Above: Federal Bulk (left) and Wolf Military (right) 9mm, 115 gr. FMJ. Make the jump for the primers’ eye view. Now how much would you pay? [h/t to JeffD]

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59 Responses to Question of the Day: How Picky Are You About Your Ammo?

  1. It’s got to have brass casings because I reload. Usually just federal bulk for handguns. Genuine Lake City ammo for the AR, even then, those cases are reloaded.

  2. I only have ARs, and I only shoot brass through my BCM, and tulammo through my delton. Although I often shoot hornady match through my delton because its more accurate.

  3. I’ve put a lot of steel case through my AR. Herters brand. Accuracy was acceptable and function was flawless. I reload all my serious ammo, but when I needed 500 rounds for the AR for an Appleseed shoot, I just didn’t have time to make up 500 rounds and I couldn’t afford 500 rounds of brass cased. At that time I could by Herters for 3.99 a box of 20. Now that it’s running about $6 that deal isn’t nearly as good. The 9mm gets brassed cased reloads, but I’ve got a full progressive and 5k cases that I use for that.

  4. As long as my firearm likes it I do too. However 1 of my firearms is very picky about what I feed it. The rest will eat anything from junk ammo to premo made stuff.

  5. I’m more concerned about what is inside those cases. Cheap ammo uses cheap powder and can be inconsistent. The bullets don’t matter much for target shooting paper but the core needs to be lead so I can shoot at more places.

    • This.

      My two XD9 Service pistols tend to have issues with Winchester White Box, and American Eagle — the constant issue is failures to extract.

      Other than that, they’ve eaten EVERYTHING I’ve fed them, from Herters (steel) to wolf (steel) to Federal Champion (brass)….

  6. I’m picky only in regard to the ammo I might use for self defense. For that use, I want premium ammo that has a good reputation for effectiveness on the street by LE agencies as opposed to Jello testing. For range ammo, not so much. I once would avoid steel-cased and steel-jacketed ammo like the plague. But the prices made me decide to try it and I found the cheap Russian stuff to be reliable and perfectly functional. I broke in my first SIG with Brown Bear 9mm and I regularly use Tula in my .45ACP guns.

    Once I considered the fact that most of the autoloading handguns I own can trace their origin and design–if not their actual manufacture–to European countries where steel-cased and steel-jacketed ammo is in common use, it was a no-brainer to start using it at the range.

  7. Federal 9mm & PMC .223 in 500/1000 round bulk for range use. Speer for 9mm carry, Black Hills .223 for serious target & defense of the fortress, reloads for all .308. A group of us always buy shotgun ammo by the pallet depending on what’s available at what price.

  8. As long as it goes “bang” and shoots consistently, I’m not picky. I don’t worry about dirty powder, because I clean my guns thoroughly after every trip to the range.

    For instance, PMC in 45 acp is pretty dirty. But, for whatever reason, the round is very consistent.

  9. Make the jump for the primers’ eye view. Now how much would you pay?

    Not sure what you’re getting at here.

    I’d get the Federal, just because I’m willing to pay a bit more for reloadable brass. (Yes, I handload 9mm, along with almost everything else I shoot.) But, I would not hesitate to shoot Wolf, or Tula.

  10. I dont shoot cheap euro ammo mainly because i find the primers to be to stiff or of poor quality but multiple duds is not something i want when i can buy american for not a whole lot more that will always work.

  11. The only ammo I’ve ever had problems with is some Remington .22 that would fail to fire in about 1 out of every 25 or 50 shots.

    Other than that, I’m happy to shoot whatever rotgun ComBloc ammo is on sale at CTD.

    My only gripe with Tula, Wolf, and the others is that they don’t make .38 Special. It’s enough to make me want to trade in one of my .38’s on a S&W 947 (the 9mm DA revolver they made for a few years in the 80’s.)

