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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read all of the time about folks testing and finding the most accurate ammo in their rimfire.

Please explain the process that you go through to find out.

I have messed around a little bit but realized it wasn't really controlled. I would like to hear how someone else does it.

Wannabe
 

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You basically get two boxes of each brand of ammo you can find. Then shoot a box to season the barrel. Shoot the next box (same brand) and keep track of your group sizes. Clean barrel and start your next brand box. It normally takes 30-50 rounds to season the barrel after cleaning. You have to shoot 50 rounds to season the barrel then shoot the next box keeping track of group sizes. You will find one or two brands that shoot good in your gun.
 

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That sounds about right, but i havnt noticed too big a diff in shooting from a clean barrel as compared to a seasoned one, but every gun is diff i guess. I go with rounds that have been relable (no misfires) and hopefully i can buy in bulk. My favorate currently is the winchester wildcat HP, they shoot pretty good for me. I was shooting remington GB, but was getting alot of misfires, and the accuracy was only so so at best.
 

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Wannabe-

It takes a little bit of thinking about things to gain some control over the process....

A rifle of reasonable accuracy is required to start with- match chambers and counter bored muzzles will go a long way in this respect- this by no way means a target rifle is required. Two rifles that come to mind are the 880 Sq and the repro 52...

My personal requirement is for a rifle that shoots to same point of impact regardless of bore condition- cold and clean, hot and fouled and any combination of those bore conditions... what would be encountered under any hunting circumstance.

I don't put much stock in fouling shots, given my requirement. If I'm testing ammo, 2 or 3 foulers is more than sufficient- and likely not neccessary given the right rifle. Mine prints well under 1/2" edge to edge at 25 from a cold clean bore with no foulers.

A good day with as little wind as possible is preferred- it don't take much wind to spread groups. If you have access to an indoor or wind sheltered range, use it for ammo testing. 25 yds is distance enough to form reasonably accurate opinions about different ammo brands and types.

Use a scope with sufficient magnification to see your bullet holes- this will make the test much easier to run. Make sure your mounts are tight, and that the scope's zero isn't shifting around. I have found a plain fine cross hair to be best for me for ammo testing.

Use a rifle rest- this makes acquiring the same aiming point for each and every shot a close certainity. A bipod mounted on the fore arm makes an excellent rest. I keep it simple though, and just drape my old jean jacket over my ammo box for a rest from prone.

When I'm running a test involving more than one brand or type of ammo
I always clean the bore between ammo changes. This applies to ammo from the same manufacturer as well- Federal Target and Federal American Eagle are completely different creatures- I suspect not even the priming compound is the same, let alone the powder or bullet....

I shoot groups of 5 shots- sufficient for me and my hunting purposes. Generally, 5 groups is enough for me to form an opinion. Consistently tightest groups are the ones I'm after when it comes to choosing ammo...

I think the use of a chronograph would likely reduce the amount of shooting I do for test purposes by quite a bit. The numbers tell the truth when it comes to variation and extreme spreads.... just one of those must have things that I can never seem to get my hands on....

I'll leave it off here- there is a lot more that can be added to this....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input. Please keep it coming!

Some questions:
What targets have you found to work best for ammo testing?

Do you zero for each ammo that you test?

How thorough of a cleaning do you do between ammos?

Will temperature have any effect on results?

Wannabe
 

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Wannabe, I use an Anschutz 1913 target rifle and that is a supremely accurate rifle. BUT, even that rifle requires a couple of warming shots before I start shooting for scores.
There is a lot a talk about what is best for a rifle and, as with anything in life, some is good and some isn’t.
I find that I only need to clean @ every 1000 rounds which is when the accuracy seems to drop off a little. And then it’s a good solvent and a phosphor-bronze brush.
Now there are some rifles that are reported to take a box of ammo to shoot it back in, which is probably true in some barrels. My barrel will shoot straight from clean, so as has been said already, it all depends on you own individual barrel.
Buy a box of each, of good quality ammo’, and when you find one that suits your rifle, go out and buy as much of the same batch number as you can afford.
:wink:
 

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targets, very good ? for target work i prefer white background with orange diamonds, they normaly have vert&horz lines that give you a lot more + to shoot at :) mike
 

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First part is to get as tight of groups as possible, you can adjust after you find what your rifle likes. If it shoots 5" groups at 100 it won't be much use to you for hunting or target shooting. If it consistantly shoots tight groups (your use determines how tight that has to be) you can then adjust for centering it.

I remember someone posting awhile back he was getting ready to trade a rifle because no matter what he tried nothing grouped, then on a whim he tried an inexspensive bulk type ammo that grouped fantastic. That was a lucky guy.
 

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Wannabe said:
Thanks for the input. Please keep it coming!

