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Old January 20, 2010, 12:53 AM   #1
Hog Buster
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Super-Duper-Whamo-Ammo

Over the years, just before deer season, I have been asked many, many times to sight in someone's rifle. With a 100 yard range in the rear of the house and my being always ready to try a different rifle, I never refuse. Of course they're all told that they should sight in their own rifle, but most times getting it in the black becomes my job. Then they burn a few rounds and leave happy. Needless to say not all are great shots.

When they arrive with their weapon of choice it's usually accompanied by some expensive brand of Super-Duper Whamo ammo. When asked why their choice of ammo, most say they want the best and most accurate. Which leads me to the point of this post.

In the past I just got them in the black and let it go at that. However I noticed that some of this Super-Duper stuff didn't group that well. I always figured that it was just a poor match between rifle and ammo, but lately I've tried something different.

After getting in the black with the Super-Duper stuff I break out a few rounds of my reloads and fire them. In many cases the groups tighten up. The impact point usually changes, but groups are better. Now my reloads aren't tailored for their guns, they are for mine, and they are definitely not bench rest quality.

This phenomena has happened more times than I can count, at least dozens and with quite a few different brands and calibers of Super-Duper factory ammo. Which begs the question, just how good is this stuff? Is it really better or just great salesmanship? Do any of you use it and can you tell a difference?

I haven’t bought a box of factory ammo in years so don’t intend to run out and pay the price of this fancy stuff just to satisfy my curiosity. Maybe some of you have experienced this, an inquiring mind wants to know.
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Old January 20, 2010, 01:06 AM   #2
lt dan
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very few of these expensive ammo are worth their price. the few that are imho, are worth that price due to the design and manufacturing of the bullet.

the thing here in reference to your post most probably is consistency in load. very few factory loading production lines can beat an experienced reloader as yourself when it comes to consistency. hence the tighter grouping. which comes back to the question: why buy shelf ammo?

guys go out and buy the most accurate rifle, get the best scope mounts and the most expensive scope.and then casually buys shelf ammo?????
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Old January 20, 2010, 01:20 AM   #3
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I've noticed the same thing comparing my reloads to factory ammo in my own rifles. I don't think the ammo companies are necessarily cheating anyone intentionally. They are putting premium bullets in those shells which cost a lot. No, I don't use the premium bullets in my own loads, but I suppose they are better performers theoretically. But I think where the expensive shelf ammo misses the boat is that they try to give the HIGHEST velocity possible in order to sell ammo. People that don't know better just assume that higher velocity is better. In my own loads I can't ever remember the max recommended load being the most accurate. The best load is typically a few thousand psi away from being at max velocity.
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Old January 20, 2010, 01:22 AM   #4
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What are the general components in most of Your handloads that are producing the better-than-factory groups?

Off the top of my head, I'd have to +1 on consistency, first. I've pulled bullets on factory ammo and been shocked at the INconsistency. You'd think they used a scoop of some sort and handloaded the factory stuff when they've had too much coffee!
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Old January 20, 2010, 01:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
where the expensive shelf ammo misses the boat is that they try to give the HIGHEST velocity possible in order to sell ammo.
Roger on'nat!
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Old January 20, 2010, 02:18 AM   #6
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Christchild

.243 - Remington cases, IMR 4895, Hornady 95gr SST, anybody's LR primers
.270 - Remington cases, H4895, Hornady 130gr SST, anybody's LR primers
.280 - Remington cases, R19, Remington 150gr Core-Lokt, anybody's LR primers
7MM Mag. Remington cases, R22, Remington 150gr Core-Lokt, anybody's LRM primers.
.308 - Remington cases, IMR3031, Remington 150gr Core-Lokt, anybody's LR primers
30/06 - Remington cases, H4895, Nosler 165gr Bal Tip, anybody's LR primers
30/30 - Remington cases, RL7, Hornady 150gr RP, anybody's LR primers
.44 Mag - Winchester cases, 296, Speer 240gr JHP, anybody's LP primers
45/70 - Starline Cases, RL7, Remington 300gr JHP, anybody's LR primers

175 lb. doe at 5 pm with the .270, head shot, port side, dropped like a rock. Getting near the end, but have meat in the freezer. Let it rain!..........Keep it between the levees.......Gene
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Old January 20, 2010, 02:51 AM   #7
Nnobby45
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Quote:
where the expensive shelf ammo misses the boat is that they try to give the HIGHEST velocity possible in order to sell ammo.
Not exactly. They don't exceed SAAMI pressure specs. Where they mislead is in using longer test bbls. to get higher velocities than you can get in your shorter bbl'd hunting rifle.

