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Thread: optimal 22LR bullet design

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    optimal 22LR bullet design

    Talking with a couple guys this week got me wondering about 22LR bullet designs and doing a little research (with little to be found). Basically in a nut shell we were talking about why we dont see new designs being released for the 22LR. Over the past few years we have seen success with the 17HMR and 22WMR as far as more "modern" bullets. Obviously this wouldnt interest everyone shooting a 22LR. Sure I love buying cheap ammo like thousands of other guys and gals to plink with. But I for one would definitely be interested in some tipped, BT or more aerodynamic bullets. I was curious your guys opinions on this. Why it would or wouldnt work? Why we havent seen it? If we will in your opinion? based on your experience what you would like to see released? What is a realistic possibilty to possibly fill this void in the market? obviously ammo manufactures know what they are doing and there is some great 22LR ammo readily avilable. So I am sure I am not the first to mull this idea over. I did do some comparisons on 40 GR .224 bullets. This is the difference in advertised BC as it transitions from the round nose style bullet (similar to many 22LR bullets) to the type of bullet most of us like to use for accuracy.

    - Sierra Varminter Bullets 2(224 Diameter) 40 Grain Jacketed Soft Point (this design is similar to some 22LR bullets - BC .116
    - Sierra Varminter Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 40 Grain Hollow Point (same bullet as above but with more aerodynamic HP) - BC .155
    - Nosler Varmageddon Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 40 Grain Tipped Flat Base (modern design with polymer tip) - BC .211
    - Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 40 Grain Spitzer Boat Tail (polymer tip with BT) BC .221
    - Hornady Z-Max Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 50 Grain Boat Tail (A little heavier but still something many 22LR shooters would be interested in) BC .242
    -Hornady A-Max Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 52 Grain Boat Tail BC .247

    I am not assuming all of the above designs would work in a 22LR just using them as figures to illistrate how BC goes up (as most of us know) with little changes. All of the figures I got were advertised BCs from Midway. So what are your thoughts?

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    We had good bullets for 125 years.
    The are those available.
    They come in one in hole, from Eley, RWS, etc.
    The are subsonic.
    There in optimal to 40-50 gr spitzer is NOT .LR bullets.
    They won't go 1000 fps; on they go, they go goofy.














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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    BT or some other tip is only possible with a copper jacketed bullet, and no copper dipped/plated/painted is not the same. The reason you don't see much development with the 22lr is because it is like a 125 year old cartrage made in 1887 and besides very small changes is the same thing they used back in the day. That is one of the reasons it is popular for what it is used for plinking. People been shooting them and most have grown up with them. The size of the case, bullet and chamber limit how much and what they can do to mix it up and the limits are very low in many ways. That is why there is the 22mag, 22 hornet.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Now I'm far from an expert, but as the standard twist rate is 1 in 16, doesn't that limit bullet selection to shorter bullets? It seems the higher bc 22 caliber bullets are longer due to the jackets.

    I know we can get custom barrels in whatever twist rate we want, but I don't see the demand for it. It would be a huge risk for an individual to step up and dedicate a build for these bullets without any factory ammunition available. It would suck to reload for the 22LR. I can't swing it as I have plenty of other projects in the works, but maybe someone ELSE can do a custom 40x build with say, 5R rifling? See I'm reaaaal good at spending my money, but even better at spending everyone else's, Haha.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Lol. I see what you are saying. But it seems to be the last niche that needs filled. Even if they produced some plated bullets with a more aerodynamic tip. I think it is safe to assume that jacketed bullets likely will not work in most rifles. But someone a little more experienced will have to chime in and explain why as I have no clue. I know the 22lr case is much closer to the same diameter as the bullet when compared to cenertifre cartridges. I'm not sure if the 17HMR and 22Mag are the same way or not. I did read somewhere that a jacketed bullet design would travel through the bore a lot faster than the lead ammo we currently have. This posing the problem for the 22LR's case to build sufficient pressure behind it to achieve any kind of good velocity. But that was someone's opinion. Not sure if there is any truth to that or not.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    What is important to remember about 22LR bullets is that they are designed for low velocity... from just above the speed of sound to below the speed of sound. BC is a really bad measure of design of a 22LR bullet because we don't want them to go 1,000 yards. We want them to go 25 - 100 yards (and sometimes longer) as accurately as possible. At those velocities, a spitzer is not optimal. In fact, the 22LR bullet is so optimal, that I have been going the other way and trying to find something as close to the 22LR as possible for subsonic larger calibers. Subsonic BTHP's are notoriously inaccurate.

