For anyone who is a fan of the 1911, Stan Chen of Chen Customs in Durango, Colorado is probably one of the best custom gunsmiths in the country. His 1911s are both innovative and beautiful, and highly regarded as works of art. It’s no doubt, then, that when Stan Chen chose to bring his exceptional quality and exacting standards to the world of Ammunition, he would bring to the market a product both of exacting quality and exceptional consistency, instantly putting to shame almost every other maker available. Enter ASYM ammunition.
Accuracy in Your Favorite Caliber
Available in handguns chambered for .380, 9mm, and .45 ACP (And I’m told that .40 Smith is on the way), ASYM’s ammunition covers the gamut of popular carry, duty, and competition calibers. Each of the calibers available come in different flavors: Jacketed Hollowpoints for defensive purposes, Full Metal Jacket and Cast Lead for competition work. Rifle shooters, fear not, the same quality you can get for your handgun is also available for your .223 and .308 Rifles.
So, just how is the accuracy? This is where ASYM ammunition really excels. From a rest in a 5″ 1911 that has seen more than 30,000 rounds, I’m happy to report 1.5″ accuracy at 25 yards. The match-grade 55gr .223 ammunition from a 16″ LMT rifle with a 1:7 twist, at 100 yards, I can easily shoot minute of angle or slightly less. In .308, accuracy stays right on par with the rifle it’s being shot in, in the case of the Remington 700 rifle I was lucky enough to borrow, it kept right up with it’s half-minute-of-angle accuracy.
The match hard ball ammunition is accurate enough, in fact, that it has become the standard proof ammunition for many custom firearms builders, including Jason Burton of Heirloom Precision and Chuck Rogers of Rogers Precision Gunsmithing, demonstrating in these shooters’ guns outstanding accuracy demanded by their clients.
Defensive Ammunition, Match Grade Quality
One of the key factors that first attracted me to Stan’s ammunition was availability of loads utilizing the Barnes TacXP solid copper hollowpoint bullets. This bullet has trumped every other available bullet in handgun loads consistently with deeper penetration and more reliable expansion. And, because of its monolithic construction, that is being made of one solid material, its ability to penetrate barriers reliably is also heads and shoulders above its competition.
Comparing this ammunition to the standard loading of this bullet, the Cor Bon DPX line, I was surprised to find that this ammunition was far more consistent in shot-to-shot velocity (Clocking in at 1080 FPS on average), and accuracy was as good as the match-grade hardball and my own handloads custom-made for my carry gun. Adding to this was a very low flash and a very clean burning powder, which combined with a very tame recoil, meant that it was a very shootable load. Further, the recoil on this load was lower than the Winchester Ranger +P loads I had been carrying, which improved my shot recovery time and gave me a much better feel overall.
The problem with the Barnes TacXP bullet, as I’m sure many will point out, is that because it is longer than a standard 230gr projectile, the loads are necessarily longer than average. Most guns will run reliably with this, since the loads are still within the maximum overall length, but some have seen jamming issues. When I brought this up with Stan, he already had us covered. Shortly after introduction of the 185gr TacXP load, ASYM brought to market the tactical JHP load, featuring the Hornady XTP bullet. While not the widest-expanding projectile on the market, the XTP nevertheless maintains solid expansion and deep penetration, having proven to be effective against game and threats alike.
Testing this new load in both 9mm and .45 ACP yielded the same results I have come to expect: Exceptional accuracy and performance, manageable recoil, and tests utilizing simtest media for expansion and penetration testing showed only slight issues with heavy clothing while still maintaining deep penetration.
Many of you will no doubt also note that the XTP bullet is not the best choice against all hard barriers. I’m told ASYM is already working with CCI/Speer to provide a load utilizing the Gold Dot bullet, a bonded-core design which I’m sure will prove quickly to be one of the best loadings available of this bullet.
On the rifle front, ASYM provides for both training and defense, loading their .223 with the venerable Barnes TSX solid copper bullet which has proven to be both accurate and reliably barrier-blind for duty use in the 70gr weight, Match-grade Open Tip loads in everything from 68 to 77gr, and 55gr ball ammunition available in bulk cases for training purposes. Testing in the aforementioned LMT rifle, when accounting for weight differences, showed consistent grouping between the 55gr ball training loads and the OTM and TSX duty/match loads, which allow for consistent training to duty transition.
The .308 loads are no different, covering virtually the same range of options as its .223 counterparts, with equal performance across all loads.
There’re a lot of great manufacturers of ammunition out there, and I’ve had the pleasure to shoot examples of most of them. And, when you transition from commercial loads to handloads for just about everything, expectations for accuracy and recoil may not be entirely realistic. However, with the ASYM loads, I was pleasantly surprised. From the 750FPS Major Power match load up to the full-power defensive loads, it’s hard to beat this ammunition for accuracy, reliability and performance.
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