As the panic buying began to taper off, PRIME Club introduced a new model for procuring ammunition for the shooting community. Shooters were able to purchase a membership and receive minimum guaranteed ammo shipments on a quarterly basis (a “shoot-scription”). At its release, the concept was well-received by a small and vocal portion of the community, but the larger community was hesitant, especially looking at the pricing structure. PRIME was high during a time of falling prices.
Title Picture Ammo(Right to Left): Federal XM193, PRIME Ruag Geco, PRIME MFS, Federal V-Max, Federal Fusion
But, PRIME has since reinvented itself, moving from offering only shoot-scriptions to offering membership like CostCo or Sam’s club while offering sales to the public. Further, it has refined its partnership with RUAG Ammotec to provide a wide-variety of ammunition, both profession and training/plinking rounds. Members receive priority-access and pay a discounted price (often fairly significant) compared to retail pricing. At a time where .22LR is still short, bricks of 500 are available for .10/c a round!
Author’s Note- PRIME contacted me after the initial post and offered a membership and ammunition. I accepted and PRIME Club provided all the ammunition and membership for this review without charge to myself.
In the event of another panic, members will be given priority for ammunition and those with shoot-scriptions are still guaranteed their ammunition supplies & pricing on their pre-scheduled delivery basis. Memberships for discounted ammunition are currently priced at $49.99 and are good for 12 months from purchase. Shoot-scriptions are detailed below:
Membership is not limited to just discounted ammunition. Now, PRIME offers itself as a full-service provider for training for classes. Member shooters have access to a special supply of dedicated rounds for training classes. Rather than transporting ammo, members may reserve, purchase, and have their ammunition meet them at their training class. This ammunition would not count against an existing shoot-scription.
Details on current membership features are below:
What is a PRIME Club Membership?
Similar to joining a retail wholesale club, becoming a PRIME Club Member gives you access to PRIME Club Member‑EXCLUSIVE pricing within the PRIME Club store as well as a number of other features. A PRIME Club Membership includes:
- 12 months of “PRIME Club Member” status
- Access to our member-EXCLUSIVE line of Shootscription products, which give a price and quantity guarantee for your ammunition (learn more on our “Member-EXCLUSIVE Shootscriptions” page)
- Member-EXCLUSIVE pricing on ammunition within our store
- Access to high-quality ammunition for competition, training, self-defense, and practice
- Member pricing on professional training and ammunition delivered to your training location (learn more on our “Committment to Supporting Training” page)
- Access to a respectful, online community that shares through our blog, chat room, and events
- 30-day, money-back guarantee on your membership fees
- Money-back return policy on unopened ammunition, less shipping costs
- Contribution to the protection of our Second Amendment rights
Our ammunition for PRIME Club members is produced and sourced by the world’s most advanced manufacturer of ammunition, RUAG Ammotec, our Swiss based partner.
As labeled above, PRIME is partnered with RUAG Ammotec to provide all the ammunition. RUAG offers two brands through PRIME, MFS (training/plinking) and its GECO (hunting, shooting sports, target shooting) brand.
Available calibers include (Italics indicate that training/practice rounds are also available under the MFS brand:
- 22 LR
- .223 Remington
- .243 Win
- .270 Win
- .270 WSM
- .300 WIN MAG
- .308 WIN
- .338 LAPUA MAG
- .50 BMG
- 7mm REM MA
- 7.62x54R (MFS ONLY)
- .357 MAG
- .38 SPecial
- .40 S&W
- .45 Auto
- 12 Gauge Slugs
MFS is the value-oriented brand, providing zinc-plated steel-cased bi-metal ammunition from various factories around the world. As of the writing of this article, the MFS was sourced from Barnaul and is relabeled Silver Bear ammunition. As Barnaul is Russian, it is possible that MFS will move its sourcing to non-restricted countries.
PRIME sent 240 rounds of MFS .223 for testing. MFS is boxed in typically Russian fashion with 20 rounds to a box and brown paper between the rounds. All the rounds are loose in the box, but it is packaged so they do not bounce around and make little noise when the box is jostled.
Taking them to the range, I opted to try them in one of my local 3-gun events, putting only 10 rounds through the rifle at 25 yards to ensure I was reasonably zero’d. I started to get a little nervous when they grouped around 1″ at 25 yards with my ACR. For comparison, XM193 groups at less than .5″ at the same distance. My fears were observed under stress. At 100 yards, I struggled to hit 3″ poppers and 300 yards shooting a 1/2 IPSC steel plate. Impacts being called out were all over the place, despite appropriate holds.
Despite the less than stellar results from long-range the ammunition, it cycled flawlessly for the roughly 100 rounds shot that day. Moving back to true AR platforms, I loaded up the rest with my Del-Ton uppers and proceeded to blast through them wantonly at various steel targets. Full up with Gen 2 & Gen 3 PMAGs, the MFS was easily digested.
My take? This is truly plinking ammo. Don’t put competition or anything of value on the line and it is inexpensive enough for factory loads you won’t mind. Current member pricing (as of 9/21) has it less than $.25/round.
Converse of MFS, Geco is good ammunition. Manufactured by RUAG in Germany, the Geco line is their premiere brand of ammunition. Within the Geco line, there are multiple types of projectiles including lead-core FMJ, Ballistic Soft Tip (“Express-Tip”), soft-point, hollow-point, and other hunting designs. As PRIME is proud to taut, Geco is made on new machinery and both electronically and hand-inspected for quality.
