Long a staple range load for many, Blazer’s offerings are often chosen because they’re inexpensive and widely available thanks to Federal’s expansive manufacturing and distribution capabilities. While most of the time we, and likely you, buy it by the case because it goes bang without blowing up the wallet, is it any good?
Having now done a quick sample of Blazer Brass 115gr and Blazer Aluminum 115gr as well as Winchester White Box and Sterling 115gr range ammunition through the same gun we can start to judge the statistics. These measurements represent only a small sample from one lot of ammunition, but at least give us a feel for the ammo.
HOW TO TEST: Beyond “it works”, our ammunition test is inspired by what rifle shooters seek when trying to shoot tight groups; consistency. While shooter and firearm play large roles in shooting groups, the ammunition can play just as big of a role depending on how consistently it achieves a velocity. For semi-auto hand gunners achieved velocity is also important because the generation of that velocity is also the generation of the energy needed to cycle a semi-auto pistol.
A few notes before we get into the data:
· Each pistol design and size has its own nominal energy needed to cycle.
· There can be some compensation or loss depending on the shooter’s skills; limp-wristing or poor form can absorb some of the energy the pistol needs and cause stove piping or other malfunctions whereas a shooter with great form and a firm hold can make the same gun/ammo combination run fine.
· SAAMI Specifications for 9mm are through a 4” barrel. We do not know what barrel length the manufacturer used for their advertised velocity, but the gun used in this test, a Grand Power K100, has a 4.25” barrel which will result in greater velocity (and thus greater muzzle energy) than a shorter barrel. I decided this extra barrel length was acceptable because it also permits for a more complete burn of gun powder.
Looking at our small sample size above it appears that Blazer Brass 115gr is the best choice as far as consistency. Blazer Brass 115gr is also close behind the leader for muzzle energy. As a shooter this means that while recoil will be higher than the other options, it’s also more likely to be forgiving of poor shooting form and have the gusto to push through a dirty gun or overcome other mechanical challenges the firearm might face while cycling.
Teya and I have found consistency important at high-round-count training events when we want to focus on the drill of the moment and learning the course without wondering what’s going on with our gun. For example, if you’re practicing a draw and rapid shots there’s an advantage to your hand, wrist, and arm knowing that the shots will feel like and how to handle them without any surprises. Let you mind focus on the task cleanly without interference of “what was that?” jumping into your mind.
If it’s softer-shooting ammunition you’re looking for then Blazer Aluminum and Sterling Brass 115gr appear to be the winners so far. From our tests it appears that Blazer Aluminum is a 7% reduction in energy form Blazer Brass, and Sterling Brass 115gr is an 8% reduction. The biggest spread is between Sterling Brass and Winchester White Box with the Sterling having nearly 13% less energy. If you need ammunition to slog through a dirty gun or help compensate for poor form, then Winchester White Box is your winner so far with 340 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.
If you simply shop bulk ammunition by cost per round here are some prices we found as of 26MAY23 (keep in mind ammunition prices fluctuate wildly.)
Blazer Brass Ammunition Test Video
Blazer Aluminum Test Video
Winchester White Box
Sterling Ammunition Test Video
As long as our audience shows interest, we’ll continue this series. Personally, I’m curious to find the best load for the dollar looking at consistency and energy. If there’s a load you’d like seen reviewed as part of this series let us know in the comment section below. On deck I believe we'll try PMC Bronze and Fiocchi 9AP next.