Monday, January 26, 2009

Comparison: Silver Bear Vs. Privy Partisan .223


On a recent weekend came a chance to go to the range. Despite twenty degree temperatures and stiff breezes, I jumped on it.

The AR180b came along, with several types of ammunition to try out. In this case, Privy Partisan 55 grain FMJ, and Silver Bear 55 grain FMJ. I have been meaning to try both, and that was the lucky day!

That is... till the cold really bit home, and the shivering started in. Can I get a BRRRRrrrrrr?


But... forge on we must, and I tried to be fair to both. The rifle sports an Eotech 512 holographic sight on a StormWerkz base, and while it has no magnification the 1-moa dot allows fairly precise shooting at reasonable ranges. This time, I stretched that out to 200 yards... a little far for a 'dot' sight and my old eyes.


I have to say, the silver bear functioned fine, but other than that did not impress me. It gave mediocre accuracy, which seemed to fade with range. At one hundred yards it held four inch groups... not terrible for $6 a box ammo, but at two hundred yards that got worse. A lot worse... like maybe hit the paper. In addition, I am unsettled about the way the case obdurates to seal the chamber, as I saw plenty of powder marks down the side of the case.

The case on the Silver bear is zinc plated steel, and also seems to have some form of poly coating as well. They certainly feel sticky to the touch when hot, after firing. That troubled me more than a little. It must foul the rifles chamber to some degree, and I can envision it causing feed and extraction issues on some rifles.


The Privy Partisan has traditional brass cases and traditional bullets as well. It's performance is on par with most any generic American made .223 FMJ ammunition, which is to say pretty darn good. On a day when I could shoot without shivering like a chihuahua in heavy traffic, it gave MOA tight groups with this rifle at one hundred yards.




Function was 100% perfect and accuracy was good too. At $8.50 a box locally, and sometimes cheaper on line, it seems a pretty good deal.

As for accuracy... here's an indicator... The target following was fired from the bench at 200 yards. The sight is unmagnified, with a 1-moa red dot surrounded by a 65-moa ring. The wind cost me two inches of left drift, but I was still able to keep most rounds in a group about the size of a twenty round magazine.

Given the shooting condition that day, and weapon used, I am not unhappy.



Frank W. James said...

I had a very Negative experienced with plastic coated steel case ammo once on an assigned review article. I wouldn't shoot the stuff now if it was the ONLY thing available for my blaster. I can absolutely testify it just doesn't work well with 'match' dimension chambers after more than a few rounds.

Good test and review, thanks.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

BillH said...

There is a shop in town with a whole stack of Silver Bear .308, with a pretty reasonable (post-election) price on it. I was tempted but now, not so much. Thanks to both of you for the heads up!

phlegmfatale said...

Loved the video -- looks like fun.

Crucis said...

Your impressions are the same I have of Wolfe ammo. I bought a box some years ago and went to the range. The ammo was zinc/steel cased with some kind of weather-proofing coating. On the six round, the case failed to extract. It was stuck tight in the chamber as if glued. I finally had to hammer the case out with an old cleaning rod (ruined the rod but it was coated and didnt' damage the rifling.)

I gave away the remainder of the box and never bought Wolfe again. I hear they now use brass, but I'm still not buying any. I buy a case of WWB each year and use that for my AR plus some handloads.

DirtCrashr said...

My 200-yard experience with 75-grain Privi Match has also been quite good, it's just that 68-grain Black Hills Match is measurably better.
I don't think I'll be getting any steel-cased stuff, not as long as my hardworking wife has a job!

eric said...

Lacquered steel case through your precious AR?! The Prvi is good stuff, however. At $7 a box, it's my favorite range ammo.

Anonymous said...

had the same problem with some wolf 30 06 steel ammo ,It stuck in my 1917 enfield during a match and I had to hammer it out with a rod . I had a case of it ,so now I use it as a trade item

PhilO said...

Just bought 1000 rounds of Prvi Partizan in .222 PSP. It was a bargain at $8 and change for a box. It doesn't have the "burnt rubber" stink of some other low cost imports, and it's not substantially dirtier than American production ammo either. The accuracy is right where I need it to be. I don't get to spend a lot of time poking holes in paper targets, I use these to shoot branches out of the tops of 80 to 100 foot trees. My typical distance to target is just under 100 yards, but I need to put the majority of my rounds into a 1" to 1.5" branch at that range. This ammo is perfect for my needs. BTW, the POA did not change at all from Remington production ammo.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to try the Prvi Partizan in 7x57mm Mauser. It has gotten very good reviews. I have been paying around $60 per hundred for 7x57mm Remington brass, but at $16/box, the Privi Partizan comes out at 80 cents a round. It is cheaper to use Prvi Partizan to get fireformed brass than to buy new brass and shoot cheap bullets and powder. I checked reviews on several different Prvi Partizan cartridges, and they are generally quite positive for such affordable rounds.