My CCI Mini-Mags, Junk!?


Joshua M. Smith
January 20, 2008, 05:11 PM

So I decided to go back to CCI Mini-Mags after my flirtation with subsonics.

While I patronize my gunstores as much as possible, they've been out of the stuff for a while - and even Dunham's hasn't had any, so I went to Walmart, an unusual practice for me. I've heard that companies make "Walmart special" versions of their products that are not on par quality-wise with the rest of their line.

When I stepped out to sight these in, I it was between 10* and 15*. The temperature rose a bit while I was out there.

I had passed two patches through the bore before going out, and shot twenty rounds at plinking targets to get the bore seasoned in to this ammo.

I then went prone, shooting off of a tripod, very stable.

Five rounds hit low, and I adjusted it up.

Five more rounds hit just a bit low, and I adjusted up again.

Then trouble started. Two out of five rounds or so sounded subsonic, and hit a bit lower than where I aimed. As well, I fired a total of 60 rounds, and I had to pause to wipe the bolt off in the middle of everything as the firing pin was sticking (common on a Romanian trainer). But... the bolt was much, much dirtier than CCI has ever been in any rifle I've fired. In fact, it's always been the cleanest.
Normally the cleanest shooting .22 ammo I've ever experienced, I had to wipe the bolt after 30 rounds. This is what it looked like after I fired only 30 more rounds. Normally the bolt is very shiny; here, it's caked with soot.

My question is this: Has CCI followed other makers and begun to make a "Walmart special" version of their Mini-Mag ammunition? Or, can extreme cold affect ammunition like this? I've never fired enough of anything when it's this cold out to have experience here, as most game animals are in their dens.

I really need to know, folks. If it's junk, I'm going to the gunstore tomorrow and buying as much CCI subsonic as I can afford.

Is it junk, or the cold?


Josh <><

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January 20, 2008, 05:15 PM
Sounds like a bad batch of ammo. I would contact CCI. The Mini-mags have always been great ammo in my experience as well, but I have switched lately to the American Eagle (Federal) 400rd packs 38grHP@1280fps. These are great .22s at the same or slightly faster velocity and much cheaper.

January 20, 2008, 05:17 PM
No ammo company makes ammo especially for walmart period. I think the extreme cold probably affected your ammo. I know for a fact that the colder it is the less velocity your ammo attains (all other things being equal).

January 20, 2008, 05:27 PM
Although all ammo manufacturers have 'downloaded' their .22LR somewhat for legal reasons (as anyone shooting 'older' .22LR handguns manufactured outside of the US will quickly tell you), I'm guessing that the cold weather is part of the problem here...

When you get down around zero (F), all sorts of functioning problems arise with .22LR...

Try the same stuff when it gets a little warmer and see what happens then...


January 20, 2008, 05:32 PM
Buy them anywhere , The Walmart thing is a myth.
CCI does not make special ammo to send to Wally World

January 20, 2008, 06:36 PM
I do not know how often you shoot a .22LR in sub freezing weather. Here in the south, that is uncommon.

However I participate in a bullseye pistol match that is typically fired in Nov. I have used a .22LR automatic, and that caliber is very common on the firing line.

What I have noticed is when it is unusually cold is that there are a lot of malfunctions on the line with the .22 LR autopistols, mine included. Usually these are a failure to eject or feed.

Blowback ammunition often has a invisible wax coating on the cases. In the case of .22LR ammunition the bullet is externally coated in wax. This wax on the outside of the case melts during combustion and provides a lubricant between the case and the chamber walls. Aiding extraction.

Well in cold weather, all that vaporized wax is floating around and immediately condenses on the working parts of your gun. In the case of an autopistol it will gum up the cycling of the bolt.

Cold weather also effects primers. It is possible that you have a marginal main spring or marginal firing pin protrusion. If your firing pin is not hitting hard, or is not hitting deep, that cold priming compound will have troubles igniting.

