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Specialty 22 Rounds

By: PACO

 
     I ran tests back a few years ago with specialty 22 RF's. I thought I would update them and use the ACUíRZR tool also. Testing was done with a Colt Trooper revolver chambered in 22 RF, and the CZ 452/24" Rifle. And how they perform with some 22 RF ammo both standard and ACUíRZED with the ACUíRZR Tool. I thought I would expand on that with information on some of the better 22 RF ammo on the market today... we are in the age of specialties in most fields... and 22 ammo is no exception...
 

     As the photo of the 22 RF boxes show... I had the opportunity to test a good deal of what is out there...but still there was a whole lot I couldnít get a hold of to add to this testing project... also as far as accuracy goes, the 22 RF is one of those rounds that the guns chambered for them are usually very particular about the ammo they give best accuracy with, ACUíRZED or not... so what is accurate in my guns may not be as good in yours... or what is not good in mine, may be very good in yours.

     For example. I have a few boxes of Eley 22 CB/wadcutter shaped caps left. From two of my rifles and three of my handguns they are very good... accurate from very fine, to minute of squirrel head at 25 yards. From the rest of my 22s they are stinkers. If I hadnít tested them in those guns only, and didnít know that 22RF ammo is generally like this, I would have thought the stuff was just no good. Moral of the story... test ammo in as many 22RF guns as you can... and before you pronounce any new 22RF gun or ammo inaccurate, try a number of brands in your guns if possible, till you find the combination you likes best... Rem C.B. Caps, Subsonic Remington, Aguila (no powder), Wolf Performance Match, Aguila Super Extra shorts and long rifle, Yellow Jacket Remington, Win Power Point, CCI Quik Shok, Remington Cyclone, Aguila 22-SSS, Remington Subsonic, CCI Stinger, Remington Thunderbolt. One thing that did become very apparent, when the 22RFs (no matter what brand) were ACUíRZED the velocity went up. A little with some brands like the subsonic types, and a good deal with the high and hyper velocity types. What the ACUíRZING does do with the subsonic types is vastly improve their accuracy, Aguilaís no powder rounds for example actually grouped from the Colt... where they wonít with out ACUíZRING.

     As far as hunting with 22RFs goes for me... I donít. I will use them for exterminating small vermin, garbage birds, and a quail or two on occasion for the pot. But for the most part, I use loaded down center-fires on any animals over a several pounds or more. That is personal choice on my part... you may rightly feel differently. And with that, I also think range and nose shape have more to do with 22RF killing power than most realize.

     For a very extended period I and a number of friends, we worked at four position 22RF (among other calibers) rifle target shooting in NRA matches... as well as NRA handgun matches... I have no idea how much 22RF ammo I have burned in contest, practice, plinking and vermin... but it is quite a lot Iím sure. For a one year period in 1972 getting ready for National Matches at Camp Perry, I fired a minimum of one brick of 22RFs a week for a full year.... I donít burn that much today...

     But I test a goodly amount of ammo every year.... since I put the ACUíRZR on the market, I have increased with a lot of 22RF shooting, in testing the tools and such. Sure is a strain going to the range every few days and shooting up all that ammo.... but someone has to do it.....

CB And BB Caps

     I have used a number of CB caps. Most of them are silent in 22 rifles. And very low in sound from decent length handgun barrels. The Eley wadcutter shape in dry phone books penetrates the best with near 550 pages. The Aguila ĎNo Powder 22RFsí penetrated the lest at 320 pages...and CCI CB caps came in at 412 pages from rifles. Out of handguns the Aguila was the quietest... CCI had a snapping sound and Eley sounded like a kidís cap pistol. Again accuracy seemed to have more to do with the gunís appetite than anything else. Though if I had to prioritize, Eley would be first in everything... accuracy, power, excellent nose shape... Aguila next for accuracy, itís 20 grain bullet is pointed so in pest flesh it does quite well, and the CCI last. Strange as it may seem, Aguilaís SniperSubSonic ammo with itís 60 grain bullet and much more power, sounds about the same as CB caps from handguns. And it doesnít drop from the point of aim out to 25 to 40 yards like the other CBs do. And carries a great deal more energy. When CBs, Subsonic and such are ACUíRZED the diameter of the bullet is enlarged giving better accuracy because they come out of the tool perfectly round, but also the extra friction ups the velocity and striking energy.

     The Aguila ĎNo Powderí ammo has something else going for it, it is in long rifle cases... I like that... less fouling in the 22 chambers. CCI makes a CB cap long, I had no luck with it in anything. Certainly the noses I reformed and others on the CB caps had a very noticeable change in killing power on garbage birds. I donít like Starlings, they have very bad habits and are very dirty birds, they carry a variety of diseases that hurt house hold pets more than people. Their only reason for existence is for bullet testing.

     We had an Irish Setter when we were living in the wilderness years ago. He was wonderful, but really past his age for bird hunting anymore. He was in his sunset years... so when I would take out a rifle he would get all excited like bird dogs do, but his heart wasnít really in it.

