18″ Aero (Ballistic Advantage) 223 Wylde 1:8 Barrel: Ammo Testing!

| December 26, 2018 | 0 Comments


Howdy everyone!

I did a bit of searching for some factory loads to try in my SPR build (Aero/Ballistic Advantage 223 Wylde, 18″ 1:8 twist), and turns out I couldn’t find too much out there on the interwebs. So, in the name of friendship and pseudoscience I decided to do some of my own testing and share the results with all of you! Maybe this will help some of you out with at least a starting point of what to buy for your testing as you hone in on a cartridge your barrel likes (I’ll be posting the full rifle breakdown soon, will link it here.)

Now I’m not reloading and not nearly as knowledgeable / OCD as some folks out there, didn’t spend a fortune on a match barrel, etc. But if I can get around 1-1.5 MOA with plink ammo and at or below MOA with better ammo, that is enough for me. I just want to be able to hit a golf ball at 200 yards half the time.

OK moving along. So I went with a few brands/weights of .223 Remington ammo for this test, from cheap (.28/round) to semi-expensive (.75/round). All I’ve read says 223 (over 5.56) is  the more accurate load for the 223 Wylde chambering. Here’s what we’re working with:

  • Federal 223 Remington – 55gr FMJ
  • Fiocchi Perfecta 223 – 55gr FMJ
  • Federal 223 American Eagle – 55gr FMJ
  • PMC Bronze 223 – 55gr FMJ
  • Hornady Black 223 – 62gr FMJ
  • Frontier 223 – 68gr HPBT
  • Hornady Black 223 – 75gr BTHP

(All of this ammo was purchased at Lucky Gunner. Check them out. SC makes a (very) small commission from sales, so please support us!)

By the time i did this test, i had about 150 rounds through this relatively new barrel (followed BA break in procedures). The shooting day was cold (about 31F), gusty wind. The target was at 50 yards on the nose as confirmed by my rangefinder. I shot all of these from a bench, bipod and sniper sock on the back – so still some room for human error here. I’m by no means a professional either, so as a disclaimer some of the groups are most definitely on me – new rifle, new trigger. And with the temperature I couldn’t feel my trigger finger at times. Yea, you laugh, but I suffered at the range for over 2 hours, round after (fun) round, to bring you this data.

OK so what I did was 10 total shots, in 5 shot strings per ammo type. Sure 20 each would have been better, but this was all I had time (and ammo) for. I warmed up with about 10 shots at steel, then went into it. Here we go!

 

Final Target
50 Yards away, 31F, gusty winds. The stick on targets are 2″ round.
(NOTE: Horn 77 is actually 75, I wrote it wrong on the target. I didnt shoot the 193 or the green tip indicated below. Read along, we’ll get there!)

IMG_4584

Federal 223 Remington, 55gr FMJ
This is decent plinking ammo. I made an adjustment for windage after the first group which lined up well, but opened up some on the 2nd group. Just under 2″ at 50 yards – not great.

IMG_4587

Perfecta 223, 55gr FMJ
Spoiler alert – this ended up being the best ‘budget’ ammo of the day. Yes, the one on the left is 5 shots! Both are under 1″ at 50 yards, so under 2 MOA – which for 28 cents a round I’m happy with…and I can definitely get better here.

IMG_4588

Federal American Eagle 223 55gr FMJ
Man this started great. 4 shots on the left almost touching, then BAM a flyer which hit just under the M. Maybe it was me – next 5 the first 3 grouped well, then two went low then low/right. Again maybe me here, but did look promising at first.

IMG_4589

PMC 55gr FMJ
This is something I bought a ton of for my mini 14 as it loved it. First group was a tad large, but really tightened up on the 2nd group. The first 3 are touching, then 4th is right and 5th is low. This is a close 2nd for ‘budget friendly ammo’ for this rifle, and its only a cent and a half more than the Perfecta. I’d take either as plinking ammo to be honest.

IMG_4590

Hornady 223 62gr FMJ
Man I had such high hopes for this ammo, but my barrel just didn’t like it as you can see. That 2nd target on the right, I only loaded 4 rounds by accident, but the damage was done here. No good.

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Frontier 223 69gr HPBT
This was another cartridge I kind of hoped would be great as its affordable. Reviews are mixed on it however (from what i found at least). All that said, it did OK. Not great, but OK.

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Hornady 223 75gr BTHP
This, as you can see below, is the winner. And folks said the 70+gr would work well in the Wylde 18″. This stuff was money. The left target 4 are touching with a touch of spread, the one shot outside / above was the first of the group – those next 4 were all together. On the right target, thats 5 shots. Scroll more for some measurements.

IMG_4593

 

The left target was just about 3/4″, the right target was just under 3/4″. Again not sub MOA, but could be if I do my part.

IMG_4599  IMG_4600

 

After some windage and elevation adjustments to point-of-aim of the 75gr Hornady, I shot a final 6 shots of the Perfect to see the hold between them. This is 6 shots in just under 1″, shoots about 1/2″ high at 50y.

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So to quote our gunny grandfather Hickock45, ‘I’m not gonna get all scientific here’ – but, these were my results with the 18″ 223 Wylde shooting a small variety of 223 ammo. Hopefully it will give you an idea of where to start cartridge-wise to help you dial in your barrel.

Most accurate load: Hornady 75gr BTHP (about 75c/round)

Most accurate ‘affordable’ load: Fiocchi Perfecta 223 55gr FMJ (about 28c/round) OR PMC Bronze 55gr FMJ (about 29.5c/round). These prices are current as of 12/2018 on Lucky Gunner.

I’m going to buy a box of new stuff with every purchase, so if I find any other rounds that work better I’ll post an update.

-Pieth

 

 

 

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Category: Gear and Mods

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