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Old 01-31-2007, 08:23 AM   #1
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Snake's Great Cheap/Bulk .22LR Ammo Shootout

Since 2004, I’ve been testing five kinds of cheap/bulk ammo, plus CCI MiniMags as a “control,” in a number of different scoped rifles (somewhere around 24). Here’s how they stack up in the best 19 rifles (five were things like an AR-7 and a .22LR conversion in several different AR-15s, which weren’t too accurate, so I excluded them from the data below to give a better picture of performance in “typical” .22 rifles).

An Anschutz 64 shot ALL SIX kinds of ammo into less than ¼” groups at 25 yards.

Due to functioning problems, etc., a few of the ammos did not complete the test in all rifles. The number of rifles for each ammo type is noted below.

All figures are the average of the best five of six 5-shot groups at 25 yards, benchrested.

#1 Winchester Dynapoints (19 rifles)
Overall average: .352”
Best grouping rifle (except Anschutz): Norinco JW-15, .291”
Worst grouping rifle: Ruger 10/22 barrel band removed, .513”
Number rifles grouping .000”-.375”: 12
Number rifles grouping .375”-.500”: 6
Number rifles grouping .500”-.625”: 1
Number rifles grouping over .625”: 0

#2 CCI MiniMags (16 rifles)
Overall average: .376”
Best grouping rifle (except Anschutz): Rhineland R22, .182”
Worst grouping rifle: Marlin Glenfield 75, .647”
Number rifles grouping .000”-.375”: 10
Number rifles grouping .375”-.500”: 2
Number rifles grouping .500”-.625”: 3
Number rifles grouping over .625”: 1

#3 Remington Golden Bullets (15 rifles)
Overall average: .414”
Best grouping rifle (except Anschutz): Squires-Bingham SB-20, .275”
Worst grouping rifle: Ruger 10/22 floated barrel, .588”
Number rifles grouping .000”-.375”: 5
Number rifles grouping .375”-.500”: 7
Number rifles grouping .500”-.625”: 3
Number rifles grouping over .625”: 0

#4 Federal 510 Lightning/Champion (17 rifles)
Overall average: .434”
Best grouping rifle (except Anschutz): Ruger 77/22V, .208”
Worst grouping rifle: Marlin/Glenfield 75, .830”
Number rifles grouping .000”-.375”: 7
Number rifles grouping .375”-.500”: 4
Number rifles grouping .500”-.625”: 4
Number rifles grouping over .625”: 2

#5 Winchester Xpert (19 rifles)
Overall average: .454”
Best grouping rifle (except Anschutz): Ruger 77/22V, .253”
Worst grouping rifle: Ruger 10/22 barrel band removed, .831”
Number rifles grouping .000”-.375”: 6
Number rifles grouping .375”-.500”: 8
Number rifles grouping .500”-.625”: 1
Number rifles grouping over .625”: 4

#6 Federal Walmart Value Pack (19 rifles)
Overall average: .580”
Best grouping rifle (except Anschutz): Higgins 31 (High Standard) .417”
Worst grouping rifle: Ruger 10/22 barrel band removed, .839”
Number rifles grouping .000”-.375”: 1
Number rifles grouping .375”-.500”: 5
Number rifles grouping .500”-.625”: 8
Number rifles grouping over .625”: 5

Comments:

Winchester Dynapoints: Excellent functioning; didn’t work in only one rifle (Higgins 31). Very consistent accuracy regardless of gun used. 95%+ are subsonic but a few crack. Very low number of misfires. Copper-washed and shoots very clean. IMHO, overall the best of the cheap ammo.

CCI Minimags: Used as a “standard price” control ammo (now about 5c a shot or more at Walmart). Very good functioning but somewhat “hot” and went full-auto in a couple guns. Almost no misfires. 100% supersonic with consistent report. Consistently good ammo in a wide range of guns. Copper-washed AND wax-lubed, both. IMHO, if your rifle won’t shoot either Winchester Dynapoints or CCI MiniMags well (or both), it’s probably the gun, not the ammo.

Remington Golden Bullets: These make no fewer than FOUR different sounds from rifles: normal subsonic report, normal supersonic report, a very “hot” sounding supersonic crack, and a very quiet, almost squiblike report. Oddly, the obviously different power levels don’t seem to affect either functioning or 25-yard accuracy, and even the “squib” sounding rounds all exited the barrel, even 24”-26” barrels. Functioning was excellent in everything but the Higgins 31. Accuracy quite good in some rifles at 25 yards, only so-so in others. Also works particularly well in semiauto handguns. Highest number of misfires/duds of any ammo tested, but they do give you 50 “extra” rounds in every box.

