Australian Outback Ammunition Review

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Australian Outback Ammunition
Australian Outback Ammunition
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Los Lunas, NM -(AmmoLand.com)- All factory ammunition is not created equal. That axiom is accepted by every experienced shooter and hunter in the world.

Go to any sporting goods store and you will find a variety of brands with bullets in various grain weights and styles (spire point, hollow point, boat tail, etc.). However, except in the case of premium priced ammunition, quite often there is no mention of what brand of bullet is being used.

Our opinion is that we would be better served if all major manufacturers stated the brand and bullet type they were using in their ammunition. This is not a problem with Australian Outback. They clearly state the bullet brand, weight and type used in each of their factory loads. No generic stuff here, they use Sierra and Swift bullets, two of the best bullets on the market. In the .308 ammo we tested their cartridges were loaded with Sierra MatchKing bullets, the same bullets that a lot of F – Class shooters use in international competition.

However, this article is not about the bullets, it is about the powder. If you think back to your shooting experiences over the years, you will remember that when you were shooting your favorite rifle during the summer and had it zeroed for 100 yards. Then, when you performed a final check just prior to the winter hunting season the elevation was off. Most of us probably blamed the scope, figuring it got jarred over time, so we re-sighted the rifle and went hunting without another thought.

In most cases, the scope was NOT the problem; it was the powder used in our ammunition.

Extensive tests by both military and civilian technicians have established that temperature can and does significantly affect the velocity, pressure and accuracy of ammunition. If you always and only shoot at a temperature of 70o F (21o C) then you don't have to be concerned with its effect on your ammunition. If, however, you practice and play during the summer and hunt during the fall/winter seasons, you need to read on.

Given the temperature extremes in Australia, from below 0o F (-18o C) to above 120o F (49o C), it is not surprising that ADI Munitions worked to develop powders that were Ballistic Temperature Independent (BTI). We fired the .308 Winchester ammunition in a M1A National Match rifle. The chronograph velocities recorded mirrored the Australian Outback factory specs.

We shot Australian Outback .223 Remington ammo from our custom AR15 with an 18″ barrel. Due to the short barrel, our velocities were 275 – 286 fps lower than factory specs. That was expected, as factory tests are generally performed using 24″ barrels. Allowing for an average decrease of ~ 48 fps per inch, our tests essentially confirmed the factory velocities claimed by Australian Outback.

Living in New Mexico, we also get some pretty extreme temperatures, allowing us to test the claims made by ADI for their Australian Outback ammunition. Folks, the specs and technical data provided for Australian Outback ammunition are not hyperbole, they are true. We were able to confirm their data with respect to velocity and accuracy.

Our bullet impact elevation only rose approximately one inch between the lower temperatures and higher temperatures with the .308 rounds.

Australian Outback Ammunition
.223 Rem: An elevation increase of less than one inch from 70o F (left target) to 95o F (right target)

If you check the ballistic charts for non-BTI ammunition, you will find that the elevation increases more than seven inches when the temperature changes by 25o F. That can be the difference between meat in the freezer or a trip to the local meat market. The following tables show the Australian Outback factory velocities and the results of our tests.

Australian Outback Ammo test chart
Australian Outback Ammo test chart

We did not feel it necessary to test every one of the Australian Outback loads, as they all use BTI powders. Our tests with the two common calibers we selected confirmed that this ammunition performs as claimed.

Whether you are a target shooter or serious hunter, you owe it to yourself to try a box of the Outback. Not only is their BTI powder great, they load their ammunition with excellent bullets. In addition, all ADI powders are extremely clean burning, a characteristic that is essential in AR-platform rifles.

The following loads are available from Australian Outback:

  • .223 Rem – 55 grain Sierra BlitzKing,
  • .223 Rem – 69 grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing
  • .308 Win – 150 grain Swift Scirocco II BTS
  • .308 Win – 165 grain Sierra SBT GameKing
  • .308 Win – 168 grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing
  • .300 BLK – 125 grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing
  • .300 BLK – 220 grain Sierra HPBT MatchKing,
  • .300 BLK – 125 grain Woodleigh Protected Soft Point
  • .300 BLK – 144 grain AM FMJ

If you are a reloader, don't despair. Hodgdon partnered with ADI/Thales to market BTI powders in the United States. The Hodgdon Extreme family of powders includes: H4198, H322, BENCHMARK, H4895, VARGET, H4350, H4831, H4831SC, H1000, RETUMBO and H550BMG. And, just recently, Hodgdons introduced the IMR Enduron Technology powders: IMR 4166. IMR 4451 and IMR 7977 which are not only temperature independent but also significantly reduces copper fouling. (see AmmoLand review: IMR Enduron Technology Powders).

When we shot F-Class (using VARGET and H4350) we always obtained consistent results, whether our rotation was in the morning, midday or late afternoon. We must confess that we took the performance of Hodgdon Extreme powders (especially their lot consistency) for granted in those days. Not anymore. We use them exclusively for all of our reloading. If you want more information on these powders and how they compare to other powders, check out the Hodgdon website (www.hodgdon.com).

You will be amazed when you see the comparisons to non-Extreme powders.

James R. Clary, Ph.D.
Contributing Editor, Guns & Shooting Online
Field Editor, Universal Hunter Magazine
Associate Editor, N.A. Muzzleloader Hunting Assoc.

Mary H. Clary, B.S., R.N.
Women’s Editor, Guns & Shooting Online
Associate Editor, N.A. Muzzleloader Hunting Assoc.
Field Editor, Universal Hunter Magazine

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