So what brand(s) of ammo do you guys prefer? - Shooting Sports Forum


Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 06-16-2019, 04:14   #1
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So what brand(s) of ammo do you guys prefer?

Now I know some here prefer to roll their own but I'd like see what some of you generally feed your mini when it comes to store bought.

When it comes to performance of my mini it really likes fiocchi and bear. It also seems to like federal's bulk green tip but I don't use that for anything other than range use.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:53   #2
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For my .223/5.56s, I prefer PMC Bronze. Have tried others and just got a case of PPU M193 NATO. For my .223-only bolt gun, PMC Bronze. My Minis love both, and 100% reliable in the 39 years I've had a Mini in the family.

For my M1 Carbine, PPU - half-and-half soft point and FMJ. Theoretically, the same ballistics. Just got a case of that, too.

For pistol calibers, PMC Bronze mostly. Just got a case of 9mm PMC Bronze. Never had a failure from any PMC pistol caliber ammo.

For .22LR and WMR, CCI Mini and Maxi Mags, with a few boxes of Stingers and Velocitors. Nothing else will do for me. Federal HV and American HV generally suck on my semi-autos; In the 39 years I've been shooting CCIs, have only had one failure-to-fire (fired on the second try).
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:39   #3
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My own reloads mostly.
For the Mini 14 Speer 55gr Spitzer soft points over 26gr of BLC-2 powder.
For the Mini 30 Silver Bear 125gr soft points.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:56   #4
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Any MK262 MOD1 77 grain or clone: Either Magtech/CBC or Black Hills. Also my own 77 grain Nosler Custom Competition OTM handloads. For blasting either Federal Lake City M193 or my M193 clone handload using IMR 4064.

My 186 Mini is q 1/7 twist, so it maximizes the 77s. The 583 I had with its 1/9 also did OK with the 77s.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:47   #5
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Ok....at the risk of you calling me a low brow....I feed my Mini-14 whatever brass cased ammo is the lowest cost.

One of the things I most appreciate about the Mini is that it is not a picky eater. Minute of paper plate accuracy is sufficient for me. I just plink and if the first round is off I enjoy using a little Kentucky windage. Heaven forbid I ever have to use my Mini for something "important", but if I do...frankly it will be at a range that a bit of variation in the point of impact won't be sufficient to hinder effectiveness.

I will say that I tend to use 5.56 (M193) more than .223. Again because I am plinking I tend to go with 55 grain FMJ. Confession time...I have not found it necessary to use M855 to fight empty Campbell's Bean and Bacon soup cans into submission.

Most recently I purchased PPU 5.56 M193 55gr ball at 29₵ per trigger pull.

I am quite fond of anything produced by Lake City and IMI (Israel Military Industries) when I can pick it up at a decent price.

I am content with anything produced by the "mainline" U.S. manufacturers as well...of late most frequently Federal or Winchester.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:02   #6
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Originally Posted by jumpluff View Post
Ok....at the risk of you calling me a low brow....I feed my Mini-14 whatever brass cased ammo is the lowest cost.
Lol I'm not judging. I was just curious on what type of ammo people prefer to use because I know everyone has different preference as well as the saying goes "every mini is not the same."
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Old 06-16-2019, 13:45   #7
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I bought my old 185 series new in 1990 it has Never jammed not once. it eats all steel & brass .223/5.56 with no problems.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:46   #8
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For the Mini - anything cheap - it eats it all

When I can get it at decent prices though, I do prefer the Federal XM193 and XM885 stuff in 5.56 (the Lake City stuff), otherwise I usually run .223. Never had a problem with any brand of ammo so far - even Tula ran fantastic when I had a bunch. Currently have a large crate of PMC Bronze that was on a killer sale, and so far, so good with that as well. Usually try to stay at 55gr. due to the Mini's barrel, although throwing heavier bullets through the Mini doesn't seem to matter with my aim

For the 10/22, anything CCI, although I prefer the Stingers. Just love the sound those make, the speed, and their flat trajectory. Great round! Mini-Mags are great too. .22 is so cheap, you can splurge on the nice stuff and still be surprised at the checkout - "Did I forget something?". Especially when you're used to more expensive rounds

In .40sw, for plinking I like the Winchester White Box stuff in 165gr. Used to shoot 180 grain, but it's hard to reliably find defensive loads in 180, so had to teach myself out of it. WWB burns clean and is cheap enough, particularly when you can find those "Range" boxes at your local Walmart. For defensive loads, it's all about the Federal HST. You simply cannot beat HST, although it's expensive to train with (you do train with your defensive loads, right????).

In 9mm, for plinking I again use WWB in 124gr since that's easiest to find in defensive loads. I've also had great luck with Magtech - LGS usually has that on killer sale and so far, not one misfire. For defensive loads, I again default to Federal HST.

