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All .22 rimfire ammo is not the same!

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Does the pellet matter? Part 1

Today’s report is a continuation of the test we started last week, when I asked if the pellet matters (as far as accuracy is concerned). That test wasn’t quite as dramatic as I would have liked, and several readers chalked it up to my Beeman R8 being an inherently good shooter. No doubt it is, but that still doesn’t explain the good results I got with pellets that I wouldn’t normally recommend for that rifle.

Today, I’m using a target rifle that’s hands-down the most accurate .22 rimfire I’ve ever owned, seen or shot. It’s a Remington model 37 Rangemaster from before World War II, and it’s fitted with the “miracle trigger” that Remington once sold. This trigger has no perceptible movement and releases with just an increase in finger pressure. It’s much like an electronic trigger, only this one is all mechanical.

The rifle has a Redfield 3200 target scope. It magnifies 24X and has parallax corrections down to extremely small increments out to 50 yards.

Remington 37
Remington’s model 37 is a world-class target rifle.

I’ve put 5 shots from into a quarter-inch at 50 yards with this rifle using peep sights.

But this time, I’ll shoot 10-shot groups because they’re the ones that show a rifle’s true potential. For this test, I used 13 different .22 rounds. Most of them weren’t target rounds, but that doesn’t matter. They’re all different, and that will address today’s title question.

Best round first
I had no idea how this test would turn out. I knew certain ammo shot well, but this was the first time I’d shot 10-shot groups with the rifle at 50 yards. The best round turned out to be CCI’s .22 Subsonic Hollowpoint. Ten of them went into a group that measures 0.504 inches at 50 yards. That’s as good as some top-quality air rifles at the same distance, and I was pleased with it.

CCI Subsonic group
Ten CCI Subsonic HPs went into 0.504 inches at 50 yards.

Worst round
The worst round was Remington’s Target ammo — a standard-speed round that Remington recommends for formal target shooting. How’s that for irony? Ten of them went into 1.766 inches at the same 50 yards from the same super-accurate rifle! If that doesn’t make believers out of you, nothing else I can say will. Look at this group. These bullets didn’t even attempt to go to the same place!

Remington Target group
Ten Remington Target rounds went into 1.766 inches at 50 yards.

Another poor round was Winchester’s Wildcat high-velocity ammo. Ten of them went into 1.395 inches at 50 yards.

Winchester Wildcat group
Ten Winchester Wildcats went into 1.395 inches at 50 yards.

I expected the high-velocity ammo to do worse in this test because that’s what everyone says. They say once you break the sound barrier, .22 rimfire ammo loses its potential. So, the large Wildcat group didn’t surprise me. But the Remington Viper group that measures just 0.924 inches does. Vipers are hyper-velocity rounds whose 36-grain lead bullets leave the muzzle of a 24-inch barrel at 1,410 f.p.s.

Remington Viper group
Ten Remington Vipers made this 0.924-inch group. This was not expected.

Remington Cyclone rounds are also hyper-velocity. They leave the muzzle at 1,410 f.p.s. — yet, 10 of them went into just 0.882 inches. According to popular belief, these should have been among the least accurate round in any .22 rimfire rifle.

Remington Cyclone group
Ten Remington Cyclones made this 0.882-inch group. Another unexpected result!

Close, but no cigar
Another subsonic round almost made the second-best group. Ten Remington Subsonic Hollowpoints went into 1.206 inches, but 9 of those bullets made a 0.548-inch group. The one round that’s not in the group is below it, and this tells me what probably happened. Rimfire ammunition has one big weakness. The priming material is sometimes not evenly deposited around the rim, and that causes misfires and poor ignition. This shot looks like it came from a round that wasn’t ignited well and probably went slower than the others. Of course, I can’t prove that without velocity data that I don’t have, but poor ignition is the bane of .22 rimfire target shooters.

Remington Subsonic group
Ten Remington Subsonic Hollowpoints went into 1.206 inches, with 9 of them going into just 0.548 inches.

The Subsonic was the most accurate round in my 10/22, which I tested for Shotgun News years ago, but the Remington Target round that was the worst in this rifle was also among the top 5 in that test. So, each rifle is different, and the ammo definitely does make a huge difference!

I shot a total of 13 different rounds in this test. I’ve shown you the best and worst in today’s report. Besides the 3 bad groups I have shown, there were 4 other rounds that made groups larger than one inch. One inch for 10 shots is small for most .22s, but not for a Remington model 37. Of 13 different rounds, 7 made groups larger than one inch, leaving 6 that made groups under an inch.

Obviously, the ammo does make a difference in .22 rimfires — just as pellets make a difference in pellet rifles. I’m still going to do the test of discount-store pellets versus the best premium pellets. From the comments I’ve received, I believe I’ll test them in 2 different rifles. It should be interesting.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

142 thoughts on “All .22 rimfire ammo is not the same!”

  1. Nice shooting, I was surprised at how the tiniest bit of flatness to the nose of the rounds made such a difference in how it marked the target, it would be an interesting test if you found out if there was more of a correlation between shape/ballistic coefficient and accuracy, besides the loss of velocity. Better brush up on your physics equations if you were to take that on! Speaking of .22 rimfire velocities, why is gamos “the beast” discontinued???? I will hopefully find one when Im ready to spend that kind of money, if not Im thinking about the rws sidelevers, my dream air rifle is .22, 1000fps with 14 grains, simple bold lines wooden stock, heavy barrel no longer than 16″, worth handing down to a grandson but not something Id be afraid if it got knocked around. Basically an indestructible monster of a classy looking carbine for hunting. Something I don’t have to cut the barrel and fix the trigger…. Anybody point me in the direction of my destiny?

    • RDNA
      You know I talk about my 54 Air King from time to time. It really is a wonderful gun and pretty well maintenance free. It has that floating action and a nice trigger. A very, very smooth gun to shoot and it makes good power. The other models don’t have the floating action if I’m remembering right. And I have owned mine for a numerous amount of years and all it does is shoot great. If I do my part the gun will shoot under a inch at 50 yards.

