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Reaching Master or Grand-master level with factory ammo


Sean_ht
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Do I need to reload (ammo) to facilitate-my-path/make-it-possible to reach a M/GM level?

 

I am talking in a more general form, but mainly asking about the minor only divisions (i.e., CO and production). Also, not a fan of spending too much on factory ammo such as Federal 150gr Synthetic. 

 

The reason I am asking this question is,  many of us live in an apt. or a small houses with not enough space to allocate for the reloading stuffs. I want to know how much the factory ammo with higher PF (than min needed for minor), acts as a disadvantage.  Perhaps at C, or even B level, it does not really matter much. But reaching a M or GM level is tricky, and every split of second, or a tenth of an inch on target plays a huge role.

 

One side question, among the three 9mm bullet weight (115, 124, and 147) for factory ammo, which one u suggest? The 115 has a bit more snap, but cycle faster and is more flat.on the other hand, 147 has a much softer recoil, but cycle slower and is not as flat as 115. Finally 124 hangs in the middle (both in terms of pros and cons), and I find it the best for PCC.

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Perfectly possible... because ammo details are a very small part of getting M or GM. 

 

I know plenty of M's and GMs that shoot 135 PF ammo because it works and is not any worse for their scores than shooting 125.001 PF.

 

Some top shooters run factory ammo at Nationals.

 

Don't stress about it.  Dryfire a crapload, get whatever ammo works well in your pistol and go shoot. 

 

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plenty of companies make bulk 147 gr ammo thats decent velocity without overkill,  you can get alot cheaper than that federal stuff. Go to ammo seak and do a search for brass cased 147, pay attention to shipping charges though some pad snot out of it.
LAX, Targetsportsusa, S&G are allpretty good suppliers

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I know a lot of shooters who use factory or remanufactured ammo.  Even those who reload there own keep the PF in the 130~135 level to be sure they make minor at the chrono station.  It also knocks steel down faster.  I use factory 147s for outlaw matches where you have to knock down uncalibrated steel.  Other wise I prefer 115s and 124s in that order.  Having the sights return more quickly is more important than any reduction in felt recoil.

 

BTW, you tune your gun for the ammo you plan to use.  So if you tune it for 115s @ 1150fps and switch to 147s @ 1000fps, don't expect it to be optimal (and vice versa).

 

If you are interested in saving split seconds and fractions of an inch, tune your gun to the exact ammo you will use.  The difference between 124s and 115s is not that noticeable in tuned pistols.  I believe you can do the same for 147s, but I haven't tried as hard.  You tune a Production gun the same way you tune an Open gun.  Pick a load.  Choose your recoil spring weight so that the gun returns to level as the gun goes into battery.  If it dips then rises to level, your spring is too heavy.  If it has to be pulled down to level, it is too light.

 

Next you want to minimize the muzzle flip induced by the slide hitting the frame at the end of the stroke.  You do that by adjusting the weight of your mainspring.  Heavier means more resistance to the rearward motion of the slide, slowing it.  Forget the effect it has on trigger pull.  That can be corrected in other ways.  I have never understood the 1911 yahoos that run 15 lb. mainsprings because they want the 'best' trigger pull, and Ti firing pins because they want the 'fastest' lock time.  They have to use Federal primers, because they are the only ones that goo bang with that setup.  Plus, they have to contend with sky high muzzle flip.

 

If your gun has a firing pin stop, you can change the recoil characteristics by changing the radius on the bottom of it.

 

This is most easily accomplished on hammer fired guns.  Striker fired gun are more difficult, because you don't have as many options.

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You dont need to reload to make ANY level, including winning World Championship.  Bullet weight means nothing, but good technique and consistent practice mean everything.  If you allow that to become your thinking and stop focusing on the things that dont matter and instead focus on the things that do... you will make M or GM much much quicker. 

 

Buy the cheapest ammo you can find to practice and buy Synctech as your  practice confirmation/match ammo.  

Edited by nasty618
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You should go ask M’s and GM’s. 
 

I’d bet almost everyone of them will tell you yes it’s possible and to just pick a load and never worry about the ammo again. 
 

FYI, there’s a couple companies that make competition ammo. It’s cheaper than federal. Look up Precision Deltas Match ammo. Good stuff. I’ve shot it. Hard to beat when not reloading your own. 
 

