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Rimfire Accuracy

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dr T, May 29, 2018.

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  1. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    So as to not hijack another thread...

    I have really enjoyed reading through the on-going "Rimfire Prove It" thread, and was pleased that several of the intrepid band of shooters were bringing their 22 WRMs to the party.

    But it does raise a question: Is one rimfire cartridge inherently more accurate than another"

    Certainly, the 22 LR is likely be to be the most accurate of the bunch. But then, much more work has likely been done to optimize the cartridge for accuracy.

    However, I seem to recall that the 22 Short has also been used a little in competition.

    On the other hand, I have always regarded the 22 WRM and 17 HRM as a hunting cartridges.

    So, how would one rate the (so-called) inherent accuracy of these four rounds?

    My gut feeling is:

    22 LR
    22 Short
    22 WRM
    17 HRM

    Thoughts?
     
  2. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Move the 17 HMR up one and you've got it.
     
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  3. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    For short range tests of raw precision, then: On average, I would venture .22LR is the least accurate. But it dominates both ends of the spectrum. It’s the only one to enjoy cheap bulk stuff on the market, and the only one to enjoy high precision match stuff. However, there’s also no match ammo produced for 17 WSM, none for 17 HMR, and I don’t recall any for .22WMR. Almost any of the .17 HM2, HMR, or WSM ammo will be more accurate than bulk grade 22LR, but none will match the top end .22LR or short ammo.

    Putting the .17WSM and .17HM2 into the mix, I rank them:

    .22LR
    .22Short
    .17HM2
    .17HMR
    .17WSM
    .22WMR

    Move out to 100yrds, the list changes quickly. 200yrds, it changes again.
     
  4. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I think in the very cutting edge of shooting like rimfire benchrest with very expensive match rifles the 22 lr is king at short range mainly due to the very high quality of rifles built and availability of match ammo. However if your talking about consumer grade rifles and sporting goods store ammo I don't think any 22 you can buy for $500 or less can hang with the 17 hmr's you can buy for the same price. Especially if you move that out to 200 yards, the 17 hmr can be very very accurate and capable. Like golf balls at 200 yards accurate with the right gun and ammo combo. I've no experience with the 17 WSM or 17 M2. The 22 mags I've shot were on par with a 22 lr with cheap ammo but not as good as a 22 with good ammo.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  5. darkcloud

    darkcloud Member

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    Not sure there is "inherently" any accuracy of one above the other. The 22Lr is by far the most accurate due to age and the developed engineering of the rifles and ammunition manufactured for said purposes of target shooting and the accuracy that goes with that activity. 17HMR ammo is about the same quality and engineering of CCI Mini Mag and such. Either is accurate to an equitable degree when matched in the right firearm.
     
  6. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    My experience is 17 HMR is more accurate than 22lr.
    This is skewed by the fact my 17 is a Savage bull barrel with a laminate thumbhole stock. I don't have an expensive 22.
    It will easily shoot 1/2 to 3/4 5 shot groups at 100 yds.
    I also use a 16x on my 17 and my 22s got 4x scopes or irons.
     
  7. Tentwing

    Tentwing Member

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    Of the very small sample of stuff that I own it is easier for me to keep my smallest with my 17 HMR. The best groups seem to come with 20 gr bullets versus the 17 gr bullets. My best groups with 22 lr come from RWS sub sonic 40 grainers through my Marlin 7000. All of my 22's shoot better groups with subsonic ammo. Each rifle seems to have a different favorite ammo,but still consistently better with sub sonic.

    Now once I stretch things out to 100 yards the 17 HMR come way out ahead unless it is windy. Those tiny little bullets DO NOT like the wind. I have not attempted any groups with 22 shorts, so I am interested in what results others have seen.

    Tentwing
     
  8. VoodooMountain

    VoodooMountain Member

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    As stated above the 17hmr would probably be king for accuracy in a sporter weight run of the mill rifle like a ruger american due mainly to the great quality of the ammo and higher velocity. Good accuracy at 200 is very achievable for most.

    22lr has match ammo available but a lot of guys aren't willing to pay the comparatively high prices when bulk is so cheap and familiar . It can be very accurate but difficult to get good groups much beyond 100 yards. Most common rifles are built to shoot a very wide assortment of ammo and function when dirty and so the rifles themselves are a bit on the loose side which doesn't help.