Federal Lightning/Champion #510: Consistent supersonic report. Lubed lead bullet. Runs fine in some semiautos, won’t function at all in others. Outstanding accuracy in some guns, very disappointing performance in others. Very few misfires. I use this stuff exclusively in my 77/22V now, and don’t bother wasting it in anything else.

Winchester XPert: Lubed lead bullet of truncated/SWC shape. Consistent supersonic crack. Feeds and functions fine in some semiautos, not at all in others (strangely, it worked fine in the Higgins 31, which was the ONLY rifle that wouldn’t run Dynapoints). Delivers outstanding accuracy in some guns, only so-so in others. Somewhat dirty. A few duds/misfires in every box, though not as many as Rem GBs. Generally a good ammo for bolt-actions and revolvers. My load of choice in several of my rifles and pistols.

Federal “Walmart Bulk” Value-Pack: Copper-washed, very clean burning. Consistent supersonic crack, but seems to be the lowest-powered of the supersonic ammo. Extremely reliable feeding in everything, but sometimes doesn’t develop the power to fully operate the action in auto handguns with full magazines (first round or two in the mag only). Mediocre or poor accuracy consistently across the board; only in the Anschutz did it shoot less than 3/8”. Most lots have few if any misfires but some boxes can have quite a few. Most variation lot-to-lot of any ammo tested. Due to its reliability, low cost, easy availability, and cleanliness, this is good plinking or “combat practice” ammo but if you are looking for any kind of real accuracy, this would be my LAST choice of the six ammos tested here.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:43 AM   #2
 
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You should submit these reviews to magazines. This is the kind of review I like to read. Very good..
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:50 AM   #3
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Awesome report.

I've done quite a bit of experimentation in the .22 category (there really should be some sort of 12 step program for .22lr addicts).

Your results are quite similar to mine. I've found CCI Mini-Mags to be such a good load that I also consider them a "control" load.

I've also found that Winchester T-22 Target is consistently accurate way outside it's price range, often competing right up there with the best RWS, Eley or Federal Gold Medal Match. T-22 is a steal price wise.

Finally, when it comes to inexpensive blaster ammo, the Dynapoints have shown to be a consistent performer. Accuracy is usually better than it has a right to be, and all of my guns function it well.

You've done your homework well, and I agree, this is the sort of stuff that should be in print.
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunGeek
I've done quite a bit of experimentation in the .22 category (there really should be some sort of 12 step program for .22lr addicts).
There's the rub... .22's are the first step in handling centerfire addictions!
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:16 AM   #5
 
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Snake,

Have you or someone you know done any eval on this Russian stuff?

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=328439
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:06 PM   #6
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I haven't. I've only shot what's commonly available in my local area. There might be some reports of it in the Ammo forum over at rimfirecentral.com.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:53 PM   #7
 
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That was a great recommend, Snake. Already some folks blabbin about it.

Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:26 PM   #8
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RFC is THE PLACE for anything about .22s or any other kind of rimfires, old or new. If someone there doesn't know it, the info just ain't on the net!

The population over there is split three ways: There are the very high-end competitive shooters/benchresters/experimenters. Then there are the Average Joe types up through some fairly serious rimfirers (I'd put myself in this category). Then there are the beginners and the duffers, who are likely to think that a stock 10/22 stuffed with Walmart bulk ammo is a "tackdriver." Before taking advice over there, it's helpful to figure out from whom it's coming.
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:01 PM   #9
 
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Snake: just when I thought I had advanced to the lofty status of duffer, you put us down. Everyone knows that it is not the stock 10/22, but the stock Marlin 60 with $16 scope with the bulk Walmart ammo that drives tacks.

RFC is pretty good, but they don't have enough "Which .22 would you buy (for the wife, as a first gun...)" threads.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:11 PM   #10
 
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Snake,
Thanks very much for the info...great job! One question, you mention that the Remington GBs work well in semiauto handguns...what about the Winchester Dynapoint? Any input on how well it works in semiauto handguns, either in reliability or accuracy?
Thanks,
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Old 02-23-2007, 04:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullzaye
what about the Winchester Dynapoint? Any input on how well it works in semiauto handguns, either in reliability or accuracy?
Thanks,
I didn’t shoot the Dynapoints in every handgun available, but I did shoot them in eight or ten. I don’t recall any functioning problems in anything (only DP function problems in anything in my notes are with that tube-mag Higgins 31 rifle, which was very dirty at time of shooting), but I don’t believe I tried them in my smaller guns (PPK and so forth). They DID work flawlessly in Ciener 1911 and P.35 conversions, and in a Ruger MK II.

