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Best 22 rifle for distance target shooting

This is a discussion on Best 22 rifle for distance target shooting within the Ruger 10/22 Rimfire forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; I have a few .22 rifles including a scoped Savage "Troy Landry" and an older scoped Winchester 9422 Classic which both shoot very well, but ...


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Old March 4th, 2017, 11:17 AM   #31
 
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I have a few .22 rifles including a scoped Savage "Troy Landry" and an older scoped Winchester 9422 Classic which both shoot very well, but my best shooting .22 has to be my Kimber Model 82 Govt Target. It is a single shot, heavy barrel bolt action target rifle set up with the vernier peep sights. It will out shoot both of my scoped rifles off the sandbags at 25 and 50 yards all day long. They were only made for a few years by the old Kimber of Clackamas OR. This target was 8 shots at 50 yards with iron sights......





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Old March 4th, 2017, 01:30 PM   #32
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paulkalman, Marlin Microgroove rifling has two advantages over conventional (Ballard) rifling. First, there are more lands .... 10 in a 22 LR microgroove barrel versus 6 in a 22 barrel with Ballard rifling. Second, the lands aren't as pronounced. In other words there are more of them but they don't cut as deep into the bullet as conventional rifling.

This next one is going to put you in a tail spin .... less barrel-to-bullet friction means a lower velocity .... just the opposite of what you would expect. Why? When a chamber pressure of 24,000 psi is pushing a tiny 40gr bullet, bore friction isn't as notable as you would expect. When there is less bore friction, bullets move easier and when they move easier, pressure does not get a chance to build. The net result is lower MV with less friction. This concept can easily be proven by using "Moly coated" bullets. Not so popular today but many years ago people thought friction proofing their barrels would increase velocity but chronographs proved just the opposite. Molycoat is a fine powder lubricant made of Molybdenum Disulfide that can be applied to bullets. After a couple shots, the bore gets lined with this fine powder and reduces friction notably. It's quite common to see at least 100 fps slower MV with a 223 Rem using molycoat versus the same exact ammo fired from the same clean barrel.

A Marlin Microgroove barrel increases bore-to-bullet friction a little, thus it increases velocity .... not by much but it is a measureable amount. The real advantage of Microgroove barrels comes after the bullet is launched. With standard rifling that is cut into the bullet much deeper, the cuts act like an impeller that slows the bullet down faster. At 100 yards, a 40gr CCI Mini Mag will retain about 50 fps more velocity when fired from a Microgroove barrel than the same bullet fired from a conventional rifled barrel.

Still another big plus for a Microgroove barrel is "bullet damage" .... or lack thereof. With conventional rifled barrels, it is quite common to see one or more lands/grooves that are not cut to a uniform depth. This makes the bullet just a little off balance .... enough to make it literally move downrange like a whiffle ball after the spin rate has decayed. Microgroove rifling doesn't impinge as much as conventional rifling plus there are more lands so odds are, the bullet will leave the barrel in near-perfect balance. I have documented proof of this phenomenon. My Henry H001T (also a lever action) has conventional rifling and a 20" barrel. Out to about 60 yards, it's quite accurate but at farther distances, the bullets start to yaw due to damage from poor rifling, thus spreading the group size. At 100 yards, groups look more like a shotgun pattern .... at best about 5". My Marlin 39A will hold 1 MOA groups out to 100 yards ... providing the winds are dead calm. Same ammo, same distance, the only thing different is the quality of the bore and rifling. When chronographing at 10 feet, there's only 20 fps difference (favoring the Marlin) but at 100 yards, there's about 75 fps difference, also favoring the Marlin.

I don't know how CZ does it but their barrels and rifling are amazingly uniform from the chamber to the muzzle. No doubt, this has a big influence on accuracy. My CZ will out shoot my Marlin .... but only by a token amount. With CCI Mini Mags, the bullets fired from the Marlin are about 20 fps faster at 10 feet but are 50 fps faster at 100 yards.

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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:02 AM   #33
 
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I've used mainly Eley ammo in my two rifles. They've been Very consistent without any mods. 0.4" at 50 yards. Under a inch with the 22" barrel at 100. I never had flyers.


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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:10 AM   #34
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CDRGlock, I also have a Savage MK II but mine has a stainless bull barrel (BTVS) and nice thumb through hole wood stock. These are excellent rifles .... very accurate but it still won't outshoot my CZ.


