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From: Doug White <>
Subject: Re: Eley ammo choices?
Organization: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

In article <>, <> writes:

# Larry Riffle ( wrote:
# : Second, something with the same specs but perhaps looser
# : tolerances for general practice.
# Oops.  Conflicting comments.  The expensive stuff is so priced because
# it has tighter (or lower) tolerances.  Tolerance is how much measurable
# things vary from the specifications.  Most rimfire match ammo companies
# make each lot of ammo as close to specifications stuff as they can.  Then
# they test it.  The best stuff goes into boxes that sell for big bucks.
# And the worst stuff goes in boxes that sell for little bucks.
# BB

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Bart on this one.  It is possible to
get very good results from (relatively) cheap ammo, particularly for pistol.
Match ammo is not just carefully selected from regular production runs,
it's _made_ more carefully than the regular stuff.  It's possible that the
'2nd best' grade consists of lots not considered quite good enough for
the top match grade.

For competitive pistol shooting, most standard (target) velocity ammo is
plenty accurate for anything but top level national or international
competitions.  Particularly for any event involving timed or rapid fire,
reliability is more important than pinpoint accuracy.  I have lost far
more points from duds, squib (light) loads, and ammo that wouldn't cycle
properly than from any discernable lack of accuracy.

I buy my ammo as follows: 1) find a dealer that has something promising in
large quantities.  2) Buy a brick, and burn through it as quickly as possible
to identify any problems.  3) If it works reliably in your gun, go back and
buy a case FROM THE SAME LOT.  4) If you have any problems, go back to step
1.  My personal preference at this time is for Federal Gold Medal (which
used to be their 'Classic'), which sells for $150 a case (5000 rounds).  It
has a much lighter, cleaner lube than the last Winchester T22 I shot, and
the last several batches of Remington Standard Velocity were the worst
ammo I've ever shot.  The tolerances on the Federal are such that it will
chamber in pistols with tight chambers (revolvers and free pistols), which
Remington and Hanson won't.  All of this has (and will) change with time.
The case of Federal I have at the moment has gone over 1500 rounds without
a single misfire or jam in my High Standard Victor.  MIT just got a different
lot of the Federal, and the second box a friend shot had a serious dud
(wouldn't fire after repeated hits).

If you have more time than money, you can also screen your ammo even further.
I would only consider this for silhouette or international free pistol, but
you can sort your ammo for matches with a rim thickness gauge.  These are
available from several sources, and are popular with some smallbore rifle
shooters.  A measurable reduction in group size (with a rifle) has been
reported by several shooters I know.  Unless you are shooting in the Master
class in pistol, I wouldn't worry about it.  The standard deviation of all
but the best pistol shots is much larger than what any good ammo should
shoot out of a modern pistol, particular with the one hand hold required
for most competition.  If it makes you feel any more confident to shoot Ely
in a match, DO IT.  As for practice, just stick with the standard grade, but
be ready to do some experimenting.  Every gun is different, and what works
reliably in one pistol may not work in another.

Note: None of this applies to smallbore rifle.  There the rifles and
shooters can achieve much more demanding performance from their ammo, and
little differences can be quite noticable.

Doug White
MIT Lincoln Laboratory

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