      The only thing I don’t like about it is that it is heavy. Then throw a good scope on it and it is even heavier. It does get a little tire some carrying it around when you go out and do a days hunting. But the rest of the package makes up for it. Oh and mine is a .177 cal. not a .22 cal. But I would think they shoot good also.

      But there are other guns out there like your talking about. But if you wanted to go.177 cal. it sounds like a Field target type of gun would be the category of guns to look at. Lot of quality, accurate guns in that category. But remember these guns that I just mentioned start to get pricey. So do some research before you buy so you will be satisfied when finally make the decision to get one.

      And If you think about it PA has those combo deals on the Marauder rifles with a hand pump and scope for around about the same price as the 54 with a good scope. Then if you catch one of their 10% off plus free shipping that’s a heck of a deal. And I know for a fact that you will be amazed at the way the Marauder performs. And there is a ton of mods and parts out there for the Marauder rifles and they are much quieter than the 54. And they are a repeater. The 54 isn’t and they are a bit tricky to develop a loading technique. The Marauder rifle is ready for a follow up shot if need be. And they are a lighter gun.

      But a lot of people are die hard spring gun people and like wise some people believe in nothing but PCP guns. Either way I think you would like either of the guns I talked about. But its going to be your gun in the end you know what I mean. 🙂

      • I would love a marauder, or an airking, or any flippin gun that ain’t from the toy section, I am so tired of looking at the same things at walmart and dicks, nobody had ANY .22 pellets today except the 3rd store I looked had one tin of rockets, 100 for almost ten bucks. I am so irritated with my available resources, income and local products. Even if I had the money for quality I have to buy offline and don’t get to see or really checkout what In laying all that money down for. The NP is good enough for what it is but I would’ve gotten something different or saved the money if I could do that one over. Don’t get me wrong, its a good gun, but its still the same thing I’ve been getting just in .22.

        • RifledDNA, please don’t take this the wrong way but just read reviews and buy ammo and higher quality AG’s from PA. The ammo selection is top notch and the higher quality AG’s are worth it to take time and save up money instead of buying something you might regret and then wasting money that could go to something superior. I have been down that road and I don’t even bother with those stores anymore as they never have what you really want. The only store close to us that is half decent for AG’s and ammo is the Natick outdoor store, I have bought beeman ammo and Benji ammo and RWS ammo from there. They also get some decent AG’s from time to time, they had the brand new umarex the last time I was there and they have some Benji’s and other quality rifles sometimes when I get out that way. They also told me to check out PA, lol.

          • Yeah, I don’t know why I keep thinking some kind of miracles going to occur and they’ll stock up on some good stuff. I know pyramyds the way to go, I got a bunch of different .177 pellets and the fourth free is awesome, but I don’t keep plastic so when I want to order something I have to load the prepaid which cost 5$ and then the card charges 5$ a month so when I have a few leftover bucks its not worth it to pay ten bucks to use the card. Ill have to check out natick, that’s not far but I didn’t know there was anything out there.

            • RDNA
              If we lived by each other I guarantee you I would spend a day letting you shoot my guns. Even the cheapy’s. And I’m serious. Right now the next door neighbor lady has my 1377 with the 1399 stock on it with the See All sight. And the other neighbor that owns the woods has the Stoeger. And I even gave them a tin of 500 of the guns favorite pellets to use.

              Oh and now that I reminded myself. The ultimate test was done on the See All sight while she is borrowing the gun. We were shooting it at about 30 yards. She shot it and about 5 of her grand kids were over ranging from 8 years old to 13 years old. And I’m happy to say that after I explained to them how to get the sight picture on the sight every one of them was bust’n the the plastic 16 oz. soda bottle EVERY shot!

              So that means the sight must be easy to use.

              Sorry RDNA for throwing that in there but it was on my mind. And I forgot to say something about this in the past.

              • I need to clarify this also. I forgot to say it. The 1377 has a.177 caliber Discovery barrel and breech on it. And a UTG adapter that mounts the See All sight to the gun.

  2. Thanks for another clearly informative blog, BB. Much lurking, first time writing.

    Strong variation there making your point, but I’d hope to see rather better – was there any competitive-class ammo in there? Would it tighten up much?

    You reviewed the Crosman Challenger and AirForce Edge almost back-to-back a few years ago, and after some disappointing groups with the Edge went ahead and put it in a vise. It seemed to like that treatment and gave some phenomenal groups. You then promised the Challenger a rematch, also using a vise – but I haven’t found the results.

    I think I’ve just about outgrown my Daisy 953 – I’ve had about 2000 rounds through it, all prone with a loop sling but no support. I hope to hunt from the same position, albeit with .223 Remington or .300 Winchester Magnum. I haven’t seen any improvement in my group sizes in the last 500 rounds or so. I sort-of-vise-tested it (the lever makes that difficult) but got a 10-rd group much the same size as I’ve been shooting – around 0.3″ C-t-C at 8m muzzle-to-target. I aspire to considerably more skill before burning .300 Win Mag ammo on the range.

    So I’m looking at the Edge or the Challenger as the next step up. I think I’d like to hear the Challenger gives no precision advantage away to the Edge, since the trigger and cheek-piece adjustments are appealing, although the dry-fire on the Edge seems a big plus. Dry firing the 953 (I’ve shortened and polished the sear) was part of what convinced me to vise it – since I felt my follow-through (watching my laser) looked tighter than the groups I was getting.

    Any guidance very welcome, and if that test was ever conducted, I’d love to see the data.

    • Wiogtht,

      Welcome to the blog!

      I wouldn’t say that any of the rounds I used was considered really competitive. Certainly there would be the possibility for a small improvement in group sizer. but in all my testing, including using the finest rimfire ammo available, I’ve not seen very many rounds that could group 10 in less than a half inch. I have heard of such things, but never actually seen them.

