Prior to a recently scheduled range day I was in touch with an industry friend of mine and we happened to be discussing ammo. The cost of it came up as did the upcoming range day and the fact that we’d be shooting a variety of AR style rifles, all chambered in .223. My buddy said he might be able to hook me up with some ammo from MAST Technology, Inc., a company I hadn’t even heard of at that point.
I did some online research and found out that MAST Technology Inc. was founded by Jim Bell in 1990. The company, to some extent, grew out of his previous ammo production company, Brass Extrusion Labs Limited (BELL). Jim had sold BELL to PMC El Dorado Cartridge Corp. in 1989. Less than a year later, MAST was stood up. Originally started with a couple of partners, MAST became wholly owned by the Bell family in 1996. Since that time, company control has remained within the family and they’ve continued to grow the business impressively.
Fast forward 24 years and now Jim’s son, Jay Bell, is at the helm. In 2010 MAST celebrated its 20th year in business and its 17th year fulfilling contracts to supply ammo ranging in calibers from 9mm to 40mm to various military organizations both domestically and in NATO allied countries. The ammo MAST Technology Inc. currently produces includes:
- .50 cal
- 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 caliber linked ammo
Much to my delight, prior to range day arriving, I got a box from MAST Technology, Inc., courtesy of my buddy, that was full of .223 ammo. The spec sheet that came with the box said it was .223REM 55 grain FMJ ammo. The sheet further lists muzzle velocity (from a 24” barrel) at an average 3215 FPS. We were all shooting ARs with barrels in the 16.25” – 18” range, and I didn’t have a chronograph available, so I can’t estimate the velocity difference from the shorter barrels.
When I loaded up my truck to head to the range, that box of ammo went in there along with three different AR rifles, an assortment of handguns, lots of targets and all the safety gear. At the range, once we were set up, we went through all the handgun shooting first before moving to the ARs. With a field report in mind, I asked my shooting compatriots to use the MAST ammo and they complied to the extent of the ammo supply. I think we filled about 30 30-round magazines – it may have been a couple more or a couple less, but we emptied the MAST ammo box I’d received.
The loaded magazines were put into a shared pile that we all pulled from. Each shooter, each with his own rifle, fired through the first magazine just to insure function. There were no malfunctions, misfires or failures to extract/eject. Next, we decided to check accuracy – as best we could without a scoped weapon. The closest we came was a Del-Ton rifle with an EOTech sight on it. That rifle with other ammo, had previously fired sub-1/2 MOA groups so we knew what it was capable of. We loaded it with one of the magazines full of MAST Technology Inc. ammo and got set up in a bench rested position. At 100 yards we fired ten three-round shot groups. Six of the ten were sub-1/2 MOA. Three were sub-3/4 MOA and the last one measured just under 1” or sub-MOA.
With that done, we had a bunch of magazines left to shoot through and we proceeded to do just that. Each rifle had been properly cleaned and lubed prior to going to the range and I was curious as to how dirty each one would be after about ten magazines of the MAST Technology Inc. ammo. I knew going into it that the observation on “how dirty” would be purely subjective, but I’ve been shooting AR-style weapons for a little more than 30 years now under my fair share of different conditions. I felt like I’d be able to tell the difference between what “typical” ammo did as far as dirtying up the rifle and what the MAST Tech ammo did.