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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:54 AM   #35
 
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Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Petrol and Powder, You need to spend more time at the range with a chronograph and less time listening to the Internet myths.

I have several 22 LR rifles with barrels as short as 18.5" and as long as 25". I have tested these rifles over a chronograph using a variety of 22 LR ammo. Here's the deal: velocity continues to increase as the barrel gets longer. With standard velocity 22 LR ammo, velocity peaks with a 22" barrel but does NOT drop below peak to at least 25". In other words, velocity will peak at 1080 fps with a 22" barrel and will remain at 1080 fps with a 25" barrel. High velocity 22 LR ammo continues to increase in velocity to at least 25" .... maybe more but that was the longest barrel I had.

Using 22 LR CCI Mini-Mag high velocity ammo rated at 1255 fps from a 24" barrel, my factory 10/22 chronoed at 1185 fps with a 18.5" barrel. My Savage has a 21" barrel and is a bolt action so there is no loss from the automatic action. It chronoed at 1245 fps compared to my 10/22 with a 20" Green Mountain barrel that chronoed at 1210 fps. My Marlin 39A has a 24" barrel and it chronographed at 1265 fps. Next was my CZ, clocking in at 1260 fps with its 24 3/4" barrel. My Remington Mod 511 with a 25" won the contest with a speed of 1268 fps. The only exception to the rule was my Marlin .... its 24" barrel came in a close second probably because of the Microgroove rifling.

So what I determined was .... depending on the ammo used, 19~21" is the optimum barrel length. After 21", velocity does indeed increase but only by a token amount. Longer barrels make the gun heavier, increase harmonics, and are more clumsy to handle. All guns were chronographed at 10 feet from the muzzle. A 10 shot string was fired and my CED chronograph computed the average velocity for each gun. Different brands of ammo did not chrono at the same speeds but still followed the "the longer the barrel, the higher the speed" rule.

The myth about barrel friction slowing down the bullet is a bunch of crap .... at least to 25". Why? After a lead bullet has been engraved by the rifling, it takes very little pressure to push the bullet down the bore. 22 LR ammo uses a very slow burning powder .... much like H-110 where it takes about 15" of bullet travel to get a complete burn. Pressure peaks at about 24,000 psi with just an inch of bullet travel but because the powder keeps burning, continuous pressure will increase velocity .... much like a 357 Magnum cartridge in a rifle.

The condition of the bore will have a direct impact on muzzle velocity. As an example, I chronographed my old Winchester Mod 1906 (made in 1912). It has a 20" barrel but because the bore is pretty much shot out, it only clocked a speed of 1150 fps .... less than my 18.5" 10/22. As noted above, my Marlin 39A's 24" barrel almost tied the Remingtom 25" likely due to the different type of rifling.

Most experts agree ... a 19~21" barrel is optimum. Some people misinterpret that to mean velocity peaks at 19~21" when indeed it continues to increase slightly. In my above tests, The difference between my 21"Savage and my 25" Remington was only 23 fps .... but it was indeed an increase.
AWESOME INFO. Thanks.
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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:59 AM   #36
 
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Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
paulkalman, Marlin Microgroove rifling has two advantages over conventional (Ballard) rifling. First, there are more lands .... 10 in a 22 LR microgroove barrel versus 6 in a 22 barrel with Ballard rifling. Second, the lands aren't as pronounced. In other words there are more of them but they don't cut as deep into the bullet as conventional rifling.

This next one is going to put you in a tail spin .... less barrel-to-bullet friction means a lower velocity .... just the opposite of what you would expect. Why? When a chamber pressure of 24,000 psi is pushing a tiny 40gr bullet, bore friction isn't as notable as you would expect. When there is less bore friction, bullets move easier and when they move easier, pressure does not get a chance to build. The net result is lower MV with less friction. This concept can easily be proven by using "Moly coated" bullets. Not so popular today but many years ago people thought friction proofing their barrels would increase velocity but chronographs proved just the opposite. Molycoat is a fine powder lubricant made of Molybdenum Disulfide that can be applied to bullets. After a couple shots, the bore gets lined with this fine powder and reduces friction notably. It's quite common to see at least 100 fps slower MV with a 223 Rem using molycoat versus the same exact ammo fired from the same clean barrel.