      Maybe you would be interested in seeing what I can do with a .223 Remingtton round in a tricked-out AR-15? You can see that in this report:


      Shooting 10 shots into a small group is a challenge. When it finally happens, you can be certain the rifle that does it is a good one.

      Making a choice between the Edge and Challenger is tough. Both have their advantages. The Challenger is more conventional, but as you point out, the Edge supports dry-fireing, which occupies 80 percent of a competitive shooter’s time. In cases like these I would advise you to go with your gut.


      • There we go! That’s a group! I hope to develop a 2MoA relationship with a .223 bolt action, but I’m trying to develop transferable skills in 10m .177, first.

        You might find that Molon over at ar15.com shares your taste for care and attention in testing:
        and your beautiful AR-15 results may have come as less of a shock.

        I’m disappointed to hear that you’ve not seen better in rimfire, given that there’s a 50m competitive class – but I haven’t looked at it in any detail. Does the same apply to .17HMR, do you think?

        • Wight,
          With a quality bolt action and reloading, there is absolutely no reason you cannot achieve sub MOA with a .223 out to two hundred yards. 2 MOA is for sissies.

        • As to the .17HMR, I have had no experience with it, but I doubt it is really as good as many would hope. I know the 5mm Magnum was one sweet shooting little round out to 100 yards.

          • Me and my brother both have .17HMR’s.

            We have good luck with them. Breverage cans out to 200 yards with no problem (just using the can for a size reference). I have heard people say they have taken rabbits and other similar sized animals out to 300 to 400 yards with them.

            • The ballistics charts for .17HMR show some pretty serious drop past 150m, which would make having a good rangefinder and cheatsheet important.

              I agree that 2MoA should be achievable, but a) I’ve personally never shot that well, and I’m currently around 4MoA with my 953, and b) I don’t have time or space for handloading, so I’d have to eat factory ammo. If I allocate 1MoA for the ammo and rifle, then I think I have to learn to be better than 1MoA.

              But to teach me that, I further hypothesize I need a training setup which will clearly show me right from wrong at that precision level – i.e. be substantially less than 1MoA. I’m hoping the Edge or Challenger fit into that category.

              • I have a challenger, and shoot in 10 m events a number of times each year. I shoot at a shooting club with an indoor range, where most of the local high school and 4H teams also practice. Mine is the only crosman there,, all the rest art FWB, Walther, or Anshutz. I certainly don’t shoot as well as the youngsters, as these old eyes simply don’t see as well as they should, nor are these old muscles as capable as they once were. But I don’t do badly when shooting against my peers.

                I have scored 540/600 a number of times in 3p,,,including today,, and have shot a 100/100 prone,,, once. I don’t know what moa that would work out o,, but it would be a sub.177 group if all shot at the same bull. So,, since I find the gun to be more accurate than I,, and with what I consider a superb trigger,, I have found it hard to justify buying one of the others I have mentioned. ( but I probably will, eventually)

                • Thanks for the feedback on the particular air rifles!

                  If my math is right, 1MoA at 10m is close to 0.1″ C-t-C, or a little more than half the width of a pellet. BB’s vise test of the Edge showed it achieving better than that for just one pellet, the rest were more like a full pellet width C-t-C, which would be more like 2MoA.


                  Hmmm. Perhaps I’m being too ambitious for either airgun or rimfire, and I should accept handloaded .223 is more like it. Won’t be firing that in my living room of an evening, though.

              • Maybe not what you’d meant, but .17HMR is a rimfire, so /that/ at least would be factory loadings any ways… No consideration of reloading to worry about…

                • I would absolutely shoot .17HMR if the rifle/ammo combination could be better than 1MoA. Anyone have pointers to data on the topic? Taking Hornady’s ammo lineup as guidance, the fact that they don’t sell a “Match” .17HMR makes me suspect precision isn’t a leading selling point.

                  Somehow, I’m not ready to give up on indoor practice, though.

  3. Love the rifle and the scope.

    And maybe the hollow point is catching the air and helping to stabilize the bullet? And look at the Viper round. Its not a hollow point but it has a flat across the nose of the bullet. Again maybe that helps stabilize that round also. But what happened to the Remington target rounds. Was that a primer problem? Interesting.

      • BB
        I would like to know what that trigger feels like. I bet its great.

        And about the different rounds that you chose. Do you think maybe that’s why some rounds performed better was because the velocity was matching up with the barrels twist rate. And maybe some of the bullets was fitting the bore better. And I guess that gun is a single shot. Right? Maybe the case of the different rounds was fitting the chamber better than the others you know.

        Hmm sounds like there is more variables in a powder burner verses what there is for a air gun.

        • GF1,

          The trigger on this rifle is stunning!

          As for the difference in group sizes, we may never know all the reasons. The 37 has a 5-shot magazine, bit I had the single-shot adapter in and was loading them one at a time for this test. That’s pretty much the case with most target .22 rimfires. And nearly all have the same 1:16″ twist rate.


          • BB
            I didn’t want to throw a twist rate out there. Thought maybe it had something out of the ordinary.

            And a 5 shot magazine with a single shot adapter. How cool is that. Did the adapter come with that gun? Or was it special made.

            The more you talk about the gun the more I want it. And I guess that scopes out of the question to find one somewhere for sale I suppose. Its a fixed magnification scope at 24 power? Or you can adjust the magnification down?

            I know to many questions. But I like what I see.

    • GF1

      I doubt that the hollow points are what improves anything as far as accuracy goes in a .22 rimfire any more than it does with pellets. It’s right out front and takes on the full force of the air . Any flaws in the point can cause some trouble at such a high resistance point. There is probably some other reason.


    • GF1

      An extra note…

      I read an article in one of the NRA magazines a long time ago that may have some significance to this situation….
      It was about the points of centerfire ammo getting beat up in magazines and resulting accuracy loss.

