which 22lr ammo?

Discussion in 'Rimfire' started by jerhunter, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. jerhunter

    jerhunter Full Poster

    I'm new to rimfire (mark 4 lite) and have tried a couple different types of ammo. I thought thunderbolts would be good, they were cheap and shot pretty accurate for plinking. After my first 250 rounds barrel was hard to clean but I managed. After my next trip out it was awful, barrel was heavily leaded and squib round stuck in the middle. it is currently at the gun shop, hopefully they can fix it. So apparently cheaper is not always better (imagine that)

    Whats the best ammo?
    Do I need to shoot copper jacketed bullets?
  2. Vick

    Vick Distinguished Poster

    In .22 rimfire ammo, there is really no "best" ammo...you have to try a lot of different kinds/loads to see what your rifle likes best. It also depends a lot on what you're doing with it...target, hunting, plinking, rifle, handgun, etc., and every gun is likely to "like" a different brand.

    For example, I have an older target rifle that has a definite affinity for Aguila Super Extra (yellow and blue box) and shoots nice small groups with it while opening up a lot with most other brands of target velocity or high velocity ammo. It took a lot of benchrest shooting to determine this. You may find that your gun shoots best with CCI Standard Velocity or some other brand.

    Since you are having a problem with leading and fouling, you might want to try a lower velocity ammo, but you may eventually even find that your rifle needs to have the barrel lapped to smooth its interior. Its a trial and error situation. Good luck in your experimenting!

  3. GunnyGene

    GunnyGene Distinguished Poster

    With .22 you get what you pay for. CCI has always done well for me. And yes, get the copper plated regardless of brand, much easier on your bore.
    94LEVERFAN, maxhush, para40 and 3 others like this.
  4. Rusty C

    Rusty C Distinguished Poster

    I shoot nothing but CCI
    maxhush, para40, Cliff731 and 3 others like this.
  5. rigrat

    rigrat Semper Fi

    I shoot what ever I can afford at the time usually its the cheapest out there. I don't clean my 22's until accuracy drops of. Shooting seasons the barrel and lets it settle in to its accuracy. If you clean everytime , your accuracy isn't going to be there until you get enough rounds down the barrel to season it. JMO and your mileage my vary.
    94LEVERFAN, para40, Cliff731 and 2 others like this.
  6. steve2112

    steve2112 Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    .22 LR can be all over the map, but CCI is about the most consistent I've used. My favorite is the Mini Mag, but their other lines work well. I've also had good luck with Federal Champion. I also agree with only shooting copper jacketed stuff. I'm lazy, and don't clean like I should, so copper stuff lets me go longer without cleaning.
    maxhush, para40, Cliff731 and 2 others like this.
  7. jerhunter

    jerhunter Full Poster

    thanks for the replies, good info
    94LEVERFAN and rigrat like this.
  8. GunnyGene

    GunnyGene Distinguished Poster

    One other thing: We need to make a distinction between copper plated and copper jacketed. People new to rimfire often are confused about the terminology. Currently there is no copper jacketed .22lr produced that I'm aware of. There is a copper/polymer .22lr bullet produced by CCI, and possibly some others.

    You can't get jacketed .22 until you get into .22wmr or a center fire .22 cartridge. Most of my .22wmr is jacketed from Hornady. I have shot Winchester Dynapoint .22wmr also, which is a plated, not jacketed, round and is somewhat cheaper than the jacketed .22wmr.
    94LEVERFAN, Tall Boy and Cliff731 like this.
  9. Southern Reloading

    Southern Reloading Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    They are probably the worse ever for nasty!!!
  10. DoyleAlley

    DoyleAlley Distinguished Poster

    With regard to Thunderbolts, they are frequently called "Thunderduds" in the rimfire forums. Universally regarded as not worth it. I agree with CCI. I prefer the CCI Standard loads as I don't like hypervelocity rounds (don't need either the cost or the extra speed).
    maxhush likes this.
  11. blkout

    blkout Distinguished Poster

    I have had the best luck with CCI standard velocity out of my pistol and rifle. Clean (as clean as 22lr can be) and accurate for me. They are a little more than the cheapest but worth it in my opinion.
    94LEVERFAN, Cliff731 and Doc like this.
  12. Doc

    Doc Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    In their respective price range - I have found nothing better than CCI Standard and CCI Green Tag in my rifles (of course this is excluding Ely 10X or RWS R50 for their intended purposes).

