Sunday, October 14, 2012
A Quick Survey Of The .22 LR Ammo On My Shelf.
I like my Ruger 10-.22. I actually bought a Shilen match stainless barrel and a Hogue overmolded stock when I didn't even have a 10-.22. I rectified this, back before the prices of anything that would go BANG went through the roof. Then I went through the action and put everything but the bolt and trigger guard in with Voltquartsen parts and turned that $75.00 used clunker into a four hundred dollar tack driver.
The carbine wears a Weaver 2-7X rimfire scope and sometimes I switch out and put the 36X target scope on, not very often anymore as I seldom go to that range with the big concrete shooting benches anymore.
Now the ammo. With either barrel it is best to avoid the unplated rounds. The combination of the waxy lube and the unplated lead bullets working through that semi-auto action means that I often had to strip the action down for detail cleaning. Otherwise, frequent jams and failures to feed and eject, Too bad, most of the real match ammo is plain lubricated lead. I'll mention some I've tried and used.
I bought two five hundred rounds bricks of Aguila ammo, they have many different styles, I have used the Super Extra high speed 40 grain solid point and the 38 grain hollow point. Both these rounds are as accurate as I can shoot from any normal shooting position with the hunting scope. They give up a little off that big concrete bench with the 36X scope, not much, say one inch at fifty yards instead of the half inch that real match ammo can do. The downside is that with that tight match chamber and the custom extractor the empty cases start sticking once I've fired it some and the gun starts getting a little dirty. A pass or two with the bore snake and then all is well. Other ammo does this as well, with only a couple that seem to shoot all day.
I did try one fifty round box of their 60 grain bullets. At 25 yards they shot well. At fifty yards they were starting to tumble in flight. Those bullets are made for a faster twist. Actually if I really cared about the Armadillos around or if I had a hen house I would probably keep some of these on hand. Not many bullets will expand big enough to leave as big a wound channel as a bullet turning sideways. Now a tumbling bullet is a no no for big game because the tumbling bullet can veer off course. A fox or raccoon isn't big enough for that to matter.By the time that .22 bullet has gone far enough to be far off course, it has done it's work.
CCI.: This is the champ in the match barrel with the lower powered hunting scope.I never have a failure to feed, fire, extract or eject with the 36 grain mini mag hollow point. And it is accurate enough for any small game or varmint out as far as I would care to shoot a .22. Come the apocalypse I'll keep myself fed with the bunnies and squirrels that live out here, and the turkeys, too. If Bingo T. Pug or Cochise' Apache Princess would ever learn to retrieve I could add ducks to the list.
The CCI Minimag 40 grain plated solid point feeds and fires just as well, it might even be just a tick more accurate, not enough to matter unless I was shooting targets for money. The hollowpoint is better for game.
The CCI Blazer ammo is minute of small game accurate, the downside is the unplated bullet. Unless you really get off on detail stripping the action, only to have to do it again in another fifty to a hundred rounds you'll save that stuff for a bolt action, or a single shot or revolver.
The CCI Stinger ammo shoots well in my rifle in both configurations. It feeds fires, extracts and ejects just fine. The downside is that it's some noisier and it is effected more by the wind. It also ruins more meat. I have some around still, I'm not sure why. I ought to shoot it up. Oh well, I'll save it for the raccoons in the hen house, if I had a hen house.
CCI has about eleventy other types of .22 LR ammo that I simply haven't tried. I'll stay with the Mini Mag hollowpoint when it comes to CCI.
Federal: I've fired many different Federal loads. The Federal Gold Medal Match Standard Velocity is the accuracy champ of all the stuff I've tried. Trouble is, the standard velocity doesn't have the oomph to always extract and eject. And the unplated bullet. If I had a bolt action I'd have a bunch of this. Instead the less than a full box will go either I'll give it to someone with a revolver or I'll shoot it up when my carbine is due for it's semi annual detail strip, clean and lube.
The Federal Champion value pack of 525 rounds of plated lead hollowpoints is nearly as good as the CCI. The bulk packaging keeps it from being just as good, a few rounds of every brick seem to get damaged in handling and transit. Still, even if I had to throw away 25 rounds of every brick it's still be cheaper than CCI. It's good stuff. Just be willing to sit under a good light and examine the rounds, one by one.The Federal Gameshock plated 40 grain solid and the 38 grain hollowpoint are a little more expensive but are very good in my rifle. Any of the plated high velocity rounds will work well for anything I wanted to do with a .22.
