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Old February 5, 2013, 03:30 PM   #1
9mmsnoopy
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Is Foreign ammo subpar to the American stuff?

I have always had an aversion to any foreign made ammo(odd i know, as i have no aversion to foreign made guns), but with the current ammo shortages, i am in "anything i can find" mode.

In the last month i bought a brand new Springfield XDS and a Sig P938, the first outing with the Sig i used a box of Sellier and Bellot, had a few failures to fire, though on a second attempt they did go bang. Next outing i used a box of Federal and had no issues at all.

First time out with the Springy i used some Federal and had no problems, next time out i tried some PMC and had one round that would not fire on 3 attempts, it had a nice dent in the primer,but no bang.

Whats been ya'lls experiances with the foreign stuff? Perhaps it was just some new gun breaking in issues, but its kinda odd that i have never had any problems with any of my guns till i tried the foreign stuff.
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Old February 5, 2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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It depends...

I think it depends on what you bought and from where.
There is some excellent (and inexpensive) .50 BMG that comes out of Brazil, but some of the .22 from there has been a higher % failure than Winchester or Remington from the US.
Some weapons may also have stronger springs on the firing pins: Shooting BMG from a well known French mfg in a Barrett and another gun I don't remember the make of, resulted in about a 25% non-fire. Turns out those rounds have thicker brass skin on the primer. When they fired they were fine, so who's to blame?

For 7.62x39, former Eastern Pact manufacturers seem to have the best reliability and consistency, particularly compared to US vendors, whom I guess don't have the experience with that particular round.

I seem to have more problems with some US reloaded rounds than some of the .380 and 9mm rounds from Europe.
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Old February 5, 2013, 03:59 PM   #3
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I think some of the foreign made ammo is actually superior to some of the US made stuff.

I've had very good experience with S&B, Fiocchi, Prvi Partizan, and Aguila.

I've had some terrible experiences with Winchester White Box and American Eagle.
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Old February 5, 2013, 04:09 PM   #4
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The only experience with Prvi that I've had is in my Nagant revolver, and that's the ONLY ammo I can find for it, so I can't compare it there.

But TulAmmo on the other hand.... Let's just say in ALL of my handguns, it's great for malfunction drills, and testing my cleaning abilities. Very very dirty ammo, with really thick primers.
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Old February 5, 2013, 04:10 PM   #5
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I've always had perfect results with S&B (.357).
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Old February 5, 2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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I've never had a single failure with WWB or Federal Champion or Federal American Eagle, so those are what I stick with.

But I understand S&B and Fiocci are solid.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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I think the foreign ammo is better than usa ammo. I have found that the us companies down load our ammo here. Germany make some of the best ammo in the world, along with Italy and many others.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:27 PM   #8
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After searching some other forums I've come to this conclusion.

S&B - Czech
Fiocchi - Italian
Prvi - Serbia
Seems like everyone has good things to say about those brands.

Wolf, Golden Bear, Silver Bear, Brown Bear, Golden Tiger, TulAmmo - All Russian. All are hit and miss with quality (from my experience) See a pattern? lol

You can find TulAmmo with Wolf headstamp and Bear headstamp and all that. They are all pretty much interchangeable. Even if it says it's from Bosnia, or whatever, they are all Russian owned (former USSR factories) and all use the same materials, etc.

It seems that when you cross into the former Soviet Bloc countries, you start to get less quality with your ammo.

NOTE: Some of the Wolf brand ammo (their .22 LR for instance) is supposedly made in Germany, and is supposedly pretty decent.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:29 PM   #9
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My local Sportmans Warehouse used to carry a lot of Geco (Swiss-made) 9mm ammo that was very inexpensive and shot very well in all my 9mm pistols. It was cheaper than either Winchester White Box or Federal American Eagle, but shot cleaner than both. I haven't seen it in a while, though. I really miss it. I've also never had any problem with S&B ammo.

My Colt 1911 in .45ACP has no problem eating up PMC (S. Korean) ammo. It's pretty accurate too. In fact, I've had a lot of success with PMC in general. Their 5.56mm NATO ammo (X-TAC) is noticable cleaner and better-looking than actual Lake City 5.56mm NATO, and shoots just as well.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:34 PM   #10
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I'm having a brain fart.

Isn't PMC a Remington line of ammo? I always see their bulk 250 round boxes at WalMart.



EDIT: NEVERMIND. I was thinking of UMC. Ignore my idiocy and continue with the thread like this never happened.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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I had Sure Fire (?) reloads this week. 3 out of 50 jammed. But otherwise shot, and I suppose those are made here?
Tula is dirtier, and smokier, no?
I have on order some Armscor .45. I'll see how it turns out ... if they ever get my order to me.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:36 PM   #12
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My favorite ammo is RWS from Switzerland. Would buy it all the time if I could find it .
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Isn't PMC a Remington line of ammo? I always see their bulk 250 round boxes at WalMart.
You're thinking of UMC, aka Union Metallic Cartridge Company, an ammo manufacturer that has been owned by Remington for decades.
[EDIT] The OP apparently remembered this afterwards.

PMC stands for Precision-Made Cartridges, a brand name of Poongsan Corporation, which is based in South Korea.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:40 PM   #14
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I think PMC is South Korean, but I could be wrong.

I have had good luck with S&B and Fiocchi; PRVI Partizan has been mostly good, but my old BHP didn't care for it; I had some issues with Aguila .45 with one of my 1911s, but it has run well in my other .45s.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Is Foreign ammo subpar to the American stuff?
Buy some...find out.

