Well, after 9 months of testing we are finally able to present our findings on which .22 ammunition we can recommend for Practical Mini Rifle shooters and the results are very interesting.
Its worth being clear here on our motivation for this test, we are not a 'reviewing' operation, we dont get kit from suppliers to write a glowing review on them, we aren't looking to set ourselves up as some kind of shooting TV show to act as a shop for suppliers, the reason we do these sorts of tests is simply to be able to use and recommend items with confidence.
We have two reasons for wanting to spend so much time getting our .22 ammo choice right, firstly we operate a lot of Experience Days where typically non firearms users come along to try our sport either for curiosity, research to see if they like it or simply for fun - to shoot a gun so its crucial that we have 100% reliability - no quicker way to ruin someones fun or put them off a sport by pulling a trigger and it going 'click' rather than 'bang'. We also want to encourage people so if they shoot 10 rounds at a target 50m away and score poorly it will put them off, we want everyone to leave thinking 'wow, I enjoyed that and I wasnt that bad' so we need an ammo that cycles and is accurate.
The second reason is for selfish reasons, we compete in Practical Mini Rifle in both the UKPSA and NRA series and we want to maximise our chances of winning so wherever we can minimise the areas of failure the better, we need an ammo that is accurate from 10m to 100m and cycles, without fail.
It is important to note here that firearms can be notorious in 'liking' some kinds of ammo, you will regularly hear of shooters saying 'oh my gun likes x ammo but doesnt like y', thats pretty common so whatever we suggest here it may well be your particular gun prefers something else. We also only used Smith and Wesson 15.22 guns for the test; its the most popular gun in practical mini rifle, we own 15 ourselves and its what we use so it makes sense to test a firearm that is commonly used. We used 9 Sport 2 models, no modifications other than Aimpoint red dot sights and Wildcat moderators. We shot the guns cross using 15 different magazines, at different levels of load (full, half full and last 2 rounds only), we shot with and without moderators, in all weathers and one single shooter did all of the testing (John). We also used two custom build S&W 15.22 guns, fitted with a combination of carbon fibre barrels at different lengths, with different triggers.
To test the ammo ability to cycle we shot all 11 rifles, cross shot with all the magazines all with different levels of load, we shot multiple exercises of double tap shots and 'mag dumps'. In total we shot 9000 rounds of .22 ammo!
The ammo tested:
- Eley Action
- Eley Contact
- Eley Force
- Eley Standard
- Remington Thunderbolt
- Winchester Standard
- CCI Mini Mag
- CCI Stinger
- CCI Standard
- Hornady Standard
- RWS Club 100
- RWS Club 50
- RWS Semi Auto
- RWS High Velocity
- RWS Club
- Geco Semi Auto
The ammo wasnt really selected as such, simply what we had in stock and what we know is commonly used in competition. For an idea of how we tested the ammo for cycling watch this video:
As well as the cycling test we tested accuracy. The ammo was tested in all 11 guns, at distances of 10m, 25m, 50m and 100m. We tested each ammo with a fixed bench test where the gun was fixed to a stand, the stand bolted to the bench to eliminate any input from the shooter but we also tested a series of 'double tap' exercises both from the bench and also from the hand so that we could test the effect of barrel movement (its hardly recoil on a .22 but the effect is the same) on the placement of the second shot.
So, after 9000 rounds, 11 guns, 15 magazines, 9 months, 16 different types of ammunition from 6 different suppliers what .22 ammunition do we now recommend? Well, watch here (scroll through the end if you just want the answer!)
Thanks for reading and watching!