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Heavy Metal Ammo

Heavy Metal Ammo

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Published by Patrick
308 or 7.62x51 NATO to shoot it you must either build or buy ammo. A look at those choices.
308 or 7.62x51 NATO to shoot it you must either build or buy ammo. A look at those choices.

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Published by: Patrick on Nov 21, 2009
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11/15/2013

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I
s your Heavy Metal rifle eatingyou out of house and home? Areyou tired of loading bottle-neckedcases? Need to work more withthe “big rifle” but even with handloadspractice is too expensive? Well, fellowheavy metalist, have I got a deal foryou!
Up Close And Personal: The Reloading Option
 A quick perusal of online reloadingcomponent suppliers nets the follow-ing: bullets from $90 per thousand de-livered for 147 FMJBT military surplusto $180 per thousand for Speer bulk150 FMJs. These may not be your firstchoices for ultra match ammo, but let’sfinish up assembling components andsee where we go from there. The pow-der needed for 1000 rounds at 45grains per shot (give or take) will re-quire seven pounds of powder, with alittle left over in the powder measure.If you buy surplus “Data” powder oryour favorite name brand, you willpart with $80 to $120 to make thiswork. Primers are cheap, right? Theywere. What was a penny apiece wayback when are now 1.8 to 2.2cents per, so to make our 1000 loads gobang, another $18 to $22 are needed.Cases? “We don’t need no stinkingcases.” Maybe not in the final analysis,but let’s keep $40 per thousand inmind for once-fired cases, amortizedwith three reloads each before replace-ment. You now have a shop full of lowend components, so fire up your fa-vorite progressive and turn that pile of parts into ammo. Tick, tock, tick,tock…ding! Two or three hours lateryou might have it all loaded and readyto shoot!With your time worth….. (Ohyeah, I forgot, it’s “relaxing”). OK,skip the time element. So you nowhave 1000 rounds of “less expensive”ammo in front of you that out-of-pocket cost you between $228 and$362 depending on your choices andhow well you squeezed your nickels.
 Don’t Drink The Water: Imported Military Surplus
Now enter my zone where hand-loading is NOT required and yourmoney goes further! Drum rollplease… Try pre-rolled military surplusammunition made by folks from coun-tries where you might not drink thewater! Since we are not drinking theammo, read on, and you will probablyfind that military surplus will at LEASTtake care of all your under-100-yardstage needs and makes for great prac-tice fodder. Why practice hoser stageswith your time-laden, carefully pre-pared match ammo when this resourceis available?
FRONTSIGHT  July/August 200610
 
BUILD orBUY?Feeding theHeavy Metalrifle
S
TORY AND PHOTOS
B
P
 ATRICK 
 K 
 ELLEY 
TY-14401
 
When Front Sight’s esteemed assistant editor saddled,er, I mean offered me this assignment, surplus .308(7.62 X 51) produced by no less than five countries wasavailable from multiple merchants. At this point we arereduced to two, but we still have some price-competi-tive ammo to choose from that will easily run with ourless-than-top-grade handloads.Included in my personal stores is the near-minute-of-angle Australian F4 ball that carries a 144-grain FMJBTto 2600 fps-plus in my rifles and was available deliveredto my door for $200 per thousand. Another excellentvariety, a 1980s vintage Argentine, is accurate, (minuteof “B” zone to 300 yards), dependable, and at 22 centsper round delivered, IS my current match ammo. South Africa has created considerable ammunition stores dur-ing its history, and some of that ammunition is nowavailable on the surplus market. For a shade less than 20cents per shot, this 144-grain lead coreboat tail FMJ is used by my fellow heavymetalist Robert Wright primarily on theaforementioned under-100-yard andhose-fest stages.The next two entries can alarmmatch directors because of the ferrousmetal content of the bullet JACKET. Thebullets are not steel cored, not armorpiercing, and do no more target damage(as the photos prove) than non-magnetattracting bullets, but because this infocannot be easily foretold they remain, un-derstandably, outside of major match use.These entries still available in limitedquantities are the Portuguese and the Aus-trian Hirtenburger ball ammo. Both areloaded with 144-grain lead core FMJBTsthat break 2600 fps and make for accu-rate practice and local match ammo. Ihave a clear conscience using them on anysteel target upon which you would feelconfident using your lead-core 223. At this time only the South Africanammo is available from multiple sources,but if you are diligent in surfing the web
11July/August 2006 • FRONT SIGHT
Magnet ammo.
Some of the surplus importshave enough iron in the jacketto attract a magnet. They don’tdamage steel (see above), butthey flunk the “magnet test.”
 HEAVYMETALAMMOcontinued on page 13.
 
13July/August 2006 • FRONT SIGHT
you will turn up some of the others. Aword of caution is in order when surf-ing for .308 surplus ammo. Ipersonally would avoid anyammo produced by RoyalOrdnance a.k.a. “Indianammo,” head stamped OFV.This ammo carries a nearlyuniversal internet dislike.Stories abound linking thisfodder to all sorts of riflemalfunctions from failures-to-fire and case separationsto pressure excursions thatresult in firearm destruction.The problem seems to betied to de-linked and tum-bled clean ammunition. Ihave NO proof, but webopinions are very solid onthis warning.(NOTE: Tumbling loadedammo can break down thegranular structure of thepowder inside, creatingmore available surface area, andthereby speeding up the burn rate.While tumbling may be safe for somepowders/loads, for others it is not. –Editors.)OK, a heck of a lot of good this infodoes you now that the store shelves areempty. I had the pleasure of shoppingfor the good stuff while the getting wasgood, so are what are you to do?
Group comparisons.
These five-shot groups were fired at 100 yards from Kelley’sDPMS match rifle. Note the Georgia Arms 168’s bottom center.
HEAVY METAL
 AMMO
continued from page 11.

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