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Is Modern .22 Rimfire Ammo Better?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Scout21, Apr 28, 2022.

  1. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

    May 8, 2019
    99 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
    I've always wondered about this. On one hand advances in technology should net a better product, on the other hand companies are known for cutting costs and reducing quality over time. Do any old timers have any first hand experience that they can share? I'm more interested in non-match ammo, but match ammo would be good to hear about as well.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2022
    jstert likes this.
  2. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

    Jan 19, 2010
    Galveston Bay is an Hour Away ©
    In my early shooting years, I bought almost nothing but low end .22 LR ammo. Misfires were expected and experienced. Just enough to be frustrating in some situations. I never shot paper targets back then, so hard to report on accuracy issues.

    I don't think I've bought low end bulk ammo in over 10 years. I still have some around from when it was actually put in boxes of 50 instead of just dumped into a carton.

    I can say that the last low end ammo I bought was some Fiocchi boxed in a traditional brick (10 boxes of 50 cartridges in a "parent" box). That stuff did have misfires from time to time, and was extra smoky and smelled funky.
    jstert and Scout21 like this.
  3. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Jul 17, 2016
    24yrs with the same pistol and 33 years with the same rifle - Win Wildcat and Rem Thunderbolt 22 suck as much as they did 20+ years ago. Win’s misfire just as often and Thunderbolts are just as dirty as ever. CCI SV and Mini-mags are as good as they ever were, but I don’t think any better.

    There’s certainly more availability of various brands and models now than ever before, at all levels of quality and performance.
    LiveLife, jstert, Demi-human and 6 others like this.
  4. doubleh

    doubleh Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    NM-south of I-40
    Being older than most here I can remember when, as a kid, I could buy a 50 round box of either Remington or Winchester long rifle hollow point ammo for 50 cents and expect each and every one to go bang. Duds were extremely rare. That ain't happin' now. I find CCI and Aguila to be the most dud free of the low (?) priced stuff today but even those will miss a bang now and then. I furnish ammo for some kids so I buy quite a bit of CCI and Aguila. I do not buy any Winchester anymore. It's more expensive than the others and has a far higher dud rate. I also shy away from Federal although it isn't quite as bad as Winchester. I believe CCI has slipped a little in quality, especially with the SV version. but it is still better than it's competition.
  5. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    We did not have Stingers or Mini-Mags or my favorite for killing things needing killing, Velociters, so I would say yes. And CCI Quiet is quiet and the segmented version is an effective dispatcher of vermin.

    Winchester Wildcat still duds and Thunderbolt (not tried any since Remington died and only the brand name lives on under Vista Outdoors who owns CCI) still is filthy dirty and squibs every third round.

  6. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

    Feb 23, 2022
    I was talking to an older friend, late 80's who was on the Iowa. He says that in his youth you could walk into the store and buy them by the single round. I asked about duds and he said he does not remember it happening enough to be worried about.

    This coming from a poor old country boy that did not have enough money to buy an entire box.
    sparkyv, jstert, Bazoo and 1 other person like this.
  7. Dunross

    Dunross Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    The economy lines are as bad as they've ever been, maybe a bit worse. It's what used to be thought of as decent, if not match-grade, ammo that seems to have suffered. Winchester Super-X was always our go-to for when it really mattered (as in hunting, we didn't shoot real matches), but not any more. It's just not what it used to be. That particular role has been taken by CCI SV and MiniMags now.

    I've got one last brick of eighties era Super-X left. I buy nothing but CCI now.
    sparkyv, jstert, Archie and 3 others like this.
  8. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Centralia Washington
    I have half a brick of 1990 rem thunderbolt that I just gave up on shooting cause of all the duds. I have always had luck with cci mini mags in semi autos, and my few bolt guns love CCI sv. Federal is probably the best bulk ammo I've tried recently, but it still has a few duds in a brick. Not much worse than 20 years ago.
    jstert and Scout21 like this.
  9. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

    May 31, 2008
    I started shooting at a jr. club in the 60's, 50 cents a box of Remington standard velocity.

    Getting a dud was a rare occasion, I could go hundreds of rounds without one. With Thunderduds, it seems like every ten or fifteen rounds results in a dud.

    I won't even buy Remington any more, period. I think the rise of "bulk ammo" was a race to the bottom.
  10. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Ironically I would not know if 22 ammo now is better than yesteryear. I never shot a 22 anything until I retired from the military in 96 and my first rifle purchase was a Remington 513T that I could practice off hand shooting for deer season.
    jstert likes this.
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Back in the day we typically didn't have all that much to choose from when it came down to .22LR ammo. There was Remington which at the time was fairly reliable, and there was Winchester, maybe a notch or two down from Remington, but not all that far in terms of reliability. Accuracy was just average with certain guns doing better with one brand over another. I don't recall having that many duds with either manufacturer. CCI Mini Mags were around but not in a lot of places and it was a bit more expensive compared to the other two.

    I can remember in the summertime, hiking around the countryside with my friends and our trusty .22s when we noticed we were running low on ammo. So we made a bit of a detour which took us to a nearby Mom and Pop store. We scraped together all of the loose change in our pockets and managed to come up with enough money (all of 50 cents I think) to buy one box of Remington High Velocity ammo!