Sometimes rim thickness of the ammo makes a difference. Switch brands and shoot in cold weather again and see what happens.

Joshua M. Smith
January 20, 2008, 07:04 PM
Someone on another board just said that the accumulated crud on the bolt face is indicative of a headspace problem. I say it's just because it was cold out.

What do you think?

Josh <><

January 20, 2008, 07:18 PM
Hey there.
I only shoot CCI Green Tags , They are extremely accurate in my Ruger VBZ 77-22. Just at or over 1/4" at 50 yards center to center, with a 4x16 Weaver.
These have a wax coating on the lead bullet. That wax unless it was completely removed will mess with those CCI mini mags. Mine has a very tight Chamber and I can not pull out a loaded round with the bolt. The wax holds that much. Other rounds come right out. I'd clean and strip all of that wax out then try the hotter load. The temps played a very big part in the problem you described. Velocity will be down and you won't get a good burn from that powder at that low of temp.

Joshua M. Smith
January 20, 2008, 07:35 PM

50 yards, Remington SS :D

I doubt I can shoot it to its potential with match ammo!


Josh <><

January 20, 2008, 07:39 PM
I would say the temp. caused your problems , and it was pretty cold today! - I am in NE IN. CCI Mini-Mags have always been quality ammo for me regardless where I buy it.

For a company like CCI to produce a low quality Mini-Mag specifically for Wal-Mart sounds pretty far fetched. Would be analogous to Toyota or Chevy sending out production line automobile "seconds" to their high volume dealerships.

January 20, 2008, 09:25 PM
I have often noted cold weather problems with .22s. The worst was with Winchester Super X, normally pretty good stuff. We were rabbit hunting on a cold day (Ruger 10/22) and I had several failures to fire and feed. Several rounds were so underpowered I could easily follow the bullet when it left the bore and on a couple of occassions it wasn't going any faster than a Daisy BB gun. On cold days I have since switched to CCIs, left the semi-auto at home, and shot with a 9422 lever action. Works for me.

January 20, 2008, 10:28 PM


Joshua M. Smith
January 21, 2008, 08:46 PM
I got an atomic clock today. It was a Christmas gift my parents didn't want, from my dad's sister.

The thing is really really cool. It has time (of course - though I don't know how much of the atomic signal it's really picking up out here), phases of the moon, date, and INSIDE TEMP and OUTSIDE TEMP! :D

It has a physical sensor outside which sends the temp in via radio. Pretty cool.

I set it up today.

I went out to shoot the .22 some more. It was 34* according to my new toy :D I had no problems at all. Same ol' ammo I remember.

I then noticed that my groups really opened up. The 'scope base had come loose because I neglected to Loc Tite on the screws. Sooo, I left the ammo outside and went to buy some Loc Tite and a light switch.

I got back, Loc Tited the screws, and let it set, all with the ammo outside. Then I replaced the light switch, a breaker, a socket and a length of Romex that went south, and by that time it was 27* out. I went out and popped off a few, and they fizzled, and grimed up my bolt again.

Strange thing is that the subsonics don't do either. They shoot equally well regardless.

Problem solved I guess. Just have to start using SS when it's below 40* or so.

Thanks all,

Josh <><

January 21, 2008, 09:47 PM

Here was the temp yesterday morning with my atomic clock,

January 22, 2008, 06:07 AM
Ever notice how many people say "I very seldom go to Wal-Mart, but I was there the other day......." ;) It's ok. YOU too can admit you shop at Wal-Mart. :p

I don't know a thing about how cold weather affects ammo, but it's reasonable to assume it would. I just know I've never had any trouble with any ammo I've gotten at Wally World.

January 22, 2008, 12:37 PM
biathlon ammo,formulated for the cold is available,or used to be anyway.

January 22, 2008, 12:40 PM
just cold

January 22, 2008, 12:44 PM
Biathalon ammo.... Sounds very nice. Where do you get it and how much does it cost?

