It isn’t often that a new ammunition manufacturer comes onto the market, and even more rare is one that makes claims as big as Eagle Eye. They don’t simply claim to be “match grade” and then leave you gessing as to what that means, they print their guarantee right on the box: 1/2 MoA groups from every box of ammunition. It’s a bold claim, and they sent me home with a couple boxes of ammunition confident that the product will speak for itself. I put it through the standard ammunition testing that we do here, and the results are pretty cool.
We have already looked a little at the background of this ammunition in our first look article, so now it’s time to put it to the test.
To give you a quick refresher on the setup, we run a box of ammunition through the chronograph and analyze the results. I have been using InterQuartile Range (IQR) for the metric to compare everyone, but after talking to the nerds at Eagle Eye I think I’ve finally been convinced to switch to Standard Deviation (StDev) as the metric instead — it gives a better idea of the variability of the ammunition. But just comparing the ammunition to the rest of the stuff I’ve done already wasn’t enough — I wanted to see how well it did against their prime competitor.
Federal Gold medal Match is the gold standard when it comes to precision ammunition — everyone who needs a consistent commercial load uses it. So in order to see how well Eagle Eye performed, I figured it would be best to directly compare it against the best Federal has to offer. Same gun, same chrono, same atmospheric conditions.
I threw in a couple other brands for comparison in the boxplot, but you can already see a clear winner when it comes to the Eagle Eye versus Federal Gold medal Match grudge match. One is clearly superior in both interquartile range and extreme spread, and it ain’t the old guard. Heck, Eagle Eye even beat the best that Hornady has to offer, for those who believe the red box is superior to all else.
A quick note about the Winchester ammunition: upon reflection, I really didn’t have enough data to make a call about that ammo. I only have a few data points compared to the 20 that I have for everyone else, and it isn’t really fair. That’s why you see the outlier in the boxplot — there isn’t enough data to fit that into the bell curve. I’ve removed that ammunition from the charts for now, and will re-add it when I get more data down the road.
Moving to the bar graph, there’s definitely a clear winner. I re-calculated everyone’s scores from IQR to StDev, re-ordered the results based on the new scores, and the results were very surprising. Eagle Eye ammunition is the official top of the chart, clocking in at 20 feet per second standard deviation. As for the best offering Federal has on tap, they could only muster up 23.5 feet per second as their StDev. What’s really funny is that the box of cheap-o Herters ammunition I ran through on a lark had a standard deviation of 21, which is better than Federal Gold Medal Match (and like three times cheaper).
More interesting that Eagle Eye simply being the best: it remains the best (and remains consistent) between different lots of ammunition. Take, for example, these three 100-yard groups. Normally, you would need three rounds from the same lot to make a group that small — variability between different lots of ammunition is too great to be accurate otherwise. But for these three groups, the pro shooters behind Eagle Eye used one round each from three different lots of ammunition to make these three round groups. Center to center these are roughly 1/3 MoA groups, which is better than the 1/2 MoA guaranteed on the box, despite being from different lots. With Eagle Eye you’re not just paying for a box of consistent ammunition, you’re paying for ammunition that will be consistent with itself no matter which two boxes you pick up off the shelves and how long you wait in between shopping trips. You’re always getting the same load with the same consistency and velocity.
Is Eagle Eye Ammunition the most consistent loading of .308 Winchester that we have ever seen? Yep. Is it more consistent than Federal Gold Medal Match? Myth confirmed. It’s really great to see a new ammunition manufacturer who is able to crank out more consistent ammunition than anyone else on the market, and I’m looking forward to how the established ammo manufacturers scramble to respond.
So what does this kind of quality cost?
$36 for 20 .308 rounds, $29 for 20 .223s.
When did they start making ammo out of Gold? These kind of prices confirm that our dollar is worthless. or there is a lot of greed in the firearms business. One or the other, which one?