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Old February 5, 2013, 05:53 PM   #16
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carguychris - Check my edit. It hit me almost as soon as I clicked "post." Open mouth, insert foot. haha.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
My favorite ammo is RWS from Switzerland.
FWIW RWS is nominally a German company, but both RWS and GECO- which is nominally Swiss- have been under the corporate umbrella of Dynamit Nobel, a German weapons and chemical conglomerate, since the Weimar era. Dynamit Nobel was in turn purchased by Swiss tech conglomerate RUAG in 2002.

In the late 1960s, Dynamit Nobel consolidated the operations of its subsidiaries RWS, GECO, and Rottweil. AFAIK these subsidiaries have since operated kinda like GM brand names- IOW certain product lines all come from the same factory, just with different names on the packaging, depending on the destination. I believe that this explains why the last several packages of RWS-branded 9mm I purchased were made in Switzerland; they probably came from a GECO plant!
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Old February 5, 2013, 06:09 PM   #18
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^That same thing is what's going on with Wolf/"insert color here" Bear/TulAmmo brands.
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Old February 5, 2013, 06:18 PM   #19
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It depends on what my intended use for the ammo is. When it comes to self-defense hollowpoints, I stick almost exclusively to U.S.-made ammo because most foreign ammo either is not offered in hollowpoint or uses hollowpoints of very primitive design. I suspect that this is due to the fact that hollowpoints are unpopular, heavily regulated, or outright banned in most of the rest of the world thus giving foreign ammo makers little incentive to develop good HP bullets.

For practice and target work, however, I have no objection whatsoever to foreign made ammunition and use it quite frequently. As far as what is best, my experience is as follows:

RWS, Geco, Fiocchi, Hirtenberger, and Norma are all excellent and equal to or better than nearly any U.S. made ammunition in terms of accuracy, cleanliness, and reliability. These would be among my first choices for non-HP applications when available at a good price.

Prvi Partzan (sometimes packaged under the Wolf Gold Label), PMC, Aguila, Norinco, Armscor, Magtech, and S&B are all fine practice ammo and typically about equal in quality to budget-line U.S. ammo like Winchester White Box, UMC, American Eagle, or Blazer.

The Russian-made ammo including Wolf, Tula, Barnaul, and Brown/Silver/Golden Bear can be hit-or-miss. While a touch dirty, I personally have had good luck with Wolf and Tula in my guns though I know of others who've had issues with them. Barnaul and "Bear" ammo have given me enough issues in the past that I'll only use them in eastern-bloc calibers like 7.62x54R, 7.62x39, and 9x18 Makarov because they seem to be better in those loadings. I would recommend that a person buy a box or two of Russian ammo to try in their own guns before buying in bulk.
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Prvi Partzan (sometimes packaged under the Wolf Gold Label)...
It's also sold under the Monarch brand name at Academy sporting goods stores.

Similarly, ammo sold under the Herter's brand name at Cabela's is made by S&B.
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:10 PM   #21
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Lithuanian .308 surplus (GGG) is outstanding ball ammo.
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:19 PM   #22
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Academy's 9x18 "Monarch" comes from the Barnaul factory.
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:51 PM   #23
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Believe it or not - as you will...

From page 30 of the DPMS owners manual:

"After extensive testing....."

"We have incurred feeding problems with foreign ammunition."

"(One) problem appears to be the bullet contour and the overall length of the cartridge, which is contacting the rifling before firing. This is creating gas port and chamber pressures higher than recommended, thereby causing feeding and extraction problems. There are some indications that brass may be out of spec, which could create an unsafe condition."

"(Second) We have used foreign ammunition for testing purposes and have found that the brass is extremely soft and can "flow" into microscopic pores and grooves in the chamber, creating "sticky" extraction." US manufactured brass appears to be comparatively harder, and hence does not demonstrate the same effects.

I've used Privi Partisan, which is manufactured in Serbia, with no ill effects in .308/7.62mm rifles, but not their 5.56mm ammunition.

Nevertheless, at least SOME testing has been done by SOME US manufacturers, which tends to indicate that there are SOME measurable differences between US-manufactured ammunition and SOME foreign manufactured ammunition.


Your mileage may vary, but it would seem that at least SOME evidence supports a conclusion that there may be differences between US and foreign ammunition.

FWIW.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:01 AM   #24
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Fiocchi Fan here

Ok, I am a HUGE Fiocchi ammo fan, especially for range use. I typically keep it in 32 Lungo/32 Long, 7.65 Browning/32 ACP, and 38 Special LRN. For some of the calibers, you really have to know your European designations, because it can get confusing. My LGS keeps me stocked with this stuff, and I love them for it.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:32 AM   #25
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Aquila is the only one that I do not care for

Generally, I buy the cheapest, brass cased ammo I can find as I do reload so I save my brass. That said, most of my factory ammo is either PMC, S&B, Blazer Brass, WWB, Federal Champion, American Eagle or Freedom Munitions.

I have shot PMC in several calibers (380 ACP, .38 Sp, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, .223 Rem) and to the best of my memory I have never had a problem in any gun.

I have fired a lot of S&B in both 9mm and 45 ACP, and never had a problem.

The only foreign ammo I have ever had a problem with is Aquila in 40 S&W with my Sig p250. I experienced a fail to feed once every mag on average. The nose would just not slide up the feed ramp and it would lock up. I have never experienced that problem with any other ammo in that gun, including my handloads. I have used their .380 ACP in both a Bersa and a LCP without an issue. But with my bad experience in the p250, I have not bought any more since.
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