Author Topic: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s  (Read 1461 times)

Online Erick

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
  • Karma: +7/-0
Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« on: November 21, 2015, 09:42:05 AM »
In the last 3 years I have shot approx 25,000+ rounds out of maybe 10 ish AR15s.

Their specs range from commercial spec (RRA, Delton, Stag, Troy, + Franken guns) to Milspec++ what I call "Boutique rifles" (LWRC , Sig 516, Daniel Defense, LMT)

Of all these only the Stag had consistent problems with Steelcase (especially Tula 55gr with which it simply couldn't function consistently) and the Daniel Defense had rare issues with it..But that Stag was not  a complete factory gun even tho lower and upper were Stag. poor choice of buffer spring may have worsened the issue.. not sure its been years...Gun would run fine with M193 style ammo.

All others had no issues w/ steel.

Cost is important with ammo as many folks can not afford to train enough using only premium Ammo, steel routinely cossts only 2/3rds the price of brass. It adds up..
Even if, as some claim (please dont link the lucky gunner test I dont want to muddy this thread), the bimetal bullets really do wear out barrels twice as fast as the US style bullets, by the time you have to replace 1 barrel you will have saved a couple of thousand dollars in ammo costs so the price of replacing barrel is trivial.

Every round mentioned was shot by me, or by me with a buddy, at least 1000 rds each, usually 2 or more cases.

... in no particular order:


PMC Bronze 55gr: Brass cased, among the most affordable brass rounds, good accuracy, loaded light, short cycles my tighter guns but cycles well in my more "open" guns such as LWRC M6A2 and Troy.

PMC XTac 62 gr Green Tip: in 62gr the only greentip I have ever shot that was reasonably accurate. VERY reliable due to a combination of hot load, quality brass case and clearly good QC. Great Stuff. Not cheap though and smells a bit of Kimchee after firing (I kid you not!). (Plus I am luke warm on penetrator ammo so despite the super reliability I am luke warm on this round)

PMX XTac 55gr: All comments for XTac 62 gr apply. Close equivalent to federal White Box 55gr M193. Not green tip so I like that.

PPU 55 gr: Made in Serbia. Loaded hot. reliable brass cased round. Not cheap considering it is ex eastern block but less money than Federal White Box M193. VERY good packaging. the batch I got last had each 20rd box rapped individually in plastic. Nice but not cheap.

Tula 55gr: The Cheapest but the worst. Not accurate. not reliable. Short cycles my tighter guns. Only my LWRC M6 can shot it reliably. My Sig516 cna shoot it on "adverse" gas setting. Dirty. Buddies have had stuck cases with it. Since the next step up is only like 1.5- 2 cents more not worth the low price to me. Good packing though.. with plastic "ribs" protecting the ammo at least a bit form physical damage during storge /transport. And it IS the absolute least expensive ammo u can buy for AR15. Still for me not worth it.

Tula 62 gr non penetrator: Its a newer round..I bought this as an experiment, wondering if it would be better than the 55gr , as for some reason unbeknownst to me East Block makes seem to load the 62gr a bit hotter. And it was indeed less likely to short cycle my tighter guns. Still not terribly impressed by this ammo and one of my buddies had issues with it... also as for only a penny more I can get this instead:

Wolf Military Classic 62gr!: Accurate, rock solid reliable , never had a single malfunction of any kind and I shot this Ammo a LOT. Probably almost 8,000 rounds (even though admittedly it was shot mostly thru my LWRC and Sig516 which are my most tolerant guns). Noticeably loaded hotter than Tula 55gr. Not saying its as hot as Federal White box but definitely hotter than PMC Bronze and Tulla 55gr. Never had any shortcycling or stock cases. Shoots 1.5 MOA out of  a 20 inch 1 in 9 barrel. Also is very affordable only 2-3 cents more than Tula 55gr (depending on the market at the time). Available in FMJ, HP and SP . Even the HP and SP have no issues chambering from the mag. Even though its steel case I consider this ammo good enough to be a real world carry round for BOL OPS. Well packed also.... rounds have plastic "back" holding them in the box. Not loose ammo in the box like most western manufacturers.

Brown Bear 62gr: All comments for Wolf MC 62gr apply to this round as well. Great round. It does have the lacquer though. Some dont like that. I am not worried about  a little extra cleaning since the laquer also makes it GREAT cache ammo that's nearly impervious to the elements. Would buy this more if it was more available.  A buddy of mine use a 62gr HP Brown bear on a Wild hog with devastating first round kill effect.

