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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:44 pm 
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I like to do my research in binges. I'll set aside 4-8 hour chunks of time, read and watch everything I can get my hands on, digest it as best I can, settle on the best choice and then charge ahead blindly forgetting the hows and whys but trusting past me to have made the best decision.

This approach has treated me fairly well and has more or less cured my tendency toward analysis paralysis but can bite me every few years when I realize the world has changed and its time for a new binge.

Just yesterday I went to the range and realized that my stockpile of 7.62x39 plinking ammo has started to run out, so I pulled out my who ammo supply and took stock.

I generally have 3 tiers of ammo;

1) good stuff (2 mags to a combat load)
2) rainy day supply (500-1000+ rounds)
3) cheap crappy practice ammo (a few hundred, replaced regularly)

In general for right now I only have 3 calibers to stock: 9mm, 5.56mm, and 7.62x39

Tier 3 ammo is easy to decide on, whatever is cheap the day you are shopping and whatever doesn't jam or damage your gun. No advice needed there.

Tier 2 is usually fairly clear, for 7.62x39 I settled on Golden Tiger as being regarded as consistent, a decently performing projectile and sealed primer and case. I also have a spam can of corrosive Yugo stashed a few states over as my backup-to-the-backup rainy day stash, for mostly the same reasons as the golden tigger.

For 9mm I roll tier 2 and 3 together, with a slight preference for aluminum cases since they are quite a bit lighter. I've never found a brand or variety that didn't work so I buy whatever (and don't stack it as deep as the other two anyway).

For 5.56 I stock whatever .55grain pseudo M193 I can find, but I've never found a conclusive answer to how cheaper brass case .55g .223 compares to true (or at least claimed) M193.


Tier 1 is probably the hardest, but I'm probably overthinking it. For 7.62x39 I have a menagerie of Z-max, heavier softpoints, and unknown brass cased domestic manufactured stuff. I have decided to shoot this all up and replace it with more of a known quantity. Hornady SST seems to be the incumbent choice but my binging hasn't resulted a super conclusive answer.

For 9mm I stock Hornady critical duty or critical defense. I'm sure there are a dozen other loads that perform equally well but that is what past me decided on and I don't have a good reason to change.

For 5.56 77 grain OTM seems to be the popular choice and what I am planning on stocking at least a combat load of.


I'm attempting to shift from 7.62x39 to 5.56 in general, but I have yet to invest in a quality AR upper so I'm putting the horse before the cart by slowly building my 5.56 stash. I want to maintain a decent stash of x39 as those guns aren't going anywhere but I plan to use them much less going forward.


So the main questions here:

What is the best tier two 5.56/.223 ammo currently? I have a bit of American Eagle that claims to be 5.56 XM193, is this a good round to stock in higher numbers? Does the generic 55g .223 perform similarly or noticeably worse (Wolf Gold, PMC bronze, American Eagle?), if worse I would simply move this ammo down to tier three and focus on getting the XM193.

Is there anything that is noticeably better then Golden Tiger for tier two 7.62x39? It seems that most of the import hollow point and soft point doesn't expand or fragment reliably so I'm inclined not to trust it. I know Wolf Military Classic performs similarly but isn't sealed and seems to be the same price so it gets shot with the tier 3 stuff.

Is there a better choice then Hornady SST for tier one x39? There seem to be a pretty short list of good domestic options for this round and I'm sure most perform nearly as well, but is there one that is noticeably better then another?

Its been a few years since I waded into all this I don't really know how much has changed. I know the military has been playing with some new letters and numbers for 5.56 rounds but I know little substantive facts, and I know the wily russians are always mixing up which factory is making which brand with which bullets for x39 so I don't know the current state of the market.

Any up to date advice would be appreciated!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:09 pm 
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I was born to answer this question.

Really, I can only speak to the 7.62x39.

In short:

Tier 1: Winchester PDX 7.62x39 would be my go to Tier 1 Fighting load. Federal Fusion is hailed by others as better, but the Fusion is a hunting cartridge, and the PDX is a fighting cartridge. The nickle plating, flash suppressants, and fighting quality components sell me on it 100%.

EDIT: I forgot about Double Tap. For Tier 1 7.62x39 ammo, I"d also look long and hard at them.

Tier 2: In addition to Golden Tiger, look at Red Army Standard *Elite.* Not the regular stuff, which is good enough, but the Elite. Basically, Yugo M67 with no corrosion and lots of brassy/sealed goodness. New production. Right now, Red Army Standard Elite and Golden Tiger are my two fighting loads, my Tier 1 & 2. Eventually I'll invest in that PDX.

Basically, if I have to fight at night or day, in rain, snow, wind, sun, fog, and maybe roll my ammo in the mud for a few months, I trust my life to RAS Elite and Golden Tiger. I'd apply a sealant to the PDX and go ahead and trust that too. Just where I"m at. Lots of other rounds I'd trust for hunting, but those I'd trust for fighting.