    If I were to look for a better bullet, I would think of something like a wadcutter or semi-wadcutter design. These have low BC's, but are highly accurate. Eley did a lot of work trying to come up with a better design. What they came up with was the "pip" or what some call the dimple on the tip of the bullet. Many people have erroneously thought that the purpose of the pip was to buck wind better (I thought that for a time as well). In fact, the purpose of the pip is similar to the purpose of the hollow point on a boat tail hollow point bullet... or what is more accurately called an open mouth boat tail bullet. It makes the bullet easier to manufacture so that you can have a very flat bullet base, which is one of the keys to accuracy.

    I imagine when Eley was doing this experimentation, they tried some pretty out of the box ideas... machining a new cast is not horribly expensive for a company the size of Eley. So in fact, they did come up with a bullet that borrowed a page from the book of the large caliber bullets... but in the end, it was about coming up with a design that is easier to manufacture well.

    FWIW, I am using RWS these days, but I would be curious to see what would happen if RWS used an Eley-style bullet.
    -Carter Mayfield

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Thanks for the info. I was under the impression that higher BC bullets we accurate around the sound barrier. For example the 300 blackout / whisper And the success guys have had with subsonic loads. Specifically with higher BC bullets such as the 208 Amax.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Remember that 22lr is a heeled bullet and would not be practical to produce in anything other than a swaged lead type. That pretty much limits shape and therefore BC.

    Stick with Lapua, Eley, RWS, SK, etc and you wont be wanting for any other design.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    People use the 208 Amax more for the weight than the BC... and many have success loading it boattail first. Look at the .50 Beowulf. That is a cartridge that is designed for subsonic... and it looks surprisingly like an oversized 22LR cartridge.

    Note that these subsonic loads in big bore rarely attain even .5 MOA of accuracy. Most are happy to get sub-MOA with one... this despite high BC's. With my 22 LR and top shelf ammo, I bet that I could outshoot a lot of folks with a 300 Whisper or a 308 loaded down to subsonic speeds. And that is not a brag... it just points out the inherent accuracy of the 22LR cartridge.

    I used to think that 17 HMR had more accuracy potential than the 22LR. I was wrong. When I got the right 22 ammo, I could outshoot my 17 at 50 AND 100 and hang with it at 200. The trick with the 17 HMR is the velocity, not so much the bullet design. Even the 17 Mach 2 flies a lot faster than the 22LR. If you use a 22 caliber Hornady spitzer bullet in a 22LR case, I would bet that it does not do as well as a traditional round nosed bullet. And I would have thought that with all of the work on the different variants of the 17's, someone would have tried it... but I am not privy to any kind of experimentation. Would be interesting to find out, though.
    -Carter Mayfield

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    this is a really good thread.

    i often asked myself the same question, why not a Vmax .22 lr or spitzer?

    i take carter as a guy of humility and knowledge (not to mention one hell of a shooter) and his words above has some good reasoning and facts to why there's not a spitzer out there. along with the input from others on the technical sie of things why there's not one out there.

    but it would be cool if someone did introduce one, just to see what would happen. even in one of those hyper velocity rounds. perhaps it was tested in an ammo makers lab once or twice, and they found out that the ol' lead round nose is the stuff.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    even before this thread I was assuming that was the case. like I said Im sure I am not the first conehead with to much time on my hands that was sitting around thinking of stuff like this. Realistically it is the last niche in the 22LR offerings. I was assuming there was a damn good reason it is not produced. But wasnt for sure why. I appreciate the insight from you guys. TP, this is a good thread. I wish there were more like it. This is what this forum is all about. Sharing some knowledge you have aquired over the years with others. Usually something like this turns into "throw your Savage away and buy a CZ, then you will not need to seek more accuracy..." lol.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    For the record I shot Brian Litz a pm asking if he could chime in a little as well. Obviously he works with larger platforms typically. But I believe he could shed a little more light on what and why, if and when, whats possible and what is not and so on.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Note: .22WMR is not not than LR.
    Longed duration.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BrettSass844</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Usually something like this turns into &quot;throw your Savage away and buy a CZ, then you will not need to seek more accuracy...&quot; lol. </div></div>

    ^^^^so true.

    there are a few interesting ones like this that i stash away here (this one is there now) you may want to browse through: my favorite 22 ammo threads
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    I think Carter nailed some points. BC or velocity shedding nature is more equalized in the subsonic region. Higher sectional densities and inherent length associated with higher BCís would also require added pressure/charge/velocity and twist for stability not advantageous with the .22 rimfire case or all-lead projectiles. Added mass, length, and more twist = lower velocity for a higher BC that isnít utilized in the average velocity of a .22lr at common range.
    The shorter pills should also have more acceptance to crossing from supersonic to subsonic. With a lossy bullet and marginal supersonic velocity at the muzzle, it appears to be more advantageous to remain subsonic to maximum range.