As to handgun accuracy, in my limited testing I didn’t find the Dynapoints to be as superior as they were in rifles. With one exception, they shot pretty much about like the Federal or Winchester XPerts or Rem GBs. That one exception was a scoped Ruger MK II, where the DPs grouped around half an inch at 50 feet while the other ammo types went into just around an inch or so.

I did do formal accuracy testing on three kinds of the ammo in four revolvers, Smith 17s in both 4” and 6” barrels, and Colt Diamondbacks in 4” and 6”. As you can see from the results below (average of five 6-shot groups at 50 feet), the DPs didn’t really stand out. The one standout combo in this test was the cheap Win XPerts in the 4” Smith.

Smith 17 4”:

Winchester XPert: .993
Federal Walmart Bulk: 1.544
Winchester Dynapoints: 1.404

Colt Diamondback 4”:

Winchester XPert: 1.726
Federal Walmart Bulk: 1.749
Winchester Dynapoints: 1.794

Smith 17 6":

Winchester XPert Walmart Bulk: 1.407
Federal Walmart Bulk: 1.576
Winchester Dynapoint: 1.832

Colt Diamondback 6":

Winchester XPert Walmart Bulk: 1.649
Federal Walmart Bulk: 1.621
Winchester Dynapoint: 1.430

Averages of all groups for all four guns:

S&W M17, 4": 1.313"
Colt DBK, 6": 1.579"
S&W M17, 6": 1.604"
Colt DBK, 4": 1.756"


Best single group: Smith 17 4", Win XPerts, .894
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Old 02-23-2007, 05:12 AM   #12
 
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Snake,
That's great! That was precisely what I was hoping to learn. While the DPs may not have been standouts in your handgun tests, at least they were quite average and reasonable in accuracy, and had no functioning problems. I was just hoping it wasn't a stellar performer in the rifles, but subpar in handguns. I'd prefer to have something that was at least average all-round.
Thanks very much for this info. Great job!
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Old 02-23-2007, 05:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullzaye
at least they were quite average and reasonable in accuracy, and had no functioning problems.
That's an accurate assessment of their handgun performance. I don't "waste" them in my handguns any more; I save the few I can get (and the price is now up, if you can get them at all) for my rifles that REALLY like them but don't shoot anything else especially well.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:56 PM   #14
 
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Thank you for taking the time to collect and record the info! That review there beats any magazine potentially biased review. It's good to see "real world" reviews of things. Good job!
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:35 AM   #15
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Thanks for the test . . . I note in your "comments" section that you experienced misfires with all brands of ammo.

What in the world has HAPPENED to rimfire ammo? Three or four decades ago, misfires were extremely rare - almost unheard of, in my experience, and almost always gun related - but starting in the early '80s, it seems dud rounds began showing up with distressing regularity in all brands.

I suspect aggressive cost cutting is the culprit . . .
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:55 AM   #16
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One brand of .22's I bought in bulk had nearly 10% misfire/dud rounds. I will try to figure which brand it was (at work right now). I think I have some left. Another brand, had only a few duds/misfires in a 500 round box. This was with 2 Browning Buckmarks. I will edit or reply later when I figure out which ammo it was that was so bad (I don't want to mistakenly name the wrong one).

I would appreciate if you (and anyone else) would post their ammo malfunction experiences/statistics with various brands of the bulk .22 ammo. Next time I go to the range, I will keep count of the bad rounds and manufacturers also.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V-Man
I would appreciate if you (and anyone else) would post their ammo malfunction experiences/statistics with various brands of the bulk .22 ammo. Next time I go to the range, I will keep count of the bad rounds and manufacturers also.
When I started my tests, I was carefully logging every malfunction. But I found that they were so rare that it simply wasn't worth the effort. I have a LOT more rounds downrange since then and while I don't have formal notes or numbers, I do have the following impressions.

1. In any semiauto, if you are getting duds, the first place to look is the GUN, not the ammo. There's better than a 50-50 chance your "duds" are gun-related, most likely a dirty chamber preventing the rounds from fully chambering. The hammer or striker then has to spend a great deal of its energy closing the bolt, and the round may or may not light off. Other dirt-related problems can include dirty bolt face or dirt in the firing pin hole/channel.

