Prograde ammo (courtesy progradeammo.com)

Beggars can’t be choosers. As the great ammo drought continues, consumers continue to scarf whatever cartridges they can find, with less price sensitivity than a major carmaker looking to hire Bar Rafaeli for an ad campaign. As you’d expect in the world’s greatest capitalist economy, the lack of product (cartridges not Israeli supermodels) has spurred entrepreneurs to enter what was once an extremely competitive marketplace. Ammo brands that lingered in the dusty corner of LGS obscurity have experienced a financial bonanza, feeding their desire to rule the entire Tri-State Area. ProGrade is only one of many ammo makers looking to further build their brand on the back of scarcity. The question is: will formerly brand-faithful consumers switch loyalties? You?

70 Responses to Question of the Day: Are You Trying New Ammo Brands?

  1. I recently made the transition from Golden Sabers to Ranger-T’s. Both can be had for less that a dollar a round if you watch gunbot. For .45 too.

  2. I just bought ammo from Eastern Europe for my shotgun that has what I believe to be a rabbit on the box, so yes.

    • +1 on the +1.

      If someone started making Doofenschmirtz ammo, that would be my new favorite brand.

      Of course, I would have to find that self-destruct button on the box and disable it first…

  3. I shoot my 357 magnum rossi 92 every time I go to the range. Problem is these rifles has vastly different impact points at all ranges with different ammo. I noticed Blazer Alumimum JHP has the same impact point as Magtech 38 spl LRN. I have also tried Fiocchi, PMC, American Eagle, Winchester…… By far my best target load is the Fiocchi 357 mag FMJ Truncated Cone 142 grain. My favorites though are Magtech 357 mag 158 grain semi-jacketed soft point. They hit hard. With 38 spl, I will take any FMJ 😀 Unless it’s Speer Gold Dot 38 spl +p for my home defense lever!

    Either way. I can’t wait to buy some bulk Magtech or Fiocchi ammo. I have really learned what feeds my gun right. This piecemeal 3 boxes here 3 boxes there helped me in that regard.

    • I didn’t realize how spoiled I was on consistent, high-velocity .22 ammo until I dug into the random stuff I’ve had to start using. It’s a mixed bag of range leftovers, some of literally everything — a subsonic followed by a mini-mag, followed by who knows what.

      Plays havoc with the point of aim and with my nerves; I’m always wondering if that random soft pop was a squib. Most of it won’t even cycle my Marlin Model 60 semiauto, so I don’t even try with it anymore (but that’s a good excuse to use the Henry leverguns, which is never a bad thing). But hey, at least I’m shooting. Every once in a while. A little bit.

      I’ll try anything if it goes bang, but there still just isn’t any on the shelves. Dunno what I’m going to do when my stash runs out.

    • +1 For Fiocchi FMJ 142 gr Truncated Cone. My favorite, most consistent and accurate round for my Marlin 1894 c.

  4. Wolf and Tula have been looking awfully good recently.

    Problem is all I can find is 7.62×39, not .223.

    I told myself I’d never touch the stuff.

    • I got some Wolf .45ACP for my CZ, haven’t had the chance to shoot any of it yet. Would I prefer .45ACP white box for $40? Or even $60 (what the Wolf cost, with shipping)? Yeah.

      I have kilorounds for my other calibers, but I just can’t get up the energy to go shoot if I can’t shoot all my toys. Maybe this weekend…

    • I tried tula .223 in a brand new 5.56 BCM upper and the cartridge literally stuck in the chamber and would not extract till I hammered it out with a cleaning rod. No other failures with a variety of ammo, mostly 5.56.

      That stuff is really awful and dangerous.

        • My cheaper brand (Core 15) AR seems to do just fine with it. Just as accurate as any brass I’ve put through it. I think it might be something with certain nicer-brand ARs. My cousin has the same issue with his Sun Devil AR

          Tried some new Freedom Munitions 9mm in a Glock 17, an XD, and a CZ 2075 over the weekend and it functioned perfectly. Pretty accurate at 15 yards too

        • I have run Herter’s (made by TulAmmo IIRC) through my AR. Ran fine. Dirty, but ran. Shot a 3-gun last weekend using the 9mm Herter’s and a 92FS, not one malfunction. I am 2/3rds of the way through a 900rnd can of the stuff and have yet to have a problem (knock on wood…)

      • My BCM upper eats Tula all day long, and any other ammo I feed it. Ever gun is different though and Tula is very inconstant as well, some lots shoot fine, others not so much.

    • My favorite stick is currently INOP thanks to TulA.
      Literally the only thing available up here for under $1.00/rd, so I bought and bought, and I shot the first shot,
      and now have a pretty paperweight and 159 rounds of 7.62NATO.