It's not hard to see why. Ammo companies compete for highest advertised velocities that the shooting public swoons all over, and they get those with longer bbls. and probably tighter chambers.

I haven't hunted with factory ammo for years. I'm a handloader all the way. However, factory ammo is still good reliable stuff, though it can't be tailor made for everyone's rifle. It has to be made to fit big chambers, little chambers, short and long throats, etc. We handloaders can experiment with seating depths, and different bullets (more important than powder used).

Some of the rifles we have these days shoot factory ammo very well, and better hunting accuracy isn't at all necessary. Even though we can cut a 1 1/4" MOA factory group to 3/4" or so with handloads.
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Old January 20, 2010, 03:03 AM   #8
phil mcwilliam
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2 weeks ago I helped a mate sight in his brand new Sako 85 Bavarian in 30-06, topped with a Leupold 3?-10x 50 scope. We used the standard Winchester Super X factory ammo for the initial sighting in.
We both shot prone with the rifle held in one of those cradles that support both fore end & the base of the stock.
We both achieved groups just over 1 inch with the standard Winchester Super X ammunition at 100 yards.
We finished the day firing off a box of Winchester Supreme factory ammunition, & to be honest, neither one of us grouped any tighter with the Supreme ammunition, with the groups still averaging just over 1 inch.
I have in the past trialled cheaper factory ammunition ,such as PMC, & have found these cheaper rounds no where near as accurate as Winchester. Maybe the Winchester Super X standard ammo has just grouped better in the rifles I have owned, but when I'm onto a good thing I see no need to change.
I personally have never been interested in reloading, & in the hunting I do, 1 inch groups at 100 yards is all I need.
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Old January 20, 2010, 10:31 AM   #9
Catfish25p2000
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I don't think is has as much to do with velocity as consistancy. When you are sitting at a bench throwing one charge at a time, weighing every third or fourth charge, (or even every charge), you are much more likely to be more consitant than factory ammo. Just my opinion.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:52 AM   #10
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I think the differnce is in the bullet. I have found that most of my rifles shoot plain jane soft bullets better than say bonded or copper bullets. I believe all the handloaders I know would agree. But if the guys you are sighting-in for only shoot their rifles once a year when you sight it in for them, then they are better off with the premium bullet. My theory being they are probably not the best shots so if they are off a bit and hit the shoulder, than the extra toughness of a premium bullet helps there. If they are off a bit and hit the gut, well no type of bullet helps there. And the extra cost of the premium bullet to one box a year shooter is a non-issue.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:55 AM   #11
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The only Super-Duper ammo I ever shot, was Winchester Failsafes. And only because Walmart was practically giving them away 12 years ago, 308 for $8 a box, 270 and 30/06 for $9 a box, and 7mm mag for $12/box. I bought a lot of it, cleaned out 4 Walmarts in AZ. I would probably never need to buy hunting ammo in my lifetime..

Anyway, this stuff shot better than my best handloads. I shot a group at 500 yards with my 7mm Sendero that looked like a 100 yard group, a very good group! My 30/06 loved it, so did the 270. Never shot any of the 308, as I only have semi autos or match rifles in this caliber, no hunting rigs. Took some of it to South Africa, and shot a wounded springbok trying to get away in the back of the head at over 300 yards with a 165 Failsafe. Gave a couple of boxes of 270 to my friends, and they all raved about it.

