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Old 5 September 2011, 22:04
spencecs spencecs is offline
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Icon5 M118LR

I teach a Designated Marksman Course at Fort Pickett and have the opportunity to shoot a lot of military ammo. Most recently we've been getting stuck with the M80 7.62 X 51 and the results are not very favorable. In the past however, we almost always got the M118LR which shoots well and way better than the M80. To be honest though the M118LR isn't all that great. I have 2 extremely accurate Remington 700s, one is an M24 and the other is a Remington Custom Shop M40. They both shoot well with the M118LR, the M40 actually out performing the M24 with that round. This past November however, I went to a sustainment course out in Arizona and we shot the 175 grain Blackhills 7.62x51 and I couldn't believe the difference in group size. When I returned home I bought some more of the Blackhills (it's expensive though) and then decided to try and duplicate the Blackhills performance with my reloads. I don't know that I've actually nailed the exact recipe, but I have enjoyed some outstanding results from the reloads I have put together. Bottom line, the M118LR shoots circles around the M80, but Blackhills and my reloads shoot circles around the M118LR. Have any of you guys out there had similar results?
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Old 5 September 2011, 22:56
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Matchanu Matchanu is offline
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Just about anything out shoots the M118LR, that round just plain sucks.

Civi rounds are way above in accuracy, just about any of them.

Problem is, you can't use non-military rounds in a military rifle. If you use them and something happens, gun blows up, you need to kill someone, whatever, and there is an investigation, you're fucked.

One advantage of the M118LR is it's a great glass shooter.

We used the military match 7.62, got all confident, then had to use the M1118LR, it's a major disappointment.

I'm not sure what you can do about it, maybe someone else here can point you in the right direction.
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Old 6 September 2011, 02:24
Sierra13 Sierra13 is offline
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M118LR is ok in that out of most military guns it will do .75 to 1.25 MOA. Remember that all the 7.62 SWS in use were built around the M118LR cartridge, so it is not unusual for the round to perform better in a military rifle than a civilian. It's not hard to beat with handloading. For production ammo, I've had really good luck with Federal Gold Medal Match. Most guns that I've used seem to like the 168 gr over the 175, but both will generally be at least as good an probably much better than the M118LR. Lake City isn't competing with other producers in the industry when the manufacture their ammo, they are just making sure that each batch is within the minimum specs supplied by the Ordinance Dept.

When match ammo is manufactured, the bullets are sorted according to lots. All the rounds do not weigh the same i.e., some weigh 175.1 gr, some 174.9 etc. They put the like weighted bullets into bins and use the same batch of powder to create a sublot. This sorting process is time consuming and is why match ammo is more expensive. Civilian manufacturers are more careful with both manufacturing and weighing, so you get less weight difference in a sublot and more cleanly manufactured rounds (compare the hollow point in a Federal HPBT and a M118LR, you will see the hole is much cleaner on the Federal).

M80 is designed to be machine gun ammo and therefore is not subject to the same rigorous sorting process. It is also much lighter (147 gr I believe) so not as good at long range.

There is not a way to overcome the quality issues with military ammo. It's good enough for it's job. Army sniper doctrine is supposed to be practical: you don't need to shoot a 5" group into the bad guy's chest at 800m to kill him, but you do need to hit him with your follow on shot before he takes cover. That's why we went to semi autos and why we use more holdoffs than turret adjustments when we shoot: it puts rounds on target faster, so you can get that follow on shot on time while the super-accurate bolt gun guy is still farting around with his turrets. That is not to say don't worry about accuracy, just that the .25 MOA that you lose by using the M118LR translates into just 2 inches at 800m. You are not going to win any matches with it but it's much better than M80 and better than the old M118SB.

If you are getting horrible results (ie none of the guns on the line will hold under 2moa), you might just have a crappy sublot (I've seen it before), so it should be reported to the ammo guys.

I don't suggest using military ammo in a civilian rifle for the same reason Matchanu said. Even the brass is marked and identifiable as military. The $20 you save isn't worth a career.

Sorry I can't help more.