      The test was to purposely damage the points on some rounds, and to damage the heel of the bullets on others to see what had the most effect.
      A file was used to take some of the bullet off on either the nose or the heel at an angle then load and shoot them.
      The results were that the damaged points did hurt accuracy a little, but not to the extent that damage to the heel of the bullet did.
      It was determined that beat up points were not going to cause any significant problems for hunting ammo (deer rifles).

      So problems with the base of the bullets may be a large factor here with the rimfires. They are crimped in and who knows what they may look like as they get to the crown .


    • GF1

      An extra, extra consideration…
      How far is the bearing surface of these different kinds of ammo from the rifling when they are chambered ? That could have something to do with it too. Lots of possibilities.

      Then we also have velocity spread issues . We don’t know what they are . You would not believe what the spread is on some of the reputedly best brands can be.
      Bullets exiting the muzzle at a different point of barrel vibration ????????


      • TT
        I’m only going to reply to all 3 of your replies in one place ok. 🙂

        One of the things you talked about with the bullets getting messed up in magazines and such is why I asked BB if his gun was a single shot. So that probably eliminated that problem.

        And this was the other thing. That’s why I mentioned the casing’s and how well they fit to the guns chamber. Here’s my response to that. If one manufacturer doesn’t hold the tolerance of the casing’s as close as the other manufacturer. Well how can there be any consistency then if the gases are blowing by the case when the bullet is fired. I don’t know what kind of tolerance they hold when they make them.

        And as far as the hollow point goes and then the high power Viper round I was basing that off of the targets BB shot. Those were the rounds that grouped better than the others. There has to be some kind of reason why.

        And one more thing I forgot to ask yesterday. You went to the show over the weekend and you talked like your were going to drive the new Camaro there to get some break in miles on it. Did you drive it? And if so how was it as far as comfort goes on the extended drive there.

        And You said something about getting on after you got some miles on it. Why would you want to do something like that in a Camaro for anyway. 😉

        • GF1

          Yup, drove the Camaro up there. Still have a ways to go before the break in time is up. Can’t get on it very hard without exceeding the suggested limits.

          The steering is pretty fast, and could make me a bit tired after a while. The steering is supposed to slow down as you go faster . So how fast does it take ?

          Got to check out the air conditioner (finally) . It works. Got a backup camera part way installed.

          Been watching the oil with every trip to the gas pump . Oil level holding solid during break in.

          Maybe I should drag race my wife . She got a “Stang” and a Chrysler 200 .


  4. I’m glad you’re covering this subject as easily the most remarkable aspect of it all is that there a folks out there that really believe “…all pellets, .22’s, or (fill in your favorite category here) are alike.” In a world full of random temperature/humidity swings, a fast moving 4th dimension and immersed in an oxygen reducing atmosphere, how could there not be variables in combinations?
    And then there’s…US!
    Talk about adding randomness to the occasion.
    I’m thinking, as a suggestion for a blog, on researching what else the “…they’re all the same…” crowd fervently believes in. Now that would be really interesting.
    Naw, it would be too long and probably end up being suited only for the Comedy Channel:)

      • Always a problem translating science to English. Perhaps I should have said “conversion.” But apply oxygen to any form of iron including (stainless) steel and inevitably the object at hand is converted to rust. In English, that’s also known as “Reduction,” as in “I rode it hard and put it away wet, and when I took it out again, it was reduced to a ball of rust.”
        But thank you for the correction and perfect illustration of the point

        • In science, free oxygen combining with a substance is oxidation… silver tarnish is “rusted” silver (though in the case of silver, it is a partially protective process, the tarnish blocks oxygen from the underlying layers — iron rust flakes and powders off, exposing fresh metal to the air). Water is what you get when Hydrogen “rusts”…

          That flaking/powdering is how an oxy-acetylene cutting torch works… The base torch flame heats the metal up to a point where it will react rapidly, and then one opens a valve injecting extra oxygen into the core of the torch flame. The oxygen reacts with the metal creating a hot rust spray.

  5. When did the info get posted up in the top right corner of this page about the Texas airgun show?

    Anyway glad the info’s there. I talked to my wife and her brother a while back about trying to come down to visit and see the show. Her brother is big into firearms. And he has shot some of my airguns. And he is getting ready to get a quality airgun. So that may work out all the more better so we could attend the show.

    I guess I should be asking up on the top. But will anybody be able to shoot at the range? And will there be airguns available to shoot? Or am I jumping the gun so to speak. I guess I will post up there also.

  6. Even a heavy barreled rifle like your Remington 35 will oscillate during the shot. Not only will the barrel twist to the side, the bore does also get bigger and smaller. That sounds weird, but it has been proven many times. So if your projectile leaves the barrel while it is smaller, you tend to shoot more accurately because you have some kind of tapered barrel end. If the barrel oscillations make the bore bigger, you have no tapering at all, and accuracy is lost. I guess this is also the case with airguns.

    • On youtube you can watch many examples of high speed video taken of people shooting centerfire rifles. You would be astonished at seeing just how much the barrels of guns like AK pattern rifles, or AR platform rifles actually whip up and down and side to side when fired. It just wasn’t something I honestly considered about until seeing it myself, subconciously thinking that surely firearm actions are made well enough to hold their shape while firing, how else could they hold together for any appreciable amount of use? The reality is, is that steel is an elastic and ductile material to a certain degree when subjected to extreme forces and pressures, and I would certainly be interested in seeing some high speed footage of airguns of all powerplant designs just for my own curiosity. Especially so would be spring piston airguns as they are my powerplant of choice, and also because I know how soft the mild steel is that airgun barrels are machines from actually is.

        • Wow. There’s so much recoil movement before the pellet exits the muzzle. No wonder the ‘artillery hold’ makes a difference. Now I’ve got to hunt for similar footage for pneumatics/CO2!

