Pistol Ammunition

These days, I’m ordering remanufactured 9 mm and keeping an eye out for sales on CCI, PMC or similar brass-cased ammunition. I can no longer recommend Wolf ammunition despite having shot tens of thousands of it in my S&W M&P and 1911. They evidently cut costs by reducing the power charge and primer quality, leading to unreliable cycling.

Rifle Ammunition

Choices here depend on whether I’m shooting carbine drills at short range or trying to place my shots precisely at longer range.

For short range blasting, I’ve found surplus M193 and M855 to run great in all of my AR-15s. The manufacturer doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, although PMC seems better than most in the accuracy department. Most won’t do better than 3” groups at 100 yards, but that’s plenty good for drilling IDPA targets at 50 yards.

Wolf .223 has the same problem as their pistol ammo: a weak powder charge and unreliable cycling. Sway away. The steel case also has a tendency to jam in chrome-moly barrels. See this article for a detailed study of brass- vs. steel-cased ammunition.

For longer range, .223 Hornady TAP Training 75 gr. performs very well. Clay pigeons at 300 yards don’t stand a chance shooting this ammo in my precision AR-15! It may not work well out of a 1:9 twist rifle depending on the barrel length. Another good choice is Southwest Ammunition’s .223 Run & Gun 77 gr. SMK, which will print just under an inch at 100 yards.

Good options for widely available .308 match ammunition include Federal American Eagle 168 OTM, Federal Gold Medal Match (FGGM) 168 SMK, and FGGM 175 SMK. The 168 SMK works fine out to ~600 yards but falls apart in the 800+ yard range. The 175 SMK shoots cleanly out past 1,000 yards.

I started off shooting these rounds in my AI AW .308 but switched to Southwest Ammunition’s offerings after giving them a try. Southwest’s .308 Standard Match 175 gr. SMK ammo has printed plenty of 5-round, sub-2” 5-round groups at 300 yards from my rifle. I’ve also tried their 155 SMK and 155 Scenar loads, both of which are similarly accurate. I sent in 600 pieces of once-fired Winchester brass for reloading with 155 Scenars, but they lost the brass and had to send me new ammo.

Surplus ammunition like Prvi Partizan 147 FMJBT is priced attractively and works fine for shooting from unstable positions like standing or in situations where 2” groups at 100 yards are sufficient. It shoots fine out to 700 yards but falls off at 800 and beyond. West German surplus (DAG and MEN) are sadly no longer available. It would shoot a hair over 1” groups at 100 yards.


Ammunition to Go: I’ve placed at least a dozen orders with these folks, which they’ve always shipped within 24 hours. They're also very diligent about sending out order-status emails and tracking numbers. They’re a great source for .223 Hornady TAP Training 75 gr. and Federal Match ammo.

Ammoman: I’ve ordered from here numerous times and never had a problem. They’re a good source for bulk pistol and rifle ammunition. The orders I’ve placed on Monday have always arrived by the end of the week. Note that their prices include shipping.

AIM Surplus: Great source for bulk pistol and rifle ammunition. They also stock a variety of C&R firearms and typically ship within 24 hours.

Automatic Accuracy: Matt Mink and his crew load a selection of fine pistol ammo in addition to tuning CZs.

Freedom Ammunition: I’ve ordered over ten thousand rounds of 9mm from Steve Snyder. Quality has been hit or miss with some batches arriving with inconsistent primer seating, powder charging, and crimping. You’ll want to case gauge any ammo that you plan to run in a match.

Freedom Munitions: These folks provide fast shipping, good quality control, and a worthwhile brass trade-in program. I’vs shot a few thousand rounds of their 9mm 124 FMG remanufactured ammo and it’s proven 100% reliable and easily holds the head box of a USPSA target at 25 yards out of my Accu Shadow. They’re quite popular with the three-gun crowd and strong supporters of action shooting sports.

SGAmmo: I haven’t ordered from them personally but have heard nothing but good things from people who have.

Southwest Ammunition: They offer by far the best value in precision rifle ammunition and now offer reloading of .308 brass for $0.60/round with 175 SMKs ($0.13/round up-charge for Scenars).

Wideners: Good source for bulk pistol and rifle ammunition and AR500 steel targets.

McCourt Munitions: Andrew will custom load ammo for your rifle and work with you on load development. The price for his reloads works out around the same as new ammunition from Southwest. You’ll know if you need his services. His loading process involves:


Last edit: 20 March 2014