     One day he was out in the back of the house and I shot a nasty starling off an electric power line. OlíMike saw the bird fall, his instincts kicked in and he looped as best he could to the downed bird, scooped it up in his mouth, turned to run back to me. Stopped suddenly... dropped the bird, looked down at it, and then vomited all over it!!!!

     I always try to keep a supply of CB caps on hand... a good supply. Never know when you need a silent load. I have a trick I use to get rid of the neighborhood cats from coming in and fouling the property. I really donít want to hurt them, just dissuade them from returning. I call it "tail nipping". Using a scoped rifle I have set for close range... I hit them right on the tip end of the tail with a CB. They rarely come back for seconds, the damage is slight... they lick it clean and it heals Quickly... but the lesson is learned. The new "No Powder" Aguila caps are great for this, because they are so low powered and silent. At a sedate 405 fps from the rifle they only generate around 8 pounds... a little better than an air rifle load. From the 6 inch handgun they went 432fps.

     Remember 22RFs reach their peak velocity in 16 inch barrels. With CB cap type loads that is most likely closer to 10 inches. So out of my 24 inch rifle they actually showed almost 30 fps less velocity all without ACUíRZING. Once they are reformed the velocity goes up. CCI CB caps went 600 from the 2 Ĺ inch barrel, and 758 from the 6 inch Colt, and 809 from the 24" rifle. From an old 16 Ithaca single shot they went 888 fps. Very silent from the rifle... as all CBs seem to be. WWís CBs went 556 from the little autoloader, 650 from the 6 inch Colt and 719 from the 24 inch barrel. Aquilaís SSS ammo with itís 60 grain bullet does 665 from the 2 Ĺ inch, 826 from the Colt and 950 from the rifle. And with that bullet weight it is the best killer of the quiet to silent loads. Giving 120 foot pounds of muzzle energy from the rifle and 90 lbs from the Colt.

     I test the expansion and killing properties of 22RFs by firing them into ice. I fill an old plastic milk jug or three liter soda bottle with water and freeze it. Most 22s will stop in them and you can see how they perform, the  energy dispersion is very easy to see. And after the water melts, you can recover the bullet. And compare the performance. I write on the plastic bottle what bullet/ammo is in them, if I am testing a number of ammo types with a number of bottles, (alas, short term memory when you get old is untrustworthy). This doesnít mean thatís how they will react in vermin and varmints... it is just a comparison between standard shapes and the ACUíRZED shapes for maximum potential performance.

     Aguila must use pure lead, the no powder load called the Aguila Super Colibri, after hitting the ice lost only a grain in weight. As you can also see by the photo, the 60 grain bullet is so long that Aguila uses the short case to keep the over all length of the 22 long rifle, so it will function thru long rifle actions. Works fine in most of my auto pistols... up to a point. The same with two of my rifles... but if the rifling isnít fast enough accuracy goes out the window... remember you are using a bullet that is over 33% longer and a velocity that is very low. In my CZ rifle and my Anschutz Mod. 64 Silhouette heavy barrel it goes into very small groups... in my Rossi pump it goes sideways at 25 yards... you have to test.

     This SSS ammo is called subsonic... and that is exactly what it is... not silent, but quiet. It is the bulletís weight that makes it a fine short range killer of vermin. I like it better ACUíRZED than the CBs, unless I need total silence.

High Velocity And Hyper Velocity Ammo

     One would believe that when a box of 22RF ammo states it is High Velocity...or High Speed...that it is exactly that. Well mayhaps industryís definition of high velocity and mine are different. I figure high speed loads should go at least 1450 fps from a rifle. But industry seems to think anything over 1200 fps is high velocity. At least thatís the way it played out. For example Remingtonís ĎHigh Velocityí 36 grain Cyclone... which sounds impressive... but it just about broke 1300 fps from the rifle, and only 1044 from the 6 inch Colt. You can see by the chart what really isnít high velocity, the list is too long to repeat here. So let me tell you what ammo did show decent high velocity.

     Hyper velocity... only three brands did that... CCI Stingers at 1667, Quik Shok at 1716, Aguila Super Max at 1788 fps were really hyper velocity. Surprisingly the ammo that started it all... the Stinger... is the lowest in velocity of all hypers. Aguilaís SuperMax really broke 1800 fps but the average of five was brought down by one that was lower in velocity than the rest. This ammo is exceptionally accurate in my CZ... going into a ragged hole at 25 yards. Itís pure lead and a hollow point, and it dissolved most of the upper body of a rat I caught in the high desert... hit him at a long paced 77 steps.

     The deadliest hyper bullet in 22RF long rifles is the Quik Shok... it separates into three sections in the animal and tears on thru with 3 wound channels. It is the only bullet I would feel safe with popping a coyote from 75 to 100 yards. It would have to be a set shot into the lungs... but this ammo would do the job cleanly. Though Stingers are excellent with decent to very good accuracy they are still vermin bullets... they are very frangible. I shot a good sized starling that came in to chase all the song birds away and then eat up the seeds my wife put out. At about 30 feet the Stinger hit him right in the chest... it produced a very neat expanding ball of feathers, about the size of a soft ball... carried away on the morning breeze. The rifle velocities are certainly hyper and the accuracy was good to excellent from four rifles.

