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Old January 13, 2020, 10:18 AM   #1
SEHunter
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I tested velocity of multiple 223/5.56 ammo

I just find it interesting to observe the performance differences between different mfgs of ammo. This was velocity only, I didn’t do any penetration or expansion tests this time. Of course this can vary from lot to lot and im sure any mfg can tweak their components or processes for the same model of ammunition over time and results can change. I used a Chrony Alpha chronograph at 10 feet from the muzzle of a 16” stainless PSA Freedom upper. I also shot just a few of the same types from an 18” Mini 14 ranch rifle. All tests were 4 shots from a cooled barrel at roughly 65 degrees outside. All ammo tested were brass cases.

PMC 5.56 55gr FMJ x-tac
16”, 2943-2992 fps
18”, 3005-3086 fps

Federal 223 53gr v-max varmint/predator
16”, 2969-2999 fps
18”, 3066-3087 fps

PMC Bronze 223 55gr soft point
16”, 2803-2849 fps
18”, didn’t test

Hornady superformance 223 53gr v-max
16”, 3065-3138 fps
18”, 3112-3177 fps

Hornady superformance 223 55gr GMX
16”, 2842-2866 fps
18”, 2881-2926 fps

Prvi Partizan 223 55gr soft point
16”, 2766-2848 fps
18”, 2824-2914 fps

Armscor 223 55gr soft point
16”, 2840-2902 fps
18”, didn’t test

Armscor 223 55gr v-max
16”, 2825-2863 fps
18”, didn’t test

Hornady Frontier 223 55gr soft point
16”, 2762-2805 fps
18”, didn’t test

Hornady Frontier 5.56 55gr hollow point
16”, 2872-2904 fps
18”, didn’t test

Fiocchi 223 55gr soft point
16”, 2667-2746 fps
18”, didn’t test

Sellier & Bellot 223 55gr soft point
16”, 3007-3059 fps
18”, didn’t test

The velocity winners were Hornady superformance 53gr v-max and S&B 55gr pointed soft point.
The velocity losers were Fiocchi, Hornady Frontier 223 sp, and PPU, which all dipped into the 2700fps range, Fiocchi being the slowest, dipping in the 2600s. The S&B seems to be a good buy with a psp bullet and can be found under $8 per box of 20. However, they’re hard to find right now. Buds on line currently has them. Its interesting to see the difference in velocity between the S&B 55gr and Hornady superformance 55gr GMX. Didn’t quite see the advertised 100-200 fps gain in the Hornady superformance GMX. The 53gr superformance however was pretty speedy even considering the 2gr lighter bullet and I could definitely feel the additional pop at the shoulder with those.

I didn’t test group accuracy with all these, however, in the past I’ve done that with some of these, all shoot within 2” groups at 50 yards using a non-magnification micro red dot sight. Not really a good gauge for accuracy testing but falls within my own personal requirement for my own application.
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Old January 13, 2020, 02:02 PM   #2
O4L
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Is this the S&B ammo you are talking about?

https://ammoseek.com/ammo/223-reming...w=Soft%20point
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Old January 13, 2020, 03:37 PM   #3
SEHunter
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Yes, it is, but when i got my first two boxes from Buds to test with, they were in a black box with gold writing, same number..2914.

Even at Buds the example pic showed the green/yellow box like in your link.
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Old January 14, 2020, 02:11 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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Hornady Superformance ammo used to be called Lite-Magnum. It's hot ammo to start with.
All ammo velocities are averages of loads tested, but the important part is what firearm, if there was one, the barrel length and the environmental conditions of the test day. For example, Hornady tested their .223 and 5.56 75 grain Superformance Match with different length barrels. 24" and 20" respectively. That alone will give different results.
And a 16" will always give lower velocities than an 18".
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Old January 14, 2020, 06:01 PM   #5
SEHunter
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Good points, I should have added the caveat that I wasn’t focused on specific advertised velocities for any of those rounds. They all fell below what the box states (most stated an advertised velocity, but not all), for the exact reasons you pointed out. That tells me their test guns or barrels were obviously longer than both my 16” and 18”. However i am under the assumption that the Hornady superformance claim of 100-200 fps gain over traditional ammo still applies to all barrel lengths as long as its being compared with other ammo in the same barrel length, or same exact barrel. They don't get that detailed from what I’ve noticed.