A Marlin Microgroove barrel increases bore-to-bullet friction a little, thus it increases velocity .... not by much but it is a measureable amount. The real advantage of Microgroove barrels comes after the bullet is launched. With standard rifling that is cut into the bullet much deeper, the cuts act like an impeller that slows the bullet down faster. At 100 yards, a 40gr CCI Mini Mag will retain about 50 fps more velocity when fired from a Microgroove barrel than the same bullet fired from a conventional rifled barrel.

Still another big plus for a Microgroove barrel is "bullet damage" .... or lack thereof. With conventional rifled barrels, it is quite common to see one or more lands/grooves that are not cut to a uniform depth. This makes the bullet just a little off balance .... enough to make it literally move downrange like a whiffle ball after the spin rate has decayed. Microgroove rifling doesn't impinge as much as conventional rifling plus there are more lands so odds are, the bullet will leave the barrel in near-perfect balance. I have documented proof of this phenomenon. My Henry H001T (also a lever action) has conventional rifling and a 20" barrel. Out to about 60 yards, it's quite accurate but at farther distances, the bullets start to yaw due to damage from poor rifling, thus spreading the group size. At 100 yards, groups look more like a shotgun pattern .... at best about 5". My Marlin 39A will hold 1 MOA groups out to 100 yards ... providing the winds are dead calm. Same ammo, same distance, the only thing different is the quality of the bore and rifling. When chronographing at 10 feet, there's only 20 fps difference (favoring the Marlin) but at 100 yards, there's about 75 fps difference, also favoring the Marlin.

I don't know how CZ does it but their barrels and rifling are amazingly uniform from the chamber to the muzzle. No doubt, this has a big influence on accuracy. My CZ will out shoot my Marlin .... but only by a token amount. With CCI Mini Mags, the bullets fired from the Marlin are about 20 fps faster at 10 feet but are 50 fps faster at 100 yards.
That certainly explains a few things to me. Ive never been very impressed with micro groove accuracy. Ive owned several, and NONE of them ever grouped very well. I got something like 3 inches @ 50 yards, more like 6 inches @ 100 yards. And generally have a flyer 1 in 5 .

This is hands down the most accurate, long range, 22 caliber rifle Ive ever seen or owned. CZ 455 Varmint. 200 yard shots are EASY. DSCN3973.JPG

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Old March 5th, 2017, 08:32 AM   #37
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCD327 View Post
That certainly explains a few things to me. Ive never been very impressed with micro groove accuracy. Ive owned several, and NONE of them ever grouped very well. I got something like 3 inches @ 50 yards, more like 6 inches @ 100 yards. And generally have a flyer 1 in 5 .

This is hands down the most accurate, long range, 22 caliber rifle Ive ever seen or owned. CZ 455 Varmint. 200 yard shots are EASY. Attachment 55905
WOW! thanks so much, I will work on this. The only thing I have really noticed is that my 50 yard competitive targets are as good as any of those of my competitors. I only use cci std as it groups the best for those events. I have almost always used cci solid minimags for 100 yards and they seem about the best in my 2 rifles. I just got some aquila super extras (not as hot as they sound, they are actually minimag solid in performance just to have a backup) anyway they showed really nicely in the american rifleman magazine a few months ago.

I am going to cook the numbers (except I don't have a chronograph ) so my tests will be with just groupings at my range here in the puget sound area. I only count shots with no wind in my trials.
I appreciate your constant support of all of use. You help to make my shooting fun.
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Old March 5th, 2017, 08:36 AM   #38
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DCD327,
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Ive never been very impressed with micro groove accuracy
My experience has been just the opposite. I have test fired many of my customer's rifles and found Marlin Microgroove barrels to be among the most accurate. I still have my old Marlin 81C that I bought with "snow shoveling money" when I was in high school some 56 years ago. I bought it used for $25 then had it D&T for a Weaver 4x scope. It is in retired status after shooting zillions of rounds but will still hold a decent group. I think it was one of Marlin's first rifles to have Microgroove rifling and has held up quite well.

One of my previous Marlins was a 45-70 in a Mod 1895. It had Microgroove rifling and accuracy really sucked with lead bullets .... not quite as bad with jacketed bullets. I sold the 1895 .... not so much because of poor accuracy but mostly because it kicked like a mule. If I judged all Microgroove Marlins using this gun as a reference, I would probably cop the same attitude as you.

