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Thread: Non-target 22 LR in non-target rifles — flogging a dead horse?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Non-target 22 LR in non-target rifles — flogging a dead horse?

    I have been working with Ruger MK. III target pistol, Ruger 10/22 in Hogue stock with Nikon (Philippines) 4X, and circa 1950s Marlin 39. I am trying to improve my ability to hit within a one-inch circle — squirrel or rabbit's head. Much of my work to achieve the goal has been by futzing (technical term for spending a great deal of money before analyzing specifics of how to achieve intended goal) with firearms.

    I am now at the stage where I request information from experienced 22 LR shooters. Having large quantities of standard Hi-speed 40-grain solids and 37??- grain hollow points to use, the range at which my one-inch circle ceases to be routine is about 35 yards. Since I have never owned a target rifle or shot any target ammunition, I'm beginning to think 35 yards is it unless I invest in different firearms and hugely more expensive ammunition.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    bolt action is your friend.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    That's about what I would expect from all three of those firearms.

    A good bolt action might take you out to 50 yards. I bought a Ruger American Rimfire a couple of years ago. It's a real joy to shoot. You could get the Ruger Precision Rimfire for about twice the money and it would probably outshoot my RAR by about 10-15 yards for your 1" circle.

    Consistent accuracy of 1" at 50 yards or greater with a 22 LR requires a lot of ammo testing and a very good quality firearm. Also note that while it's really not hard to get 1" at 50 yards getting less than 2" at 100 is a LOT harder.
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  4. #4
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    22LR is a funny animal, in that sometimes cheap off the shelf ammo can group very, very well. Sometimes even better than Match grade. It pays off to test a lot of different ammo to see what the particular firearm likes. Other factors come into play too, such as trigger pull, quality of sights, eyesight and the shooter's ability. One inch at 50 yards is my benchmark, but I don't always meet that goal. I sure have fun trying though! I own a Marvel 1911 conversion that will shoot that well when I do my part.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Better ammunition - my Henry .22's shoot MUCH better with quality standard velocity ammunition. Bulk 500 boxes go about 3 MOA at 100 yards. With CMP Aquila standard velocity, I can get under 2" with my 24" octagon-barreled Henry and its 4-12 Nikon Monarch scope. Proper bench technique and good glass can make a significant difference when working with lever guns. Our little H001 Henry( the 'cheap one') will do 1" at 50 yards with the good ammo and its 3-9 Leupold Vari-X2 Compact, but seems I haven found the secret to under 2.5" at 100 yards, a different brand of good ammo, more scope, less wind, different hold? Trying different brands of higher quality .22 ammo makes a big difference with many rifles.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Greatest limitation is the larger diameter of the typical .22 LR Sporting chamber and the reduced bullet diameter of high velocity ammunition, which is a sloppy fit in the chamber, but so dimensioned to ensure feeding reliability when guns are heavily fouled and seldom cleaned.

    Start carrying a micrometer when shopping for ammo and buy the lots having "fat" bullets of .224" diameter or larger. CCI Standard Velocity and Eley Sport generally make the grade.

    Waxed or greased rounds having unplated bullets are generally more accurate because the bullet bases are not dinged up from having been tumbled in a barrel plater.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    You need a better scope. A Ruger 1-2-or 3 will shoot plenty good. I have one set up just to test ammo.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	278430 I have shot a 1"group 10 shot at 50 yards with several brands of cheap ammo. This one likes Remington Target. It shoots the lighter HP good also. You don't have to buy high dollar ammo for 50 yards.
    Last edited by 45DUDE; 02-24-2021 at 02:02 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    It doesn't matter too much what it costs, you have to try a wide variety of ammunition types to find what your gun likes. Just because it says "Match" doesn't mean it will shoot great out of your gun.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    There are factors involved with both the 22 rim fire ammo and the 22 rifles that work to create difficulty for consistency.
    1) With a charge of 1.0 to 2.0 grains of powder just a tenth of a grain will quite noticeably effect the group.
    2) The Primer charge can even vary in weight causing a variation.
    3) The diameter of 22lr varies from .222" to .225". Usually not per batch or ever per brand...But that brings us to ..
    4) The shape of the chamber. There are WILD variations of ream configurations for 22lr rifles. I believe that Lilja ALONE has 3 different reamers for 22lr. The chambers (as you can imagine) are what cause the particular rifles to favor a particular brand or batch of ammo over another. Match rifles tend to have smaller chambers (narrower diameter).
    And perhaps the GREATEST factor in the craziness in poor consistency of 22lr is the CRIMP.
    22lr's performance is very contingent on the crimp. Both the consistency of the crimp and the depth of the crimp (pull weight).
    AND the crimp pull weight is also interdependent on the burn rate of the powder.
    These things all have to be balanced...And tuned for the rifle (or pistol) that they will be fired in.
    I have found that the poorest performing 22lr has the lightest and least consistent crimp. You may notice that shot placement may be in a up and down string with these. Or if you chrono them they will vary a great deal in speed.
    This is why people who desire good accuracy from their 22lr's try lots of ammo and even buy large batches of a single run in order to get accurate-consistent shooting.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I am trying to improve my ability to hit within a one-inch circle — squirrel or rabbit's head.
    Best you should upgrade your sights if presently they are stock iron sights. Ammo is not your issue
    Regards
    John

