Rimfire Ammunition Inventory

  • I guess I will throw this in here. I never considered myself a hoarder but I did want access to ammunition when I wanted it so I had purchased ahead at one point in time and regret not buying more on a couple of occasions. I had an entire pallet in front of me of CCI Mini Mag's in ammo cans at a heck of a good price and didn't jump on it before all the mess that happened a few years back. A CD in the bank wasn't bringing one percent at the time so it was a win win deal if I would have bought it. Anyway, nothing special about mini mags unless there ain't none to be bought. After shooting a little 22 a few days ago I decided to see just what I have left in my cabinets in the loading room. I thought I had a bunch more but to my surprise I'm not sitting on too much. And a lot of it is no better than Black Cat Firecrackers. I only have two lonely boxes of Center X, where did that stuff go? A couple of bricks of S&K Standard and a brick of Eley and RWS. I have five bricks of 17 HMR! What the heck? Four bricks of 22 mag, hardly ever shoot that stuff. Guess I better concentrate on some better stuff. The million dollar question is if you are going to put a few bucks into rim fire ammunition what's the best? High end low velocity target or better high velocity for varmints and maybe some target work? All the stuff to the left is 22 and on the right is 17 and 22 mag.

  • The “best” is highly dependent upon what your rifle shoots best and your budget will suffer. I will say that most of my bullseye shooting is done with Eley Tenex, Tenex Pistol & CMP Eley Bulk. Silhouettes get CMP Eley Bulk & Federal Automatch. Varmints & pests mostly get Remington Standard Velocity or Winchester Wildcat. In general, more precise rifles get better ammo and hardware store rifles get what’s close at hand. There’s no benefit to shooting 40 cent ammo in a rifle that can’t be made to shoot precisely. By the same token , it serves no purpose to run 4 MOA ammo through an Anschutz that will reliably shoot .25MOA with premium ammo.

  • My Sako Quad likes Lapua and CCI. My wallet likes CCI. All my old targets say, "Hmmm, Lapua."

  • When looking for inexpensive ammo for varmints/hunting... one doesn't need to look past CCI. Subsonic HP's for most applications, with segmented subsonic hp's and mini-mags picking up the fringes. It shoots well enough out of quality rifles, but isn't exactly "target" grade when compared to the imports.

    The target side of things, imports are the only ones that have proven to be worth the dollars spent. Higher grades of RWS, Lapua, and Eley rule the segment. To discover "best" is very difficult and requires substantial rimfire knowledge as well as quite a lot of work. Brand/model testing first to see which holds the most potential, then individual lot number testing of the preferred models. Then, if a quality lot number is discovered, buy in large quantity.

    Most shooters can simply choose a few makes/models and see which their rifle likes best. Some rifles will simply prefer RWS R50 as opposed to Lapua Midas+. Its not difficult to discover this, but it is important to have knowledge of rimfire testing methodology. Lot to lot variance can cause you to pull your hair out, so buying from somewhere that allows lot testing before purchase is good. However, a "bad" lot number of high quality imported ammo tends to shoot a lot better than any of the stuff you'll find with an American label on it. Obviously this does not include the re-branded american stuff such as norma or cci type situations whom sell rws and eley under their labels. However, the rebranded stuff is usually low to mid-grade ammo when compared to the imports higher end offerings.

    The $10 per box of 50 price point is where you start seeing quality ammo show up. Lapua Center-X is the king of this area for a lot of rifles. Lapua/SK/Wolf/etc... all identified as being various grades of lapua. These cartridges are very "greasy" from end to end, and is one easy way of identifying who makes what. RWS and Eley have more of a waxy lube rather than the greasy/oily feeling lapua. Re-brands can shoot well, but I prefer to stick with the main three: Lapua, RWS, and Eley. RWS Professional and Premium lines are typically good to go, with the more expensive tending to shoot better obviously. RWS R50 is a favorite of mine in rifles that like it. Eley Match EPS (eley black box) is another in that same category of around $15 a box.

    It all comes down to testing what your rifle likes. ... and testing properly! If your rifle doesn't like eley... it won't matter if you're shooting tenex or team, it just won't shoot. If it won't shoot, you switch ammo, simple as that. If you'll look at the rimfire challenge thread, you'l see that among high end target rifles there is a level of performance that's relatively easy to achieve. Then there's the next couple levels which are monumentally difficult to pass through. If you can clean an ARA target or shoot better than 80% every time out, you're basically at the apex of what can be done from a bipod/rear bag. Frankly, you're probably at the apex of what can be done, even with a smallbore benchrest rifle, at that point.

    So it all comes down to what level of performance you are wanting, and whether you have the dollars to buy that level of rifle/optic/equipment and ammo... and then whether you have the time to properly test. Indoor testing is needed, because even a 1mph wind can shift most bullets 1/8" or so at 50yds.

  • Orkan, you really put that well. One thing I will add is that among the low end stuff one would likely run through a 10/22 or Model 60, Aguilla will shoot right with the "Practice" grades of the European brands and bulk American offerings. All of these will typically print 1.5-2.0 inch circular groups at 100 yards which is plenty good enough for shooting crows and pigeons off of silos and rats around a barn.

    R50 is probably the best kept non-secret in the precision shooting world. The key is finding a retailer who will actually sell you a full case of one lot number. Zanders' online inventory of Eley Tenex should be the template for anyone selling high end ammo. They list by tested MV and lot number what they have. You can test fire lots then order with confidence. Not so much with Act-X or R50.

  • Anschutz North America is where I got my last batch of lot-tested R50.

    I once shot nothing but eley, but then it became apparent the north american distributors were testing and siphoning off all the "good" stuff before it ever made it to buyers. I haven't bought eley since. Lapua center X is my go-to budget ammo with R50 and midas+ being what I use when I'm getting serious. Some lot numbers of center x will shoot right with them though.