Category Archives: Ancillary gear

Accessories needed for shooting

Cheap Ammunition, is the Bang worth the Squeeze?

Inexpensive ammunition is very appealing to shooting sports enthusiasts.
The relatively high cost of ammunition and its high angle trajectory shows no sign of changing anytime soon.


Today we are going to discuss an interesting topic; Is cheaper ammunition really a good buy? There are a few questions that are relevant to the discussion here, to determine that answer:

  • What kind of shooting am I doing?
  • What kind of target?
  • What is my budget?
  • What type of gun am I using?

A quick perusal of catalogs and store shelves can give you a good idea of what people buy the most of. There is usually a large amount of what has become known as “plinking ammo“. Plinking ammo refers to its application, inexpensive ammunition that can be bought in large quantities allowing for longer shooting sessions, or at least more of them.

Plinking ammunition typically is used for pistols and carbines, the higher volume capability of these types of firearms is part of the reason people buy them. They shoot lots of inexpensive ammunition, which most of the time equates to more fun and training. This type of shooting usually takes place at relatively short distances, at targets ranging from automated steel plates, right down to improvised things like cardboard boxes. For this kind of shooting, plinking ammo works great.

Accuracy is dictated by the size of your target. If you are shooting pumpkins at two hundred yards, then you have a much larger margin for error than if you are trying to hit prairie dogs at four or five hundred yards. It is important you start out with reasonable expectations, don’t shoot at one or two MOA targets with a three to four MOA rifle. You’ll quickly find yourself spending more ammunition, only to be frustrated with poor results. The same can be said for ammunition, if your three thousand dollar rifle will only shoot 3-4 MOA with cheap ammunition, you are going to be disappointed.

If you intend on a more serious type of shooting, such as competition, or hunting, or some other application, you may find that inexpensive ammunition may not be savings you intended on getting.
Inexpensive ammunition is produced on large-scale production lines, using components that were also mass produced. These processes drive the cost of the ammunition down and the volume up, but it is hard to maintain consistency when mass producing something meant to fly faster than the speed of sound. Quality ammunition is also produced on large scales, the quality of the ammunition depends on the attention paid to its assembly. In order for ammunition to be accurate, it must be consistent. The time and precision it takes to produce consistent ammunition translate into a higher cost.

Perhaps hunting is your main shooting activity. If so, going cheap may not only be more expensive, but it could be unethical. If inconsistent ammunition is used during a hunt, it could cause an animal to be wounded and go unrecovered. It also could be the cause for multiple shots needed and a loss of meat, either scenario should be avoided. Accurate ammunition isn’t always expensive, but cheap ammunition can cost you far more than the money you spent.

I set out to try an experiment, our theory being that quality ammunition is still a better buy than the cheap stuff. The reason behind the theory is simple; If I shoot at my target 5 times and hit it once, shooting my cheap Fiocchi 308Win at $0.80 per shot, I have spent $4.00 for one hit. If I shoot at the same target using DTM 308 match and hit it on the first shot, I have only spent $1.44 for the same hit. So how much money have I saved? Even if it takes two shots to hit my target, I am still spending less per hit.

Here you can see some of the results to my experiment (admittedly not clinical). You can see that with the same gun and shooter combination produced better results with high quality ammunition vs. the inexpensive option. Left target is DTM 308Win Premium Match, right is Fiocchi 308 Win.

The theory proved to be well founded, from a precision perspective. As you can see in the pictures above, the less expensive ammunition created a much larger pattern on the target. Using the exact same point of aim, you can see that it created a roughly three inch group. While on the left target we see groups closer to half or three quarter inch. This is where the answers to the questions I asked at the beginning of this article come into play. If all you need is to hit a sheet of paper at 100yds, then the inexpensive ammo from above will work fine. But let’s say hypothetically that the paper was moved out to 500yds, several of those shots may not even be on the paper much less near the point of aim. The match ammunition on the other hand that prints sub MOA groups, at five hundred yards will still keep groups small enough to hit a small piece of fruit, over and over. So for cost per hit, the premium ammunition proved to be the better buy for sure.

Obviously this depends greatly on the type of firearm and the target you are using. For example, if you are shooting a surplus military rifle or relic, shooting quality ammunition might not give you that big of an advantage. Or if you are training with pistols at 7-20yds, it would make sense to use something inexpensive. Some firearms perform good or great with performance ammunition, and others perform mediocre no matter what you feed them. Not all guns are created equal. The above groups were shot using the Desert Tech SRS A1, perhaps in the future we can redo the same test with a surplus rifle, or an inexpensive equivalent, and see how the results compare.

It is important to compare apples to apples then, plinking inside one hundred yards with a rifle, doesn’t always require the best. But clearly, if hitting exactly where you aim is important you, then your best bet is to stick with quality. Also keep in mind that some firearms are like high performance cars, they aren’t meant to run on 85 octane. The same goes for some performance firearms, running cheap ammo could actually do more harm than good. If you are lucky, you can often find an inexpensive combination of rifle and ammunition that still performs to the accuracy standard you desire. But since luck has never been my companion, I stick to well known performers, and the quality ammunition that they run on.

