Posts Tagged ‘model 10’

Mar
13

Range Report: .223 Ammo Shootout

We had a nice, calm sunny day with a very light breeze here in the midwest – perfect weather for a .223 shootout.

The idea behind this comparison is to find highly-accurate new ammunition that the average person can buy. Personal handload recipes are going to weed out a good 80% of the folks out there that don’t have the capability to roll their own, so we’re going to look at some ammo that anyone can go online or pick up a phone and order.

I tested seven high-quality brands of 50-55 grain ammunition, all rated in the 3200fps range – well-suited to the 1:9 twist of the Savage Model 10 Tactical.

The high-quality .223 ammunition tested

The high-quality .223 ammunition tested

The rounds were shot at 100 yards from The Bench. Because neither The Bench nor myself are perfect, I shot 5-round groups of each ammo, and measured the best three of the five rounds, center to center, to calculate the group. Until I get some better bench equipment, this is the method I’ll be using to calculate when talking about group sizes.

The Candidates:

The Federal Premium 55gr Nosler rounds can be found pretty easily at most sporting goods stores. In fact, these came from Cabela’s and were about $24 per box of 20. These are great varmint rounds, and I’ve taken more than one critter out with them.

Federal Premium V-Shok - Nosler 55 grain ballistic tip

Federal Premium V-Shok - Nosler 55 grain ballistic tip

The Hornady TAP can also be found on the shelves, but it is a bit rarer than the Federal. Several online ammunition stores have it in stock frequently. The TAP in question was about $22 for a box of 20.

Hornady TAP - 55 grain Vmax

Hornady TAP - 55 grain Vmax

Georgia Arms is an online retailer, and they also have a brick-and-mortar retail store. Their 52gr HPBT Match is currently $24.50 for 50 rounds.

Georgia Arms 52gr Boat Tail Hollow Point Match Ammo

Georgia Arms 52gr Boat Tail Hollow Point Match Ammo

Their 55 grain Vmax is $28.00 per 50.

Georgia Arms 'Precision Plus' 55 grain Vmax

Georgia Arms 'Precision Plus' 55 grain Vmax

C&C Cartridge is a small loading company in Benton, IL. I had never heard of them until I came across someone at a gun show selling their wares. This high-quality ammo was almost $40 for a bag of 50 rounds (I transferred them to the boxes in the pic). As far as I know, they don’t have an online presence.

C and C Cartridge Company 55gr Vmax

C&C Cartridge Company 55gr Vmax

Thunder Ammo was a new one to me as well. I stumbled upon their products while searching for a good 50BMG load. 50 rounds of Thunder Ammo’s Vmax runs $32 in both 50gr and 55gr., and TA’s ammo is shipped in nice plastic boxes

Thunder Ammo 55 grain Vmax

Thunder Ammo 55 grain Vmax

Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

I thought the results were interesting – I was expecting Georgia Arms’ 52gr HPBT to perform much better than it did, and I’m surprised at how well the Hornady TAP performed. The Federal grouped much poorer than I expected.

As far as groups go, the gold medal goes to C&C from Benton, IL. However, from a consumer standpoint, it’s only fair to factor price into the grade, so I’m rating them as follows:

Ammo Type Group Size Price per round Grade
Thunder Ammo 55gr Vmax 1/4″ $0.64 A+
C&C 55gr Vmax 3/16″ $0.80 A
Georgia Arms 55gr Vmax 3/8″ $0.56 B+
Hornady TAP 55gr Vmax 1/4″ $1.10 B
Georgia Arms 52gr HPBT 1/2″ $0.49 B-
Thunder Ammo 50gr Vmax 1/2″ $0.64 B-
Federal 55gr Nosler 11/16″ $1.20 C-

Pics of the groups:

