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A review of True Velocity polymer case ammunition, with 21Feb23 update in first post, after replacements received. Login/Join 
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted
A relatively new development is ammunition with a steel case head and polymer case body offered by the True Velocity company. I had previously seen reviews of a few cartridges sold as basically collectors’ items in special packaging, but a few days ago I noticed that MidwayUSA had a 308 Winchester load with 165 grain Nosler AccuBond bullet for sale.

I’ll put the link below, but with a warning that its price for 20 rounds may give some readers heart palpitations. Yes, it’s hideously expensive, and that’s the basis for the figure cited in the title of this thread. Why did I pay that much? Inquiring minds like to know, and I was particularly curious about something that could become a revolution in how ammunition is made.

All that being out of the way, I decided to post a review for those who might also be curious about the ammo, but are also understandably unwilling to actually purchase any of the stuff.

The test today consisted of shooting two five-round groups of the TV ammunition from a Tikka T3x TAC A1 rifle in an effort to shoot groups that were as small as possible. The weather for the session could not have been better. My bench was set up in the shade, the temperature was about 46°, and being relatively early in the day, the wind was calm. I have a very sturdy portable bench and I used a heavy rest for all shots. The target was set at a rangefinder-measured 100 yards.

As controls before shooting the TV groups, I first fouled the bore with three shots of Federal AE308D 150 grain FMJ, and then fired seven rounds of Federal 168 grain Gold Medal Match. I haven’t had any “cold bore” problems with this gun, but wanted to eliminate any possibilities. Because I forgot that an adjustment had to be made when not using my suppressor, the first two GMM shots nearly missed the paper, but the two holes touched. After adjusting the sight I fired one five-round group that’s pictured on the left below. That precision is typical of this rifle, and is often what I can expect with appropriate ammunition such as the GMM and Hornady match loads. It measured 0.462 inch center to center, or ~0.44 minute of angle.





The two groups at the center and right were then fired with the True Velocity ammunition. The left group measures 1.232" CTC or 1.18 MOA; the right group 0.504", 0.48 MOA. The right group would be very satisfactory for factory ammunition, but the left (center) group is mediocre for today’s ammunition and rifles.
Why the groups differ so much, I don’t know. Four shots were fired in each group, then breaks, and finally a fifth shot for each. Why that regimen? Because of the 13 rounds I attempted to fire, three failed to fire even after three attempts each. Because with tax each round cost me $3.74, the three failures were the basis for my thread title. And no, I have not had any other light strike misfires with this rifle in the ~250 rounds I’ve fired it with various types of ammunition. And yes, the firing pin/bolt assembly were disassembled and cleaned after the gun’s purchase.

One odd thing I noted about two of the misfires was that the front of the bullets became discolored when chambered and then ejected. The discoloration almost looks like it was caused by excessive heat, but I didn’t shoot enough rounds rapidly enough to raise the chamber temperature to any significant degree. I did check, and none of the unfired rounds had that discoloration. And as also pictured, one of the misfire cartridges didn’t show the bullet discoloration.








The primers pictured are, left to right, failure to fire, fired, unfired. Although it may not be too obvious in the photo, the fired primer was flattened very noticeably, and I consider that to be a high pressure sign. It may not be excessive, but most other factory load primers I’ve examined are not flattened to that degree. The steel case head obviously contains whatever chamber pressure is developed by the rounds, but I do have questions about rearward force on the bolt lugs.





One of the many firearms safety rules shooters should be aware of is the traditional advice to keep oil or other lube off the cartridge cases and out of the chamber, especially of high powered rifles. When a cartridge with metal case fires, the case expands, briefly adheres to the chamber wall, and then contracts for extraction. That adherence of the case to the chamber reduces the rearward force on the rifle bolt, but if oil or lube is present, the adherence is less and force on the bolt is increased. Because I suspect that the polymer of the case does not adhere to the chamber wall the same way as brass or steel, what does that mean for the gun if high powered ammunition is being fired?

So, that’s my review. If anyone has other information about or experiences with the True Velocity ammunition, please post them here.

MidwayUSA link:
https://www.midwayusa.com/prod...024290388?pid=854493

==========================

An update from 21 February 2023

After I contacted the True Velocity company with a link to this thread they were initially very responsive. They originally offered to reimburse me for the first box of ammunition I purchased and that left me with numerous failures to fire. After some discussion I agreed to return the box of rounds I’d originally purchased in exchange for another box of the same type, loaded with 165 grain Nosler Accubond, and a box loaded with 168 grain Sierra MatchKing bullets that I offered to test and report on.