      • Patrick: My bad, correct number is 547, not 947. This was the 9mm K-frame 4″ bbl. My internet search reveals that only about 10,000 were made from 1980-85, so they fetch a high premium now. S&W also made a J-frame (compact) DA revolver in 9mm, the 940.

  12. BTW, my Del Ton kit came with stern warnings not to use steel cased Wolf or similar ammo. Not sure why but I’ve put several hundred rounds through it with no issues. I don’t know whether it’s risk-averse legal department language or if there’s a real difference but I’ve been shooting Tula for a couple of years now.

  13. For target shooting and plinking, I buy what’s cheap. Sometimes it’s brass case, sometimes it’s steel case.

    For serious work, I buy quality ammo.

    I’d like to start reloading though, mainly because I think it’s a neat hobby and a compliment to shooting.

  14. For my XD(M) .40 at the range, it’s Georgia Arms reloads from the gun show, or basic Remington FMJ when I run out of the GA. I’ve never really used anything else, because those are the most economical thing I can find for practicing (500 rounds in a steel ammo can for .27/round). For EDC, of course I use better stuff; right now it’s Hornaday Critical Defense.

    My Sig Mosquito came with a note that said they recommended CCI ammo, and boy are they not kidding. The day I bought it I had most of a Remington brick left over from my 10/22, so I used that. I think I had one FTE in every magazine, but the gun was brand new, so I shrugged it off. I’ve since put several hundred rounds of both Remington and CCI through it, and while the Remington FTE rate is down to one in every four or five magazines, I’ve never once had a failure using CCI ammo. Visually, there are no obvious differences in case size or construction, but there is definitely a difference in how they perform.

    • Remington .22 LR ammo sucks. Winchester is even worse. CCI is much cleaner and more reliable. For the extra money you pay for CCI, however, I would really expect more in the accuracy department. IMHO, european ammo such as Eley, SK, Wolf, RWS, etc is way more accurate.

      • In my experience, CCI, Federal, and Winchester are pretty high up as far as domestic ammo. Remington is just absolute shit.

        I dont see you are getting that Winchester is worse than Remington?

        I know I shoot Fed and Winchester bulk pack from Walmart pretty much all the time and have only maybe 1 out of every 500 not go off or require a second strike.

      • Remington thunder bolt 22 is literally the worst 22lr ammo i’ve ever shot. it leaves all this gritty crap every inside my 22/45.

    • I beg to differ on Remington 22. I use it in three firearms, a SIG 1911-22, a bolt action savage Mk II and a model 64 with hardly a hiccup. Winchester only works in the bolt action. I use CCI for small game and varmints. I also have a mag of CCI velociter for SIG loaded just in case. I would be in a world of hurt if I actually got down to using a 22 for terminal defense.

  15. I won’t shoot anything steel jacketed, and for my handguns, I like brass cases so I can reload. Some of my rifles I don’t reload for so for target practice/plinking, I’ll shoot some steel cased ammo. Guns that get used for self defence get premium quality name brand stuff with proven bullet design (no reloads). And the reason I won’t use reloads in a self defence gun is to avoid a plantiff’s attorney claiming I purposely and with forethought, manufactured deadly wound inflicting ammunition to cause their clients unbearable suffering/death with the sole intention on my part to maximize that wounding effect. Where with store bought ammo, I have the defense of saying, “Hey, I bought this off the shelf at my local store because that is what was on sale, or what was recommended, or what was available.” Don’t know if it will actually help me in the least, but seems like a good idea.

  16. I’ve tried the steel cased ammo and it’s dirty and smokey, but it works just fine and it’s cheap. I wouldn’t use it for SD but it makes great practice ammo.

  17. I shoot that Wolf ammo in my Glock 17 for IDPA. Shoots/functions fine in my Glock mags. Does not function well in my KCI mags. I believe this may be related to the fact the Wolf round is a bit shorter. So, even though the price was right I will not buy more after I use up the 1000 rounds.

  18. I am ultra-picky about my ammo — it has to be the cheapest combloc crappola that my guns can shoot or I just won’t buy it.

