Thursday, April 25, 2024

Why Federal Gold Medal Match Is Actually Better for Long-Range Shooting Than FMJ Ammo

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Have you ever shot with OTM ammo before? If not, the next time you’re at the shop, talk to one of the guys behind the counter about it.

Or, better yet, the next time you’re at the range, talk to one of your buddies. If you can get your hands on a round, take a look at the nose.

Notice that little hollow? It is a void in the jacket, but this is not a hollow point, despite the fact that it is often erroneously labeled that way.

It is OTM, or open-tip match ammo, similar to that type of bullet used by premium long-range rounds like Federal Gold Medal Match ammunition.

But you’ve probably heard that hollow point ammo is not stable at long ranges, making it unsuitable for long-distance shooting.

Why, then, would there be an opening in the nose of OTM bullets, even if these are not technically hollow points?

Let’s take a closer look.

OTM: Open Tip Match Ammo and Long-Range Shooting

This all has to do with how the bullets are made, and with the ballistic traits thereby desired.

OTM ammo, which does have a small depression in the nose, is superior to FMJ ammo for long range shooting because of how it is manufactured.

An FMJ round is made by swaging a lead bullet core to the appropriate size and then drawing the jacket down by the nose around the bullet. This leaves the core open at the base.

OTM ammo, like Federal’s Gold Medal Match, which uses Sierra MatchKing bullets, is not made this way. (Even though it is labeled as “boat-tailed hollow point,” it’s not quite the same.)

First, they stamp out bullet jackets from strips of gilding metal that consist of 95% copper and 5% zinc. These are pressed and drawn to shape.

A lead bullet core, which has been swaged to shape, is then placed in the jacket “cup” which is finished by drawing it up around the core and pinching it nearly closed at the nose of the bullet.

In addition to the stringent quality controls placed on the production of their boat-tailed “hollow point” bullets (they’re not really hollow-points) making bullets in this way produces distinct advantages for long-range shooters.

Drawing the jacket from the base up and closing it at the nose enables a process that produces bullets with a higher degree of radial symmetry, which is one of the keys to consistent ballistics.

Imagine a bullet with even a miniscule inconsistency in radial symmetry – that is, one that is slightly heavier on one side of the jacket. Bullets spin, and a spinning object that has a heavier side will have a lopsided spin, throwing off accuracy, even if ever so slightly.

As a result, OTM bullets, like the Sierra MatchKing bullets used in Federal’s Gold Medal Match ammo, are remarkably consistent and accurate, ensuring consistent long-range performance.

One other thing to note is that these bullets are not optimized for hunting, even if they are advertised as hollow points.

They are designed to do one thing and one thing only: produce consistent performance and accuracy even at great ranges.

What happens at impact is not a concern for either Federal or Sierra. The purpose is scoring. If you hit the target, paper or steel, the bullet has done its job.

Do not use these for hunting. Save the soft point bullets for that. These are for competition – and yes, they are better than FMJ.

Restock Your Federal Gold Medal Match Stockpiles with a Little Help from Bucking Horse Outpost

Want to try a match-grade OTM ammo for yourself but can’t find it at the local shop?

Check out Bucking Horse Outpost at the previous link. They sell a wide range of ammo from various manufacturers in an even wider range of calibers, including Federal Gold Medal Match. Stock up there.

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