RLTW
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Old 6 September 2011, 07:08
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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Generally speaking you will find Blackhills, Federal GM, Federal Fusion, etc to outshoot the 118LR for all the reasons Sierra 13 mentioned. It would be helpful if you posted group sizes from your "testing". If you're talking groups that are .25 inch diffirence, you're stressing over nothing. I've seen guns that shot better with 118 than Blackhills, but this is not the norm. I hate to preach like an old salt, but the 118LR was like manna from heaven when it replaced the old 173gr 118 special ball. That stuff threw shot groups that looked like rat shit in a dresser drawer.
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Old 6 September 2011, 11:18
spencecs spencecs is offline
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In response to Gsniper: The recipe I've been using is as follows:The brass I use is ususally LC, the primer is CCI BR-2, 40.1 grains of Ramshot TAC powder, and the bullet is NOSLER HPBT 175 grain, OAL is 2.8, they have chronographed at 2,680, and 5 shot group averages measure .39 with the best ever being .262. I know there are others that have had tighter groups than these, but for me I'm sticking with this recipe.
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Old 6 September 2011, 13:14
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EchoFiveMike EchoFiveMike is offline
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Some lots shoot better than others. Like Gsniper said, compared to what was before M118LR was fantastic.

I'd like to see the next gen be either 155gn Scenar or something like a 200-210gn VLD type bullet. With LRF's being everywhere, drop/range est isn't the critical issue, it's doping wind that's the problem. Either bullet would improve that issue. Unfortunately, the fact that Uncle Sugar mass produces it for a fleet of guns means it's never going to be as good as handloads tailored to one gun. Anything better than 3/4 MOA from field positions is gravy IMO. S/F....Ken M
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Old 7 September 2011, 13:55
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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That's respectable accuracy in anybody's book out of a non benchrest gun. Nothing is going to shoot very well with the M80 ball. If you have anything that will keep that stuff under two MOA you have to call it a win. Use the M80 for a while, then switch to the 118LR and it will seem like the LR is much better than if you compare LR to Blackhills. Generally speaking, you aren't going to beat Blackhills with anything but handloads, and not much of an improvement at that.
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Old 7 September 2011, 19:50
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Slinger17516 Slinger17516 is offline
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Black Hills=The Shiznit

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencecs View Post
Bottom line, the M118LR shoots circles around the M80, but Blackhills and my reloads shoot circles around the M118LR. Have any of you guys out there had similar results?
I would say that anyone would rate the loads you speak of in the same order you have them listed. A side note..you will find yourself not having to make fine adjustments to the zero with the Black Hills in comparison to the M118 and the M80 trash. Black Hills tolerances are tight enough where you could grab rounds from any box within a 500 round case and have it be spot on from box to box. I must say this is the only ammo I have ever fired that is that consistent...I am sure you have seen the lot numbers having differences from one to another?

With that being said, you and the shooters in the course you are running would both benefit...they wouldn't be jacking around with different lot numbers throwing their dope which means they would have more time to "train" rather than re-zero, re-zero, etc...You would probably find yourself requiring fewer rounds to run the course also. Yeh the Black Hills is surely pricey but at the end of the day you would need less and the shooters would receive better training. My .02..
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Old 9 September 2011, 01:33
Sinister Dave Sinister Dave is offline
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M118LR quality has gone into the shitter so badly that SOCOM spec'ed and buys Mark 316 Mod 0 -- 175s off the Federal Gold Medal Match production line at Anoka, Minnesota.

