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M855 ball. Any reason to hang onto it?

This is a discussion on M855 ball. Any reason to hang onto it? within the Ammo and Reloading forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I picked up some rifle ammo a week ago and thanks to identical packaging and being in a hurry and shelves that were all mixed ...

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Old 09-05-2016, 11:46 AM   #1
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M855 ball. Any reason to hang onto it?

I picked up some rifle ammo a week ago and thanks to identical packaging and being in a hurry and shelves that were all mixed up, I realized only after i got home that I had picked up m855 ball and not the m193 ball I thought i was getting.

Went to the range with my colt 6920 and found accuracy of this ammo to be utterly abysmal, which is apparently normal. I live in a metropolitan area so I'm not sure if I like the idea of ammo designed to go through walls MORE efficiently for a possible self defense scenario. Terminal ballistics seem to be pretty inferior to the alternatives.

I got a decent amount left and it's not exactly fun to shoot when it groups so poorly but i'm thinking i should just shoot it all off and never buy it again.

Yet apparently people hoard this stuff like crazy. Why? Is there something I'm missing?
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:24 PM   #2
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I personally would hold on to any ammo I have, especially with the uncertain election we are looking at. You might want some ammo that will go through walls.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:32 PM   #3
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There was something about the ATF trying to ban it a little while ago. There is a mild steel penetrator in it unlike the .55gr m193 which has a standard fmj bullet. It isn't really armor piercing, and from my experience it isn't overwhelmingly superior to m193 shooting through regular steel, never shot either through drywall but I'm sure someone on youtube has.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:54 PM   #4
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Someone else will have to explain the details, but the M855 is more suited to a specific barrel rifling twist. Some love it, others not so much.

And yes, because that has a steel core, ATF tried to requalify it as armor-piercing, and ban it. That caused a serious run. The rule change failed, but I would not be surprised if we see them try it again.

But as already mentioned, ammo in hand is better than none. If you want to "dump" it, ask around your shooting friends first, if they have the rifles that like it, I'd bet a trade could be arranged.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:10 PM   #5
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I'll grab whatever I can take. M855, M193, .223 rem commercial ammo. Don't matter to me. I'll buy whatever I can take, that isn't costing me an arm and a leg like handgun self defense ammo.

My 5.45 ammo I'm a little more picky, as the 55gr hp are really 5.56 ammo loaded into the 5.45 case. Which is ridiculous, and the Ukrainian ammo has started to show serious QC problems.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:35 PM   #6
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baserock love, you may be right, what good is being able to penetrate a ballistic helmet at 600 meters, if you can't hit it? That was the reason for it's inception! But at that time we are talking about an M16A2, with a 20" barrel, not a M4 with a 14.5" barrel. That is one reason why the M193 is still popular, it will break at the cannelure, with enough velocity, as it is yawing, and become 2 projectiles. The M855 will do the same thing at closer ranges, but then again, it starts off about 200 FPS slower.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:44 PM   #7
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The M 855 Ammo is the Green Tip Ammo Obama tried to ban.
I've got 5000 rounds put way plus the other 1000 rounds I've loaded in mags.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:45 PM   #8
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Oh i know all about m855 and what it's used for. And i know about the atf's idiotic flirt with banning it.

I'm honestly not super concerned with hoarding ammo as every time i have trouble getting....anything gun related, it's because of the gun owners, not the government. Election or no, i shoot every week, so i gotta shoot something.

I anticipate a panic buy coming...again, and so my next rifle order might need to last me a bit.

I just always want to have SOME ammo for my ar15 on hand in case i need it for whatever reason, and i can either hang onto the m855, or shoot it at the range and replace it with the from what I can tell, more useful and safe for my neighbors m193.

I just know this specifically seems like a commonly hoarded ammo and i was wondering if there's some like....really good reason to have it around when my own experience shows that it seems less likely to hit the target at rifle ranges than cheaper and terminal ballistically superior m193.

Not gonna lie, when somebody crashes through my door or window, i'm reaching for my sig p228, not my ar15. I just don't believe in having ANY gun that i can't use for self defense should the need arise, so i gotta keep at the very least 2 mags on hand loaded and ready to go. Currently those two mags are loaded with m855, it seems like a better idea to shoot my m855 and replace them with the m193 i'm about to pick up. I just wanted to make sure that was the best option.

