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The CCI .22 CB Short

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by RevolvingGarbage, May 10, 2010.

  1. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Well-Known Member


    This post is long!.
    I've been using these little rounds for target shooting in my backyard for a while now, and I've compiled a bit info on them so I thought id do a little write-up here addressing some myths and questions abut these rounds.

    Some specs:

    Test firearm: Mossberg 702 Plinkster .22lr rifle

    Caliber: .22 Short
    Bullet: 29 grain LRN
    Advertised Velocity: 710 FPS
    Energy@ adv. Velocity: 32.4 Ft-lb.

    Here's whats inside a CCI .22 CB Short.


    Some have speculated that its merely the priming compound that powers the bullet. There is in fact a small charge of powder in the case, shown here compared to a complete round, and the powder charge of a Winchester 36gr HV .22lr hollow point.


    As I said, I've been using these rounds for target practice in my backyard.I live on a lake, in a subdivision outside of city limits. My neighbors are right next door, but I have plenty of room behind the house to do some shooting safely (at least 400 yards across the lake, up a hill, and through some woods between me and any other houses, and I only shoot at a downward angle so the rounds hit the dirt between me and the lake), but I've found that even normal subsonic .22lr rounds are a little bit too loud to shoot.

    Nobody has complained, even the 4-5 times Ive fired my .38spl snub (gel tests) or when my dad touched off my 12 gauge out back (couldn't figure out how to unload it, I wasn't home, so he shot into the dirt in the backyard :rolleyes:), but I'm sure frequent loud gunfire would eventually result in knocks on the door.

    Anyway, I originally wanted to use CB longs, but have never seen them at any place within 150 miles of home. The local Walmart however has the CB shorts for $8/100rds so I decided I would figure out a way to use them. As far as noise level, out of a rifle barrel they have less pop than a Co2 air pistol. The only way you can tell im shooting a real rifle is that when the rounds hit, they hit with much more authority than an air rifle pellet.

    Any bolt action .22lr rifle would be able to use them, single shot easily enough. The challenge with the semi-auto is that there's just about no way to feed a round into the chamber by hand (atleast with the Plinksters design),so I was going to have to make them feed by the magazine.

    I had about a 50% success rate feeding them 1 at a time from an unmodified magazine, but the rounds are a tad to expensive to be mashing up half of them in feeding. What I did was angle cut the back of the follower to allow the rounds to naturally tip upwards and thereby nose into the chamber more easily.


    As luck would have it, this modification allowed 3 rounds at a time to be loaded into the magazine with probably a 98% success rate of feeding, and even better, normal .22lr rounds still feed perfectly(though the angle cut takes away the bolt hold open feature of the magazine, but I didn't care much for it anyway).


    On the subject of feeding, the .22CB Short rounds are obviously fairly low powered. They will not properly cycle the unmodified action of the gun. The round has just enough energy to blow the case just out of the physical chamber and the rim will just barely hit the ejector, causing the case to tilt right slightly. When the bolt returns forward the mouth of the case partially catches on the rim of the chamber.

    Here's what the "planned jam" looks like.

    Basically the gun ends up working just like a straight pull bolt action. I like to tilt the gun 90 degrees right so the ejection port faces down, then pull the bolt back and hold till I hear/see the case hit the ground, then release the bolt which chambers the next round normally.


    The short version of what I'm going to say about the performance of this little cartridge is this. In my experience using the round in a .22lr rifle, I have found that has acceptable accuracy and killing power for plinking or for dispatching pests or hunting critters quietly when used at ranges of 50 yards or less.

    I noted earlier that at the published velocity of 710 FPS, this round develops about 32 FPE. That's about 10 FPE more than a high velocity break barrel .177 air rifle, but a lot less than most .22lr rounds. That said, it makes an impressive display on reactive targets. I like to shoot soda cans full of water, and the CB short out of the Plinksters 18" barrel tears them open top to bottom from a center hit and sprays water up and out quite far.

    I wanted to get an idea of what the little round was capable of in comparison to some other rounds. I particularly like the tests on www.theboxotruth.com regarding the penetration of various rounds in water, as a means of cheaply and easily relating to penetration in gelatin, which of course ideally shows how a round is designed to perform in flesh.

    According to their testing, a round will penetrate approximately twice as far in water as it will in ballistic gelatin. For reference, in their testing, the .380 HP out of a KelTec P3AT, which would certainly be considered lethal, had a penetration of 24" in gallon milk jugs full of water, shot from just a few feet away.

    For my testing, I set up four 2 liter Pepsi bottles filled with water (each are about 4 and 1/4" across at the middle where I shot) at 25 yards. I wanted to shoot at this range to get a feel for how the round does at what I consider its ideal range when used in a rifle.

    Here's a pic of the recovered slug.

    It went clean through the first two bottles and was recovered in bottle number 3. There wasn't any indication of damage to the side of the bottle opposite of the entry hole, so we're going to say it stopped about half way through (yes I know it probably did make it all the way across and bounce back without marking the bottle
    ). This means the round got at least 8.5" of solid penetration through the two bottles, plus some in the third, so lets say, 10" total in the water?

