Australian Outback Ammunition
All factory ammunition is not created equal. That axiom is accepted by every experienced shooter and hunter in the world. Go to any sporting goods store and you will find a variety of brands with bullets in various grain weights and styles (spire point, hollow point, boat tail, etc.). However, except in the case of premium priced ammunition, quite often there is no mention of what brand of bullet is being used.
Our opinion is that we would be better served if all major manufacturers clearly stated whose and what bullet they were using in their ammunition. This is not a problem with Australian Outback. They clearly state the bullet brand, weight and type use in each of their factory loads. No generic stuff here, they use Sierra and Swift bullets, two of the best bullets on the market. In the .308 ammo we tested their cartridges were loaded with Sierra MatchKing bullets, the same bullets that a lot of F-Class shooters use in international competition. (Note: Match bullets are not designed, and should never be used, for hunting. -Editor)
However, this article is not really about the bullets, it is about the powder. If you think back to your shooting experiences over the years, you will remember that when you were shooting your favorite rifle during the summer and had it zeroed for 100 yards, when you performed a final check just prior to the winter hunting season the elevation was off. Most of us probably blamed the scope, figuring it got jarred over time, so we re-sighted the rifle and went hunting without another thought. However, in most cases, the scope was NOT the problem; it was the powder used in our ammunition.
Extensive tests by both military and civilian technicians have established that temperature can and does significantly affect the velocity, pressure and accuracy of ammunition. If you always and only shoot at a temperature of 70-degrees F (21-degrees C) then you don't have to be concerned with its effect on your ammunition. If, however, you practice and play during the summer and hunt during the fall/winter seasons, you need to read on.
Given the temperature extremes in Australia, from below 0-degrees F (-18-degrees C) to above 120-degrees F (49-degrees C), it is not surprising that ADI Munitions worked to develop powders that were Ballistic Temperature Independent (BTI). We had Josh Ziegler shoot Australian Outback .308 Winchester ammunition in his M1A National Match rifle with a 22" barrel. Josh, a seven year army veteran, is keenly aware of the effect of temperature on pressure and velocity, having served two combat tours with the U.S. Army in the middle east sandbox. The chronograph velocities recorded by Josh mirrored the Australian Outback factory specs.
We shot Australian Outback .223 Remington ammo from our custom AR15 with an 18" barrel. Due to the short barrel, our velocities were 275 - 286 fps lower than factory specs. That was expected, as factory tests are generally performed using 24" barrels. Allowing for an average decrease of ~ 48 fps per inch, our tests essentially confirmed the factory velocities claimed by Australian Outback.
Living in New Mexico, we also get some pretty extreme temperatures, allowing us to test the claims made by ADI for their Australian Outback ammunition. Folks, the specs and technical data provided for Australian Outback ammunition are not hyperbole, they are true. We were able to confirm their data with respect to velocity and accuracy. Our bullet impact elevation only rose approximately one inch between the lower temperatures and higher temperatures with the .308 rounds. With .223, the elevation rose less than an inch between 70-degrees F (21-degrees C) and 95-degrees F (35-degrees C).
If you check the ballistic charts for non-BTI ammunition, you will find that the elevation increases more than seven inches when the temperature increases by 25 degrees. That can be the difference between meat in the freezer or a trip to the local meat market. The following tables show the Australian Outback factory velocities and the results of our tests.
We did not feel it necessary to test every one of the Australian Outback loads, as they all use BTI powders. Our tests with the two common calibers we selected confirmed this premium ammunition performs as stated. In our opinion, Australian Outback ammunition is well worth the price. Whether you are a target shooter or serious hunter, you owe it to yourself to try a box of this stuff. Not only is their BTI powder great, they load their ammunition with excellent bullets. In addition, all of the ADI powders are extremely clean burning, a characteristics that is essential in AR-platform rifles.
The following loads are available from Australian Outback:
If you are a reloader, do not despair. Hodgdon partnered with ADI/Thales to market BTI powders in the United States. The Hodgdon Extreme family of powders includes: H4198, H322, BENCHMARK, H4895, VARGET, H4350, H4831, H4831SC, H1000, RETUMBO and H550BMG.
This explains why, when we shot F-Class (using VARGET and H4350) we obtained consistent results, whether our rotation was in the morning, midday or late afternoon. We must confess that we took the performance of Hodgdon Extreme powders (especially their lot consistency) for granted in those days. Not any more. We use them exclusively for all of our reloading. If you want more information on these powders and how they compare to other powders, check out the Hodgdon website (www.hodgdon.com). You will be amazed when you see the comparisons to non-Extreme powders.
Australian Outback ammunition is distributed in the US by DKG Trading, Inc. and is available from several retailers, including Cheaper Than Dirt. It is priced competitively with other premium ammunition. Given the performance and quality of the bullets loaded, Australian Outback is an excellent choice for folks who don't reload. For more information on Australian Outback ammunition, go to the DKG Trading website at www.dktrading.com or the Australian Outback website at www.outbackammo.com.au
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