Cal .30 AP as Match ammunition


On a previous thread I made this comment:

“I follow the Cal 30 Match stuff closely and I have never seen AP issued for matches or marksmanship training.”

I never learn. Never say never. I now have to eat my words. Rather than posting on the old thread where no one will see or notice, I’ll do it right here.

Limited National Matches were held between 1946 and 1953 when the full program resumed. There was no standard match cartridge during that period and so selected lots of regular M2 Ball was used. Except in 1951 when Cal .30 AP M2 was designated for use.

So there you are. I’ll never make that mistake again.



Guys all over the CMP Forum are looking for AP ammo and bullets to reload, in the belief that they are more accurate than standard ball.


I’ve given up trying to understand some of the crazy things shooters will do. With the easy availibility of high quality match grade bullets, it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish to use milsurp components for anything other than plinking. Even the old M1 Type Match bullets are still available by the box or by the ammo can on places like GB.



A friend of mine was a marksmanship instructor at Parris Island in the mid-1950’s. He told me once that M-2 AP was often used on the rifle ranges by the recruits for marksmanship practice and qualification. A former employer was in the cadet program at Norwich University in Vermont back in the early 1970’s. On at least one occasion, probably more, he was issued M-2 AP for rifle practice. In fact, I have an en-bloc clip of them that he gave me. eadstamp is “L C 5” with the “5” off-center. The clip is marked “D A Q”.



My friend Fred Filkins has told me when he was world champ he had a match M1 rifle, AP M1 rifle and a pratice M1 rifle.

I asked why have a M1 for AP, he said because there was millions of rounds of “it” around and the match ammo was much more limited.

I guess some matches in the olden days would allow its use, I will learn more as time goes by and we talk. I will try and figure out where it was used and where it was not allowed.

And to be at the top of the game you had to breathe, eat, shoot and sleep, wake up and do it again.


Shooters, especially today, need all the friends they can get so we can’t afford to fight among ourselves. But, I have to say that I must have hung around a different crowd of shooters in my day. None of us would have considered using surplus GI ammunition for anything other than plinking or shooting prairie dogs. The words “Accuracy” and “AP” simply do not go together in a competitive sense. The accuracy standard for AP was 10" mean radius groups at 600 yards and even using them for practice would have had limited benefits. Match grade components were always available through the DCM at little or no cost, to be handloaded for practice and the lesser matches. Up until the 1990s only the official National Match ammunition was legal when competing in the leg matches and the EIC Matches so no one would have used AP or Ball for them and they would have done whatever was necessary to to get match grade ammunition to firm up their zeros, even if it meant no new shoes for little Johnny.

But, to each his own.





Priorities, man, priorities!


Many of the competitions, including the Queens Prize, in Britain have to be shot with issued ammunition. Up to this year it has been “Military” RG Green Spot.

We wouldn’t be allowed to use AP on the ranges anyway because of the regulations. However, I can see an arguement for AP being more consistant than run of the mill military stuff because of the way it is made. By that I mean more consistant bullet weights(?) Thats only perhaps, lots of other variables to consider.
As with everything to do with ammunition its all down to the batch. If someone happened to find a batch that was really good then maybe. However our competitions are shot out to 1200yds and I can’t see any AP round keeping its edge out to that distance even if it made a good showing at the shorter ranges.


There’s nothing wrong with service issue ammo in competition as long as everybody else shoots it… :-)
I shoot AMA '62 or 1994 in my Garand and P17, straight from the box, no weighing, no sorting. It works fine, it sits inside a 40 cm circle in 300 meters and thats medal quality in our club.


[quote=“RayMeketa”]I’ve given up trying to understand some of the crazy things shooters will do. With the easy availibility of high quality match grade bullets, it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish to use milsurp components for anything other than plinking. Even the old M1 Type Match bullets are still available by the box or by the ammo can on places like GB.


Wasn’t SmK ammo issued to German snipers on the Eastern Front in WWII because of its better accuracy?


"Shooters, especially today, need all the friends they can get so we can’t afford to fight among ourselves"

I don’t know what that means, and I mean that in a goood way.

I did not have the honor to serve in the armed forces, (got married before I left high school, I just found the right lady then)

BUT is this difference in ideas here maybe between

“inlisted service marksman” and “civilian markman”

I just don’t know really, I do know that the 2 men that I have mentioned as sources of information were inlisted service marksmen.

When I shot highpower not very many years ago, I was limited on funds and I would watch a service team in a match and wish I could afford or get all that equipment and or ammo that they had. I have reloaded ammo and collected it for about 30 years now but if I had the money when I was shooting I would have bought all loaded match ammo I could get, so to make more time for shooting and not reloading.

Maybe I’m out of line here because I did’nt serve but back the the early days was it maybe a command or whatever that as a service man you will shoot this “ammo” and this “gun” whenever you can get away with it, and then in a match that rules were more strick have follow that way? regardless if the eqipment was all “uniform” as far as accuracy goes.
I do know that when I was shooting the more I shot the better I got, and sometimes my handloaded match ammo for my one gun was not as accurate because of weather conditions, I drank to much coffee ect.
I remember one time shooting a practice match in about 6" of snow just to see how it would effect my score, and it did effect my score.

I do remember Fred telling me that his M1 that was for AP was tuned for that ammo, and I’m still not really sure what “that” means.

Hey if I am out of line here just say so and I will do whatever to pull this reply and watch from the side lines.



My comment was not directed at the military vs civilian marksmen or the types of matches that each shoot. Since I am a competitor (or was) I tend to speak in terms of match ammunition as it pertains to the more serious competitions including the National Matches. Service matches at the local military base, or civilian club matches, are another thing altogether.

