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Thread: Is the most expensive ammo supposed to be the best?

  1. #1

    Is the most expensive ammo supposed to be the best?

    Since I started stalking deer in the UK I have always used Federal 100 gr softpoint .243 and found it to be a trustwothy round for Roe and Muntjac. I recently purchased a better quality riffle (Tikka) and got rid of my old heavy Musgrave ( South African farmers workhorse) so decided to upgrade my ammunition too. I purchased a box of Winchester Bonded, which are supposed to cause less meat damage, and hit the range. They were all over the place and I just could not bring them in to a good group, I was using a bench rest so was confident on all of the shots. After a frustrating hour, I decided to give th Fedaral a bash. To cut a long story short I brought my group in to a one inch group at 100 m with five shots. So federal it is for me!..... and I will be keeping my game pie recipe. Has anyone else had this problem, I would be interested to hear.

  2. #2
    to me there are a few different factors to concider when buying ammo.
    first of all will the ammunition group ok is the choice of ammo matched to the game you are shooting
    is the bullet reliable
    so this is why i ended up going down the reloading route as you cant always get the right bullets to group ok with a factory round sometimes its a compromise.
    my gunshop only stocks a certain brand and it doesnt do well in my rifle so started reloading and matching all my rifles and bullets to good loads which are right for the animals i am shooting, atb wayne

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  3. #3
    All rifles seem to prefer different ammo. There's not much rhyme nor reason to this, but I tried 1/2 dozen in my old Tikka, and the Federal 100gr Powershok were brilliant.

    Moving to the 6.5, the Fusion were better, but as mereside says, you can't be reloading to find the best for your individual rifle...

    I use HPS to reload for me, and originally tried out a recipe to mirror the Fusion 140gr SPs, and they were sh*te (Speer Grand Slam 140gr SP)! Struggled to group 3 into a couple of inches. Now have them loading Hornady 140gr SSTs and have grouped 5 rounds into <1/2" (only the once), but regularly get 5 into 3/4", which is more than adequate quality to put 1 round into a Roe out to 150yds!

    Have them assembling some Nosler 120gr BTs as we speak, so will try those soon. Might be great, might be sh*te, either way another ticked off the list

    Cheers
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  4. #4
    Suspect you already know the answer to the posed question!

    There are lots of aspects looked for in ammunition, but arguably the two most important to the majority of us are - accuracy and actual terminal performance.

    For the most frequently encountered Uk recreational deer stalking needs - and fully appreciate that is generalising to an almost criminal degree - a bullet consistently producing 1 3/4" - 2" groups - consistent being a crucial word - at 100 yards is likely to be performing at the outer edge of an average shooter's ability to place it under field conditions. If you'll forgive the Capstickism, I know you, me and the SAS nominate which hair follicle to hit out to 800 yards ( 900 if the fog lifts ), but it is as well to think of others

    Thats not the whole story by a long shot. Rifle shooting is much in the mind, and nice constant tight groups do wonders for confidence - on the whole a positive cycle. But ultimately with a 2" group we are hopefully - and theoretically I concede - landing the slug within 1" or so of our aiming point - plenty good enough to hit a roe heart properly centred. Lets conveniently put the R word ( range ) into a cosy side drawer for now.

    So accuracy is sorted - be conservative and try not to worry about a rifle/scope/ round combination that turns in a 1 1/2" group. And we'll take as given the shooter can wring that performance to full advantage in the field.

    In steps the second concern - what does the bullet do on arrival? The overwhelming ultimate concern should be it destroys sufficient vital tissue to bring about the humane death of the quarry. At this point its quite valid to allow there are other elements at play - meat damage, safety, pretty colour on Polycarbonate tip etc etc - they are all valid, but stand in line behind ethical despatch of the quarry - at least I would propose that.

    And with a cart load of assumptions allowed by all, I think that is about as far as it can go before it's jackets off and fists fly! Exactly how we achieve that balance of humane despatch, meat damage etc etc has been heatedly debated for donkey years and will for years to come. I think the most honest answer anyone can give about terminal performance is to interject the word 'sometimes' at least twice in any sentence they utter or write in support or against any particular view on this.

    Price? Really I think ( sometimes! ) has very little bearing on it. Your rifle may or may not like a particular round in terms of accuracy and or function. For your example, it may love a Federal loaded with the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw ( I think its tipped now as well ) - but that may not be the best choice for Muntjac - and costs an arm and a leg.

    There are some respected users on here who love Privi - about as cheap ammo as you can get.

