Thursday, May 16, 2013

22 Long Rifle - The Cheap Stuff Ballistics Tests

Back in December of 2012, I came across a really good deal on a pair of pocket Berettas.  I decided to pick them up primarily for short barrel testing the abundance of 22 LR and 25 Auto ammunition that stores like Walmart always seemed to have on hand.  I decided to start 22 LR testing at the bottom of the price curve and purchased the cheapest 22 LR hollow points from the big 4 US makers that I happened to see on the shelf at my local store.  This consisted of Remington, Winchester, and Federal bulk packs and a 100 round box of CCI Mini-Mags.

I tested all four of these loads back in December, but only published the Winchester and Remington results before other test priorities came along and distracted me.  I'd like to recycle the gel block for other tests, so this week I'll go through the two remaining tests and recap the two tests that were previously published. 

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at the end of a Clear Ballistics Gel block.  I take the shot from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 2 inches away from the block.  Clear Ballistics Gel is calibrated to 10% ballistics gel density.  I shoot the block at the range and then bring it home to analyze the block and recover the bullets.  Immediately prior to shooting the block, I take a 5 shot velocity test over my chronograph.

Test Results:

The videos below document my entire tests from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts:
Since I did all the video work for these two tests at the same time, I really searched for some reason why the CCI Mini-Mag was the only bullet that tumbled in the trip down the block.  My theory is the relatively short and fat CCI bullet nose and much taller driving band are the contributing factors.  The close up photos below show the CCI and Federal bullets in close up detail.  You can really see the variation in bullet nose length.   

As a refresher, I have included the test videos for the Winchester 555 bulk pack and also the Remington 550 Golden Bullet.  The Winchester tested well and penetrated a bit deeper than the CCI even though it was going slower when it hit the block.  That's logical because the Winchester bullet didn't appear to tumble like the CCI did, but it did achieve a small amount of expansion.

The Remington load suffered from inconsistent velocity and was not gel tested.

If I had to choose between the 4 tested loads, I'd definitely choose the CCI Mini-Mag.  If the Mini-Mag is taken out of contention because it's not a true bulk pack round, then I would be equally comfortable with the Winchester 555 load.  I'll close this out with a picture of the 4 tested loads side by side.  From the left CCI, Federal, Winchester, and Remington

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.


  1. Man, Remington rimfire ammo just seems to be consistently problematic.

    1. In the video comments, someone mentioned that there was a "new improved" 550 pack on the shelves. I've never seen them, but I've never really spent any effort looking for them.

    2. Amazing, someone saw .22lr ammo. Thats like saying that someone saw Bigfoot.

  2. Odd. Granted, I shoot a Ruger 22/45, which may render any comparison apples-and-oranges. But I have way, way, way too many duds and extraction problems with the Winchester bulk-pack stuff. In my gun, it's as bad as Remington. I get a lot fewer duds and failures-to-extract with Federal bulk pack and CCI "Blazers" that are (were, when they were available) $17.99 a brick of 500. I wouldn't use any of them for self-defense, however, because all of them give me too many duds for my comfort. Mini-Mags would be my choice, if I had to bring a .22 to a fight. They also give decent accuracy in my 10/22, go figure.

  3. I buy any 22 I can get my hands on, period. But I have (between Dad and myself)
    revolvers (H&R?)
    PT22 (Taurus)
    Henry Lever (22 S-L-LR)
    Savage Bolt (22 S-L-LR)
    Marlin 795
    and prolly a couple of others... :D

    Some of these are velocity sensitive, and some like the H&R revolver and the Henry are not.
    Dad got me a bucket of Remi- Golden Bullet (1400 bulk pack) which was NOT my best choice, but
    the Henry will eat it all up. Plenty of better HV stuff too, CCI and Winchester. We are doing OK with 22.
    And we bought it all since Sandy Hook, and at good prices. Just had to be patient!