I've run Hornady Critical Defense before for both calibers, and no complaints on how they shoot or cycle - but expansion and penetration tests for defensive rounds convinced me to switch to HST full time and not look back.

For 12ga. trap and skeet (7-1/2 or 8 shot), pretty much anything again except Winchester AA, that stuff smells bad and is really dirty... although I currently have a lot of this stuff left since it's dirty cheap... probably too much of it I favor Remington Gun Club and Fiocchi when it's on sale. I've found the primers on the Fiochhi to be particularly good if you've got a shotgun that's prone to light primer strikes...

For 12ga. slugs and buck, I've no preference yet. Just picked up a new Mossberg 590a1 Retrograde (beautiful!!!!), but haven't taken it out yet. After all these years of trap and skeet, I have yet to own a pump - problem's now solved!
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:47   #9
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Mine seems to like most of what I've fed her. IMI 5.56, Fiocci .223, American Eagle 5.56, Armscor 62 gn .223, Federal M185 and 5.56 Green tip, MK318. Any differences are more me than the ammo.
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Old 06-18-2019, 14:07   #10
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Wolf Gold
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Old 06-18-2019, 14:53   #11
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My reloads and PMC. If I want to step it up I get Winchester white box in .223 or 5.56. Pretty much anything M-193 or close to it.

I have a ton of Tula I bought when I was working for Walmart but it spend most of it's life in my reserve ammo stash. I just hope it doesn't rust it's been in there so long.

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Old 06-18-2019, 15:54   #12
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For Mini-30 7.62x39

There are a lot of good brands in 7.62x39, so it's hard to nail down "Best."

I favor boat-tail bullets for most things, so my two favorite brands of x39 for the Mini-30 are somewhat similar, but very different: One is US made brass case and the other is lacquered steel case from Russia made by Vympel. Both have high BC boat-tail bullets, are hotter than many other brands and very accurate in this 189 Series Mini-30 of mine:

1) Federal American Eagle 124 GR FMJ No. A76239A brass case

2) Vympel (Golden Tiger or RAS branded equivalent) 124 GR FMJBT steel case

The Golden Tiger branded doesn't have a model number. It's just GT FMJBT.

The Red Army Standard equivalent from Vympel is No. AM2423

There are plenty other good brands. I've shot them all from Lapua to Tulamo. But I really love the Vympel GT/RAS, and I've been using Federal American Eagle since I bought this Mini-30 nearly 30 years ago. (30 years come October)

Other top choices are PPU brass case. I've been using that since it was branded Hansen Cartridge Company back in the day. Geco in x39 is another good one for brass case.

I'm looking forward to trying some Silver Bear based on Sandog's good reports. It's made by Barnaul, which I've had good experience with it in the past.
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Old 06-19-2019, 19:02   #13
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Anything brass cased between 45 and 62 grains.
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Old 06-19-2019, 20:15   #14
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I do have three 30 round factory mags loaded with 62 Grain M855 steel penetrator for hard targets. It prints close enough to the MK262 MOD1s. They reside with three magazines of MK262 MOD1 77 grains in my 1980s vintage Galati International "6 pack" shoulder bag. I got it when I got my first Mini-14, a 180 series, in the early 1980s. Still a great bag. I have a Ruger factory 20 with MK262 MOD1 in the 186, and a 30 rounder full of it to stick in my back pocket as a back up mag if I grab the rifle for goblins, trolls, zombies, or coyote.

If it were not for the fact my 186 series Mini-14 has a 1/7 twist and loves 77 grainers, I would stick with 55 grain M193 ball, IMI or Federal Lake City. I have seen what it does, and I can tell you that M193 makes wicked wounds! I have about 2,000 rounds of factory M193, to go with my 850 rounds of MK262 MOD1 factory and clone reloads, and another 500 rounds of my M193 clone reloads.

For my 9mm handguns (1 Glock 19 I have had since 1993, and a new S&W M&P Shield with High-Viz sights) for carry I use either Federal 9BPLE 115 +P+ Illinois State Police load (Making bad felons into "good" felons for 40 years!), or the Speer Gold Dot 124 +P, NYPD load (doing the same for 20 years). For plinking, I use anything cheap. I had some Nato cross head stamped WCC 124 FMJs, and they were hot!
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Old 06-19-2019, 20:33   #15
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My Mini-14 has been eating alot of 62gr Frontier stuff by Hornady. It's proven 100% reliable and they don't crimp the primers like Federal, at $.33 a round I can't really complain!
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:35   #16
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Federal Lake City and Independence XM193. I have a very strong dislike for any steel case ammo.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:37   #17
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Since 7.62x39 in brass is harder to come by for my 30 I just stick to Hornady. I'm not particularly willing to attempt steel case ammo.