     Even from the Colt revolver the velocity was better than some of the so called high velocity ammo from rifles. At 1375 fps, Quik Shok with that tri-sectioning bullet, good sized vermin are still in plenty of trouble well past 50 yards. My pick for the Hyper velocity ammo is still the new Aguila Super Max. Because of the accuracy and the power... it is first choice for walking in the desert and woods with a 22RF handgun or rifle. The Quik Shok is next and for larger animals at further range... but the cost makes them prohibitive to use large quanities in practice and plinking. Luckily they shoot to about the same point of aim as the Super Max HPs. So I keep a number of them in my pocket just in case a long shot for a larger animal pops up.

     From the revolver Super Max goes 1383 fps and keeps itís gilt edged accuracy at Ĺ inch at 25 yards.

     Stingers clock in at 1351 fps from the Colt and the accuracy is fairly good... under an inch at 25 yards. As I said the Quik Shok runs 1375 fps, and itís accuracy is just a small amount less than the Super Max. So all three of these are very good... and if you are looking for a hyper 22RF they are worth a test in your guns... again every 22RF gun is different with accuracy....

     Of the true High Velocity 22RF ammo I tried, it was Remington Viper, Federal Classic Hyper Vel (marked hyper velocity but itís not) and CCIs Mini Mag +V HP and Solids. They all come close or brake 1500 fps from the rifle...Mini Mag +V did 1515 from the 20 inch rifle and 1480 fps from the 24 inch rifle... the other two broke 1500 from the 24 inch barrel. Three stayed under an inch at 50 yards from three rifles. Thatís very good ammo. Viperís accuracy from the CZ was good... but it opened to just under two inches at 50 yards from the other two rifles.

     Remingtonís Viper gave good accuracy from the Colt handgun and 1186 fps velocity which isnít bad, but not great. When you consider WW's Wildcat which is supposed to be high velocity only got 1273 fps from a RIFLE! PMC makes Zapper High Velocity 22 RF ammo... which it isnít. I wouldnít even consider it at 1109 fps from the Colt and only 1309 fps from the rifle. Except for one fact, it is the most accurate ammo I have ever fired in my Anschutz Target Rifle... it gives a ragged and very small hole for five shots at 25 yards. And at fifty yards it is still a ragged five shot hole, but now about 1/3 of an inch. Where was this stuff when I shot contest???? This is the 22RF Anschutz Jim Taylor tried to trade me out of back in the late 1980s... but I kept changing the subject every time he brought it up.

     CCI Blazer ammo is marked standard velocity yet it is 924 fps from the 2Ĺ inch barrel, 1080 from the 6 inch Colt and 1354 from the 24 inch rifle. Not bad for an inexpensive ammo... and the accuracy was 1 and Ĺ inches at 50 yards... but it was in a cluster group not a string like some that gave a little better accuracy. The cluster groups indicate that the ammo is trying to group and you have a better chance at hitting a small target then with ammo that strings. I ACUíRZED the noses of the Blazers... The accuracy improves. But the expansion is very good from the rifle... where the original round nose tends to stay fairly the same.

     Winchester Wildcat High Velocity isnít very high at 1273 fps from the rifle but it is very accurate, and cost is reasonable. Good for practice. Winchesterís SuperX HP High velocity reaches 1345 fps from the rifle and 1114 fps from the Colt. Again a good accurate mid cost 22RF ammo for practice. Winchesterís Power Point did about the same in velocity as the SuperX but it is copper coated. Too expensive for what you get, unless it is very accurate from your guns... it wasnít in mine. Winchesterís Super Silhouette was a surprise it went 1306 fps from the rifle and 1031 from the Colt but it was very accurate... I expected it to be subsonic because most target ammo that is, gives much better accuracy... fooled me. Of course out of a handgun it is subsonic... and handgun accuracy was very good.

     So what did all this testing do for me. Well it gave me a new hyper velocity ammo in the Aguila Super Max... I will be buying several bricks of that. Also their Sniper-Sub-Sonic is really the best CB type round I have come across in a long time... even if it isnít silent, it is very quiet from a rifle, and not bad from the 6 inch revolver, with their noses ACUíRZED vermin at across the yard ranges. Eley CB caps are still the silent ones for me... that hasnít changed. For the deadliest 22RF on the market with hyper velocity and good accuracy in handguns and rifles the Quik Shok is out front by much. Soon Iím going to whistle up a coyote and try the Q/Shok on him... I wouldnít do that with any other 22RF ammo. Also for small handguns like my little 2 Ĺ inch Ponex the Q/Shok is better than anything else at 1110 fps and the bullet still separates like itís designed too.

     There are a plethora of 22RF ammo types and brands out there... a little testing will show you the best for your guns... I hope I have helped a little to separate some of the wheat from the chaff...

- PACO

 

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