            • Presuming this Air Arms EV2 rifle actually fired when the piece of paper departed at ~0:48, I can barely see the barrel flex.


              Not that PCPs/CO2s don’t react at all, but there’s surely much impulse in a piston rifle. Too bad you can’t see the pellet on this video, since I’m not sure I care so much about movement after the pellet’s cleared the muzzle.

              • Wight
                How are you. At first when you responded to my comment about pcp’s I thought you was talking about the recoil the gun makes. But I’m pretty sure now you mean the barrel vibration.

                I don’t believe that video captured the event very well. I think they slowed it down to much. But I will tell you this from my experience with the guns I’m going to talk about they did have barrel vibration.

                My Discovery’s; one was a .177 cal. and the other was a .22 cal. By shifting the barrel band clamps around I was able to get a better group. And the clamps ended up in different locations on both barrels of the Disco’s.

                On my .25 cal. Marauder that has a bunch of modifications which include a pistol trigger assembly and grip and a AR butt stock (yep no wood on that Marauder) and my .177 synthetic stock Marauder that is still factory original both benefited from sliding the barrel shroud forward.

                My .22 cal. Fx Monsoon is another story. I would like to come up with some type of U shaped rubber dampeners that would kind of pop onto the shroud and I could slide them forward or backwards depending on what would be needed.

                But do you see what I mean. It did improve the Discos and the Mrods. So just because we cant see something doesn’t mean its not happening.

                • I’m interested in the difference between recoil movement and vibration and how they affect the projectile.

                  For firearms, I’d somehow got the impression that the bullet exits the muzzle so soon after ignition that the recoil movement of the weapon would still be small, while the barrel whip/flex/bulge was more significant. In Mel’s video link for the springer, though, there’s plenty of recoil movement before the pellet exits.

                  I expect recoil movement to be very hold-sensitive, while vibration to be less hold-sensitive, particularly for free-floating barrels.

                  I still don’t know if it’s true that firearm bullets exit before much recoil, nor if the same is true for pneumatic/CO2 air rifles. I know my little Daisy 953 single-stroke pneumatic definitely moves – but I don’t know when. How important is consistent grip/shouldering compared to sight picture and disturbance-free trigger operation?

                  I suppose the presence of recoil-compensation mechanisms on competition PCPs like the FWB700 is my answer – it’s relevant enough to be worth engineering against.

              • Wight
                You just explained pretty well what firearms,springer’s, pcps and so on do. The biggest thing about what you said is every gun has a different characteristic. And the hold is very important. That’s part of developing your technique when you shoot.

                And as funny as it may be with all the other higher end guns I have. I just got a 953 last week. I wanted something I could plink with while my buddy bottle for my pcp guns is getting filled with the ShoeBox compressor. And I wanted something that resembled a smoother shot like the pcp guns have. Not like what the break barrel spring guns are known for.

                But one of the first thing I noticed about it was the terrible single stage 6 pound trigger. I found myself having to pull the gun into my shoulder so I didn’t pull the gun around when I applied the trigger. Well I just can’t live with that kind of trigger after having the better triggers in my other guns. So yep it came apart and changed some springs and did a little file and polish job on the trigger sear where it engages the striker. Now a little over 2 pounds. So now when I shoot the gun I can pretty well let the gun stabilize itself. It is now in that smooth category that I like in a gun.

                Anyway so much to learn and not enough time.

  7. B.B.

    Too bad you didn’t have some Yellow Jackets to test . They are the worst shooting ammo I have , but they sure kill things when hit in the right place.


    • TT
      I got quite a bit of different .22 rimfire ammo. Here is one I got that compares to the YJ’s.

      The Aguila Supermax Hyper velocity hollow points. 30 grn. bullet at 1750 fps. they have the eley primers. I have had pretty good luck with them out to around 40 to 50 yards. They will stay right around a 1 inch group. And that’s out of my tube fed semi-auto Winchester 190 which ain’t the best gun to be feeding bullets through for accuracy.

      But I have heard mixed reviews about the bullets I’m talking about. So who knows. But yep they sure do make a nice loud pop when I have shot starlings with them. The impact seems louder then the crack when the bullet fires.

    • Korak,
      I too am a big fan of Wolf .22 ammo. It may not be the most accurate in every rifle but it seems to be the best all round. I have found that lot # can have a big effect though. When I found a lot that shot very well I would buy a case but the last few years that has not been an option because as you know by the time you get a brick and test it the supplier is out of stock not to mention most will not sell you a case anymore because of shortages.

    • No kidding. I guess the doomsday hoarders are expecting to use .22lr as improvised currency or something if the world ends. :::sigh::: Meanwhile kids and their fathers are missing out on fresh air and sunshine with no ammo to plink with.

      • It is a shame that it has been hard to get the ammo. I grew up on the farm shooting my .22 when I was a kid. And me and my 2 teenage daughters shoot everything from airguns to powder burners to bow and arrow. So I know what you mean about kids have the chance to shoot.

        But probably about the last year or so ammo has not been hard for me to get. We have a gun shop by me that a couple of guys own. And they always got a supply of ammo. And if you got money they sell it. But as far as Wall Mart goes they are getting better. But they still have their limit on how much you can buy.

    • Your test reminds me of one I did about 10 years ago with my 1965 vintage Mossberg .22. I ran about 10 types of ammo through it, including some premiums, only to find that bulk-boxed Rem LR ammo was best in that gun. What surprised me though was how bad a box of Fed’l 550-pack LRs did, and I could HEAR some of them as a little flatter-sounding. Later that year, I talked to a Fed’l rep. at an NRA show and asked for an explanation. He said “Sure: Where did you BUY them?” I explained they came from my nearby Wal-of-Mart. He smiled & said that alone explained it. Without saying exactly why, he stated that that vendor applies a LOT of pressure to sell products VERY cheap, and so they (Fed’l) are forced to make some changes to provide product at the very low price. I don’t know if they just crank up production rates or change QC standards or what, but in selling to THAT vendor, their quality was known to be somewhat less than that provided to others.
      Just muddying up the waters a little bit… 🙂

      • Barrika

        I got hold of a “ammo box” of something at China-Mart one time . Don’t remember the brand . Came in a plastic box that looked like a military ammo can. I could hear a lot of shot to shot difference in muzzle blast . must have been several hundred f.p.s. variation in velocity.


