Why not shoot cheap ammo for practice?

Money Waster

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I've taken my Vudoo V-22 out 3 times now to shoot targets in the desert. The first time out was to zero the scope and plink at relatively large plates at 50 yards. The last 2 times out have been with my wife to shoot at a KYL rack whose plates range in size from 2' - 1/4' in 1/4' increments. I've been shooting bulk Federal ammo that I think ran me like $0.08/round. Based on what I've learned shooting this ammo, it is about 2 MOA in my rifle. I base this on the fact that I can hit the 1" gong consistently 9 out of 10 times at 50 yards with this ammo. I hit the 3/4" plate on average 6 out of 10 shots. My question is this; what do I gain by shooting more expensive ammo to aim at smaller plates achieving a higher hit percentage due to lower bullet dispersion? If the objective is to develop fundamentals including loading the bipod, being centered behind the scope, trigger release, follow-through, etc., do I not achieve all of those things shooting at a 2 MOA target knowing that that's the capability of the ammo and thus, the system? What do I really gain shooting more expensive ammo in a non-competition scenario? I'm not against more expensive ammo, I have a bunch of it sitting here waiting on field testing. It just seems to me that it is better to use the better ammo when it matters. Thoughts?
 

Money Waster

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Let me put a little context to the question. I built a .308 several years ago when I gained an interest in long range/PRS type shooting. I had a Remington 700 SA trued by a gunsmith and had him install a HV Bartlein barrel on it. I installed the barreled action into an XLR Element chassis and mounted a USO LR-17 scope on it. With that rig and my handloads, I could hit a 2 MOA target at 750 yards 9 out of 10 times from the bench using a bipod and bag (on low wind days). At 100 yards (again from a bench using a bipod and rear bag) I could consistently print 5/8"-3/4" 10 shot groups. So, for me, that's what my personal level of precision is at with that rifle and handloads. What I have not done is spend a lot of time behind a rifle shooting on the ground, prone, or from other improvised positions. The time needed to handload and the expense of the rounds made me pause to send 100 rounds down range practicing on any given weekend. That was THE motivating factor in purchasing a Vudoo V-22. It has all the big rifle ergos and I can shoot it at a very reasonable cost with out the need to reload. So now, I can send 200 rounds down range in an afternoon and not even blink. What I'm trying to do here is maximize the usefulness of my time behind the trigger. I'll be the first to say that I need to work on fundamentals. That's what I'm doing now with the Vudoo, and that is what led me to post the original question. Do I not get value in shooting at a 2 MOA target with ammo that is 2 MOA capable? Does that not benefit me as much as shooting 1/2 MOA ammo at a 1/2 MOA target? The fundamentals are the same regardless of which ammo I am shooting.
 
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308pirate

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Once again, when your ammo won't print better than the size of your target the feedback you get from a miss is inconclusive.

The fundamentals are always the same regardless of the ammo/rifle accuracy. The FEEDBACK you get about the quality of your fundamentals IS NOT.
 

Money Waster

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Once again, when your ammo won't print better than the size of your target the feedback you get from a miss is inconclusive.

The fundamentals are always the same regardless of the ammo/rifle accuracy. The FEEDBACK you get about the quality of your fundamentals IS NOT.
That makes sense to me. My wife shoots my rig at the 1" target, and connects on average 7 out of 10 shots. So, the hit percentage is different for her than it is for me. Perhaps this ammo is better than 2 MOA. It may be that my current level of skill is only 2 MOA with this rifle/ammo combination. On my next outing I may focus to the 3/4" plate and see if I can improve from my current 6 out of 10 hits probability. If I can't improve, I may conclude that it is the ammo and start shooting some of the CCI SV or SK Match boxes that I'm sitting on. Then the picture should be a little clearer as to what I am actually capable of with this rifle.
 

Just Chuck

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Practice ought to include stretching capabilities in distance and accuracy. Cheap ammo won't let you see what you can do. IMO. It may be useful for positional practice at shorter ranges.

Having said this, this is what I should do more of myself.
 
