One of the best things about the shooting sports is that, for the most part, they require very few special pieces of equipment. We buy a firearm, and it lasts for years - decades evenWe might replace small parts or springs, maybe a barrel replacement as needed, but a firearm lasts a long time. The big repeat cost for anyone who enjoys shooting is ammunition. Many people try to lower that cost by reloading. We do a bit of that for matches that require our ammunition to make a specific power factor (power factor is the velocity of the cartridge measured by a chronograph - then multiply by the weight of the projectile and then divide by 1000). But for many sporting shooters, the time, tools, and know-how for reloading are resources they don’t have. Maybe travel restricts access to ammunition...whatever hurdles you have, there are answers! One of the new products we have found very valuable to our “gear” is USA Ready ammunition. I’m going to dive into some of the reasons we like it, and some of the results we have seen with it.
The first reason that this ammunition has been helpful to us is that it’s high quality without high cost. With a quick Google search, I found Winchester white box for about .18 cents per round. Winchester USA Ready was found for .21 cents per round. The difference in what I get for that .03 cents is in the components used to create an accurate round that’s suitable for competition.
USA Ready 9mm has a flat-nosed FMJ projectile for improved accuracy and a match-grade primer for shot-to-shot consistency. Interestingly, ballistics data is available for each lot of ammo. Most competitors who are serious need to know their ammo is 100% fit for their event. Knowing that I can buy USA Ready product and shoot it in a match helps me focus my mental effort on performance and time I would otherwise spend reloading on practice! If I fly to an event, I know exactly what I’m getting with this ammo.
Accuracy is another reason we are enjoying the USA Ready ammunition. In the .223 , 62gr open tip round, we were consistently on par with both our own .77 grain handloads and various factory 77gr loads for long range - out to about 300 yards. We took this ammo to IPSC Rifle World Shoot in Sweden this year, and it performed well for us. The velocity was a bit higher than our 77 gr handloads as well, which gave us less variation in hold-overs to remember and account for while shooting stages. This is helpful because IPSC events do not allow the competitor to range targets with a device, except from behind the stage. So your best estimated measurement is what you go to the line with. A flatter trajectory means less variation in holds to account for elevation changes from one target to another. So if I’m off a little with my hold, it won’t be as painful when my ammo is dropping less/moving faster.
The ballistics info available for rifle ammunition is particularly helpful in that it gives you a starting point for figuring your holds. Most of us who compete in rifle events will use a BDC reticle ( Ballistic Drop Compensating) and then some sort of app or table to calculate what our hold for each target is. We enter our data into an app, and it tells us where to hold for that particular round through that particular rifle. However, if you were to show up at a match without being able to chronograph, the ballistics info on the USA Ready ammo lots is actually quite useful! It was obtained from a 16” barrel, which is very common in competition shooters’ rifles.
Many times rifle ammo is chronoed out of a 20” barrel to give it the good looking velocity and numbers on the packaging. However, when you have a round geared for competition, it’s much more relevant to know the chrono speed out of a 16” barrel. I really like that Winchester made the choice to do that!
Last thing I like about the ammo, and I know this isn’t a big deal to some people, is the packaging. When we fly, we MUST have ammunition packed in manufacture packaging. The box has a lightweight styrofoam insert to protect the rounds, and the box can be closed again. Packaging that doesn’t allow you to reseal means you have to pack tape so that any leftover ammo can be sealed again for the return flight. This isn’t a big deal, just one way that the USA Ready brand actually IS READY for a competition shooter who travels and needs consistent, quality ammo.
In the end, what ammo you use is dictated by your end use. If you are just plinking or shooting paper targets up close, white box will serve you well! But if you are shooting past 100 yards, knowing the consistency in groups you have shot at distance with USA Ready gives you more confidence and frees up your time to put in more practice.
Thanks for reading and make sure that you subscribe to Winchester’s blog to learn more about ways that you can enjoy your time on the range!