    Going by the 2/1 ratio of penetration in water over ballistics gel, we can expect the same round to penetrate about 5" in actual gel. Remember that in the BoxO'Truth tests the .380 hollow point penetrated 24 inches of water equal to 12" of gel.

    The recovered slug showed signs of yawing, probably as it entered the third bottle, and also some rounding and smashing at the front.

    Unscientific though this test was, it should tell you that at the very least, the CB short is not something you want to get shot with. One lucky(unlucky?) center mass hit, and it could easily kill you just as dead as any other bullet.


    As I said before, I feel like this round, when used in a .22lr rifle, has sufficient accuracy for plinking and taking small game at ~50 yards. In my experience however, it is not what I would describe as "precise".

    About a week ago I set up this target, backed off 25 yards, and fired three shots at it. This was bench rested, using a 4x15 air rifle scope.


    The rifle was sighted in for standard .22lr ammo (Federal AutoMatch specifically), and you will notice the "group" is off of POA by about 2 inches to the right. This in and of its self is somewhat strange. Regular .22lr will hit that target dead center (Photos to come later).

    I know what you are going to say next too, "That's not really a proper group to show accuracy, look, you've got a flier!". I thought so as well when I first shot the group, but then I went out again today and shot the same target again:


    Same setup, same batch of ammo, same point of aim. The wind was blowing about ~5MpH both days, from the left the first day, from behind me to the right the second day.

    The rounds appear to be printing two distinct groups. That's six rounds, 3 rounds on each day a week apart. You will also note from the first picture that it put the two groups on the paper evenly, one left and 2 right the first day, 2 left and one right the second day. I really only have experience shooting .22 rifles for accuracy, and this seems very strange. My only explanation is that the rounds are resting in battery in two distinct ways in the chamber, and so are giving me two different, repeatable groups.

    One of you more experienced guys can probably tell exactly whats going on here, but personally, I'm a little stumped. In any case, its clear that the free-bore between the bullet and the rifling in the chamber is causing some variation in the way the bullet leaves the barrel, and the end result is a lack of consistency. I would not feel comfortable trying to take an animal smaller than a squirrel with this round/gun combo much past 25 yards, but with that being its limitations, it does work just fine within them. Two liter bottles aren't safe within 75-90 yards and I would say I could engage an "Area Target"(;)) within probably 200 yards or so.

    So anyway that's what my experiences have been using the CCI .22 CB Shorts in my rifle. I would be really interested to hear about them being used in actual .22 Short rifles or handguns for that matter, or if anyone else has made them work at all in other auto-loaders.
  2. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I suspect you need a more precise point of aim rather than a 2" circle. Just an observation. Seems odd that they would be hitting to the right like that rather than high or low relative to 22LR. I have a couple boxes, but have not shot any yet.
  3. chicharrones

    chicharrones Well-Known Member

    I've fired that ammo out of my Marlin 39 lever gun several times for plinking, but I never did an accuracy check. I just did it because the gun can do it. Although, I am thinking of trying it again just because of the low noise. I still got a half box of the stuff in my ammo stash.
  4. nathan

    nathan Well-Known Member

    I havent tried using the CB short. I started with .22 airgun then graduated to .22 LR . Now im enjoying the Remington subsonic round, low noise and accurate to 20 yds deadon. Its priced at $3.17 per little box of 50 at Walmart.
  5. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    22 rimfire is partially right here; but a lot of things come into play on 22 shorts, and even more so on cb's/ you need a super duper clean rifle to test for groups. you need a fully freefloated bbl, you need a very good trigger, you need to have the action/reciever bedded inside the stock, with aluminum tape at a minimum. you need a very good muzzle. you may need a pressure pad put up front as well. you need a better scope, and you need a better target to aim at. You need to wait a full minute between even lining up your next shot, before you get ready to pull the trigger again.
    Why do you need all of this? because your...oh well,... EVERYTHING ... changes when fireing slower bullets, and every little mistake or problem is magnified, when firing slower bullets; you are firing CB rounds, which are even slower-- proly 550 to 750 ft per second. about 1/3 to 1/2 as slow as your normal hi speeds.
    so every problem you have is mulitplied 2 or 4 times.
    also your rests, from group to group, that the rifle sits on, needs to be in
    PRECISELY THE SAME PLACE!!! the difference , especially in the front rest, are going to massively change the bbl harmonics, with the upward pressure being put on the front of the bbl. Also you are getting no ' molten effect' from firing these bullets at all, like you would from normal or standard velocity bullets, so they are maintaining their very hard quality , while exiting the bbl, and proly grabbing on to the last bit of rifleing, while still hard and also while grabbing more onto one side of the bbl, than the other, while exiting; this combined with changeing bbl harmonics, depending on the moving from place to place front rest, is going to change the grouping from day to day, particularly from the left to the right, and vice versa, every time. Proly not ever change it up or down.