    Best I can offer is if you can ignore price and focus on the two criteria as works best for you.

    Years ago, when he had time, I used to chat with Steve Hornady. He gave a view that I dont find much wrong with - for most hunters, with most middle calibres, for most hunting it's quite hard to beat the on game performance of boring bullets! He obviously mentioned Interlock, but he's a gracious guy and felt that, at a pinch, Power Shok, Power Point, Core-Lokt, T Mantel..... were pretty good too.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Moray Outfitting View Post
    Suspect you already know the answer to the posed question!

    There are lots of aspects looked for in ammunition, but arguably the two most important to the majority of us are - accuracy and actual terminal performance.

    For the most frequently encountered Uk recreational deer stalking needs - and fully appreciate that is generalising to an almost criminal degree - a bullet consistently producing 1 3/4" - 2" groups - consistent being a crucial word - at 100 yards is likely to be performing at the outer edge of an average shooter's ability to place it under field conditions. If you'll forgive the Capstickism, I know you, me and the SAS nominate which hair follicle to hit out to 800 yards ( 900 if the fog lifts ), but it is as well to think of others

    Thats not the whole story by a long shot. Rifle shooting is much in the mind, and nice constant tight groups do wonders for confidence - on the whole a positive cycle. But ultimately with a 2" group we are hopefully - and theoretically I concede - landing the slug within 1" or so of our aiming point - plenty good enough to hit a roe heart properly centred. Lets conveniently put the R word ( range ) into a cosy side drawer for now.

    So accuracy is sorted - be conservative and try not to worry about a rifle/scope/ round combination that turns in a 1 1/2" group. And we'll take as given the shooter can wring that performance to full advantage in the field.

    In steps the second concern - what does the bullet do on arrival? The overwhelming ultimate concern should be it destroys sufficient vital tissue to bring about the humane death of the quarry. At this point its quite valid to allow there are other elements at play - meat damage, safety, pretty colour on Polycarbonate tip etc etc - they are all valid, but stand in line behind ethical despatch of the quarry - at least I would propose that.

    And with a cart load of assumptions allowed by all, I think that is about as far as it can go before it's jackets off and fists fly! Exactly how we achieve that balance of humane despatch, meat damage etc etc has been heatedly debated for donkey years and will for years to come. I think the most honest answer anyone can give about terminal performance is to interject the word 'sometimes' at least twice in any sentence they utter or write in support or against any particular view on this.

    Price? Really I think ( sometimes! ) has very little bearing on it. Your rifle may or may not like a particular round in terms of accuracy and or function. For your example, it may love a Federal loaded with the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw ( I think its tipped now as well ) - but that may not be the best choice for Muntjac - and costs an arm and a leg.

    There are some respected users on here who love Privi - about as cheap ammo as you can get.

    Best I can offer is if you can ignore price and focus on the two criteria as works best for you.

    Years ago, when he had time, I used to chat with Steve Hornady. He gave a view that I dont find much wrong with - for most hunters, with most middle calibres, for most hunting it's quite hard to beat the on game performance of boring bullets! He obviously mentioned Interlock, but he's a gracious guy and felt that, at a pinch, Power Shok, Power Point, Core-Lokt, T Mantel..... were pretty good too.
    I think pretty much summed up here. In my own 243 I test fired it with RWS 100gn, it worked, i stuck with it. Norma 100gn is also good but not quite as good. But rws is now hard to find so i need tonwiork up my own load - well have been meaning to for a while but life gets in the way. If your local gunshop stocks and your rifle likes it then federal, privi or whatever is good. I am not sure price has much to do with what is actually in the box, but a lot to do with brand. RWS may be better than privi, it does cost twice the price, but I don't think that's because it cost twice as much to make. We are not talking premium bullets, just bog standard softpoints.

  6. #6
    Thanks for your words of wisdom Gents. All advice is well received.

  7. #7
    I call cartrideges the loaed ammo. Bullets are the projectile. All rifles are an entity in and of themselves. There seems to be know ryme nor reason what a rifle will like. That said, I've found Federal Premium to be accurate in most guns. Some ammo is more expensive, because it uses premium bullets. I would make the argument that many of these tougher bullets are not needed, and probably not as good as the more common bullets. Shooting factory ammo at non-magnum speeds, the first thing I would try would be Federal Premiums, with a Ballistic Tip or Game King, but if you'er happy with the plain-jane Federals, why change. capt david

  8. #8
    My best group ever was 7 shots in 1 inch at 200 yards with Norma factory loads 180grn .308.

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