Range Report Question about different bullets

fullscope

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Full Member
Minuteman
I had originally posted this question in the equipment forum. I did not recieve any remarks and so I am posting it here to see if this may a more appropriate forum.

My team recently purchased 3000 rounds of Hornady 168 grain Amax Tap replacing our dwindling supply of 168 grain Federal Sierra match grade BTHP. All of us are finding a marked difference in reliability and accuracy compared to the Federal Sierra. We have had two training days since buying the new ammo and the Hornady is not punching the same ragged hole as the Federal did. The round also seems to burn hotter and produce more powder fouling that the Federal. We are cleaning our guns after about ten rounds and the powder fouling is greater than with the Federal. We still have some of the old Federal and can put three rounds touching at 100, clean the rifle and then have the Hornady average a minute.

I was told the Hornady was a better round than the Federal due to the documented over penetration of the Federal. The documentation we looked at showed snipers shots that went through the target and then continued through walls and cars and other things that could have seriously injured hostages or bystanders. We looked at both the Hornady and the Blackhills and decided in the end to try the Hornady.

I was trying to find out if anyone else has seen this kind of difference when switching ammo or could we have just picked the one bullet or lot # that does not like our rifles. We use Remington 700s in 308 in case that is an important fact in any responses. We are trying to decide what our next move should be as we have never made a purchase like this or encountered this as a problem. Some of our thoughts or options are if we should call and ask Hornady for another lot #, move to the 155 grain or accept that 1 minute of angle is the best you get from this type of ammo.
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Full Member
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Aug 10, 2001
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AZ
Re: Question about different bullets

I don't know how much ammo quantity your team purchases normally, but now would be a good time to review the policy regarding changes in load specifications.

I suspect it would be a good idea to test smaller lots of newer loads before going ahead and making larger purchases when this question arises in the future.

The Hornady load may well be a superior round with reference to penetration performance, but penetration and accuracy are two seldom related features of ammunition. Clearly, the penetration issue becomes questionable when contrasted against changes in accuracy.

So, answering your question, specific rifles <span style="font-style: italic">do</span> have accuracy load preferences. While production lots can matter, they do so in defiance of the manufacturers' desires. They <span style="font-style: italic">want</span> to give you a consistent product.

Seeing you are a LE officer, I make some assumptions. One is that you are called upon to make life and death shots, and the other is that your work comes under legal scrutiny. These issues have direct bearing on your ammo selections.

They dictate that you use commercially sourced ammunition that is customarily used by official agencies for your specific purposes.

I suspect that the decision to seek a round with less penetration was not necessarily dictated by any official policy, or if it was, that this official policy was not in conformance with widely accepted customary practices. Putting it more directly, penetration is a less critical issue than accuracy, when the time comes for legal scrutiny. I.e., a miss is probably more costly than a penetration issue.

With that in mind, I strongly suggest you 'do what it takes' to restore your issue ammunition to its previous standard.

Failing that, I would suggest a <span style="font-style: italic">judicious</span> effort to evaluate the 155gr loading with regard to accuracy and penetration. If it's accurate, it may be preferable.

My reasoning is as follows.

In a LE context, shot distances are not as lengthy as military ones. This suggests a lighter weight projectile can serve better over those shorter distances, and have the advantage of a flatter trajectory. <span style="font-style: italic">If</span> penetration and accuracy are acceptable, this would suggest it is a better replacement for the original loading than the one you are currently employing.

But you need to test it first to confirm its capabilities.

I am not a professional or involved in LE in any way, and speak to these issues solely as an interested observer; so judge my comments in that context.

Greg
 

fullscope

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Full Member
Minuteman
Re: Question about different bullets

Mr. Greg,

This is the first large purchase of ammunition our team has made since we went active in 2006. The federal we were using was left over from the prior team's store which was purchased over four years ago.
It was not an official policy to change the rounds. We discussed it and thought penetration and accuracy could go hand in hand. I see that may not always be the case.
I will take your help as an "interested observer" back with me when we meet again next week for training. I thoroughly appreciate your comment.
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 10, 2001
9,037
5,187
AZ
Re: Question about different bullets

I could never do what you folks do. It's just not in me. But you guys have my utmost respect.

What little I do know about shooting has been compiled over some decades, mostly doing competitive shooting. I may not be able to take the shots you guys have to, but some day, some perp may be holding one of my grandkids in front of them, and I'll do anything I can to help folks like you do it to their best potential.

I've been around this site for awhile, and I've met some of the principals. FWIW, LowLight is the real deal, and anything he tells you is Gospel.

Greg