Ammo Strategy for your 3gun AR15
At a certain point as shooters begin to compete at larger
matches, the realization that standard 55 grain full metal jacket ball
.223/5.56 ammo isn’t quite good enough for many of the long-distance
targets. Let’s explore why this is and
the strategy employed by most shooters.
Your average 55grain fmj projectile is a very adequate projectile and
for most range purposes and generous target acquisitions it more than
adequate. Most decent barrels I have
seen will hold 1-2 MOA at 100 yards which again, is more than adequate until
you start to go long. Most barrels 3gun competitors
are using are 1/8 or 1/9 twist rate barrels which are inherently designed to
stabilize a larger projectile. In
.223/5.55 this is somewhere above 65 and up to about 77grains projectiles. This isn’t to say that barrels with these
twist rates can’t stabilize a small projectile, but it is not common in my
experience. Next let’s talk about
bullet quality. A standard FMJ is a bulk
and bargain projectile, often without superior ballistic characteristics to
optimize flight. Higher precision
projectiles are typically hollow points or have an accuracy inducing tip like
Hornady Vmax or the Sierra TMK as examples.
They also have a “boat tail” feature in the back of the bullets which
helps with skin friction as the projectile travels through the air, therefore
making it more stable and efficient.
Lastly, in the 3gun game, we rely upon a Range Officer to call hits on
steel targets at distance. This requires
the projectile to induce a visual hit or flash.
A smaller projectile will typically have less energy at these kinds of
distances and can cause issues with the RO seeing and calling hits.
Now that we have established why a larger projectile is to
the shooters advantage, lets discuss how competitors implement this
information. The accuracy of the 55grain
fmj ball ammo is typically more than sufficient from zero to about 200
yards. Beyond that distance the heavier
more precise ammo is typically selected.
The rifle optic is also zeroed and characterized with the precision ammo
as it has the largest effect on accuracy for the highest precision shots. Next is to understand what the accuracy is of
the 55 grain ammo. Typically, there is
only a small deviation which is acceptable for the close up and out to 200 yard
Implementing these strategies will help you improve your
long-distance skills set for 3gun and ensure you are using the best ammo
options for the targets being presented.