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Old 12-18-2017, 09:47 AM
dgeesaman

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Winter match ammo testing



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I’ve come to understand that regular match ammo performs differently in cold temps than warm temps. But does it mean that the “best” ammo lot tested in winter is different than the best lot ammo in warm conditions?

Would you buy a brick of standard match ammo for year-Round use that was lot tested in freezing temps (ammo kept warm, air is cold, barrel not very warm)?

Background:
Last month I took delivery of a nice Anschutz Match 54 MS. As I always do, I bought a variety of ammo and got to testing it on the bench, in calm conditions at 50 and 100y. On the first go-round I saw the best from Eley Match and Tenex, no specific lot numbers. So I bought a few more boxes of both, this time from Champions Choice who gave me a sampling of their available lots.

Then winter weather descended. Yesterday I believe I could hear the difference some rounds going sub and supersonic. My goal is not to develop this gun for winter (I would have tested Biathlon grades), it’s just to find the best ammo for it. Upon doing some testing and reading I have the best lot but now I’m not sure if buying more of it is worthwhile.

Last edited by dgeesaman; 12-18-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 12-18-2017, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgeesaman View Post
I’ve come to understand that regular match ammo performs differently in cold temps than warm temps. But does it mean that the “best” ammo lot tested in winter is different than the best lot ammo in warm conditions?
Cold ammo testing won't relate to the best ammo for use in the summer. Wait for warm weather the test and select your ammo. You might want to try some biathlon ammo for the cold days. Me, I just stay inside until spring.
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:54 PM
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Cold ammo testing won't relate.
Cold ammo or cold air? I did not let the ammo get cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IHMSA80x80 View Post
Me, I just stay inside until spring.
Terrible idea! might look into the winter grade ammo instead.
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Old 12-18-2017, 01:16 PM
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For me, the ambient air temp makes a definite difference in how many shots it takes to heat up the barrel and get shots hitting on zero. When it gets down to 50 deg F or below, it really shows up.

Air density and therefore air resistance change with temperature. Cold air will slow the bullet down more. Some ammo shoots fine at 50 yards but is bad at 100 after it has slowed down.

I would not pick an ammo lot based on cold weather tests.
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Old 12-18-2017, 02:08 PM
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Wolf MT and SK Standard + are great as long as the temps are above 45F. Any colder and I Biathon if I really want to target shoot.

You can single load and keep ammo in your pocket, too. But that's not so easy when hunting.
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Old 12-18-2017, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgeesaman View Post
Cold ammo or cold air? I did not let the ammo get cold.

Cold air...makes for cold chambers, cold barrels, cold shooter, numb fingers, etc.

Terrible idea! might look into the winter grade ammo instead.
Years ago, I split a case of Fiocchi Biathlon Match with a friend, at a great price. Since I don't normally shoot in the cold, it languished in storage for years. One summer I decided to try it out so that I could find something it shot ok in, thinking it might be just plinking grade ammo in the summer temps.

Turns out my 10" Contender loves the stuff, even shooting it as well as the normal Eley I used in it. Was sorry to see that ammo disappear.

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Old 12-18-2017, 07:23 PM
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I live on acreage and used to shoot out my office window through the woods at a 100 yard target. Have since gotten a dog and built a fence that unfortunately blocks my target. I've been laying prone on the side deck shooting off a bipod and rear bag at 50y this winter and have had good success with keeping my magazines warm in my pocket.
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Old 12-18-2017, 08:03 PM
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I will say this: the negative effect of cold air here is not huge. I was getting .25moa at 50y and .75moa at 100y. I would love to find this gun can shoot even tighter. At 100y some groups were well over an inch with vertical stringing, which I wonder might have been due to velocity teetering over the speed of sound.

That said, my 50y data was taken at 25F and 100y data was at 40F. The "best" ammo at each distance changed. (Admittedly, it was only 20 shots at each distance and of limited statistical significance)

I might take my remaining ammo and chronograph out to collect data on muzzle velocity vs. temperature. Assuming the chronograph batteries are fresh, I could probably get data for 15F, 30F, and 45F temps. It will be interesting to see if what I hear correlates with the shot measuring above the speed of sound at that air temp.

Last edited by dgeesaman; 12-18-2017 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:24 PM
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I don't think you were hearing the Eley Match/10x going super/sub. In general 22lr ammo sounds louder and echo's differently at this time of year due to the loss of greenery.

I tend to shy away from group shooting at this time of year not necessarily because of ammo velocity variation due to cold temps., but more so because I find it difficult to get the same weld points from shot to shot because of the added layers of clothing needed to feel comfortable.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:09 PM
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I took my Win. 75 and 52 out a few days ago. Both ammo and guns were out overnight. (-5*). I shot a 10 shot group at 40yds with each. I'll put ammo and guns away till spring then shoot another set of groups to see the difference. My 52 seemed unhappy with with the CCI sv, the 75 loved it. Today it was 55 but very windy. Update when the weather cooperates.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:52 PM
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Winter match ammo testin

This has been an elusive task for me, too. Last year I had four different rifles (Cz 452 Trainer, Browning T-Bolt, CZ512 Tactical, and an HK91 with a 22-conversion kit) group exactly 1” high at 25 & 50 yards with CCI SV during a biathlon. My buddy’s PWS Summit did exactly the same with Gemtech. This year, at the same 17F temp we had no problems.
Both years we made a point of putting our rifles, mags, and ammo out as soon as we got to the club and let it climatize for about two-hours while we set up the course before shooting.
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