January 22, 2008, 01:14 PM
CCI is among the best of the HV loads IMHO. Works in everything I own, and not all does. I'd say, move south. :neener:

Joshua M. Smith
January 24, 2008, 10:59 AM
Got this today:

Mr. Smith

I am very sorry you experienced a problem with this ammo. I discussed
the issue this morning with our Rimfire Developmental Engineer and he
would like to get the product back for testing. I am happy to replace
the product and will include extra ammo to cover your shipping costs.
Here is some shipping information:

2299 Snake River Ave.
Lewiston, ID 83501
Attn: Linda Olin

Please ship using UPS ground. The US Postal Service will not carry
ammunition. Please mark the outside of the box "Cartridges, Small Arms"
and the letters ORM-D. Be sure to include your name, shipping address
and a phone number and a brief description of the issue.

Linda Olin
CCI/Speer Technical Services
2299 Snake River Ave.
Lewiston, ID 83501

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:20 PM
To: cciexpert
Subject: - Ask CCI Form

Joshua Smith
381 E 50 N
Wabash Indiana 46992

Dear Sir or Ma'am,

Since I received my first .22 years back, I've been shooting CCI
ammunition, and came to rely on Mini-Mag hollowpoints as my "bread and
butter" load for hunting small game. I found it accurate and dependable
with boringly consistent terminal performance on small game, regardless
of weather conditions and temperature.

Imagine my surprise then, when I began getting inconsistent performance
at around 30 degrees F! The ignition is incomplete, leaving my bore
looking like an old sewer pipe, and many of the rounds fired do not have
a supersonic crack. Worst of all, groups were around 2.25" at 50 yards.
I find this totally unacceptable for hunting ammunition, doubly so
since, in warm weather, this rifle will keep five shots in an area the
size of a nickel with your CCI rimfire, and will shoot dime size or
better groups at the same distance with CCI or Federal subsonic

To make sure this wasn't the rifle, I pulled the bolt for cleaning and
inspected the 'scope mountings. I tried again and performance was the

Luckily I still had some Remington subsonic ammo on hand, and was able
to use it to sight in. As in warm weather, it burned cleanly and shot
very tightly, giving me a dime sized group on the target spot from 50

I've never had a problem with your product in the cold, and certainly
never at 30 degrees. I verified with two separate lot numbers,
purchased at different stores, that it was not just the lot number but
the ammunition as a whole.

The lot numbers are M05M09 and L27N25. The former was bought at a store
called Gunner's Trading Post in Wabash Indiana, and the latter was
purchased at Walmart, same town.

I would appreciate an explanation as to why I am experiencing problems
in cold weather. The firing pin indentation, incidentally, is deep -
there are no light strikes. It seems to be incomplete ignition due to
the cold.

Please write back using either my standard mail, email, or both, which I
have provided you. I await your reply.

Thank you,

Joshua M. Smith


Josh <><

January 24, 2008, 02:19 PM
Hey There:
Did it right ,
Sounds like they are too. Happy shooting.

February 1, 2008, 07:09 PM
eley and lapua both load biathlon ammo,probably others. like target ammo,it is not HV,but consistent.
it is higher priced,lapua around $16 per 100 lapua,$11 for Eley.

February 1, 2008, 07:32 PM
Mr. Smith please keep us posted on what CCI has to say. Mini-Mags are my go to ammo for 90% of my 22LR uses. We seldom have a hard freeze here in God's Country but I needed my .22 to work when I need it. I have been in both polar regions and I know 9mm, .45ACP, 5.56mm, 12ga, 50 BMG and .375H&H work in below 0 temps.

February 1, 2008, 09:06 PM
Stick with the Eley primed Aguila stuff, especially the "super maximum hyper velocity" its really good stuff, despite the roughly translated from spanish description/name :cool:

February 22, 2008, 03:40 PM
found some fiocchi biathlon at a gun show.

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