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Best ammo brands

Pitdogg2

Custom
Any you can find ATM. For the time being I'd stay away from steel cased.
I've ran it in my old Eagle Arms H-bar, but I've heard some Springfield's do not like it so during break in 300-400 rds I'd steer clear until you get a better understanding of you firearm.
 

10mmLife

Hellcat
Founding Member
I just purchased my first AR-15, a Saint Victor 5.56. What is the best reasonably priced ammo for the range?
Welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of AR's.

Honestly if you're just plinking at the range I would recommend buying the cheapest factory loaded ammo you can find as it's all pretty reliable in 5.56 AR platform including steel cased. Contrary to popular belief steel cased does not shorten the life of your firearms as this has been debunked by my tests.

Keep your BCG well lubed during the break in period and you shouldn't have an issue.

I have over a dozen AR's and I've yet to find a brand of ammo that won't reliable cycle in them.

If you're being cautious you can try buying a few boxes from a couple different brands to try.

I know the Bass Pro in my area has had ammo in stock for a few weeks now and the variety of ammo seems to be increasing weekly also Midway USA has IWI brand 5.56 available with free shipping if you spend at least $49 right now.
 
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I like PMC or American Eagle. Just make sure you buy Brass case ammo. Stay away from steel case.
Like 10 said keep your rifle wet(oil your bolt carrier group).
 

TSiWRX

Custom
Congrats on your first AR!

Don't worry too much about the specific ammo - "range fodder" is just range-fodder, and inside of the 200 yard line, you're less going to notice any issues with the ammo's performance than with your shooting skills. :) Functionally, all "range-fodder" will be "dirty," but the AR-15 is a very resilient platform: learn how/what to lubricate, and you can enjoy extended shooting -for THOUSANDS- of rounds, without even the need to wipe the bolt/BCG clean, much less the need to field-strip the gun for a more thorough cleaning ( witness the BCM "Filthy 14,"https://bravocompanyusa.com/content/Filthy 14 bravo_swat_10.pdf - which had crested 65k rounds, as of this thread:https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=1440137 ).

That said, unique guns -I .e. YOUR unique Saint Victor, the one with YOUR serial number: not your brother-in-law's Saint Victor, not your father's Saint Victor, not your shooting buddy's Saint Victor, not your favorite instructor's Saint Victor....you get the idea ;) - oftentimes have unique preferences for ammo. As the owner of that gun, you'll need to find out what your gun "likes" and "dislikes," be it in terms of the type of performance it puts out downrange (i.e. accuracy/precision), or even function.

For new owners of any one particular caliber, I advise them to avoid falling into the trap of wanting to save a few bucks by buying in-bulk, simply because they don't know what their gun will "like/dislike." Instead, at least for the moment, look to diversify your buy with different grain "weights" (actually lengths) of bullets and different brands/makes. Typically, for range-use, you'll be staying with the two most common: 55 gr. and 62 gr., and there are numerous choices to be had for these, in various makes and brands. Buy at-most a box or five (20 to 100 rounds) of each, so that you can experiment. Understand that most casual shooters' biases towards certain ammo is just that: biases based on their own experiences - your mileage can, and most likely will, vary. ;)

One thing that is worth noting is that range-limitations on ammo are not uncommon. If you purchase ammo with a "steel core," such as the common M855 "Green Tip," be aware that some ranges - particularly indoor ranges or ranges featuring steel targets - may not allow you to use it.

Also, buy a few different types of magazines: Magpul P-Mags (either Gen M2 or Gen M3) are both cheap and plentiful and are among the most highly regarded full polymer-plastics available. If you like aluminum, Okay/Surefeed as well as D&H (OE makers of Brownells, BCM, and others) are similarly highly regarded. If you like hybrid -poly body with metal feed-lips- look to the Lancer L5AWM. For all-steel, Duramags. As with the ammo, UNIQUE guns will "like/dislike" certain magazines - be it from how easily the spent/empty magazine drops-free to potential issues with the fit of the magazine into the gun (i.e. certain makes/models of lower receivers don't play well with the Gen M3 P-Mag's over-insertion stop), so again, buy a couple, diversify, verify/vet - and only then invest.

