This review is meant as a follow-up to the previous one in which I compared the Ruger 10/22 with the Mossberg 702. With an article that was to the point and compared the facts I was able to show those who cared to know the facts that for the money the Mossberg 702 was a far better firearm. I will be adding articles in the future with accuracy comparisons and tests between as many .22 rifles as we can. However, at this time it is important to understand that the Mossberg 702 is still my primary choice when it comes to ,22 long rifle firearms.
Several types of ammunition have been used with consistent accuracy and reliability. So first we need to understand what the differences are in these rounds.
- Subsonic ammunition is any ammunition that is below 1100 feet per second.
- Standard Velocity ammunition runs from 1100 fps through 1135 fps
- High Velocity ammunition runs from 1200 fps through 1310 about.
- Hyper Velocity ammunition runs 1400 +
As for reliability,
American made ammunition has been riddled with faults. Winchester M-22, Federal Champion, American Eagle, Remington Golden Bullet, Thunderbolt and lastly Winchester Wildcat have all had multiple issues when being run through both the Mossberg 702 Plinkster and the SINGLE SHOT Cricket. Mainly failure to fires, several squibs and at least three double loads causing case expansion and case sticking. Utilizing confidence intervals in statistical reasoning I can honestly say that you are 95% likely to have a failure of some type at least once every 100 rounds using American ammunition. Obviously for plinking purposes there is nothing wrong with this as long as the prices are reflective. However, given the recent rises in pricing many better options have become available. Aguila ammunition which is made in Mexico and Ely primed, Ely ammunition, Geco, CCI, Wolf, Lapua and Norma all have lines of .22lr. And all are very well put together and generally fault free, with my top picks being below.
My preference is Aguila and Ely ammunition. Both of these ammunitions have proven to be extraordinarily reliable and generally accurate. First they are properly stored as I do with all of my ammunition vacuüm sealed with desiccant in packs of 100-200 rounds, inside of waterproof ammunition canisters, these are than stored in temperatures not exceeding 80 degrees and not going below 50 degrees. Aguila makes a Super Extra in 40 grain with both copper plated/washed and plain lead. They also make a Sniper Subsonic in 60 grain lead. Both are subsonic with the Sniper Subsonic being the slowest of the two both are capable of being suppressed. And both are amazingly accurate, 50 yard groups average under an inch with tech sights and with solid scopes well under a half-inch. I have shot as far out as 400 yards and done so with repeatable accuracy.
Two more rounds I prefer are the Ely Black and Aguila Hypersonics, the first is within the standard velocity to low super sonic range. Aguila Hypersonics are rated at 1700 fps, however, run generally around 1500+ from standard 18” barrels. Both of these rounds are also very accurate and run quite well. I prefer of course the Super Extra and Sniper Subsonics, however, given the choice in brand alone I would choose Aguila as my primary round of choice every day. CCI preforms well in most applications however, for the price the Aguila is the best overall choice. It runs in the .22 handguns I have owned or now own as well as every rifle I have used. A short list of firearms I have used Aguila Super Extra in (200-5000+ per gun) follows, handguns first
- Ruger MkII
- Ruger MkIII
- Ruger 22/45
- Ruger SR22
- Browning Buckmark
- Walther P-22 (personal favorite)
- Smith & Wesson 22A
- H & R Revolver (comes in many configurations)
- Beretta 21 Bobcat (short flip up barrel)
- Heritage Rough Rider .22 long rifle revolver
- North American Arms .22 long rifle revolver
Now its rifle time.
- Ruger 10/22 (in over a dozen configurations, I detest this gun and would gladly put my cheap 702’s against them all day every day.)
- Marlin model 60
- Henry lever-action
- Marlin model 795
- Mossberg 702 Plinkster (my personal favorite)
- Browning SA-2
- Mossberg 715
- Smith and Wesson M&P15-22
- CZ 452 (love these)
So there you have it, my experience while not absolute is quite well-rounded. I have used many different brand names, manufacturers and have found that different firearms prefer different ammunitions based almost entirely on a gun by gun basis.
With four Mossberg 702s now in use I can tell you that between the four they have their own likes and dislikes though all of them are accurate, reliable and run well using all Aguila and Ely I have put through them. My handgun preferences run to the Walther P22 and Ruger SR22 as well as the Harrington and Richardson Trapper having grown up with one of those. Again, after extensive testing to the tune of several thousand rounds of ammunition through each firearm these handguns have proven most reliable. One point of interest, with only one exception (not a revolver) if you limp wrist .22 lr handguns THEY WILL FAIL TO FIRE in sometimes quite interesting ways. Rifles although rarely fail to fire because of the way you hold them, though with Ruger 10/22s and the Henry Survival .22s failures occur more than enough simply because.
Having spent two years of my time (several times a year) assisting as an unregistered line coach for Appleseed (a spectacular two-day rifle course that everyone should take at least once, if for the history alone!) I can tell you from experience that the Marlin model 60 and other tube fed auto loaders as well as the various .22 bolt guns that arrived rarely had issues, because the 10/22s on the line regardless amount of money put into them, failed regularly. Large portions of each day shooting were spent with one or more 10/22 being broken down and fixed, cleaned and more. While I will tell you that cleaning is an absolute must do with any firearm, a GOOD firearm should function even if a cleaning is missed upon occasion.
So there you have it, my review of .22 ammunition and which brands, types and more. I treat all of my firearms as if my life depends upon their functionality and reliability. Ammunition must also pass this test, .22lr is one round that is not reloaded, as a result it stands to reason that it is the one round that people should take more time and consideration in choosing a worthwhile round for use. Even at its most expensive .22 lr rarely exceeds .20 cents per round. Being the person I am, my willingness to spend .08 to .15 cents a round for quality .22 lr ammunition is not only logical it is a necessity. Think about it in this way, someone well trained in the use of a .22 rifle or handgun (accurate/ etc) can easily transition those skills to larger caliber firearms as the basics apply regardless size. The round itself is barely noticeable unsuppressed in large communities as a firearm report which allows for occasional practice in a grid down situation. With 2-5 thousand rounds PER rifle and handgun you can effectively train an entire brigade of riflemen almost silently with just 2 .22 rifles and a handgun or two. Not too mention that in suppressed mode the .22 lr is an entirely new object of use in the trained hands of a marksman and can easily cause death to small game animals all the way up through Russian Hogs and humans.
A gentleman once stated via one of his videos that he did not see the purpose in having more than 1000 rounds for a main battle rifle and the numbers went down from there depending on use. I would counter that with a simple question, how many of you new survival types have taken into account the amount of ammunition necessary for training and more to the point, how many of you have tested your chosen firearms (usually because someone else says they are best) to their breaking point? I have, my family is safe, my food supply well taken care of and more importantly when and if others that I trust happen to make it here or vice a versa, we can train!
As always please visit the amazon link and pick up the needed items for your families continued survival!
Free the mind and the body will follow