  5. I shoot 99%+ reloads so the only difference in my ammo routine is that I’ve been shooting a lot of Tulammo 223 lately. And that’s only because I bought a few thousand rounds back in March for .40 a round. I couldn’t buy components to make my own for that price at the time.

  6. I’m about as loyal to ammo brands as I am gas stations. Lowest price grabs my attention every time. However, I prefer to stay away from Al cases, and I don’t do reman/reloaded ammo.

  7. I completed my AR-15 right as The Panic began. With the help of gunbot I was able to find a deal on .223 Wolf Gold 75gr (or was is 69gr??) HPBT at near normal price while all the go-to’s were over $1.50/round. I also bought some .45ACP Tulammo from my LGS.

  8. Yes. For some reason I live in a 308 desert and bought some Australian Defense Industries stuff online. So far the 165 gr Sierra gameking works REALLY well (but then I only had access to a 50yd range.)

  9. Yes. For some reason I live in a 308 desert and bought some Australian Defense Industries stuff online. So far the 165 gr Sierra gameking works REALLY well (but then I only had access to a 50yd range.)

  10. I’m building a swaging press. And when I get a chance to nose around some more estate sales later this year, I’ll likely be looking for more presses, dies, brass, etc.

    • How difficult would it be for someone to set themselves up as a cottage industry ammo manufacturer, as in from soup to nuts, all components? My mostly untutored impression is “very difficult”, with primer production striking me as especially difficult.

      • Well, the first question is: Can you afford the business property in an area where your local zoning will allow such activity?

        Next question: Does this property have the floors necessary to move in the presses, punches, etc used in making brass? Does this property have 460V/3-phase power available?

        Then we get to BATF licensing. You’ll need a Type 06 FFL. To get an FFL, you’ll need your zoning paperwork in order, your state/local business licensing in order, etc.

        Now we get to the point where we can discuss the equipment you’d need to make ammo. Still with me at this point?

  11. Diversity in ammo is a good thing. Silver State Armory, Wilson Combat, and Underwood make great ammo. I prefer the American made stuff, but I’ll go with Russian or Serbian in a pinch and Chinese if’n I’m in a really big pinch (i.e. zombie standing over me and I have a sprained ankle and dropped my knife). PMC X Tac is pretty good stuff, and I’ve liked S. Korean ammo for the most part. So far, Freedom Munitions has been a bust – horrible primers.

    I’m not yet sure about ProGrade’s ballistics or quality control, but I’ll probably give them a shot as well.

  12. I can’t even find off-brand stuff locally. But yes, I would try a new brand. If i could find it. You’re not offering any, are you?

  13. I am not ammo choosy for practice. If it goes bang and doesn’t break my gun I’ll use it. For serious defense work I’m pickier. My choice in 9mm is the Remington Golden Sabre 124 grain +P hollowpoint. Unfortunately that round has been hard to find and I’m using Hornady rounds for my 9 now.

    My primary self defense handguns are my .38 special revolvers. These I load with 158 grain lead semi wad cutter hollow point +P loads. I had a few boxes stashed before the shortage and I’m holding to these like gold.

  14. I shoot 9×18 Makarov, so my choices are limited to begin with. That said, I’ve been fortunate to have not been affected as much by scarcity issues. PPU for my range time and Hornady XTP for SD. I dabbled with Silver Bear, but it’s filthy stuff and is ammunition non grata at some ranges because of the bi-metal construction.

    • Silver and Brown Bear have been available. It works fine for range ammo in my Mak. Some ranges ban it, but not all. Stuff really stinks at an indoor range.

  15. Wont shoot steel cased anything. Freedom munitions and Georgia arms has been the least expensive, consistently available stuff for me for while. Still working my way through a case Winchester white box 5.56 I picked up just before the panic.

  16. I’m not choosey. Until it comes to precision rifle. Then I’ll stick to hand loads.
    Pistol? I’ll shoot anything I can get.

  17. People have told me that Rem rimfire ammo is trash for 20 years.

    I found out this year that they were right.

    • My savage .22 rifle likes Remington JHP just fine, but won’t shoot unjacketed rounds worth a damn.

  18. I treat in-stock ammo like gas stations in the Yukon. I’ll choose if I have choices, but between major cities (or ammo bonanzas) I top off my tank with whatever I can get.

  19. If is just for practice and range fun, I’ll buy whatever is cheap and available, but I don’t deal with re-man stuff. I had never heard of “herters” before, but now I’ve got a shelf full of their 9mm because its been available.

    For self defense loads though, I’ll hold out for a good brand.