    Boat tails vs flats is likely in consideration of range and bullet length vs retained velocity to target. I remember my father touting the gains of flat based pills when I first started reloading. I never listened. [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/smile.gif[/img]

    Thatís my take, correct or misguided; the rimfire is an interesting subject.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    I was reading an article that I came across somewhere and it was talking about accuracy and underbore vs overbore cartridges. One of the lines that stuck out was a joke, but basically, it was saying that if all you wanted from a cartridge were accuracy, we would all be shooting 22LR.

    It went on to say that you had to consider range and energy and all of those other things that go into caliber selection, but it certainly got me thinking about how accurate the 22LR really is.
    -Carter Mayfield

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TOP PREDATOR</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    i take carter as a guy of humility and knowledge (not to mention one hell of a shooter) and his words above has some good reasoning and facts to why there's not a spitzer out there. along with the input from others on the technical sie of things why there's not one out there.
    </div></div>

    I have lived long enough to see myself be wrong... and it didn't take long.

    Don't get me wrong... I love to see people experiment. Without that, there is no progress. A spitzer style 22LR bullet would certainly be interesting. And I would bet that its terminal effects might compare favorably to a round nose. When it comes to accuracy, the more I shoot, the more that I realize, that it is not my ammo or my rifle holding me back, but me.
    -Carter Mayfield

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Carter Mayfield</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I was reading an article that I came across somewhere and it was talking about accuracy and cartridges. One of the lines that stuck out was a joke, but basically, it was saying that if all you wanted from a cartridge were accuracy, we would all be shooting 22LR.

    It went on to say that you had to consider range and energy and all of those other things that go into caliber selection, but it certainly got me thinking about how accurate the 22LR really is. </div></div>

    Accuracy is relative to the 22lr animal. It's a fun challenge. I would not specialize it in range, energy or accuracy. It is specialized in inherent expectation. Underbore/overbore vs accuracy is not anything I uphold.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Ok, well I've got the itch now to reload some bullets for my 10/22. I'm planning on pulling some bulk Winchester M-22 plinking bullets and putting some new bullets in with a MUCH reduced powder charge. Then I'll work it up from there just to be safe. Any idea what pressure signs look like on 22LR? Haha.

    The only problems I have are that I don't currently own a camera to document the results (might buy one for this) and I have limited access to bullets.


    Here is a blog outlining how to &quot;reload&quot; 22LR:
    http://votefordavid.blogspot.com/200...reloading.html
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    It is an extremely old low pressure cartridge that uses a heeled bullet as others have already pointed out. There is obviously very little that can be done to improve on it that Eley, RWS, and a few others haven't already tried. It will never be able to shoot .224 bullets as the case and bullet are already aproximately .223. Not saying you are insinuating using a .224 bullet....just stating the specs. I would think that a wadcutter would be nice for BR games but I can't imagine that it hasn't been tried.
    I run the Marksmanship Competitions for IHMSA and one of my regular contributors sent some groups fired with what he calls the .224 Montgomery. The cartridge bears his name actually and it is the .25ACP necked to .224. It is a really neat little cartridge. I don't think it is any more accurate than the 22LR but it is a neat, accurate little critter, would like to have one chambered up myself. Long story short I don't think the 22LR would benefit from fancy bullets or jackets.

    I did not, nor did I intend to bring up Savage or CZ it is not germane to the topic. So why did you need to bring it up? Been butt hurt lately? I haven't said anything about a Savage in at least a month I do believe.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    I agree with the statements above that point out this cartridges operating speed and intended use. A longer, pointier, BT design would
    A) require a faster twist to stabilize
    B) be difficult to make on a non-jacketed bullet
    C) the increase in BC would do very little good for a bullet operating at &lt;1100 fps.

    The most critical thing for these rounds regarding performance at long range (over 100 yards) is consistent MV, which the companies to put considerable resources in and have done a pretty good job at getting the MV's very consistent.

    -Bryan

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: halcyon575</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Ok, well I've got the itch now to reload some bullets for my 10/22. I'm planning on pulling some bulk Winchester M-22 plinking bullets and putting some new bullets in with a MUCH reduced powder charge. Then I'll work it up from there just to be safe. Any idea what pressure signs look like on 22LR? Haha.

    The only problems I have are that I don't currently own a camera to document the results (might buy one for this) and I have limited access to bullets.


    Here is a blog outlining how to &quot;reload&quot; 22LR:
    http://votefordavid.blogspot.com/200...reloading.html </div></div>

    What projectiles do you intend on trying?

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    You know, there might be absolutely no benefit in this. I agree that the chances of my 1/16 twist barrel stabilizing a 55gr bullet are slim. But I can't find where it has been tested so why not? I have the time, resources, and curiosity to try.

    I just ordered some 40gr vmax and 55gr vmax bullets. As above, my expectations for the 55s is limited, but I'm cautiously optimistic about the 40grs.

