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I've searched around, but didn't really see anything comprehensive. Mods - if this belongs in a different section, please move it.

I shoot 9mm mostly, and with ammo prices continuing to go up, I've been exploring different brands. Basically, I'll go to a gun show and get 50~100 rounds from a maker and see what it shoots like. I'm trying to find a FMJ round that is inexpensive, clean and works well with my Glock 17.

First a trip to the gun show, and then to the range, and this is what I've discovered. Granted this is all anecdotal, and your mileage may vary. I won't say anything about accuracy, because I'm not accurate yet.

Here's my opinion (order based on what was shot first):

Brown Bear - not really great. Made in Russia, casing has what I would say is some sort of green paint or coating on them, which makes them a little tough to load in the magazine (since they didn't want to slide against each other). No misfires in the 50 shots. It works, no issues, but I'm almost tempted to say that some of the bullets felt loose in the casing. Paper box insert means that once you start pulling rounds out, the rest aren't held securely.

Fiocchi - if I didn't look at box, I'd swear this was 135 grain ammo - big kick, big bang, big muzzle flash. I wouldn't advise using Fiocchi in the dark -- muzzle flash would blind you. Other than that, I think this is the manufacturer I'm going with, especially when a 1000 rd case costs $150. Don't know if I would recommend this for older or smaller guns as this is a pretty hot 9mm round.

Aguila - better than Brown Bear, good action, but not as strong as the Fiocchi. A clean round, easy to load and no misfires. No glaring faults, but being preceded by the Fiocchi meant it didn't make a big impression (figuratively speaking).

UMC - you know the big yellow box from Bass Pro or Wally World - bargain ammo essentially. I won't call them misfires, but I'm not sure what else to call it. Recoil failure maybe; basically, the slide stopped about 1/4" from the end of it's travel. This meant the Glock didn't want to fire. A simple press of the thumb on the back of the slide to seat it and I was good to go. I'm going to attribute it to the gun getting hot and needing to be cleaned/lubricated after 200+ rounds in rapid succession. Not sure if I'd use it in the Glock again, but it should be fine for the P38.

Previously...
Winchester - the white box stuff. I don't think ammo goes bad over time, but if it does, maybe that's the reason I didn't like the Winchester 9mm FMJ. In 200 rounds, I had about 5 (or so) failures to clear. Since this was my first time shooting in 7 years, I'm willing to attribute it to poor technique on my part. But the ammo itself seemed dirty - a lot of smoke, as if it wasn't burning cleanly or quickly. This particular ammo had probably been sitting for at least 10 years.
 

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Brown Bear is laquered and made at one of the old state Ruskie ammo factories. They work fine as long as your gun likes steel casings. Some 1911s dont.

Fiocchi is Italian and loaded hotter than standard US 9mm which is traditionally loaded lighter. Owners of lugers find this out fast since most American ammo will not work in them. High grade stuff though.

UMC is good

Winchester whitebox has given me more issues than any other maker. I have had squib rounds and bent cases.

Another iffy brand is the CCI aluminum stuff. Some guns just wont like it.
 

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you should load your own... 9mm is easy, once fired brass is everywhere, cheap.
uses little powder and bullets are inexpensive. you could make up the cost of the press is a month
 
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