So if serious shooting and accurate engagement of targets is part of your plan, quality ammunition should be one of your first considerations. There is a time and place for cheap ammo, but when the pressure is on and hits are a must, send the best you can get.

CBM

Originally posted on http://www.deserttech.com/blog/

A Tripod for the People

When I began precision rifle shooting many years ago, it was a different landscape. An astounding amount of growth has occurred over the years, and it has kept my perspective shifting, as well as my goals. Technology and product innovation have kept our shooting world fluid, making it quite the challenge to stay on the cutting edge.

As a blue collar shooter, I have had trouble over the years fulfilling my desire for top tier hardware. Always having to find a compromise, and doing the best I could with what I had.
A quick browse through gun rags, internet forums, and some of the regional trade shows will surely drive the average shooting enthusiast out of his mind. The ever growing surplus of whiz-bang accessories being peddled to the American shooter is astonishing. And the effort by so many to reach tier zero civilian-operator status fuels it.
In the storm of QD-this, and tactical-that, it’s easy for a guy who just wants to shoot, and shoot well, to get overwhelmed with wants. My father taught me as a child that my “getter” had to be bigger than my “wanter”. Compromise was a learned discipline that over the years, helped me achieve my goals.

All those years ago, a point was reached wherein I thought I had achieved some sort of status. It came from a sense of confidence or accomplishment when I proved to myself that I could hit almost whatever I wanted with my rifle given a few conditions. One of those conditions was to have a good shooting position, which was almost always prone. In order to up my game, I had to “get off my belly”, as put by my friend The Blanman

A crucial step forward was realizing that any fool with enough ammo and a decent rifle and scope can hit distant targets from a prone position. It is entirely a different thing to hit targets from tough positions, at difficult angles, in a short time, and all the while making those first round hits. This was indeed a challenge, and one that required practice, and some additional hardware.

This is where Precision Rifle Solutions came into my kit. I had long wanted for the gear that so many of the pros use, but I simply couldn’t afford to spend four or five hundred dollars on a tripod. So after some research and few reviews, I bought a PRS medium QD tripod. The tripod came with a small padded saddle that was perfect for resting my rifle on.

I quickly became quite fond of this lightweight little tripod, and just as quickly I worked it into my range routine. In the steep and rough mountains that I normally shoot from, it was perfect for when the bipod just wouldn’t do. The easily adjustable legs were quickly deployed and help me get a good solid rest, allowing me to shoot over tall grass, bushes and other obstacles that often block a shot from a regular bipod. It also worked exceptionally well for those high angled shots where again, a standard bipod left me wanting more. I have been using the PRS tripod and saddle for quite some time now, its become one of the most handy tools in my pack.

Well, the good people at Precision Rifle Solutions have been hard at work, looking for more products to offer the serious recreational shooter. And I was excited to get this next one in my hands.
The Freedom Quick Release Mount is a small aluminum block that you can attach to your rifle, and with the QD release plates also available from PRS, you can in a matter of seconds, attach your rifle to any of their tripods. It attaches to your rifles pic rail, giving you a very solid lockup with the tripod. I have found it to be an invaluable addition to my tripod, I can run it either with the saddle, or without. Instead opting to snap the rifle directly to the ball head. The best part of it all, is that I can do all of this without even removing my standard bipod. Allowing me to go from a prone position on my traditional bipod, transitioning to a kneeling, or sitting position in literally a couple seconds. I can just as quickly drop the tripod loose, and go right back to my bipod. The FQRM is very compact and doesn’t interfere with the function of the bipod if your rifle has a full length bottom rail and allows you to mount both.

When coupled with the QD Tripod, and its compact ball clutch, it is amazing how quickly I can transition from one position to another. And if you have a good backpack to use as a rear support, you can get so stable, you’d think you were prone on the ground. Making long range shots quite a doable challenge.

The compact and lightweight tripod easily fits in a daypack for an afternoon hunt, or for a competition. The FQRM is also easily attached and left on most tactical style rifles to be used with or with out a bipod mounted next to it. It can also double as a barricade stop when it’s not attached to the tripod.
The FQRM is attached to a pic rail, sliding on from one end, and using two cross bolts, it clamps down. I got the FQRM with the PRS quick release plate, but with common threads in it, Im sure you could attach any kind of tripod QD mounting plate to it. With additional QR plates, there are countless mounting options, to put, optics, or other accessories on the top of this handy little tripod.


With so many expensive options for shooting accessories, its very refreshing to find good quality gear, made in America, for a reasonable price that the average shooter can afford. I will continue to use the great products from Precision Rifle Solutions, and cant wait to see what innovative and useful product they come up with next.
If you’d like more information, go to their website:
Precision Rifle Solutions

And tell them I sent you, you might get a platypus sticker out of it…
-CBM