Magazine problems are also one of the biggest causes of functional (and even accuracy) issues with the AR platform, which is why you should treat ALL of your magazines disposable goods: like tires or brakes for your car, you want the best you can afford, but you know as you put them on that they are going to wear from use, and that you'll have to replace them eventually. Since magazine issues can pair with ammo issues to cause a true multi-variable problem, this makes for yet another reason to think of them as disposable. As soon as you get a magazine, mark it in a not-easily removable and unique manner (many prefer their initials, paired with a number) so that you can "track" that magazine with-certainty. This will allow you to work through your troubleshooting matrix in a more logical manner.
 

10mmLife

Hellcat
Founding Member
Congrats on your first AR!

Don't worry too much about the specific ammo - "range fodder" is just range-fodder, and inside of the 200 yard line, you're less going to notice any issues with the ammo's performance than with your shooting skills. :) Functionally, all "range-fodder" will be "dirty," but the AR-15 is a very resilient platform: learn how/what to lubricate, and you can enjoy extended shooting -for THOUSANDS- of rounds, without even the need to wipe the bolt/BCG clean, much less the need to field-strip the gun for a more thorough cleaning ( witness the BCM "Filthy 14,"https://bravocompanyusa.com/content/Filthy 14 bravo_swat_10.pdf - which had crested 65k rounds, as of this thread:https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=1440137 ).

That said, unique guns -I .e. YOUR unique Saint Victor, the one with YOUR serial number: not your brother-in-law's Saint Victor, not your father's Saint Victor, not your shooting buddy's Saint Victor, not your favorite instructor's Saint Victor....you get the idea ;) - oftentimes have unique preferences for ammo. As the owner of that gun, you'll need to find out what your gun "likes" and "dislikes," be it in terms of the type of performance it puts out downrange (i.e. accuracy/precision), or even function.

For new owners of any one particular caliber, I advise them to avoid falling into the trap of wanting to save a few bucks by buying in-bulk, simply because they don't know what their gun will "like/dislike." Instead, at least for the moment, look to diversify your buy with different grain "weights" (actually lengths) of bullets and different brands/makes. Typically, for range-use, you'll be staying with the two most common: 55 gr. and 62 gr., and there are numerous choices to be had for these, in various makes and brands. Buy at-most a box or five (20 to 100 rounds) of each, so that you can experiment. Understand that most casual shooters' biases towards certain ammo is just that: biases based on their own experiences - your mileage can, and most likely will, vary. ;)

One thing that is worth noting is that range-limitations on ammo are not uncommon. If you purchase ammo with a "steel core," such as the common M855 "Green Tip," be aware that some ranges - particularly indoor ranges or ranges featuring steel targets - may not allow you to use it.

Also, buy a few different types of magazines: Magpul P-Mags (either Gen M2 or Gen M3) are both cheap and plentiful and are among the most highly regarded full polymer-plastics available. If you like aluminum, Okay/Surefeed as well as D&H (OE makers of Brownells, BCM, and others) are similarly highly regarded. If you like hybrid -poly body with metal feed-lips- look to the Lancer L5AWM. For all-steel, Duramags. As with the ammo, UNIQUE guns will "like/dislike" certain magazines - be it from how easily the spent/empty magazine drops-free to potential issues with the fit of the magazine into the gun (i.e. certain makes/models of lower receivers don't play well with the Gen M3 P-Mag's over-insertion stop), so again, buy a couple, diversify, verify/vet - and only then invest.

Magazine problems are also one of the biggest causes of functional (and even accuracy) issues with the AR platform, which is why you should treat ALL of your magazines disposable goods: like tires or brakes for your car, you want the best you can afford, but you know as you put them on that they are going to wear from use, and that you'll have to replace them eventually. Since magazine issues can pair with ammo issues to cause a true multi-variable problem, this makes for yet another reason to think of them as disposable. As soon as you get a magazine, mark it in a not-easily removable and unique manner (many prefer their initials, paired with a number) so that you can "track" that magazine with-certainty. This will allow you to work through your troubleshooting matrix in a more logical manner.
Wow great breakdown!
 

KillerFord1977

Hellcat
Founding Member
Agree …

i’ll dissent briefly to say Frontier Ammo 55gr 5.56 caused failure to feed issues constantly in my Victor 5.56. Even different boxes from a friends lot.

only brand of ammo from 10 brands I tried that caused issues w my rifle.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
Wow great breakdown!