    If that sh!tty ammo can shoot millions of people all over the world in all kinds of conditions, it’s good enough to ride along with me.

  19. just courious are you sure the one on the right is wolf brand? wolf brand ammo is usulay primer sealed (in red)

  20. So far, all the Wolf I’ve shot has worked just fine in all the guns I’ve tried it in. It doesn’t have as much oomph as other practice ammo which can cause problems in certain situations, but I have an AR-15 with 3000 rounds of Wolf through it without a single malfunction so far. I also have a Glock 17 with around 1500 rounds of Wolf through it and no malfunctions. It’s almost like people who have problems is more due to the gun than the ammo? 😉

  21. Dunno about quality, but I can say that the Wolf casing retains a lot more heat than brass. Not unusual to get plinked by ejected brass on the firing line in High Power matches – mostly AR’s in my neck of the woods. Uncomfortable, but not serious. Then I got hit by a Wolf and carried the burn mark for 6 months. Gotta wonder about impact on the firearm over a period of time.

    • From that point of view, Wolf is better for your firearm. The burning propellant creates a finite amount of heat. If more of that heat is leaving the firearm via the ejected case, it stands to reason that less heat is remaining in the chamber. Less heat, less erosion, less distortion, longer firearm life. I’m not saying it’s completely true, as there are other factors at work. From a heat-management standpoint, though, steel would seem to be the way to go.

      • Ive heard that steel cased ammo can damage your weapon because the casing is as hard as the weapon itself. Any truth to that?

        • I couldn’t give an honest opinion without examining the casing and weapon in question. I’ll just say that, unless the steel the cases is made from is harder than the steel the barrel is made from, barrel life should be comparable to one which fired only brass-cased ammunition. I’ll also say that it is hard for me to believe that Wolf (or any other manufacturer) make their single-use cartridge cases out of something harder than rifle-grade 416 stainless or 4340 chromoly.

        • The manual for my H n K says no steel case ammo. So i do not shoot steel case out of it. My barretta says nothing about steel case and after trying some out looking for practice ammo i had feed issues as well as failure to eject issues. Ergo i no longer use steel case ammo.

      • That is my understanding. Also steel does not really free form when fired and make a tight gas seal sometimes; resulting in the chamber fouling. Most people seem to have more problems with steel.

  22. Can’t reload the Wolf. I will admit that I use it when I am shooting at a range (usually indoor) that does not allow me to pick up my brass.

  23. My ammo cans are full of different ammo.
    Pistol can has some Federal 40 S&W FMJs, Speer Lawman 9mm FMJ, Remington UMC 9mm FMJ, Hornady 40cal JHP, Federal 9mm JHP, some old Golden Saber and Black Talon 9mm JHP

    Rifle Box has a few hundred rounds of 5.56 Wolf SP(since no FMJs on the range)
    5.56 Herter FMJs, American Eagle 5.56 FMJs, 200 or so of the M855 Penetrator rounds and 1 box of tracers for shits and giggles.

  24. Small Rifle: American Eagle
    Large Rifle: Prvi Partizan
    Shotgun: Winchester
    Pistol: Magtech, Sellier & Bellot, or American Eagle (Depending on Caliber)
    .45LC: Winchester (So expensive!)

    And of course Milsurp ammo when ever it’s applicable. However Swedish GP11 is in a class all its own <3

    If I want quality I'll reload.

  25. I only shoot Pitchfork Ammo, it’s pretty underground, you probably haven’t heard of it.

    100% local-grown, hand gentled and soothed by smooth jazz, this ammo does Yoga three times a day and is self-carbon-footprint-offsetting.

    Do me a favor and don’t buy any, you’ll only mainstream it…

    GUN HIPSTER AWWAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!

  26. For self defense I’m currently using Hornady Critical Defense. For range use it’s all about the Benjamins. The cost of .40 S&W is already high so I shoot the cheapest I can find. The last batch was Blazer in steel.

