fire Noveske N6 16” match barrel. Lantac BCG. This rifle is pretty consistent a 1.25-1 MOA rifle when shooting 6x5’s or any groupings greater than just 3 shots. (Even I get lucky sometimes and can shoot a .5 group with only 3 shots. But where’s the fun in that!)

All of that aside, the point of this thread is really about reviewing the ammo purchased from freedom. Upon initial opening of the boxes, I immediately noticed what I was 99.9% positive was powder grains (I have been reloading for many years… I’m actually 100% positive it was powder) static clung to the bullets. Now it wasn’t much but I would have to say anywhere from 3-10 grains PER CARTRIDGE. This may to some seem like not that big of a deal, but I thought it was very odd. Not to mention when thrown into a headspace gauge, it wasn’t able to seat properly. 🤷🏻‍♂️ But I digress.

Moving on to the range. This is where my disappointment settled in the most. I’m by no means the granddaddy of reloading or AR precision marksmanship or sniper. However, I do pride myself in being ever so slightly skilled and knowledgeable in firearms and marksmanship. Take my opinion with a grain of salt. The first 3 shots seemed normal as could be other than ejecting in the 1oclock direction. The 4th shot is where things took a turn. A blown out primer and a jammed gun. After dropping the mag and mortaring my rifle on the deck, I was able to clear the malfunction and move on. A few more shots, and again…. Another blown primer and anvil wedged between my BCG and upper. Mortar again. After observing a dozen or so cases, it was evident that I was experiencing a vast range of pressures and powder charges. Some cases seemed very normal for a gas 308 with light ejector marks but some of them were very extreme and rendered the cases damaged and then some of those had the primers blown out of them. I think out of 30 or 31 shots, I had 8 blown primers. (I know. I’m the jackass that kept shooting when most would’ve ended right there!) let’s not forget to mention the 3 light primer strikes, and the one cartridge that had a deformed/belled case mouth that when chambered after firing, had to be mortared out because it wouldn’t load all the way and was wedged in the chamber. There’s a pic below of it.

All of that being said. I am very disappointed in this ammo. I have shot some of their 5.56 77gr stuff that was actually decent in my book. But this “m118lr” knock off was very disappointing. I really hope I didn’t damage my gun but it is what it is.

Here are some pics of the ammo, cases, primer pockets and rifle. Feel free to engage in conversation or ask any questions or call me a dip shit for continuing to shoot that ammo and risk myself and the fun!
 

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UpSideDown

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Freedom Munitions produces garbage ammo.
Hornady Frontier is also a very suspect ammo to me, the powder seems very temperature sensitive, but it's way more consistent than Freedom's junk.
 

JimmyJr

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Nice write up, and thanks for taking the time to share. I shoot a bit of 308 gas gun and this is good to know.
 
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jMarine

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Freedom Munitions produces garbage ammo.
Hornady Frontier is also a very suspect ammo to me, the powder seems very temperature sensitive, but it's way more consistent than Freedom's junk.
Yeah I was very disappointed in this ammo. I mean the groups were “decent” given I had my ACOG on today, at about 1.25-1.5 MOA at 100… but the amount of failures I had compared to how many times I fired, was completely unacceptable.
 

UpSideDown

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Yeah I was very disappointed in this ammo. I mean the groups were “decent” given I had my ACOG on today, at about 1.25-1.5 MOA at 100… but the amount of failures I had compared to how many times I fired, was completely unacceptable.
It's a sucky experience. I think Rule 1 = don't kill the customer
 
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jMarine

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It definitely turned what should be a fun afternoon at the range, to an annoying chore of trying to unfuck my rifle every 2-3 shots. I’ve got 3 more boxes of this stuff that will likely collect dust on my ammo shelf now. I got what I paid for I suppose
 

jMarine

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Isn't this the company that's known for these very problems? I think I read a thread a while back and everyone was commenting how how their ammo is.
I was hoping that they had reconciled these issues after they were bought out a couple years back or whenever that was. I haven’t bought their ammo In quite some time.
 

jMarine

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I bought FM, mostly 6.5cm and the exact same thing happened to me.
Their ammo is sh-t.
Yeah. The groupings were decent and I probably could gotten better groups. But almost immediately I went from “shooting groups” to “just trying to make my damn gun go bang.” I’ve never had any issue with this rifle with any other type of ammunition before.
 

jMarine

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So went back to the website to re-read the description of this particular loading, here’s what it says:

“Disclaimer: New 308 WIN ammunition may be loaded with new NATO 7.62x51 head stamped cases. The ammunition may visually appear remanufactured because of annealing marks and primer or mouth lacquer but these are new unfired cases. The 7.62x51 case meets all SAAMI criteria for fit, form and function of a 308 WIN case and is safe to be fired in a 308 WIN firearm.”

