Accuracy Test: Ballistic Advantage Premium Series
As previously published by Sin City Precision on 7/26/16.
I have wanted to do an SPR type build for sometime but have been side tracked by my bolt guns and long range shooting obsession. Recently, I finished my 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 SAUM. I could now turn my attention to other projects. I decided that now was a good time to work on my gas gun collection. I had a great experience putting together my New Frontier Armory 16.1” carbine and I look forward to the same with the different rifles I have planned. What I wanted to achieve with this rifle was something that I could easily reach out to 600 yards with, while keeping the weight and size down. This would make a great rifle for kicking around the desert and woods here in Southern Nevada, but also serve as an inexpensive long range trainer.
My SPR started life as a Bushmaster M4A3 LE. I had the rifle for some time and just never got started on it. The transformation to Special Purpose Rifle began with a rifle stock/buffer assembly and quickly progressed once the barrel arrived. The Ballistic Advantage .223 Wylde SPR Premium Series barrel is the distinguishing feature that separates this rifle from my carbine. One of the first things I noticed when unpacking the barrel was that I loved the smell of the oil they used. I took a moment to enjoy the aroma before wiping it down. Secondly, the matte finish looks very good and I think aesthetically makes for a handsome rifle. Lastly, the fit between the upper receiver and barrel extension is excellent. The barrel contour is on the heavy side for an AR-15 but still lighter than a “bull barrel”. The gas block profile is purposefully extended to work with the OPS Inc. 12th model collar and suppressor. The muzzle is threaded ½”x28 tpi and it’s made to work with a 0.750” diameter gas block, like the Superlative Arms adjustable gas block I’ve chosen to use on this rifle. The Ballistic Advantage Premium Series barrels are made from 416 stainless steel and all Ballistic Advantage barrels have a sub MOA accuracy guarantee with match ammunition.
I got started by cleaning the Ballistic Advantage barrel. I do not do a barrel break in, I instead make sure I start with a clean barrel and jump right into it. The first thing I did was head out after work to function test the rifle. I wasn’t concerned with accuracy or even zeroing the scope, just dialing in the gas block. To do this I bought some Ultramax 55 grain SP ammunition. I wasn’t out long before finishing what I set out to do and headed home to get ready for the next morning. I did notice a little bit of carbon on the exterior of the barrel, in front of the gas block, so we’re definitely venting gas (see “Superlative Arms” below).
Before leaving to shoot the next morning I stopped by Sportsman’s Warehouse and bought Nosler Custom Competition 77 grain HBPT match ammunition, Federal Gold Medal Match 69 grain SMK ammunition, Hornady 75 grain HPBT ammunition and Federal Gold Medal Match 77 grain SMK ammunition. I felt this was a good sample of different factory offerings to get started with. Once I finished zeroing the rifle using the Ultramax ammunition I began shooting 5 round groups at 100 yards with the different brands of ammo. All groups were shot prone, off a bi-pod, using a rear SKD Tactical B.A.L.S. shooting bag. As I continued with my article I was extremely fortunate that Specialty Munitions and Gorilla Ammunition sent different products they offer to add to the list of ammunition I tested. This would allow me to verify that this barrel is in fact sub MOA accurate at 100 yards with match ammunition. My results are contained in the table below. All 5 round groups were measured using On Target, you can find images of each group in the gallery at the end of the article.
This barrel shoots well and is affordable.
Didn't perform quite as well as I would've liked with some of the different match ammo I tested it with.