BTW everyone.  Here is a secret for you.  One of the best loads you can do in an AR15, period, is going to be 22 grains of Benchmark using a 77 Grain Nosler or Sierra bullet.  Berger OTM, slightly less, because its a longer bullet and will yield more pressure.  This is a lights out load and you will be hard pressed to find a consistently better load that works in all climates and all temperatures, reliably accurate.  That is what we think, and we have tested thousands of loads, using pretty much every powder you can buy.
Basically, if you take any manufacturers brass, and you full length size it properly, its all going to be reliable and good.  At least we think so, and all we do is load and test all the time, for years and years on end, through many, many AR15's.  People measure the weight "extreme spread" of the group, and claim because its more than brand X, that its simple not as good.  Seems valid, and could make sense, or is it that its not enough to matter and its close enough out of an AR15, which is NOT a precision shooting rifle due to all its moving parts and loose tolerances.  So we ran a test, and took very very particular attention to consistency.  So we did this:
  • Did not prep any brass.  Straight from the box it came from, no prep, no primer pocket sizing, no primer pocket depth standardizing, no neck turning, no neck trimming, no bevels, no nothing.
  • Places in FULL LENGTH sizing die, with expander ball.
  • Federal Gold Medal match primers, weighed to .02 grains, only selected ones that weighed exactly the same
  • Nosler 77 Grain Custom Competition, sorted through hundreds, and only selected ones that weighed exactly the same to within .02 grains.  As in 77.00-77.02 grains. 
  • Benchmark powder loaded to 22.0 grains, and triple checked on 3 scales for exact, within .02, as in 22.00-22.02 grains, each.
  • OAL was 2.255 on all loads
  • We weighed all the brass, but did not select brass based on weight range, just pulled a handful out of a pile and used it. 
Brass Brands Tested
One mistake on the Nammo load, but was replaced by another round, to make group 7. 
All groups counted were 7 shots.
If you read all of our site, you can see we actually believe AR15's have an issue, generally, with the First shot out of the barrel, but that is reality, you have to take a first shot, we we could it, as the "7 shot group", then we rank the 6 shots, then rank the 5 shot group.  This is why we did 7 shots, not 5.  Because with 7, you see way better pattern overall.
Look at that Norma group.  Jeez.  4 shots are less than .2", and 5 shots are .35", 6 shots are .6" and all the shots are .79". 

See ranking chart below for details on results, then also statistics on FPS versus Brass weight.

Keep reading all over the internet...Federal is too soft, Winchester quality control bad, Lapua is the best, Hornady X, etc etc etc.  All opinions based on mostly small samples and subjective views.  In reality, it only matters how they shoot.  And ALL of them shoot, pretty much like each other.  Even the mixed brass grouped very competitively, and that is 2x shot brass with HUGE weight extreme spread.

The Data
Ok.  Here is what the columns mean.
7 MOA or Rank 7, means it took ALL the shots into account.  All 7 shots.
6 MOA or Rank 6 means it discounted the 1 flyer in each group, which was majority FIRST SHOTS from magazine.
5 MOA or Rank 5 means it counted the 5 best shots.
This is why you don't do 5 shot groups if you want to see what load is best, because it might not be consistent.  7 is a lot better.  With 5, you can get a few lucky groups that are say .3 or .5", but over time, when you do 7 shot groups or something like this, those super low numbers will probably average out over time to be .8 or .9" because its AN AR15, not a bolt gun.  Many moving parts, way looser chamber, not a super heavy barrel, etc.  Nowhere near as consistent as bolt gun.

To us, we value the 6 round group the most.  Let us explain why.
Does MOA matter for entire group?
Now, in an AR15, you could get 1 flyer for various reasons.  This is no secret, it happens for many reasons.  So look at the 4 different groups, which are all the same MOA result.  Which pattern would you like to have?  Obviously, a group with no flyer, but this is near impossible in AR15 platforms if you group enough bullets.

To us, upper right group is worst.  Terrible result.
Upper left is the best
Lower left is 2nd place, because first and last shot are suspect in AR's.  Bottom right is not good either.

So if you find anyone on the internet who says its a 2" group, its 2 MOA, just agree and say "yes, thank you" and do what you want. 
Brass Pics
All the brass looks good, and the internet consensus that Federal Brass is soft, didn't play out, as you can see the Federal Premium brass barely has any indentations or stamps in it, except one on right, but that is on the other brands as well. 
The Mixed brass at the bottom was quite a disparity.  We have some NATO pieces, a crimped one, and some 223 pieces from different brands.  Didn't matter.  Lights out group.

Different AR15 same Brass brands tested "again"
This is a SHILEN WOA barrel. The other test above is a WOA Predator barrel.  Both are gas guns, not piston.

This target is Berger 77 OTM using 21.5 grains Benchmark powder, 2.255 OAL with Federal Gold Medal primers.  As you can see, its a lights out load, because these are all 7 round groups, at 100 yards. 

We tossed in 2 more groups just to prove a point.  What is the point?  The point is, Benchmark powder is simply the best, or top tier, tier 1 powder you can use in an AR15, and that is period, end of story, lights out, good night.  We didnt even tune or change the load, kept it at 21.5 grains, picked up a pile of mixed brass, then another 5 1x shot used Nammo brass, put regular CCI400 Small Rifle primers in them, and there you can see.  Both groups are .7", and that is using Berger 70 grain VLD's not the 77 Grain OTM's like the test standard.  because the point is, it doesn't even matter.  You put 21.5 grains, or 22 grains of Benchmark using pretty much anything, with a quality barrel?  It shoots lights out. 

Again, this brass was taken straight out of the bags/boxes.  Not neck turned, not primer hole drilled, not prepped by us.  However, brass, such as Nosler comes fully prepped.  We just full lenth sized all this, and used expander ball in neck.  Thats it.  Of note, the mixed brass?  The cartridge length varied by 15k because it was 1-2 times shot and all the necks have stretched longer.  Not trimmed.  The mixed brass did a .28" group if you count the best 5 shots.  And the mixed brass not even using match primers, with totally wildly variable cases, is .74" 7 shots.  Can that be beat?  Consistently?  7 shots is quite good sample.
SHILEN Barrel bottom, in Yellow, WOA Predator barrel on top.
Look at that.  Federal was most consistent brass, combined winner, using 2 different guns, and 2 different great loads.  Combined scores, lowest wins.
Federal 17 Points   TIED FOR FIRST
Norma  17 points    TIED FOR FIRST
Nosler  18 Points   Runner up
Just add up score column for both tests, lowest score wins.

I think its fair to say, the Berger 77 OTM is slightly more accurate than the Nosler 77 CC.  BTW, we didn't chrono all these this time, but the average FPS with this Berger 77 OTM and the 21.5 grains of Benchmark is about 2,625 FPS

To be same FPS as the Nosler load at 22.0 Benchmark, the Berger 77 OTM would need a load of 21.5-21.7 depending on the brass used.

Watch, now there will be a run on Federal Premium brass, the brand so many people on the internet love to bash and call soft, or whatever.  It outperformed everything except the Normal, and its half the price of the Norma.  Too bad in 2021, nothing is in stock. 
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