TFB Review: American Marksman Ammo – M80, M118LR , & M855

Nicholas C
by Nicholas C
American Marksman Ammo M118LR

Just before SHOT Show, American Marksman Ammo reached out to us and asked us to review some ammo of theirs. I volunteered to review their 5.56 and 7.62 ammo. I was interested in some longer range ammo so they sent one box of M118LR and one box of M80 ball along with a box of M855 5.56 ammo for me to test.

Let’s See How Far American Marksman Ammo Can Go

I was more interested in the M118LR ammo than anything else they sent. M855 and M80 ammo is generic ammo to me. However M118LR is designed for long range shooting. While I have been enjoying 6.5 Creedmoor and I own a SCAR17S, I have not actually shot my SCAR very far. The farthest I have ever shot it was just over 600 yards and it took a lot of rounds to get on target. That was not the case with the American Marksman Ammo. I tossed some M80 into a Moses Mag and after a quick zero, I pushed the round and the SCAR as far as I could. 800 yards was actually rather easy with the American Marksman Ammo M80 ball.

American Marksman Ammo packages their M118LR in a brown cardboard box. No bag or any padding.

I tried to go out to 1000 yards but the M80 ball was not consistent enough to get hits on target. So I switched gears to the M118LR ammo. I was able to get a couple of hits but not at the consistency I would like. I think this is due to the gun and my lack of skill. I did not capture my hits at 1000 yards but I did capture my friend Kythe on his Desert Tech SRS.

Below is the American Marksman Ammo M118LR compared to an actual Military issued M118LR that Kythe brought to compare. Just like the military M118LR, American Marksman Ammo anneals their brass.

They look identical. Although Kythe thinks the American Marksman Ammo M118LR might be missing the lacquer primer.

Edit: According to Jeff of American Marksman, the brass comes primed from Lake City.

The primers on our M118 LR are installed in the brass at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, according to their specifications, before we receive them. We do not alter them in any way during the loading process to avoid compromising the integrity of that process.

Kythe jumped on his Desert Tech SRS and immediately hit 1000 yards with very little effort.

I was curious if M118LR could hit a mile and got some mixed responses. It is not an ideal round to shoot out to a mile but it can do it. Kythe managed his first hit on the 8th shot. Then a second hit 11 rounds later.

What About The M855?

American Marksman Ammo sent me a 250 round box of M855 ammo. The ammo came in a brown box similar to the M80 and M118LR. However, if you buy just a 20rd box they come in a standard 20rd box size.

Stryker – 5.56×45 NATO M855 62 Gr. FMJ Steel Core – 250 Rounds

Description: Stryker 5.56 line of ammunition consists of Lake City brass, boxer-primers and projectiles. Designed for range training. This line of ammunition is 100% American made. Traditionally this round would be painted with a green tip but we often receive the projectile prior to paint.

Military Requirement: due to the components being from Lake City Ammunition Plant, the cases are required to be annealed. If the cases are not annealed, they do not meet military specs. This does not mean the cases have been previously used. Unlike civilian rounds, the military requires visual proof of the annealing process. This process causes discoloration to the cases, which also provides added durability.

While 5.56x45mm NATO rounds will fit in 223 Remington chambers, we do not recommend this round to be fired in the 223 Remington Chamber. Military rounds run at higher pressures than civilian .223 rounds. Our 5.56 M855 is loaded to Military Specifications to meet NATO expectations. Just like the Military, our expectations for our loaded rounds is to have consistent firing & grouping!

I used it exclusively in a night rifle match. The night rifle match had steel targets from about 70-125 yards. Watch the video clips below. You can see sparks coming off the steel targets. I think this is due to the steel core in the M855 rounds.

You can see the same sparks in the video below. Near the end of the stage I miss the target trying to run and gun too fast and I hit the target stand.

There were six stages and the Cobalt Kinetics 27 Expert ran great until the 5th and 6th stages. I kept having malfunctions. The cartridge would fail to eject and result in a stovepipe and fail to feed the next round. The malfunctions were so bad that I quit middle of the final stage but you will notice that the malfunctions were not consistent.

I tried to repeat the malfunctions again at my local range but could not get the gun or ammo to malfunction. I used the same 40rd PMAG, Cobalt Kinetics 27 Expert and the remaining M855 ammo I had on hand. I will chalk it up to running a gun at night. In my experience shooting at night, Murphy’s Law likes to rear its ugly head and make guns stop working when they normally are problem-free in the daylight. I do not think it is the ammo but the gun. The ammo ran fine for 4 stages. However, my Cobalt Kinetics is dirty and hasn’t been cleaned in a while.

Final Thoughts

The M855 250 round box is only $72.50 on their website. American Marksman Ammo sent a 125 round box of M80 ball and they are only $53.75 at the time of this review. The M118LR is not an easy round to get since most of it goes to the military but you can get their M118LR for $77.50. The ammo performed as expected and the M118LR was fun to shoot further than I would have expected to shoot 7.62×51. Check out American Marksman Ammo for more information.

Nicholas C
Nicholas C

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2 of 8 comments
  • Haulin' Oats Haulin' Oats on Mar 11, 2020

    What does M118LR offer that I cannot find in commercial offerings like Federal Gold Medal Match with the same bullet?

  • Martin To Martin To on Mar 11, 2020

    Shooting steelcore rounds at steel targets likely left pitting damage on those targets especially at ranges 75 - 125 yards. Did they know you were shooting steel core m855 ammo?