One Fools Attempt at Ammo Testing

meestermeetch

Private
Minuteman
Oct 7, 2018
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A number of you have seen my posting all over the T1X forum. I recently bought a Tikka T1x and promptly tricked it out with a KRG Bravo, an Area 419 Rail, Vortex 1.26” height 30MM rings and a Vortex Viper PST Gen2 3-15x44, I have a can on the end of it and have been pretty tickled with my new toy.

Over the last three days I have been at the range twice testing ammo. A lot of ammo. 1275 rounds over 21 manufacturers. I figure some of you may find this interesting so I will post my results.

My testing was shoot one ten round fouler group, shoot 4 ten round groups with the remaining ammo, then boresnake the gun. Repeat for the next ammo. Before you crucify me, I wanted each ammo to have a similar starting point, plus rack grade rifles get rack grade treatment. All shooting was done at 50 yards, outdoor, in ambient temps between 50 and 65.

I will have a few questions at the end of if you read all this, and have some insights chime in. otherwise, sorry for the long post!

To make it easier to digest below is a list of the ammo fired, in order of firing. Then (-) followed by the size of a coin corresponding to the size of the groups and another (-) if there are any notes. Remember 10 round groups at 50 yards. Shooting 600 rounds over 3 hours, even with all the boresnaking by the end the rifle was warm.

American Eagle HV – Quarter - super sonic – really dirty
Winchester Super Suppressed – Quarter
Remington Subsonic – quarter
CCI Green Tag – Nickel
CCI Subsonic – Nickel
CCI Clean Long Rifle – Quarter
CCI Pistol Match – Nickel – Super sonic – clean
CCI Quiet 22 – COMICALLY Bad groups, like more than a 50 cent piece - comically quiet, hitting the paper at 50 yards was louder, not joking.
CCI Standard Velocity – Penny
Aguila Super Estra – quarter – fliers lot of them.
Federal Gold Medal Target – Dime – as it got colder this started to crackle at supersonic
Federal Hunter Match – Penny – super sonic
Eley Club – Dime
SK Flatnose Match – Penny
SK Standard Plus – Penny
SK Rifle Match – Dime
SK Long Range Match – Penny - Super Sonic
SK Biathlon – Penny
Lapua Pistol King – Dime
Lapua Pistol OSP – Quarter
Lapua CenterX – Dime
Wolf – Dime

I intend to test a lot of the Eley flavors of ammo shortly. Also given how good it shoots I might try some of the Gucci ammo like R50, Midas and Tenex. I intend to shoot a match or two this weekend with the federal ammo this weekend. I also intend to do further test the CCI standard velocity, Federal Match, SK Rifle Match, Lapua Pistol King and CenterX. I intend to temp test the ammo. I have the Federal and CCI on hand so some of that is in the freezer waiting for the next range day. If anything stands out I will post it here.I intend to test it the ammos that prove to be the best at 100, just to see groups. I have been told that lot testing is best done at 100 since a dime size ten round group at 50 can mean a ½” gun at 100 or a 1” gun at 100 you won’t know until you try. Is this true?

I did notice groups open up slightly after each boresnaking, unclear if that was the “clean” bore or the change in ammo. However by 10 rounds it did settle in. I also noticed that colder bores (cease fires to change targets) the first round was more likely to be a flier, by how much varied.

This makes me pretty happy, I feel like with many varieties of ammo I can be pretty confident that it will be NRL22 accurate enough. However I have a few questions:
  • What can be extrapolated from the data above?
  • What else should I be testing? (Ammo variables…)
  • How should I do lot testing? The same, different? Why? If the manufacture is the same but the lot isn’t, don’t boresnake or ? (mostly for the sake of time more than anything)
  • How different will the lots really shoot? I can’t imagine its that different lot to lot, POI, group size and MV but I guess I have to test it.
  • Can I get lucky and find that it shoots most lots of a certain ammo well? Is it worth trying to find out? How many lots would I need to test to safely say “all Lapua pistol king shoots dime size group out of the gun”? IE if I test 5 lots of federal and they all shoot the same should I not worry about buying 10K of one lot and just buy what I can/need when its in stock at Academy, or if it gets used as a loaner NRL rifle and I say buy Federal match at Academy to the loanee, can I be confident that they aren’t getting set up for failure because the ammo they bought sucks… My real goal with this is does lot testing matter? I have a lot of HV 22 on hand and want a lot of subs, however I don’t really want to repeat this test annually as I shoot through a particular lot, I want to be able to just order a few thousand and call it a plan without worrying that I am going to be wasting my money.
 