    22wmr is basically a hunting cartridge and accuracy usually reflects that. It will go subsonic just over a 100 yards whereas the 17hmr stays supersonic and most target grade 22lr was subsonic to begin with.

    I have a ruger American in 22wmr that shoots dime size groups at 100 yards but I'm betting the accuracy will quickly degrade after that.
    A 17hmr can be that accurate at nearly twice the distance .
     
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  9. Picher

    Picher Member

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    I was amazed when sighting-in a neighbor's .17 hmr Savage "cheepie" rifle at 100 yards. It shot 1/2 minute! I can't do better than 1" with my bedded .22 mag at that distance. Can't compare with .22LR at that range because I never wasted my expensive match ammo shooting at that distance. Its usually so windy at the range that shooting at 100 yards with .22LR is very discouraging.
     
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  10. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    Inherent accuracy seems a bit of a myth. These chamberings have vastly different bullet design, quality control, velocities, etc. Certainly some are better suited to longer ranges. I’d guess if you put them all in a perfectly calm environment, the ones with the greatest quality in manufacturing would shoot the best. When you get to the real world, with issues that make it easier to shoot one round over another, personal results will vary.

    The little I’ve shot 17HMR it has been inconsistent. One day it’s lights out, the next it’s mediocre. Always good enough for hunting at reasonable distance, but not consistent enough to shoot matches. That’s with a cheap Marlin rifle bought to hunt with so it works out. I’d expect a higher quality rifle to be much more consistent. The higher quality 22LR rifles seem to be consistently good. Just look at the match rifles out there. They sure aren’t a representation of an off the shelf hunting/plinking rifle but it does show what the chamberings is capable of doing.
     
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  11. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I have a Volquartsen semi-auto in 22 mag. My best group is about 0.8" at 100 yards with 5 shots. I haven't shot it a whole lot since then so I figure I could do a little better if I put some practice time into it. That is an expensive rifle.
     
  12. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    They may not, but the .17 hmr still fares better than .22 mag in windy conditions and by a good margin, better still vs. .22lr, but that’s not inherent accuracy, that’s external ballistics.
     
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  13. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    I have 4 CZ 452/453 rimfires; 2 22LRs, a 22Mag and a 17HMR. All are good shooters but one of the 22LRs and the 17 HMR are real standouts.... The CZ 22LR shoots almost as well as my heavy barreled Anschutz 64. I've never shot the 17 HMR at paper at less then 100 yards because it seemed kinda pointless but I'm sure if I did it would be right up there close with the CZ 22LR because it will regularly shoot 1/2 inch 100 yard 5 shot groups. The 22 mag shoots good but not as well as the 17 and rarely comes out of the safe.... At 200 yards broken pieces of orange clay targets are still more hits then misses with the 17 HMR but at that distance the 12x scope currently on the rifle is a limiting factor... I've never owned a 17 HM2 or a 17 WSM. This is based on very limited examples but if I had to rate the accuracy of the rimfires I would say:

    At short range;
    22LR
    17HMR
    22 Mag

    At longer range, 100+ yards, it's not really a contest, 17 HMR...

    I shot this 7/16th" 3 shot group on a 12 ga shotgun hull at 100yds with the 17HMR. I think the rifle will actually do a little better but the thickness of the cross hairs made the hull hard to see..... The other hole was from shooting the brass base off, also at 100 yrds.....
     

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    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I pulled a couple of 22LR bullets, I think this is an awful design:

    CDDNPSg.jpg

    These rimfire bullets are externally lubricated,segmented in the middle, crimped at the end, I am surprised that they shoot as well as they do. There are so many things which can affect the center of gravity and axis of rotation. Also, rimfire rounds have the primer mix in the rim. Even with match ammunition, like Eley Black Box, I have had misfires where all I had to do is rotate the case, and the round would fire. That tells me the distribution of primer compound in the rim varies. Irregular ignition does not lead to precision shooting.

    Rimfire rounds are among the oldest ammunition type, but that does not mean it is the best. Probably stayed around because it was cheaper than any alternative in 22 caliber.