Some questions:
What targets have you found to work best for ammo testing?

Do you zero for each ammo that you test?

How thorough of a cleaning do you do between ammos?

Will temperature have any effect on results?

Wannabe
I like the scope sighting in targets from outdoors experiences- grid lines in 1/2" divisions make judging group size a snap. The ones I use have a red "plus" symbol for a bull- easy to align the cross hairs with. The bars of the bull are 2 inches long.

I don't zero the scope for each ammo I test. I wait until I find a good shooter, than zero for it, when I'm ready to use it.

Running 2 or 3 tight fitting patches over a jag through the bore is enough to eliminate most of the fouling and lube left by ammo "y", so's ammo "x" get's a fair crack at the test. I don't use a brush unless I find lead particles on the first patch.... this does'nt happen very often. When it does, it's usually cheap poorly lubed bulk ammo that's to blame.

I try to avoid testing ammo in temperature extremes, but this is just me. Sub zero weather can slow the velocity of the .22 by a surprising amount, and can cause problems with ammo that operates normally at near trans-sonic speeds. Extemely hot weather will give a slight rise in velocity- possibly pushing some ammo into the supersonic range. I've found the best velocity for me and my rifle to be around 1050 fps. Most ammo makers still mark their ammo boxes with velocity some where. I feel that I don't have much to worry about between 40-45 and 70-75 F. I believe most ammo manufacturers test their product at 70 F or so...

About fouling shots..... does your rifle need them? Only you can answer this one through your own shooting experience. Personally, I've found that micro-groove type rifling has a tendency to require foulers more than the deeply cut type, but this is just me and my rifles. Of the 23 some odd .22's that I have, there is only one that requires no foulers, and meets my p.o.i. requirements...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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TWENTY THREE .22s!!!!!!!!!!! wow, my Firearms dept would have a “Blue fit” if anyone had twenty three .22 rifles. :shock:
I have three, Anschutz for target/competition work, Sako for hunting and a Marlin 39a for playing around with and for 25 yd competition work. And I had to explain this to my firearms dept before I could buy each and every one of them. :?
Mind you it makes life simple when it comes to choosing which one to use.
:wink: :wink: :wink:
 

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Yep, and I shoot em all at once too! Especially during ammo testing! :wink:

Seriously though.... how goes the great gun control experiment over there? Ours ain't workin either. Even the opposition party in the house of commons knows this. The silly Liberals refuse to admit to collossal failure- 2.6 billion a year for long gun registration, and it's always an unregistered gun involved in firearms related crime. Firearms homicide is on the rise, despite strenuous and strict gun control. When the Liberals realize that PEOPLE , not guns, kill people, maybe, just maybe, things will change....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Doc's giving ya good advice. I like to use the black death practice with 24 targets per page. and I shoot several (5) groups with each ammo to get an idea of how it will perform from cold to warm barrel.
 

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#1. Buy a rifle of noteworthy reputation.
#2. Buy ammo of the same quality.

Then, test them. But do not expect everyone to accept your results or findings.
 

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I can see that when you buy a rifle with out any input from other owners. But if say, if “CCI Mini Mag’s” did the best in one’s new 39A, wouldn’t they do just as well in all the other new 39A's ?
 

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howie38 said:
I can see that when you buy a rifle with out any input from other owners. But if say, if “CCI Mini Mag’s” did the best in one’s new 39A, wouldn’t they do just as well in all the other new 39A's ?
Good question. If rifles shot identically to each other, lot's of us here would have no ammo testing to do :roll:

There are differences in rifles even off the same production line- maybe rifle "A" was button rifled with a rifling button broach that was slightly more used (Worn) than rifle "X". This applies even more so to chambering reamers. The end result is that individual rifles have their own tastes when it comes to ammo.

That being said, most of the .22 long rifle ammunition from the major N.American manufacturers is good- good enough for small game hunting and plinking. Finding the ammo that your rifle likes "Best" will require a bit of shooting at targets from rest... the tightest groups are the ones that we are after.

Personally, I've got a match chambered .22 that does exceedingly well with most high end fodder, except CCI Green Tag. It spits it all over the target with utter contempt. That's just my rifle being it's individual self- I've got friends that swear by Green Tag....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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I shoot pretty much only pre-war Marlins when it comes to .22s and have found that between Remington target, Remington HP Subsonic, Aguila Target, and Aguila Subsonic HP, they all shoot well. I use some sort of surplus U.S. army 50 foot small bore rifle targets I got cheap. They have several bullseyes on them that are all about the size of silver dollar. At 50 feet, about any of the ammo I mentioned will stay in the black and some will cut ragged holes the size of dime. However, I do have one HS 39 that will barely stay in the black with about all target speed ammo, but loves CCI Blazer. Don't know why this one Marlin is picky. About 12 other pre-war Marlin .22's I have shot love the target stuff. So I guess it pays to test your gun even if you have a brand of ammo that shoots great in all your other guns.
 