cab0154

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Nov 3, 2007
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Here are some of the things i do:

When it comes to eley, sk/lapua, rws ect; they will all usually shoot well. I do have stuff that doesnt like eley and does sk, ect. but once you figure out overall which bullet the barrel likes, what i do have about a half dozen bricks of different lot numbers. i do this because we get so many different weather fronts here. anyway, what i do is just grab a couple boxes of each lot and see which lot is shooting in that air on that day. even great lots of match ammo will have their bad days. so i have started just buying the intermediate priced cheaper stuff (eley club, sk rifle match, pistol match, lapua pistol when its on sale, sk magazine), rather than match grade higher end stuff.

also, best advise i ever got when it came to eley, was start with a clean bore. in a rifle that shoots well with eley, it will help a lot. eley lube does not lay down well on other fouling like sk/lapua, rws ect does. other than eley, i usually dont even patch my stuff when changing ammo. i just shoot some foulers.

sounds like it will shoot pretty much anything in eley/sk/rws stuff. i would just go to the range with a clean bore, test eley first and if its shooting up to par let it eat. if not switch to other stuff.

i have done the whole buy a bunch of a magic lot the rifle loves stuff, and while it works, more days than not around here it wont shoot its best groups compared to other lots all the time. i even went so far as buying stuff from the eley batch selector, after doing a ton of comparison shopping. and while it is not a horrible lot, even though it shot very well in all of eley's test barrels, i expect tenex to shoot better than my magic lot of eley team that i have left over from 8 years ago. thats my $.02 hope that helps
 
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meestermeetch

Private
Minuteman
Oct 7, 2018
58
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12
sounds like if you find it likes a lot of different ammo it shouldn't be that lot sensitive within a given type. I intend to test more types of Eley soon as well as more lots of SK Rifle Match, CCI SV, Federal Target, Lapua Pistol and Lapua Center X. I will keep my same testing procedure just for consistency. then after I have tested 4 or 5 lots of each can make a call. figure out best price per performance and availability and go from there.
 

AGrizz

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Oct 9, 2008
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I realize your enthusiasm and your desire to find the proper ammunition and get started.

First off I would advise you to pick up a dial caliper for about $50 or less and actually measure the group size.

A quarter, nickle, penny and dime really tells you nothing. Where the actual dimensions such as .500 or .375 will say a great deal.

Most people are not familiar with this type of calculation to start with so there should be absolutely no embarrassment factor here.
Should you not be able to use a dial caliper you can find this information on the internet or come back here and we will gladly help you with it. I for one would certainly be willing to assist you with that information. Just send a private message.
 

littlepod

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Oct 16, 2012
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Here's my group sizes at 100 yards with my factory T1X. Lot testing does help too. I tested 4 lots of C-X, and 2 of them averaged .9" and 2 of them averaged .7". SK+, had 4 lots all averaging around 1.1", and 1 lot averaging .85". Ended up buying a case of each of those lots.

1579061846912.png
 

AGrizz

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I have viewed this in the past and a number of others and they are fantastic. Great Graphs.

I happen to be in love with Lapua Center X and SK Pistol Match Special for matches and SK Standard Plus for practice. I have a couple of cases of the Lapua loaded Wolf Match Extra that I run in K22 Kimbers.
 
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littlepod

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I have viewed this in the past and a number of others and they are fantastic. Great Graphs.

I happen to be in love with Lapua Center X and SK Pistol Match Special for matches and SK Standard Plus for practice. I have a couple of cases of the Lapua loaded Wolf Match Extra that I run in K22 Kimbers.
Yeh my safe only has 3 ammo in it now :)

7000 rounds of SK+, 3000 rounds of Pistol Match Special, and 2000 rounds of Center-X. 3 lot #'s total. I hope this will last me through the year...
 

