High-End .22LR Ammo

This currently shipping lot of rimfire ammunition outshot seventeen other pricey brands in two different guns. Close runner-up: Lapua’s Dominator M.

Because .22 LR rimfire ammunition can’t be handloaded, we continue to test shipping lots of many commercially available .22 ammo brands, trying to find brands and lots that shoot well in more than one gun. 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. We believe some lots of ammo are absolutely better than others, and they will tend to perform well in many different firearms. 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 yours.

We recently tested eighteen brand/lots of expensive .22 ammo in two rifles, an autoloader and a bolt action. Of these currently shipping lots, we recommend Federal GM Ultra Match Lot 1674, which shot pack-leading groups in both guns. Also, Lapua Dominator M Lot 6849C took second in both guns. Among the bottom feeders in this test were PMC’s Zapper Lot 22CC2207 and the Winchester High Velocity Lot 2GA51L, which constituted two of the bottom three rounds in both guns.

How We Tested
Our test guns were a Volquartsen Custom Model Mossad, which comes with a matte-black fiberglass thumbhole stock floating an 18.75-inch-long stainless fluted barrel. The barrel also has an integral muzzle brake. The 10/22-style autoloader retails for $1,136. The second gun was a KFS NS 522 bolt action. The Chinese-made rimfire has an overall length of 39.5 inches and an unloaded weight of 7.75 pounds. The gun’s 21-inch barrel is hammer forged and free floated. It sells for $300. We topped both guns with a 40mm-objective 36X Bausch & Lomb riflescope with a 1/8-minute dot.

We shot the test at 100 yards, using the 100-yard .22 rifle tube at the Bayou Rifles range in Houston, Texas. This ensured that wind and changing light conditions would n0t affect the data. We bench-fired the guns off a Ransom Rest benchrest and a rear bunny bag. 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.

Here’s what we found:

The Winners
Unquestionably, Federal GM Ultra Match Lot 1674 dominated this test. It shot 0.77-inch groups in the NS 522, with a best group of 0.57 inch and a worst group of 0.93 inch. In the Volquartsen Mossad 10/22, the Ultra Match shot 0.83-inch average groups, with a best group of 0.67 inch and a worst group of 1.05 inch.

Coming in a respectable second was Lapua Dominator M Lot 6849C, which shot 0.84-inch groups in the Mossad, with a super best group of 0.48 inch and a worst group of 1.27 inch. In the 522, the Lapua shot 0.97-inch average groups, with a best group of 0.78 inch and a worst group of 1.10 inch.

Worth A Look
Other bullets shot very well in at least one gun, which suggests they might do well in yours, too, if you own a similar product. Among this group is Eley Match Xtra Lot WQ3058, which shot 0.90-inch groups in the Volquartsen and 1.14-inch groups in the KFS gun. An inexpensive but good-shooting pick is Federal GM Target Lot CY110, which shot 1.07-inch groups in the Volquartsen and 1.19-inch in the KFS bolt action. Ammo that shot better than the field in the Volquartsen includes Eley Benchrest Gold Lot WS1211 (1.04-inch group average), RWS R50 Lot 463WF358 and Eley Club Xtra Lot FR43 (1.09-inch group averages). In the 522, Fiocchi Pistol Lot 0135002 shot 1.08-inch groups, and it didn’t do badly in the Volquartsen Mossad 10/22 autoloader, shooting 1.11-inch-size groups on average.

Not Recommended
The rest of the field didn’t match up to the handful of products mentioned above. We see no compelling reason to buy those lots of ammunition.

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