As to dud rates:

2. CCI Minimags very reliable. I think I've only had a grand total of TWO duds.

3. Federal Lightnings/Champions also very reliable. In 1300 very carefully documented round through my 77/22, I know I had one dud but can't remember if I had a second one. Either way, this gun clicking on this ammo is extremely rare.

4. Federal Bulk and Winchester Dynapoints: Also very reliable. I can't recall more than maybe four or five Dynapoint duds total, in dozens of different guns, over three years. MOST lots of the Fed Bulks are in the same league, but every now and then you get a box with a dud rate of maybe 2 percent.

5. Rem Goldens and Win XPerts: Highest dud rates. Don't have hard numbers but do have impression of more duds with these than with the other brands. Up to two percent might be considered normal. I know that when I shoot the Rem GBs in my Ciener 1911--which leaves a VERY deep impression in the rim, so it strikes strong--in every 100 rounds, I will have either one or two duds.

At the prices I pay for this cheap ammo, I consider duds an inconvenience or annoyance more than a major big deal. But you can understand why I do not recommend ANY .22 of ANY kind for defensive use.
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:05 AM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake45
Win XPerts: Highest dud rates.

Snakey - for the Appleseed shoot I took my son to, he used the XPerts in his CZ boltgun. To make things easier on him, I just took the top of the box off, and left it next to his shooting mat so that he could just dip into it as needed.

Although it rained most all the day (except when it started snowing), and the ammo wasn't what I'd call 'out of the elements', he never experienced a misfire or dud with any of that ammo. In the evening between the days, I poured what was left of the bulk box onto a hotel towel and rolled it all around to dry it - then back into the box. No problems the next day either.

IMHO, you hit the nail on the head when you said that with malfs, the first place to look is the stick.
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Old 07-27-2007, 05:32 AM   #19
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UPDATE

Winchester DynaPoints seem to be back in production, but many places, they are still hard to get. KMart now has them priced at $20+, when they have them at all. Although they have always performed well in all my guns, at that price, I'm saving the ones I have for use in the guns that ONLY shoot them well.

Federal Walmart Bulks now come in a red box instead of the gold that we bought for years. Accuracy is not improved at all, this is still the least accurate of the bulks I've tested. But I still shoot a lot of it in handguns for practice/training. The dud rate on the red-boxed stuff seems to be way up, too. In previous years, duds with this stuff were rare. Now I'm getting 2-5% duds in many of my guns. Most of these go off with a second strike on the same spot. Some won't go off at all. Sound is very consistent with these--they all seem to be supersonic, but just barely. They seem to be the lightest loaded of all the hi-vel bulks. In several of my .22 autopistols (and even a rifle or two), they will not run the gun for the first few rounds in the magazine (i.e., when the mag spring tension is highest) but work okay after that. I've also had them giving me some ejection problems in guns that have run on them flawlessly for years.

Winchester XPerts: These were in short supply for a while but now seem to be back in the pipeline, at least at my local Walmart. No change in them ballistically at all, but the price is now about $11.50/500 (weren't they a hair under $9 just two years ago?).

Remington Golden Bullets: Absolutely the MOST IMPROVED of the cheap bulk ammos. The batches I've bought this year have NOT made the four different sounds (from a rifle) I mentioned above. Now most of them make a normal supersonic crack (a little louder than the Fed Bulks), with a few subsonics. This stuff seems to be loaded quite hot! It will run perfectly in guns that are giving me the ejection problems with the Fed Bulk, it runs those pesky .22 autopistols at full mag capacity, and you can hear and even FEEL the difference in recoil shooting them side-by-side with Fed Bulks or Win Xs. I've put about 2500 rounds of them through my 5" Ciener 1911, which gives a VERY good firing pin swat, with a very consistent dud rate of 1-2% (I will almost always have one dud in 100 rounds, never more than two.) The Rem GBs are now my go-to ammo in at least five or six of my guns, either because they're the only bulk ammo that will run them or they've delivered better accuracy than anything else.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:31 AM   #20
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Thanks for the update Snake. My wife picked up 4 FEDERAL bulk packs from walmart yesterday. $9.80 per pack before taxes. It's in the red boxes as you described in your update. Havent had a chance to shoot any of it yet.
I have always had good results with CCI Mimmags. Both of my bone stock 10-22's feed reliabliy with it. Both rifles are bone stock "tack driving machines",......... at 10ft away.
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