ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

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AndyH
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ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

Fun with ammunition...or...why in the world can't I run this stuff? :lol:

The story... I finished assembling my PA10 and got it to the range the first time in mid January. I brought Remington 150g CoreLokt .308 and Aguila 7.62x51 purchased from the local store and the ZQI 7.62x51 that I got from AIM Surplus for a smile-inducing $9.29 for 20 rounds. For the next trip, I reloaded the once-fired brass with a starting load of AR-COMP and 150g Hornady FMJ. The commercial .308 and the reloads ran perfectly - gun operated, no jams, rounds stripped from the mags, etc. The Aguila ran fairly well, though there were a couple of failures to feed and/or jams. The ZQI was a mess. Single shot only - the bolt wouldn't strip the second round from the magazine reliably. The rounds fired fine when they got into the chamber, but the gun wouldn't operate as a semi-auto - single shot only.

I went home, diagnosed the over-gassing with the NATO rounds, and swapped the fixed gas port for an adjustable model. It took a few rounds to get the gas adjusted on the third trip to the range, but the commercial .308, reloads, and Aguila NATO ran perfectly. Small groups, reliable operation. :clap: The ZQI? The 4" group at 100 yards became a 12 inch scatter plot and gas had to be adjusted for every other shot - two in a row max. :wtf:

I pulled the bullets out of the 33 rounds left in my range bag and measured the powder charge. As this is NATO, the projectiles are sealed in the cases. Some of the projectiles pulled easily...others required both hands and a small dog to break loose. Here's the charge distribution per the Lee balance:
  • Grains Number
    43.0 - 2
    43.1 - 1
    43.2 - 0
    43.3 - 2
    43.4 - 6
    43.5 - 6
    43.6 - 6
    43.7 - 4
    43.8 - 1
    43.9 - 4
    44.0 - 1
    44.1 - 2
    44.2 - 1
It seems that between the charge variability and the 'projectile gluing' randomosity (<- technical term) that 'consistent' isn't in the cards for this ammo. So... I guess I have a new long-term hobby - breaking down the 440 rounds of ZQI I have and reloading it. ;) Nope, didn't see this coming at all. Good thing I started reloading - otherwise I'd be in the driveway with a 10 pound sledge hammer and a bunch of little boxes of ammo making a mess. :lol:

In spite of the glowing YouTube video reviews of ZQI, I can't recommend the 7.62 NATO for gas operated guns.

edit...updated charge data after pulling a few more rounds.
Last edited by AndyH on Fri May 06, 2016 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by shinzen »

Yikes! With that much variation in powder, I'm amazed that anyone would recommend it! Have you called the company to let them know about the issue? I can't imagine that a commercial factory would find a full 1gr of powder charge difference is acceptable. I also can't really see folks shooting 308 as spray and pray, so it strikes me as odd that it would be recommended ammo, unless there was just a bad batch from the factory??

I don't envy you pulling all that stuff. What a pain. 440 rounds worth is definitely worth calling them over.
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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by CDFingers »

Thank you for this report.

I tried some Aguila NATO and got one fail to feed in my Garand. With Winchester white box NATO no problems. It's good to see some confirmation. Still, I have to test this Garand quite a bit more. I've barely scratched the surface of tests. Neat. :cool:

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by senorgrand »

I could never get the stuff to group in my single shot. I'll try something else.

Thanks for the info!
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AndyH
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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

shinzen wrote:Yikes! With that much variation in powder, I'm amazed that anyone would recommend it! Have you called the company to let them know about the issue? I can't imagine that a commercial factory would find a full 1gr of powder charge difference is acceptable. I also can't really see folks shooting 308 as spray and pray, so it strikes me as odd that it would be recommended ammo, unless there was just a bad batch from the factory??

I don't envy you pulling all that stuff. What a pain. 440 rounds worth is definitely worth calling them over.
I have a request in with ZQI in Virginia but haven't heard back yet. There are no lot numbers on the boxes - not sure how they handle batch tracking. I'll report back if/when I hear from them. One thing's for sure - the learning curve is more fun when things break! :yes:

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by Antiquus »

Unload a couple of cases before you fire them, and full length resize them just for fun. Check case length, neck and bullet size before resizing and after. Might learn something.
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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

Antiquus wrote:Unload a couple of cases before you fire them, and full length resize them just for fun. Check case length, neck and bullet size before resizing and after. Might learn something.
I have 33 unloaded/unfired at the moment. The brass is running between 2.006-2.008" and all fit beautifully in the Lyman case gauge.

