Letter Re: Ammo Types and Storage Ratios for a Precision .308 Rifle

I have a friend wanting my advice. He has a Glock [Model] 22 [.40 S&W] , an AR-15 [5.56mm NATO], a Ruger 10/.22 [rimfire] and a Remington 700 VTR [bolt action .308]. He has 5,000 rounds for the Glock, 10,000 rounds for the AR and 6,000 rounds for the 10/.22.
He has no .308 semi-auto rifle and [says that he has] no plans to acquire one. He wants to lay in a supply of around 2,000 rounds for the Remington 700 VTR. It shoots under 1/2 MOA with 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match, and around 1 to 1-1/2 MOA with assorted hunting rounds we’ve tried.

I told him he should have some 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match for precision work, some hunting ammo and some ball ammo.

In your opinion, what is a good percentage of each to have on hand? Thanks, – Craig W.

JWR Replies: For a precision rifle, I’d recommend this laying in an ammo supply at this ratio:
60% 168 grain Federal Match
20% 165 grain hunting load, such as Winchester silvertip. (Pick a brand/bullet weight with a trajectory that is close to the Federal Match, so they’ll be no need to re-zero.)
15% Ball
4% Tracer
1% AP and/or API, if you can find any. A large gun show in an unrestricted state such as Nevada or Kentucky would be your most likely source. Bring a wad of cash, since you can expect to pay $4 to $6 per round!

Note: Keep in mind that the tracer and incendiary bullets will leave a residue that is hygroscopic (and hence corrosive)–so set that ammo aside for just WTSHTF and clean your rifle thoroughlyfor three successive days after shooting any! Just like when shooting corrosively primed ammunition, a rifle’s bore and the face of the bolt are at risk of getting pitted if you don’t clean it scrupulously and repeatedly.

I recommend that you zero the rifle with the Federal match ammo, and then do bullet drop comparisons with each of the other loads. Work up a bullet drop and wind drift card for each load, all the way out to 1,200 meters. Laminate those cards to make them weather resistant, and keep them with the rifle at all times. (A stock pouch is handy for this purpose.)

Consult your state and local laws before purchasing any tracer, AP, or API ammunition.

OBTW, a good place to watch for ammo on sale is GunDeals.com.