It is certainly reasonable to question why Immigration & Customs Enforcement needs 141,160 rounds of 168-grain Hornady A-MAX TAP ammunition in .308 Winchester.
After all, that’s not an inconsequential order of ammunition.
That’s enough ammunition for 705 shooters to take a 3-day long-range shooting class using 200 rounds of ammunition. Or, it’s enough ammunition for 352 shooters to take a 6-day, 400-round course, or 176 marksman to shoot 400 rounds for the six-day course, with enough left-over to practice with once a month with low-to-moderate intensity for the rest of the year. When you look at the numbers from that perspective, it doesn’t sound like much, because spread across an entire agency, it isn’t.
But if you value traffic over credibility, a quick way to generate page views is to make any government ammunition purchase sound outrageous as possible, which is precisely the route that Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars decided to take:
According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOpps, the federal agency is looking to procure 141,160 rounds of Hornady .308 Winchester 168gr A-MAX TAP ammunition.
Such ammunition is sometimes retailed as “Zombie Max,” a marketing gimmick alluding to its power.
“What makes the .308 ammunition so deadly is the long range capability of the round,” notes James Smith. “The ability is called ballistic coefficient, or the efficiency of a projectile in overcoming air resistance as it travels to its target. According to Speer Reloading Manual Number 13, the .308 165 grain has the highest coefficient of any hunting rifle.”
Apparently, ammunition companies aren’t allow to have fun anymore without noted conspiracy theorists completely freaking out.
Zombie Max ammunition and Z-Max are nothing more or less than the company’s marketing department having some fun jumping on the same zombie-themed bandwagon as many other companies, and the name has nothing whatsoever to do with “power” (however nebulously he uses the word).
As for James Smith, let’s just look at his claims that Watson was culling from:
“My first shot at a hog with an AMAX out of the 300 SAUM was spectacular. Hit in the neck at 258 yards and there was only a little piece of fur holding the body together at that point. Good terminal performance.” – Mark Swab’s appraisal of the Hornady .308 AMAX sniper ammunition round
Despite rising unemployment, record number of people on public assistance, the US Government via the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed a solicitation for more sniper ammo, in this order – they are requesting 141,160 rounds of ammunition (7,058 boxes) of Hornady .308 Winchester 168gr A-MAX TAP Ammunition.
This is not their first foray into purchasing sniper ammunition. In September 2012,we reported DHS’s intent to purchase 176,000 rounds of the .308 caliber 168 grain ammunition. And surprisingly, they abruptly cancelled the solicitation.
There has been no further requests for the ammunition until recently.
What makes the .308 ammunition so deadly is the long range capability of the round. The ability is called ballistic coefficient, or the efficiency of a projectile in overcoming air resistance as it travels to its target. According to Speer Reloading Manual Number 13, the .308 165 grain has the highest coefficient of any hunting rifle round:
Yes, in the very first paragraph of his post Smith misidentifies the .300 Remington Short-Action Ultra Magnum (300 RSAUM, or 300 SUAM), a magnum-class cartridge that Mark Swab was actually shooting and discussing, with the short-action .308 Winchester cartridge referred to in the government document. The .308 Winchester is a much less powerful cartridge.
There is also the argument that the .308 Winchester simply isn’t a long-range round by modern standards. In 2014, the .308 Winchester a medium-range round. What is considered “long-range” now has stretched considerably. The .308 is being replaced in the U.S. military by the .300 Winchester Magnum, the .338 Lapua, and the .50 BMG because it simply lacks the range to function in places where a true long-range cartridge is needed, such as Afghanistan.
Smith then incorrectly states that, “the .308 165 grain has the highest coefficient of any hunting rifle round,” a claim that is both categorically false in his own selective listing of one manufacturer’s list of bullets (the .264″ (6.5mm) 140 grain, BC .496 is higher even among the short list of Sierra bullet designs he culled from) and utterly useless without context.
Both Smith and Watson are spreading the manure fast and deep in their articles—apparently using terms they don’t understand—hoping that they can sell fear to drive page-views and profit.
It’s the worst sort of audience abuse, on par with the equally deceptive ABC News Young Guns special that tried to terrify people with children into giving up their guns using skewed data.
Readers simply shouldn’t be subject to this sort of treatment, regardless of their beliefs.