I have been a handloader for over 20 years now and have used Berger bullets most of that time. The high quality match Berger line has been something shooters not in the hand loading world rarely had experience with unless a friend who handloads gave them ammo. Like most advancements from the world of competition and precision handloading, the berger bullets in match rounds trickled down ( or up?) into factory ammo offerings.
With that in mind, the new Federal Gold Medal match ammo using Berger bullets has been out a while now and I finally got my hands on enough for testing. Of course I could have loaded up some myself but for non handloaders, It wouldn’t have been more than a passing interest. Now with ammo from a major manufacturer famous for it’s match ammo in hand, It is time take a look.
I shot the Federal GGM 73 grain Berger loads in my usual manner. I used a precision AR15 as this type of rifle is what this load will most likely be shot from by the most amount of users. The gun was fired from a bench rest using front BR rest with bag and rear sandbags. Optic was 10X leupold tactical model. The upper is the MK12MOD1 SPR with Douglas 1/7 twist. The Bergers being their usual profile are of the length that it is very likely they will NOT stabilize in your 1/9 twist. Another in a long list of reasons why no one should bother buying rifles with 1/9 twist barrels.. Trigger was the excellent SSA.
I fired comparison groups using the Federal Gold Medal Sierra 77gr HPBT bullet , Hornady 75 gr TAP and my own 77 Grain Sierra handloads so the readers can judge for themselves if the price increase for the Berger loads is worth it depending on the level of accuracy and long range performance they need. One thing to keep in my. This is part one of the test of the Berger loads and only at 100-150 yards at that. Before making any decision about the berger loads, keep in mind that the VLD Berger bullets come into their own at longer ranges.
Above is the 100 yard group. I did have to make some scope adjusting from my normal zero that is with 77gr bullet loadings. That is a 5 shot string as I marked it and while I did expect them to shoot well, I did not expect that level of accuracy on my first 5 shot string.
Below is the next 5 round stringer fired at 150 yards. I wouldn’t expect much difference in group size from 100-150 yards with match quality ammo and this ammo gave me no surprises.
I next cleaned the barrel so as to start the comparison loads off with the same conditions as I did with the Berger gold medal match. Once done, I fired the older Federal Gold Medal 77rg Sierra HPBT match ammo. It is still great stuff and is in no way something to consider obsolete or to snub in my opinion. I still love it and use it and will continue to think highly of it for as long as Federal makes it.
Next up is my own personal handloads.
Last up is the 75gr HPBT Hornady TAP/Match ammo. This is the ones that come in the black box with the black coated nickel cases. Usually it shoots at least 1 MOA for me in my various guns. It is pretty good stuff and it used to be a little cheaper than the federal and of course cheaper than Black hills MK 262. It’s only a 4 round string because I had to use a couple rounds to get zeroed and had no brought enough extra. Oops.
So far I am really liking the Federal Gold Medal 73 gr Berger loads. In part 2 we will see how it does at 500 and beyond.