    So comparing rimfire types for inherent accuracy, someone is going to need to show a lot of test data before I believe one rimfire 22lr design is all that superior in accuracy than another.
     
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  15. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    Slamfire, the 22 round uses a heeled bullet. Body fits the case, front of body stops on the stop bullet. Stop bullets are used often in BP match competition. The Minnie ball rear end also works very well. That tail will flair and fill up the lands and grooves and seal off any gas that would affect the lead base.

    One of the biggest problems with the 22 is the primer. Difficult to make that itty bit of fulminate to ignite evenly. A good 22 rifle will have a fixed firing pin. Fixed in a straight line that is striking the case at the same place every time.
    Terrible headspace because of the variances of the thickness of the rim. A serious shooter will measure and separate.
    Now if you want to learn to be a gunsmith, go buy a 10-22 and get it to shoot a 5 shot of 1" at 50 yards. It is a rare (and/or expensive) bird of any 22 that will shoot 1" at 50 yards.
     
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  16. Picher

    Picher Member

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    There are some things that can be done to improve ignition in .22 rimfires. Firing pin nose modifications that increase impact in the "right" place, which is just below the rim curl, and narrowing/rounding the tip to produce a deeper and better flame spread are also recommended. Also shortening the lower end of the pin that may be beyond the priming compound can increase the impact in the area that matters. Calfee, one of the foremost gurus of rimfire, has explained these procedures and I've found them critical to good ignition, especially in Ruger 10/22s.
     
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  17. Picher

    Picher Member

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    Eley bullets are a more accurate shape than most .22LR bullet shapes. However, rimfire ammo accuracy is a fickled thing and even the best, most expensive brand/type is subject to wide variations in consistency. Sometimes you luck onto the best ammo that your rifle likes and it behooves you to buy as much of that lot number as you can afford, then buy more than you can afford!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Don't disagree, and don't forget the ammunition. In my tests, cheap, bulk ammunition shoots ten shot groups around an 1",usually more, rarely less, at 50 yards. Match shooters test their ammunition, and it takes about a brick before you have faith in your ammunition.

    This is my rare bird, at least the rare bird I shoot the most out of my rare birds, and it shoots close to a half inch with good ammunition, if it has a scope on top:

    zG314lu.jpg

    cr6tM13.jpg

    100 yards, prone with sling, ten shots in X ring

    wV0LqXB.jpg

    I am a poor iron sight shooter, so I won't be showing any of my iron sight groups. However, at a recent regional I attended, off to my right were two National Champions and a 2018 State Champion who happened to win the regional. I took pictures of some of their iron sighted targets, because they are amazing. I won't tell whose target is who, and the first two targets, these were not officially scored at the time I took the pictures, so, the X count could differ:

    54za62L.jpg

    zstYVLQ.jpg

    This was scored, and it is 20 shots at 50 meters, remember irons, prone with sling, single shot:

    aQQ9D93.jpg
     
  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’m not sure I think this is an accurate statement after the Prove It thread. There are a handful of relatively low cost - and low cost - rifles firing in that game thread, and there are a lot of groups under 1” at 50yrds (centered in the 10 ring or otherwise). The expensive rifles in the thread are all shooting half to three quarter inch groups. The 8 ring in that target is 1.18” (ish). Most of the $200-500 rifles in that thread are shooting 1” or better. (Not neglecting these are 3 shot groups, not 5 - but a handful of us are delivering back to back to back groups under 3/4” with $450 rifles).
     
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  20. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Did this earlier today with a Ruger 10-22 and CCI Mini-Mags @ 100 yards, not 50. Around 1/2" or often less is the norm at 50 yards. I didn't break out the calipers, but with a ruler both groups are 3/4"-7/8". This is pretty typical for at least 3 of my 22 rifles. This group is high because I am using a scope with dials. I had it dialed in for much slower Ely target loads shown in the 2nd target. At 50 yards the Ely is usually more accurate, but I've found the faster CCI's to be more accurate at 100-200+. Around 220-230 yards is as far as I've gone with 22's.

    Just for perspective, the rings on this target are 7/8" apart

    001.JPG

    With Ely Match ammo

    004.JPG
     
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