View Full Version : How much of a difference does ammo grade make?

05-20-2015, 11:46 AM
I have a Savage Model 10TR .308 that I've only ever shot 180 gn FMJ Sellier and Bellot factory loads through - and at 50 yards, I've never been able to pattern better than 0.75" with 1" - 1.5" being my average group size - shooting from a rest or bipod. Optic is a Vortex HST 4-16x50.

I inherited a Remington 700 SPS Tactical .308 with about 40 rounds loaded by a competent reloader with 168 gn Sierra Matchkings (forgot the rest of the load) and off a rest, I was getting cloverleafs at 50 yards the first time I took it out - without even really trying. Optic is a Leupold Mark AR 4-12x40.

The glaring difference between the two appears to be the ammo (maybe the scope).

I'm tempted to pick up some match grade .308 and try running it through my Savage Model 10TR - but am curious to hear anyone's thoughts and experience on the matter.

05-20-2015, 11:59 AM
I'd bet your Savage could give the Rem a run for it's money with match ammo or quality reloads.

A basic reloading set up wouldn't ding you for more than $250 and it'll give you something to do on a crappy day you can't get to the range. And superior accuracy in the long run. Just give in to the Dark Side already Harb.

05-20-2015, 12:00 PM
There's a reason why loads are worked up, even with the same brass and bullet, just the powder weight can make a difference.
If you shoot fine with the other rifle, ammo & the scope(+mounts) are things to look at.

05-20-2015, 12:16 PM
I've only just started doing some reloading for myself; not to get match-grade competition ammo as much as cheap-fun-grade ammo. 9x19, 45ACP and .223 REM.

From what I have read, EVERYTHING makes a difference - but the key is consistency. For reloading, match grade bullets are made to be all the same; then you can regulate your trim length, crimp, powder charge, seating depth, primer flash hole consistency, primer type, etc.

In theory, match grade factory ammo should be dead consistent. I can't say how true that statement is.

Then of course the gun and the optic make a difference too.

You'll have to experiment a bit to find the best combo that works for you. That means, OMG, you'll have to do lots of shooting to get dialed in the way you like it. YAY!

If I were you, I'd buy 2 boxes of good match grade stuff, and run one box through each rifle. See which one you shoot more consistently, and stick with it. Then later, when you decide everything has to be just a little bit better because "I'm sure it's the crappy match grade ammo I bought" that is making you miss, you can reload and stick to blaming your tools.. like I do. :)

05-20-2015, 12:29 PM
I reloaded a lot before I had children and only 1 house. Now I have several and some of my presses, dies, components, etc. are scattered and I have very limited space to work.

That said - at $40/20 round box (if I can find any) - even if I can load 40 rounds in an hour with a Lee Hand Press, it's close to worth it economy of time wise to make my own loads.

Although I'd like to see if there's any appreciable gain with factory match ammo vs normal factory ammo first.

Rory McCanuck
05-20-2015, 12:33 PM
Match ammo is made to be very consistent, at great expense.
If your rifle doesn't like it, then you will get consistent, bad groups.
Reloading is the only way you can guarantee consistent, great results, but finding a match grade ammo that your rifle likes should guarantee consistent good results.
Experimenting is key.

05-20-2015, 12:47 PM
I reloaded a lot before I had children and only 1 house. Now I have several and some of my presses, dies, components, etc. are scattered and I have very limited space to work.
You're gonna have to find a new house just for reloading.
In 4 yrs there should be a lot of NDPers selling their homes.

05-20-2015, 01:10 PM
I had great results with federal match in my 308 cz, vast improvement over all the various hunting rounds I tried.

05-20-2015, 01:21 PM
Not necessarily 'grade' sometimes either. My heavy barrel .308 shoots borderline spectacularly with Federal blue box hunting ammunition. I have trouble getting the same accuracy out of my various hand loads and other factory ammunition, though it's mostly hunting stuff. I should get a box of match and run it through that thing one day just to see what happens....

Anyway, moral of the story is some rifles will just 'like' a particular ammo, not necessarily the most expensive one either. Winchester white box HP's used to cloverleaf at 100 out of my Stevens 200 too....

05-20-2015, 03:46 PM
I've seen and experienced groups ranging from under 1moa wih handloads to 4moa and anywhere in between in the same rifle, with numerous rifles. While Match grade may be made to higher standards, it does not always mean it will be the best performer in your rifle. Every barrel likes a particular combination, and the next serial number may like another.

Lee Enfield
05-20-2015, 04:00 PM
762shooter on here posted about the proper inch pounds of torque on the screws holding the barreled action properly. He went from decent to super tight groups by using the right number. Told me he did lots of reading before he found people who did it properly and he replicated what was recommended.

05-20-2015, 06:03 PM
I've said it for years. Most modern firearms, with the right load and bullet, are more accurate than the shooter. I made a $329 Stevens model 200 shoot 6" gongs at 700 meters after doing extensive load development. I was hitting 7 out of 10 times....and I don't blame the gun in the least for the 3 misses.