Take a long hard look at the 8M3 offering from SGammo. That is right: brand new 8M3. In 100 and 1000 round lots. I'd love to get my hands on some of this.

From what I can tell, Military Classic is getting a real face lift. The stuff I see at SGammo has lacquered cases and sealed necks/primers. I think they realized they were trying to sell crappy ammo for medium quality prices. It was not working.


Go to 19:33 for just ammo. Or watch the whole thing.




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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:30 pm 
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For 5.56 M193, right now most of the common online ammo stores have the this Magtech M193. These aren't "pseudo", but the real military ones. It's even properly sealed! The one can I got so far is dated 2008 and it still looks great. A few months back, these made the rounds of sgammo.com, targetsportsusa.com, etc, before they sold out. They're back again, and I'm hoping to keep saving up and buying as many as I can. With targetsportsusa's "ammo prime membership", these come out to about $0.27/round shipped, plus a new-ish .50 cal can, plus it's properly packaged ammo, plus it's legit M193. Win-win.

Magtech has been a go-to brand for me, especially in the 9mm.

Image

The blurb:
Quote:
Observed ammo was made in 2011, but we are told there could be ammo as old as 2006 in the shipment. This is the real deal, true M193 mil-spec surplus made by CBC and sold by Magtech to foreign government / military. This ammo was neatly packed in 50 round boxes, 200 round plastic sealed sleeves, 5 sleeves packed in an M2A1 reusable metal ammo can. It has been stored its whole life in government owned climate controlled facilities and looks like new ammo. This Magtech military surplus 5.56 M193 ammo has a brass case, boxer non-corrosive primer, a boat tail 55 grain copper jacket lead core non-magnetic projectile, black lucas type case mouth sealant, lacquer sealed primer pockets and uses ball type gun powder. The story is that the foreign government that bought this ammo when it was brand new is required to cycle out old stock after a certain time period and they traded in the is ammo to Magtech as a partial credit towards new ammo to be made by CBC. This ammo looks very impressive and is true mil-spec M193 ammo originally certified to meet all conditions of mil-spec


http://www.sgammo.com/product/223-556mm ... cbc-556mil


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:36 pm 
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Pseudo tagging because I need answers to this as well, also ammo prices seemed to have dropped nicely I remember last year paying 20 cents a round for 115gr almost + shipping and now...I just picked up 1000 rounds of 9mm Sellier&Bellot 124gr for 19cents shipped. for 5.56 I've got brass reloads from local guy who sells to couple of PDs and a bunch of Tula steel for outdoors fun.

That magtech M193 looks great...oh the temptation of creditcards...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:44 am 
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Quote:

What is the best tier two 5.56/.223 ammo currently?


XM193.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:29 pm 
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Timely post thanks! I'll be over in A'Stan for a year, so my ammo consumption "should" drop, but since my son is starting college AND still wants to take a couple rifle and pistol classes, I'll need to pick up a little extra. I'll try and pick up several 1000 rounds (5.56, 7.62, 9mm, 45 and maybe some .308). I was just going to buy a couple cases a month (that'll make my wife happy!). I don't shoot my AKs as much, but my son wants to take a rifle class with his AK, so I'm looking for low-end of tier-2 training ammo at the best prices.

Surprisingly, Magtech is generating a pretty good reputation...and prices are actually looking very reasonable for a case of 5.56!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:35 pm 
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My cc company is definitely appreciating me as a customer. Thanks for this thread.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:44 pm 
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A one day sale on magpul Glock 17 & 19 magazines @ $10.60 to $13.26 for the 21 round.

https://www.midwayusa.com/s?promotionid ... _-20170809

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:07 pm 
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Thanks for the tips! my wallet (and wife) do not like the idea of that Magtech case deal though, probably just top off with a few hundred and take a break for now. Just to be safe I'm moving all my brass .223 55g down to tier 3 which leaves me with less then 500 rounds of xm193. Since I might not have a decent AR for awhile yet I'm limiting myself to mostly what I can cram in a skinny ammo can.

To woodsghost: any thoughts on SST vs. the PDX? I'd watched a lot of Mrgunsngear's videos but somehow missed those two, he includes SST in his suggestions but more or less glosses over it and I really can't find much on SST vs. PDX specifically, and the SST tests on youtube are conspicuously lacking. and I hate to be "that guy" but a box of 50 SST is going for the same as a box of 20 PDX at the moment, and several places are showing out of stock for PDX anyway.

That 8m3 is mighty tempting, I'm debating if I'd rather have a better bullet with less reliable loading (tula's reputation) or a mediocre bullet with more reliable loadings (Golden Tigger).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:34 pm 
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One personal preference that I will pass along.
I always try to purchase ammo in smaller lots more often than one large lot. This buying technique is more expensive but I am concerned that I may get a defective lot of ammo. The more frequent purchases gives you a higher likelihood of getting different manufacturing lots even from the same source. In theory if you have a defective lot it will be smaller as a percentage of the total population.

Obviously YMMV. This is a preference and only a preference.


