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Low-velocity .22 ammo Shootout 8485

Jr. Member Posts: 62
Low-velocity .22 ammo Shootout
« on: September 30, 2007, 08:57:46 PM »
Now that I have my awesome little NEF Sportster single-shot single-action .22, I have the ability to reliably run low-velocity quiet .22's to see which one is the best compromise between quietness and accuracy, generally, as one rises, the other drops, the more accurate rounds are *generally* louder, quiet rounds are all over the place, but they're quiet...

It turns out my little shootin' match was a rather good test of both features of the ammo, we have some birdfeeders next to the house, and my sister's horses down the road a bit, still on our property though, I could gauge the loudness of the ammo by how it affected the yellow finches, chickadees and the horses...

the target backstop was a large maple tree, the target, a Propel Fitness Water bottle weighted down with a couple of small stones to simulate a chipmunk-sized target, I shot from two distances, standing, seated, and prone, one was approx. 20 feet away, the other about 35

Ammo tested; Flobert Rundkugelin Ball-Breech caps (there's an acorn on the brass, so I'll call these "Acorns"), Aguilla Super Colbri primer-caps (SC), CCI .22 Short, CCI CB-Long, Remington Subsonic (the last round in the pic is a standard Federal for scale, it was not shot)

From quietist to loudest (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being ambient noise, 10 being a standard .22 LR round);
SC (1.5)
CCI CB Long (2)
CCI .22 Short (3)
Acorn (6)
Remington Subsonic (9)

Accuracy, worst to best;
CCI .22 Short
Remington Subsonic

Individual observations about each ammo type;

Aguilla Super Colibri;
This was the quietest ammo of the bunch by far, the sound of the hammer striking the transfer bar, and the sound of the bullet striking the target were louder, I was shooting the SC rounds and the birds were happily feeding from the birdfeeder no less than 10 feet from me, the horses never whinnied in protest, this ammo could easily be used in an indoor shooting range with no hearing protection, and without the person in the next room even knowing you're shooting, however, accuracy beyond 20 feet was horrible, unacceptably large groups, this is an unpredictable ammo, as you never know where the bullet will end up, 4+ inch groupings were common, far too unacceptable for anything except close-range use

the bullet from the SC would penetrate both sides of the Propel bottle, and bounce off the tree trunk, i retrieved one bullet from behind the bottle, it was badly shredded, and looked like it had been cut in half lengthwise by the bottle, but the overall bullet-shape was retained

these were also exceptionally dirty rounds, stinky too, after 25 rounds of SC, it's a good idea to "Boresnake" your barrel to remove primer powder and lead buildup

accuracy from 35 feet was poor, not one hit

"Acorn" Primer caps;
These were surprising, much louder than expected, even in my NEF Sportster, which has a closed breech and is an exceptionally quiet gun, they were louder than even .22 Shorts, not unacceptably loud, mind you, but louder than i was expecting, they were still quiet, but loud enough to scare off the birds, the horses were not fazed, these rounds emitted a distinct, but faint *crack* as they fired, indicating the probable presence of a small amount of gunpowder (or at least an extra-strong primer), they were almost as dirty as the SC, (not as stinky though) however they were also a *lot* more accurate, every round fired hit it's mark, they had a similar ballistic impact as the SC though, they entered and exited the Propel bottle, but bounced off the tree bark, I was able to recover one bullet, which with a little cleaning, could almost be reloaded and re-fired, the bullet lead seemed much stronger on the Acorns, however the ultra-short brass of the Acorns allowed lead fouling to start to show up with only about 15 rounds fired

Acorns would be fine in an area with some ambient background noise, like a small subburb, however, on a quiet rural farm like ours, they were a tad louder than expected, but not unacceptably loud

Here's a pic of the two recovered bullets and an unfired round for comparison

CCI .22 Short;
These also surprised me, I was expecting them to be louder, but they were actually quieter than the Acorns, they also showed very nice accuracy, every round hit the target, the target impact was also louder as they delivered more energy into the Propel bottle, with the SC and Acorn, the bottle would rock faintly and emit a faint click, with the .22 Shorts, the bottle would visibly rock, many times it would tip over from the impact, even weighted down with a couple rocks (large marble sized), the birds were unaffected by the sound of the round firing, however the *thwack* of target impact scared them off, the horses couldn't care less

the round had enough energy to enter and exit the bottle, and then bury itself into the tree trunk, once again showing the importance of a good backstop and knowledge of what was behind your target, behind the tree was a large earhten rim, a very safe backstop

this round was remarkably clean, it actually cleared out a good amount of the fouling from the SC and Acorn rounds, a nice compromise between power and noise, it clearly has more downrange power than any of the primer-based .22's, making it an excellent round for suburban/rural plinking, just make sure you have a very good backstop, as this one's getting close to the energy level of .22 LR

