Friday, October 14, 2005

Ammo Selection - .22lr

Seeing as I pick up a new rifle this afternoon, I decided to throw together a semi-comprehensive post on my experiences with various .22lr ammo selections. A quick Google search didn't turn up anything spectacular, but I doubt this is virgin internet territory...

Plinking: Shootin' cans and milk jugs for fun. This is always a great pastime with any .22, but definately does not rate any top-notch ammo. Accuracy is marginally important in this activity, but volume of ammunition is important.

  • 1st Choice - CCI Minimags These rounds are a little bit 'spensive for just putting holes in cans, but they are probably the most dependable of all the cheap stuff.
  • 2nd Choice - Federal Champion Target I can get these for $10/525rds at my local shop making them a best buy. I have had a couple of misfires out of several thousands, and maybe 3 FTE's, but they are great for fun shooting.
  • 3rd Choice - Wolf Target It's the cheapest I can get at $7/500rds in my area. It is also the dirtiest in my guns.

Hunting: Shooting little critters. There are generally two types of varmint hunting - hunting for meat or skins, and pest control. Keeping this in mind, there are different ammo types that are better suited to each appliaction. My experience leans more toward the pest control side of things, but I have dabbled.

  • Pest Control CCI QuikShok This round is absolutely the most devastating I have used. You can almost guarantee a 1-shot kill with these, unless your shot placement is ludicrously bad. The segmented HP bullets do the trick, but leave behind very little meat or hide, so this is strictly a pest control round.
  • Pest Control CCI Velocitor The Speer Gold-Dot hollow point bullet makes this a premium round for medium or large varmints. Controlled expansion and good penetration have made this my go-to varmint cartridge for anything bigger than a gopher. Have had success against coyotes, skunks and large opossum.
  • Hunting CCI SGB The Small Game Bullet is ideally suited for hunting rabbits or squirrels that you're going to eat. A flat point lead bullet with Minimag velocities has good terminal ballistics without too much damage to the hide or meat. Shot placement rules.

Defense: While I hesitate to recommend the .22lr for any defensive applications, there are situations where nothing else is available. Many people have an NAA Mini or Walther P22 squirreled away in a disaster kit for last ditch defense. For these applications, the heaviest and fastest hollow point bullet available is preferable since recoil will still be negligable. CCI Velocitor or Stinger would suffice very well.

Target: This is an area that I am just now exploring to it's full potential. While my tentative favorites from limited experience would include CCI Green Tag and Silhouette, and Eley Match EPS as very good target rounds, I am sure there are many more out there that yield excellent results. I plan to try Lapua and Eley's other selections in the coming weeks and months. The only round I would warn against is Federal's "Premium Gold Target" - I get bigger groups and more barrel fouling with this round than with any of the others.

So thats about it. Hopefully I can post an addendum this weekend after I go to the range.

Note: I realize that I seem to lean toward CCI selections a bit, but it's for a good reason - unless I mail order other rounds, CCI is about all I can get aside from bulk Federal and Remington, and that funky PMC stuff.