The conference rooms may not be filled to capacity here at NDIA, but there is more than enough data to keep this nerd happy for months. I’m scheduling most of these posts to keep you guys happy while Joe Grine and myself are off at the range having fun with machine guns and grenade launchers, but this one was just too interesting to hold off on…
ATK are the guys who run the Lake City armory. For those not in on the meaning of that statement, it means that they basically run the nation’s ammo plant. And as such, they want to be able to provide the best ammunition to our troops.
To meet that goal they wanted to see if short range testing (200 yards) would correlate well to long range results (1,000 yards). If short range testing indeed predicts long range performance then they can test ammo a lot faster and without taking up range time, which will in turn make the ammo better and produce it faster.
The basic assumption they made was the same one that fuels my ammunition consistency testing series: an increase in the deviation of the velocity of the ammunition will increase the spread of the impacts on the target.
Based on that assumption and some testing, they came to the same conclusion that I’ve come to, which is that the faster the round goes the less deviation there is in velocity. Slower rounds are inherently more inconsistent, and there’s nothing you can do about that.
Based on the initial testing they then went to the range with a bunch of experienced shooters and a bunch of rifles, and had them fire about 200 rounds each downrange. And the results were shocking.
ATK expected the ammunition to be more consistent as the velocity increased, but instead the overall accuracy remained more or less unchanged. And, in one instance, it even improved at lower velocity compared to higher velocity rounds.
So what does this mean? It means that the individual shooter and the way in which they interact with the firearm has much more to do with the overall accuracy of the shots than the ammunition or the gun. At least, that’s what I’m taking away from the presentation.
In short: quit blaming your ammo for your crappy shooting. Advice even I need some days.