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acudaowner

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I have tried the more expensive 308 factory ammo at 34.00 per box of 20 and still choose the shoot the cheaper stuff 150 grain from 34 to 43 cents per round . I can with neither ammo shoot 5 in one hole at 100 yards let alone further out so why pay 3x more per shot till I can , the chaper stuff works for now 1 '' target with 5 shots in it to me is good enough for now , with the range I can shoot at limited to 600 yards and the groups I can put on paper or steel It also works nice in my pockets , but If you want to pay a lot more Its there for you to do so . now as I cannot reload , that may or will change with in the next year or two . I will reassess using better bullets when it makes more sense to me . or if I get the chance to take a course or two I definitely will bring the better ammo . I do like the nicer faster 22 lr rounds like the mini mag from cci . To me like the extra cost is that bad for the match grade 22lr sk , eleys or cci which brand is available the price is not that much more .
 

slimJim2000

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You cant know if your shooting good or not without good ammo, rifle, and scope. I know a British veteran who shoots at my range, and came here to escape their gun laws he is a really nice guy, but he just had a factory rem 700 in .308 with a cheap mail order scope, and he was shooting plate size groups at 100 yards. I let him shoot my rifle and he was shooting shooting below half MOA groups at the same range. Just as an example if your goal is to shoot good you really cant do much if your equipment is limiting you, and shooting really is 90%-95% equipment.
 

HMRamateur

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My reasoning for shooting higher quality ammo is to take it farther than 50 yds. If you're happy shooting at 50 yds with a precision .22, that's cool. For me though, I bought my .22 to shoot at 200-300, so more consistent ammo is a necessity. I can hit with inconsistent ammo, but my hits are inconsistent and I have no way of knowing if it was the wind picking up somewhere down the line or if it was just my ammo that prints a 2" group at 50 yds
 

556ARs

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I keep a fair bit of federal blue box Ammo around in all calibers that I have just for practice. I find it shoots accuratly enough in my guns that it makes for good comparison. No reason to go shoot off a 40 dollar box of Ammo when I can shoot off an 18-20 dollar box. I just picked up a case of it in 6.5cm for practice.
 

jbell

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If your limited by the quality of your equipment or ammo you will NEVER know or be able to improve on your potential. I shoot the best equipment and the best ammo made not because I can easily afford it, because I make drastic sacrifices in other areas of my budget so I can afford it, but rather so I can maximize my personal accuracy return in every penny invested. I feel if I shoot “junk” ammo then I am wasting money. This does not mean that when I train off hand or elevated heart rate that I am shooting premium ammo, I shoot ammo that is better than what I can do which sometimes that means I am shooting SK not Center X or Tenex.
 
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Money Waster

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My question is, why buy one of the best .22 rifles available and then feed it cheap ammunition? Why not buy a $400 (or $200) Ruger, where you can shoot the same size groups and save $2,000?
I get this question, and honestly I'm surprised that it took this long to show up. Look, I intend to shoot good ammo out of my rifle. I have it in hand as I type this. I simply wanted to get some trigger time in on it working on fundamentals and getting consistent results. I think that getting 9 out of 10 hits on a 1" plate magazine after magazine tells me that I'm shooting fairly consistently. My question was in regard to the value of shooting cheaper ammo at larger targets to work on fundamentals. In my opinion, the 3 outings that I had with my Vudoo shooting cheap ammo were valuable to my marksmanship. Going through 300 rounds or so getting the rifle set up to me and getting accustomed to shooting in the prone position vs. the bench shooting that I've done in the past has been good for me. I'm ready to shoot at smaller targets, and I will go to the better ammo when the hit percentage doesn't improve with practice. Hell, a lot of guys drive sports cars and 3/4 ton trucks and rarely use them to their capabilities. In my case, I have a gun that I know will always be able to deliver more than I likely can give. That's why you buy it.
 

Boltman82

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I shoot CCI SV to practice with to 100 yards. I think it does great for practice. Then on matches I shoot sk rifle match. I don't see the sense in wasting my "expensive" ammo to practice with in 100 yards. I do however need to shoot about 30 rounds of the sk before a match to get the barrel used to it again. I don't know if it's the different lubes they use or what.
 