The point I was trying to make was that none of the shooters that I hung with would consider using milsurp ammunition in any competition. Even practicing with such doesn’t really improve your techniques. I was surprised that shooters such as Fred Filkins would do so but there was no way that I was going to question his practices since he is obviously a much better shooter than I. You can’t argue with success.

Don’t pull your posts. I find all of your stuff interesting. I would like to hear more of Fred’s comments after you have a chance to grill him.



What we are moving into here and it could be a very fruitful debate is what constitutes Match ammo. The term is widely used but rarely explored.

To throw out an idea that may get shot down pretty fast. I would say that much of the so called match ammo is just ordinary production ammo but with better batch control of the components. All of the bullets coming from the same bullet making machine using one set dies, nice new ones for preference. Ditto for the cases and powder from one making instead of changing batches half way through. Ditto again for primers, all one batch.

Well, thats my opening line, lets see what other people say, I’ve got my tin hat on now so fire at will.



In the Army, and most likely in other services, you only shoot your service rifle in two occasions - real combat and peacetime or other annual (or whatever that service requires for weapons firing practice) qualifications. The enlisted man has no choice of rifle or ammunition. He fires with his service weapon and the ammunition that is issued to him. Exceptions are members of marksmanship units where top shooter-applicants can get assigned to shoot in competitions, both military and civilian, and where match-grade rifles and ammunition are always used, trained snipers assigned to sniper units or practicing with other snipers (if they are assigned to units just as rifleman, which probably doesn’t happen anymore, they qualify just like any other soldier or did when I was in the service), and of course, the “dark side” of special ops, where they seem to use anything the want and that they can beg, borrow, requisition, buy or steal. Never was one of those guys, so don’t know all what they do.

When I was in by the way, Snipers were usually just assigned in each unit and picked for being the best shots in the company. They were issued the M1C or M1D rifle, but at that time I don’t know what ammo they were issued. They were NOT the super, highly-trained, incredible marksmen that comprise the snipers in today’s Army and Marine Corps. The sniper being a human shooting machine probably really had its start in the VN war, not that early snipers, even in the Civil War, didn’t get special training and special rifles. The M1Cs and M1Ds I have seen are not even National Match Rifles - they are simply standard weapons with scopes, although perhaps the barrels are picked for being closely-spec’d, I just simply don’t know.

One of the reasons AP ammo was used occasionally as substitute match when I was in the Army was the bullet weight, more than any other consideration. Matches had stages shot at longer ranges than what the normal “grunt” qualified at. Also, not being considered here is that there were local command teams that generally were only shooting in local competetions with other services with bases close by, or against local clubs. At Ladd AFB in the 1950s we had teams - the Ladd Army Rangers, for center fire and smallbore (also baseball, and perhaps football). These guys didn’t have the travel budget to go even to Camp Perry, where the Army was usually represented by a pretty select “Army-wide” bunch of shooters assigned to an AMU for that purpose. I actually made the Ladd AFB Army smallbore team, but found out my company commander, a company that I was newly assigned to and where I had a really good berth (ED from anything except “Charge of Quarters” - no KP, no Guard Duty) didn’t like “jocks,” that is, any one participating in anything that took him away from his normal duties. I had to pass on joining the team because as an 18 year old Specialist 4 (then called Specialist 3) which is a glorified Private First Class, I didn’t want to rock the boat on the cool deal I had in the company, since I actually was assigned only for quarters and rations. It was a Signal Company, and I worked, by then, in the Personnel Section of the Command Headquarters, having flunked my overseas Physical for eyesight. That being in peacetime, knocked me out of the Infantry (gee, I was SOOOOO sorry that happened).

Hope this helps to clarify the ancient picture of Army Marksmanship and arms and ammunition issue. My service started 54 years ago, so it is pretty much ancient history. Again, I can’t speak for what they do now but I suspect for the average, non-competition or “special” soldier (Snipers, Special Ops people, etc.), the principles are the same. You shot your issue weapon and issue ammunition, whatever they chose to give you (I qualified once when we all used AP ammo simply because it was getting old, in too much supply at our post, and they wanted to shoot it up). It was not my choice - it was what was issued our unit for that qualification.

John Moss


The steel cored AP bullet would have a different cross sectional density to a lead cored bullet and therefore a slightly different different ballistic co-efficient. This would mean that at greater distances it would have a slightly different trajectory. When your friend says his rifle was tuned for AP bullets he just meant that the sights were set to allow for this discrepancy I would imagine.
Steps would be taken in manufacturing to minimise the difference as much as possible but it can never be totally eliminated, its a very different bullet.


Thank you John and Vince.
I plan on asking my friend more about this stuff and if it sounds like it fits here I will report back.
Fred is about 83 years old + or - and was world champ a least 3 years that I know of (early 1960’s I think) and has ran the High Power matches both locally and at Camp Perry, and still does. He called a match at Camp Perry last summer as far as I know.



I’d have to say that there is match ammunition and there is MATCH ammunition. A GI competing in a base match or in intra or inter-service matches is probably given several boxes of standard issue cartridges along with an issue M1, M14, or M16. Since he/she is competing with others on a level playing field it doesn’t really make much difference and he/she probably goes away fat and happy but with the impression that they were both match rifles and ammunition.

OTOH, Match grade rifles are hand built and tuned, and true Match ammunition is manufactured using selected components with constant attention to detail and numerous inspections and testing. In the glory days of the National Matches there were lots that were manufactured specifically for use at Camp Perry and they received even more attention during manufacture. There were years when appropriations were hard to come by and standard issue ammunition was used, but they were not the norm.

At least that’s the way it used to be. Alas, those days are gone but todays’ handloads and commercial Match ammunition are just as good as the old stuff was, some of it being even better. Likewise, the current sniper ammunition, such as the M118 LR, is still better than the best lots of standard issue.