It took me a while to get around to testing the replacement ammunition, and decided to start with the 168 gn. MK load from my Tikka T3x TAC A1. I tried all 20 rounds and had 14 failures to fire. As before, the primer indentations seemed shallow.

After that experience I contacted the company rep I’d dealt with before.
I never received any acknowledgement of my email.

Much later I decided to try some of the misfired 168 gn. MK rounds in my M1A, as it’s the only other rifle I have chambered in 308 Winchester (okay, 7.62×51mm, but close enough). A couple of days ago I tried five rounds that had failed to fire in the Tikka, and all fired in the M1A.

Four of the cartridges, however, suffered pierced primers. Pierced primers are usually a sign of excessive chamber pressure, as are flattened primers. The greatest danger of overpressure loads is the possibility of a catastrophic case failure that can destroy the gun and injure the shooter. Because the TV cartridges have steel case heads, that’s probably less likely, but pierced primers allow gas to impinge the firing pin, and that can cause erosion or other damage to the part, and is to be avoided. And I believe that higher pressures cause greater rearward force on the bolt lugs, and that might be even worse with polymer cases.

I also had a strange stoppage with one round in the M1A. The case didn’t eject properly and got caught between the operating rod and the receiver at the front of the ejection port. It was jammed so tightly I had to resort to the boot-on-the-operating-rod-handle to force the op rod to the rear and release the case. That’s the sort of thing one might expect if firing next to a surface that could cause the case to bounce back to the ejection port, but I was shooting offhand with nothing near by.

I did not try any of the replacement Nosler Accubond load, and will keep it as an example or perhaps sell it at a significant discount along with appropriate caveats.

After all that, I am obviously disappointed with my experiences with the True Velocity ammunition. The most important issues are the two different loads’ apparent high pressures in both rifles, and the pierced primers in my M1A. At the other end, were all the misfires I had with the Tikka. And to make clear, I’ve never had similar problems with many different types of conventional ammunition in either rifle.

Case bases. Left fired in Tikka T3x; right fired in Springfield M1A.




Primers. Left to right: fired in Tikka T3x; fired in M1A; fired in M1A, pierced primer. Note the “hat brim” effect due to high pressure flattening of the primer, especially on the one that was fired in the Tikka.



==================

Added, part deux: About bolt or breech “thrust,” I thought I had recalled that increased chamber pressure would increase the rearward thrust of the cartridge case against the bolt lugs and therefore is something to be avoided for that reason, if no other. That seems intuitively obvious, but I didn’t know for certain, and evidently there has been some debate among shooters whether that’s actually true.

In researching the question I found one article that used a pressure measuring method to determine that yes, as powder charges are increased and therefore chamber pressure increases, the breech thrust force increases. Does that matter if nothing fails? I don’t know, but it’s not something I want to subject my rifles to.

https://gundigest.com/gear-amm...ing-with-bolt-thrust

This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,




6.4/93.6

“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 47285 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Discoloring because polymer does not act as a heat sink?


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Posts: 15799 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by RichardC:
Discoloring because polymer does not act as a heat sink?

Possibly. But why two and not all three, and why at the front of the bullet and not farther back where it’s closer to the barrel are puzzlers. You do bring up a point that I’ve seen some other discussion about: Will the lack of heat absorption by the cartridge case result in the barrel heating up to a detrimental degree?

A question that occurred to me about the misfires was whether the length of the case could have an effect. I checked the TV cases with a headspace gage and they seemed to be very slightly shorter than the Federal cases. It seems unlikely that the difference could have affected the ignition, plus the case is held against the bolt face by the extractor, but …?

And I hope this effort succeeds despite what it would mean for reloaders. It would be good to get away from the need for all metal cases, especially brass.




6.4/93.6

“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 47285 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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I checked the True Velocity site again and under the “Safety” page is a link to a video about light strikes. After pointing out that the plastic case isn’t rigid like metal and therefore absorbs some of the firing pin striking force, then, “It’s probably your gun that’s defective.” (Paraphrasing of course.)

https://www.tvammo.com/new-page-1




6.4/93.6

“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 47285 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
“It’s probably your gun that’s defective.”
Sure. What else could it be? Roll Eyes


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-- Mark Twain, 1902
 
Posts: 8962 | Location: Northern Virginia | Registered: November 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I swear I had
something for this
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I know this is a sample of one, but I’m glad the Army went with Sig on their NGSW project. It looks a lot like if you don’t have a gun that smacks the bejeesus out of the primer, you risk a FTF. You’d also think with all the weight savings and being a polymer case instead of brass that prices would be better.

