Running Black

Scott Lambin Rifles 0 Comments

We see memes, t shirts, and slogans which read “black rifles matter”. The phrase came on the heels of many crusades launched by local, state and federal governments to villainize the most popular sporting rifle in America. The AR15; just as, if not more prolific than the AK – 2 decades ago. Its modularity, minimal recoil and close resemblance to our Military standard issue battle rifle became an iconic center piece for enthusiasts, competition shooters, and hunter’s immediately after Bill Clintons AR ban expired in 2000. So why the crusade? For us reasonable folk, we are left scratching our heads. For those with agendas, because it was an easy out. Because it looked scary. Diane Feinstein and California Senator Kevin De Leon are two of the most notable idiots on the front end of the ti-rade. The people who are supposed to be watchdogs of our inalienable rights, stand up on their political pulpits and make claims of “ghost guns” firing 30 bullets in .5 seconds. Damn…If my splits were that quick with…anything I sure in hell wouldn’t be spending time in shit holes for a job!

The point…is that with every great gun, comes great ammo! Hornady has been at the leading edge of quality ammunition for quite some time. Their portfolios range from hyper precision to mass produced everyday range loads [and virtually everything in between]. Regardless of purpose Hornady ammo is absent pits, extremely consistent and serves its purpose well!

Playing On Words

Some will say that Hornady’s newest addition to their ammo selection is a simple marketing ploy. We got our hands on a few boxes of BLACK in 62 grain 223 Remington. At first glance the packaging is brilliant. A metallic black and gray box with old glory in the back ground and the Gadsden snake in the bottom right corner with the words that many of us live by “Don’t Tread on Me”. In our opinion, home run! But is there more to the ammo than the packaging?! You’re damn right there is!

Once you flip over the box, Hornady provides a brief narrative as to where the concept for this ammo came from. The abundance of the AR 15, which is now commonly referred to as “Black Guns”, simply because of the common anodization that is standard on most.

Fundamental or Functional?

 A perfect balance of both! As easy as it would have been for Hornady…or any other ammo manufacturer to throw a snake on the box, add some catchy art and put it out as “optimized” for A specific platform is easy…Today, people do not want or need new guns…they want to customize or increase the performance of the firearms we bought at the height of the 2A crusade.

Black by Hornady is proven to be both functional and fundamental. As per the packaging and descriptions, the ammo is optimized to fit, fire and function between all variables of the AR platform; up to and including suppressed. Would we be doing our jobs in passing information if we wrote a few hundred words on the story behind the product without providing data?! NO!!

Fit and Fire

We grabbed a few systems out of the vault to test the ammo! An LWRCI, A DPMS [DI] A-15 and an SBR SCAR 16 suppressed. For the sake of continuity and consistency, we looked through a Leupold Mk VI with the Tremor 3 reticle. With each gun, we confirmed zero and made the adjustments if necessary.

To stay true to our practical testing standards each weapon system was fired and accuracy tested from either Harris or GG&G bi pods. Yes, we understand that bench vising a rifle in place would eliminate human error and other variables found with a prone position. We are staunch believers that there are both time and place for that stuff, and when testing products that the everyday shooter employs, it is imperative to test in the way it will actually be used. Which is precisely why we think it’s ridiculous to bench rest pistols and test accuracy from 50 yards…This is me stepping off my soap box.

Each load of the Hornadys Black ammunition that we tested functioned and fired flawlessly, even as we dirtied up the Scar 16 [10.5” barrel] by hawking rounds through the SureFire SB2 suppressor. We noticed a very little point of impact shift even after we removed the suppressor. Each system tested was unique in its own right.

The DPMS sported a 24” fluted bull barrel. A system that has been responsible for many Coyote and Prairie Dog bloodsheds. Both 62 and 75-grain Black loads performed the best out of the DPMS…spreading the calipers at just under 1 inch on average.

Next up was the piston driven LWRCI M6-IC. A hard hitting 16” barrel and flawless function. Equipped with the same glass, we mounted GG&G Accu-force adjustable bipods and immediately went to work with the 62-grain loads. As expected the cycle of operations remained flawless. We maintained a 1.50-inch accuracy group from 100 yards on our 2-inch inverted diamond targets. While the 62-grain full metal jackets didn’t exactly “wow” us with unsurpassed accuracy, the 75-grain BTHP Black out performed in accuracy by almost ½ of an inch.

Last the Scar 16. Equipped with a factory 10.5” barrel, and Surefire SB2 suppressor. One of the profiles that are commonly found within the “Black Gun” market. NFA firearms and suppressors are becoming more popular by the day. It is only fitting to grab some data covering both spectrums. We expected some loss of accuracy and consistency from 100 yards on a 2-inch target from a barrel that is over half the length of our first test subject and half of a foot shorter than the LWRC. The Scar was the “worst” performer out of the 3 between both loads. With that said, the Scar is our go to rifle for when up close and personal is the objective!

Blow Back

Between the three weapon systems and Surefire suppressor, the Black ammo performed just as Hornady said it would. Regardless of gas system; no failure to feed, function or fire. Despite the cleanliness of the guns, bolts cycled perfectly and without fail. Though there are self-proclaimed experts who tout about suppressors greatly affecting the strike of a round; regardless of make, model or key features; our impact shifts remained minimal at best. If we ran an inferior suppressor, the outcome may have been more dramatic; that could be something for down the road. Our accuracy charts may not do Hornady’s Black line much justice about pin point accuracy, but one thing is certain. The company couldn’t have been more spot on in pin pointing the focus of the new line of ammo of functionality! If hyper accuracy is what you are after, Hornady manufactures some of the best and invariable ammo on the market in their custom line.  So, yes –

”America’s gun runs on Black”.

Hornady Black Accuracy Data

Firearm Barrel Load Best (inches) Worst (inches) Average (inches)
DPMS A15 24” 62 gr FMJ .98 1.31 1.13
DPMS A15 24” 75 gr BTHP .72 1.12 .95
LWRCI M6 IC 16” 62 gr FMJ 1.29 2.71 1.84
LWRIC M6 IC 16” 75 gr BTHP 1.22 1.61 1.39
SCAR 16 10.5” 62 gr FMJ .66 3.36 1.78
SCAR 16 10.5 75 gr BTHP 1.36 1.85 1.28

Data collected by shooting five – 5 round groups from 100 yards using Leupold Mk VI and measured by using Mitutoyo Tuned Calipers.


About This Author

Scott Lambin

Scott is the founder of The BrassTacs digital publications. He is a veteran of the US Marines and has numerous deployments in support of the GWOT. Scott brings 17 years of experience to the publication. Focusing on practical application with all firearms. Scott focuses on hard end use, training and pistol and carbine perspective content.

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