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Federal Ammunition Review

 

Earlier this year, I received an e-mail from Widener's Reloading and Shooting Supply.  The Widener's representative had looked at some of the write-ups on my website and wanted to know if I would be interested in performing an ammunition review.  Over a couple more e-mail exchanges, we agreed on my using .308 Win ammo for the review.  In less than a week's time, the UPS truck left a box from Widener's on my porch.  In it were three types of Federal ammunition; Federal Fusion 150 gr. soft point, Federal PowerShok 150 gr. soft point, and Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr. Matchking.  Now I knew what I would be shooting for the review.

I decided on two rifles for the review.  The first was one that I purchased on the used market back in the late '70s, an Ithaca LSA-55 bolt action with a 23" barrel.  On it is a scope from the same era, a Bushnell 3-9x32.  The trigger pull on the Ithaca is heavy and one must concentrate to get a clean smooth break but it has a smooth running action which I really like.  The second rifle for this review was one I picked up gently used just a couple of years ago, a FNH FNAR semi-auto 20" heavy barrel.   It sports a Bushnell 4200 Elite 6-24x50 optic I got about the same time. 

Having retired and moved in Dec. 2015, I no longer have access to the range facilities of the club I belonged to for many years.   Ranges around here are few and far between, albeit one is being built near Bemidji, MN.  It has been in the "works" for about 8 years and while some progress has been made on it, I don't know the status of it (other than it is not yet open for use).  I imagine most people simply use the back 40 acres for a range, so that is what I opted for as well.

 

makeshift shooting bench

With the help of a couple of sawhorses and a piece of plywood left over from our house build, I assembled a temporary shooting bench whose pieces easily fit in the back of my pickup truck.  It's not even close to the solid concrete shooting tables I was fortunate to have at my last club, but it will do the job.  I opted to use my shooting rest as  well as my CED M2 Chronograph.  The targets were placed at 100 yds.  I shot the Federal ammo over a multi-day period.  The wind was just noticeable for all days although the ambient air temp varied by as much as 30 degrees.  I print my targets using various templates and apply a self-adhesive bullseye to the paper.  I used a couple of different target styles at my makeshift range. 

 

federal ammo

As I previously mentioned, the Federal ammo from Widener's was comprised of Federal Fusion 150 gr. soft point, Federal PowerShok 150 gr. soft point, and Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr. MatchKing.   Federal's states that their Fusion ammo is the first rifle ammunition specifically built for deer hunting.  They say it yields very high expansion and weight retention due to the bullet's molecularly fused jacket and pressure-formed core.  Federal's PowerShok uses a traditional lead core bullet providing the shooter with an affordably priced cartridge suitable for medium and big game.  As I write this, I noticed an advertisement in the local paper earlier this week.  A store had both Fusion and PowerShok ammo on sale.  The price differed by $5 a box....but they didn't state which calibers were available for the price indicated.  The Gold Medal Match (GMM) cartridge uses a Sierra MatchKing bullet which is well known by the match shooters.  I have a .308 rifle that really likes the 175 gr. MatchKing bullet I use in my hand loads.  Federal offers both MatchKing bullet weights, 168 and 175 grains, in their Gold Medal Match ammo. 

The following targets represent a composite, so to speak, of the average velocity and accuracy of the indicated ammunition.  Multiple groups for each type of ammo in both rifles were shot.  I selected the target that most closely represented the average group that was obtained and included it with the data I gathered.  The point of impact (POI) on the target in relationship to the bullseye is not a factor regarding accuracy.  Everyone knows that a change in ammo will almost always result in the need to change the scope's elevation and windage settings.  The scope's settings were adjusted on several occasions to move the POI to a suitable location nearer the bullseye.  Once a person has selected their desired ammunition, a final adjustment to bring the POI onto the bullseye is all that is necessary.

Here are the targets and data gathered during the session with the FNH FNAR rifle. 
 

Rifle:
Ammo:
Velocity:
Group:
FNAR
Fusion
2723 FPS
1.19"
FNAR Fusion target

 

Rifle:
Ammo:
Velocity:
Group:
FNAR
PowerShok
2744 FPS
1.36"
FNAR PowerShok target

 

Rifle:
Ammo:
Velocity:
Group:
FNAR
GMM
2572 FPS
1.11"
Federal Gold Medal Match target

   

More Federal Ammo Review

 

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