To me, it’s not ready for prime time and on the avoid list. Thanks.
 
Posts: 4082 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
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quote:
Originally posted by DanH:
To me, it’s not ready for prime time and on the avoid list. Thanks.


Me too, except I want a handful of empty .223/5.56 cases to play with.
 
Posts: 10626 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DanH:
I know this is a sample of one, but I’m glad the Army went with Sig on their NGSW project. It looks a lot like if you don’t have a gun that smacks the bejeesus out of the primer, you risk a FTF. You’d also think with all the weight savings and being a polymer case instead of brass that prices would be better.

To me, it’s not ready for prime time and on the avoid list. Thanks.
Dan, you are spot on. Polymer ammo is still in its infancy and the risk was too great for the Army and DOD.


_________________________________________________________________________
“A man’s treatment of a dog is no indication of the man’s nature, but his treatment of a cat is. It is the crucial test. None but the humane treat a cat well.”
-- Mark Twain, 1902
 
Posts: 8962 | Location: Northern Virginia | Registered: November 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Have not seen or handled polymer cases yet. I'm curious about how much neck tension there is to hold the bullet.
 
Posts: 59 | Registered: July 11, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
It's pronounced just
the way it's spelled
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If I were to manufacture polymer cased rounds, I think I would use an adhesive that would melt, burn or vaporize instead of trying to tension the neck.
 
Posts: 1496 | Location: Arid Zone A | Registered: February 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RichardC:
Discoloring because polymer does not act as a heat sink?


One of the fatal flaws of polymer based ammunition; nothing to draw the heat from the chamber.

With that said, either OP didn’t notice the round originally and it is an artifact from the manufacture of said projectile, or there’s some really weird poop going on.

It takes a pretty solid, high temperature to discolor metals like the one in the pic.
 
Posts: 874 | Location: NE Pennsylvania | Registered: December 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Uppity Helot
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
I checked the True Velocity site again and under the “Safety” page is a link to a video about light strikes. After pointing out that the plastic case isn’t rigid like metal and therefore absorbs some of the firing pin striking force, then, “It’s probably your gun that’s defective.” (Paraphrasing of course.)

https://www.tvammo.com/new-page-1


I have hardly a speck of mechanical aptitude and I too wondered if the polymer case lacking the rigidity of a metal case wouldn’t absorb some of the firing pin strike. The misfired case looks like it had a pretty light firing pin indent. Kind of disappointing that those with more of a mechanical background (the manufacturer) did not foresee this as a bigger problem. A lame disclaimer is of no consolation if the cartridge misfires when you are trying to harvest game.
 
Posts: 3100 | Location: Manheim, PA | Registered: September 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
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quote:
Originally posted by divil:
A lame disclaimer is of no consolation if the cartridge misfires when you are trying to harvest game.


It's of no consolation if you're trying to defend your life either.
 
Posts: 10626 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So what is the point?
Seems ridiculously expensive and well not very reliable.


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If we got each other, and that's all we have.
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You should know I'll be there for you!
 
Posts: 25258 | Registered: September 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
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quote:
Originally posted by Black92LX:
So what is the point?
Seems ridiculously expensive and well not very reliable.


The point was to build reliable polymer cased ammo for the military so they could carry more rounds for the same amount of weight. If you could do that, you'd make a fortune.

Unfortunately, it isn't ready for prime time.
 
Posts: 10626 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Let us keep in mind that my experience was a small sample of one particular cartridge and load, and it would be a mistake to assume that what’s posted here demonstrates anything else. FWIW, the company reportedly has much experience with the ammunition being used reliably in military weapons.




6.4/93.6

“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 47285 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Update at bottom of first post.




6.4/93.6

“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 47285 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
After all that, I am obviously disappointed with my experiences with the True Velocity ammunition.

Yep. Not ready for primetime.
 
Posts: 7825 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raised Hands Surround Us
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Looks like you are not alone in your findings.


————————————————
The world's not perfect, but it's not that bad.
If we got each other, and that's all we have.
I will be your brother, and I'll hold your hand.
You should know I'll be there for you!
 
Posts: 25258 | Registered: September 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks for the video link. I watched it and commented.




6.4/93.6

“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 47285 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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