South African Ammunition
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, thats 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 pistols in very good condition, but it
was designed to take out man-sized targets, not X-rings.
Last up was a Colt Lightweight
Officers 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
Colts 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.