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Old 06-20-2019, 08:55   #18
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Anything but Tula!
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:42   #19
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Originally Posted by jumpluff View Post
Ok....at the risk of you calling me a low brow....I feed my Mini-14 whatever brass cased ammo is the lowest cost.

One of the things I most appreciate about the Mini is that it is not a picky eater. Minute of paper plate accuracy is sufficient for me. I just plink and if the first round is off I enjoy using a little Kentucky windage. Heaven forbid I ever have to use my Mini for something "important", but if I do...frankly it will be at a range that a bit of variation in the point of impact won't be sufficient to hinder effectiveness.

I will say that I tend to use 5.56 (M193) more than .223. Again because I am plinking I tend to go with 55 grain FMJ. Confession time...I have not found it necessary to use M855 to fight empty Campbell's Bean and Bacon soup cans into submission.

Most recently I purchased PPU 5.56 M193 55gr ball at 29₵ per trigger pull.

I am quite fond of anything produced by Lake City and IMI (Israel Military Industries) when I can pick it up at a decent price.

I am content with anything produced by the "mainline" U.S. manufacturers as well...of late most frequently Federal or Winchester.
Jump, zero offense taken! It is all what you are most comfortable with!

ALL my firearms serve secondary duty as home/farm defense, so I have a higher requirement than range-only shooting. That goes to lowly .22LR pistols and rifles on up. Perhaps a different mind-set, but ANY firearm I grab (with its ammo) must perform all functions. PPU or whatever does that with the Minis rapidly available; with .223 there to dispatch - at range - rabid foxes/skunks. In all likelihood, I'd get closer to the critter to certify, and in that case I'd be more likely to have my CX4, but in that case, it is whatever you have available.

We all have different circumstances and concerns. It is the way with America!!!
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Old 06-20-2019, 16:23   #20
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In my Mini-14 and AR-15, I prefer Federal XM193 (55 gr FMJ). It has the slightly harder primers that are safer in the AR but always goes bang in the Mini. Most lots have the sealed primers and bullets, in case I have to store the gun and ammo under water (j/k). It's definitely not match ammo, but usually gives groups within about 1" of what better ammo will do in my Mini.

Prices on XM193 vary considerably, I wait until someone has an internet sale and buy a case on stripper clips and use the Striplula to fill my mags. If I'm willing to refill my "used" strippers, it gets cheaper.

PMC 55 gr is nice but low in velocity, averaging 10 rds each from several lots of PMC Gold and Federal XM193, the PMC was over 300 fps slower. Since FMJ gets its wounding potential from tumbling in target, and reduced velocity can reduce or prevent tumbling, I go for the XM193.

I've reloaded 9mm for decades but will probably go to cheap factory ball for practice because the savings of reloading have become so small. 5.56 has a bigger price difference but I don't shoot a lot of it so it's still not worth setting my 650 up for that. A fair amount of my rifle shooting is with a 10-22.
OTOH, .380 Auto and .38/.357 Mag are well worth my time to reload.

I hate any kind of commercial reloads. Back in the day, I tested various brands of 9mm reloads as practice ammo for my PD and every one (local and big names) I tested had problems that were annoying and possibly dangerous.
"If you want to know all the things that can be done wrong in reloading, buy commercial reloads."
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Old 06-20-2019, 18:23   #21
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Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim View Post
"If you want to know all the things that can be done wrong in reloading, buy commercial reloads."
Particularly in .40sw! The number of commercial reloads I've seen that already had setback... at dangerous, potentially "hand grenade" levels is staggering. Although .40sw is more prone to that than other calibers...
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:34   #22
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PMC 55 gr is nice but low in velocity, averaging 10 rds each from several lots of PMC Gold and Federal XM193, the PMC was over 300 fps slower. Since FMJ gets its wounding potential from tumbling in target, and reduced velocity can reduce or prevent tumbling, I go for the XM193.
Gearhead, thanks for the info! I don't own a chrono.
I would guess my PMC Bronze is even worse!!! (not being "Gold")

Would it be inappropriate or inconvenient to point out that PMC doesn't offer a "Gold"????

Perhaps you were confused with Wolf Gold...which does seem slower.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:38   #23
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Ok, he's a follow-up question - what off-the-shelf match grade ammo do you guys prefer? In 5.56 or .223? And why?

... for those of us who don't reload...
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:49   #24
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I’m no expert, but everything I have read says that Wolf Gold is on par with the XM193, and within 50fps of M193. I believe it is the PMC Bronze that is slow.
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Old 06-21-2019, 13:12   #25
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Hopalong, it seems the opposite: Wolf Gold being softer than PMC. Can't recall the several sites that compared, but that was the take I got. Didn't matter to me, PMC Bronze is consistent for my needs/desires.

Regardless, whatever the FPS, it is reliable FPS that really matters beyond about 50 meters, and PMC works for me. YMMV...
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