Money Waster

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I shoot CCI SV to practice with to 100 yards. I think it does great for practice. Then on matches I shoot sk rifle match. I don't see the sense in wasting my "expensive" ammo to practice with in 100 yards. I do however need to shoot about 30 rounds of the sk before a match to get the barrel used to it again. I don't know if it's the different lubes they use or what.
I've got 500 rounds of CCI SV to go to next. Right now where I shoot I'm limited to a little over 50 yards. That's another reason why I haven't shot the good stuff yet. On my next trip out I may take the CCI and see if the 3/4", 1/2" and 1/4" plate hit percentages go up significantly.
 

Boltman82

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I've got 500 rounds of CCI SV to go to next. Right now where I shoot I'm limited to a little over 50 yards. That's another reason why I haven't shot the good stuff yet. On my next trip out I may take the CCI and see if the 3/4", 1/2" and 1/4" plate hit percentages go up significantly.
I always have good luck with cci sv. It's pretty cheap compared to sk rifle match.
 
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Kisssofdeath

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If your limited by the quality of your equipment or ammo you will NEVER know or be able to improve on your potential. I shoot the best equipment and the best ammo made not because I can easily afford it, because I make drastic sacrifices in other areas of my budget so I can afford it, but rather so I can maximize my personal accuracy return in every penny invested. I feel if I shoot “junk” ammo then I am wasting money. This does not mean that when I train off hand or elevated heart rate that I am shooting premium ammo, I shoot ammo that is better than what I can do which sometimes that means I am shooting SK not Center X or Tenex.
This a million times over.
 

Kisssofdeath

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CCI SV is great ammo for the price. You should never have to pay more than $2.50 per box of 50. Awhile back, I bought 5 cases on GB for $200 shipped per case, I'm working out of my 4th case now.

Plus, how can you argue with results like this. Seven different rifles here. I know they are not one hole groups but these are real world results with $2/box ammo.

Win M52 CCI SV ZA10 6-13-19.jpg

Tikka2 CCI SV 5-15-19.jpg

1710XLR CCI SV Case 10-30-18 (2).jpg

1710XLR CCI SV Case 10-30-18.jpg

ANS 1813 CCI SV bulk 2-2-19.jpg

Ans 1813 CCI SV LOT ZA10 6-2-19.jpg

Sako Finnfire Hunter CCI SV 8-15-19.jpg

Sako Finnfire Range CCI SV 7-23-19.jpg

Sako Range #2 CCI SV 8-16-19.jpg
 

Money Waster

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I think that the majority are saying to get out of the kiddy pool and shoot better ammunition. Fair enough guys. Thanks for your input. I'll see what I can do with better ammo in this rig. It should be interesting at the very least, and educational for certain.
 

Kisssofdeath

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I think that the majority are saying to get out of the kiddy pool and shoot better ammunition. Fair enough guys. Thanks for your input. I'll see what I can do with better ammo in this rig. It should be interesting at the very least, and educational for certain.
Yeah, if I was shooting in a competition I would use the best I had obviously. But, for practice I don't think anyone can go wrong with CCI SV.
 

Dthomas3523

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Also, if you’re actually practicing properly and you only hit the 3/4” at 50 6/10 times......you have no idea if it’s you or the ammo when you’re using cheap or ammo your rifle doesn’t like.

You basically void out the purpose of practice that way. You’re better off just take the equivalent amount of money in shots with the good ammo.

Shoot 50rnds of expensive ammo and knowing the 2/10 shots you miss was because of something you fucked up is much better than shooting 200 rnds of cheap and having no idea why you missed 4/10 shots.
 

W54/XM-388

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In my case because of time and distances, I don't get to shoot nearly as much as I want to.
so in my case the ammo cost is not a big issue and I tend to want to shoot stuff I know really works well in my precision rifles.

Also now in my ARs and such I'm starting to be more interested in precision rather than bulk as things change and I start realizing being able to hit an exact spot on your enemy might be more important than being able to hit them at all. There are coming situations where if you can't hit an exact spot you may be better of not shooting at all till you are sure you can hit that exact spot.
 

usafa77

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When it matters for me is a match. Shooting your match ammo before a match gives you confidence in your dope and ability. For example this months NRL22 match had an unsupported standing stage at 35 yds. You could shoot the 3'" for 10 pts, the 4" for 7 or the 5" for 5 points. Practice with my match ammo revealed my best chance of maximizing my score was shoot the 4". No good way to figure that out with cheap ammo. Practicing a 1/4 KYL with cheap ammo is a waste of time. Our NRL22 match has targets out to 200. To me, no way to get confident in that without shooting match ammo. To economize i shoot cheap ammo off barricades and props at 3 or 4 moa targets.
 