    In fact CCI Green Tag tends to beat anything in my Sig Trailside and S&W 42--
    With 22lr weapons - shoot several brands and types and when you find the one that particular gun likes - stock up.
    Tall Boy likes this.
  13. Xd357

    Xd357 Moderator Staff Member

    The only bulk ammo I “like” to shoot is federal.
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  14. Dave

    Dave Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    Diameter of bullet, hardness, and lube tend to vary a lot from one brand of .22 to another. Consistency of primer and powder can vary a lot too. The cheaper the bullet the more things might change. Even one lot to another can make a measurable difference. Rim fire ammo is quite different from center fire ammo to say the least.

    For plinking with .22 lr pistols I have found CCI Mini-mags and Federal Automatch ammo seem to work well. Some .22 pistols need a hotter load to cycle the action than CCI standard velocity provides. I do get tighter groups with standard velocity ammo.

    I haven't had much in the way of good results trying to use Winchester or Remington ammo in a .22 pistol.

    When the rifling is not smooth you are going to find leading a problem. Copper plated ammo will reduce the leading. I have never been in favor of not cleaning the barrel after each time it is fired.
    Tall Boy likes this.
  15. DoyleAlley

    DoyleAlley Distinguished Poster

    Serious rimfire shooters are just the opposite. They will tell you that it takes many rounds to make the barrel "usable" and once it reaches that point you don't clean it until accuracy starts to fall off - then you start the process all over again. They will go thousands of rounds between barrel cleanings.
    94LEVERFAN, maxhush, tWillis and 5 others like this.
  16. GunnyGene

    GunnyGene Distinguished Poster

    That's true with any precision shooting. Rex has a video about the issue, and fouling equilibrium. The shape of the fouling/accuracy curve that develops will be different for every rifle.

    It's the same with lead bullets, except it will reach equilibrium faster, and have a shorter stable area simply because it's a softer material than copper.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
    Mesquite likes this.
  17. Scharfschütze

    Scharfschütze Waffennarr

    I have to agree with Vick's post above. If you are doing serious target shooting / competition, match grade ammunition, Norma, Eley, etc. is the way to go. Several dealers will sell you a "sample pack of 50 rds of several different brands / lots of match ammunition, then when you find the one your match rifle "likes", sell you more of the same brand from the same lot. Lot to lot variances in accuracy are important if you're doing serious target shooting. In my experience the bulk ammunition is good just for burning up / plinking. For function in casual semi-auto pistol shooting I've found high velocity loads are preferred over target grade.
    Finally a note on cleaning. I read an article years ago in the NRA Rifleman journal that most serious .22 shooters clean the bore as little as possible, as cleaning wears the barrel more than actual shooting.
    Good luck and enjoy shooting .22!
    maxhush, Mesquite and Vick like this.
  18. Mesquite

    Mesquite Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    That's main. Shooting nearly all the brands above with exception of Norma & some of hyper velocity rds. My Savage fv bull barrel preferred GECO (a German mfg.) 22 l.r. Bolt Action ammunition, hands down. It's what I use to shoot sillouitte matches.
    To each gun its own.
  19. para40

    para40 Sr. Curmudgeon MSGO Supporter

    Lamar Co.
    Federal bulk for plinking.
    CCI standard or mini mags mostly.
    Never owned a gun that liked the CCI Stingers.
    94LEVERFAN and Leonidas like this.
  20. nonnieselman

    nonnieselman Nocturnal Specialties

    Over the years i learned to avoid all Remington Rimfire 22 ammo. Having hundreds of duds in a few 550 packs will make you learn fast.
    CCI Subsonic or Standard velocity are my favorite behind CCI Minimags. But for bulk, Federal maroon box is about the best.
    para40 likes this.