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Ammo Review – USA Ammo 9mm 115gr FMJ

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2, 2012:

Based on feedback I’ve received since I’ve written this review, I can no longer recommend USA Ammo as a source.

  • Ammo quality has deteriorated seriously in the time since this review was written.
  • Delivery is now obviously not a priority for the company, and attempts to contact them for comment have gone unanswered.

For more information see this post, The Decline and Fall of USA Ammo:

In June 2011, on the advice of a fellow shooter, I bought 500 rounds of 115 grain FMJ 9mm ammo from USA Ammo. At the time I was very impressed by the delivery and performance of the ammo, and I gave it 4 eye patches.

Later in 2011, they ran a special on GearHog, and a lot of people bought a lot of good ammo. Still, I was pleased.

Then something terrible happened.

From what I can tell from posts on other sites, the company wasn’t able to keep up with ammo production to fill the GearHog orders, and they started having problems shipping orders on time. Customer service suffered at that time, too. Calls to the company went unanswered, messages were unreturned, and emails seemed like they were going to a black hole.

The appearance of the loaded ammo changed was well. In the first batches of ammo I had gotten, the bullets were shinty and unblemished. Later batches had bullets that were full of small dents and dings, which seemed to indicate to me that the bullets had been in storage or shipment for a long time.

Comments to my previous posts show a trend in the downward performance of the ammo, mostly in fulfillment of the orders. And a cursory Google search shows similar disappointing reports.

Based on these, I can no longer recommend USA Ammo.

I will continue to follow their progress and update as I see it.

 

++++

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

On the advice of a shooting acquaintance, I recently bought 1,000 rounds of 115 grain 9mm JHP ammunition from USA Ammo. This weekend, I did an inventory, and it turns out I’ve shot just about half of it, so I thought I would review the ammo for others.

Having never done an ammo review before, I read a few, and decided on a format. I will give you my impressions in 4 areas: price and availability, cleanliness, operation, and accuracy. I will rate each area with an appropriate unit of measure, the Rooster Eye Patch.

USA Ammo loads their own ammo, and sells both new ammo, and reloaded ammo made from once-fired brass. Both are very economical – the new ammo is currently $9.45 for a box of 50, and the reloaded ammo is $1 a box cheaper. Shipping on a 1,000 round order was around $17. The ammo was available and shipped as ordered.

When I opened the first box, my first impression was very positive. The ammo comes 50 rounds to a box, loose in the box, which at first threw me a little, because the photos on the USA Ammo website showed them in a tray. But after some thought, I guess it doesn’t really matter to me. For one thing, it makes the boxes a little smaller without a tray.

I was also taken by how bright and shiny the rounds were. Loading magazines didn’t leave my thumbs black, either, a nice change. This carried over to the end of the shoot, too, as my Glock 17 and Glock 19 appeared above average in cleanliness after shooting. Shooting at an indoor range, there were no black deposits on the flat surfaces on unused targets.

How to measure accuracy? Now, I am not a bullseye competitor, and I don’t have a Ransom rest. My most stringent accuracy requirements are being able to make a shot into the USPSA A zone. As an engineer, I also know that of all the factors acting to make a shot go out of that zone, bullet accuracy is way down on the list. In other words, most ammo is going to be a lot more accurate that I am.

Having said that, I decided I needed an accuracy test for this to be a respectable review, so I devised the Zombie Accuracy Test. Every shooter needs to be able to make a reliable zombie headshot. So, using the zombie head target from Zombie Squad, I shot a full magazine – 19 rounds – from 7 yards, as fast as I could accurately shoot, about 3 shots per second. A passing score is to get all the shots in the head. USA Ammo 9mm 115gr FMJ passes the Zombie Test.

I also used this ammo in two Pistol Steel Challenge matches, and had no complaints. I had zero failures of any kind during the first 500 rounds. There were no mis-loaded rounds, dented cases, or other defects.

So, I give USA Ammo’s new 115 grain JHP 9mm a Rooster rating of 4 Eye Patches.

Disclosure – I bought all the ammo used in this test, and performed all the testing myself. There has been no influence or contact in any way from USA Ammo.

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12 thoughts on “Ammo Review – USA Ammo 9mm 115gr FMJ

  1. I bought about 1,000 of both 9mm and .45acp about 2 months back and I have gone through all of it as of last weekend and all I can say is excellent ammo for the price.

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  2. Things change. I would avoid USA Ammo. I've ordered from them in the past too, but will no more. I placed an order 10 days ago and they immediately charged my credit card. I waited, and the order didn't ship. They always shipped very fast in the the past, so I emailed them a couple days ago to see if the order got lost. No reply to email. I called them today. I was told they had "internal issues" and didn't know when the order would ship. I asked why they took the order, and charged my credit card, if they didn't know when they could ship the product. "I don' know" was the reply. At least the answer was honest. The two people I talked to gave me the impression they were frustrated and just didn't care.Disappointing because the company had promise.

