The 22Long Rifle is world renown and the most popular caliber by amount sold each year. What makes this caliber so popular is it’s versatility used for many different occasions, plinking, competition, practice, training and small game hunting. With the rise in cost of ammunition and the downward trend of the US economy the 22LR continues to grow in it’s popularity as it is the most economical as well. One can buy 500 rounds of 22LR ammunition at your local store for $19 dollars give or take a few bucks depending on your location. Compare this to $10.99 for 50 rounds of centerfire 9mm ammunition, $27.99 for 100 rounds of centerfire 223 ammunition and even $10.99 for 22 Magnum ammunition. You can quickly see why many are showing up to your local range with 22LR in hand. Of course there is always one caveat, in certain firearms 22LR though lots of fun can be inaccurate or unreliable. It use to be common to expect 5 to 10 dud’s within a box of 500 22LR ammunition. Manufacturer’s have improved tremendously on the reliability, but accuracy has always been about the firearm and the person pulling the trigger and if you are a serious competitor premium 22LR ammunition can become rather costly as well.
Unlike most whom grew up plinking and hunting small game with the Ruger 10/22 introduced in 1964 and the king of 22 Rifles sold, I grew up with a Marlin 60. Marlin is no slouch and I held my own with it against my buddies with 10/22’s but I always wondered what it would be like to own a Ruger 10/22. Many years later with the boom of something called the internet I was introduced to rimfirecentral.com where I became fascinated with the Ultimate 10/22 forum, but only as a lurker reading post after post learning as much as I could from the experienced shooters. Having left 22 rimfire behind for almost 2 decades and fully immersing myself into everything centerfire I could not believe the wealth of knowledge which had congregated in one place. One thing that was most prevalent to me outside of the fun being had on rimfirecentral.com and beautiful 22’s being displayed was that different firearms like different ammo which is the purpose of this review. Though centerfire suffers from this same fate it doesn’t seem to be as pronounced as it is in rimfire. So here I am 4 years later after first logging on to rimfirecentral.com finally deciding to try my hand at building an Ultimate 10/22. Had it not been for DM a very close friend and my shooting compadre I still may be sitting on the sideline. DM started me on this build presenting me with a Tactical Innovations CH 22 receiver and bolt, a thank you does not even come close to showing my appreciation or gratitude for such a gift.
The unique thing about this combination is it wears a charging handle and charges like an AR15, something I had never seen before on a 10/22. This is also another benefit of building an Ultimate 10/22, personalization can be taken to the extreme or be as moderate as you like it to be. All other parts were ordered from Kidd Innovations Design except for the Tactical Solutions Stock, Tactical Solutions Rings and Mueller APV Scope which all came from Mizzou Mule Guns. The parts from Kidd were of great quality with tight fit though the website for me was a little difficult to manipulate but thanks heaven for telephones. I called up Kidd and the young lady on the other end of the phone was very polite and helpful. On the same day I decided to call up Dennis with Mizzou Mule Guns and get everything else I needed. This was a great interaction with a very knowledgeable fella who also knows customer service like no other. A few days later all of the parts arrived and Christmas has truly come early this year. Having unboxed everything and laying it out was a great feeling of joy that quickly turned to oh sh!t what have I got myself into. The wife didn’t help at all when she came into the room with bulging eyes and stating what was already on my mind “what have you gotten yourself into”? She then turned away shaking her head and mumbling under her breath something about the next time she see’s DM. For the sake of friendship I just hope the next time she runs into my comrade she is in civilian clothing and not her uniform. It would be devastating to read about a close friend having been shot with a taser for resisting arrest or guilt by association. The bright side is at least it was the taser.
From Mizzou Mule Guns
Tactical Solutions Vantage Forest Laminate 10/22 Stock
Tactical Solutions Tru-Tac 1″ Med Rings
Mueller 4.5-14x40mm Black APV Scope with Sunshade
Trigger Unit two stage red curved 1Lb
Long Magazine Release
Silver Ruger Take Down Screw
V-Block and Screws
With a few basic tools and having watched some of the video’s on Kidd’s website, 2 hours later there was a big smile on my face as I drooled over what I had just accomplished for the first time, building a 10/22 from scratch with custom parts. Instantly this put me on the path of trying to gather as much of a variety in 22LR ammunition as possible in hopes of discovering which would be the most accurate in this Kidd Ultimate 10/22 build. Again with the help of very close friends and a few trips to the local shops I felt I had gathered enough of a variety that I was bound to find something this build would like. While on my search for 22LR ammunition my intuition was really bothering me for having so much standard velocity ammunition for a 22 semi-auto. I was afraid some of it wouldn’t cycle the tight fitting bolt or fit the tight chamber of the Kidd barrel making my first range trip a disappointment and what a downer that would’ve been. This all proved to be inconsequential as all ammo performed reliably. Having amassed such a variety I got this crazy idea to also test this ammo in a few bolt action 22’s proving different ammunition shoots differently in each firearm. This could even occur on the same firearms built by the same manufacture. It was not uncommon for me to see two of the same rifles shoot the same brand of ammo differently, one being tack driver and the other patterning like a 12 gauge shotgun shooting bird shot. Could I also answer the question of – is it possible for a semi-auto to be as accurate as a bolt action? I was pretty confident in what the answer would be having watched some of the deadeye shots post their targets over at rimfirecentral.com but figured it would be fun nonetheless, on this outing fun was the ultimate goal after all.