Last edited by baserock love; 09-05-2016 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:55 PM   #9
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Actually, what about hog hunting? I'm going to try that out soon. m855 with it's penetrator seems like it might be a good cheap choice for penetrating bone and gristle on hogs.

Maybe i should consider hanging onto some for that?
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:04 PM   #10
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"accuracy of this ammo to be utterly abysmal"

Can you provide details? What, precisely, was abysmal about its accuracy?
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by LevineII View Post
"accuracy of this ammo to be utterly abysmal"

Can you provide details? What, precisely, was abysmal about its accuracy?
Pretty simple, i get 1.25 to 2 moa, usually something inbetween, even lower if i do my part, generally closer to the 2" range but plenty on the lower end out of my colt 6920 1:7 barrel with american eagle xm193 ball and even with dirt cheap .223 remanufactured stuff from Freedom Munitions and various other assorted cheapo stuff. Hell i was getting that accuracy out of iron sights before i got my strike eagle on the thing.

I seem to have gotten VERY lucky with my colt as it has given me some very surprising accuracy.

I spend an hour shooting groups with the XM855 american eagle i ended up with and my average groups were 3 to 4 moa, only one group the whole day that was in the high 2" range.

I get home, look up accuracy tests of m855 and sure enough, all of the various brands of m855 have reported sub par accuracy to m193, with xm855 american eagle being near the absolute bottom with expected accuracy around.....3 to 4 moa which not coincidentally was about what I was getting out of it.
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:53 PM   #12
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You should stop shooting it and send it all to me so I can dispose of it properly.
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:58 PM   #13
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My 16 inch barrel is 1:9 and my 20 inch 1:8
My rifle(s) 1 lower two uppers just like M855. With the 20 inch barrel at 300 meter I have 0.8 to 1 MOAs groups. At 100 meter not even 0.3 MOA. Groups are pretty good till 200 meter with the 16 inch barrel. I believe every rifle likes different ammo. Accuracy results are not good with 55 gn ball ammo using my AR. And I jave a lot of it. ? we have opposite results.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:26 PM   #14
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First M855 ammo is made by many companies and the accuracy varies. Winchester Ranger LE and IMI have consistently scored at the top of the M855/M193 test charts.

M855 is the only ammo that is true NATO ammo (Not counting tracer etc) M193 is not NATO ammo (so when it says so its BS.)

Aside from all that it was not banned by anyone. It was classified as AP (wrongly) by ATF decades ago but was given an exemption for "sporting" use.
What ATF decided to do was remove the exemption and the backlash caused a stink so they backed off.

Here is the thing. M855 design premise was to minimize injury to the enemy. Great idea dumb asses!!
M193 was considered to lethal and inhuman. Dear Lord that last thing we should do is hurt the enemy in a fire fight. Right again dumb asses.

There are so many great performing bullets (actually the bullet is the SS109) available why would anyone use M855 for anything but CQ training?
Hornady, Barnes, Federal, Winchester, Speer to name a few are making some killer SD ammo (pun intended) so while M193 (You can not actually get real US M193 which is why you see things like XM193) is much better than M855 types it is still not near as good as the purpose built stuff the Geneva Convention won't let our guys shoot in the sandy arm pits they are sent to.

M855 is the worst krap 223/5.56 ammo you can use (IMO)
However, for the few who may not know it M855 was made to stabilize with a 1/9 twist. the reason the US military went to the 1/7 twist is because the 1/9 would not stabilize the M856 tracer ammo which required the 1/7

The 1/7 twist does M855 so when you have accuracy problems it may be the brand is inferior or maybe you barrel just does not like it.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:07 AM   #15
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Hoarded becuase people thought it was and will again someday be banned. That's about it. Prior to the ATF ban scare it was priced the same as 193, at least in the places I shop. After the ban scare when it started coming back on the shelves it was a good 10 cents more per round than 193. Has dropped to about a 5 cent difference and holding there.

I have a bunch because for a while after the great gun scare of 2013, that was all we could get. I use it for target shooting and honestly I don't find it any more or less accurate than 193.

As for hogs, my suggestion would be to use a 308, 30-06, 30-30, 7mm etc if you really want it dead. If you use the 556, regardless of the ammo type, I suggest a head shot because with a body shot using 556 it very well will wound it and the pig will run off.

In my opinion AR15 is not the best SD or HD option if what you want is a dead bad guy.
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