CCi CB Long;
These rounds were a very pleasant surprise, a nice balanced round, it was only marginally louder than the SC, but light-years more accurate, it was quieter than the Acorns, and much cleaner firing, the Long Rifle brass also means that lead fouling from the shorter rounds should be a non-issue

these are definitely compromise rounds, but CCI struck a good balance between noise and accuracy, like the Acorns and .22 Shorts, every round hit it's target, the target rocked back and forth, stronger than the SC, but weaker than the .22 Short, there was a faint "thwack" on impact, the noise level produced by these rounds was only marginally louder than the SC, being a primer round, they were dirtier than the .22 Short, but nowhere near as dirty as the SC or Acorn

neither the birds or horses were bothered by these rounds, they probably didn't even notice that I was shooting them, these would be exceptional rounds for rural backyard plinking, they have the all-important accuracy of the other CCI rounds, yet they are quite quiet, not whisper-quiet, mind you, that honor goes to the SC, but they're a good deal more controllable than the SC, and control is far more important with firearms

Remington .22LR Subsonic;
I was only able to fire off three of these before the horses started whinnying in protest, the birds scattered with the first shot, these rounds had the distinct *CRACK* of a .22, they were quieter than a standard velocity .22LR, but not by much, ballistics were pretty much normal for .22LR, they were very accurate, and knocked over the Propel bottle every time, and each shot buried deeply in the tree, once again, proving the importance of backstops and knowing what's beyond them

these would be a fine round for the range, but they're far too loud for suburbia or even large rural farms with skittish, easily spooked animals

I would say the biggest surprise of my little shootout was the CCI CB Long, a great all-around plinking round for rural environments, it's now my new favorite round for use on the farm here, I still prefer normal .22's at the range, as these low-velocity rounds are all short-range rounds at best, fine for plinking, shooting plastic bottles, and dispatching Bushytails, but when I want to go for some nice distance shots, I need to pack up the NEF, a brick of standard ammo, some targets, and head to the range for a relaxing afternoon of lead-flinging, these low-velocity rounds have no place at the range, they're great for weekends when I don't feel like driving to the range, or after a hard day at work I can come home and squeeze off a few rounds into some plastic bottles

Overall rating;

First Place; CCI CB Long, excellent compromise round, good ballistics, quiet, but just a little dirty
Second Place; CCI .22 Short; Great ballistics, clean shooting, relatively quiet
Third Place; Acorn, good ballistics, however much louder than expected, and very dirty
Fourth Place; Remington Subsonic, classic .22 LR ballistics, excellent energy-deposit, clean shooting, however, the loudest round of the bunch (as expected)
Honorable Mention; Aguilla Super Colbri, easily the quietist round of the bunch, the hammer falling and the bullet striking the target make more noise, however wildly inaccurate beyond 20 feet, absolutely filthy shooting, and the worst stink of any cartridge i've used, not a bad round though if you need the quietest round, the CCI CB Long gives much better ballistics with just a *tad* more noise

Oh, and a final review in closing, the Hoppee's "Boresnake", a long cord with an embedded bristle brush that is tugged through the firearm's bore to clean it, these are great, quick cleaning tools, after firing off quite a few dirty primer-based rounds, my NEF's bore was pretty dirty with powder residue and lead fouling, all it took was two pulls of the Boresnake (one breech-to-muzzle, one muzzle-to-breech) and the NEF's bore is absolutelu *pristine* again, it looks completely unfired!

the Boresnake's great :)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2007, 09:17:14 PM by MacTech »
Formerly known as 665ae No Life Club Posts: 3,370 blah blah blah
Re: Low-velocity .22 ammo Shootout
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2007, 01:30:42 AM »
Very interesting read!  I'd be interested to know how the different rounds performs at greater distances (around 75-100ft).

Did you try to dig any of the other rounds out of the tree?  I'm curious how deep any of them actually penetrated :)

If you took all the intestines out of your body and stretched them end to end... you would die.
No Life Club Posts: 1,346 Right Wing Psychopath!
Re: Low-velocity .22 ammo Shootout
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2007, 12:14:51 AM »
I shot 3 squriell on monday with a standard .22 thunderbolt.  I will have to say that I would like a more quiet gun although the rifles report did not seem to matter to the little nut munchers.  I did manage to tag all three along a ridgeline within 150 yds of one another within about an hour.  I found a new method of hunting them.  Ridge walking.  Walk the ridgetops slowly and look over the side.  You can cover a lot of ground that way. 
No Life Club Posts: 1,657 Shop smart, shop S-Mart.
Re: Low-velocity .22 ammo Shootout
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2007, 12:55:21 AM »
Great info by the way, thanks for writing it up and posting the pics.

I use the Remington Subsonics in  my Ruger 10/22. I wonder if the CCI CB Long's would have cycling problems in my rifle. If anyone has a chance to use the CCI CB Long's in their 10/22 it'd be nice if you could let us (ok, me) know how it went.

I also use a synthetic bolt buffer which quiets the cycling down a bit as well.

« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 01:01:34 AM by mike »

Common sense ..... so rare, it's virtually a super power.



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