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Old March 5th, 2017, 08:39 AM   #39
 
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I did...just didn't post all the targets...here it is...

thanks so much, physically, this makes perfect sense since they are, for all practical purposes so similar in profile, drag and weight. The target bears it out with the measured spread.
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Old March 5th, 2017, 09:41 AM   #40
 
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My favorite is a bit of barrel length on the gun.

Husqvarna 22 LR single shot with 24" barrel with a fine cross hair fixed power scope with eye shade.



At 25 yards its a single dot on the target. 3 shot group after dialing in the scope.




If I were to buy new - it would be a CZ ultra lux. 28" barrel.

CZ-USA CZ 455 Ultra Lux - CZ-USA

If your not going to use it for target all the time, then go with a lux.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 04:15 AM   #41
 
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Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Petrol and Powder, You need to spend more time at the range with a chronograph and less time listening to the Internet myths.

I have several 22 LR rifles with barrels as short as 18.5" and as long as 25". I have tested these rifles over a chronograph using a variety of 22 LR ammo. Here's the deal: velocity continues to increase as the barrel gets longer. With standard velocity 22 LR ammo, velocity peaks with a 22" barrel but does NOT drop below peak to at least 25". In other words, velocity will peak at 1080 fps with a 22" barrel and will remain at 1080 fps with a 25" barrel. High velocity 22 LR ammo continues to increase in velocity to at least 25" .... maybe more but that was the longest barrel I had.

Using 22 LR CCI Mini-Mag high velocity ammo rated at 1255 fps from a 24" barrel, my factory 10/22 chronoed at 1185 fps with a 18.5" barrel. My Savage has a 21" barrel and is a bolt action so there is no loss from the automatic action. It chronoed at 1245 fps compared to my 10/22 with a 20" Green Mountain barrel that chronoed at 1210 fps. My Marlin 39A has a 24" barrel and it chronographed at 1265 fps. Next was my CZ, clocking in at 1260 fps with its 24 3/4" barrel. My Remington Mod 511 with a 25" won the contest with a speed of 1268 fps. The only exception to the rule was my Marlin .... its 24" barrel came in a close second probably because of the Microgroove rifling.

So what I determined was .... depending on the ammo used, 19~21" is the optimum barrel length. After 21", velocity does indeed increase but only by a token amount. Longer barrels make the gun heavier, increase harmonics, and are more clumsy to handle. All guns were chronographed at 10 feet from the muzzle. A 10 shot string was fired and my CED chronograph computed the average velocity for each gun. Different brands of ammo did not chrono at the same speeds but still followed the "the longer the barrel, the higher the speed" rule.

The myth about barrel friction slowing down the bullet is a bunch of crap .... at least to 25". Why? After a lead bullet has been engraved by the rifling, it takes very little pressure to push the bullet down the bore. 22 LR ammo uses a very slow burning powder .... much like H-110 where it takes about 15" of bullet travel to get a complete burn. Pressure peaks at about 24,000 psi with just an inch of bullet travel but because the powder keeps burning, continuous pressure will increase velocity .... much like a 357 Magnum cartridge in a rifle.

The condition of the bore will have a direct impact on muzzle velocity. As an example, I chronographed my old Winchester Mod 1906 (made in 1912). It has a 20" barrel but because the bore is pretty much shot out, it only clocked a speed of 1150 fps .... less than my 18.5" 10/22. As noted above, my Marlin 39A's 24" barrel almost tied the Remingtom 25" likely due to the different type of rifling.

Most experts agree ... a 19~21" barrel is optimum. Some people misinterpret that to mean velocity peaks at 19~21" when indeed it continues to increase slightly. In my above tests, The difference between my 21"Savage and my 25" Remington was only 23 fps .... but it was indeed an increase.
I'm going to have to disagree on some of this based on actual tests I've done. More than likely the differences in our experiences come from variables that neither one of us can identify but regardless, I obtained different results.