    It sure seems like things were so much simpler back then... probably because it was!
    ms6852, LiveLife and Demi-human like this.
  12. AzShooter1

    AzShooter1 Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    Surprise, Az
    I have found that today's ammo is much better then years gone bye. CCI Mini Mags work fine for me but I've tested some new ammo from Eley, like Force And Contact and I'm very pleased with the groups I'm getting as well as consistency.

    Force, for Steel Challenge is a heavier bullet with a bit more speed. You can definitely tell when you hit your target but felt recoil is no more then a normal round.

    Testing ammo in my Black Mamba I see better groups from new manufactured ammo. I only have some ammo that's 20 yars old to compare and I'm running out of that.

    Wolf ME of today is slightly better than ammo 15 years old. It's gone through a few changes in manufacturing for the better.
    Demi-human likes this.
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Sep 30, 2005
    I have had “duds” for as long as I was able to carry a .22. On many occasions, I have been given a box or boxes by someone that no longer had faith in them.

    There are some guns that can set off anything that will go off and others that are picky. So some might find ThunderBolts to be ThunderDuds and others are completely happy with them.

    From what I have seen, how the ammunition is stored is much more important than how long it is stored.
    LiveLife likes this.
  14. Archie

    Archie Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Theoretically, .22 rimfire should be better. Advances in metallurgy, chemistry and tolerances make it seem so. However, this has not happened across the board. Too many factories seem to have the same old formulae and very much the same old machines and technology.

    In the 1970's (before computers and cell phones!) I was shooting in bullseye matches. I remember in those days Winchester made specific match grade ammunition; one series for rifle and one series for pistol. Winchester still makes .22 lr ammunition, but not the specific types to which I refer and the usual stuff doesn't work as well.
    Usually when a manufacture ends production of a product, they aren't turning a profit on that item. Which means they aren't selling enough of that particular item.

    Since around 1980, what I see more .22 shooters buying is the 'high-velocity' (lower weight) types of .22 ammunition. This type is 'sexier' and less expensive to make and sell. Many shooters are impressed with the velocity and the accuracy is usually good enough.

    The follows at my gun club who shoot .22 lr precision matches use Norma ammo for practice and Eley products for score. The cheap stuff was around $9.00 per fifty prior to the current shortage.

    Like many commodities, consumers will settle for less to save money. When the bulk of consumers want to pay less, manufacturers make less expensive products.
  15. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

    Mar 1, 2020
    South central Ohio
    For the early part of my shooting life, I bought the cheapest .22 ammo I could find because that's what I could afford. I never remember having problems with misfires out of my old single shots, and accuracy was measured by knocking cans over.

    Later on, I learned about trying to get the best potential for accuracy (affordably) with better rifles/scopes etc, and finding the ammo they liked. So trying different brands, weights, velocities in semi autos, I've seen a lot more misfires. Some of the cheap newer Winchester stuff is crap, as is a lot of the Remington. I've had less issues with Federal or CCI than any and had a few with some Aguila SE.
    I gave my cousin 10 rounds of Eley Tenex to shoot in his new 10-22 build. He'd just fired 50 rounds of mini-mags without a failure, but only managed to ignite 4 of the Tenex rounds. I loaded the same "duds" in my 513T and shot them all in the same hole.
  16. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    1970s to now, about the same. Depends on the lot number.

    In the 70s, used standard velocity Remington and Winchester. 1 lot had soft brass. On firing the case head bulged out, knocking fired brass off the bolt face, jam. The High Standard had the problem. The Ruger mk1s not as much. Had to buy a different lot for the club shooters.

    The Thunderbolt 22lr left a ring of lead in the barrel. Returned the remaining -5000 rounds for refund.

    Another batch of cheap bulk Rem had some bullets not compleatly formed. Sort/look at ammo closely before loading.

    Today i find misfires where the priming compound is not correct, after pulling the bullets. Very few.

    The cases of CCI Standard velocity & Federal i am current shooting are ok. 2019 production.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2022
    ms6852, jstert and LiveLife like this.
  17. Oldschool shooter

    Oldschool shooter Member

    Jul 8, 2014
    The only time I have experienced a "dud" has been with my 10-22. Bolt rifle, single shot, revolvers always fire. I even have an old Remington Model 12 pump .22 that never has failed to fire. Even shooting old yellow box Winchester from the 50s, never a problem.
    ms6852, Howland937 and LiveLife like this.
  18. jstert

    jstert Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    ne and sw
    i first started shooting in a nra rifle club with a bolt action 22lr rifle in the early 1960s. i think that these rifles were mossberg m44 trainers based on my dim memory, some internet photos and the fact the rifle club was sponsored by, and took place in, the umass army rotc detachment on campus (imagine that today). i can’t ever recall a dud round. same with boy scouts at summer camp.

    most of my new ammo today is cci, mail ordered direct, always good. i still have some federal automatch bulk boxes from the trump times when i stocked up. it isn’t so good. i also have some random older boxes of winchester and remington higher velocity stuff that must be ten years older now, also good.
    Last edited: May 1, 2022
    ms6852 and AzShooter1 like this.
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