Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Gunny Zins Ammo

For those of you who are heading to Canton-McKinley or Camp Perry over the next several days, one thing will become fairly obvious: Our friend Brian Zins will be marketing his new ammo at both locations.

And as a sign of great conviction with his new product, I’m told, Brian will test fire your 1911 .45 ACP barrel out of a test fixture with his new ammo. (At publication time, Canton appears to be the only location currently willing to host such a demonstration.)

His intent is to let the ammo speak for itself.

Like many things that are Bullseye related, I was lucky to snag several hundred rounds before its release to the general public. I decided to review Brian’s new product with the clear intention of being critically discerning. And I personally wanted to see if it’s as good as it’s cracked up to be.

Normally I’d post some type of disclaimer, but a better approach might be to tell ya’ll how I went about evaluating this ammo. Keep in mind I don’t own a chemical or ballistic laboratory, and I’m not a mechanical engineer (even though I had access to one). I probably have the same items as you in the way of loading and quality control equipment. And the equipment that I did use was not laboratory rated devices but equipment that’s generally available to most home reloaders.

The bottom line is I’m not capable of doing anything you couldn’t do.

The round is manufactured with the legendary Nosler 185 grain JHP, a propriety blend of Vita Vouri powder (read as: we’ll never be able to replicate it), a Federal pistol primer and Starline brass.

Long before I even thought of test firing this ammo, it was obvious I’d need to investigate their individual components. So I randomly checked the dimensions of 200 rounds to see if there were any detrimental variances or failures with SAAMI specs by using a 6 inch Lyman dial caliper.

Yeah, I even dropped the same two hundred through a clean Dillon case gauge, just to be anal. And every single one flopped in and out.

The OAL came in at 1.200 inches and the actual trim length was at .897 inches (close to the high end of the SAAMI limits). The funny part, the OALs and the trim lengths never varied by any more than 1/2000th of an inch, maybe less. At this point the tolerances were so close it became obvious that I might be within the limits of repeatability with my own equipment. And I was suspicious that most of the variances detected were caused by me—by my human error.

Then I randomly selected and rapped out about 80 rounds, got my scale out, and checked the powder weights intending to find variances with the drops.

Surprisingly I didn’t find any variance using a PACT electronic scale. Let’s be honest, most electronic scales marketed to the home reloader are not the most accurate things. So, I pulled out an old but trustworthy Ohaus 1010 beam scale, feeling confident that I’d detect some amount of inconsistency between rounds. Granted it took an awful lot of time but the Ohaus, along with using a magnifying glass, didn’t detect a noticeable variance in powder weights.

The next step was a trip to the range. I scooped up my Competition Electronics ProChrono chronograph and wanted to see what kind of numbers it would produce.

After running 50 rounds over the sensors, a typical 10 shot average was 821 fps at 12 feet from the muzzle. One 10 round string generated a shocking standard deviation of 8 fps. So it’s safe to say, all those lead-puppies were running at extremely similar speeds.

To put the above into perspective, I’ve observed other BE reloaders having a SD with their long line loads in the range of 27 to 46 fps—and I’ve seen much, much worse. Although, this is in line with what I produce on a Dillon progressive press. On a very good day, when I trickle out my own long line loads and weigh bullets for near identical weights, I might be able to wring out a 12 fps SD but 14 to 16 is a little more typical.

My final exercise was to affix a newly acquired Marvel wadgun in a mechanical rest with blank test targets at 50 yards.

I don’t profess to be an expert using these devices. But once I got the gun to settle into the inserts, the consistency in the round pattern was astounding. As you can see in the photo, my wadgun eventually produced a .84 inch ten shot group. Granted, Bob Marvel makes some of the spiffiest pistols on the planet, but to get results like this you’ve got to feed it the right diet.

And of course I shot it off-handed to get an idea about functionality. Considering how the profile of a 185 grn Nosler was designed, I never expected feeding problems. And I never had any.

Granted, it’s a very accurate round but considering that most of us make our own, why would someone purchase this product? … Its sheer accuracy, that’s why. It’s a points getter.

I wouldn’t hesitate buying this ammo and dedicating its use for the long line. Seriously, how many of us actually take the time to benchmark our guns with loads we craft, and then know how it’ll actually print way out to 50 yards?

Considering the current retail price for a 1000 round case, I highly doubt that anyone could directly purchase the same loose components for the same amount of money. And the embedded technical excellence appears to be far beyond my ability as a reloader to replicate.

It would appear that Brian’s new ammo has a lot a value attached to it.

If you’d like to know where you can get your hands on this ammo use the following link to Brian’s web page.

Disclaimer: This blog is completely non-monetized. I have not received in any form a consideration from any principal, individual or business entity that may have been referred to in this article; this would include but not be limited to such items as money, in-kind goods (with the exception of the items tested) and/or services, or for that matter any other type of preference. In other words, I don’t have any skin in the game. 


Andregod said...

Awesome ammo.

SPARTAN said...


Suggest that before Brian tests a barrel he tests it with ammo the owner is currently using; otherwise, his ammo might be blamed for a bad group from a bad barrel.

Anonymous said...

I bought some at Perry, my chronograph is showing only 700fps with a SD of 14. No doubt the recoil is light.

Tony said...


When I originally tested the Zins ammo, it was pretty snappy. The original lot I received was a preproduction batch.

And I had a chance to shoot it again from a box I received at Perry too. The latter was noticeably lighter.

Unknown said...

what was the powder weight??

Lt. D.G.Shafer ret'd. said...

I bought a box of Zins 185 grain Nosler Match ammo and shot a ten shot string over my Ohler P-35 at 12 feet fromm the muzzle.
Here are the numbers from string#1 of 5 shots:
Hi-686 Lo-598 Extreme Spread 88fps mean 645 fps std deviation 32.
String #2 of 5 rounds:
Hi- 685 Lo-631 mean 656 Extreme spread 54 fps Std. deviation 20
Firearm was a new Sprinfield Tactical Response Pistol; not exactly a cheap weapon, normal groups with my loads are 1.25 " at 25 yards benched.
Zins Ammo gave me two 5 shot groups, 4.13 inches and 5.33 inches at 25 yards from a solid bench rest.
One failure to eject, no other functioning issues. Accuracy was poor, velocity very low by about 200 f.p.s.

Tested 08/10/2011 @ 7pm Temp 71 degrees F.