Half Price Varmint Nightmare AR-15 Bullets from Midsouth

Bullets, bullets bullets and more bullets! The Varmint Nightmare 55 grain hollowpoint from Midsouth Shooter Supply is sold in a minumum 500 bullet bulk pack. If you shoot a lot and want to save some money, they are an extremely good quality and consistent bullet for about half price.

Midsouth send us a box of these bullets, and as you can see, they are no frills from a packaging perspective, but they performed like a name brand bullet. This Hornady virgin brass and Hodgdon CFE 223, for “Copper Fouling Eraser,” proved to be a great combination.

You have to respect a bullet that consistently shoots into an inch through an off the shelf Rock River AR with no special bells and whistles.

Each charge was individually weighed at 27.5 grains by the Hornady Auto Charge. If you click to make this photo bigger, you will see that it uses an electric powder trickler to reach the target charge. First it goes fast, then it slows down.

It took about 30 seconds per charge for the measure to nail 27.5 exactly.

CFE 223 is specifically made for drop powder measures, but we used the Auto Charge for the article to make sure. Most drops from this Hornady measure of CFE 223 were exact, and never more than 2/10ths off.

These CCI NATO primers are inexpensive through Midsouth, and because they are to military specs, probably as consistent as any match primer.

We came up with this measurement for this bullet using the Hodgdon website data for 53 and 55 grain bullets. Remember, RELOAD AT YOUR OWN RISK WE DO NOT GIVE RELOADING ADVICE.

This bullet does not have a crimping groove in it, and we reloaded them in this single stage Hornady Lock N’ Load with New Dimension .223 dies.

It is tough to measure things like jacket thickness and density from one bullet to the next, but the weights were nearly all perfect at exactly 55 grains.

The performance of these Varmint Nightmare bullets was second to none in these tests, and they should be equally impressive on game.

Midsouth Varmint Nightmare Bullets


Half price bullets for an AR-15 is a dream come true for many shooters. But is cheaper inferior? That is exactly our question as we take a look at the half priced bulk purchase .223 “Varmint Nightmare” bullets from Midsouth Shooters Supply. In the interest of full disclosure, Midsouth is an advertiser here on GunsAmerica, but most of the gun industry advertises here over the course of the year, and we try to be objective as possible when it comes to products that our people plan to go out and buy. If these bullets weren’t every bit as good as bullets twice their cost, we simply wouldn’t have written about them.

If you look at the prices of “name brand” bullets for the AR-15, they run about $130-170 per thousand. Varmint Nightmare bullets go for as low as $157 per two thousand, and even in the lowest quantity of 500 bullets, that box costs only $46.59 at Midsouth. And note that Midsouth is a complete shooters supply house, so they sell bullets from Hornady, Barnes, Speer, Sierra and others, and their prices are usually the lowest online. We haven’t been able to test these half price bullets on game, but the accuracy is great and they seem to be extremely consistent. For popping crows or prairie dogs for an afternoon, clanging steel for 3 gun, or just heading out to the range with your handy dandy SlideFire for some blasting, half price is always welcome. These bullets seem to be a great buy.

How is it possible that Midsouth could sell the same .224 diameter 55 grain bullet for half price? One is probably that they don’t spend any real money on advertising them. You also can’t buy small boxes. They come in a bulk plastic sleeve inside a plain cardboard box with a sticker label in a minimum quantity of that 500 box, and there aren’t a lot of options for bullet choices. Few options means you can get the most out of long production runs of one type, and I’m sure they buy these bullets in huge quantities from one of the big bullet makers, then re-package them to save you money .

We tested the 55 grain hollowpoint with no cannelure, the last product listed on the linked page of all the Varmint Nightmare bullets. If you plan to re-load your brass several times you are better off with bullets without the cannalure for a heavy crimp. Heavy crimps are to keep the bullet in one place under heavy recoil, but they chew up your brass quicker. In an AR mag with the light recoil of the .223 cartridge, I have never seen bullets pushing back into the case to be an issue. As with all of the reloading/handloading articles here, we do not give reloading advice, so please follow only what it says in your reloading manual.

As you can see from the pictures, for this article I made careful handloads, not high volume progressive press reloads. There is a difference, but the difference should not be that significant with modern equipment. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be considered the best these bullets can do, because there is always something you can change to make a load potentially better.

These tests were made with virgin Hornady .223 brass, military CCI 5.56 primers, 27.5 grains of Hodgdon CFE .223 (the new “Copper Fouling Eraser” powder for .223 and .308), and I used the Hornady Lock N’ Load Auto Charge Powder Scale, that has a built in trickler, to make sure that the powder charge was 100% consistent.

It is slow going with the big Hornady Auto Charge machine. But since I loaded with a single stage press, I was able to go back and forth between the 30 seconds or so that the Auto Charge takes to do its thing. The CFE .223 powder is made so that it mostly fills the case, so double charging is impossible, because it over-runs, like a lot. So if you are loading .223 single stage, and you have plenty of loading trays, you could theoretically load up your powder with a funnel while occupied with something else, like watching Idol. Fortunately though, if you are progressive reloading .223, the CFE .223 generally threw within 2/10ths of a grain every time using the Hornady measure. Since this article was about the bullets, and how consistent they shoot, I thought it was worth the time to use the Auto Charge, but in bulk loading myself I would use the measure.