PRIME Sent 250 rounds of both 9mm and .223 FMj for testing, claiming that it would be “more accurate” than match ammunition. For testing the rifle ammunition, I had my ACR, Del-Ton upper receiver, and a Houlding Precision HPF-15 (match barrel) with Federal Fusion, Federal Match, and XM193 as comparison projectiles.
Geco’s 50-round pack arrives with the .223 in 5 ammo clips of 10 rounds, very similar to military-loaded 5.56 ammunition. Tips are facing opposite of their neighboring clip and the box is designed to be easily opened and is a clamshell design. I was concerned that the bullets may be deformed by rubbing against the clips, but no visible damage was present and it certainly did not show up during testing.
Testing was conducted using a combination of iron sights (Del-Ton 1/9″ twist chrome-lined), EO-Tech (ACR 1/9″ twist, Melonited) and a Leupold MARK AR 4-12x scope (HPF-15, 1/8″ twist, raw stainless) using shooting bags, a Caldwell 7-rest, and off-hand. All groups were 5-shot at 100 yards. The test platforms are pictured below:
The Geco ammunition had similar results across the platforms. Groupings were significantly tighter than XM-193 and only measurably so for the other high-quality rounds. Of note, the Fusion and V-Max rounds were heavier grain rounds, which in theory should have stabilized better in the 1/8″ twist barrels. Even in the higher-twist barrel, the Geco was the most accurate group.
Recoil from the Geco was mild, loaded to .223 specifications. Shot-to-shot was consistent fee and it was easy after a magazine to run the ammunition fast through stages of fire. Out of my ACR’s 16″ barrel with a Faxon brake, flash was minimal, especially compared to my normal XM193.
Best groups from the Del-Ton rifle are pictured below (the clipped ammo is Geco 55-grain):
Note- Look at the group at the top of the 8.5 x 11″ paper. The center rounds were from other testing. Zero was determined from XM-193.
The best group from the Houlding Rifle is below. 4 rounds are virtually on top of one another, the 5th is about a 1/2″ away.
The results are impressive, especially considering the price of the ammunition. The Federal ammo was roughly $1/round. Current member pricing for the 55 FMJ is about $.40/round. Hunting rounds (such as the “express tip” are priced around $1.10/round. I would feel confident shooting the target rounds in an stock rifle competition.
For the pistol ammunition, testing was not as rigorous but was thorough. Shooting was through my 3-gun G22 using a LoneWolf conversion barrel and three types of ammunition: Ruag Geco 124 grain, PMC Bronze 115 grain, and Federal 125-grain HydraShock hollow-point. For calibration purposes, the stock .40 barrel was also shot on target.
Testing was conducted at 10 yards shooting off-hand using 5-shot groups. 5 shots were fired from each sample before moving onto the next brand. Point of aim was always the central point in the targets using the stock trigger. Glock 9mm magazines were used for all testing. The Glock 22 handgun in as-tested form is pictured below:
Since I was shooting off-hand, I shot 4 separate targets to account for variable such as fatigue, shaking, etc. Each target was shot in the exact same sequence. Five rounds of PMC Bronze (top right), Geco (low right), and then Federal XST (low left). All targets were shot with minimal rest in between to avoid biasing results.
Using only my subjective experience, the Geco ammunition was the second-hardest recoiling ammunition in the handgun. The PMC Bronze was softer with the Freedom Munitions and Federal defensive ammunition significantly more powerful. No ammunition type experienced any malfunctions during testing, despite being used in a native .40 S&W handgun.
All four targets are pictured below. The target with the Glock Magazine & handgun present shows the POI for the .40 rounds using the stock barrel.
From the handgun at 10 yards, the Geco performed admirably. It was at least as accurate as quality ammunition and recoil was a pleasant experience. The PMC Bronze worried me at times that it would cycle, even with a 9mm recoil spring. The Geco was heavier, but a “push”, and the Federal the usual snap of defensive loads.
Price of 9mm (as of 9/21 for Members) is about $.26/round for boxes of 50. On online engines, the starting price for entry FMJ is $.22/round. Defense JHP rounds are a veritable bargain at only $18.15 for a box of 50. For reference, the XST’s were $26 for a box of 20 at Gander Mountain, however one will want to test it prior to daily carry.
- PRIME offers benefits to those looking to balance risk/reward.
- Has 22LR available now at reasonable prices
- Ammo Shoot-scriptions offer a source of price & delivery stability.
- Members can buy a-la-carte if they desire.
- Extra services such as training support may be valuable to those constantly on-the-go. For others, it may not be needed.
- Shipping was on-time and without hassle although some shipments may be split into two boxes.
- MFS is worse than I hoped. Don’t use for anything requiring accuracy.
- Requires buy-in for shoot-scriptions after initial membership fee. I would like to see the basic level ($4.99) included in the original membership.
When PRIME first came out, I admit I was part of the skeptic community, decrying the pricing and membership fees. Even with my membership provided at the time, I was unable to give it a full recommendation. Now, with the change in structure and still maintaining shoot-scriptions, I feel that PRIME is indeed entering its prime.
Is PRIME for everyone? Nope, especially those who are always looking for the bottom-dollar pricing. Instead (and PRIME readily speaks to this) it is oriented towards those who wish to balance risk/reward and those looking for consistently higher-quality ammunition.
Having shot both offered brands, Geco and MFS, I can heartily recommend PRIME for for prime-time. MFS is true practice ammo (and priced to that effect) with Geco being fantastic premium rounds at a reasonable cost.
I will likely continue my membership when it expires. I see real value in having steady access to ammunition in the event of major outside events.