    For .308 I go with surplus ammo: Radway Green, FN, and the latest is Portuguese.

    I find prices, even with shipping, to be lower with online vendors like Century Arms, Cheaper Than Dirt and Sportsman’s Guide, than with local retailers. I wish I could get ammo via Amazon Prime…

    • Ammo at local dealers is a joke. Out here is Los Angeles…. Wow… I’m on the Westside of time, and we have… 2 stores Turners in Redondo (South Bay) and Martin B Rettings in Culver city. Thats it. Dont get me wrong, I dont mind Rettings, but they have high prices on EVERYTHING except the CR123 batteries. Typical gunstore douchebaggery . That place gets a lot of lookie loos. I’ve gone in there several times cash in hand ready to make a purchase, only to walk out when I see the prices. They dont change, they dont haggle, they are pretty firm on all prices. Haggling would be bad for business because every knucklehead there, including the G-star with the saggin’ pants who’s girlfriend happens to be buying a gun… (eye roll), would ask for a the price you just gave “that guy.” I go there mostly for cleaning supplies and misc crap. Turners is your typical Herpdurp Retail Durp. They suck, but the prices are good, usually. I get most of my ammo from a local ammo reloader who also has the occasional PMC .223, and other OEM ammo. I buy my hollow points from Ammotogo.com. LAX wont sell Winchester Ranger to civilians. Whatever… Your loss. I wont shoot wolf through my rifle, shes an American princess. My XD, mostly brass and reloads.

    • Blazer in steel? I may be wrong, but I thought that all of the CCI Blazer products, (including the “blue nylon jacketed” US made CCI Blazer sold by Cabela’s under its Herter’s label), were either aluminum or brass cased.

  27. I’ll shoot nearly anything that’s brass cased in my long guns. I’ve never liked Wolf Ammo, and won’t shoot anything made by the Chinese due to their horrible quality control and the fact that it isn’t made here. The Herter’s Russian ammo I’ve shot has been accurate, reliable, and cheap, but it’s also been responsible for scratching the lovely chrome chamber of my Ruger SR-556. My plinking ammo of choice is either PMC Bronze or PMC XTAC (most polished brass at this price point, moderate accuracy, excellent reliability) or Federal American Eagle (hideous brass, excellent reliability, decent accuracy – and made in the US). The Federal / ATK MK 318 Mod O is the real deal for barrier penetration in 5.56 (whereas the .50 Beowulf is less ammunition – sensitive for that purpose!).

    My home defense ammo is .40 Smith and Wesson Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, or Remington Ultimate Home Defense, all in 180 grain. I’d also check out Hornady Critical Duty once my checking account recovers. The most gimmicky, overpriced home defense ammo I’ve seen is the Extreme Shock.

    If my guns and optics weren’t so pricey (with the exception of my stock Ruger 10-22), I might be a little more “liberal” in my selection. But my guns aren’t cheap, and I’m sure as hell not liberal!

    So the short answer would be: a little picky for plinking ammo, and a lot picky for hunting, accuracy shooting, and home defense!

  28. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Federal value pack .22 ammo, Steel cased .233 and 9mm, bulk factory reloads (though I inspect all reloaded ammo personally before it goes into the magazine)… basically, whatever shoots and is still safe while being cheap enough to allow me to eat and go to school.

  29. I shoot mostly Winchester, Federal, and Kent ammo in the shotguns, I burn up about 5000 rounds a year. I won’t use Remington because their rim bases won’t eject in a lot of guns we see clients bring into the field.
    We’ve had a lot of experience with 223 Wolf ammo hunting prairie dogs in the summer. In a lot of the older 223 bolt guns they won’t eject. The cases expand a lot in the heat, to remedy that we keep it in a cooler with ice. Haven’t had that trouble with Wnchester ammo.
    We also shoot a lot of reloads.
    For deer I shoot an 06 and I prefer the 165 grain Winchester. Most of our shots are well within 100 yds on the Whitetail. The last 10 deer were one shot kills and all dropped in their tracks.
    I like number 4 shot on turkey and I think 31/2 inch shells are over rated.
    I’ve killed turkey out to 60 yds with a 20 guage and I’ve killed them at 3 yds. with a 12.
    I think patterning and choke selection in shotgunning is paramount to success. The Winchester shotgun ammo seems to pattern best for us on ducks and geese. I don’t think I’ll change brands or loads anytime soon.
    My silly concept is that if it works why change?
    Jim