1badDart

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If I had that rifle I'd have to shoot some good ammo through it just to see how accurate it was. After I found it's favorite I'd shoot something cheaper for plinking.

I don't own a rifle that shoots SV really well, all my 52 Winchesters prefer SK Standard Plus over the SV. Normally I practice with the Plus and shoot SK Rifle Match in our fun matches.
 

Mech_eng

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My Anschutz shoots CCI SV at 50 yards really well. Not so much at 100.... If I practice with this ammo, I make sure it is at 50yds. At $250 a case, it's hard to beat if your rifle will shoot it.
 
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justin amateur

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I try to avoid shooting groups unless testing for ammo quality.
If I'm practicing then I'm shooting for score, not groups.
Why? Groups wander up and down, left and right.
They may look purdy and show consistent trajectories for those shots
but they don't allow me to practice what I'm really after...hitting what I aim at.
For practice I use one dot-one shot targets or scoring ring targets with best edge scoring.
Cheap ammunition will not allow me to obtain the results I'm trying for.
Try this target at 50 yards....



Link to pdf for download:


Download the pdf, open, print actual size (100%)

Easy to score, example in the upper right corner.
Find out what happens when you have to hit what you aim at.
Not what happens when y'er just sending round after round and hoping they'll cluster together.
Then decide if cheap ammo will get the job done.
 
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Snuby642

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Cci sv on sale 6-8 cents @ brownells.


Toss that other stuff in a closet and forget it.

Cci sv is sub moa in most any decent barrel.
 
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justin amateur

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You do know that CCI SV is bulk ammunition, right?
Bullets are covered with dents and dings due to the way they're handled at the factory.
Coming off the swaging line they get tumbled in a drum, then dumped into a cart,
transported to another machine and dumped again to continue the assembly.
Those soft lead bullets are bumped and banged repeatedly on all sides, including the heel.
Not conducive to repeatable trajectories.

Here's the factory tour while CCI SV is being made.
Pay attention to how the components are handled.
Then tell me about the quality of the cartridges.

 

Snuby642

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To appreciate the fine firearm you have clean the barrel spotless.
Do not shoot anything but the cci sv in it.
Shoot the first 25-30 rounds in the berm without any target.

Now shoot a group should be sub moa.
 

Snuby642

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@justin amateur

Have you actually shot cci sv?
I do, can not beat it at the price point.

I shoot it in a shaw 100$ barrel.
I'm sure the vudoo should do nicely with it.

20190809_172902.jpg
 
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justin amateur

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Yep, right purdy group ya' got there.
Now attempt that 30 dot target and come back to discuss the results.
Better, try 50 shots for score or 100 to obtain a decent sample.
We know you and the rifle are capable of precision shooting.
The question is not about you or the rifle,
but as to the ability of the ammunition to provide consistent accuracy.
In my experience with CCI SV at 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards, across a chronograph, it's bulk ammo.
Not for 5 shots, or 10, or 50 or 100, but for cases of CCI SV, it's bulk ammunition.
Take a look at the 6x5 results in the stickies, what ammo produces the most consistent results?



Just for giggles from a few years ago, 50 shots at 50 yards with CCI SV
455 Varmint, Lilja EPS chambered barrel



The next box wasn't capable of 1 inch for 5 shots at 50 yards.
CCI does not produce anything but hunting and plinking rimfire ammo.
They function test and check chamber pressure. No lot grading.
If it goes bang and clears the barrel, they box it, ship it, sell it.
 
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Jefe's Dope

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I can get Center X delivered for about $.22/round. While NOT cheap .22lr, it's much less than my hand loads for 6.5 CM or even 'cheap' ammo for 6.5 CM. So, my trainer is much cheaper to shoot than my primary. Even with 'expensive' training ammo. In fact, my trainer is fast becoming my primary. And I'm ok with that. :geek:
 
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Jefe's Dope

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I can get decent groups with CCI SV out to 50 yards. Beyond that, it really opens up.
 

