Skip to main content

Barnes' Precision Match Ammo

I've been waiting for this day to arrive for many years, and it's finally here. Barnes Bullets got into the ammunition game a few years back and has done an excellent job providing hunters with high-quality ammunition loaded with its fine line of bullets.

barnes_precision_match_f

Barnes will initially offer 5.56 NATO with 69-grain and 85-grain bullets, 175-grain .308 Winchester, 220-grain .300 Winchester Magnum and 300-grain .338 Lapua Magnum.

When I spoke to Thad Stevens, Barnes' vice president of business development, and asked him why Barnes decided to do a line of match ammo, he said, "We wanted to offer something for the commercial sector that was on par with what we are doing for the military."


The military spent a lot of money over the last decade improving the ammunition it issues to its snipers. It has set increasingly demanding requirements for muzzle velocities and consistency from one lot of ammunition to the next.


Barnes is making its projectiles for the 5.56 and .308 Match product lines. For the larger bullets, it uses Sierra MatchKings.

Those lot-to-lot consistency requirements exist so snipers don't have to worry about confirming their zero and dope every time they get a new lot of ammo. The same principle would make life a lot easier for competitive shooters who want to have access to factory ammunition and know it'll match what they've been shooting, regardless of how far out they shoot it.

Once we get our rifles all dialed in and maybe have custom turrets made, it's incredibly frustrating when the same brand, line and load performs inconsistently. While variations in muzzle velocity might not matter much inside 500 yards, they matter a lot once we start shooting out a bit farther.

Barnes took the same principles it applied to its SOCOM-issued .338 LM load and applied it to its commercial match line. It uses only premium brass made by either RUAG or Lapua (even though the headstamp will be marked "Barnes" or "BBR") and then checks every 5,000 rounds for pressure, velocity and accuracy.


Each 10-shot group has to have a standard deviation of less than 15 feet-per-second and hold a sub-MOA group at 100 yards out of the test barrel. If the ammunition fails to meet these specifications, it's scrapped.

Barnes sources only the best brass for its ammunition. The match line will use cases made by Lapua or Ruag.

One of the reasons Barnes loads this ammunition to slightly less than maximum velocities is so it can accommodate powder-lot variation and still guarantee the same muzzle velocities. If it loaded to maximum pressure and velocity with one powder lot, it would be unable to adjust for a slightly faster-burning powder lot on the next.


Leaving a little wiggle room with muzzle velocity allows it to load to that same velocity even if pressures fluctuate due to powder variables. Even the best powders (which is all Barnes uses) will have slight variations in pressure due to humidity on the factory floor when the powder was made.

This unprecedented level of quality control means that we can go buy the exact same performance every time we grab a box of Barnes' match line. To date, the only ammunition that has achieved something similar is the military's MK 316, which is incredibly expensive to make and hard to find, even in the Special Operations community.

barnes_precision_match_1

It allows snipers to get consistent performance regardless of lot and sub-lot and is not available commercially. If you like long-range shooting or just want to have the most consistent match ammunition available, Barnes' new line is designed for you.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Guns & Ammo TV: Shooting 1,270 Yards with the 5.56 NATO

Guns & Ammo TV: Shooting 1,270 Yards with the 5.56 NATO

Guns & Ammo Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand was on location in Idaho where he pushed the limits of the 5.56 NATO cartridge in this segment of “Long Range Tech” for Guns & Ammo TV. Pairing a SIG Sauer MCX Virtus rifle loaded with Hornady's 73-grain ELD-M ammunition, Beckstrand attempted to ring steel set at 1,270 yards, an incredible distance for any 5.56-chambered rifle and beyond the typical range for an AR-15.

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and deer; here's everything you need to know to make it work for you..350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know Rifle

.350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know

Tom Beckstrand - April 02, 2019

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and...

A guide on how to pair .223 and 5.56 NATO rifle barrel twist rates with bullet weights. Conventional wisdom says slower twist rates wouldn't properly-stabilize a heavy bullet. On the other hand, faster rates could over-stabilize lighter bullets. This is correct in theory, however, modern ballisticians have all but debunked the over-stabilization theory. All things being equal, it is better to have too much twist than not enough.Pairing Barrel Twist Rates with Bullets for .223 and 5.56 NATO How-To

Pairing Barrel Twist Rates with Bullets for .223 and 5.56 NATO

Keith Wood - November 17, 2018

A guide on how to pair .223 and 5.56 NATO rifle barrel twist rates with bullet weights....

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight ready.14 Red Dot Ready Pistols You Must See Handguns

14 Red Dot Ready Pistols You Must See

James Tarr - December 20, 2018

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight...

9 Commonly Misused Gun Terms How-To

9 Commonly Misused Gun Terms

Kyle Wintersteen

"Assault weapon." Sixteen-round "clip." A box of "bullets." When it comes to guns and gun...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifle

Guns & Ammo's Tom Beckstrand sits down with Hornady Vice President Jason Hornady to discuss what .223 Remington Frontier line has to offer. Guns & Ammo TV: Hornady Frontier Ammo Rifle

Guns & Ammo TV: Hornady Frontier Ammo

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 10, 2020

Guns & Ammo's Tom Beckstrand sits down with Hornady Vice President Jason Hornady to discuss...

Federal Ammunition announced a contract award to supply high-performance 7.62x51mm NATO and other novel ammunition for the U.S. Army's Next Generation Carbine Technologies (NGCT) program.Federal Awarded US Army NGCT High-Performance Ammo Contract Rifle

Federal Awarded US Army NGCT High-Performance Ammo Contract

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 04, 2020

Federal Ammunition announced a contract award to supply high-performance 7.62x51mm NATO and...

Speer is now offering the performance of its Gold Dot Handgun ammunition for self-defense rifle applications with new Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Rifle ammunition.Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Rifle Ammunition Rifle

Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Rifle Ammunition

Guns & Ammo Staff - May 20, 2020

Speer is now offering the performance of its Gold Dot Handgun ammunition for self-defense...

Hornady's 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge (ARC) is the first time in history that the commercial announcement of a cartridge was preceded by adoption within the military. While Hornady has been extremely secretive about who adopted the cartridge, they can say that it is a U.S. Military Adopts Hornady's New Cartridge: 6mm ARC Rifle

U.S. Military Adopts Hornady's New Cartridge: 6mm ARC

Tom Beckstrand - June 03, 2020

Hornady's 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge (ARC) is the first time in history that the commercial...

See More Rifle

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now