BIG Freakin’ Cartridge Test, DISCUSSION 02: What’s Next?

    The Big Freakin’ Cartridge Test’s first batch of 6 rounds is through, but there’s more to come. In the last post, we reflected on the test methodology, and some possible solutions. In this post, we’ll talk about what you can expect in the future.

    Batch 1 produced some interesting results, but some limitations and missteps in the testing demand some additional experimentation before we move on to Batch 2. Therefore, the next BFCT shoots will actually be testing the equipment, not the ammunition. Using IMI RazorCore ammunition (the most accurate round of Batch 1), I intend to conduct the following experiments:

    1. Shooting position accuracy test. Which position reduces human error the most: benched, prone, or from a Caldwell Lead Sled Solo rest?
    2. Magnetospeed V3 mounting style test. For BFCT Batch 1, I mounted the Magnetospeed V3 to the barrel of the 16.1″ and 20″ upper receivers, but to the rail of the 14.5″ upper receiver. Does this mounting make a difference?
    3. Magnetospeed position test. Does the exact position of the Magnetospeed forward, back, or around the muzzle make a difference?
    4. CHRONOGRAPH BATTLE! Which chronograph is the most precise and accurate? This test will pit the Magnetospeed V3 from the original test against an Oehler 35P and a Competition Electronics ProChrono. Will we see any difference from the same string of fire?

    Following these experiments will be Batch 2. I intend to make up for the lack of baseline rounds in Batch 1 by having Batch 2 be a match-grade shootoff. Contenders will include a re-test of IMI’s 77gr RazorCore (using new, improved procedures), as well as Black Hills 77gr Mk. 262, Federal .223 Remington 75gr Gold Medal Match, Hornady 75gr Match, and others. From this group of ammunition, the best performing round will become the future baseline for all subsequent BFCT batches.

    BFCT is intended to live up to its name, which means anything and everything can be tested. Future experiments could include things like an M855 or M193 shootoff, testing the difference between regulated ammunition and factory seconds, and – eventually – ballistic coefficient and terminal ballistics testing. Also, BFCT will explore calibers other than the 5.56mm/.223. So far, testing has been limited to this caliber so that an effective and controlled testing procedure can be refined without too much interference, but the system is designed to be expanded. The second caliber to be tested will be either 5.45x39mm Soviet or .260 Remington, and testing will be expanded to other calibers like 7.62x39mm, 7.62x51mm, and even newer calibers like the .25-45 Sharps or .224 Valkyrie.

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]