New shooter: ammo testing and how to tell what ammo shoots better?

…so I just got my first ever rifle, now I want to buy a bunch of ammo and see what shoots the best, to be like sniper and stuff :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I thought I’d write something that will make some old timers cringe, but it is what it is… This is aimed (no pun intended) at brand new shooters, new to guns and new to shooting.

You just swapped some cash for your first rifle, better yet you are about to. You are at the gun shop, you are collecting your new adopted baby and your new drug dealer says, ‘hey kid, so do you wan’t to try some ammo with that?’ Yeah! Of course you do!

But not so fast…

The fun shop representative suggests that all ammo is different - it’s true, it is.
And that it shoot a little different in all rifles - that’s also true, it does.
And it even gets your rifle dirty a little different - again, all true.

You should definitely buy a few different boxes and give it a go, kid. I’ll even knock off a few bucks for you, he whispers. WRONG!

You’re not the first addict they’ve sold gear to. He knows you are hooked, you are excited and you will buy anything if it makes sense. Damn it man, you have a penis extension now, feel that ego pulsating, you need that ammo! NO, YOU DON’T

So, the next logical step is to buy a box of each brand or type, money permitting, and see what shoots the best, right? WRONG, AGAIN

Fact of the matter is that you are a new shooter and you don’t know how to shoot. Sure, it has a simple point and click interface, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. For you to be able to distinctively tell the difference between different ammo, you first need to be comfortable with your own shooting abilities. You need to able to know when you messed up and when your ammo messed up. You are not at that stage yet.

It’s a good thing, you get to learn a brand new skill - that’s pretty cool. You get to get really excited about shooting - well, we all do, but that first rush, well, you know… You get to enjoy blasting shit without expectation and getting noticeably better with every shot. That’s awesome, you learn, we all learn, but it’s important to put that ego on hold for a month or two; and come to terms that right now, you have no shooting skills. The sooner you accept that, the more money you can save.

I suggest, you buy the cheapest ammunition you can find. Maybe a 100 rounds? 200 is even better. I know, it costs and eventually you will, everyone does, explore hand-loading/reloading (everyone here does and you will get a lot of knowledge and help from everyone here), but at this stage, stick with the cheapest factory made ammunition you can find. This way, you get to enjoy your gun and learn to shoot, without worrying about all other variables. Slow does it.

If you have doubts, putting 100 rounds through a bolt action rifle (as long as you are actually aiming at something) is actually a lot of shooting.

Start shooting the cheapest ammo first and get consistent with your shot placement. You don’t need tight groups (yet), but you need to get consistent. Once you are putting all rounds on your target, in a predictable pattern you’ll know that you are doing well (consistent). You will be able to trust your own skills and only then you should start experimenting with different types and brands of ammo.

Written from experience. That photo above, the little pile of empty boxes I’ve shot at the range, the very first time I took my 308 out on a date. There are 2 blue boxes of PPU ammo - the cheapest ammo around, total cost $30 for both boxes. And two other boxes of very good premium ammunition, total cost $70. See the difference? Because when I shot them for the first time, I didn’t :wink:


Well put. It is very easy to get caught up in the hype of a new toy.

I buy anything available for my rifles. I don’t care. They are all accurate enough. But prefer Remington Core-Lokt in my .30-06.