Using the same lots of standard velocity ammunition (including Remington standard velocity and I believe Eley Tenex), they all maxed out at around a 20" barrel. Now, that being said, the most accurate rifles in that test had longer barrels. One of those rifles was my Remington 541T and the other was my friend's Winchester 52.
I don't recall there being a huge spread in velocity between the shorter barrels and the longer ones but it was over 20 years ago.
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Old March 6th, 2017, 12:05 PM   #42
 
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This is going to be a long post, I apologize, but for those interested in rimfire accuracy, I have something to offer on the subject.

First my credentials: (Not offered as being braggadocios, but so the reader will know that I have considerable knowledge/experience on the subject.)

15 years involved in rimfire benchrest at the local, State, Regional, National and International level. I've competed in mostly 50 yard and 50 meter matches sanctioned by IR50/50, ARA and WRABF but have shot rimfires out to 200 yards. I won the 2015 IR50/50 Unlimited Nationals, came in second overall in the 2010 3 Gun Nationals, NY State Champion in 2014, 3 time Massachusetts State Champion (plus several others), inducted into the IR50/50 Hall of Fame (Gold Level) in 2016. I worked closely with a noted and very respected and successful rimfire benchrest gunsmith, doing some testing of his new builds and testing ammo, actions, barrels etc.

To answer the OP's question. At our local level matches we will get beginners who show up with reasonably priced factory .22s. The CZ and Savage bolt guns are the ones that stick out in my mind as being decent. Some very tricked out 10/22s will do better then those, but for the money some people spend on them, they could get a real good used custom benchrest rifle and be way ahead of the game. For high-end factory rifles, Anschutz, Cooper, Remington and Kimber are a significant cut above the tricked out 10/22s, with the Remington 40X and Anschutz 52 actions being used sometimes as the basis for a custom build. Custom actions by Turbo, Stiller Precision and 10X comprise the foundation for the bulk of world class benchrest being successfully used, with custom premium barrels (Shilen, Lilja, Muller Works, Benchmark, Broughton) with tuners attached.

Any discussion on outdoor precision benchrest shooting and accuracy whether it be at 50 yards, 50 meters, 100 yards or further that does not include information about shooting conditions, or, are shot by someone who does not have wind flags out and the knowledge/experience with using them to dope the wind is useless/pointless. By far the biggest impediment to rimfire accuracy at long distance are the weather conditions (wind velocity and direction, temperature, humidity, sunny, overcast etc). If you don't have flags out and the ability to understand specifically what they are telling you as to where you need to hold-off for the shot; if you are just holding center and pulling the trigger, you can not with any assurance make a determination as to the accuracy potential of a rifle/ammo combo. The conditions will be the greatest variable affecting accuracy at long distance, much more so than will be the differences between brand X or brand Y factory rifle or ammo. Posting groups and using them to try to come up with some demonstration of superiority under such circumstances is pointless and often misleading. It is a snapshot of one point in time, in unknown conditions, nothing more. Oh, and there is no such thing as totally calm conditions. There is always something going on that will affect accuracy to some degree. Many world-class rimfire benchrest shooters will tell you that they would much rather shoot in 5-10 mph wind conditions than "calm" conditions. While I won one Sporter Class event at a Nationals in 20+ mph conditions, I always preferred the calmer conditions, with a 3 o'clock 1-5 mph wind on an overcast day being my perfect condition.

Barrel length and accuracy. The most important part of a barrel as it regards to accuracy, is not any arbitrary length, nor the number of grooves, nor the method which the rifling was imparted. It is the internal condition of the bore itself (straightness, uniformity in diameter and concentricity), the quality of the chamber (straightness, leade angle, absence of burrs or chips, amount of bullet engraved by the rifling etc.) and whether the crown was placed at a tight spot in the bore. I am aware of top level rimfire benchrest matches having been won by rifle barrels with 2,3,4,5,6, and 8 groove barrels, with rifling twists of 1 in 16" to 1 in 19" rates and in many different barrel lengths.

With regards to placement of the crown on a barrel. Top benchrest gunsmiths will not be able to tell their customers the final length of their barrels. When they receive a custom barrel blank (even one that has been taper lapped as most of them are) they will push several lead slugs down the bore, feeling for any tight or loose spots in the bore. Most barrels will have them. The thing the gunsmith is looking for is to place the crown at a tight spot. A barrel crowned at a tight spot at 18" or 21" or 27" is better than one crowned at a loose spot at any other specified length. I have personally seen barrels that have been rejected and returned to some of the most respected custom barrel maker because they had the tightest spot near the middle of the barrel blank. The ideal rimfire benchrest barrel would be one that is taper-lapped with no discernible loose spots, with a continual, gradual taper of the bore to the crown at a length in the 24" - 26" range. Adjustable barrel tuners (such as the Harrells) are universally used in all the non-sporter class events in rimfire benchrest. These tuners change the barrel harmonics or vibration patterns and work best with longer, less stiff barrels.