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I realize that Montana is different than Missouri, but I have rarely shot at a squirrel or cottontail rabbit at over thirty five yards with a .22. The only one I can think of was a squirrel at about forty yards, and that was with a .22 Short HP.

    Sometimes I think we want more accuracy than we really need.

    With that written, if your Marlin is drilled and tapped, put a scope on it. I had a late 50's version that was plenty for small game around here. Wish I still had that rifle.

    Robert

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I hunt a lot of small game and varmit with 22s. My hoard of ammo is pre Obama. I have 14 22 rifles and 12 handguns. That’s what I have left as of today. All 22s are pre 1960 except for a 77/22 Ruger. The point is every 22 rifle I have will shoot an inch at 40yds. That’s the distance they are all sighted for. Today you have poor QC on 22ammo and rifles aren’t put together as they were in the past. Opps I lied I forgot about 3 other 22 rifles I have not sold yet. Run of the mill single shots that are 70-80 yrs old. I guarantee you they will shoot an inch at 40yds. I don’t believe in paying for Target ammo that is no more consistent than regular ammo. You can gain a bit of accuracy by using standard velocity.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    I think you have reasonable "field" accuracy now. You aren't likely to have a bench rest when hunting the "wiley wabbits" or squirrels.
    Experiment with some ammo and see what your gun really likes and even consider segregating your ammo by rim thickness to see if that gets you closer to your goal.

    If you want assured match accuracy from a hunting .22, you might consider Anschutz, Cooper, CZ or some other $$ rifles.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
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    A stock Ruger 10/22 barrel is something of a lost cause with high speed hollowpoints or any high speed ammo, and while grouping improves with good quality subsonic hollowpoints (Eley or CCI, etc) it still is not inspiring. It is fine for plinking and keeping vermin out of the yard but squirrel sniping accuracy leaves me feeling unfulfilled.

    Hitting the easy button involves getting a barrel with a better bentz type chamber. When so doing about 3/4 inch at fifty yards for an average is possible and very usable. This is once again best attained with subsonic ammo. A friend and I got fond of the SK match subsonic flatpoints that are far more viable hunting ammo than target RN which kills trees squirrels poorly with body shots.

    I’d much rather have a 3/4 inch 22 than a 1.5 inch 22. That’s about the level of difference I find from stock to improved results.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Not to overdo it - (I've commented on this on three threads here recently) - but there are two inexpensive things you can do to improve results using commodity ammo in commodity rifles. One is weight-sorting. The other is "bumping" the bullets up to a uniform diameter of .2250" using a Paco Kelly or Waltz tool. About six years ago I cut groups from a box stock 10-22 in half using these two methods, starting with Thunderbolt ammunition. A caution, however: bumping only works for cheap ammo; it does nothing but spoil better grade target ammo.

    The Waltz tool is considerably better, IMHO, but Neil seems to have "gone dark". A pretty good replica can be made using the Lee "expander" die body and a couple of simple lathe parts, at a cost under $40, not counting the price of the Lee die. I have a drawing to share.
    Last edited by uscra112; 02-26-2021 at 04:10 AM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  16. #16
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    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Good info.

    The portercalls post is from 2015.

    "Day_at_the_range" very, very obviously did not use the Waltz tool correctly. Maybe they didn't want to?

    I did not see a lot of improvement starting with Wolf Match. The brands that improved most were Thunderbolt, Auto Match, and (surprise) MiniMags.

    Bumping made little difference in my competition-chambered Ballard, which to me confirms the idea that the improvement seen in the 10-22 was from sizing to bullet up to better fill the throat.
    Last edited by uscra112; 02-26-2021 at 04:59 AM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    The Waltz tool is considerably better, IMHO, but Neil seems to have "gone dark".
    Good news for the modern rimfire shooter: I called and talked to Neal on Wednesday, then mailed my order the next day. 330-837-4818, central time zone.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    There is a book by Bill Calfee - THE ART OF RIMFIRE ACCURACY that goes into extensive detail on what it takes for rimfire accuracy, probably more than most want to know. Amazon lists it and there is a Kindle version.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nueces View Post
    Good news for the modern rimfire shooter: I called and talked to Neal on Wednesday, then mailed my order the next day. 330-837-4818, central time zone.
    That IS good news.
    Eleutheromaniac

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check