.22LR Ammunition 3 Day Test — Day1
By: Allen Corneau
Posted with permission from the original author
.22LR Ammo Test Day
I spent a beautiful Sunday morning at the range testing out 12 different brands and types of 22LR ammo and I thought you folks might like a report of my findings.
I bought my rifle in January and I’ve been mostly shooting bulk ammo so that I was not wasting money on high end ammo during the steep part of the learning curve. In my seemingly endless search for 22LR I’ve come across, and occasionally picked up, boxes of more-expensive ammo with the idea that at some point I would be good enough to try it out and see what it was all about.
Since my shooting skills have been getting better I felt the need to see just how much of my progress (or lack thereof) was due to the types of ammo I was regularly using. I decided that I would do my own trial of all the different ammo I had on hand so I could get a better idea what the difference between different ammo might be and to see if the expensive stuff was really worth it or not.
These are the 12 different brands and types of ammo I had available for my test. Included is my purchase price per shot (including the 8.25% state sales tax) so you can have an idea what the price-to-performance ratio might be…
Blazer (CCI): $0.06
CCI AR-Tactical: $0.09
CCI Pistol Match: $0.22
CCI Stinger: $0.16
Eley Target: $0.19
Federal Champion: $0.05
Federal Gold Match: $0.30
Remington Subsonic: $0.10
Winchester M-22: $0.06
Winchester Super-X “Super Speed”: $0.09
Winchester Varmint LF: $0.19
My rifle is a standard Ruger 10/22 stainless with black synthetic stock, Nodak Spud peep sights (not used for the test), and a Primary Arms MD-FBGII micro red dot sighted in at 50 yards with Remington Golden. I’ve done a little bit of polishing to the inside of the receiver, the bolt, and some of the parts in the trigger group, but otherwise the rifle is stock. All the ammo was shot using the standard BX-1 box magazine that came with the rifle (except where noted).
American Shooting Centers is a sprawling outdoor facility on the west side of Houston. It was a beautiful day, 70-ish degrees, sunny, and almost no wind. I set up on a 50 yard bench and used the provided sandbags for both front and rear of the rifle.
Each ammo was shot in three 3-shot groups in a row. Not a large sample size for sure, but enough to know if something was good, bad, a fluke, a bad shot, or just dumb luck. The targets have 1” orange grid lines and the black stick-on dots are 1” in diameter. I tried to group ammo like-for-like but missed on a few.
For measurements I used my trusty old six-inch plastic ruler and measured to the nearest one-eighth inch. If the measurement was in-between eighth-inch marks I leaned it to whichever was the closer measurement. If it was right on the line I gave the benefit of the doubt and went with the smaller measurement. The fractions of an inch were converted to decimals since my spreadsheet doesn’t like to work in fractions. (Ha ha.)
Web-friendly pictures are provided here, however links to full-sized pictures and a chart of the actual measurement results are listed at the bottom of this report.
So here we go…
As expected the Golden and M-22 were fairly sloppy but the AR-Tactical showed better grouping and consistency. Seeing as everything on this target was shooting a bit right I adjusted the red dot two clicks to the left before moving on.
Both the Super-X and the Stingers were about as bad as the bulk Goldens and M-22. Blazers were amazingly good for something so inexpensive. Yeah, that left group is three shots in two holes. (Giggity.)
One of the first shots of the Varmint LF went off the top of the paper even though the POA was dead-on the black dot, so I measured from the edge of the paper. The third group of the Subsonic looks great but the other two tell a different story. The Champion didn’t do so poorly, although I had one round that didn’t fire even after trying it six times. I considered it a dud and pulled one more out of the box for the final shot.
Finally, the expensive stuff! All three showed good propensity to keep groups at one inch or less. Missed a couple of shots on the third group of the Pistol Match you say? Nah, it’s actually one ragged hole! (Obviously a bit of a fluke but I’ll take it!)
Since I had run through all 12 tests that I wanted to get done and still had plenty of shootin’ in me I decided to do some extended testing for the three brands/types that did well but weren’t the expensive stuff: CCI AR-Tactical, Blazer, and the Federal Champion.
As you can see the Blazers ($0.06) and the AR-Tactial ($0.09) both did very well at nearly two to three times less than the expensive stuff. I guess CCI comes by it’s reputation honestly.
I should mention about these next two targets: two guys showed up to shoot shotgun which is right next to the further-most 50 yard lane, the one I was on of course. They put up two targets and when they shot the right target from the left lane my targets got sprayed with shot. (I did bring it to their attention afterwards and they were very apologetic.)
The Champion was still inconsistent with some good groups and others all over the place. Out of the 27 shots needed for a full target I had three stovepipes, something I had experienced previously with the Champions but I didn’t want that to exclude them from my little accuracy test.
By this time the wind had started to pick up and you can see that all the shots on the Golden target are all mostly left of the POA.
Lastly, I moved over to the 100 yard lanes for one last target, sending 25 rounds of the Blazer down range, again with the BX-25. Since there is a six-inch drop at 100 yards I have to aim towards the top of the grid (which I can’t even see at 100 yards). If I post the target upside-down I basically aim half-way between the top of the orange ring and the top of the paper. Sounds goofy, I know, but it works for me.
The first five shots were a bit left so I made a one-click adjustment on the red dot and sent the rest of the lead flying. Most of the final 20 shots landed within a 3” group, which isn’t bad for a factory-stock rifle.
All in all, a fine day to be out on the shooting range and learning a lot about how my rifle and different ammo get along. Hope this is helpful for anyone just starting out like me, or even for those that have been around the block a few thousand times.