Again, I believe the Hornady superformance 53gr v-max certainly met that claim, however the 55gr GMX did not. With the 53gr v-max superformance and S&B, i have no doubt they’d meet the advertised velocities printed on the boxes if shot from the same length barrel as their test barrels based on what they did from a 16” barrel. The 53gr superformance vmax states 3465 fps and the S&B states 3301 fps. If you go by the traditional standard of roughly 50 fps gain per inch of rifled barrel, the vmax round easily meets its claim if tested even from a 20” barrel. Of course this is all rough calculation but the Hornady 53gr superformance would be a mighty fine and explosive predator/varmint round. The difference here is they’re about 90 cent/round where the S&B is about 39 cent/round. That really was my deciding factor at the end to go S&B. I still liked the Hornady 53gr alot. It grouped well from my 16”, not quite as stellar from the 18”, but the Mini isn’t known to be a tack driver either.

Im glad I decided to give S&B a look. I’ve never used their ammo before but it seems to be a great value, especially being brass and loaded with an expandable hunting bullet. I also recently shot their 7.62x39 psp from an AKM and it had the highest velocity there as well and groups nicely. May be my ammo of choice for that gun as well.

Last edited by SEHunter; January 14, 2020 at 06:32 PM.
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Old February 13, 2020, 10:01 AM   #6
bamaranger
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never say never

Let me add that shorter barrels should be slower than longer barrels and that is an accepted line of thought. The opposite, that longer barrels are faster is the other side of the coin. But as in many things in out hobby, there can be exceptions.

I've got a 20" Mark X Mini Mauser that is aggravatingly slow. The OP's 16-18" velocities are about what I'm getting from the Mark X, despite 2 more inches of barrel. I've taken to shooting 40-45 grain Hornet bullets from it to get the velocity's I want.. A 22" Remington .270 barrel is also slow with 130 gr slugs, and I'm experimenting with 110's in it. That bore is a terrible copper fouler too, and might explain part of it's problem.
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Old February 15, 2020, 07:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Hornady Superformance ammo used to be called Lite-Magnum. It's hot ammo to start with.

Hornady discontinued the "Light Magnum" ammo years ago. They were having over pressure problems and the ammo was unsuitable to be used in semi-auto rifles.

The Superformance ammo is not the same. It isn't developing over pressure issues and they claim it is safe for semi-auto's. I'm not sure, but my guess is that they have formulated a type of powder that is slower burning than normal to give more speed without raising pressure excessively.

Quote:
And a 16" will always give lower velocities than an 18".
There is more difference between individual barrels than 2" of barrel makes. Now if you start with an 18" barrel and cut it to 16" lt will always be slower than before. But there are too many other variables when you start comparing 2 different barrels. An individual 16" barrel could be 50 fps
FASTER than another 18" barrel, or it could be 100 fps slower, or the same.

My fastest 308 is a Tikka CTR with a 20"barrel, it runs about 20-30 fps faster than the 22" Winchester. And the 22" Winchester is always 20-30 fps faster than the Kimber, The Kimber is almost 50 fps slower than the Tikka even with 2"more barrel.

My Winchester 30-06 with a 22" barrel is consistently 60-90 fps faster than the Remington 30-06 with a 22" barrel.
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Old February 15, 2020, 08:00 AM   #8
Bart B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
And a 16" will always give lower velocities than an 18".
Only if their chamber, bore and groove dimensions are the same. Plus both barrels are fit to the same rifle so identical firing pin strike will be used.
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Old February 15, 2020, 08:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Only if their chamber, bore and groove dimensions are the same. Plus both barrels are fit to the same rifle so identical firing pin strike will be used.
What about gas system, peak pressure timing and barrel harmonics?
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