    • TT
      Oh will you stop. Just messing with you. 🙂

      Them stingers are fun to plink with. I like to mix them in when I load up the ole tube mag when I shoot with my daughters. Along with some of the hyper velocity rounds and standard rounds. It will hold 15 rounds of long rifle in the tube magazine.

      So its kind of fun to have some cans set up and my daughters take turn firing the gun. And they call out what round they think it was. I right down on a paper as I load so I make a mark beside if they called it right. After they learned what the different rounds could do and how they sounded when the gun fired they actually got pretty good at calling what round it was. So if you look at the 3 rounds I just mentioned I think you know what I mean. Anyway it adds a little excitement to the day you know.

  8. If you can find it, try some Wolf Match Extra. It is by far the best ammo in most .22 target rifles. About 95 % of the local .22 benchrest competitors shoot this round. The Lapua Match ammo is loaded on the same type of machines and will shoot as well. My Anschutz 54 will put them in the same hole at 25 yds. Another one to try is Aquila subsonic hollowpoint. Of course the better grades Eley match ammo will normally shoot very well too.


  9. Michael

    I got a tally for you on the break barrels…..

    Can they be loaded with the breech broken open without pulling down on the barrel….

    Both R7s , both R9s, Titan GP, Marksman 0035…………..yes.
    Gamo shadow, RS2,Powerline 1000, Storm XT…………..no.


      • Mitch…

        I might just hang onto this one , but not sure why.
        I tore it down and moly lubed it . That got rid of the buzz.
        The trigger is a lot harder than I like . It is fun to plink with. Don’t remember the M.V. .

        Some of the others I would probably give away, and some I would cut up and send to the dump so they would be of no danger to anyone. That’s what I think about some of them on the list.

        Maybe I should have taken some of them to the Findlay show and give them to B.B. with a list of what I know is wrong with them. He could have either sold them cheap, or have given them away. I would not have cared.


        • Drats, just had to ask. I remember mine having a rotten trigger as well, but I didn’t know or care at the time. It wasn’t very powerful at all but had reasonable accuracy with the junk walmart pellets I shot back then. The funny thing is, I saved up my hard earned lawn mowing money most of the summer to buy it, and thought how crazy I was for spending $100 on a “fancy” BB gun, which was tons of money to me at the time. And thus began my introduction to what I guess you could call “real” airguns.

          • Mitch..

            If I had known that you wanted one and if I was in the right mood, and if I knew I would meet you at the Findlay show…I might have brought it along and just handed it to you.
            I probably should not have said that.


              • Mitch

                I know what you mean. Every once in a while I think about my old 1400. The one with the bolt instead of the sliding breech cover. That was a heck of a good airgun compared to anything else I got hold of back then.


                • I still have my original 760 pumpmaster. As old and ratty as it is, it sure shredded many hundreds of pop cans, and still will to this day. I still prefer my 1377 pistol these days, but all that pumping gets to be too much like work!

                  • Mitch

                    I may have had one of those one time. Not sure.
                    Don’t much care for handguns any more. Between my eyes and being shaky……….
                    Don’t much care for pumping either. Didn’t mind way back…


        • twotalon,

          I know you are not talking about the R7s and R9s. I have to admit that my Gamo Silent Cat shoots very well. Only reason I keep it. Got rid of the rest of my bad (cheap) breakbarrels. I only bought them cause I was just starting airguns and didn’t know if it would stick. Boy did it.


          • G&G

            Experience has taught me that you REALLY have to get lucky with the lower priced guns. Some times you have to get lucky with the expensive ones too .
            Last one cost over $1K including a relatively inexpensive scope. Can’t find any problems with it yet. This may be a first for me.


      • Mitch

        Seems to me that B.B. tore down something once…maybe a Comets of some model . Looked exactly like this Marksman inside. Spanish I think.
        Got this one at China-Mart a long time ago for $100 . Not that badly made.


        • Its Spanish for sure, at least mine was. I wonder if some of the guns still available aren’t just slightly touched up versions of the same thing? Mine came from ChinaMart in 1997

          • Mitch

            I don’t remember just when I got mine. They did not have them for very long. I got my 397 about the same time at the other “Mart” store about the same time. Also $100. What a shotgun ! Snag at the breech end. Got that polished out and it works O.K. now.


  10. B.B.,

    Do you think it’s possible that the first bullets benefitted from a fresh barrel? I wonder how much fouling would affect the later groups? Also barrel heating? Many variables to consider.

    Also, I know with pellet guns that it takes two or three pellets to settle in on a new type. Did you shoot a few bullets to acclimate the rifle before shooting for record?

    Whenever I am trying to find the best pellet or ammo for a gun I always go back to the best and try to repeat my results. I often can’t which can be frustrating.

    Thanks for your efforts,
    Mark N

    • Mark,

      I wondered if someone was going to bring this up. I though Kevin would be the one.

      Yes, I do think what you say has merit and probably should be tried. I’m not going to, though, because I don’t have enough ammo — nor is that what this test was really about.

      But thanks for thinking about it.


  11. Another thing that effects .22 RF accuracy is that the base of the bullet which is inside the case may have a flaw like a split in the base. That will cause unexplained fliers. You of course cannot see that unless you are curious like me and disassemble some of the remaining suspect rounds .