A+: Thunder Ammo 55gr Vmax

A+: 1/4" group from Thunder Ammo 55gr Vmax

3/16" group form C & C 55gr Vmax

A: 3/16" group form C & C 55gr Vmax

B+: 3/8" group from Georgia Arms 55gr Vmax

B+: 3/8" group from Georgia Arms 55gr Vmax

B: 1/4" group from Hornady TAP 55gr Vmax

B: 1/4" group from Hornady TAP 55gr Vmax

B-: 1/2" group from Georgia Arms 52gr HPBT

B-: 1/2" group from Georgia Arms 52gr HPBT

B-: 1/2" group from Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

B-: 1/2" group from Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

C-: 11/16" group from Federal Premium Nosler ballistic tip

C-: 11/16" group from Federal Premium Nosler ballistic tip

I have to say, I won’t be buying any more Federal Premium – not only do I consider an 11/16″ group unacceptable for premium ammo, it’s also carries the highest price tag.

As happy as I am with the groups from the C&C ammo, I don’t think I’ll be buying much more. The owner of C&C is very friendly and accommodating, but he didn’t offer a quantity discount until the order reached 1,000 rounds – which he offered to sell for $750.00. At $0.75/round, I may buy a couple hundred to keep on hand for hunting with the Savage Model 10, but it won’t be regular shooting ammo for me.

The Thunder Ammo 55gr Hornady Vmax gets my vote. Consistent 1/4″ groups, great  price for custom loads, plus excellent service and fast shipping. I highly recommend.

Happy Shooting.

Feb
20

Savage Model 10 Tactical

This is a Savage Model 10 Tactical.

Savage Model 10 Tactical in .223 Remington

Savage Model 10 Tactical in .223 Remington

This Savage is my tack-driving 223. I traded a lightly used Remington 870 Express for it in 2008 – by far the best gun deal I’ve ever made.

This bolt-action .223 is a single-shot with a follower. It has a 1:9 twist heavy barrel with a target crown, free-floated in an HS Precision stock, bedded action, and a sweet trigger job that consistently breaks clean at 12 ounces.

Savage Model 10 Tactical

Savage Model 10 Tactical

I’ve topped this rifle with a Nikon Monarch 4-16×42SF scope. I hope to upgrade the scope to a Zeiss Conquest here in the near future… this outstandingly accurate rifle deserves outstanding glass.

Savage Model 10 Tactical - Nikon Monarch 4-16x42SF

Savage Model 10 Tactical w/ Nikon Monarch 4-16x42SF

When i first picked up this rifle, it was pretty dirty. I spent some time cleaning what looked like a couple years worth of powder and copper fouling out of the barrel. The Model 10 Tactical came with rings on it, so I rummaged through a drawer and found an old, beat up Tasco 4x scope to slap on the Savage and took her to a local rifle range the next morning.

I set up at 100 yards. After a quick bore-sight, I reached in my bag to get some rounds to zero in the beater Tasco. Alas, in my haste, I had forgotten to bring ammunition with me.

Luckily, a couple other fellas at the range were testing some of their .223 loads, and offered me some of theirs.

The first guy had some 55g Noslers loaded up in new brass that he gave me to get a zero. The first shot was about 2″ high and 1/4″ to the left of the bullseye. Gave the Tasco a click to the right and tried one more, and it was right where it belonged – 2″ directly over the bullseye at 100 yards.

The second fellow range-goer had loaded up some 52g Sierra HPBT bullets in some once-fired brass. He wasn’t having very good luck with his ammo in his Thompson Contender. I shot two of his rounds at my same target and slightly widened my earlier hole. The first gentleman was incredulous, so I allowed him to shoot the rifle. His shot widened the same hole to just over 1/4″. Then the loader himself had to try it out – his shot made our three-person five-shot group 3/8″.

So we had three different shooters make one jagged hole with 5 rounds of 223 at 100 yards shooting a used Savage Model 10 with a beat up Tasco scope on it using two different kinds of ammo.

Savage Model 10 Tactical - First target

Savage Model 10 Tactical - First Target

The gentleman with with the Sierra loads was kind enough to share his recipe:
52 grain Sierra Match BTHP, Winchester primer and case, 24.5g H335.

We’ll visit this fine rifle again to see what it does with some real glass on it… and many, many different loads.

Happy shooting.