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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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Folks,

I know we all have our favorites.

I know we all have our pet loads that we have had "success" with.

But I have a specific question.

Has anyone done any empirical comparisons using different bullet brands of roughly the same type keeping all other variables the same?
Example,

same powder
same powder amount
same brass
same trim length / OAL
same primer

but 10 or 20 with SMK's & 10 or 20 with Barnes match burners & 10 or 20 with Hornady Match etc. etc. And then compared scores.

I know that your results with these loads might / will be quite different from mine because of barrel type / length twist etc. but I'm just the curious type and was wondering if anyone here has gone through this exercise.

Thanks in advance

Baldur

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My humble opinion, you would need to find the node for each bullet as different brands will be made differently. That would require tailoring all of the factors for the best accuracy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My humble opinion, you would need to find the node for each bullet as different brands will be made differently. That would require tailoring all of the factors for the best accuracy.
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I can see the truth in that given two bullets of same weight from different companies will have different ogives, meplats, etc. etc.

It's probably too many variables because it all comes down to whats works best in your rifle is going to be completely different to what works best in my rifle.

I guess my biggest reason for asking is for ultimate accuracy do match shooters MOSTLY use SMK's or some other brand?

Thanks in advance

Baldur

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Folks,

I know we all have our favorites.
I know we all have our pet loads that we have had "success" with.
But I have a specific question.
Has anyone done any empirical comparisons using different bullet brands of roughly the same type keeping all other variables the same?
Example,

Baldur .
I guess the answer would hinge on how extensive your definition of "empirical" is. If you were to evaluate all of the variables associated with accuracy, to include the bullet brand and weight, barrel, barrel twist, primer, et cetera, and conduct enough replicated test, with sufficient observations per variable and replications of variable to give a definitive answer to satisfy a statistician..... the barrel would be worn out and then would be ready for a do-over.
If on the other hand, you are talking about slightly more than casual observations as to what a rifle prefers, then I suspect we have all done some of that. The conclusion in that case would be - different bullets for different folks and different rifles.
When I shot HP extensively, Sierra Match Kings were the ticket and my rifles really liked them. However, when you added the "human" factor into the mix, I could shoot as good of scores with the Hornady match bullet as the Sierra. But when I really got down to testing @ 300 yds, prone with my left arm in a sling and resting on a sand bag - the Sierra generally shot a little better group (casual observations --- I did not do a statistical analysis of groups as I never shot enough groups with each bullet to be statistically valid).
My friends who shoot F-class (bench rest on the ground) swear by Bergers and some still shoot Sierra and a few Nosler. Some benchrest shooters I knew shot hand made custom bullets.......

I hate to give you such an answer, but there simply is no absolute answer for all barrels, rifles, shooters and circumstances. With the M1A, I have found that if you select a quality bullet (by reputation in the target shooting game) and have a quality built gun/barrel, and do the shooters part - you will not be disappointed.

I shoot ATA trap and I very often look at the trap forum, trapshooters.com...... very frequently there is the eternal question, 71/2s or 8s??????
Pretty much the same deal............
 

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Its irrelevant for me. On military ranges I am bound to FMJ factory ammo. For hunting I have to use leadfree bullets. Good experiences with Hornady GMX 150gr, now I try Barns TTSX 150gr. Hunting accuracy is different , minute of hog is good enough for me .
Wolf
 

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It is always worth trying something different but considering the time and effort to try all brass/primer/powder/OAL combinations for a specific bullet, maybe it's just an exercise. Remember, you're dealing with an M1A, not an F-Class match rifle.

I suspect you will find that the majority of M1A reloaders are using the Sierra 168 gr BTHP and a substantial number are using the 175 gr BTHP. There are variations with some using Speer 125 gr TNT bullets and a few other bullets. But if you're talking short yardage match, the 168 gr will get it done. If you need a little more range, the 175 should work fine.

I load both but I think my rifles prefer the 175 gr. It's slower but it sure flies nice.

If you search the forum, you will find 3 loads repeated time after time. One uses IMR 4895, one uses IMR 4064 and the other uses IMR 3031. Sure, there are people using other powders but these 3 are very common with, I believe, 4895 leading the pack.

