By Mark V. Lonsdale – STTU
For shooters who do not have the time or inclination to hand load, Federal’s Match Grade ammunition has long been the staple diet for many of those shooters. Back in the 1980’s, when Federal Match ammo came in red and white boxes, the 168 grain Sierra Match King (SMK) was first choice for our sniper training and the standard by which we judged all sniper ammunition. While its thin jacket and integrity through barricades was less than ideal, the accuracy and consistency was superb.
This has continued to today where we still use the Federal Gold Medal Match (GMM) 168 grain as out baseline standard for .308 Win. rifle evaluations. I have also been using the 168s for 600 yard competition shooting with no complaints.
Tac Ops Lima 51 .308 Win. sniper rifle with Leupold Mark 8 scope
The introduction of the Federal GMM 175 grain SMK added another option to the game. We now test all rifles with both Federal GMM 168 and 175 grain to see which one produces the better accuracy. The general recommendation has been that 1:12 twist barrels work well with the 168s, and 1:10 the 175s, but this is not a hard and fast rule. In some cases we have found 1:10 barrels that perform best with the 168s, but the 175s come into their own out past 600 yards when it comes to wind deflection.
Now we have a welcomed new addition to the Federal lineup — the Federal Premium Gold Medal Berger 185 grain Juggernaut, a Hybrid Open Tip Match (OTM) Boat Tail. We have just started evaluating this ammunition and getting excellent sub-MOA results at 100 yards. Next step is to run it out to 600 and 1,000 yards.
Federal GM Berger 185 grain Juggernaut Hybrid OTM — group at 100 yards
Federal Premium Berger 185 grain Juggernauts