Would I pay $30 a box for it, probably not. Some of the bigger cartridges are so outrageous it defies believe. You can easily plunk down $50-$100 for 20 rounds of 340 Weatherby. If I was to go on an elephant hunt, I could see maybe paying big bucks for some monolithic solids, or some really good bonded bullets, but in general I can load my own for 30% of new factory prices.
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Old January 20, 2010, 01:43 PM   #12
Art Eatman
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I've only had experience with two "not garden variety" factory loadings.

I found that the Federal .243 loads with the Sierra 85-grain HPBT gave the same half- to 3/4-MOA groups as my own handloads with that bullet.

I found that the Federal Premium High-Energy .30-'06 loads with the Sierra 165-grain HPBT gave the same 3/4- to 1-MOA groups as my handloads with that bullet. Emails back and forth with a guy in Australia who had a chronograph and had tested that load showed that the factory claim of 3,150 ft/sec was correct. Impressive.

Outside of that, no experience.
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Old January 20, 2010, 02:20 PM   #13
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So if your brand new to it, how do you pick ammo? Other than reading the posts here. The only info I'm gonna get is the magazines, and shows. Those guys are paid to use it and like it right?
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Old January 20, 2010, 02:30 PM   #14
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I have tried factory fodder in a couple of my rifles to compare with my reloads and have found my loads to be much better, however I have seen some impressive results on the range during hunter site in days with factory ammo. I have for years been amazed at the accuracy of a Browning BAR and factory ammo.
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Old January 20, 2010, 03:48 PM   #15
Christchild
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HogBuster, that just goes to show that premiums aren't needed for accuracy and killing power.

Quote:
175 lb. doe at 5 pm with the .270, head shot, port side, dropped like a rock. Getting near the end, but have meat in the freezer. Let it rain!..........Keep it between the levees.......Gene
Will do, Bro, will do..........and that's a mighty fine job You did, putting that Red Port Side Nav-Light on that big Doe's wheelhouse...
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
So if your brand new to it, how do you pick ammo? Other than reading the posts here. The only info I'm gonna get is the magazines, and shows. Those guys are paid to use it and like it right?
Basically it's trial and error as far as accuracy is concerned. Velocity is the picky part.

Choosing the bullet type depends on what and how you hunt. Hunting bullets balance penetration and expansion. For most folks, erring on the side of expansion is a good thing.

But the thing to remember is that for medium sized game the target area is pretty darn big and just about any bullet that goes through the heart and lungs will kill an animal.
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Old January 21, 2010, 12:19 AM   #17
Nnobby45
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think the differnce is in the bullet. I have found that most of my rifles shoot plain jane soft bullets better than say bonded or copper bullets. I believe all the handloaders I know would agree.
Where accuracy is concerned, the bullet is probably the most important. Assuming the rifle is built right.


Hunting bullets are GENERALLY constructed with terminal performance as the primary concern. At least where large or dangerous critters are concerned. Accuracy has to meet a certain standard, but is secondary. Nosler Partition, and various bonded bullets come to mind.

Not easy (or necessary) to build a super accurate bullet that breaks the shoulder of a large critter and have the front expand in a controlled fashion, while the rear holds together and drives the bullet deep.

A good bullet designed for hunting that is also very accurate is the Nosler Ballistic Tip, and that's a good bullet to start with if you're a handloader who wants to get a good idea of a rifle's potential.

Some bullets, like the Sierra Spitzer with it's older technology, can still be very accurate perform well on the game they were designed for. Their 150 gr. has been a favorite deer bullet for decades launced from my '06.