Thanks! I try! :)

To-add to my stuff above, @RHAWLEY2.

Remember I said that most casual shooters' biases towards certain ammo -particularly "range-fodder" grade ammo- is just that: biases based on their own experiences, often steeped in anecdotal tales, "range-lore," interwebz propagation thereof, or other types of heresy?

The general consensus is that a 1:7-twist barrel shoots "heavier" (longer) bullets better, with more precision/accuracy. Well, one of my ARs which has a 1:7 barrel actually shoots most 55 gr. range-fodder better than comparable 62 gr...... At the 50 yard line, a 5-shot group for zeroing (at the start of a class training day, so there's a bit of time and jitters as added pressure 😅 ) -as long as I do my job- can not infrequently be a single cloverleaf hole that all touches each other.

Similarly, the general consensus is that one shouldn't shoot brass-case ammo after shooting steel-case ammo, because the carbon blow-by fouling from the steel cases can "lock up" later-shot brass case. Yet another of my ARs bucks this trend, and I can swap freely between steel and brass, back-and-forth, without cleaning or even worry, even as I accrue hundreds of rounds fired of each.

And focusing-in specifically on ammo, a couple of years ago, when my buddy assembled his "Roland Special" off one of his Glock 19s, we took to the range together, with me bringing 16 (sixteen) different types of factory-loaded 9x19 ammunition. The reason? "Roland" builds can be a little bit finicky when it comes to ammo because of the compensator fitted to the gun and the additional weight of the slide-mounted optic, so we wanted to see what would -and would not- in his gun, so that he can get an idea of what he'd want buy-up in-bulk to stock up for training classes and for practice. Out of the 16, I had given him everything from TulAmmo 115 gr. steel-case and Blazer Aluminum on the low-end of the range-fodder scale to 147 gr. Speer Lawman brass-case for the high, and we'd explored everything from Cor-Bon's 115 gr. +P DPX to 147 gr. Federal HST for premium defensive ammo.

Out of all of all sixteen, none caused any issues with function, and only one - only 147 gr. aluminum-cased Blazer, for whatever reason, caused it to literally open its group size to double what we saw with any of the other ammo. 10 shots at 22 yards (which was as far as the range allowed us to push the targets back to), shot freestyle, at a pace of about a shot every 1.5 to 2 seconds. The gun shot both 115 and 124 gr. Blazer aluminum just fine, and it also shot various other 147 gr. ammo (including both Speer GDHP and Federal HST, both premium defensive ammo) just fine, too. Literally, everything was fist-sized with the exception of the 147 gr. Blazer aluminum, which became hand-sized. We even re-tested, just to be sure.

Your unique gun matters a lot in the equation.

Once you get to know it more intimately, you'll come to see its personality and preferences. :) So instead of buying now in-bulk, go for "tasters."
 

SSmith

Alpha
The better question is where is the best place to buy ammo, not all dealers are made equal. I spent (spend) time looking online for ammo. I live in a rural area and my options for brick-n-mortar are very limited. Even more so now that the evil corporation known as Wal-Mart has quit selling it here. I have had good luck shopping online, and even though many don't like to use gunbroker for ammo, I have found that if you use the buy now option and try to use the dealers listed as top 100 you can find many options at very decent prices. Be sure to check for shipping and credit card charges as well as acceptable forms of payment. Most individuals that sell there, not all but most, don't want credit cards they prefer PayPal, VenMo etc. My AR 10 shoots steel ammo ok but has ejection issues so I stick with brass, my opinion based on shooting. 9mm and 45 I use a wide range of ammo for target/range shooting but I do have some 'better' bullets for my bedside beauty, currently its Speer gold, which I got a good deal on. I am a bargain shopper so always on the lookout for another 500 to blow up at the range! Happy shooting
 

TEXASforLIFE

Hellcat
If you're an online purchaser there are a few 1 stop search for almost all ammo sites. Ammo Seek is 1, but sometimes doesn't yeild results. You select the catagory (5.56NATO, 223rem or so forth) then you can select all in the brand and some other catagories along with what type of cases (I think you can on this 1). It provides a list from lowest price per piece along with other info. It used too work well, but maybe not so much now? I'm not a steel case fan, but the choice is yours.
 
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