Booner1334

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Dec 26, 2018
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From my experience, I will make a few suggestions.

1. I don't have a problem with using a bore snake at the range, but I prefer a one piece cleaning rod so I can run a patch down the barrel. And I always look at every patch that come out of my guns-every one. I don't know how many times I've noticed little tiny silver looking particles on my patches, which tells me my barrel has leaded, and a rimfire can lead up, especially when it's new. After the barrel has a few 1000 rounds through it, it can still lead, but it's a rare occurrence. When all of a sudden your tack driver goes bad, run a patch through it and look for lead on the patch. I also used a solvent solution on my wet patches that's half Hoppes #9 and half Kroil. They also have bore scopes now under $80 and I think that's a good investment.

2. I'm 67 years old, so I like a higher magnification on my scopes- even for 50 yard shooting. And I like small targets; it's sort of my version of "aim small miss small." I use a target backer made up of 1/4 inch grid paper, then put an "x" in one of the grids and shoot for the center of the x. I an also primarily a target shooter, so another reason for high magnification.

3. Get a chronograph. Since I was such a good boy this year, I purchased a Lab Radar and am still learning how to use it. What I have found out so far is that most of the reasons for my larger groups are due to the variations in velocity of the rounds. If nothing else, the chronograph has answered one the most asked questions in .22 rf shooting, "did I pull that shot or is it the ammo." It will also help you find that magic lot of ammo without shooting most of the brick. I have a RPR, a CZ455, and a Tikka T1. They all like SK Rifle Match, and I normally don't buy anything more expensive than that as I found that the more expensive stuff doesn't shrink my groups enough to justify the additional expense, but that may be something to do with my 67 year old eyes. They all like one particular lot number of Sk Rifle Match much better than other lots of the same because the standard deviation of that particular lot is less than 10fps when shot out of each of my rifles. The chronograph confirmed what my targets were telling me, so I got 3 bricks of that particular lot and put them aside. If I hadn't seen what the standard deviation was, I would have shot that brick up and when I got around to buying another, they would have been gone. And rest assured that the quality of ammo varies from lot to lo within each brand. The nice thing about the Tikka is that it shoots all ammo pretty good, and from your test you know which brands of ammo are worth investigating further. So narrow the search down to a few types, then look for the magic lot and buy as much of that as you can.
 

meestermeetch

Private
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Oct 7, 2018
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Thanks for the flood of information!

I own calipers but don't know how to accurately measure the group size. The groups that are one hole are pretty easy, (dime) however there are others that are notably more difficult because of fliers or a very oblong shape (usually on the vertical axis showing MV variation). I end up measuring all the groups on both the X and Y axis and noting both down on the targets. Can you point me the the right direction for how to measure more effectively?

I will start testing lots. If most lots of XYZ shoot about the same I won't go overboard and will buy what is available in fairly large quantities. And know that the next time I need ammo to just start with that brand and variety.
 

meestermeetch

Private
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Oct 7, 2018
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As for the Chrono, I know I need one. I am waiting to get my ARCA rail installed on the T1X so I can mount a magneto speed to the gun and not induce POI shift. However I wanted to get my ammo types narrowed down since chronoing every shot for 1200 shots would be a lot.
 

Near miss

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You could use target papers and scoring app like TargetScan or just shoot anything and use Range Buddy.

Both will let you archive groups for evaluation.
 

Rover31

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Oct 27, 2007
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Lots of great suggestions and info here.

One thing I would add. Do your ammo test at 100yds/m.
For me I find it really shows the difference in the ammos. 50 just doesn’t show the errors as well.
 

Kadams1563

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100 yards or more for sure in ammo testing. We are pushing rim fire farther then ever before and that’s what all the ammo testing is for. See how it groups farther out.

next chrono to see what ammo has the best numbers.

I shoot at a hundred then usually straight to 300 for steel to have fun.
 
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