I saw this recommended on a forum and couldn’t find much information online, so I ordered 200 rounds to try it out. I didn’t think it was worth the recommendation.
Ordering was straightforward. I opted to order from the manufacturer rather than a retailer because I had a few questions. The order arrived in about two weeks, as promised (there was an undersupply of boxes when I called).
When I opened the box I found ten smaller boxes:
Brass was Lake City, everything I’ve seen so far has been dated 2003:
The manufacturer says the following about the ammunition:
American Ballistics’ 7.62MM M118 Long Range cartridge utilizing our 175gr OTM bullet and 7.62MM mil-spec case has extremely uniform muzzle velocity with excellent standard deviation and ballistic coefficient ( .495 BC ).
This cartridge is for use in bolt action rifles and is designed specifically to ensure and obtain unsurpassed shooting accuracy and performance at distances of up to 1350 yds.
The man I spoke with on the phone was very proud of the quality of the ammunition. He was confident I would find the ammunition of higher quality than Federal Gold Medal Match.
I shot both 175gr Federal Gold Medal Match and American Ballistics’ M118LR rounds at the same range session. I used an Oehler Model 35 Chronograph for the testing so I feel very confident in the accuracy of the numbers I collected.
First, the results from the Gold Medal Match:
- 10 round sample
- 31 fps range between slowest and fastest rounds
- Mean velocity was 2,538 feet per second
- Standard deviation was 11.7 fps.
Pretty good results, and a good indication that the chronograph is giving good numbers.
Now, on to the M118LR:
- 13 round sample
- 110 fps range between slowest and fastest rounds
- Mean velocity was 2,568 fps
- Standard deviation was 32.3 fps.
When talking about precision ammunition I tend to consider Federal Gold Medal Match the baseline. Handloaders should expect to do better for cheaper, but it’s acceptably accurate and consistent. When a manufacturer claims “extremely” uniform muzzle velocity I expect something better than I can get from Federal. ”Excellent standard deviation” is a claim I treat the same way.
I’m disappointed. Instead of performance better than FGGM I measured numbers approximately three times higher. I’m glad that I chose to purchase 600 rounds of FGGM for an upcoming rifle course rather than the M118LR that I considered. Note that the lower performance costs more as well — the M118LR is less consistent than Federal Gold Medal Match but costs nearly 20% more online ($575 for a 500 round case, versus prices around $0.97 per round for the Federal).
I can’t recommend it based on my testing.
On a possibly unrelated note:
The rifle I shot this through is a Remington 700 5R that I bought used with less than 200 rounds through it. I’ve probably put another 160 rounds through it with no troubles. No problems at all until today, when firing the M118LR. The11th round I fired was this one:
I don’t know whether to blame that on the ammunition or the rifle, but I’ll be putting another 600 rounds through this rifle with some very qualified range staff over the next week so I’ll update this once I come back. (Update: all the Federal I shot went bang the first time, every time. Military primers are harder, but are they this hard?)
I’m curious to hear whether your experiences are the same.