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Pistol

Pistol

.22 Pistol-Ammo

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In a match-up of 20 Long Rifle brands, this $2.50-a-hundred budget bullet beat up on several pricey products.

To fire a .22 LR rimfire handgun accurately, the shooter must lot-test rounds in his revolver or semi-auto gun—a daunting task when you consider all the commercially available .22 ammo brands for sale. However, we recently lot-tested 20 samples from seven manufacturers in a variety of guns, trying to find a brand and lot that shot well across the board. Though there’s no guarantee that top-ranked rounds fired in our guns will shoot well in yours, we have concluded that good ammo tends to shoot well in most guns, and bad ammo doesn’t shoot well in any.

That seems obvious, doesn’t it? Still, many shooters believe that in lot-testing, like in marriage, there’s only one perfect mate for a given gun, and to find that mate, you’ve got to do the shooting equivalent of cruising bars—that is, shoot and shoot until you score the “right” lot for a given gun. However, after sampling choice lots provided only to Olympic rifle and pistol shooters and national championship–class shooters, we think differently. We believe some lots of ammo are absolutely better than others, and they will tend to perform well in many different firearms. Thus, by testing ammo in a range of guns, we can find lots/brands that outperform other lot/brands in most cases. When we identify those products in multigun tests, we believe it is likely that ammo which shoots well in several guns will tend to shoot well in most guns.

The value of this winnowing down is obvious. If you’re a pistol shooter, you can select ammo brands from Eley, Federal, Lapua, Fiocchi, RWS, Remington,Winchester, and other makers. When you place an order for test lots, you can easily run up hundreds of dollars of charges by buying multiple lots of ammo to run through your gun. Instead, our recommendations on currently shipping brands and lots allow you to pick from a handful of brands that have proven their ability to shoot in several kinds of guns. It may be possible for you to try only three lots of ammo, rather than 30, to get the accuracy you require. At the worst, you may be able to eliminate some brands/lots from your personal lot testing, because ammo that shoots big groups in our test guns probably won’t shoot dots in yours.

If we were going to place an order for .22 pistol ammo today, we would start with these five brand/lots: Lapua Pistol King 5540S, which sells for $9.75/100, Eley Tenex WR960, which costs $16/100, Federal Gold Medal UltraMatch 315, which runs $21.50/100, Eley Bench Rest Gold WS1351 ($18/100), and what we think is a best buy: Federal Classic 3AR117, which costs only $2.50/100. Our explanations for these picks and other buy/don’t buy recommendations follow:

How We Tested
Our test guns were a Smith & Wesson Model 41 with a 7-inch barrel and a Tasco Pro-Point mounted on a Weaver base. The second firearm was a Model 17 Smith & Wesson with an 83/8-inch barrel. This gun was topped with a Leupold 1.5X scope mounted with a Redfield base and rings. The third test gun was a High Standard Supermatic Trophy with a 5.5-inch barrel and factory iron sights.

We used a Ransom Pistol Rest with windage base mounted on a 24-inch-square plywood base that was 1.4 inches thick. This platform was C-clamped to a 1-inch-thick steel sheet attached to a steel pipe concreted in the ground. We shot all our test groups outdoors at 25 yards. We fired 10 five-shot groups to collect our accuracy data, spotting the rounds with a Nikon 20- to 60-power Field Spotting Scope. Using a Parker-Hale cleaning rod and jag, we cleaned the guns with Pro-Shot Lead and Powder solvent between lots and then fouled each gun before shooting the next test lot. We measured all the groups to the nearest tenth of an inch using a Neal Jones benchrest-scoring device. To collect the 10-shot chronograph data, we used an Oehler Research 35P chronograph.

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Pistol

Gold Medal .45 ACP Ammo

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The Gold Medal brand edged out Winchester and Remington in a head-to-head test of factory 185-grain target ammunition.

We recently tested three lots of .45 ACP semi-wadcutter 185-grain target loads from Federal, Remington, and Winchester.

The NRA Pistol Bullseye competitor who doesn’t reload must shoot factory .45 ACP ammo, which means the shooter must lot-test rounds in his semiauto gun—an expensive proposition when you must buy several brands and lots to find what your gun likes. We recently tested three lots of .45 ACP semi-wadcutter 185-grain target loads from the major manufacturers in a variety of guns, trying to find a brand and lot that shot well across the board. In our opinion, we were successful.

Though there’s no guarantee your guns will like what our guns preferred—Federal semi-wadcutters—we believe good ammo tends to shoot well in most guns, and bad ammo doesn’t shoot well in any. We got the best results with Federal Gold Medal 185-grain FMJ-SWC Match GM45B Lot No. 380130Y251. By shooting the best in three different .45s, it was a clear winner over Remington’s 185-grain Metal Case Wadcutter Match R45AP1 Lot No. C08SB5601 and Winchester Super-Match 185-grain Full Metal Case X45AWCP Lot No. 07KF10 96.

We believe some lots of ammo are simply better than others, and they will tend to perform well in many different firearms. Still, all three brands shot 10-ring groups. The NRA 50-yard B-6 bullseye target has a 1.6-inch X ring, a 3.3-inch 10 ring, and a 5.5-inch 9 ring. All three of our test ammunitions produced 10-ring accuracy overall.

Based on the data we collected, picking the Federal lot was a no-brainer. What will be interesting to us will be how Gold Medal Match Lot No. 380130Y251 fares in additional comparisons we plan to run as updates. Because of the expense of this ammo, we plan to revisit this category often and continue to test currently shipping lots. If you buy our recommended ammo lots, we would like to know how they performed in your guns—so we can get as broad a cross section of gun/ammo combinations as possible.

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Pistol

Review: Taurus 605 Revolver

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This Brazilian five round small caliber revolver, offers much more than it can be expected at first glance. Its simple construction belies its effectiveness. Add to that the fact it can be acquired for half the price of the competition, & you get one of a kind package that would be a shame to miss.

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