 

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4 minutes ago, nasty618 said:

You dont need to reload to make ANY level, including winning World Championship.  Bullet weight means nothing, but good technique and consistent practice mean everything.  If you allow that to become your thinking and stop focusing on the things that dont matter and instead focus on the things that do... you will make M or GM much much quicker. 

 

Buy the cheapest ammo you can find to practice and buy Synctech as your  practice confirmation/match ammo.  

 

Thanks for the reply.  I agree with you, however asking a question does not mean it is the main focus in my training. 

 

BTW, I tried that cheap ammo for training and Synthetic for match, and it did not work for me for two reasons: 1. the change in poi; I had to keep adjusting my sight between match and live fire practice, and 2. the difference in felt recoil and how fast the slide cycles made it less efficient at the match. 

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9 minutes ago, B_RAD said:

You should go ask M’s and GM’s. 
 

I’d bet almost everyone of them will tell you yes it’s possible and to just pick a load and never worry about the ammo again. 
 

FYI, there’s a couple companies that make competition ammo. It’s cheaper than federal. Look up Precision Deltas Match ammo. Good stuff. I’ve shot it. Hard to beat when not reloading your own. 
 

 

 

I asked some of the GM's at the matches I have been to. While there were not that many, their responses were very diverse. So I thought this platform has a broader audience, and I can get more responses.  To my surprise, all of the C level shooters suggested to reload ammo. And most of them do reload, but I think the financial aspect is the main driver for them.

 

As for the Precision Deltas Match, their price is as high as a good quality factory ammo. Also, I learned a long time ago, if I shoot a re-manufacture ammo, it will be what I reload by myself. I can't trust the QA/AC of any of those re-manufacture companies. I have seen several instances of stovepipe or brass deformation with re-manufacture ammo (not particularly the mentioned company). 

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12 minutes ago, Sean_ht said:

 

I asked some of the GM's at the matches I have been to. While there were not that many, their responses were very diverse. So I thought this platform has a broader audience, and I can get more responses.  To my surprise, all of the C level shooters suggested to reload ammo. And most of them do reload, but I think the financial aspect is the main driver for them.

 

As for the Precision Deltas Match, their price is as high as a good quality factory ammo. Also, I learned a long time ago, if I shoot a re-manufacture ammo, it will be what I reload by myself. I can't trust the QA/AC of any of those re-manufacture companies. I have seen several instances of stovepipe or brass deformation with re-manufacture ammo (not particularly the mentioned company). 

Not really sure what to tell you. You have limited space to reload. Don’t seem to want to buy factory and don’t want to buy remanufactured. 
 

Ammo that’s 136-130pf and is reliable is really all you’d need to worry about, IMO. That’s assuming it runs in your gun and is accurate enough. 
 

how you get there is gonna be your choice to make based on your situation. 
 

I’d be hesitant to take much, if any, advice from C class shooters. Sorry if that’s rude but I can’t seem to find a way around that. I’d search out the most skilled shooter I could find and that’s where I’d try to get all my info. 
 

 

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Most M's and GMs that aren't national contenders reload because it lets them shoot more for the same money and they don't get free ammo.   Same goes for C and B class shooters except they're even less likely to get free ammo.

 

It is possible to reload in a small apartment--  I did it for years all the way from a square deal B to a 1050, but it takes some commitment and if you don't want to, factory ammo will get you where you want to go if you do the rest of the work.

 

IIRC Phil Strader said he made GM in about 10K rounds of live fire and Ben Stoeger probably even less.

 

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I don't see any reason reloading is necessary. The main benefit to reloading for me is I shoot more rounds for the same money. If I wasn't reloading I'd probably just shoot 9mm and find something cheap that makes PF and works 100% in my gun.

 

Personally I made G in SS while switching between major and minor. My load for minor was 180gr 40's making 140-145 pf. 

 

In  Limited I got it with a match bump shooting a 4" gun, my load for that makes 180 PF when I put it in a 5" gun.

