High velocity vs. standard target ammo

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by G-Mann, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. G-Mann

    G-Mann Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    For years of using high velocity ammo, because it is cheaper than the target stuff, I made an attempt to find out why my shooting results landed not so good results! The high velocity I had shot were Winchester dynapoint, CCI, Federal Champions, CCI stingers, Winchester Wildcats, and a host of others. So after basically thinking it was the gun, a guy asks me if I ever shot the target stuff? I said no because of price. He then tells me that you will notice a big difference in the groups you get with it. Meaning greater accuracy. I took his word. Went to go purchase the target ammo and said to myself.... Holy Smokes $9.25 for a box of 50!! Don't call me a cheapskate but... will I notice a difference with the target ammo? If so, then I will indeed buy a box just to see if it does make a difference. By the way, the Federal Champions held the best group of all. My question is, does the target ammo improve the groups more so than the high velocity ammo?

    Marlin 881 bolt with 4x32 scope shot at 50yds.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I can give you a definite "Maybe" :). Might go so far as to say, "Probably".

    High Velocity ammo is supersonic. Going through the sound barrier makes the bullet wobble a little. This can throw accuracy off. Because of this wobble, target ammo is loaded subsonic. They don't go through the sound barrier, so don't have the wobble. From this perspective, target ammo is more accurate.

    BUT (you knew there was a "but", right?), 22s are some of the pickiest guns on the face of the earth. They like (and also don't like) specific kinds of ammo. The only way to find out which is to shoot different brands. Yours seems to like Federal Champions. The type of gun does not matter. An identical 881, one serial number later than yours, might love Remington, and Federal groups resemble shotgun patterns.

    Your gun might (or might not) like Eley Match. It might prefer Eley Pistol Match - shoot it fine - but throw the Rifle Match ammo all over the target. It might rather eat Wolf Match than it would Eley. You won't know until you try.

    Then let's say your gun will shoot a half-inch group, at 50 yards, with the Federal. With the Eley it shoot three-eighths of an inch. Better group, but is it enough better to justify 10 dollar a box ammo versus 2 dollar a box ammo? Only you can decide that.

    Go ahead and give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. But it's not guaranteed.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Keep records of what you shoot.

    Put up a target at 25 yards. Off a rest (you're checking how well the gun shoots, not how well you shoot), shoot a 10-round group. Mark the target - Federal Champion 40 grain solid, ten shots, Sept. 22, 2009, 25 yards, benched. Mark whether it liked to feed them, or whether it fought each time you tried to chamber a round. Put that target away. Don't bother trying another one that day. Shoot for score when you are fresh.

    Next time you go out, take another brand. Shoot them the same way. Off a rest, 25 yards. Mark the target.

    Eventually you will have a bunch of targets, saying things like:
    Federal Champion, 40 grain lead RN
    Federal Hi-Power, 40 grain copper washed RN
    Federal American Eagle, 36 grain copper washed HP
    CCI Mini Mag, 40 grain Solid
    CCi Mini Mag, 36 grain HP
    CCI Blazer, 40 grain lead RN

    etc., etc.

    Then you compare your targets. See what your gun shot best, and fed best (might be different). Make a descending list. When you go to the store, compare what they have to what your gun likes. First one on your list is Federal Champion. They ain't got none. #2 is CCI Mini Mag Solid. Ain't got none. #3 - Winchester Dynapoint? Ain't got no. #4, Mini Mag HP. They got them. Cool, buy some. But if all they have is Remington Thunderbolt, and it's #37 on your list, I'd leave them in the store. :p
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    For 22LR Target pistols there is another aspect as to which ammo to shoot (High Velocity or Standard Velocity): Gun longevity.

    While the gun s may be designed to shoot High Velocity it has to be sprung lightly on the recoil spring to shoot Standard Velocity ammo or it will not move the slide far enough to feed the next round or lock back on the last round of Std Vel ammo. If we shoot Hi Vel ammo in it, the slide hits its recoil stop harder than with Std Vel ammo. That beats on the gun and MAY eventually do damage or MAY NOT depending on the guns design and materials. You get to find out when something breaks. So to me it only makes sense to shoot only Std Vel ammo in expensive Target semi-auto pistols.

