A Look at Hornady Steel Match Ammo


A few years ago ammo prices became so high you had to take out a bank loan just to buy plinking ammo. A lot of people went to shooting cheaper steel cases ammo so they could still be able to afford gas to get to work. Problem was, none of it was in any of the heavier weights for precision rifles. Hornady came out with the nifty idea of putting their 75 grain hollow point boat tailed bullet , powder and primer into the cheaper steel case to offer up ammo that was cheaper then TAP  but still have ( supposedly ) the same accuracy and trajectory.

It sounded like a great idea in theory, but as usual when it comes to anything 556 related at the time. It was as hard to find as a honest democrat.  From the time it was announced to just yesterday, I had actually never seen any of it   in a gun store. It was not as cheap as it was hoped it  would be either. But, it is cheaper then TAP.  I paid a bit over 20 dollars for 50 rounds. Compare that to something close to the same price for 20 rounds of TAP and you can see that shooting the steel match would be a cheaper solution.

Of course the benefit of paying that much for  steel case ammo is only real if it holds up its end of the accuracy claims. Why not just buy Tula for 4 bucks a box to plink with if the Hornady steel match was not that much better?

I bought some to try it out and see if it is worth it and how it could work for shorter range practice with a precision AR15 or bolt gun.

The first 5 shot group is  from a 6920 with a KAC RAS and a  Nightforce 10x scope. I shot off a bench using sandbags. The group is not that impressive and I was not impressed at all. I could not see paying that much for the ammo for no better groups then that.  It is not too bad actually considering what it is and it is still capable of keeping all shots in a mans head at this range.

In this group, everything is the same except I used the Colt 6940 with the free floated barrel to see how much difference it made and it did make a big difference.  The ammo really started to show some potential when used with a FF barrel. This would not have been a surprise with normal match ammo, but since I did not have very high hopes with the steel case stuff, I was surprised. That is a 5 shot group a 100 yards. And it would easily fit under a quarter.

The last group I took the ammo out to 200 yards with the 6940 and fired a 10 shot group.

That is not too bad considering what it is.   It started to rain fairly heavy so I did not get to take all the time in the world. But I did have time enough. It is a tough call to say if the group would have been much better if I had all the time in the world so all I can say is I would rather shoot the group again at 200 yards before I call this group as normal performance for it. Still well within a persons head.

Now, one of the claims was the steel match would keep about the same trajectory. Well it does sort of. But it does change zero just like any other change up in ammo brand and type would. Is it worth buying to gain better performance over  cheaper  steel case from Tula or Wolf?  I can not say. For training at 25-100 yards I would not buy it. You can do the same with cheaper.  I am not even sure in what way to use it. If I need to shoot in a precision role, I am going to use true match ammo.  If I need better terminal effect, I am sure to use ammo of higher quality meant for good terminal effect.   I think for better results from 100-200 yards on sometihng like a ground hog it would do just fine. Otherwise I am just not sure. You will have to decide that for yourself.

Other then that, it is not too bad at all. If you have a MK12 that you want to shoot out to 200 yards or about, but do not want to use up your TAP or MK262, then this would be a decent choice. It would be more accurate then surplus and it will match  your 77 gr. BDC  turret or reticule pretty close and not break the wallet in two.


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