Lake City threw out the old quality control method and procedures as "Too hard to do with too high a reject rate." Result -- ammo that shoots like ass. May as well be the old brown box "Special Ball."
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Old 9 September 2011, 05:26
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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I've been retired since 06 and shooting nothing but Blackhills and Federal GM. Guess we can go back to calling it Lake Shitty again.
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Old 21 September 2011, 16:37
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Gooch Gooch is offline
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I imagine DOD is stuck with the M118LR as it is since I believe any newly designed rounds have to be "green" (lead free) right? Any newly designed ammunition would have to include either a powdered tungsten or ceramic projectile. They dodged that "bullet" with M118LR since they proved that the old M118 never met the existing requirements to begin with and it was a re-engineered M118. Would make since to contract it out like the canucks did but with our luck Wolf or someone would get the contract and we would be right back where we started, shooting poop.
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Old 21 October 2011, 13:32
Realist Realist is offline
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There are several different ideas being discussed here I believe: Sammi v. NATO; white box, brown box, LR, etc. But in terms of ammo evolution, there is good info here:

http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com...cial-ball.html

The issue really is quality control. The M118LR came about in the mid 90's after all of the Corps' schools started getting a high, and then very high dud rate (primers were struck) on their firing lines with the brown box. This led to a fix being prioritized in the POM, and visits to Lake City. (Ed Bray was the rep there at the time I believe.) After careful analysis, it would seem that a nearly unmeasurable but still too large amount of adhesive was coating the primer and preventing it from firing. As the fix was completed and quality control assured, the M118LR began arriving and people were quite happy. If you purchase quality ammo now and are happy with it, then it is likely that the standard deviation is quite small, and production quality is checked regularly. If you are unhappy with ammo being issued it is likely that a govt contract was allowed to accept less than acceptable ammo, if it is even being inspected at all in light of other large, call it humongous, orders.

Some of the very original boxes of the M118LR produced has been used for comparison on a bench by people that test for a living and they often say the same two words: Holy. Shit.
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Old 25 October 2011, 08:57
Realist Realist is offline
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Meant to type SAAMI.

http://www.saami.org/
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Old 26 October 2011, 23:35
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Gooch Gooch is offline
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M118 debackle

"looked like rat shit in a dresser drawer".... Dude you really need to write these G-isms down in a book..

ANYWAY. The Genesis of the M118LR actually started around 1984-84 at the SSIS in Quantico. I was teaching there then and we were picking up our ammunition for "pre-qual" day for the course. We looked at the crates and there was a general.. a) Who the heck changed lots on us on pre-qual?! b) WHAT THE HECK IS "SPECIAL BALL?" and c) What is this brown box??" After thoroughly thrashing the ammo tech we told the students to quit pouting and headed to the range.

All went "well" until we reached the 700 yardline. Prior to that we had some fliers if I remember right but we played them off to spastic students. But at the 700 the guys started hitting the top of the pitts. Since I was the lead instructor for marksmanship I started checking databooks, smacking observers, calling the office on the radio etc.. By the time we go to the el Grande (1000 yardline) things were total disaster. On average our students had to hold 3 mildots (over 10 moa) high to hit the target...group size was...interesting.

We immediately knew it was an ammo problem and basically turned our eyes and let the students qualify themselves. Yeah we let them cheat... oh well. we knew they could shoot and it was the schools fault and not theirs. For the next couple of schools we tracked the data and it became obvious that there was an issue.

First the test shed ran chronograph tests which where within specs, powder and projectile weights were within reason so the next step was I took samples of old M118 match and Special ball to Bob Lutz at the Secret Service in Beltsville, MD and we put them in optical comparators, re-chrongraphed them etc...total voodoo was the best guess as to the problem. Years later Col Jack Cuddy told me the issue was a projectile with inconsistent jacket thickness which caused the projectile to yaw as the velocity dropped (around the 600 yd line I reckon) which resulted in its BC being drastically reduced causing the projectile to drop like a knuckleball..

I think I still have all my data and ammo reports around here somewhere in a stack of my divorce papers or something...
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Old 27 October 2011, 17:46
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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Quote:
I think I still have all my data and ammo reports around here somewhere in a stack of my divorce papers or something...
Now that's funny!

I remember back in 89 when I got in the game sometimes we'd have 2-3 MOA elevation changes between lots. Used to be pretty common to get a lot that would have alot of bad primers and misfires too.

I use almost exclusively Blackhills and Federal Gold Medal now and the changes between lot numbers are virtually non-existent.

Gooch was around when the switched from blackpowder to extruded nitrocellulose, so I'm going to defer to him for the dark ages history.
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