Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Match Grade Ammunition

Match Grade Ammunition

Many shooters tend to think of the firearm as being responsible for the accuracy, but that is only half the story. What many ignore is the role ammunition plays in accuracy. There is truth to the statement “…it’s all about the bullet.” Lower quality ammunition is going to result in lower performance from any firearm. For serious target or competition shooters the best choice for their ammunition is Match Grade ammo. What exactly is Match Grade ammunition?

To be label Match Grade means it is ammunition that is loaded to be more consistent and therefore more accurate than say general-use ammunition. It is ammunition which requires extremely tight tolerances and quality control.  While the origin of the term “match” is a bit fuzzy, the term became a way to identify especially consistent ammunition that would be suitable for use in formal shooting matches or competitions. Therefore, match grade ammunition is meticulously loaded cartridges. While some manufacturers simply load their standard ammunition with a match-type bullet and call it match grade, and others use the same machines as all the other ammo. True match grade Ammunition is much different.

Match grade ammunition is developed using the finest components available, meaning the best brass available, the best powder, primers and true match grade bullets. And, that’s just the beginning. So let start with the brass. The brass casing is – for lack of a better term – the “vessel” from which the cartridge is built. It matters not how good the bullets are, the quality of the primers or powder, if the components are loaded into low quality brass. The shoulder length, primer pocket tension, and neck concentricity are all important characteristics of good quality brass. But, most important is case wall thickness. Good quality brass must remain consistent from casing to casing, especially with regard to the thickness of the casing.  

The key to good quality brass is consistency is the construction and characteristics of the brass, but as noted, most important is the thickness of the brass. It must be equal for all the casings, and it is the resulting consistency in case volume which insures a consistent burn from each shot. It’s all about the internal case capacity, which if allowed to vary from casing to casing will result in an inconsistency in pressures, and – as noted – this will result in less than desired accuracy.  It is the case internal volume predictability that increases accuracy, and enables the shooter to have confidence in his or her shots. If the internal capacity of the brass various from round to round, the pressure is going to vary. This in turn will affect the velocity and thus the accuracy of the cartridge. Manufacturers of premium brass go to great lengths to insure their casing are held to extremely tight tolerances; therefore the internal volume remains the same across the entire lot of casings. So, it goes without saying, the perfect cartridge begins with the brass. Premium brass will cost you more, but in the end will be the foundation for consistent shots every time.