Silver Bear 62gr/Colt "zinc plated" 62gr: Made on same production line as the other 2 lines described above. Great Ammo... a couple pennies more than the 2 above since the zinc plating adds a little cost. It also commands a small premium since the zinc coating adds slipperiness for those who have AR chambers whom they dont trust with Steel case. This adds a bit of Safety margin for those who fear their chambers may not be up to handling steel.

PPU 69 gr Match: Not loaded as hot as I would like. but not so soft that it will short cycles any of my guns. Nicely packaged. The most affordable of all match ammo. Shoots 0.7 to 0.9 MOA out of a 20 inch 1in9 barrel. Priced much less than all other match grade at 50-55 cents a round (if u look for deals). Almost cheap enough to make it a "normal" carry round .. maybe for longer distance AOs such as mountains it might make a good general carry round..etc. I suspect it shoots just as well out of 1in 7 barrels than it does 1 in 9 barrels.

Wolf Gold 55gr: Excellent Brass Ammo. The Cheapest of the brass cased for those few who own an AR that cant handle steel or must shoot indoors at a range who doesnt allow steel...Loaded HOT... easily like a Federal White Box M193. I swear even tho it says 223 on the box I cannot discern a difference in ejection patterns to full power US 5.56mm ammo. One of my highest ranked choices, Made in Taiwan.

Federal White Box 55gr M193: The Gold standard for brass case 55gr ammo. Expensive though.

Federal XM855: Extremely reliable due to loaded HOT and quality brass used and clearly good QC. Accuracy not up to my standards though. Maybe 3 ish MOA. Due to widespread military issue Gold standard to some but I dislike it due to its high price, the marginal accuracy and its demonstrated poor effect on human body.

Wolf 55gr Black Box (aka WPA polyperformance): Serviceable for training. Loaded  a bit lighter than the the Wolf MC 62 gr. Not as light as Tula 55gr though..Also the Black box was in the past made in a different location than the Military Classic. According to one source also made at Barnaul now.. If true I should probably rank it higher. Even so had some issues with it. even though not like I had with Tula. Some Wolf Black Box made in Ulyanovsk and some made at Luhansk cartridge works in Ukraine. LCW has been bombed by Ukrainian gov't though and their production is greatly disrupted. And what they do produce goes to the rebels.

Wolfs 62gr Black Box (aka WPA polyperformance): Had no problems with this ammo. Not sure if it is same production line as the Barnaul made mil classic, brown/silver bear etc.  Good Ammo but dont quite trust it enough for me yet as a real world BOL patrol round.

Independence AR5.56: Affordable brass cased ammo. Loaded like a proper 5.56mm. reliable. a bit dirty. accuracy not evaluated
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 09:19:29 AM by Erick »
Every day, men who will follow orders to kill you, exercise. Do you?

Online Erick

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
  • Karma: +7/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 09:47:46 AM »
PS: Ordered some Wolf Military Classic 62gr HP last week.
But this week I finally found some Brown bear 62gr HP again, which is just as accurate as the Wolf MC 62gr and has had 100% reliability in my guns (YMMV though! Steel seems to find any flaws your chamber may have and bring them to the forefront. Buy a small amount first. Try it and if you are GTG , which most will be, then stack it deep for caching)

So I had to order some though I have plenty of Ammo now.

I will gladly accept the moderate extra cleaning burden that the lacquer may impose for the extreme long term storage abilities of lacquer covered ammo .. even in the most humid environments.
Great for caching.
Here is the find:
http://shop.militaryshooters.com/catalog/product.asp?ret_id=140211&pid=1030017 
 :shoot:
« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 10:00:35 AM by Erick »
Every day, men who will follow orders to kill you, exercise. Do you?

Offline DMCakhunter

  • Senior Prepper
  • ****
  • Posts: 308
  • Karma: +3/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 09:15:45 PM »
Thanks Erick.
Good info.

Offline brat

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 594
  • Karma: +3/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2015, 05:50:03 AM »
Good info man, thanks.
I like/use the Wolf Gold myself.  :pirateThumbUp:
"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around
reloading" - Thomas Jefferson

Online Erick

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
  • Karma: +7/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2015, 09:25:32 AM »
PS: I often get asked questions on where I buy my ammo.