Did it make a difference? I don’t know, but what I can say is that Ben Becker, our resident US Army Sniper, shot the bullets consistently into about an inch at 100 yards. The rifle is a Rock River LAR-15 A4 24″ varmint gun and the scope is the Vortex Viper PST. This rifle is generally about a 1 inch/1 MOA gun, so these bullets shot side by side the same accuracy as any name brand factory ammo we have shot in it. I also weighed dozens of the bullets and they were exactly 55 grains, nearly every one, and there was not one bullet I tried that was more than 1/10th of a grain off. There are other factors to bullet consistency besides overall weight of course, but if the weight is any indication, these bullets are crazy consistent for the cost of them, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them for any AR-15 application, at, don’t forget, half price.

Now, I have to share with you something that was a huge surprise while testing these bullets. If you look at the reloading data on the Hodgdon website, they of course don’t have Varmint Nightmare bullets in their loads, but if you look at the 53 and 55 grain data for CFE.223, it gives you a range of 26 to at least 27.8, or even 28.5 grains. We used 27.5 grains, checked on the Hornady Auto Charge, which was checked for calibration before testing. We should be well within safety limits for these bullets, and shooting them, they showed no signs of excess pressure, but, hold on to your hats, we clocked these rounds at 3350 feet per second out of the Rock River 24″ rifle.

Just to check, I clocked Hornady Superformance and Superformance Varmint on the same day with the same Chrony chronograph (Ben, in his infinite wisdom that only US Army Snipers must endure, shot up my PACT). The Superformance clocked at 3370, and the Superformance Varmint clocked at 3552. Not all of the Varmint Nightmare bullets have a ballistic coefficient listed, but some say .220, which is fairly efficient for a .223 bullet. . Downrange there is really no comparison to Superformance Varmint, but this an expensive factory load you have buy 20 at a time. For simple no frills handloads, this is great performance out of CFE 223 and Varmint Nightmare. You can’t really do much better. Great velocity, great accuracy, no offense to name brand bullets, but who needs anything else? Bullets are by far the most expensive component in reloads, and I’ll take half price any day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Laverne February 27, 2015, 9:34 pm

    I have been using Midsouth Varmint Nightmare bullets since 1998. I load them for my Bushmaster DCM, my Windham M4, Remington 788 22-250, and my Venture .223… I use them for both hunting and competition. It took about 100 rounds in each gun to find a load that was consistent and accurate, but once I did there was no turning back. I have put literally 10,000 of these through my 4 rifles and they are phenomenal! I particularly like the 55g SP with cannelure, but the 55g HP are pretty good as well. All have won competitions and have devastated the wood chuck population here using these…
    Take your time developing a load… Don’t just pick a load in the book and say blah when your only getting 1-1/2″ groups… I can easily get 1/2 or less groups at 100 yards with these… Loads that hold 1/2″ group at 100 in my bushmaster don’t shoot worth crap in my bolt action… They have their own load. If you don’t have the know how to develop a load then find an old timer that understands the ins and outs of reloading. They love to pass on their knowledge.. If patients is the issue then reloading is not for you… Go to the store and pay big $$ for Hornady and take the group size you get cause you’ll never be satisfied with reloading results…

  • Bruce December 12, 2012, 10:44 pm

    Are these true copper jacketed or just copper plated bullets? Thanks….

    • Administrator December 13, 2012, 8:08 am

      They are jacketed.

    • Administrator December 13, 2012, 8:08 am

      They are jacketed.

  • CIA December 4, 2012, 5:51 am

    ¿Apareceran las cajas negras del Patriot en el todo a cien Turko? ya hay dos todo a cien censados.

  • Norm Mastalarz December 3, 2012, 10:50 am

    I’ve been shooting these Midsouth ,224 bullets, both 50 and 55 grain SP’s, for a few years now, and I’ve been pleased with their accuracy and lower cost. I shoot them in a Savage M12 varminter, and both Franklin and DPMS 5.56 NATO AR-15’s in heavy barrel configuration, 1 in 8″ and 1 in 9″ twists respectively. I’ve had good results using both CFE and Hodgdon Varget powders. One inch 5-shot 100 yard groups are common, and on my good days groups will shade 1/2 inch. When I’m after pure accuracy I load Hornady V-Max and Nosler Ballistic tip bullets, but for volume shooting I don’t think the price/performance ratio of the Varmint Nightmare products can be beaten. Ditto for Midsouth Shooter’s Supply in general. They are my go-to source for shooting supplies, and their prices are generally tough to beat as well.

  • phil July 13, 2012, 2:53 pm

    What was your C.O.A.L with that load?