 

I try to tell my friends to not waste tons of time finding that perfect load, get something that works load and shoot. You'll get used to what ever it is once you've shot it a lot. In fact one year I was shooting open and was constantly tweaking my gun and my load trying to find the perfect set up. I one day realized I was spending as much time at the range shooting over the chrono and testing accuracy as I was actually training. Now I keep that stuff short and in the off season. When I go to train, I train. My time is limited, I don't want to waste it.

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26 minutes ago, B_RAD said:

Not really sure what to tell you. You have limited space to reload. Don’t seem to want to buy factory and don’t want to buy remanufactured. 
 

Ammo that’s 136-130pf and is reliable is really all you’d need to worry about, IMO. That’s assuming it runs in your gun and is accurate enough. 
 

how you get there is gonna be your choice to make based on your situation. 
 

I’d be hesitant to take much, if any, advice from C class shooters. Sorry if that’s rude but I can’t seem to find a way around that. I’d search out the most skilled shooter I could find and that’s where I’d try to get all my info. 
 

 

 

Agreed. I mentioned C level guys, because it was surprising to me that almost all of them do reload their ammo.

 

Some clarifications,  I never said I don't want to buy factory ammo. My question was about if shooting factory ammo plays a negative role in gaining the M and GM level, so much so that the reloading ammo becomes a necessity. 

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5 minutes ago, Sean_ht said:

 

Agreed. I mentioned C level guys, because it was surprising to me that almost all of them do reload their ammo.

 

Some clarifications,  I never said I don't want to buy factory ammo. My question was about if shooting factory ammo plays a negative role in gaining the M and GM level, so much so that the reloading ammo becomes a necessity

gotcha

 

I reload because it’s cheaper and I can fine tune it but that’s just an added bonus. If I could find quality factory ammo for only $2 more a box of 50, I’d quit reloading and shoot that. But I haven’t. Most is about $4 per box of 50. 

 

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2 minutes ago, B_RAD said:

gotcha

 

I reload because it’s cheaper and I can fine tune it but that’s just an added bonus. If I could find quality factory ammo for only $2 more a box of 50, I’d quit reloading and shoot that. But I haven’t. Most is about $4 per box of 50. 

 

 

Don't want to be too specific. Just out of curiosity, could you please share your per round cost of reload (excluding the cost of investment in equipment)? 

I made a calculation before, and I ended up with $0.11~0.13 per round on average (9mm). 

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24 minutes ago, shred said:

Most M's and GMs that aren't national contenders reload because it lets them shoot more for the same money and they don't get free ammo.   Same goes for C and B class shooters except they're even less likely to get free ammo.

 

It is possible to reload in a small apartment--  I did it for years all the way from a square deal B to a 1050, but it takes some commitment and if you don't want to, factory ammo will get you where you want to go if you do the rest of the work.

 

IIRC Phil Strader said he made GM in about 10K rounds of live fire and Ben Stoeger probably even less.

 

 

Thanks, all great points. 

 

Even the aspect of shooting more by reloading ammo, because it is cheaper, IMHO is not a wise path to pick. I assume shooting live fire is an alternative to practice more the dry-fire/technique. In that sense, spending more time on practicing dry-fire/techniques will be a much more efficient way to reach the same goal. As you expressed in the last line. 

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10 minutes ago, Sean_ht said:

 

Don't want to be too specific. Just out of curiosity, could you please share your per round cost of reload (excluding the cost of investment in equipment)? 

I made a calculation before, and I ended up with $0.11~0.13 per round on average (9mm). 

$.15-.16

 

 

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I also shoot 9mm Open (major and minor), so I have to reload.  All of my matches are essentially lost brass matches.  So I can buy new, good factory ammo for less than it costs me to reload.  And I do for my uncompensated guns.  If all I shot was Production or CO, I'd buy all the ammo and use the considerable time saved to shoot more or do other things.  There is a lot or really good, consistent 9mm ammo out there for very inexpensive prices. 

 

You can save more by joining the Targetsports USA discount program.  For $95 a year you get an 8% discount on all the ammo and free shipping, even if you only order one box.

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There are also a lot of excellent companies offering factory loaded/reloaded ammo for competition use. Lower power factor than regular factory ammo and very accurate and reliable. Precision Delta, NCShooters and Outdoor Dynamics are good examples.


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7 hours ago, Sean_ht said:

 

Thanks for the reply.  I agree with you, however asking a question does not mean it is the main focus in my training. 

