Ammunition is a hot topic these days, not so much about accuracy, but about cost and availability. Before the crazy times we now live in, the main subject was cost. The price of brass, copper, and lead have seen a spike and, as a result, the cost of the finished product reflects the change.

In the last few years, steel-cased ammunition has begun to show up and the level of acceptance has been mixed. The guys who shoot a lot of ammunition but aren’t too concerned about accuracy and precision were elated. My opinion as a competitive shooter where accuracy mattered was that steel-cased ammunition was best left to the AKS crowd until I competed in the National Defense Match in 2011. I watched a friend, Iain Harrison, win the match using Hornady Steel Match .223 loaded with 75-grain bullets. Later, I tested the Steel Match 75-grain load and I was impressed. I didn’t feel it shot as well as the brass 75-grain load Hornady sells, but it was very close. I used it in a local High Power rifle match and won with it. I was convinced it was real ammunition.

Late last year, a friend told me about some steel-cased ammunition he’d purchased at a gun show: RUAG MFS steel-cased .223 Remington. He was using it in a short range tactical match the Piedmont Handgunner’s Association (PHA) hosts and he was really happy. He sold me 200 rounds; it functioned perfectly and looked like nickel-cased brass ammunition. The cases looked so good I hated to leave them on the ground. I used it in my Colt Competition Rifle in the next PHA Tactical match and it performed flawlessly, though the accuracy requirements of that match are really low. I wrote it off as good-looking, reliable ammunition but discounted the possibility that the accuracy would be on par with conventional ammunition…until I tested it.

I tested the RUAG MFS .223 Remington FMJ 55-grain load in the DPMS Prairie Panther my grandson used to win Junior class in that same 2011 National Defense Match. His Prairie Panther isn’t really a match rifle–it’s an out-of-the box gune with a good trigger and a medium weight 20” barrel. With really good match ammunition, it shoots five-shot groups just over or under one MOA. Not bad accuracy but not exactly the ideal test bed for ammunition. It shoots consistently under 2 MOA with 75-grain Hornady Steel Match.

My expectations were for the MFS ammunition to group around three inches. This is reasonable combat accuracy and just over what the Prairie Panther shoots with economy 5.56 loadings with 55-grain bullets. I was surprised. While hardly a definitive test, the MFS steel-cased .223 grouped under two inches for several five-shot groups. This is remarkable accuracy for ammunition that is at the very bottom of the price rung, and I’ll bet it’s better performance than a lot of ammunition with a considerably higher price tag. Overall, this is very good ammunition for a very good price.

Now, if I can just find some more.

Image by Dick Jones

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  • RossA

    Lower price without sacrificing quality is always good. However, just try to find a range that will allow you to shoot steel ammo. None of the several ranges I frequent will allow it past the front desk.

  • DAV

    that is not a group I would brag about

  • I’ve shot some steel like this in my Mini-14, worked just fine. I use it when I am outdoors.

    • ABC

      I’ve shot four boxes of this stuff but not in 62 gr sp. it has performed accuracy as well as PMC, much better than the Tulammo (BS) as far as accuracy and reliability. Accuracy has been as good as Remington UMC (comparing to 55 gr not 62) and and better accuracy as PRVI .223.

      Cabelas sells it between $6-6.88 per 20. I have shot it out to 300 yards at my local range (outdoor and no problem with steel casing) and just grouped 5 out of 6 shots right at 2″ with 3 of them within 1″. I did have one flyer 4-5″ off but part of that was probably me. 300 yards I’m still dialing in and it was windy but I did as well with that as the above mentioned rounds. I haven’t found anything to compete with its value (acceptable consistency with high rounds and pocket book in mind) in this price range and it’s really been solid although I’ve had 3 FTF in 80 rounds which I don’t like. It shoots cleaner than Tulammo but I clean every time I shoot and shoot 3-4 a week. I’m shooing a savage Axis bolt gun with a 1:9″ twist. I just bought 250 rounds of ultra max once fired with 68 and 75 gr hollow points to try as they were 18&19 per 20. Read good reviews but haven’t shot any yet.