After running them through a full-length die, brass that began as 2.006 is 2.001. Neck diameter moved from 0.3365 to 0.3350.

The 10 rounds fired once that have been decapped but not resized, overall lengths are running 2.015 -0.002 +0.001.

Pulled projectiles (147 grain FMJ) range between 0.3060" and 0.3075" at the cannelure. Fresh from the box, projectiles sampled range between 0.3070-0.3075" at the top of the cannelure (calipers sitting on the case mouth). SAAMI lists 0.3060-0.3090".

Loaded unfired brass dimensions fall within SAAMI specs/tolerances.

Thoughts? I just started reloading early this year, and have only done .223 and .308. As far as I can tell, though, things look good aside from the powder charges.

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

Sorry guys. Looks like this is old news. I wish I found the other threads before buying the ammo.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/show ... ?t=1049173
https://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html ... 6&t=683812

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

I recharged 30 rounds with 43.5 grains of whatever powder ZQI uses and they function just as one would expect. Mexican Match they're not, but they work fine.

ZQI via Zenith Firearms has replied to my emailed request for assistance. They questioned my ability to pull projectiles without making a mess, and accurately measuring powder charges. After conversing with two customer service reps, they still express a desire to arrive at 'root cause' for this 'complex' problem while apparently ignoring the only real complaint - the variability of the powder charges. We have a phone call scheduled for next week. My initial plan was to find a way to fire the rounds to reload the brass. At this point, I'm strongly considering just shipping everything back to Zenith.

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by shinzen »

Did they even tell you what the charge should be with the unknown powder and what their acceptable variance was?
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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

shinzen wrote:Did they even tell you what the charge should be with the unknown powder and what their acceptable variance was?
So far, no. The only tech info so far is falling on 'NATO certified' production. We're scheduled to connect via telephone on Monday - we'll see what happens.

edit... Had a pleasant call with the folks in Virginia (Zenith Firearms). No info on the apparently custom powder they use, or load data. Design accuracy at 100 meters is "mean radius max. 3.5 cm", which is in the 3MOA ballpark I expected for M80 ball. Unfortunately, when I can get it to shoot, I'm at more than 12 inches at 100 yards. There are no lot numbers and are unlikely to be. Some ammo shoots well, some doesn't, and there's no way to tell which is which until one pulls the trigger.

edit 2... Load data arrived today. 2.90 grams (about 44.76 grains) is the expected powder charge. Most of the rounds I pulled were loaded in the 43.4-43.6 g range, though ranged between 43.0 to 44.2. I don't know why these don't run reliably in my gun while US, Mexican, and Russian 7.62 does. :surrender:

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

Bookend time...

I broke down another 100 rounds and called it quits. Many bullets were destroyed removing them from the brass. The range of powder charges continued to diverge. I brought all of the remaining ammo to my local range so they could burn it up in their M1919. It was worth trading it for a day at the range just to get it out of my house.

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by Bisbee »

D’oh!..
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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by NuJudge »

I bought a lot of this years ago and have not fired any of it. Hmmm. I guess I'll put this right beside the cans of TZ80 that the case heads fail on occasionally

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by CDFingers »

Golly, I missed this thread the first time. Such variation! The soldier basically shells the position. Aimed fire my patootie.

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by hondo2K0 »

It is Turkish ammo for export there is something to be said about QC

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

hondo2K0 wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:13 am
It is Turkish ammo for export there is something to be said about QC
Worse than that: It's ammo made under contract for NATO to be run in machine guns.

Their 5.56 is decent quality, so they know how to QC when they want to.

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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by Bisbee »

Maybe there is a reason this batch got dumped on the “hobbyists market” for a song? But that’s just me with a speculum...

Speculatin’.
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Re: ZQI (MKE) 7.62x51 (M80) -- ick.

Post by AndyH »

Bisbee wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:53 pm
Maybe there is a reason this batch got dumped on the “hobbyists market” for a song? But that’s just me with a speculum...

Speculatin’.
It was sold during the ammo drought, so there's that.

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