Remington: I have a couple of thousand bulk pack plated high velocity hollowpoints on my shelf. I buy it when it's on sale. It isn't as accurate as the CCI or Federal. And it will fail to extract or eject when the chamber starts getting dirty. A pull or two with the Bore Snake fixes that.
When I say it isn't as accurate I mean I can tell the difference from a sandbagged rest or even from prone with a loop sling. Off hand or kneeling I can't shoot well enough anymore to prove the difference. Perhaps someone younger could. Still not too may younger guys anymore were in the NRA Junior divisions and on their high school rifle teams. Yeah, we had them and no, we didn't shoot up the schools or do drive by shoots. Instead we drilled and practiced in prone, sitting, kneeling and off hand. With both loop and hasty slings. Mayor Bloomberg would have had the vapors.
I still have a couple of boxes of Remington Standard velocity. This is unplated so the same caveats apply. And the Standard velocity doesn't eject well. This would be fixed by a weaker, target mainspring but then the high velocity rounds would batter the action. Still, with all that, it was really accurate. I'll still not buy any more for this rifle. If Santa ever brings me one of the .22 single shot bolt action target rifle from my youth, though...
Winchester: My very favorite round in Winchester is the hard to find 40 grain plated DynaPoint. That odd, small hollow point opens up fine on game and although it's a tad slower than the normal high velocity it's still stout enough to work the action and in some barrels it's slow enough to not be supersonic. As a matter of fact it's subsonic in the factory barrel of this rifle and barely beats super sonic in the Shilen. Why does this matter? Half the noise from a .22 is the CRACK! of the bullet breaking the sound barrier. This matters if I'm not wearing plugs or muffs. It matters even more to those shooting with a sound suppressor. which I don't.
The Winchester Super X high velocity 37 grain plated Hotpoint is my second favorite Winchester round in this rifle. It is just as accurate but a tiny bit more wind sensitive. It shoots a couple hundred feet per second faster. The bad news is that the bullet doesn't seem to open up as fast as the Dyna Point. This is a plus on edible game, not quite so good on smaller varmints. Both of these rounds feed, fire, extract and eject every time, a lot of .22 ammo doesn't.
The Winchester plated 40 grain high speed hollowpoint is just a tic or two less accurate my my heavy barrel. Please do not ask why.Barrels are like a high maintenance redhead, you never really know what they're gonna like.It ain't really like I can shoot so well, away from a sandbag rest, anymore to really prove the difference. And your barrel may like something else, anyhow.
The 40 grain plated round nosed high speed solid point works just as well and shoots just as accurately. If I were out trying to murder poor little tin cans or dirt clods I'd use this ammo as soon as I'd use anything else.
The bulk pack 36 grain plated hollowpoint is like the Federal or Remington bulk packed ammo. A few rounds in every big box will be trash from bouncing around in trucks and railcars. Bulk packed ammo used to have more failure to file episodes that we see now although bulk pack will still give some. The priming compound is dropped in the case and then the case is spun around so the priming goo gets centrifuged into the rim. Then it dries. Then the powder goes in and the bullet is seated. Some companies are a little less careful with the spinning. And then the bulk packaging gives it more of a chance for some, or all of the compound to be knocked out of the rim.
The main problem with bulk pack is on the other end, though. The heeled bullet isn't in there really firm and so the bullet can, and often does, get knocked a little cattywampus.
This is why bulk packed ammo is seldom as accurate as that in the fifty or hundred round boxes. Those fancy plastic boxes that have the rounds point down and not touching anything are the best thing to maintain an already accurate round as the bullets do not get knocked around. Bulk packed for plinking.
If I were ever to have to have only one firearm, well I think it would be this .22. I could hunt small game and, yes, defend myself. I wouldn't choose a .22 long rifle to take to battle but then my battle days are long behind. And if I had a couple-three of those new Ruger BX-25 25 round magazines loaded with hollowpoints I'd be far from naked. The .22 isn't the perfect defense round but I know of no one who would gladly stand in a rainstorm of them. One thing about them is that they will stay in the body or skull, the skin is (usually) too elastic to let them out. So it goes and hits the skin or skull, or ribs or just about any bone and then just bounces around.
The bad news is that there is almost no shock so those who must depend on a .22 should act like a big city cop and empty the magazine. Then reload and, if necessary, empty it again!