    Then again, I am just guessing, and doing some fundamental mind experiments to arrive at these conclusions, so I could be completely wrong and full of crap here... but I have shot many rounds for a long time, especially rimfire, and think i personally know all the little tricks of these meany little rounds out there, so I am going to say that I am most likely right...
  6. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    As an aside, cb's are typically not accurate for anyone, and you almost need to get a rifle made especially for them. Not allways the case, and i have had some good luck with them in the past, especially with a remmy speedmaster, and i know another dude, over on RFC, that shoots piggies with them, out of a old
    N.E.F. rifle no less, which are almost impossible to keep their accuracy the same, from shot to shot, since they are a break action, but yet he does it;;--- anyway, typically it is tough to get good accuracy from a cb round. too many variables with them, not to mention they are not the most careful on the powder load for these as well...
  7. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    one more thing; try longs, or hi velocity short hollow points, this last round is very, very accurate--- you just need to see if it is quiet enough for you...
  8. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Well-Known Member

    What else does that leave? Chipmunks and frogs?
  9. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Well-Known Member

    I can say that I have no illusions about expecting perfect accuracy shooting this rifle. Even putting aside for a second that I'm shooting "the wrong kind of ammo" in it, its still a $100 semi auto .22 made in Brazil, using a $15 scope meant to be used on a $30 BB rifle. Its about as budget as you can get, and I'm amazed it does as well as it does using the rounds its meant to fire (like I said in the OP, pics incoming on that!).

    Also forgot to mention the hold over in my original post. The gun is sighted for .22lr to hit POA at 25 yards and the CB shorts hit that same POA, just a little right as Ive shown. With that setting they hit 4-5" low at 50 yards, and about 12"-15" low at 100 yards. You could say they have that whole "rainbow" trajectory thing going on!

    Yeah, or mice or small birds or headshots on slightly larger critters.

    Dont laugh, I have some big ass bullfrogs out by that lake I mentioned...
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    IMHO, CB's kill all out of proportion to their paper ballistics. I have killed critters up to good sized coons and feral cats with them with zero problem. Obviously, the bigger the critter the more you want to stick to headshots but they work just fine. Inside 50yds, nothing is safe. I have a Mossberg 340 that is particularly fond of them. Printing well under an inch at 25yds if I remember right.
  11. natman

    natman Well-Known Member

    Because of their round noses and low speeds CBs have a tendency to ricochet. Be careful and know your backstop.
  12. foggy

    foggy Member

    Some rifles do not shoot CCI CB's well. I suspect something to do with the twist rate or bore diameter does not properly stabilize the bullet. From what I have seen, CZ rimfires do not shoot them well but 10/22s will do just fine.
  13. nathan

    nathan Well-Known Member

    Maybe they shoot okey with Marlin's microgroove rifling. I have to try them if i can but the Remington SUbsonic is just perfect, not too fast and has a low muffled sound .
  14. JFrame

    JFrame Well-Known Member

    Very interesting thread...

    I picked up a couple of boxes of CCI .22 CB shorts at Wally World because they were literally the only .22 rimfire ammo available that day... :scrutiny:

    I haven't had a chance to fire them yet, but I'm curious to see how they perform in an assortment of .22 platforms (maybe a T/C Contender with 14 inch barrel, a Browning BL-22, and a S&W 63 kit gun...).

  15. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

  16. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Interestingly enough, the CB Longs are quieter. And I agree with CraigC and Natman - they do kill much better than you would expect and have a significant downrange hazard..

    Guy here had an ND with a Single Six loaded with CDs and darn near died.
  17. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    I've shot many different types of low powered 22 rimfire, and have found that many are not too accurate, compared to regular 22 LR.
    I have been shooting the Super Colibri from Aguila, and it chronographs an average of 560 fps out of my short barreled Marlin single shot. Super quiet and effective at 25yds on small critters, I use the Super Colibri mainly because of the longer case to prevent contaminating the chamber too much.
    CCI CB and its regular ammo has gotten quite expensive lately, and the Aguila line of ammo has got Eley priming now.
    If you shoot a lot of the short case ammo, it would be a good idea to clean the fouling debris from the chamber before using LR cased ammo.

  18. clamman

    clamman Well-Known Member

    I use the bejeesus out of CB's I have several targets behind the shop including a Dallas cowboy helmet lol. I have better accuracy with the CB longs than the shorts. I can hit my spinner target that has 3" 2" and 1" every time, in that order.
  19. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    I have some. Once I shot a few off in my living room at a target on the back patio in our condo complex (not where I currently live).

    Those things penetrate a lot more than you'd expect. Make sure you have a good backstop. Also, revolvers are really loud indoors, even with CB Shorts, due to the cylinder gap...
  20. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    I've played with both the CB shorts and longs quite a bit, and they're great for pest control. I've killed quite a few praire rats out to 70 or 80 yards with them using my 4x Weaver scoped Marlin 81G.

    However, since they're not much louder, and they will cycle my 552 and model 24, I typically use Remington, Winchester or CCI high velocity shorts for this purpose. They provide a much better trajectory and hit with more than twice the energy of the CB's.

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