  12. B.B.,
    Would you be willing to test your Model 37 again using 4 or 5 different target grade ammo? That’s what companies like Anschutz do. I doubt even a rifle that is a “shooter” can shoot discount ammo well.

        • Joe,

          I’m guessing there are a LOT of people who think ammo doesn’t matter. It’s lead, it shoots, it’s all the same. Airguns & firearms…both have the same issue among users.

          You have no idea how many customer reviews on Pyramyd Air’s site condemn a gun because it’s inaccurate…and, yet, they will not believe that the pellet has anything to do with accuracy. It matters. Firearm shooters are no different.


          • Edith,
            Thanks, I guess I don’t think like those people. I apologize if I seem rude. I DO want B.B. to test his Model 37 with Match grade ammo to see if it a “shooter”, and by-the-way, if B.B. ever want to sell his Beeman R8 Tyrolea, please let me have first crack. :>)

  13. I’ll add my experience from last weekend testing Federal Target and Aquila Golden Eagle against Wolf Match for upcoming benchrest season. Savage Mark II FV with Harris bipod and Protektor rear bag at 50 yards. Five shot groups, c to c.
    Wolf :
    .21 inch to .32 in
    .92 inch to 1.24 inch
    .87 inch to 1.43 inch

    That is a typical spread. Our serious shooters use mostly Wolf or Lapua or one of the Eley varieties.

  14. I don’t shoot firearms so I can’t comment on that ammo. But I think BB should use a PCP for his pellet comparisons. Those are the rifles that seem to really illustrate the differences between good and bad ammo. At least for me.


    • G&G
      I’m going to go out a limb here and say guns will show what ammo it likes or doesn’t like. And some guns tend to be more fussy than others. And I hate fussy guns. 🙂

  15. Hi All and BB,
    I recently bought a Ruger Airhawk. It is a beautiful rifle with a perfectly finished stock and blueing. I can’t say enough nice things about it…especially for the price I paid.

    Anyway, it shoots hard–rated at 1000 fps with lead pellets (1200 non-lead pellets). This is way more power than I’m used to with my pumpers. I haven’t been able to find a full review of this gun with several pellet choices, and I need some advice.

    Which pellets would you recommend I try with this rifle. I don’t want to go supersonic (don’t like the noise) and I don’t want to overload the spring. Anyone have an Airhawk? Any great pellet recommendations?

    (BB, how about a review of this great gun? There are tons of 5 star reviews on the PA website…and yes they do recommend pellets, but I’d prefer to hear from the blog reading experts…or the maestro.)

    Thanks much,

    • Rob,

      I don’t have that particular rifle but I can tell you one thing. Most high power rifles seem to be the most accurate somewhere between 850fps and 950fps (except the 10 meter guns of course). That tells you that you need to use a heavier pellet to get the speed down. Beyond that experience shows that JSBs are a good place to start. The 10.34 grain pellets probably. Also, Crosman Heavies (10.5 grain), Beeman and Superdomes. As you know, every gun, even the same model, will like a specific pellet or two. And not necessarily the same pellet in the same model.


      • Well, those weights were my first thought and then I remembered BBs advice (and read again) against overloading a break guns spring. So, I was thinking in the 8 grain region. On the other hand, this is a magnum, so maybe it can handle the 10 grain weights.?

        • My blackhawk(exact same gun) loves the rws supermags, and umarex says to use rws pellets, the supermags are 9.3 grain wadcutters and gave the tightest groups out of 6 different pellets. Kodiaks and cp/heavy and hp came second. I think the rws domed would work well too, and the “hawks” definitely run the 9+grains better than anything light.

          • Hey, RDNA,
            Do you have the same issue as me with that–basically the same rifle? I am much more accurate with open sites than I am with a scope…and not just the cheap scope it came with. I put my Leapers on there and had the same not so good effect. This is my first break barrel (I had a piece of junk before, but I took it back to wallyworld), and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong to have this negative effect when using a scope. Any thoughts?

            • All breakbarrels recoil hard, the screws coming loose or being loose right out of the box is a common accuracy killer. The three stock screws should get loctited and I’ve found using a one piece scope mount helps a lot. A good one piece you can crank down without stripping is a must for the hard recoiling springers. The colt competition mount on the np (was on the blackhawk) cost just shy of how much the hawk itself cost. I put the one piece and 3-9x that came with the np on the hawk . If everything is clamped down real good, my hawk at least, will get pretty good groups with most of the pellets I have but the rws stand out as the clear winner. If you are able to do any trigger work, the hawk wasn’t bad to start but can be smoothed out completely and cut back about a third the pull weight just by rounding the nose of the trigger adjustment screw. That screw carries all the friction during the pull and mine had a pretty gnarly tip on it. A smooth trigger will always improve groups. That and practise practise practise! Good luck!

            • Oh and if you do go for a one piece mount and its for a picatinney rail- UTG dovetail to picatinney adapters…. cheapest way to convert, they bite hard and don’t raise the mount at all. I love em, swear by em, ordered two sets and will probably end up with more.

              • Yeah, you’re right. I do need a one piece scope mount. I will look for the one you mention, though if they are too expensive I’ll just have to shoot with open sites. I don’t care for fiber optic sites generally, but is it just me? These seem thinner and I’m getting good results with them.

                I did tighten all screws before shooting…and if they’d been a mess, I wouldn’t have gotten good results with open sites. I think it must be the scope mount…but again, the scope felt very tight, so I don’t know for sure.

                Just so strange when a gun gives surprisingly good open site results and surprisingly mediocre results with a scope! You an see so clearly!…how far you missed your target by!

        • Time to use the chronograph…

          What you will likely find is that, when using pellet mass and measured velocity, the muzzle energy will tend to be “flat” over a range of pellet weights — and then you hit the pellets that are too heavy, and the muzzle energy shows a significant drop.