  30. I tend to like what works the best. I usually buy ammo at Rural King or Walmart. Gun store prices are a rip off! Most of the time I have used Remington or Winchester Ammo. Some Federal and some CCI. Depends which gun and what I am using it for.

  31. I played around at the range with various 9mm ammo and found the Wolf grouped the same as Speer Lawman. Both groups were 1/2 the size of the Federal WalMart bulk crap. Steel cased ammo has misfires if I load more than 10 rounds in Glock mags because it does not slide up as readily. BFD. I wouldn’t carry it for self defense, but it is fun for training.

    I’ll shoot anything that runs.

    What exactly are we supposed to be seeing in that primer photo??

  32. Shoot whatever you like at the range as long as it works in your gun. For duty I use Winchester Ranger exclusively.

    I believe the picture shows a high primer on the Wolf, as well as a short over-all length in the first pic. Both could be bad for functioning, and if the bullet on the Wolf is actually loaded too deep you could get a Lot of BANG for your buck.

  33. Lately, I’ve been getting all my range ammo from USA AMMO. Haven’t had one misfire yet with the stuff and it shoots clean (unlike Winchester white box). Seems to be pretty good and the price is great. For defense, I’ve turned to Hornady’s Critical defense for both the handguns and shotgun.

  34. USA AMMO putts off SO much smoke in the 9mm rounds i’ve fired, aside from that its pretty good stuff. I normally shoot fedeal 9mm and 45, with occasional tulammo 9 and 45. in 22lr its usually cci anything and federal.

  35. Eric, I’ve had good luck with usaammo.com as well. I’ve probably burned through at least 2k rounds in .45 auto, 9mm for my pistols and .380 auto for my wife’s Walther. Can’t think of a single malfunction. Their prices aren’t as good as they used to be, but still very competitive.

    I’ve seen a lot of comments on here about people using Hornady for defensive ammo and both my wife and I used to use it exclusively for carry. However, an old college friend of mine’s profession revolves around ballistics testing for ammunition and he swears by Cor Bon.

    In his testing, he’s stated that in both 9mm and 45 Auto, the Cor Bon is slightly superior to anything Hornady offers in those calibers. More interestingly, he maintains that the Cor Bon .380 Auto JHP’s are the nastiest .380 Auto hollow points you can buy in terms of penetration, expansion and total energy that they deliver to the target. As a consequence, I’ve been using Cor Bon in all of my wife’s and my defensive pistols. Has anyone else heard or experienced anything similar with Cor Bon?

  36. .22 Federal 550 bulk. Works very well for Ruger 10/22, Mark III , SR22, Colt AR

    9mm Tulammo Glock, XK, Berretta, Keltec, Mac 11 suomi rifle. I shoot hundreds of rounds regularly. I might clean 9mm guns once a year.

    .40 Tulammo Sig, Beretta, Glock
    .45 Tulammo taurus 1911, Mac 10

    .454 casul Butter Root Valley
    .500 S&w Butter Root Valley
    .38 spl Butter Root Valley

    .357 Remminton. Tulammo is loaded like a .38spl.

    .223 Tulammo. I have shoot 100’s of rounds with no need for cleaning.

    7.62×39 Tulammo. AK’s were make to eat this stuff. I have shot 1000 rounds with no need for cleaning.

    .380 Remminton or any brass ammo. Tulammo will NOT work on 3 different 380 guns I have tried it in.

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