Regarding barrel length and velocity. I believe this has been researched and I can't remember the details or findings as it was not important to me. (I bet it can be googled though). I cared about accuracy, not velocity. However, the only way to test this that would have any validity at all, is to start out with a very long barrel, a reliable chronograph and a known lot of ammo (tested to have a low standard deviation) and to record velocities as you cut that barrel down at say 1/2" increments. Testing different rifles with different barrels, at different barrel lengths will not give you good data. One thing I can tell you regarding velocity and accuracy, we want match ammo that starts out subsonic. Ammo that starts out supersonic and will go thru the transition to subsonic before impacting the target is less accurate. Now, some will find this to be hard to believe but - - - subsonic rimfire ammo will be less deflected by the wind than supersonic rimfire ammo. It's true.

If anyone has any specific question about rimfire accuracy, I will do my best to answer them and if I don't know the answer, I will so state that and not guess at one or BS you.

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Old March 7th, 2017, 06:03 PM   #43
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Bill B,
Quote:
Ammo that starts out supersonic and will go thru the transition to subsonic before impacting the target is less accurate.
Most of your post is very accurate however there's no way I can buy into your above quoted concept. Some facts: The following data was taken from CCI's factory specs: 40gr CCI Mini Mags rated at 1235 fps from an 18.5" barrel or 1255 fps from a 24" barrel. The ballistic coefficient is .130. Assuming a 24" barrel and a MV of 1255 fps, the bullet will go through sonic transition (about 1150 fps) at 30 yards +or- a yard or so based on altitude, temperature, and humidity. If sonic transition was such a big deal, you would not see tight groups at 50 yards and especially at 100 yards. When HV bullets go through sonic transition, the result is no more than a slight "bump in the road", then within the next few yards, the bullet will totally recover and continue on an accurate path. If there is excessive bullet damage, sonic transition can be just enough to cause bullets to lose gyro stability, which will indeed will cause gross inaccuracy. This rarely happens because bullets (or the rifle's bore) would have to be in really bad shape. Fact is, standard velocity 22 LRs are usually match grade and as such, their bullets are way more perfect than bullets in normal high velocity ammo. Bullet perfection is the primary reason why standard velocity ammo is more accurate and it has absolutely nothing to do with sonic transition. I think most of us have experienced "one holers" at 50 yards or more using normal high velocity ammo. If sonic transition were truly a factor, there's no way that could possibly happen.

That brings up bore fouling .... standard velocity bullets are "naked lead" .... no plating and are launched at 1050~1080 fps. This is a near perfect speed where bullet hardness matches chamber pressure and results in a foul free bore. With 22 LR high velocity ammo, typically launched at speeds of 1200 fps or faster, lead bullets will foul the bore (think Remington Thunder Bolts or Winchester Wild Cats) so most bullets are plated or washed with a copper or brass coating. Normally plating is enough to prevent bore fouling but it introduces another variable .... plating thickness variations, which in turn has the same affect as bullet damage.

As I have stated many times .... 100 yard accuracy is a lot to ask from any 22 LR rifle. Considering 22 LR ammo has a very low MV, an extremely poor ballistic coefficient (typically under .16), and a slow twist rate (1:16 is the industry standard), it is hard to believe a 22 LR will shoot a decent group at 100 yards .... yet some rifles do. To compound the issue, bulk and non-premium grade 22 LR ammo have variations in bullet diameter from .222~.225", bullet weight can vary a few tenths of a grain, plus many are shipped with dents and dings in the bullet's exposed surfaces. When chronographed, it is not unusual to see 100 fps variation (ES) in HV ammo, whereas match grade 22 LR seldom vary more than 25 fps from a good barrel. . This "quality" issue is compounded by damage done to bullets as they are fed from a magazine to the chamber and damage inflicted on bullets by variations in bore diameter and rifling depth.

