Established in 1941, the nearly 4,000-acre Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, Missouri, produces small-caliber ammunition for the military at a rate of around a billion rounds per year. This makes LCAAP the largest producer of small arms ammo for the United States Armed Forces.
In 2017, LCAAP approached Hornady Manufacturing with an impressive offer that would combine Lake City's impressive production capabilities with Hornady's superb components to produce accurate, affordable AR ammunition for shooters.
"The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant came to Hornady with an opportunity to tap into some of that capacity," said Hornady Vice President Jason Hornady. "The cool thing about this opportunity is as a bullet manufacturer, we have the opportunity with the Lake City organization to provide military spec cartridges with better bullets. When you have an opportunity like this, you cannot pass it up."
For AR enthusiasts everywhere, this means that military-grade ammunition is now available at very affordable prices. In addition, Frontier ammo is loaded with a variety of different bullets in different grain weights in both 5.56 and .223 Rem. So, whether you're a hunter, competitive shooter, law enforcement officer or simply a fan of modern sporting rifles (MSRs) who likes to plink without spending a fortune, there's an offering available in the Frontier line to suit your needs. With pre-packaged ammunition available in everything from 20- to 1,000-count boxes, you can order as few or as many rounds of reliable ammo as you'd like.
For 2018, Hornady is offering 11 versions of their Frontier ammunition.
In .223 Remington, new offerings include 55-grain full metal jacket (FMJ), soft-point (SP) and hollow-point (HP) Match loads, as well as a 68-grain boattail hollow-point (BTHP) Match load. In 5.56 NATO, there are two 55-grain offerings (FMJ and HP Match), three 62-grain loads (FMJ, SP and BTHP Match), a 68-grain BTHP Match load and a 75-grain BTHP Match.
LCAAP's impressive production facilities allow for high-volume production while maintaining very high standards of quality. Each of these American-made rounds feature reloadable brass cases and military-grade boxer primers and propellants. All at a fraction of the cost of what you'd normally pay.
Just how affordable is it? How about less than 50 cents a round at retail prices. That's good news for a lot of shooters, especially with the growing numbers of AR shooters.
At the Range
For range testing, I selected three of the available Frontier rounds: the .223 Rem. 55-grain HP Match load and the 68- and 75-grain BTHP 5.56 offerings. I fired three, three-shot groups at 100 yards using a Rise Armament RA-303H S rifle with a 20.2-inch barrel and .223 Wylde chamber. It was topped with a Trijicon Accupoint 3-9x40mm scope to evaluate accuracy.
The 55-grain load produced average velocities that were a bit above factory figures while the 68- and 75-grain loads were just below factory figures when measured at a distance of 10 feet from the muzzle by a ProChrono digital chronograph. All three rounds produced very good accuracy from the RA-303H S. The best group in the test came courtesy of the 68-grain BTHP load and measured just .51 inch at 100 yards when fired from a fixed rest. The 75-grain BTHP load produced a .6-inch group, and the 55-grain load averaged just above an inch.
Those are impressive numbers, especially considering the cost-to-quality ratio. Additionally, there were no issues with feeding or extraction throughout the test, nor were there any issues with ammunition function. Each round burned cleanly and didn't produce excessive fouling that can lead to problems with reliability or function after extended sessions at the range.
The very fact that LCAAP sought out Hornady to load their bullets speaks volumes about the Grand Island, Nebraska, manufacturer's reputation for excellence.
No matter the discipline, the rifle or the range, Hornady's new Frontier ammunition promises to provide the kind of performance serious shooters demand at a price that most of us can afford.
For more information, visit www.hornady.com.
|Hornady Frontier Load Specs||Velocity (fps)||Energy (ft.-lbs.)||BC (G1)|
|.223 Rem. 55-gr. FMJ||3,240||1,282||.243|
|.223 Rem. 55-gr. SP||3,240||1,282||.235|
|.223 Rem. 55-gr. HP Match||3,240||1,282||.254|
|.223 Rem. 68-gr. BTHP Match||2,960||1,323||.355|
|5.56 NATO 55-gr. HP Match||3,240||1,282||.254|
|5.56 NATO 55-gr. FMJ (M193)||3,240||1,282||.243|
|5.56 NATO 62-gr. FMJ||3,060||1,289||.274|
|5.56 NATO 62-gr. BTHP Match||3,060||1,289||.270|
|5.56 NATO 62-gr. SP||3,060||1,289||.264|
|5.56 NATO 68-gr. BTHP Match||2,960||1,323||.355|
|5.56 NATO 75-gr. BTHP Match||2,910||1,410||.355|
Hornady Frontier Performance
|Load||Velocity (fps)||ES||SD||Best Group (in.)||Average Group (in.)|
|68-gr. BTHP Match||2,854||40||14||.51||.73|
|75-gr. BTHP Match||2,832||45||12||.60||.86|
|55-gr. HP Match||3,306||77||25||1.05||1.13|
Notes: Accuracy is the average of three, three-shot groups from a rest at 100 yards. Velocity is the average of 10 shots measure by a ProChrono digital chronograph at 10 feet.