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Straight Shooters Cast Bullets
Rifle Magazine
May - June 2000
Volume 32, Number 3
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 189
On the cover...
The C. Sharps Model 1874 Sporting Rifle (Hartford
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Product Tests
South African Ammunition

Al Miller

Century Arms usually deals in surplus military and police arms that it offers at bargain prices. Recently, Century has added ammunition imported from South Africa to its line. Manufactured by PMP (Pretoria Metal Pressings), all cartridges submitted for testing sported full-jacketed bullets loaded in Boxer-primed, reloadable brass cases.

Rifle ammunition comes in two plastic, 10-round packets per box. Each box of handgun cartridges contains twin plastic loading blocks - at least, that’s what they look like. Each block holds 25 rounds. Pistol boxes are colored blue. Those containing rifle rounds are a dull magenta.

Calibers submitted for testing included .223 Remington (55-grain full-jacketed, boat-tailed spitzers); .308 Winchester (143-grain full-jacketed, boat-tailed spitzers); 9mm (115-grain full-jacketed roundnoses); and .45 ACP (220-grain full-jacketed roundnoses).

A Ruger single shot was selected to test the .223 Remingtons. At the range, five rounds averaged 3,079 fps 15 feet from the muzzle of the 21 1/2-inch barrel. Extreme velocity spread was 59 fps.

With its Leupold variable set at 5x, five-shot strings from the benched Ruger grouped from 1.5 to 1.75 inches at 100 yards. Since 1.5 inches is the best that rifle has ever recorded with any factory ammunition, the PMP rounds’ performance was certainly acceptable.

The only .308 at hand was a Savage Model 99 equipped with a veteran 2 1/2x Lyman scope. Mean velocity for a five-round string was 2,818 fps - with an extreme spread of only 15 fps! From the bench, five-shot strings clustered into 1.5 to 2.0 inches at the 100-yard mark. The best that rifle has ever done, even with handloads, is 1.5 inches.

Turning to the handgun rounds, a Walther P-38 was selected as the test bed for the 9mm fodder. Ten feet from the Oehler chronograph, five rounds averaged 1,136 fps with an extreme spread of 66 fps.

At 25 yards, using a two-handed hold with wrists resting on a sandbag, five-shot strings ranged from 3.5 to 4.5 inches, about the best that wartime souvenir can do. The pistol’s in very good condition, but it was designed to take out man-sized targets, not X-rings.

Last up was a Colt Lightweight Officer’s Model chambered for the .45 ACP. To date, this has proved to be a remarkable little pistol, although the only tuning it has received was a trigger job. It has delivered near-match groups since it came out of its box.

Fifteen feet from the muzzle of the Colt’s 3 1/2-inch barrel, five PMP rounds averaged 753 fps with an extreme spread of only 38 fps. Again, a two-handed hold was employed with both wrists resting on a sandbag. At 25 yards, five-shot strings spanned 1.5 to 2.0 inches.

Out of curiosity, a few strings were sent through an old Pachmayr Signature .45. The tightest group measured 1.25 inches, center to center, at the same range.

All rounds tested chambered, fed and extracted effortlessly. There were no misfires, either, nor any signs of excessive pressure. Fired cases were examined under a magnifying glass. There was no evidence of any kind of failure. It looked like quality brass to me.

For a current price list and catalog, write to Century International Arms, Inc., PO Box 714, St. Albans VT 05478.

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