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Ammo differences.

568 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Steve in IN
I admit to a great deal of stupidity on this issue. I've spent my life shooting at different points, sometimes quite often, but generally I've been pretty poor. So, I never really appreciated differences in ammo.

Which of course begs many questions.

I started getting into bench shooting because I put a scope on my winny 9422 after owning it for 32 years. I was shooting the cheapest ammo I could find, but found I could put them all within reasonable groups on a palm size(gopher head sized) target.

So, I decided to get a better rifle. A 453 Varmint in 17 HMR. I was immediately able to group better and enjoyed the experience a great deal.

However, I bought more expensive ammo of different brands, weights and speeds for the winny and found between brands I had to spend a great deal of time sighting in...it just seemed one brand never performed particularly similar to the next, even if it was only a grain of weight and perhaps 100-200 fps.

With my 453 I recently shifted from off the shelf CCI TNT to an off the shelf winchester load...however even though indicated fps was the same, I found my groups became much different when I shifted from the winchester, which was actually cheaper, back to the CCI which was slightly more expensive.

I'm sure I can be directed to a sticky somewhere, but it seems to me from experience that the expense of the ammo is less important than consistently using the same ammo. Basically, whatever you get used to will perform better, because you've sighted it in...I realize this is a tenuous proposition at best. I do have some slight proof that middle of the road (in cost) ammo performs better in my winny than the cheap stuff or the top of the line stuff.

With my 453, I'm strongly tempted to shift back to the cheaper winchester ammo.

Any thoughts?
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I admit to a great deal of stupidity on this issue. I've spent my life shooting at different points, sometimes quite often, but generally I've been pretty poor. So, I never really appreciated differences in ammo.

Which of course begs many questions.

I started getting into bench shooting because I put a scope on my winny 9422 after owning it for 32 years. I was shooting the cheapest ammo I could find, but found I could put them all within reasonable groups on a palm size(gopher head sized) target.

So, I decided to get a better rifle. A 453 Varmint in 17 HMR. I was immediately able to group better and enjoyed the experience a great deal.

However, I bought more expensive ammo of different brands, weights and speeds for the winny and found between brands I had to spend a great deal of time sighting in...it just seemed one brand never performed particularly similar to the next, even if it was only a grain of weight and perhaps 100-200 fps.

With my 453 I recently shifted from off the shelf CCI TNT to an off the shelf winchester load...however even though indicated fps was the same, I found my groups became much different when I shifted from the winchester, which was actually cheaper, back to the CCI which was slightly more expensive.

I'm sure I can be directed to a sticky somewhere, but it seems to me from experience that the expense of the ammo is less important than consistently using the same ammo. Basically, whatever you get used to will perform better, because you've sighted it in...I realize this is a tenuous proposition at best. I do have some slight proof that middle of the road (in cost) ammo performs better in my winny than the cheap stuff or the top of the line stuff.

With my 453, I'm strongly tempted to shift back to the cheaper winchester ammo.

Any thoughts?
Every gun shoots every ammo differently. You can't make more than very vague generalizations about XXXX ammo being more accurate than another. Many(Maybe even most) guns will be more accurate with some cheaper brands than some more expensive brands. So it's usually worth it to spend a day finding the cheapest ammo that gun shoots well enough for you.
 

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Every gun shoots every ammo differently. You can't make more than very vague generalizations about XXXX ammo being more accurate than another. Many(Maybe even most) guns will be more accurate with some cheaper brands than some more expensive brands. So it's usually worth it to spend a day finding the cheapest ammo that gun shoots well enough for you.
+1 :bthumb:
 

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I'm not sure if I get what you're saying. You shot some CCI, then Winchester, then back to CCI and it shot in a different location? You should be able to note the number off elevation clicks to get back to the original POA. After changing ammo, it may take a few, if any, fouling shots to get it back. Most of us shoot lots of different brands, and ammo within brands without a problem.
 

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I've found Hornady 17vmax to shoot best in all four of my .17hmrs, therefore I find it pays me to buy it by the brick from Midsouth. That way I'm not swapping from one ammo to the other, its not unusual for different ammos to have a fairly different POI.
 

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When I get a new .22 rifle I will try a box of every type of ammo I can find, shooting groups at 50 yards. I don't bother trying the really expensive Match grade ammo because even if it shoots exceptionally well I'm too cheap to actually use it for every day plinking. I've often been very happy with CCI Blazer long rifles and my CZ military does great with the Aquila sub-sonic HP.
But it is my understanding that in .17 HMR it is all made by CCI, regardless of the name on the box, Hornady, Winchester, Remington & Federal are all made by CCI. There are different bullet weights and point styles but brand name doesn't matter at all. At least that is what I have heard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First of all, I've pretty much got the info I was looking for in the posts here. But, to clarify, I've had the Varmint about 3weeks and had three different scopes on it. The first hundred rounds were fired with a simmons I had around the house and a scope I ordered which arrived damaged, so I returned it. This was all done with CCI TNT ammo. When I put the current scope on it, I had switched to Winchester ammo which claimed the same fps. I fired 60 rounds through it and was really happy with what was going on. Then I bought a box of CCI. I had forty rounds of Winchester left, went to the range and fired the best groups I've ever fired, including one that could be covered with a dime and overlapped, and four other good solid sets. Then, I switched to CCI and suddenly I was not only all over the palm sized targets I use, but I had to repeatedly adjust my windage and elevation to keep it in the fifty cent piece sized rings.

There are, of course, other variables that are possible. I could have been more fatigued than I thought. I'd fired my winny and a 17 hmr pistol, before resuming with the Varmint. It was closer to noon. I seemed to see heat waves rising over the grass that I didn't see before. The wind however, remained unchanged.

A different brand of ammo just seemed the most likely explanation as I did not feel to particularly fatigued and the temp had risen at most, about 3-4 degrees F.
 

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Even the cheap ammo has some good lots. But over time, better quality ammo will tell inmost rifles. If you find a cheap ammo that shoots well in a gun, buy that Lot# in cases and enjoy...the next lot# might not group as well.

Try some Wolf/SK/Lapua ammo in that 453 - you'll like the results. :bthumb:
 

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Very interesting stuff here:

http://www.border-barrels.com/articles/rimfire_tests.htm

Particularly the comments comparing accuracy of rimfire ammo to centerfire ammo. It pretty much explains why rimfire shooters are forever testing different brands and lots of ammo to find the one that seem to work uniquely well in a particular rifle, versus the centerfire shooters who pick a bullet weight then work up a specific load to match the rifle and bullet. Also surprising to find that the accuracy of even the very best match grade ammo is significantly degraded by a test action that doesn't allow the natural recoil of a rimfire to positively compensate for variations in muzzle velocity of even the finest rimfire ammo.

See the section on velocity dispersion

"It has to be concluded that for a rimfire rifle to have any pretensions to accuracy, it has to have some degree of positive compensation to account for velocity dispersion. It should also be noted that many attempts to show a correlation between muzzle velocity and fall of shot on the target have not shown positive results. Such tests are usually performed using conventional target rifles or bench rest rifles, where free recoil allows the consequent rotation of the rifle about its centre of mass, which is usually below the bore line. On the basis of the tests reported above, it can be reasonably concluded that this rotation about the centre of mass is converted into rifle dynamics which usually result in some degree of positive compensation in such conventional rifles."
 
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