Snuby642

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I never implied cci sv was the best 22lr.
At the price point show me something better please.

I'm banging a 10/22 with a 100$ barrel upgrade, a slicked up trigger, a crappy houge stock "that my wife likes", a bushnell 3x9 ar scope because it will focus parallax free down to 50 feet "nra comps for the wife" picked up on sale for 118$.

Now subtract that off your gears cost and tell me what you have left.

Point was the op has a firearm that can easily be sub moa with 6 cent ammo.

Please show me better 22lr target ammo at those prices.
It is soft lead for a reason dents and dings and shity crono results are acceptable for 6 cent rounds that can run sub moa.
 

slimJim2000

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The problem with using 22lr as a trainer is that the best ammo cost about the same as reloaded .223, and its vastly inferior to a .223 is just about every way in terms of both range, and accuracy potential at distance. So it seems to me there isn't much point in shooting the best 22lr unless your competing.
 

justin amateur

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Snuby, no argument, the expense can be a problem for many.
When the cost is prohibitive it's difficult to enjoy what y'er doing.
There is a point at which the rifle/shooter is unable to do much better, even with the best ammunition.
In this case the original question was from the owner of an expensive rig.
Second rate ammo from a first rate rifle produces second rate results.
There are no magic rifles that can improve ammo quality.
To improve the skill set you have to be able to correct the errors being made.
If the rifle/ammunition/setup is the cause of the strays, no amount of skill will improve results.
If you reach a plateau in the learning curve, you have to find the cause and fix it.
What ammunition will let you take the next step up?

I spend my time with rimfire at 200 yards.
I have to use the best ammunition I can find, or be severely disappointed with the results.
For typical rimfire, 50 yards or less, CCI is an inexpensive solution.
Not the best, but inexpensive.
 
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Snuby642

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I have found one thing that a 22lr trainer is not worth a damn on.

Recoil management. Lol
 

usafa77

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The problem with using 22lr as a trainer is that the best ammo cost about the same as reloaded .223, and its vastly inferior to a .223 is just about every way in terms of both range, and accuracy potential at distance. So it seems to me there isn't much point in shooting the best 22lr unless your competing.
I agree with part of what your saying, but for me the key word is trainer.
1. barrel life I have 8000 rounds through my .22 in 18 months. That's three .223 barrels. ( the cost of a Vudoo barrelled action)
2. 60 gr. vmax is over .20 a round. Plus I have to reload the stuff. I shoot sk in the .22 either .10 or .14 a round
3. I am not training for range , every caliber has it's own effective range.
4. Regarding accuracy, my .223 is more accurate than my 6.5. Does that help or hurt my training, I don't know.
I love my .223 but I really don't want to torture test it every day. 100 rounds of practice with the .22 is a lot of training.
YMMV
 
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Jefe's Dope

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The problem with using 22lr as a trainer is that the best ammo cost about the same as reloaded .223, and its vastly inferior to a .223 is just about every way in terms of both range, and accuracy potential at distance. So it seems to me there isn't much point in shooting the best 22lr unless your competing.
Not true. Think of it as ¼ scale .308 in terms of ballistics. The dwell time of the round, due to starting subsonic, in the barrel will exaggerate your trigger flaws.

As pointed out above, you do NOT get recoil management as part of your .22lr training but you do build good habits like not flinching. There's some give and take and it's not a replacement for actual training with your centerfire. Also, not knocking training w/ .223. But, you can't compare high end .22lr ammo with reloaded .223 except price. High end .22lr is very capable and consistent. I have plenty of .223 reload and while it always fires, accuracy leaves a bit to be desired. I'm not impressed with any factory .223 I've tried. But I've yet to invest in any high end .223 ammo. I'm sure it's there.
 
