I shared a range day with the bae rifle club and they all knew by heart the good years and the bad ones, oddly enough they seemed to have a considerable stash of good year production free issued to the club as sponsorshipIts remarkable just how variable was the quality of RG ammunition over the years. With the ordinary 7.62mm ball, you get batches that range from "good enough for competitive TR" to "at least it went bang".
With owning and shooting large quantities of RG surplus, I've become aware of certain trends:
- 60s/70s - quite good, with some exceptional batches.
- 1989 "black spot" (one particular batch); TR quality
- 90s, generally very poor indeed (outsourced components, poor QC?)
- old Green Spot (80s, brown boxes); very good
- new Green Spot (90s, BAE boxes); very average
- 155gn sniper (L41/42/43 et al); just buy GGG instead
At auction I picked up a dirty old lot of 800x 1969. The 20 rnd boxes had faded to grey, and even the outer poly wrapper had started to go opaque with age. No-one else wanted it. I thought it'd at least be useful for "blowing off" before using better ammo, or perhaps for short range rapid fire comps where any old junk will do to save money.
I didn't pay attention to its performance until I used it for warming/blow-off groups in six rifles I was doing ammo testing with (AW, Envoys, Enforcers, TR rifle, etc). Turns out it'll do consistent 1 MOA, with no flyers in the first 100 rounds or so. The RG machinery must have been in mint condition that year!
The late 50s/early 60s cordite .303" is also exceptional; the best ammunition by far for Long Lees and SRb No1s and No4s. The 70s 7z is also really good, but virtually non-existent these days.
ETA this was in the 90’s