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  3. David:You beat me to my revised review. Since I wrote this, I've placed two more orders with them and the shipping has been much longer.Some of that has to do with the GearHog offer they ran. I know they sold about 2,000 coupons which led to an increase in demand. charged my card right away, as they had before. I placed my last order September 23, and they I got an email October 12 saying they had shipped it. Nothing yet.I have never had them respond to an email, and about half my calls have gone to voice mail. When I get someone on the phone they have been able to answer my questions, though.I'm in a quandry – does the price justify having to order a month before I need the ammo? I'll have to decide.

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  4. Right after I wrote my reply, I placed the same order with Georgia Arms, at 10:54AM. At 1:23PM I received notice that the order had shipped. Less than three hours turn around.

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  5. I ordered 150 rounds of 50 BMG API last friday and when I noticed some reviews about shippping times on the orders I called them. I just got off the phone with a man who said they are in the process of changing manufacturers(ie. the companies who actually produce the ammo). Hopefully the transition is completed soon. I was hoping to destroy some stuff this weekend.

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  6. Well, it's been a week since I got the e-mail saying that fed-ex had picked up the shipment. I still hadn't recieved at of noon today so I called fed-ex. The fedo-ex representative said a shipping label was printed, but they never recieved anything from the company. I then called usa ammo, and they couldn't explain why it hadn't been shipped. I told the woman that I wanted the ammo, but was tempted to cancel the order. She canceled the order and hung up on me. I have rarely encountered someone with such bad manners on the phone.

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  7. In the past few months I have placed three orders with USA Ammo. The first two orders were great. Good service and good ammo. The last order was placed in Sept. and after 2 weeks still not received. I tried to contact them by e-mail, but never got an answer. After several attemts to call them I finaly spoke to someone that said they were changing shippers and everything was slow. Could not tell me when order would be shipped or even if it would be shipped. Finally cancelled the order. Very dissapointed. Would like to order more, but not sure if I should. Wonder what happened to such a good Co.

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  8. Hello, just wanted to post up my not so great experience with USA Ammo to which my first time ordering will be my last. Not only am I talking about poor quality ammo, but their non existent customer service I'm experiencing. Couple months back I purchased 1 500 round case of their New 115g 9mm FMJ, I recently started using this ammo my last few trips to the range. This ammo is so inaccurate its not even funny. Keyholing all over the target. Went to a local gun shop and we broke down some rounds. The general consensus is that the ammo is undersized, creating the erratic keyholing pattern. The bullets themselves upon closer inspection visually look smaller as well. Almost as if the material is plated cast with all the markings and tiny ripples, almost as if something happened during the manufacturing and it caused them to shrink. With that said, I tried contacting USA Ammo via email to which I attached pics of the targets. Three emails and three phone messages later and still yet to receive any reply back regarding my concern(s). When I try to call the main number on their site 281-646-4776, it gets forwarded to a different number 936-366-6777 with a generic voice message stating number not available. The ammo I purchased is also not listed on their site anymore. Something isn't sitting right with me with this situation. I know people have had no issues with their ammo and/or customer service…this is just my experience, take it FWIW.IMHO, saving a few bucks on the very thing that can be responsible in a life or death situation is just not worth it. If anyone would like to see pics of the targets, please feel free to email me at jlepera {at} gmail dot com. Thanks for reading.

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  9. Placed my first order two weeks ago. When it didn't ship within 9 days, I emailed sales@usaammo.com asking about the status of my order. No reply.So I called their main number and actually spoke with a live person; who, in fact, had no phone skills at all. I was told they are back-logged with a catch-up promise of the end of the week.The ammo arrive this morning (.223) in five 50-round boxes. I will report back after a trip to the range; but, at this point I am a little nervous to use their ammo after some of the horror stories (catastrophic AR damage, etc)

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  10. Interesting to hear someone actually got their order. USAAmmo seems to have no problem sending out email about their offerings, but won't reply to email. I wrote them last week explaining that I had problems in the past, but would like to give them another chance, IF they were back to being able to ship. Guess what? No reply. I guess that WAS their answer.

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  11. I placed an order on Dec 22, 2011 and as in other cases that were posted, they confirmed my order and charged my credit card. As of today Feb 14th 2012, I have not received a production date or approx shipping date for my order of 500 – 380 Auto 90 gr Jacketed Hollow Point New Ammunition. Even after several emails I have no idea when I will receive my order – only that they are having problems with their system. I'm about to call the credit card company and dispute my charge if I don't receive a favorable response to my order by tomorrow.

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