Educational Zone #177 – Mexican Match Ammunition

When I used to compete in military rifle matches, competitors were always looking for an “edge” against their competition. However, most of us were on a somewhat limited budget. The matches would supply us with military ball ammo in many cases. Someone once got a great idea about how to “improve” this cheap (free) ammunition. What they came up with was called “Mexican Match”.

We are not sure where that name came from, but one guy thought that this was first done at a match held in Mexico. Regardless, it became a very common practice and a common term for the ammo.

I contacted my old buddy Boyd, who has been a rifle competitor for many years and he brought down some Mexican match ammo for us to test.

Boyd has competed at camp Perry in Military National Match contests. This consists to shooting an M-14 or other military rifle at various distances. They shot 10 slow fire shots at 200 yards standing, 10 rapid fire shots sitting at 200 yards, 10 rapid fire shots prone at 300 yards, and 20 slow fire shots prone at 600 yards.

First, let me explain what it is. As we all should know, the most important part of any accurate rifle load is the bullet. The ammo Boyd was issued in National Match rifle matches was labeled “Lake City 7.62MM NATO MATCH. This was very good quality ammo loaded for firing in the M-14. It was loaded with a 173 grain FMJ at 2550 fps.

What they did to make it even better was simply to pull the bullet loaded in the cartridge and replace it with a better bullet.

To do this, you must first pull the bullet. These rounds have an asphaltic sealer applied to the bullet to make them more waterproof. This dried seal must be broken to pull the bullet more easily.

You place the bullet in the shell holder.

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You just set a seating die to push the bullet back into the case, just a little bit to break the seal.

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Then you remove the seating die and push the round up through the reloading press.

I then place a washer on the threads to protect them from damage and grab the bullet with a pair of vice grip pliers.

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Then lower the round and the bullet will be pulled. You can see the asphalt sealant on the bullet.

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Then you just replace the bullet with a Sierra 168 grain Matchking and you have a round of Mexican Match.

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We went to the range this morning and it was a beautiful day. We decided to place the targets at 200 yards to give us a better idea of the difference in the accuracy of the ammo, if any.

Continued below...

200 yards is a looooooong way.

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I brought my Accuracy International AE. It has been proven a “One MOA All Day Long Rifle” in the One MOA All Day Long Contest

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But today I decided to replace the most important part of the equipment on any rifle, the shooter. I replaced the “not too bad shooter” (me) with a “great shooter”, Boyd. Here he is on the rifle.

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We will be comparing the factory Lake City Match on the left, with the Mexican Match on the right.

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Here are the results, to make a long story short.

Here is his target with 5 rounds of Lake City MATCH.

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He put the 5 shots into 1.246 MOA at 200 yards.

Here is his target with the Mexican Match.

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He put the 5 rounds into .524 MOA at 200 yards.

That is a result of shrinking the group by approximately one-half, by only changing the bullets.

Conclusions:

1. The bullet is the most important part of any load.

2. A better bullet will almost always result in a smaller group.

3. It’s fun to shoot stuff. It is even fun to watch someone that knows what they are doing shoot stuff

1 Comment on Educational Zone #177 – Mexican Match Ammunition

  1. reloader762 // April 30, 2016 at 10:19 pm // Reply

    I believe the term Mexican Match comes from the first use of the Sierra 168 gr. International bullet at the Pan American Games which was held in Mexico City in 1956. It’s my understanding that in non National matches the Army Marksmanship Team could pull the original factory bullets and replace them with the Sierra bullets but at the time they couldn’t do so if they were shooting in any of the sanction matches. I had a better link that explained the who process of the switch and the eventual change over to the Sierra 168 gr. MK bullet but it’s a dead link. Here is another that I found that may be of interest http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7968&sid=07a5116668ac2de78c3ae6d1f3fdba16

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