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I have a 39AS made in 1993 I purchased some time back.

I have gone through about every 22 cartridge manufacture out there and have yet to find one that will pattern less then 2" at 50 yds.

In my opinion it should shoot in less then 1" groups at 50.

I tried to call Marlin today about the gun only to find that they know close at 12:00 o'clock on Friday.

I will call them Monday and will let you know what they say.

djh
 

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DJH: What sights are you using? If it's scoped then you have a problem but the iron sights fitted to Marlins aren't exactly MOA worthy.

As to the ammo finding business, I tend to try a little of everything. Like Doc, I have a slew of rimfires: maybe twenty or more. (Sorry Tenex!) Only a few of them are benevolent enough to shoot everything well. My ancient Brno #1 Sporter will shoot any decent ammo into an inch, maximum, at fifty yards; it will even group 5/8 inch with Aguila's 60 grain "Sniper Sub Sonic" beastie that really shouldn't stabilize. It's a "go-to" rifle when I really need a bullet placed.

On the extreme opposite, I have an Interarms JW-15 copy of a Brno that until recently, refused to shoot anything but PMC "Zappers", I tried everything from Eley to Winchester Wildcats and nothing came close to grouping. Obviously, I stocked up on Zappers.

My rule: Clean as little as possible, shoot everything you can find and afford to keep around. I try never to take a brush to my .22 barrels. That aforementioned JW-15 was "cured" with a brush though. I remembered that I'd initially shot some Winchester "X-Pert" bulk ammo I'd been given with horrible results. Turned out to be leaded from a total lack of bullet lube. A brush took care of that. Why it shot well with ZApper and a leaded bore??? Anyhow. I use a pull through with a drop of Hoppes whenI do clean the barrel, then a few dry patches. Only the Brno doesn't require a fouling shot. The action areas are cleaned after every shooting session, including the breech-face and bolt face.

I don't find more than 10 or so rounds is generally needed to get a bore used to a different make of ammo but that's not a hard rule. My Brno shoots Aguila Super Maximum (1730 ft/sec) into an inch at 50M but only after 30 or so rounds. If I clean it I'm back to "patterns" again for another 30 rounds. Most other ammunitions will settle in after a magazine or two.

Be realistic in your expectations. I love Marlin Levers but they aren't match rifles. The external hammers, lock time, and less than 100% consistent ignition prevent them from being such. If you want to center-punch a dime at 50M every shot you should be looking at a more sophisticated rig. No matter what gun you have, be a realist when it comes to your intended target, too. If you're squirrel hunting and taking 25 yard shots, a load that shoots 1.5" at 50 yards will probably handle any head shots you might want to take. If you find a load that will shoot consistently round groups devoid of fliers then it is a good one worth remembering, even if it doesn't shoot those groups onto a postage stamp; At least it won't gove you any suprises if you find it suitable for one game or another. Ammo I'd reject for serious field work is one that tossed 8 or 9 rounds into a ragged hole at 50 and tosses one out an inch and a half. I'd rather have an ammo that shot 1.5" consistently with no fliers. That's why I never could abide CCI "Stingers" in a lot of my rifles: 6 of 10 would go into a raggety hole, the others went where they pleased.

Don't be snooty when it comes to ammo. Try the cheapest to the least affordable. (Including Stingers!) I remember when guys on the old Marlin board used to turn up their noses at Aguila as "that messican junk" but that tune has changed quite a bit. By the same token, don't blow a paycheck on a pile of Eley Match and expect it to shoot. Your average .22 rifle doesn't give a hoot what you spend on ammo. Eventually you'll find a brand that shoots really well. Buy a batch of it, salt it away, and keep looking. That's half the fun of this game, anyhow. Enjoy! ~Andrew
 

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Andrew:

Thanks a lot, thats good information. I will admit I expected 1" groups as I consistantly get with my 45/90, 32/40 and 38/55. I have never been into the 22 caliber but decided to play with one for a while.

It's interesting that we need to durty the barrel before it will really start to shoot. Just the oposite of the other calibers. It takes 1 shot and they are ready to go after cleaning.

I 'm getting older and beginning not to like the pounding on the shoulder. The 22 is really nice to shoot in that respect.

By the way I have a little Weaver fixed 4 power scope on the little gun.

I will do as you suggested and shoot more rounds of each brand to see if that will make a difference. Maybe I was expecting to much at first shot.

Thank you again for the info and I will be letting you know how it turns out. Need to go to the store and buy some more amo for this little test.

Thanks again, djh
 
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