I ran into a strange thing last week when I went out to the shooting range last week. I picked up a whole mess of cheap Russian ammunition. Brown Bear. They wound up coming in at around $8.00 for a box of 50.

They are cheap in more than just cost.

Steel cases and Berdan-primed. Both of these make them unsuitable for reloading… But for simple plinking they are good enough.

Or are they?

I decided to test this out. I went to the range with three different boxes of 9mm ammo. The aforementioned Brown Bear round point, Fiocchi truncated flat-point and some Winchester round point.

All of these got loaded into the Sig X-5. This is a cool competition gun with a five-inch barrel and a nice long sight radius.

First up was the Brown Bear. At 21 feet I was shooting a pretty consistent 6-inch group which really started to make me question my competence with the Sig since I’m able to get a 1-inch group with the Browning .22 with good ammo.

Simply changing to the Fiocchi made the group size get cut in half to 3 inches!

The same group was repeated with the Winchester cartridges.

So, net-net I think that the Russian stuff is good for practicing form and such, but it’s not something that I’ll be using to win any competitions. One thing I can say about it is that it feeds just as reliably as any other ammo that I’ve tried.

The other downside is that it’s a bit stinky.

This is really starting to make me want to try out the reloading press I just installed in the basement! All I need to get at this point is some primers and a jug of powder. My expectatiois that I’ll get ammo as good as what I’m shooting with the .22! (and just about the same cost as the .22!!)