This could explain why I experienced what I experienced but… in what world is 7.62x51 specs the same as 308 specs? This doesn’t add up to me why an ammo company would interchange it like this. Maybe I’m a dumbass but I’ve always known 7.62 to be less pressure than 308.

So is this ammo loaded to 308 pressures or 7.62?

Please tag any ammo experts on this forum if needed.
 

db2000

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    Wow. I’ve used their reman 55 gr .223 and never had a problem. It’s not very accurate and high SD’s but was also historically cheap before I started reloading. The “new” 60 gr Hornady VMAX groups pretty well and decent SD’s for what it is from 2 different Seekins custom rifles. One Criterion 20” and one 16” Proof CF.
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    FCS

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    Same problem of primers coming out of pocket with suppressor removed?

    Buffer weight?
    What is buffer spring K, standard or an extra power?

    308 Win or 7.62 pressure is a question only FM would be able to answer. Literal take off of description "New 308 Win ammunition..." would be this is 308 Win pressure but in brass marked 7.62X51. However, if it is M118LR clone, what version? Meaning, some M118LR was loaded with a ball powder, some was loaded with an extruded powder and honestly, I don't believe the time / pressure curve is same. Powder being difficult to source, could be that FM is using a powder that gives same velocity as M118LR but is slightly slower burn rate, lower peak pressure BUT giving you higher port pressure / gas volume that causes bent rim, blown out primer pocket.
     

    jMarine

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    Same problem of primers coming out of pocket with suppressor removed?

    Buffer weight?
    What is buffer spring K, standard or an extra power?

    308 Win or 7.62 pressure is a question only FM would be able to answer. Literal take off of description "New 308 Win ammunition..." would be this is 308 Win pressure but in brass marked 7.62X51. However, if it is M118LR clone, what version? Meaning, some M118LR was loaded with a ball powder, some was loaded with an extruded powder and honestly, I don't believe the time / pressure curve is same. Powder being difficult to source, could be that FM is using a powder that gives same velocity as M118LR but is slightly slower burn rate, lower peak pressure BUT giving you higher port pressure / gas volume that causes bent rim, blown out primer pocket.
    I never did try it with the can off. I couldn’t get it off and left my little wrench at the house on accident. Could a silencer make that big of a difference in chamber pressure? I know it has some effect but is the difference blown primers or no blown primers?

    The buffer is the JP SCS gen 2 with H2 buffer weight.

    If the powder static clung to the projectiles fresh out of the box is any indication of the powder it’s charged with, I would say it’s ball.

    So you are suggesting that the powder being used is slower burning and being that it’s a 16” bbl, there is unburnt powder when it hits the gas port/ muzzle and causing a spike of pressure as the gas goes back to the carrier?
     

    FCS

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    OH YES, suppressor could very much be the difference between blown primer pocket and no blown pocket. I've seen that more than once.
    Looks like an OSS can, which should be lower back pressure but could still be enough extra back pressure cause issues. I've not used an OSS can, zero "feel" for how much backpressue is added.

    IMHO, you'll want to be H3 or heavier and probably a bit more K on spring with suppressor attached.
    How big is port? Preferably measured with a gauge pin.

    I think powder is fully burned, just that peak pressure is later in time so you are extracting case while more pressure is present inside case, chamber is still hanging onto case. Could very well be peak pressure is lower but port pressure (pressure inside of case, pressing brass against chamber wall) is higher.

    Bolt pulls away from case head slightly until extractor engages rim, leaving primer unsupported. IF there is higher pressure at time bolt pulls away from case head, there goes your primer pocket.
    I don't have any personal experience with AP 20 brass, might be soft in web / case head, which would just exacerbate the issue.

    I'd try a couple rounds w/o suppressor, see how brass looks. IF brass looks better, no blown primers, bent rim and reduced ejector swipe without suppressor attached, then heavy up buffer / buffer spring K for when can is present.
    Alternately, appears you have an adjustable gas block. Turn off gas, shoot 5 or so rounds with can on and see if any primer pockets fail. If no, then you have a timing / bolt unlocking too soon issue that can most probably be addressed with buffer weight / buffer spring K / adjustable gas block or combination of 3.
     

    jMarine

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    That is correct, an OSS can. And In my experience (at least with this gun and a 300blk) It does reduce back pressure to some degree. The adjustable block on this rifle only has 3 positions. All the way open, some level of restriction, and closed. It’s the Noveske switchblock. Obviously the partially restricted setting is supposed to be optimized for suppressor use but with the OSS I was having short stroke and bolt lock issues. Thus I’ve been running this gun with the block all the way open. I’m not sure of port opening but I could email Noveske and find out… or actually not be lazy and check it myself.

    I’ve ordered a spring kit from JP as well as another tungsten weight to bring this buffer to H3 levels.