This rifle has been around for a long time. Reloading for it has been around just as long and it's pretty well sorted out.
 

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Sierra bullets in my auto loaders.

Berger bullets in my bolt guns.

Hornady XTP/HAP in my handguns.

If I could afford Lapua cases for everything, that would be the other part to this equation.
 

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I've been shooting Nosler CC's and I've been happy with them. Never shot any SMK's though I have some sitting on my shelf.
 

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Personally I think your proposed experiment would be a wast of time and money, what you would find is the bullet that worked best under that condition.
I've burnt out barrels trying to find "the right recipe" and have learned that when I do find it it will only be for that particular weapon.
What I can say is that, for me, is the best accuracy in any of my rifles has always been from Sierra Match Kings. And I've tried everything in some of them.

A side story: Since I was a kid I was infatuated with the 25-06. Some years ago I bought a shiny new Remington Sendero. I was sooo disappointed because no matter what I tried I couldn't get it under 1MOA. I tried every bullet made in 25cal, Siearra, Nosler, Hornady, Berger... and no go. It collected dust for a couple years then I got a flyer from Sierra, they had just came out with a MK in 25cal, I bought a couple boxes and bingo 1/4MOA @ 300yds. Since then, when it comes to accuracy, I just start with MK's.
 

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IMHO, you would probably shoot out at least one barrel and spend many thousands of dollars trying to gather any meaningful data about whether or not one brand of bullet consistently outperforms another one - and that data would only be accurate for that rifle, with that particular barrel. You will not create any meaningful data by shooting only 15 or 20 rounds of any particular bullet. There are simply too many different variables, including powder type, powder charge, primer, bullet seating depth, atmospheric conditions at any given time, shooter fatigue, etc, etc., ad infinitum. And that's if all of your components come from the same lots!

Take two otherwise pretty similar bullets - the Sierra 168 MK and the Hornady 168 BTHP match bullet. Their nominal weight is identical, but the Hornady is marginally longer than the Sierra, and requires a correspondingly shorter OAL to function in an M14 magazine. Granted, we're only talking about a few thousandths of an inch, but it makes a difference.
 

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Over the years I've shot a good mix of other makers Match bullets you name the brand and I've more than likely tried them, in the end the SMK has pretty much risen too the top, in some rifles not by that much. One bullet maker that has been right there running neck and neck side by side has always been the Nosler CC what difference there has been for better or not, was slight.

Years back when Berger came out with there 168VLD I gave them a try and had dismal results, and so I swore them off. Years later they came out with there hybrid design so I sat on the fence wait and see what shakes out, after some arm twisting and being beaten about the head and shoulders by Nez, I caved in and gave them a go. And I'm glad I did, for me they work there best from 600yds and back.
 

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I have a SA M1A NM. My best is the Hornady 168gr A-Max using Varget. I am trying the SMK with Varget and H4895. Have not got that right yet, nor the A-Max with H4895. Having a ball though.
 

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i like berger vlds in lapua cases. have yet to try the in my m1 or scar.

otherwise i like 155 gr amax or accubond in my m1a and .300 blackout guns
 

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...Has anyone done any empirical comparisons using different bullet brands of roughly the same type keeping all other variables the same?...
Well, I'm sure someone has. I'm sure several people have. But this is useless information to you unless you are going to borrow their rifle, too.

Once you get to top-of-the-line, if there is a difference, the exact rifle itself will be your biggest variable.
 

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It's going to be very difficult to beat the 168 or 175 Sierra Match King; they might not be the most accurate bullet in your gun, but they shoot well in pretty much every gun. Any bullet that shoots better isn't going to be to any noticeable degree.
 

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i like berger vlds in lapua cases. have yet to try the in my m1 or scar.

otherwise i like 155 gr amax or accubond in my m1a and .300 blackout guns
For some reason my M1 in 7.62mm just doesn't care for any weight over 168 from Sierra or Nosler, on a lark I scored a good deal on enough 155 Berger Hy-brids too do load development. 43.5 H-4895 or 44.0 IMR-4895 in a LC case @ 2.80 coal. They shoot better than my std. M852 clone load does.

Go figure, I guess I have my new 600yd load...
 
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