Compare that to buying reloading equipment, the cost of supplies, the time to actually make the ammo, and the amount of ammo you have to send downrange to work up good loads. After all that, depending on your attention to detail, you may still have less consistent ammo. Even if you do as well, look at the cost difference. There’s a cost analysis for .308 vs match-grade ammo here:
So you’re looking at savings, best case scenario, of ~$0.70 per round, without considering the cost of working up your loads. That’s no small savings, but if you’re not shooting a lot of ammo, you’re going to take a long time to break even on equipment, and frankly it may not be something you want to spend your time on. What you’re paying for is convenience. So yes, it’s very expensive, but if you truly need that kind of consistency there are no cheap options. What you are paying for is consistency off the shelf, particularly the lot-to-lot consistency. You can either pay for it in money and buy this, or pay for it in time and effort by reloading. Dealers choice.
Sounds pretty good. You don’t mention what type of bullets they are using nor do any of the photos show them. Are they buying bullets from somebody else or making their own? SD is a big part of the equation but velocity is important too. Especially if you plan to do more than punch paper. It’s easier to be accurate at slower speeds but if you want to go long you’re gonna need some juice behind them.
Now if that chrono showing 3032 is for a 175 gr. .308 I am impressed!
yeah those are good points.
I’m betting Berger bullets.
That’s what I use, and I moly plate them. There might be better bullets out there, but cant afford to experiment with a lot of different brands.
Based upon the bullet description, it sounds like the Berger VLD hunting BTHP.
Thats what I want to know! 3032 is way, way high for a 175gr. Even with 28″ barrel.
Per the website, velocity is rated at 2625 FPS for 2677 FPE, ballistic coefficient of .495. A 175 grain at 3000 FPS is .300 Win Mag territory.
Where did you find the ballistic coefficient information? I could not find it at the website. Recently the CEO replied to an e-mail of mine requesting ballistic and bullet measurement info, and the #s cited were “approximate” only (.5 for the drag coefficient). Since it appears that the bullet is a custom design, it did not seem appropriate to use 175gr SMK bullet data (even though the CEO says people are getting good ballistic predictions with that data.). For the premium price of this ammo, I would expect far more detailed and accurate information on their rounds!
Does Eagle Eye have any plans to make .223 in lighter bullet weights than than the 69 grain they offer?
I am no expert, but I’d be surprised. It is my understanding that the heavier bullets are longer and more aerodynamically stable out of a fast twist match barrel, and thus more accurate than a 55 grain bullet.
A lot of ARs, including mine, prefer lighter bullets (55 grains and even less) for intermediate ranges. In fact, varminters skew towards slow twist barrels and light bullets.
They are starting with 69gr because that weight works in the largest variety of barrel length and twist rates. They will be coming out with a 55gr and 77gr shortly.
What rifle are you shooting it out of?
A SD of 20 isn’t very good.
That accuracy, however, is very good.
So the author didnt shoot groups and instead relied on pro shooters(from Eagle Eye). How exactly does this translate to an impartial review of the ammo?
I’d rather have a pro behind the trigger. It helps minimize the shooter in the collection of variables that go into a group.
I would, however, like to see 10-shot groups or even five and some more analysis of accuracy instead of so much emphasis on consistency of velocity. That’s being nit-picky, though. I think it’s a good review overall, and I want to try some of this in .223.
using pro shooters lessens one of the variable influences, making it closer to a physics experiment.
physics is not an opinion that reviews may be subject to.
velocity, path, impact, facts to be reported not opined.
Wouldn’t mounting the rifles in a fixture be a better test of accuracy than a professional shooter ?
I was very excited to see how these two compared on accuracy. Why didn’t they get shot for groups against each other? I shoot .3 MOA using the FGMM out of my AR10, so I would love to see what this new stuff does up against the old reliable.
Groups are subjective. Velocity is objective.
There are a lot of variables that affect accuracy and groups are not necessarily the best way to evaluate the ammo component. Velocity consistency is a key variable that can be almost 100% attributed to the ammunition. It accounts for the powder quality, load consistency, as well as projectile consistency. The shooter does not matter when evaluating those.
pwrserge, I agree but why not make it part of this comparison. Also, if grouping doesn’t matter then why did they bother showing grouping from eagle eye?
