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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Gents.... The issue of ammo is one that is constant on my mind. Cost, type, Military surplus, etc etc etc. Thus, it is time to get a few things straight.

1. Berdan Primed?
2. Boxer Primed?
3. Non-Corrosive?
4. Older ammo vs Fresh?
5. Mill spec better than civilian round?

So, you can see, a few answers are needed. Recently, I saw an add where the Co. stated " dont miss this rare chance to obtain Fresh 5.56 from a lot produced in 2001. I did in fact order a box of 500. Thus, is it bad or not wise to order .223 cheap ($120 bucks for 900) ammo "produced in the late 1980's from South Africa no less? Thanks for any info......

Larry
 

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Larry,

There certainly are tons of different ammo types out there today and I understand the confusion as I have been a victim of it before. I don't make a lot of difference between berdan primed or boxer primed ammo. But if you are into reloading, then the boxer primed cartridges are what you want. All commercial ammo loaded in the US that I have seen uses boxer priming. On the other hand, most of the foreign made and overseas mil surplus is berdan primed.
I would imagine you're not going to have to worry too much about corrosive ammo for a .223 these days. Most of the corrosive ammo on the market is old ammo for bolt action military type rifles that has been around since the 1950's or even WWII for that matter. Much of the 8mm Mauser and .303 British ammo is corrosive, especially if it is mil surplus.
In regards to "older" and "fresh" ammo, that can be a tricky statement in catalogs. Most of the military surplus .223 on the market right now was produced in the 1980's or 1990's and should be fine if it was stored half-way decent. It is usually packed in sealed battlepacks also. Of course, if it is surplus from a tropical country, you could figure that it would have a greater chance of being exposed to moisture than a non-tropical nation. Most people that have tried the South African stuff like it and say it compares pretty close to US M193 ball ammo. It has a reputation for being a bit dirty, but should be ok if you give your gun a good cleaning from time to time. Also, many of the loads on the market today are "remanufactured" ammo and this is advertised often as fresh ammo in certain catalogs. I would stay away from reloads myself, as most are underpowered and I just don't trust them. I have used a few of the Coyote soft point reloads and they are pretty good. They use Lake City brass which was fired once. I think it averages about $10 per box of 50. Good varmint round perhaps.
And in regards to commercial vs mil spec, use your own judgement. Much of the mil spec runs 20 or 30 fps faster than American commercial ammo but this isn't enough of an advantage to make me care. They are both plenty hot for my uses. In case your are wondering, I use Federal American Eagle FMJ. It is accurate, clean, powerful and reliable ammo. You can but it in 55 or 62 grain variations. My second choice would probably be UMC. Just my thoughts, hope this helps.

op-rod
 

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The Boxer priming system seen in reloadable ammo was invented by an Englishman (I believe he was English). The Berdan primer seen in foriegn ammunition was invented by a U.S. Army officer, (Hiram?) Berdan, of Civil War fame (Berdan's Sharpshooters) The primary difference lies in the placement of the primer component called the anvil, needed for primer detonation. In the Berdan system the anvil is actually a part of the case, where the Boxer primer incorporates the anvil and leaves that lovely hole in the case through which your decapping pin is free to travel and push the whole expired mess out.
 

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Regarding military vs civilian -
Its my understanding that military chambers are longer than civilian(saami standard). This is because military rifles need more space so rounds still feed after 500 rounds and no cleaning.
Thats why civilian ammo will work in military arms, but it not so good an idea to use military ammo in a civilian chamber (excessive pressure)
Mini's BTW have military chambers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
HI Djskit.... Well, I am glad that you mentioned the Mini's as having "military chambers" as, I use lots of the Fed white box 5.56 m193. I like this round better than any of the "civilian rounds." The 62 grain SS109's pack a punch, but it never fails that I get asked what I am shooting when my Mini is spitting these rounds out...:)

PS Thanks to all the guys who posted on this topic as I have learned much....

Larry
 
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