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June 02, 2014
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Richard Fairburn Law Enforcement Firearms
with Richard Fairburn

A précis on the Black Hills Mark 262 Mod 1 load

Folks with more ammunition expertise than I agree about the quality of Black Hills ammunition , because half of the Black Hills plant is now dedicated to the production of specialized loads for units of all branches of the U.S. military. 

Black Hills is the sole provider of the Mark 262 Mod 1 load (5.56mm), which uses a 77 grain Sierra Open-Tip Match (OTM) bullet. Based on a load they developed for military marksmanship units, the Mk 262 round is suitable for combat use in light sniper rifles, as well as any fast-twist M16-based rifle. A U.S. Army Delta operator I met a few years back told me of their use of the Black Hills Mk 262 load in Afghanistan. 

At the same time, a nearby Ranger unit was using M4 carbines with the general-issue M855 green-tip FMJ loads. The short barrels of the Rangers’ M4 carbines dropped the muzzle velocity of the M855 bullets to the point where they wouldn’t break up on impact, acting like a long-range cordless drill  with an ineffective .22 caliber bit. 

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The Mk 262 OTM load, on the other hand, was fragmenting effectively out to long ranges, more reliably dropping the Delta operator’s adversaries. He told me the Delta team eventually had to post guards to keep the Rangers from sneaking in at night and stealing the better performing Black Hills ammunition. I can think of no higher praise.

About the author

Dick Fairburn has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming, working patrol, investigations and administrative assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and as the Section Chief of a major academy's Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published more than 100 feature articles and two books: Police Rifles and Building a Better Gunfighter.

Contact Richard Fairburn



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