    • Administrator July 13, 2012, 7:29 pm

      ugh don’t remember whatever the hornady book says.

  • Jay July 4, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Just remember when ordering if you live in the country as I do, 2 Miles out of town, they will charge more for shipping. I am also Class 7 dealer and that made no difference. Only 3-4 bucks but money is money!

  • Van June 2, 2012, 11:54 pm

    In reference to the above post, I shoot Colt AR’s all with 1/7 twist rate. They will shoot a 55 grain but not lighter. Of course they prefer a 60 grain or heavier. Does the company produce a 60 grain weight? I do not see this listed on their sight at a glance, I ask due to the above poster stating her received 60 grain bullets.

    Also, the hollow point is designed to expand correct? Some times it is confusing between which bullets are designed with a hollow point for accuracy (match) and which for terminal ballistic performance.

    Thank you for the article, I have never done business with this company, but may well in the near future.

    • Administrator June 3, 2012, 12:31 am

      They will shoot fine in your Colt.

  • Jeff May 18, 2012, 11:35 am

    I don’t want to be the wet blanket here, but I ordered 500 of the bullets you described above 5 years ago and every one on them weighed 60 grains, not the 55 grains as advertised. Not a big deal in my 1:12 twist T/C in 223, but I would have liked to have known that BEFORE I made the purchase. As you point out, they had a very consistent weight (in my case 60 grains!) and they shot great. I used them to wreck a whole pile of prairie dogs in South Dakota with shots from 50 yards to about 350. The moral of this story for us handloaders is clear – take a few minutes and weigh a couple samples of any bullet you are about to reload.

  • David Strutz May 2, 2012, 7:21 pm

    Gary, call Midsouth directly and ask the nice lady, that’s what I did.

  • Gary May 2, 2012, 12:41 am

    They are sold out the same day the ad appears? Hoe can one figure shipping costs before submitting an order?

  • Jim May 2, 2012, 12:15 am

    I’m confused, are the Varment Nightmare bullets 1/2 price after the buyer reloads
    them, are are they finished 223 bullets ready to shoot.
    If they’re ready to shoot, how do I go about ordering them

    Thank You in Advance

    • Administrator May 2, 2012, 2:23 am


  • David Strutz May 1, 2012, 1:28 pm

    Regarding the Midsouth varmint nightmare .223 bullets, it would be nice to know what country they were made in, but Midsouth declines to say.

  • W ILLIS FOWKES April 30, 2012, 9:48 pm


    • Administrator April 30, 2012, 11:43 pm

      They are all in there and linked into the product pages on Midsouth. The rifle you can get from Rock River and the optic you can get at Optics Planet or even Amazon.

  • Steve E April 30, 2012, 11:46 am

    My friend shoots MidSouth bulk 20cal in his custom 20Vartarg, he gets bullet hole thru hole are 50yards and 1/4 -/+ MOA at 100yrds and devastating results on the thousands of grounds squirrels out in the alfalfa fields her in Nor CA/ So OR.

    If you do a lot of shooting then re-load as there is no need to shoot high end bullets or factory high end loads.

    Myself I do buy factory Hornady *SuperPerformace in .243 because I just don’t shoot it a lot other than calling in coyotes or perhaps a cougar about once a month, and factory Hornady *SP in 7Mag for deer in season.

    So there is a place for both types of ammo / bullets.

  • Dale Watson April 30, 2012, 10:57 am

    I have a Les Bear super varmint with a 1-8″ twist. How would these bullets perform with that twist rate?

    • Administrator April 30, 2012, 11:23 am

      A 55 grain bullet should work very well.

  • JL Busby April 30, 2012, 10:36 am

    Hey Thank You for the great information, I have been thinking about the cost of reloading vs: market cost and you gave me some great information on what to look over. Also Very well done, thanks again!

  • R Davis April 30, 2012, 8:45 am

    They dont appear to be boat tails so that could be part of the cheaper cost.
    Still not bad cost wise. Good bullet to have as spares when the end comes.
    First the ammo, then the guns.

  • Safetyman April 30, 2012, 8:07 am

    Hey thanks for the info. Very complete and useful.

  • bushy April 30, 2012, 6:22 am

    would you have 180g of 30.06 projectiles or bullets what is the price and freight to Australia 3726 cod

    • ken February 8, 2014, 3:48 pm

      Bro check Midway USA and see if they ship to your country…they should . Now if you just want cast lead bullets with a hardness of like 18 brnl then try bullet miester they have bullets of cast lead from 500 to 1000.

  • JLA April 30, 2012, 5:34 am

    If you use one of the automatic powder dispensers like the Hornady Auto Charge there is a trick you can use to speed them up quite a bit. I use my powder measure to throw a charge that is about 5 grains less than what I want & dump it into the pan on my Lyman DPS 1200 III. That why it only has to dispense 5gr to reach to total desired charge weight. You get the same very exacting accuracy, but in MUCH less time!

    • Administrator April 30, 2012, 6:25 am

      Just remember to turn the “automatic” setting off lol.

Send this to a friend