Velocity is king.
When you are shooting groups, everything comes into play from the shooter to the wind to the barrel to the action. I’m looking at ammunition consistency alone, and velocity is the only metric that allows me to make an impartial comparison between ammunition brands.
I don’t trust any review that relies on group size to show off accuracy of ammunition.
Velocity is certainly an important metric, but not the only one. Still, I look forward to giving this a try.
Wait, you think that velocity spread is independent the gun? Seriously?
Hahahaha… Oh man. Talk about not knowing what you don’t know…
If they want my business, they’re gonna have to start cranking out subs.
wow. i am impressed and convinced.
IDK, left feeling a bit hanging after this commercial…errr, review. No direct mention of bullet weight tested, no actual range testing, and really very little technical data around the casing, primers, bullets, etc… When I shoot production ammo, I am a big fan of SMK 168g ($26.00 per box) for precision (easily shoots 0.5 MOA with my 700) and SGK 165g ($40.00 per box) for hunting (easily shoots sub 1 moa out of my Tikka T3). I might try it but its , gonna take a lot more than this to get me to deviate.
I guessing maybe you guys are on phones and can’t see the pics.
The eagle eye box says 175 gr HPBT.
I was assuming the picture was staged. I am not an expert on loading so I am not going to say it isn’t possible but 175g 308 at 3032 fps seems a bit fast to me. Others have pointed this out as well. The bullet weight vs. actual velocity wasn’t listed anywhere directly in the review that I could find. Admittedly, I run short barrels and my 16.5″ 700SPS non-suppressed runs 168g SMK in the 2580 range . My 22″ tikka runs the 168g SMK in the 2640 range. Maybe the $100 chrono I use is suspect but that lines up with Federal published data best I can tell.
I enjoy Nick’s commentary and view points on things as a sympathetic “gun nerd” who focuses on the details. I have him to thank for my current 300 BLK obsession. Nothing personal guy.
The chrono reading in the picture was from some 5.56 ammo. Average ammo velocity of the tested ammunition (from a 20 inch 1:10 twist barrel) is 2707 feet per second.
No worries — I love when people question results. It gives me a chance to re-examine my own ideas and findings, and keeps us honest.
I couldn’t care less about cases and primers — the only thing that matters is how consistently the bullets emerge from the end of the barrel. Having cases weighed to within a grain of each other is great and everything, but the final determination of the spread of the bullets downrange is the spread of the velocity of those bullets when they leave the barrel.
Velocity consistency is the only metric I can reliably and accurately test, and the only one that matters as far as I am concerned.
Fair enough. Thank you for the review of what looks to be a great product.
If you combine those three groups about a single point of aim the result isn’t very impressive. Three shot groups alone dont tell you much of anything.
Also, comparing only the variability to determine relative ammunition quality is a terrible concept. You are ignoring a multitude of other variables.
The only reliable metric I can use to measure ammunition is velocity. Measuring groups adds hundreds of other variables that are impossible to control, from the shooter to the barrel to the action to the environment. Measuring groups is a nice concept, but it is terrible when you are looking for concrete numbers and directly comparable results.
Velocity consistency determines the vertical spread of the ammunition downrange. No matter how super awesome your projectile and how bad-ass your case, if you can’t make the projectile fly out of the barrel at the same speed every time then your ammunition will be inaccurate. There’s no way for a shooter to correct for inconsistent velocity.
Velocity is king.
Um… not quite?
You could rather easily and inexpensiveness set up a rig to eliminate most variables and hold a consistent POA at 100 yards that would give you much more valuable insight into the way the ammunition behaves.This is just a lazy experiment that you are trying to sell as some sort of better or “more objective” way to test ammunition. As someone who tests ordinance for a living I can tell you that what you are providing is of little real value.
Also, what constitutes a “lot” with this company? How many rounds are in a lot? How much ammunition do they produce a day? Do they change lot numbers each day? With each shift? With each batch of components? Having consistency from lot to lot if they are the same batch if projectiles/powders/primers a few days apart on the same machinery (which I would imagine is quite new as this company just started up) is not a particularly impressive feat. You really don’t have (or at least have not provided) enough information to make any real judgement about this product other than that they were able to impress you.
