- Primary - North American Big Game Hunting
- Secondary - Target Shooting
- Third - Predator Hunting
- Last - General Plinking
Since I want to be able to find it at typical gun stores, I focused on the makers of hunting ammo that I have seen the most in places like Wal-Mart or Dick's. This gives me the three manufacturers below to use for down selecting my list of potential ammo.
The chart below shows all the 308 ammo I considered for the initial range tests and the green highlighted shows my final selections.
The way it worked out down selecting was that match grade ammo typically comes in two sizes, 168 and 175 grains. The 175 grain bullet is optimized for shots greater than 600 yards due to increased stability as it transitions through the transonic range. Since at this time I can not see shooting past this range and due to the greater availability of 168 grain match ammo, I focused on finding bullets that were in the 165 to 168 grain weight (except for my plinking ammo). Since I had already decided to try out the Hornady A-MAX match ammo, all of the match ammo by these manufactures dropped off the list for the initial range test. Then when you consider cost and select "middle of the road" hunting ammo, the list shortens to those I selected.
- Federal Premium Vital-Shok® Sierra® GameKing® BTSP 165 gr. (Hunting Ammo)
- Hornady A-MAX® 168 gr. (Match Ammo)
- PMC Bronze FMJ-BT 147 gr. (Plinking Ammo)
- Remington Premier® AccuTip™ 165 gr. (Hunting Ammo)
- Winchester Ballistic Silvertip® 168 gr. (Hunting Ammo)
Keep in mind that even though this may seem very precise, I'm ignoring that fact that this assumes that the same 200 yard scope zero settings will work for all curves. But for my comparative purposes, I think you will get the point. They are all very close ballistically.
Keep in mind that everything I have shown with this ballistic data is all academic (theoretical) and that the best data you can get is what you will actually get shooting your rifle at the range. I will do a follow up post with my range results at some point in the near future.
For my first trip to the range, I'm going to focus on getting the scope zeroed in and on finding out what the rifle and ammo will do at 100 yards. This will give me a good idea on the accuracy (MOA) of the rifle and system (me included). On future range trips, I will try to get some longer range data (200, 300 and maybe 400 yards).
This is the ammo I finally purchased for the range tests. I have it stacked left to right in the order I plan to shoot. I'm really hoping that the Hornady and Winchester group together well because those were the closest ballistically.
The engineer in me really likes the exactness of the tipped ammo. Ballistic Coefficients are shown below the name.
PMC Hornady Winchester Remington Federal
.401 .475 .474 .447 .404
Also, at some point, I'm going to have to do a recheck of availablity of the ammo I like at the local gun stores. If not, I may have to purchase several boxes to have on hand.
Update on ammo availability: I dropped by Wal-Mart and they did not have any of these ammos I selected. They did have the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip®, but not in the caliber and grains I needed. I also dropped by Adventure Outdoors and again, they didn't have the grain bullets I selected. I guess that means I will need to order several boxes and have a stock on hand. As a backup, I'm going to throw some Winchester Powerpoint 150 grains into my selection for range testing. It seems this ammo is the most readily available and if I got in a pinch, I would like the comfort of knowing how it would shoot in my rifle.