Last edited by Nnobby45; January 21, 2010 at 12:33 AM.
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Old January 30, 2010, 08:55 PM   #18
James R. Burke
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I found my reloads always to outperform the factory. There are a few friends I do reload for. But I use there rifle making sure of the basic's first. Nice clean bore, scope mounted correct etc. Then I get the c.o.l. for the bullet they want, and try to research a few good powders. Then start working it up till I get what is the best it will do. I always use a crony. When I give them there rifle and loads back, I make sure to tell them to keep there bore clean. Seems like every deer season someone will tell me all of a sudden they cant hold a group, and wonder if the barrel is shot out. Most the time when I look down it the lands are about plugged up. When you ask them how often they clean them inside the bore, you hear now and then, or when I first got it twenty years ago, or about five or six years ago. Then there amazed when you tell them the differnce a clean bore will make. I always go out before deer season with the wife, and do some shooting, making sure there on and practice alot. Bring them home clean them up then go back out make a few fouling shots, and leave it till the end of season. Then clean it out real good, and oil it. I been using Butches bore shine seems to work real good, and there are a few good ones out there. I seen a few that could not hold a group that you could move the base mounts with your fingers, on some very nice rifles and scopes. I dont reload for to many people, just a few but make sure I have the rifle when working up the load, and tell them not to use them in anyones rifle except there own. But it is just a few people who I really trust.
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Old January 31, 2010, 10:09 AM   #19
langenc
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In a recent Midway flier they had ammo for BIG guns. the 416 something was just under $20--per BANG.. I guess if it is elephant or lion that wants to eat you it is ok.
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Old January 31, 2010, 01:12 PM   #20
James R. Burke
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I had till not very long ago a .416 Rem Mag, and they are very costly to shoot. I believe a factory box of twenty rounds was about 120.00 or something close to that. When I was reloading for it, I was using good componets like the Barnes solid copper for the bullet, and it still costed about 60.00 for a box to reload. It was a fun rifle to play around with but I had no real need for it, and I got a fair price so it is gone now. It was in a Ruger No 1 Tropical.
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Old January 31, 2010, 01:13 PM   #21
Art Eatman
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langenc, when you consider airfare and license fees for an elephant, plus the cost of the guide, the ammo costs are insignificant.
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Old January 31, 2010, 02:24 PM   #22
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My only use of store bought super premium ammo was Federal Gold Match 168 grain HPBT for my M1 Garand, because I didn't want to fire hunting ammo through it and hadn't bought dies yet. It grouped into an inch at 100 yards and shortly thereafter killed a doe. I knew it wasn't a hunting bullet, so I eventually came up with a handload using a Sierra 165 grain HPBT Gameking that also shoots into an inch, and haven't spent another dime on factory hunting ammo since.
I think the essence of the question is in the original post. Too many people chasing after push-button expertise, and willing to spend money to avoid the necessary time required to acquire any actual skill in the process.
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Old January 31, 2010, 02:35 PM   #23
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Ive bought a bunch of factory stuff recently for my '06. i generally get what is cheapest. I have found that the federal fusion shoots great, lots tighter than the hornady custom shop box i bought(1/2 off cause it was missing 5 rounds) and the hornady is normally 2x the price.
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Old January 31, 2010, 06:18 PM   #24
Hog Buster
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The original idea behind this post was to find out how many deer hunters use, or have tried Super-Duper ammo. Apparently not too many.

As far as hunting elephants or cape buffalo there's not much of that around here. The decoys are too large to fit in a pirouge.

Hunting and shooting skills come with time and practice, not with how much your ammo costs.

In this age of instant gratification I feel that this Super-Duper stuff is just good salesmanship. It's just another way to get the consumers money.

If you reload, you know that you can make ammo superior to this stuff.... If you don't, you may purchase it hoping for a edge that may not exist.

Truly, like everything else in this world, Caveat Emptor.
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Old February 1, 2010, 01:10 PM   #25
hardluk1
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I use to reload for my 2 rifles some years back but with hunting now you have less rifle and more time with a bow, then black powder and shotguns and rifles are short changed in many states now. I had one rifle rebarreled 8 years ago and used hornady's heavy mag 139gr sst ammo for break in. Turns out it shot 2" 400 yard groups, with the new 28" kreiger barrel velocites where just over 3400 fsp. Best of both worlds with factory ammo. Went back and bought 4 boxes more and just bought 5 box's of the newest loads. At a range the new ammo shoots so close to the old it just down matter. Just killed off the last of the old hornady stuff. Even my 308 with georgia arms 125gr bt at 3000f.p.s. or darn close nothing seems to have changed there for 14 years. Buy some and it also prints just as well with out any scope ajustments. I don't shoot my rifles much anymore and never had the groups and f.p.s. out of reloads i get out of these to factory loads. Now if i shot alot??
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