Old Mil-Sec Bullets — Range Report

Gathered up rifles, ammo, range bag, spotting scope, targets, and fortified by a pot of coffee, Dan, my son Joe, and I headed out to the usual spot to test Carteach0’s bullets. It was a beautiful January day, temperature right at freezing, a light cloud cover, no wind. To recap, these are pulled and tumbled AP military bullets, all weighing 163 to 164 gr., loaded in 30.06 cases over 48 gr. of IMR4895.

Two rifles were used. A Remington 700, as pictured here.


And a Springfield 1903-A3, pictured here in use.


Results were similar to previous testing with old military AP ammo. Two or 3 hits in the 10 ring, coupled with 2 hits out in the 7 or 8 ring. Similar results were seen with both rifles and 2 shooters. All targets were shot from the bench. Click the pictures to biggify.



As a control and a testament of what that old 1903A3 is capable of, here is a 5 shot group of ammo loaded with Sierra MatchKing 168 gr. bullets. This has the same powder, and brass came from the same prepped lot that the other bullets were loaded with. This is not the best group we shot with this ammo, it’s the only one.


My conclusion is that, for whatever reason, the AP bullets are not more accurate than ball ammo bullets and are significantly less accurate than modern commercial bullets. The hits outside the center were not consistent, they were random, scattered around the target. My theory surmise guess is that weight of some of the bullets is not centered around the central axis, and thus when they are fired, they yaw and travel in a spiral around the trajectory, giving us the results we were seeing.

When we were done the serious effort, we had about 40 rounds left of ammo loaded with the AP bullets. We put up IDPA silhouette targets at 50, 100, and 200 yards. Then we each shot the 1903A3 offhand, with a club timer running, one round at each target as fast as we could make hits. We took turns, timed the efforts and walked back and forth pasting the targets and evaluating the results.

We made good hits. Over and over. Offhand, with iron sights, shooting under time pressure, with ammo we using up because it just wasn’t accurate enough to keep around, we would make hits at 50, 100, and 200 yards. It got good to us. Trying to better our times, trying to out shoot each other, and we still made hits. They might not have been X-ring hits, but they were on the target and most of them were toward the center. If you got sight picture/sight alignment, the rifle and the ammo did their part. It was the most fun I’ve ever had with that 1903A3 and that’s saying something.

It does makes you ask the question though, if you’re talking about military ammo, how good is good enough?

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3 thoughts on “Old Mil-Sec Bullets — Range Report

  1. I would reckon that with AP, the main point would be just to punch through, if you were at any distance. Although head, upper torso hits should be possible within a 50 yard or so area, just having rounds coming into the compartment or cabin of a vehicle at 100 – 200 plus yards, would at least demoralize the hell out of whoever was in there, even if not scoring a direct hit.

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