Tuesday, January 19, 2016

22 Rimfire Ammo Brand Comparison Test

Note: This test shows the dramatic difference between ammo brands fired though the same gun. It applies to all firearms; rifle, pistol and shotgun. I urge you to do a test like this with all your guns then stock the most accurate ammo for those guns.

Most shooters have heard that every gun performs best with a certain brand of ammo. The common ammo variables are bullet weight, bullet configuration/style, powder, primer and most importantly velocity (feet per second).

With the 22 rimfire it’s the same situation but, you can’t load your own to develop a load that gets the best accuracy out of that gun. So what’s your option? Buy a half dozen brands, in small boxes of 50 or 100 rounds that are also commonly available in bulk quantity either from a big box stores or online. This way when you find the best ammo you can stock-up without wasting money on brands that don't perform well in your gun.

It was time to test my 22 rife with different brands to see just what it liked and from that result be sure that buying in bulk like 550 round boxes or 5,000 round cases I would have acceptable accuracy for hunting at a very low cost.

What accuracy do I feel is very good from a 22 rimfire rifle? You’re very good if the gun can consistently hit a golf ball @ 50 yards (150 feet). That’s plenty good enough for rabbit and turkey or goose and ducks sitting in a pond shots.

The test:
The target distance for this test was 50 yards (150 feet).

The rifle used was the Remington 597 Semi-Auto:
Box stock except for a trigger job and the addition of a bi-pod and a sand bag to support the butt for bench rest stability. Optics, a Nikon Fixed 4x 'Rimfire Scope'.

The ammo used for this Comparison:

From left to right:
CCI Standard Velocity, 40 grain, 1070 fps
CCI Stinger, 32 grain, 1640 fps
CCI Blazer, 40 grain, 1235 fps
PMC Zapper-22, 40 grain, 1255 fps
Remington-22 Golden Bullet, 36 grains, 1280 fps
Federal, 36 grains, 1280 fps

The Target:
Again the range for this test was 50 yards. The target was the back side of a 100 yard standard 14 inch paper square. I used a magic marker and I drew a grid with 6 intersecting points. Each of those intersections was where I laid the crosshairs of the scope for all brands of ammo tested. The bullets went where they went. This method will show any rise, fall, left or right ammo tendencies.

Each group was 5 shots, the test began with a warmed up barrel and there was no cool down or delay between the shootings.

The Results:
The circles drawn around the groupings is the actual size of the diameter drawn, not from the center of each bullet hole as done with most testing. That method gives a tighter group and favors magazine and gun manufacturers articles.

1st group left top:
Federal, 36 grains, 1280 fps
3 1/8 inch group:
Not acceptable. This was just a mess!
This was either just plain bad ammo or the rifle really didn’t like it at all! It’s too bad because now I have 1,100 rounds of it to trade off or sell, which I did. This is the same ammo I was shooting two weeks ago and it was what prompted me buy a new trigger to reduce the trigger pull thinking it was the gun and not the ammo.

2nd group left center:
Remington 22 Golden Bullet, 36 grains, 1280 fps
1 1/4 inch group:
Grouping center was 3/4 inch high from aim point.

3rd group left bottom:
PMC Zapper 22, 40 grain, 1255 fps
3/4 inch group:
WOW! This is the ammo I will stock in quantity. I shot this ammo from my 10/22 when I had that gun but it never performed like this. In fact the 10/22 never was a good shooter with any brand of ammo and is the reason I sold it.

4th group right top:
CCI Blazer, 40 rain, 1235 fps
1 3/8 inch group:
Grouping center was 1/4 inch high from the aim point.

5th group right center:
CCI Standard Velocity, 40 grain, 1070 fps
1 1/4 inch group:
I expected the 1 1/8 inch lower group center from the aim point because of the lower velocity.

6th group right bottom:
CCI Stinger, 32 grain, 1640 fps
1 1/4 inch group:
As expected this ammo shot high because of the higher velocity. Much higher than I would have guessed. The group center of four shots was 2 1/4 inches above the aim point and slightly to the right. The flyer to the far right I didn’t count in the group.

This is a simple and low cost method of getting the best accuracy from your rimfire.

Accuracy comes from a number of factors, naturally skill and technique and also trigger pull smoothness and poundage are the base. Then comes feeding the weapon what it likes to eat best, be it an air gun, pistol, shotgun, rifle or even arrows for your bow!

I urge everyone who owns a 22 rimfire to do the same test. The results are very telling and your chances of putting food on the table greatly increase when you can count on where the bullet will go every time.

I think the next time I’m at the range I’ll give the 100 yard distance a try. Should be fun!