RonnyRonin wrote:
For 9mm I stock Hornady critical duty or critical defense. I'm sure there are a dozen other loads that perform equally well but that is what past me decided on and I don't have a good reason to change.


Hornady Critical Defense 9mm did turn in a respectable performance in Lucky Gunner testing.

I am passing along these gel tests done by Lucky Gunner on a wide variety of ammo in .380, 9x19mm, .40 S&W and .45 acp.

These tests used compact pistols with ~3.5 inch barrels. I am impressed with the testing protocol. They went to a lot of trouble to make the tests as equal as possible so you can compare between ammo and even calibers. That is not to say these tests are perfect and the ne plus ultra of tests and results, only that they appear to be uniform for comparison purposes within the media used for the test.

This is a link to the test:
http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-de ... tic-tests/


This is a link to a similar test of .38 spl and .357 magnum in 2 inch and 4 inch barrels.:
http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/revolve ... tics-test/

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:37 pm 
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RonnyRonin wrote:
Thanks for the tips! my wallet (and wife) do not like the idea of that Magtech case deal though, probably just top off with a few hundred and take a break for now. Just to be safe I'm moving all my brass .223 55g down to tier 3 which leaves me with less then 500 rounds of xm193. Since I might not have a decent AR for awhile yet I'm limiting myself to mostly what I can cram in a skinny ammo can.

To woodsghost: any thoughts on SST vs. the PDX? I'd watched a lot of Mrgunsngear's videos but somehow missed those two, he includes SST in his suggestions but more or less glosses over it and I really can't find much on SST vs. PDX specifically, and the SST tests on youtube are conspicuously lacking. and I hate to be "that guy" but a box of 50 SST is going for the same as a box of 20 PDX at the moment, and several places are showing out of stock for PDX anyway.

That 8m3 is mighty tempting, I'm debating if I'd rather have a better bullet with less reliable loading (tula's reputation) or a mediocre bullet with more reliable loadings (Golden Tigger).


SST vs. PDX:

I was going to say "which one would stand up better to bad weather and weird lighting conditions?" Well, I googled the SST again to check and....

Image

Lacquer coating on the Hornady. In my own immersion tests lacquer coatings do an amazing job. Some will start to rust after a few days or a week, but only tiny spots, and the rounds always feed reliably and go off. I"m a real fan. But I don't see sealant on the neck or the primer, so I'd apply some.

What about night fighting? I looked at the reviews and saw this gem:
Quote:
I shot a 230ish pound hog 50 yards away with this from a 10" barrel and he dropped like a sack of potatoes. Haven't shot them at paper so can't comment on accuracy but I hit my target perfect and saw zero muzzle flash even at night. Next time I'll order the 500 round pack.

http://www.sgammo.com/product/hornady/5 ... -ammo-8078
[After thinking about it: if the guy was using a Bulgarian flash hider, he could shoot TulAmmo and not see much flash. More info needed. Or a Bulgarian style muzzle device]

Realistically, if your Tier 1 ammo is for HD, then your weapon light will probably have a bigger impact on your night vision than your ammo. I think night fighting quality is more important if you are crawling around looking for Ninjas. Which I do fantasize about because I was a child of the 80's and 90's.

Also, commie guns don't need fancy nickle on the case to run well. I'd say whatever floats your boat. Oh, and....






:awesome:

8M3 vs. Golden Tiger:

I was going to say "which is going to work in worse weather and at night?" Well.....

Image

Dammit make my decisions easier!!!!

Quote:
This ammo features the 8M3 124 grain hollow point projectile, a polymer coated steel case (UCW no longer offers lacquered case), and mil-spec sealant applied to the case mouth and primer pocket to water-proof the cartridge.


Based on my tests, I'm not as big a fan of the weather resistance of polymer coatings as I am of the lacquer. On the other hand, if you are not immersing your ammo in water for 3-10 days I suspect you will be ok. Especially in a dry climate. In a rain forest I personally would look elsewhere (or if I were storing it underground).

I should test my GT at night. I know my TulAmmo is not a great night performer. I don't know about this 8M3's performance.

But as for me, I"ll take reliability any day. If it don't go BANG, it's not doing you much good. And you reference GT having a mediocre bullet. In this video it begins tumbling/yawing at the 4 inch mark, which puts it in league with M67. Tumbling is not expansion, but with the last 3 deer I killed I'd have liked more penetration. But they died just fine with 123 gr. TulAmmo soft points. I"m going to move towards 154 gr soft points though.



Something else to consider is barrier penetration. If you are fighting off those Ninjas, do you want your bullet falling apart when hitting car bodies, bricks, cinder blocks, and heavy trees?

[Just watch the whole video. Lot of good info on 5.56, 7.62, and 9mm. Lot of unexpected results.]



So those are my takes on it all.

SST vs. PDX: It is a wash. Both are fine.

8M3 vs. Golden Tiger: Honestly, if I"m fighting Ninjas, I"m going with GT. But I might change my mind in a few years.

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