    My plan is to:
    BASELINE-
    1- shoot 3, 5 shot groups at 50yds with SK standard plus.
    2- measure average center-go-center group size.

    RELOADS-
    1- pull 100 22lr bullets
    2- collect powder charges and find average charge weight.
    3- reload 3 cases at one half of the original average charge weight with the 40gr bullets and check velocity. Clear any squibs after each shot.
    4- increase powder charge by .1gr and repeat step 3 until velocity matches SK standard plus (988fps).
    5- load 15rds of 40gr at desired load and shoot 3, 5 round groups at 50yds.
    6- repeat steps 1-5 for the 55gr bullets with a 10% reduced maximum charge weight for safety.
    7- compare size of all groups.

    Any suggestions?
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    What are the exact bullets you are testing? They sound like .224 bullets

    Just to make sure before hand, I was under the impression you could not safely discharge a .224(223 Rem) bullets in a 22LR. It might possibly work for some of the 22Hornet bullets that are .223, I have heard that 22LR bullets are both .222 and .223 but Im not 100% sure.

    I think the 22Mag ammo is .224 but I may be wrong.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    They are .224 bullets. I was planning on taking an emory cloth and rubbing them down to 22lr bullet diameter as evenly as possible. I measured 20-22lr bullets and they have an average diameter of .2215&quot; so I don't think it'll be too hard or take too long.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Halcyon, Brett is correct.

    You are not going to be able to even get a .224 bullet in the cahmber of a 22LR.
    You will actually need a .222 jacketed bullet if it has any hope of working. You have not been listening to the discussion. A jacketed bullet that can be loaded into a 22LR case does not exist. Do you know what a heeled bullet is? It is the bullet design at work here that allows the case to be the same diameter as the bullet and vice versa.
    If you truly want to try this idea you will need to invest a lot more time and money. The first thing you will need is some way to reload 22LR and then you will need a very expensive custom bullet swaging setup to make your own heeled jacketed bullets in .222.
    You are wasting your time. You aren't seriously thinking of &quot;filing&quot; down jacketed .224 bullets, tell me you are joking.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    I understand why the .224 bullet will not work and now have what I believe is a better understanding for the 22LR all together. To illustrate the design I came up with a cheesy little drawing so it will help make it easier to grasp. Forgive me if I am wrong and please point out any differences. But this clearly shows why a modern BTHP or similar just would not work. Forgive my skils as I am at work and have limited software access.


    In order to achieve the questions I asked in the original post I believe one would have to use the 22WMR case and have a barrel headspaced to the &quot;new round&quot; similar to the 17HMR. Again that is what I am drawing from the conclusions and please correct me if I have misunderstood something. I am with Armor that an attempt to do the above could be dangerous. Not telling you not to proceed just please be careful if you do.

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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Excellent drawings Brett. This clearly illustrates the dilema. I see now what you are proposing with the WMR case as a short wildcat if you will. Maybe you can call it the &quot;Sass Short 22RF&quot;. That is definately an intrigueing idea! One would have to have a reamer cut to dimension. At that point it would be feasable to cut down a WMR barrel and fit to a LR action. Of course you would have to open the bolt face a bit or you could sacrifice a WMR action but then feeding may be a problem. It could all be done but at what I assume to be rather great expense unless one had a lathe and could do it themselves. Of course you would need to roll your own ammo but the least of all the obstacles.
    The LR round has a rather deep crimp at the heel so if we are talking custom projectile it would have to be pretty special indeed. Leaving me to believe the short WMR actually the easiest way to achieve the desired result. Not sure the view would be worth the climb but an interesting project none the less.
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    Ok then. Project off, haha. You're right, Armor, I had a different idea of what a &quot;heeled&quot; bullet was and thanks, Brett as your diagram DID in fact clear it up.

    I guess the V-maxes are going back to their original purpose of AR load development.
    Rem700, RRA Elite Operator 2, Sumbitchin Awesome 10-22, EDM M96 Windrunner, AWC Ultra II, DTA SRS, STI Lawman

    (soon) TRP Armory Kote

  30. #30
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    Re: optimal 22LR bullet design

    I doubt I am up for a project like that. I like the idea of my own lathe though. lol. Honestly that is the only feasable way to get a mid BC .224 bullet out of a 22 rimfire barrel. I also have a better understanding of the 22LR as a whole and now understand why the projectiles are designed the way they are. Thanks again to armorpl8chikn, Carter Mayfield and Brian for your insight. By all means keep this thread going with realistic offerings you would like to see released in the future. I for one would like to see Hornady release some ammo. I have had great results with their 22WMR and have heard nothing but good things about their 17HMR. For now I am stocked up and ready to kick off sping with another new 22.