Gorilla .223 Ammo
Buy Direct: http://www.gorillaammo.com/
Colt Match Ammo (Black Hills)
At Midway in Stock
The concept of “match ammo” surprises some people. Guns go bang and the bullet makes a hole in whatever the gun is pointed at, right? Yes, and while almost all ammo will function and do some damage downrange, there is a huge variation to how precisely the ammo is manufactured. You can set the automated ammo machines for five rounds a minute or 500 rounds per minute. But at 500 rounds per minute, the precision of the ammo sharply declines. It takes time to make sure that powder is measured precisely, that primers are seated corrected, and that bullets are inserted and secured evenly. Handloaders know this, because they do all of these steps one at a time, when making “match quality” ammo, but with the high price of ammo these days, it has become profitable for more and more new manufacturers to get into the game of match ammo and produce some really amazing results. We were blown away by one of these companies, Gorilla Ammo, while testing the Ruger American .223 (1/2MOA), so we decided to pit that ammo up against a Colt-branded match ammo from Black Hills. The results will surprise you.
Our test rifle is a bit of an odd nut. It started its life as a standard Rock River LAR-15 with a 24” barrel and an A2 stock, meant for long range varmint hunting. Most of the rifle is still how it came from the factory, but we upgraded the upper with a StraightJacket from Teludyne Tech. We have done several articles on this system over the years, and it is truly amazing.
The reason we chose this particular rifle is because the StraightJacket doesn’t vary in its accuracy much after the barrel heats up. Whatever the base accuracy of the rifle, that accuracy should carry through even a couple magazines into shooting, even rapid fire. The StraightJacket keeps the barrel rigid and wicks heat from the chamber. That takes most accuracy-hurting variables out of the equation. This gun was ‘Jacketed before the new 4th Gen StraightJacket, so it has the gas tube inside the jacket, and the point of impact walks a bit for the initial shots as the gas tube expands, but once it is hot it stays at that point of impact indefinitely. This rifle seemed like a fitting platform to test ammo head-to-head, because you couldn’t argue that one was shot first and the other shot later. Our actual tests went back and forth between these two brands, some Hornady Match Ammo, and even some Fiocchi range ammo. Unlike some reviewers out there, we don’t just fire a group, take a picture and leave early for lunch. Our results cover over 200 rounds.
This is more of a photo essay than anything else, so please look through the photos and captions if you want the nuts and bolts of the tests. Overall, the Gorilla ammo outperformed both the Black Hills Colt and the Hornady, but not by much. It was the opposite for the chronograph numbers. Comparing extreme spread and standard deviation, the Black Hills Colt won. Ultimately, the actual accuracy results on any rifle are going to boil down to which ammo the gun liked more. Both Gorilla and Black Hills use Sierra bullets, but slightly different models and weights. Hornady makes their own bullets, and the 75 grain in our test ammo is similar in shape and ballistic coefficient to the two Sierras.
Human error of course played a factor in these tests as well. For instance, the Hornady groups weren’t really shot until the end of the day, and we only had one box left of it so we didn’t get to do any chronograph testing with it. If you notice, the targets tend to have three or four rounds close, with one or two “fliers” or “enhanced human error” shots. For an off-the-shelf, not tricked out AR, these are great groups. And remember, the Gorilla ammo shot into less than 1/2MOA with that Ruger bolt gun. Most people don’t shoot bolt guns in .223/5.56 for competition, so an off the shelf AR from a high-end manufacturer was appropriate. The StraightJacket was just there to level the playing field across our testing.
We are not only living in the golden age of firearms. This is also the golden age of ammo. Before Hornady basically invented the concept of precision ammo, we were all stuck with green and yellow box Remington that didn’t seem to shoot well in anything. You would do just fine with either of these new match grade offerings in the ammo market. And the Colt might even become collectible someday.