Nothing I am seeing here really comes off as particularly great, especially with your less-than-scrupulous review and “testing”.If I superimpose those three three-shot groups I get what appears to be rather unexciting performance.
I was thinking the same thing. What the hell does three, three shot groups prove? I can drop three shots on top of each other all day. Lets see some five and ten shot groups.
Let’s say we get a rig set up to do group testing. We have a barrel made and embedded in a large concrete block or something, then do our testing. Great. But there are still variables introduced by the setup itself. Do we change the barrel with each bullet length to accommodate the right twist? How do we directly compare the groups then? How do we account for different atmospheric conditions for tests many months apart? How about different brands that group better at different velocities, should we accommodate each one with its own length barrel to get the “best” group? When you start doing group testing and using group size as your metric, the variables balloon out of control.
I’m not saying that this is the end-all be-all best test in the world, but this is a reliable and repeatable test we can use to determine the consistency of the ammunition load and directly compare one brand of ammunition to another. There’s no denying that ammo with a lower variability for velocity will be more consistent than ammo with high variability, it’s just a physical reality. Sure there are other factors, but this is the one we can directly observe and objectively test.
You make me laugh. Every reply you make just reinforces the fact that you don’t know what you are doing.
BTW, the review on The Firearm Blog is significantly better than this. It actually provides some useful information. Give that a read and take some notes.
Nick, I understand your points about velocity. However, Eagle Eye’s own guarantee is about consistency in group size, not consistency in velocity.
I know what kind of groups I can get out of various commercial loads. I know little about velocity consistency of those loads (but I can make educated guesses). If TTAG tested groups and didn’t get better groups out of Eagle Eye’s ammo than I can out of my favorite commercial loads, there would be no reason for me to try this ammo.
Group size is important. Indeed, it’s Eagle Eye’s own main selling point.
At the very least, if you’re going to shoot nine shots and post a picture of them anyway, why not shoot one 10-shot group instead of three three-shot groups. One 10-shot group would tell you more.
I may be stupid about this article and graphs. Don’t understand them at all.
Smaller is better.Smaller velocity spread means a smaller group size down range.
Wow commercial. Hey Nick! what do you think about the 2015 Dodge Dart 160-184 HP???? WOW how about that velocity?
We were, in no way, compensated for the contents of this review*. The results are based on the chronograph results of a random sample of their ammunition, an entirely objective measure in no way possible to be impacted by the subjective options of the author. The results dictated the review, with no room for outside factors to impact the outcome in any way.
I really don’t understand how this can be construed as a “commercial.” I can provide the raw chrono data if you really want to dig into it further, but the numbers don’t lie.
*Other than the ads surrounding the article.
I like how you are using statistical methods in an area that is truly about consistency and perfection. however, I think many readers would really like to see the following (perhaps in an appendix to keep the front of the article nice and readable). I agree with your use of velocity as the measured metric!
sample size for each ammo (how many rounds fired)
firearm model and barrel length
bullet weight and velocity for each round tested
was barrel temperature uniform throughout testing?
between shots cleaning regime
and finally, a table of raw data
Well, we kicked this thing around not long ago. The velocity readings are interesting, however, I believe the initial claim was 1/2″ groups from every box.
Did you not say the 3 groups were “their” groups? How about shooting some groups yourself, with your rifle, and not 3 shot, but 5 shot groups.
It is is true what you say, that ammunition accuracy can be measured by velocity variance, or lack of, but it’s what prints on the target that counts.
Shot by their shooters using their guns, but they did it in front of me, while I was watching. I shot some groups as well — not as impressive, but within 1/2 MoA.