  20. I have preferred ammunition vendors and all of them are in the U.S.A.

    However, a preferred vendor is useless if I cannot find their ammunition for anything close to resembling a reasonable price.

    When my preferred vendor is completely unavailable or their price is 25% to 100% higher than competitors, I will purchase alternate brands.

  21. I wish I could get some more of that DRT ammo from Cheaper Than Dirt. That stuff was magical. Yeah they made some modest claims about how great their ammo was but I found it to be more than excellent. That was the biggest bunch of BS ever.

  22. I shoot a lot of Blazers, since 10mm isn’t the cheapest ammunition out there. It’s not the most widely manufactured, either, which is why I haven’t developed a loyalty to a defensive load yet. I currently have some Buffalo Bore, but mostly to try it out.

    The upside to shooting 10 mil is that, at least around here, it’s been mostly unaffected by the shortages and overbuys. The price hasn’t really fluctuated, and it’s always on the shelf at the places that usually stock it. Sort of a justification, honestly, since the guys at work made fun of me when I bought something chambered in “such a hard to find caliber.” They also made fun of me more than a little for not buying something American, but I just bit my tongue when they started telling me I should have gotten a Springfield instead of a GLOCK.

  23. No loyalties where ammo’s concerned. Hell, we all know Wal-Mart’s poaching the ammo they get, and it hasn’t stopped me from buying what I can.
    I’ve recently found new love for Cabela’s Herters Brass case, especially in .30 carbine. 50 rounds, 18 bucks, and there’s always some on the shelf when I walk in. Their .45 ain’t to shabby, either. Also picked up some PPU for the first time, and was fairly pleased at it’s consistency.

  24. I’ll shoot any f*cking ammo that fits in my guns. If I had a multi-thousand dollar race gun I’d be more picky, but I don’t tend to keep picky guns.

  25. Bought a Sar K2 for carry and have been just using as many different brands as possible to see what works and what doesn’t. So far everything comes out the other end, though, I’d advise staying away from DRT frangible. That crap is dusty, and I’m pretty sure that I was finding pieces of the bullet behind me.

  26. Ill always be loyal to Remington and Federal Premium, learned to love PMC, and im liking Wolf now too. Buddy offered me a box of Hornady, I may be desperate for ammo, but ill pass on that.

  27. One brand I will *never* buy again: Magtech

    4 rounds out of 40 .357 magnum rounds failed to fire. This from a S&W M&P R8 that has eaten everything else with zero FTFs. Looking at the rounds, the primers are noticeably inserted too far into the cases.

    A 10% failure rate is unacceptable. Unfortunately I now have four boxes (plus 10 rounds) of this crap that I’ll never use. And Cabela’s has a no-returns policy on ammo.

    • I’ve used quite a bit of the Mag Tech .38 ammo for practice. Never had a problem with it. Maybe the rush to catch up ammo production has caused a few problems?

      • Could be – they wouldn’t be alone if that’s the case.

        Still – 10% is just too high of a fail rate even for practice ammo, at least in my book. I just don’t see the need to bother with them again, given there are alternatives.

  28. I did something much dumber than just switch brands, I was completely out of 9mm so I bought the only stuff around, surplus pakistani 2 zed rounds. 2 zed loads are +p+ hot, but my pistol could handle it. However when I took it to the range the first 50 round box was so inconsistent I was actually embatassed on the firing line. Every other round was a short stroke. All the rest of it has been ok though. Still not doing that ever again, you know your ammo is bad when it makes tula look good.

  29. RF,

    I stick w/ particular ammo brands for consistency.

    Please consider an edit to the original story, dropping Bar Rafael and replacing her with Esti Ginsburg. While Miss Bar is certainly pleasant on the eyes, she has this “my sh*t smells better than your because I’m a super-model” attitude. She used her celeb status to shirk her responsibility for service in the IDF at the expense of the ordinary Israeli. Esti Ginsburg embraced her service. Here’s a post from The Reluctant Palandin which explains everything much better than me.

    http://thereluctantpaladin.blogspot.com/2013/01/girl-friday-1182013-esti-ginzburg.html

    – Brad

  30. I’ve got nothing but good to say about Wolf pistol ammo. My Glocks eat their 9 mm and .40 all day long with no issues.

  31. I think it is safe to say that the majority of us are TRYING new ammo because it is the only ammo available for BUYING.

    Being a relative newbie to handguns and ammo purchasing without a decent perspective of comparison, I can honestly say that every bit of .22LR and .380 ACP ammo I have purchased has performed extremely well. Aluminum, round points, hollow points, lead, FMJ, made in Mexico, made in Russia, whatever, they all have performed with extremely few issues.

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