    I have 14 of theses Target pistols and every one shoots CCI Std Vel ammo fine with minimal failures to feed, failures to extract, or failures to eject. It works in all 14 guns! CCI Std Vel ammo is not a premium ammo so the costs are just above the bulk cheapy stuff. There appears to be no accuracy loss and in some guns an accuracy gain over all the cheapy stuff. The difference in accuracy between the expensive Eley stuff and the CCI Std Vel 22LR ammo is minimal, in my experience.

  5. Jay

    Jay Active Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    Wolff makes a "Recoil Calibration Pak" for most .22 pistols that will allow you to "tune" your pistol to the velocity of the ammo you're shooting....as far as function goes.


    For accuracy, it usually follows that the more expensive ammo is more accurate, but still, each rimfire firearm, may have it's preferences. Check with local gun shops, or shooting ranges, and you'll probably find someone to let you shoot a few rounds of the more expensive stuff. If you're near north central Indiana, holler at me.
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    What ever extra energy the heavier recoil spring absorbs, it gives back in closing the slide. So instead of beating up the recoil stop, you end up beating up the slide and the breech end of the barrel. There is no free lunch. It is still better to use the lightest recoiling ammo and recoil spring that cycles your gun correctly.

    Admittedly CCI Std Vel ammo is harder to find then the cheapy bulk stuff but I find it much harder to accept beating up my expensive Target guns. I know, some argue that the difference in price over time would allow you to replace the gun regularly except I have some vintage guns that cost two to three times or more than what a Target model Ruger costs and finding one in good condition could be a long an hard process. CCI is not the only Std Vel ammo choice. I hear good things about the Std Vel ammo the CMP sells (Agila???). There are others too.

  7. Jay

    Jay Active Member

    Mar 26, 2003

    Uh, thanks, but that's what I said.
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Jay said:

    "Uh, thanks, but that's what I said."

    Oh, you did? I misread it, I guess. I though you said to up the spring force to cover the High Velocity ammo? In case you misread my response I implied don't shoot Hi Vel ammo, at all, regardless of the Wolfe springs available for the gun.

    But we all get to choose, don't we.

  9. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    That's okay, LD. That's what I thought he was sayin', too.
  10. Jay

    Jay Active Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    Geeze, guys. I didn't say one way was better than the other. I simply pointed out the availability of the calibration pack. I did say "as far as function goes." I did that with my S&W model 41, and have the original parts, other than springs in it .... I got it for my birthday in 1959. Don't have any idea what works for others. Didn't mean to stir anything.

  11. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    OK, I'll add my "two bits" worth.

    For the money and being easy to find, CCI SV is your best all around compromise for target grade 22 ammo.

    While quality varies from good to sometimes match grade, depending on lot #, and if they needed anymore premium inventory when it was QC tested. It is usually adequate for serious training with a rifle and good enough to shoot solid master scores with, at Bullseye Pistol.

    It has enough recoil to operate an unmodified Ruger MK III 22/45; yet it does not "beat up" a early Hammerli "Trailside". It costs less than half of what you will pay for European entry grade target ammo; and you often need a match grade rifle to identify if any statistically significant difference in the group sizes at 50 or 100 yards.

    The product from Mexico (using the Eley priming technology, and sold under several labels) initially seem to be one great buy for ones practice and training dollar when it was 40% cheaper than CCI SV.
    Today, its price is often as much or more than the CCI; and average quality does not seem as good as when it first became popular.

    Poster "Jay" mentioned Wolff offers recoil spring tuning kits for some 22's. The Ruger Mark series 22 are typically set up to stand up to HV ammo, because that is what they usually get fed. The experiences of myself and others is that lightening the recoil spring is ineffective, because by the time it will run with some light recoiling ammo the spring will not have enough power to close the bolt reliably. Modifying the main spring may help or it may tend to cause misfires. Lightening the bolt by 3% to 5% usually solves the problem with "soft" ammo; but the pistol should then not be fired with HV and so marked.
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    eh, .22s are cheap.... just shoot the heck out of em and never clean em and when they stop working go buy a new one;)
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