While I like Nick’s upgrade from elementary school statistics to high school statistics, I am still baffled as to why TTAG performs “ammunition tests” that don’t involve, you know, shooting ammunition at targets and measuring the resulting groups. Or discussing the velocities achieved, measurements of case/bullet critical dimensions, projectile ballistic coefficient, or anything else that might be useful to someone interested in buying this product. I could literally produce a more informative review with calipers and 15 mins of range time.
Also, bonus points for including a photo of groups shot by someone else, with a different lot of ammo, on a different day. “Truth” indeed…
If you want the comparisons to matter across a range of mean velocities, you need to quote Standard Deviation in percent. A 20 fps stdev on a 3000 fps velocity is much better than a 20 fps stdev on a 2000 fps velocity. Since you did not state the mean, I can’t really compare. To be fair this point matters less if the velocities are very close but since the velocity was not reported, I don’t even know how close they were.
Sounds like wonderful ammunition; but, for now, I think I am going to stick with Lester’s… 😀
God everyone is a critic… if you really have a problem, set up your own website and write your own reviews, or send one in to TTAG… Thank you for reviewing this line of ammo and giving us who don’t have the opportunity to buy random stuff all the time a chance to see if we would like to try it. Haters gonna hate!
What’s so special about this ammo? I thought match ammo that can get 1/2 MOA has existed for a while.
The word “can” instead of “will” makes the difference. There are probably several types or brands of ammo out there that “can” get 1/2″ groups. Whether or not they “will” depends on many factors as I’m assure that you are aware of.
Why dont you go out and purchase a few of their boxes and test for yourself? Looks to me we finally have an alternative to hand loading… I will get a case and cant wait to be able to test it myself. Seems like they have done everything possible to get us the best performance out of most rifles. If its this good, we don’t need to stock up on a single lot number to get consistency it seems, every box is the same. Yes I want that.. I expect it..
While I do agree with the ‘eggheads’ that SD is a better descriptor of variability, I do applaud the use of a boxplot as a way to ‘visualize’ the variation in a sound manner. Bravo!
I am curious as to what if any cleaning regimen was followed between the different boxes of ammunition. It’s not always a given, but I have seen instances where one kind of ammo (or more specifically, the powder used) didn’t play nicely following another and needed some amount of ‘fouling’ before it would settle down. Like I said, it doesn’t always occur, but without any details on the process used, or access to the raw data, it remains a question as to whether the residual fouling from brand ‘X’ affected the results recorded for brand ‘Y’, etc.
Perhaps using something like plot.ly to create the graphs and put the data up where the people who want to can look at it on their own. Transparency is key!
Thanks for putting the time in that you did on this one.
Is no one else interested in that Herter’s? Where was it made?
Looks like Sellier & Bellot, marketed by Cabella’s. Interested too.
I just shot a few boxes of their .308… I also mixed up 3 different boxes (3 different lots in one box and selected the ammo for my tests randomly) It is amazing stuff and I am convinced.. This stuff is more accurate and consistent than any hand load I can pull off. I originally thought I’d missed the target twice at 300 yrds BUT it turned out I had hole in hole.. 5 rds sub 0.5 MOA on my REM 700. Nick, thanks for all your product evaluations and your honest opinion on these things.. It would cost the average guy a fortune to test and just blindly trusting marketing material is not really a good way to go. I think I am now an Eagle Eye Aficionado myself.. Great stuff, and I can only give those guys kudos.. New case, new bullet designand it looks to me they really pulled it off. I can only suggest you guys go out and buy a box and compare it with your current ammunition. Stop assuming things and try it out. Federal just became my second choice.. Lapua I cant even afford, their retail is on average 30% higher than this Eagle Eye stuff.. Am talking .308 here.. not tested their .223 but am sure it is of the same consistency and accuracy.. Great Stuff..
This may or may not be good stuff. It is from Finland I think, Eagle Eye is the distributor not manufacturer. But all the reviews use too much of the company’s puff press release which is questionable.
I think 100 yard accuracy testing is irrelevant. Is that as far as you shoot? The velocity testing may be a great internal control process, but when I gauge accuracy, I’m results oriented; I really just want to see holes in paper. And yes more than 3.
Are Egale eye bullets lead free?