22 LR bullets are very sensitive to wind drift .... mostly because of their poor BC and the time it takes for them to reach the target. As an example, a 223 Rem with a 55gr bullet (also a very poor BC) is rated at 3240 fps from a 24" barrel. The bullet spin rate for a 22 LR with a 1:16 twist rate @ 1200 fps MV is 54,000 RPM compared to the 223 Rem with a 1:9 twist rate is 259,200 RPM .... almost 5 times faster. The above CCI MiniMag takes .2713 seconds to travel 100 yards whereas the 223 Rem only takes .1086 seconds .... about 2.5 times faster. This means when 22 LR bullets are fired at 100 yards, they are exposed to gravity for a longer period of time, thus they drop more .... and they are exposed to wind for a longer period of time, which means they drift more, and because the spin rate is so slow, the gyro effect starts losing ground at 50~75 yards. It is totally counterintuitive but slower standard velocity bullets do indeed deal with wind drift better than high velocity bullets.

As it turns out, 22 LR HV bullets are spinning fast enough to maintain gyro stability to about 50~75 yards .... depending the quality of the bullet and of course the bore quality of the rifle. With most typical production rifles and decent ammo, you can shoot pretty good groups at that range then bullet damage will start taking its toll. This is about the distance where bullet spin has decayed enough where slight bullet damage will cause the bullet to start becoming unstable and begin to yaw .... meaning the nose of the bullet is not pointing straight downrange. As yaw continues to get worse, groups will open up. Chances are a high velocity bullet fired from the same rifle as a standard velocity bullet will NOT travel as far before it becomes unstable .... not because of the difference in velocity .... strictly the difference in bullet quality. Bulk grade bullets often come "pre-damaged" because they are loosely packed in a box rather than being packed where the bullets don't get dented and dinged.

When you combine a really good bore with really good ammo, bullets will tend to stay stable much farther downrange. Even though a typical 22 LR will drop 6" at 100 yards, it is still capable of producing excellent groups. As mentioned above .... it takes very little wind to have an adverse affect on accuracy at 100 yards but by reading the wind, you can shoot amazing groups with a match grade rifle and match grade ammo.

So .... you can sum up most 22 LR accuracy issues with one single cause .... bullet damage .... or lack thereof.
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Old March 7th, 2017, 09:50 PM   #44
 
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Old March 8th, 2017, 11:45 AM   #45
 
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>>"So .... you can sum up most 22 LR accuracy issues with one single cause .... bullet damage .... or lack thereof."<<


Your conclusion is overly simplistic (as perhaps my statement which you quoted was as well). Much more goes into the accuracy of match quality rimfire ammo (Eley, Lapua, RWS) than just the lack of bullet damage. I probably should have said, "All other things being equal, (i.e. quality of components) subsonic .22 ammo is more accurate than supersonic .22 ammo."

Eley and Federal (back when Federal once made true match ammo) once dabbled with producing match ammo that was supersonic. Neither are currently made because they weren't successful. Eley Match and Tenex ammo boxes are marked with the speed of the particular production lot they contain. These speeds typically vary from 1040 to 1080 fps, all subsonic.

When trying to consistently hit the .03" dot that is the X on an IR50/50 target, at 50 yards, even a "slight bump in the road" is enough to take one out of a match. The accuracy advantage of subsonic match ammo is something that rimfire benchrest shooters know about first hand, and that does take into consideration that subsonic ammo has less wind drift, and the less we have to hold-off, the better the results.

Below is an excerpt from a Field and Stream article on the Pros and Cons of Subsonic Cartridges. It doesn't state anything that I haven't known for years.

"--- rimfires are where subsonics really shine. A standard .22 LR load delivers around 1200 fps and 140 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The typical subsonic .22 LR offers around 1050 and 100, respectively, a negligible difference to any rabbit. So while the energy to cleanly kill small game remains, the downrange crack vanishes. And as smallbore competitors know, subsonic .22 LRs are more accurate than supersonic .22s because they exhibit 37 percent less wind deflection due to the disproportional increase of air resistance near the sound barrier. When subsonic .22 LR ammo and a suppressor are combined, you’ve got a whisper-quiet, deadly accurate small-game firearm."

Last edited by Bill B; March 14th, 2017 at 09:16 AM.
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