Bullet Point Episode 17, Why I shoot factory ammo
So the question asked, in all my videos why do I use factory ammo, and not hand loads. The second part of the question was, "how am I getting the accuracy out of factory ammo vs hand loads", this was the better question of the two. Do I reload and why am I always shooting factory ammo.
For me personally, it's a matter of time. I don't particularly like reloading, I feel it is a necessary part of the precision rifle shooting, so if I can get the accuracy I need out of factory ammo, I will always take that factory route. I do use a lot of reloaded ammo, I try to send my empty brass out whenever things build up in order to get it all reloaded, but I have way better things to do than reload it myself. I look for two things, speed and accuracy. If the load reaches my desired speed given the caliber, and I have better than 3/8th inch accuracy out of the load, I am done. Then that load goes off to someone like Andrew McCourt or Josh Lapin at Copper Creek so it can be loaded in bulk. I do the initial development work.
I do a lot of limited hand loading when testing things like bullets. A great recent example is the Flatline Bullets by Warner Tool. I started out with my personal 185gr Juggernaut load to use, and then tweaked the load from there.
This was my end results from hand loads. Still you will see me shooting factory 308 rounds much more often than shooting this 185gr load. Even though it is ballistically superior over a factory 175gr load.
Then after a solid load was developed I shot the Flatline Bullets to 800 yards and documented the results.
Don't get me wrong, in most of the competitions I attend, I shoot some form of hand load. Though the last two matches I shot I have used factory ammo. One with Winchester 140gr 6.5CM the other with Prime Ammunition 260REM. The hand loads are definitely superior to factory loads in this case, but not by a whole lot due to the ranges most of these competitions are shot at. Prior to my last two matches, I shot Copper Creek Hand Loads designed around the GA Precision Rifles I have. Copper Creek works very closely with GAP so you get tuned loads for their rifles. It's not cheap, but it beats spending all that time tied to a handle.
My training and videos, it's almost all about factory ammunition. In a recent video where I was shooting my Custom 300 Norma Magnum, I am of course shooting hand loads. These rounds are loaded in bulk by Andrew McCourt and have everything I desire. Superb Accuracy, and more than enough speed to push my 230gr Bergers to ELR Distances. The SD of this load is 7fps and speed is over 2960fps. So it's a proven winner for ELR Shooting. ELR is about controlling every variable and this is where hand loads come into play. But that doesn't mean there isn't very good factory 338LM ammo out there. I tested the Hornady 285gr Factory load at 1500m on paper and the vertical spread was only 6" at that distance. Excellent stuff.
But Prime Ammunition treats me very well. I get great sub 1/2 MOA accuracy out of it with a majority of my rifles. And while the speed is not optimal, it's very good. As an example, with my Ruger Precision Rifle in this video, I am only using 6.9MILS to hit the 1000 yard target. Understand Prime Ammunition is loaded by RUAG / SWISS P which also owns brands like Norma, and Dynamit Nobel. This is first rate ammunition at an affordable price. Their loads are consistent from box to box and I am able to extend my effective ranges with it. THey fact they have very good 260REM loaded ammunition at an affordable price is also desirable to me. So if the question is, stay at home and reload or order a case of Prime Ammunition and shoot, well I pick my range time over reloading.
For others, reloading is a passion, as well as a journey. I completely respect that. For others, it's a matter of economics and it saves them money allowing them to shoot me. Two thumbs up from me. Any thing that keeps you out shooting is a good thing. My only pet peeve is guys who are constantly doing "Load Development" and can never step up to the next level because it is not right yet. Hit on a load, and start cranking them out. Then get out and shoot.
Sniper's Hide has several sections dedicated to reloading, and I will freely admit I have used many of the recipes found in there to get me up and moving that much faster. The amount of information is awesome, and they give plenty of details to get you going. So visit the Sniper's Hide Reloading Depot if you need to find a recipe in order to get you started. Make sure you consult the manuals as everyone is different.
Now what is the biggest element of my accuracy with factory ammunition, the Fundamentals of Marksmanship.
I practice my technique every chance I get. Sure I have very good rifles and depend on custom barrels like Bartlein Barrels, but that is not what will take you across the finish line and get you those hits. It's about the fundamentals. Our rifles are systems, Rifle, Scope, Ammunition, and Shooter. The biggest variable should always be you the Shooter and if you do your part you can control that too. Then it is all about wind. In the videos, what you see is what you get. I am shooting it straight it and clean usually in one take. So when I dial up the dope for that distance and send a round downrange, how it works out is how I show it. I have solid data, everything from the actual range to target, to my Muzzle Velocity Chronographed across a lot of rounds. So when I enter my data in TRASOL, it is giving me a solid solution.
For every hour you spend honing your reloading skills, you should spend an equally or double that amount on your training. Don't just flop down and shoot, have a purpose and follow a training regimen. Record your information, look at your SD, and keep the velocity as high as you safely can, while maintaining at least 3/8th inch accuracy. Sure 1/4 MOA is better, but if you are fighting it and never get off the ground because it's not happening. Then compromise.
I love shooting, I love extending my ranges where possible. But I am not gonna obsess over my ammunition if I don't have too.
Again, I'm a big advocate of hand loads, but I know where to pick and choose my battles.
Thanks for watching !