This testing would be conducted on two different days.
Both rifles and bores brushed cleaned with Frog Lube before heading to the range.
Before starting the shoot off I fired 10 rounds of Blazer Bulk through both bores, then one pass with a 22 bore snake was used.
For accuracy 5 round groupings were fired with the various brands of ammo without any scope adjustment, utilizing the basic sandbag rest front and rear. Between each 5 shot groups a 22 bore snake coated with frog lube was pulled through the bore and 1 Blazer bulk box 22lr ammo fired for fouling. By the way for those familiar with Frog Lube it smells so minty on the range doesn’t it? But I digress.
Testing Components and Environment.
Ammunition Tested Day1 – Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS, Blazer Bulk Box, Wolf Match Extra, Federal Blue Bulk Box, Lapua X-Act, CCI-Standard Velocity (further referred to as CCI-SV), RWS R50, American Eagle Red Bulk Box, Lapua Center-X
Distance 50 Yards
Target NRA Official 50ft Small Bore Rifle Taret A-17
Wind 6mph from the east to west
Firearms Tested Day1
Ultimate Kidd 10/22 Build (See build components above)
CZ 452 Varmint with 1LB trigger work
The CZ Varmint comes without the iron sights found on other models, but features a fine wood stock with nice checkering. The fittings for the swivels and the way this rifle is assembled make it as tight as many others costing far more. The shorter, but heavier, barrel is in balance with the rest of the gun, offering a completely neutral feel making it very easy to handle while hunting. The buttpad is soft rubber and isn’t tacky, so it absorbs what little shock there is from a 22LR and protects the wood from damage when placed in a rack. The bolt is heavy and smooth in operation and the single stage trigger was perfect, no take up, very light but still safe for critter dispatching.
Weaver Classic Scope 3-9AO (Power was set to 8x for testing)
Of course the first up would be the Ultimate Kidd 10/22 Build, All ammo performed reliably except for RWS 50, for some reason it was a very tight fit into the chamber and the last round didn’t feed. A single drop of CLP on the 22 case while in the magazine and it fed that last round. There was pure joy and excitement when the average group size turned in to be 0.363 on it’s first visit to the range. Trying to keep the testing equal the Mueller AVP was set on 8x power as the Weaver Classic on the CZ 452 only went up to 9x but would be adjusted to 8x as well. This proved very difficult on such small targets at 50 yards. These targets actually were a mistake as I thought I had larger targets in my bag only to have discovered after I got to the range these were the only ones I had, and as my father would say use what ya got son and make the most of it.
Next up with the same batch of ammunition would be an out of the box CZ 452 Varmint with trigger work done to reduce the pull to 1LB. Average group sized was 0.358, though I did fire CCI Mini Mags. Long story short a fellow I ran into at the range would not stop bragging on CCI Mini Mag and he continued to persist that I try them. I didn’t want to insult the guy by not testing them considering he’d just handed me a box of them, even though I tried to give them back and pay him for them he refused.
|22LR Ammunition Comparison|
|Rifle Fired||Ammuntiion||Group Size (Bold Indicates Smallest Group)|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||CCI-SV||0.271|
|CZ 452 Varmint||CCI-SV||0.340|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||Lapua X-Act||0.200|
|CZ 452 Varmint||Lapua X-Act||0.260|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||Federal Blue Box||0.436|
|CZ 452 Varmint||Federal Blue Box||0.391|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||Wolf Match Extra||0.380|
|CZ 452 Varmint||Wolf Match Extra||0.370|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||RWS 50||0.576|
|CZ 452 Varmint||RWS 50||0.396|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||Blazer Bulk Box||0.501|
|CZ 452 Varmint||Blazer Bulk Box||0.397|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||Lapua Center X||0.249|
|CZ 452 Varmint||Lapua Center X||0.390|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS||0.227|
|CZ 452 Varmint||Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS||0.349|
|Ultimate Kidd 10/22||American Eagle||0.435|
|CZ 452 Varmint||American Eagle||0.391|
By a close comparison the CZ 452 wins with a total of 5 groups to 4 groups of the Ultimate Kidd 10/22 Build. What I noticed on day 1 is the CZ shot the bulk ammo much better than the Ultimate Kidd 10/22. Could this be a sign of consistency or possibly the Kidd barrel needing to be broke in? The CZ 452 with this range visit has over 300 rounds through it now. Which gives it the win on total groups. Comparing group size the Ultimate Kidd 10/22 wins out with a smaller group with Lapua X-Act at 0.200. At 50 yards Lapua X-Act proved to be the top performer in both rifles. The worst performers were RWS 50 in the Ultimate at 0.576 while the Blazer Bulks performance in the CZ 452 wasn’t bad it was the worst of the bunch in that firearm at 0.397.
Cease Fire – Cease Fire on the Firing Line Day 1 Range day is complete.
While the day was a blast and I was leaving the range very happy with the outcome, I had already started to think about another session. Possibly a day 2 trying my hand at 100 yards and possibly including other 22 rifles and giving the Ultimate Kidd a chance at revenge. Stay tuned for day 2.