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Kisssofdeath

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I try to avoid shooting groups unless testing for ammo quality.
If I'm practicing then I'm shooting for score, not groups.
Why? Groups wander up and down, left and right.
They may look purdy and show consistent trajectories for those shots
but they don't allow me to practice what I'm really after...hitting what I aim at.
For practice I use one dot-one shot targets or scoring ring targets with best edge scoring.
Cheap ammunition will not allow me to obtain the results I'm trying for.
Try this target at 50 yards....



Link to pdf for download:


Download the pdf, open, print actual size (100%)

Easy to score, example in the upper right corner.
Find out what happens when you have to hit what you aim at.
Not what happens when y'er just sending round after round and hoping they'll cluster together.
Then decide if cheap ammo will get the job done.
I do the same thing but I shoot official IR50/50 targets. And having said that I have never shot a 250, closest I come is 246 with my 1813.
 

Dthomas3523

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If you’re in need of a “trainer” rifle nowadays, unless shooting a .308 or some 6.5’s.......recoil management isn’t that big of a deal for training.

A .223 trainer isn’t going to reinforce recoil management at all.

I can fully free recoil my .223 with max magnification and see every shot.

Basically the same with 6cm. Most serious shooters have moved over to 6mm, so you’re not gonna be losing much.

Also, everyone who mentions recoil management training better be training with a 6.5 or bigger. As anything smaller ain’t gonna help.

Also, the idea that good .22 practice ammo is the same as .223 in pricing

Where the fuck are you finding good .223 ammo for 10cents/rnd???
 
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Dthomas3523

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The problem with using 22lr as a trainer is that the best ammo cost about the same as reloaded .223, and its vastly inferior to a .223 is just about every way in terms of both range, and accuracy potential at distance. So it seems to me there isn't much point in shooting the best 22lr unless your competing.
.223 does no good if you don’t have ready access to a range that’s 300+

You can literally get as good of practice with a .22 on a 100 yd range as you can with a .223 at 400.

I have access to several ranges up to 1200yds and have .22, .223, 6, 6.5, .308 rifles to train with.

Dollar for dollar, the .22 wins by a long shot for modern prs competition training considering the extremely low recoil most comp guns have.
 

Hoser

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Recoil management/trigger technique is *more* critical with a 22.

Dwell time of the bullet in the barrel is 2-3 times that of a centerfire rifle.

Snatch that marginal shot with a rimfire and it will be way off call.

I guess calling it follow through is a good term.

When I spend a lot of time behind my 22 bolt guns I am much more accurate and consistent with my centerfire rifles.

For the OP, train inside 35-50 yards and you can get away with cheaper ammo. Past that, your gonna need to start spending some money if you want honest feedback from your trainer.
 

jbell

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Belligerents
Jan 16, 2010
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Lewiston, ME
.223 does no good if you don’t have ready access to a range that’s 300+

You can literally get as good of practice with a .22 on a 100 yd range as you can with a .223 at 400.

I have access to several ranges up to 1200yds and have .22, .223, 6, 6.5, .308 rifles to train with.

Dollar for dollar, the .22 wins by a long shot for modern prs competition training considering the extremely low recoil most comp guns have.
Recoil management/trigger technique is *more* critical with a 22.

Dwell time of the bullet in the barrel is 2-3 times that of a centerfire rifle.

Snatch that marginal shot with a rimfire and it will be way off call.

I guess calling it follow through is a good term.

When I spend a lot of time behind my 22 bolt guns I am much more accurate and consistent with my centerfire rifles.

For the OP, train inside 35-50 yards and you can get away with cheaper ammo. Past that, your gonna need to start spending some money if you want honest feedback from your trainer.
I absolutely agree with both of these statements. If you are shooting a hyper accurate 22lr rifle with the best ammo you can purchase all you need is 50 yards to humble the shit out of yourself, even on a dead calm day. If your the leas bit off of your fundamentals it will show in your groups, or shot to shot consistently (if your shooting for score). I can get pretty sloppy with a centerfire up to 300-400 yards and still have acceptable results, but try that with the top end 22lr rifle and ammo at a distance that anyone who shoots has access to (50 yards) and see what happens. If your are shooting anything but the best ammo you will never know what I am talking about. If you don’t believe me make the investment and try to put yourself at the top of the 6X5, you will see the point of spending the $ on the best ammo you can find real quick...
 
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