 

BTW, I tried that cheap ammo for training and Synthetic for match, and it did not work for me for two reasons: 1. the change in poi; I had to keep adjusting my sight between match and live fire practice, and 2. the difference in felt recoil and how fast the slide cycles made it less efficient at the match. 

 

I haven't found this to be the case in my training. I have 147s and 125s. I *slightly* prefer the 147s so I use those mainly for matches and the 125s for practice. I can notice a difference in sound report but that's about it. Sure if I were shooting tiny groups, I might notice more... but for most drills we do for USPSA type of stuff, the POI isn't much, if any factor in my guns.

 

5 hours ago, Sean_ht said:

 

Don't want to be too specific. Just out of curiosity, could you please share your per round cost of reload (excluding the cost of investment in equipment)? 

I made a calculation before, and I ended up with $0.11~0.13 per round on average (9mm). 

 

For another data point, I reload 9mm for $0.092 per round w/ 124 gr and $0.097 w/ 147 gr (shooting coated bullets). This requires buying primers and powder on sale or with free hazmat and bullets 10k at a time. It is not hard to achieve this cost yourself, just requires some up front money and proper planning to stay stocked up.

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2 hours ago, TrackCage said:

 

I haven't found this to be the case in my training. I have 147s and 125s. I *slightly* prefer the 147s so I use those mainly for matches and the 125s for practice. I can notice a difference in sound report but that's about it. Sure if I were shooting tiny groups, I might notice more... but for most drills we do for USPSA type of stuff, the POI isn't much, if any factor in my guns.

 

 

For another data point, I reload 9mm for $0.092 per round w/ 124 gr and $0.097 w/ 147 gr (shooting coated bullets). This requires buying primers and powder on sale or with free hazmat and bullets 10k at a time. It is not hard to achieve this cost yourself, just requires some up front money and proper planning to stay stocked up.

 

Thanks, my higher bound ($0.13) includes brass and lower bound excludes it. It is a bit conservative. Perhaps with a bit squeeze, as you expressed, I can reach the $0.1/round mark. 

 

I seriously was about to buy the equipment, but two of my friends (one GM, and one A level), convinced me to change my mind, and wait till the end of the year.  Basically they both told me that I will eventually do the reload, but until I reach my M level, it just brings more distraction rather than helping my progress. 

Saying that, one of my other friends (also a GM) had put the idea of buying the reloading stuffs in the first place.  

 

I think waiting a year or less, does not hurt much. Based on my estimate for the ammo count I will shoot this year, the saving I could have is about $1k if I would have bought the reloading equipment (excluding the investment cost). On the other hand, the time I will save will be contributed to training (dryfire/technique), which I really need to focus on at this point.

 

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1 hour ago, Sean_ht said:

I seriously was about to buy the equipment, but two of my friends (one GM, and one A level), convinced me to change my mind, and wait till the end of the year.  Basically they both told me that I will eventually do the reload, but until I reach my M level, it just brings more distraction rather than helping my progress. 

Saying that, one of my other friends (also a GM) had put the idea of buying the reloading stuffs in the first place.  

 

I think waiting a year or less, does not hurt much. Based on my estimate for the ammo count I will shoot this year, the saving I could have is about $1k if I would have bought the reloading equipment (excluding the investment cost). On the other hand, the time I will save will be contributed to training (dryfire/technique), which I really need to focus on at this point.

 

 

Every Master and Grand Master shooter I know reloads. They were not rich to begin with so they looked to save money while getting to those Categories. Those shooters are laying out 1,500 - 2,000 rounds per week to get to that level. I personally save about $0.29 per round ($0.41/round for factory less $0.12/round my reloads) reloading. Last year I shot 12,000 rounds, so the math works out to about $3,480 in savings... for last year alone.

 

When you reload, you save so much money. Take our illustrious forum founder's (Mr. Enos) words and hear about his history. He seemed to have reached his potential by reloading (https://www.full30.com/watch/MDIxNTc3/brian-enos-on-the-firearm-friday-podcast). He even worked together with Mike Dillon to share his experience and assist them in building those amazing reloading machines. 

 

It all boils done to a numbers game. Shoot more, try to save money, then shoot some more. It's all about practice.

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