Answer:
http://ammunitionstore.com/
http://www.militaryshooters.com/
http://www.sgammo.com/

I also really like http://www.the-armory.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/223_ammunition.html but since I am a VA resident they have to charge me tax so I use them only rarely.
Every day, men who will follow orders to kill you, exercise. Do you?

Offline CJS06

  • Senior Prepper
  • ****
  • Posts: 347
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2015, 05:43:37 PM »
Erick

Great write up.   I average about 15k rounds per year of 5.56.  Everything you found is exactly 100% consistent with what I have had experiences with.  I probably shoot more Wolf Gold (says .223 but this stuff is basically M193), PPU, or Armcor 55gr than any others. It all depends on pricing that I can get at the time I am ordering. For precision/ long distance  I like Black Hills 77gr TMK, but damn I sure cant afford to shoot much of it.  I dont shoot much steel case but not for the "wear out" factor....to be honest I dont have a good reason.  When ammo price start to creep up again I am sure that the percentage of steel case I shoot will go up drastically.

One additional item.  I will NOT shoot Fiocchi rifle ammo.  I had a double charge destroy an upper on a KAC rifle on me and was in a class where a BCM  blew up while shooting it.  To their credit they took care of me and prior to the problem I would have said it was comparable to PPU or Wolf Gold.....now I just cant bring myself to load it in a mag.

Right now I only have "Boutique Rifles" (Warsport, Noveske, Knights Armament) and they eat anything I through through them.

I buy from all of the same places.  A good site to find deals is:

http://gun-deals.com/list/ammo/.223%252F5.56

Its a good place to see whats available on multiple sites.

My UPS driver hates me on ammo delivery days.

Online Erick

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
  • Karma: +7/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 08:15:35 PM »
More good reviews on Wolf.
55gr good velocity good breakup+tumble
62gr FMJ at first the velocity seems very hohum then you realize its 62gr
results what I expected

https://youtu.be/NBDmsAWltIg

https://youtu.be/gwY_lnabN6A
Every day, men who will follow orders to kill you, exercise. Do you?

Offline JohnyMac

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 9553
  • Karma: +11/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 06:35:23 AM »
I just promoted this subject line to sticky. Upon rereading it I just want to thank Erick again for the effort he put into this review and the follow-up.  :cheers:
Defund both the Democrats and Republicans to stop their collusion with the Insurance companies!

Offline Nemo

  • Hardcore Prepper
  • ******
  • Posts: 3278
  • Karma: +13/-1
  • From My Cold Dead Hands
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 08:05:05 PM »
 :thumbsUp:  for writer and sticky maker.

Nemo
If you need a second magazine, its time to call in air support.

God created Man, Col. Sam Colt made him equal, John Moses Browning turned equality to perfection, Gaston Glock turned perfection into plastic fantastic junk.

Online Erick

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
  • Karma: +7/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 04:43:04 AM »
Thanks fellas!  :dance:

Also here is an update for those who missed the Golden Tiger discussions (maybe an Admin can copy paste this as an addition on the bottom of the original post ( cannot Edit it):


Update:
Golden Tiger 56 gr FFMJBT: When GT entered the US market again in summer of 2015 their first batches had too hard primers.. much was written on this elsewhere on this forum...there were easy workarounds (upgrade firing pin +Wolff hammer spring) and the returns were sold for even cheaper than normal price...... The current batches sold have normal primers..so no upgrades needed.... GT.223 is reasonably accurate...and not too lightly loaded...(its not federal white box but still...and beautifully protected for long term storage in true old school Soviet style.. .Fully laquered with prominent sealant between bullet and case neck and around the primer. This round will last in storage which makes it especially attractive for preppers. Also its sold only about a penny around more than Tula55 gr which means its  a LOT of round for the money. I am stacking this deep.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 04:53:16 AM by Erick »
Every day, men who will follow orders to kill you, exercise. Do you?

Online Erick

  • Committed prepper
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
  • Karma: +7/-0
Re: Big Ammo review of commercial Ammo for commercial AR15s
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2017, 03:39:19 PM »
Have shot more of the following rounds listed here since the original write up was written:

Wolf MC 62gr (both FMJ and HP)
Brown Bear 62GR HP
Colt 62GR HP and FMJ
Wolf Gold 55gr
some PPU 55gr
Golden Tiger 56gr (not typo) . been shooting this the most since I have significant stocks of this type.

All in all further firing did not change any posted results but reaffirmed them.  :dance:
Every day, men who will follow orders to kill you, exercise. Do you?