    I didn’t even think to adjust the block when I was out shooting. I guess I was distracted by the ammo, malfunctions, and the feeling of looking like a dummy mortaring his rifle on the bench! Haha.

    I’m completely tracking on what you’re saying. Makes perfect sense. Thanks a lot for the feedback. I’ll report back in a few weeks if you’re interested.
     

    FCS

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    Yes, please do update what you find corrects the issue.
     

    Ape_Factory

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    I had issues with blown primers with freedom's 300 blackout loads. I think it was the 125 gr FMJ's. Just bought for plinking and for function tests so I'm not wasting my good hand-loaded stuff. Shot about 25-3 and about 15 of those blew primers with and without a suppressor (an OSS 762Ti). The OSS adds very little increase in back pressure from my experience. There's a mild POI shift on and off but it's 100% repeatable.

    Anyway...the Freedom Munitions loads are reasonably accurate. I did contact them and they did refund my money for the unused rounds. They didn't have any in stock. I later purchased a few more boxes and so far, no issues. I also have a bunch of their 9mm which has functioned well.
     

    Hobo Hilton

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    Thank you for taking time to give the report. No surprise after reading of your experience. From their website:
    __________
    NOTE: On June 8, 2018, X-Treme Bullets, Inc., Ammo Load Worldwide, Inc., Clearwater Bullet, Inc., Freedom Munitions, LLC, Howell Machine, Inc., Howell Munitions & Technology, Inc., Lewis-Clark Ammunition Components, LLC and Components Exchange, LLC (collectively, “HMT”) filed bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Reno Nevada (Case No. 18-50609) (the “Bankruptcy”). On October 22, 2019, Kash CA, Inc. (“Kash CA”) purchased the assets, including the trade names, website and Internet domain names, of HMT out of the Bankruptcy, without any liability relating to any claims concerning any HMT products previously sold by HMT. Kash CA does not own or operate any of the HMT entities. Kash CA operates this website through use of the Internet domain name and associated “Freedom Munitions” trade name solely for branding purposes. Any claims concerning ammunition or other products purchased prior to October 22, 2019 from any of the HMT entities are not the responsibility of Kash CA or covered by Kash CA under the posted warranty and/or returns policies, but are subject to the bankruptcy filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Reno Nevada (Case No. 18-50609):
    _________________


    We are entering challenging times and I am certainly not picking on Freedom Munitions.
    Currently in all industries and services companies they are gathering surplus, over runs, seconds and economy items. Companies are hiring subcontractors (no name on the truck door) and paying them piece work. The older guys here have seen all of this before, more than once.
    I have no answers.

    Caveat emptor
     
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    jMarine

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    Update: I reached out to FM and they suggested I return the ammo and get a full refund for all rounds that are returned. The sent me a UPS label so at least I don’t have to pay for shipping. Other than that, that’s as far as it has gone.
     

    JimmyJr

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    Thank you for taking time to give the report. No surprise after reading of your experience. From their website:
    __________
    NOTE: On June 8, 2018, X-Treme Bullets, Inc., Ammo Load Worldwide, Inc., Clearwater Bullet, Inc., Freedom Munitions, LLC, Howell Machine, Inc., Howell Munitions & Technology, Inc., Lewis-Clark Ammunition Components, LLC and Components Exchange, LLC (collectively, “HMT”) filed bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Reno Nevada (Case No. 18-50609) (the “Bankruptcy”). On October 22, 2019, Kash CA, Inc. (“Kash CA”) purchased the assets, including the trade names, website and Internet domain names, of HMT out of the Bankruptcy, without any liability relating to any claims concerning any HMT products previously sold by HMT. Kash CA does not own or operate any of the HMT entities. Kash CA operates this website through use of the Internet domain name and associated “Freedom Munitions” trade name solely for branding purposes. Any claims concerning ammunition or other products purchased prior to October 22, 2019 from any of the HMT entities are not the responsibility of Kash CA or covered by Kash CA under the posted warranty and/or returns policies, but are subject to the bankruptcy filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Reno Nevada (Case No. 18-50609):
    _________________


    We are entering challenging times and I am certainly not picking on Freedom Munitions.
    Currently in all industries and services companies they are gathering surplus, over runs, seconds and economy items. Companies are hiring subcontractors (no name on the truck door) and paying them piece work. The older guys here have seen all of this before, more than once.
    I have no answers.

    Caveat emptor
    That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. Looked up Howell munitions and the section for available positions takes me to a Kash ca web page. Still a Lewiston ID address. Still a functioning machine shop at that location under the Howell name. Still making junk ammo from what I hear. They have a history of not paying bills either. So none of this is surprising.
    Not trying to just bash a company but man this is ridiculous.
    Glad the op survived.
     
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