          Maker Style Wt (gr) Velocity (fps) Energy (ft-lbs)
          Gamo NRA 1000 Special .177
          RWS Hobby 6.9 926.7 13.16
          RWS Super-H-Point 7.4 926.1 14.09
          RWS Superdome 7.7 852.2 12.42
          RWS SuperPoint 7.7 894.2 13.67
          RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle 8.3 850.6 13.33
          Predator Polytip 9.2 723.4 10.69
          Benjamin Discovery (RN-HP) 10.5 709.5 11.74
          Eun Jin Domed 15.6 528.0 9.66

          RWS Diana M54 .22 (single shot each)
          RWS Meisterkugeln 14.0 810.8 20.43
          RWS SuperPoint Extra 14.5 778.7 19.52
          RWS Super-H-Point 14.5 787.9 19.99
          Beeman Silver Sting 15.8 751.1 19.79
          Predator Poly-Tip 17.2 725.8 20.12
          Beeman Silver Arrow 17.6 704.3 19.38
          AirArms Field Plus 18.2 688.1 19.13
          JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.2 701.7 19.90
          H&N Crow Magnum 18.2 669.9 18.13
          H&N Baracuda Match 21.1 618.7 17.93
          Gamo TS-22 22.0 561.1 15.38
          Eun Jin Round Nose 28.5 465.9 13.74

          On the .177, note the drop starting at 9.2gr. The .22 was okay up to 18.2gr, but loses it past 21gr.

          Within a range of pellet weights, you get optimal energy transfer. Go too far outside that range, and energy gets lost in the process of firing.

          • This is some great data, Im glad you used guns that are fairly representative of the velocities of many guns and that of the hawks were talking about. Really good job, thanks for putting it up.

          • Thanks very much…and for pointing out the conclusions. It might have taken me a bit of time to see what you’ve obviously already thought through carefully. A huge help.

          • When I am evaluating candidate pellets using a chronograph I look for both a peak in energy and a corresponding dip in velocity spread shot-to-shot. Then I progress to accuracy testing. Having a chronograph is indispensable!
            For reference, the formula for energy in ft-lbs is:
            V*V*W/450240 where V is velocity in ft/s and W is pellet weight in grains.

      • Absolutely, take a rest. Be careful.

        RDNA answered my primary question about appropriate ammo. The only other thing I was encouraging was a review on the Ruger Air Hawk, but that can definitely wait.

  16. Well, glad that someone is getting some 22LR ammo! CCI Standard Velocity 40gr which is subsonic has always been my favorite “reasonable” ammo. Being lucky enough to ever find it on the shelf, hasn’t happened in over a year.

  17. B.B., that looks like a fun test. That rifle looks old but deadly. How does the shooting experience compare to an Anschutz target rifle? Remind me where there is more variability in rimfire rounds than centerfire although the .22LR is supposed to be one of the most accurate rounds in existence. Is it because the rimfire rounds cannot be handloaded, and you’re stuck with tolerances for mass production.

    Interesting comments about archery. I’ll have to look up Bryan Ferguson. Meanwhile, I’ve heard that the ultimate master was Howard Hill. Here he is.


    I’ve seen videos of him doing even more incredible things, but I can’t find them now.


  18. I have an old Savage .22LR pump action take down rifle with an octagon barrel. I know it was made in the 1930s. MY dad gave it to me years ago. When he was a lad he, and his mother and sister lived in a tiny town in the woods in Oregon. The town is long gone, with only some building foundations left there. They were pretty poor and my grandfather had abandoned his family, and I never met him. IN those days, if the family were going to eat any meat, it was up to my dad to shoot some game for the table. This old Savage .22 was his tool of choice. It has a knurled knob that, when removed, breaks the gun down into 3 parts. The stock, barrel, and the action. The gun was taken down and put in a backpack for many camping/hunting trips by my father. He and my great uncle Phil would take some salt, pepper, flour, their guns, some fishing line and hooks, and take off into the woods for days at a time living off the land. Sometimes for a week or more.
    My dad passed in 1996 at 79. The gun has a lot of meaning to me. I haven’t fired it in maybe 15 years now. It has open sights only. I did shoot it several times at the old Paul Bunyan Club in Puyallup, Wa. I was quite amazed at the nice groups I got off a rest at 50 yards. Can’t remember what ammo I used. I Understand that many gun companies made similiar .22s, and may have been called gallery guns. WE had, many years ago, sent a letter ro Savage Arms asking for information on this old gun.

  19. I’ve skimmed the comments and did not see my pet theory so sorry if this is redundant. Sonic transitions are bad for accuracy. A subsonic 22 lr will be subsonic at 25 and 50 yards and is often accurate at both ranges. A standard velocity 22lr is supersonic at 25 yards and may be subsonic at 50 yards causing a loss of accuracy as it slows through the sound barrier. I’ve found that most of the time my 22 rifles are fairly accurate at 25 yards regardless of ammo, and the ammo makes a difference at 50 yards. A lighter hyper velocity 22 lr may be supersonic at both 25 and 50 yards and therefore may be fairly accurate at both ranges. There are so many variables and that is what makes this fun. There is no right answer, but there are optimum choices for the rifle and the range to target. On the subject of pellets I have found that super domes are accurate out of a Ben 397 at only 3 pumps. I guess this might be because of the soft skirt these pellets have. Harder pellets like cross man box premiers seem to like more air pressure at 5 or 6 pumps. Btw. I did not think of the sonic transition thing–I read it somewhere. I’d give credit, but I can’t recall where. Was it Tom G. ?

      • Wight
        No problem. I like it alot. What I will do sometimes is plug different info in to see how it will affect my current set up.

        Here is one of things I do. Keep everything set the same but change the scope centerline to the barrel centerline setting. Then that way I can see how different height scope rings will change the performance of the gun.

        The Chair Gun Pro is a handy little tool for sure. I also like to print out my reticle map for the mil dot holds. I use the half mil dot Hawke scopes on my guns.

        Well anyway glad you like it.

  20. BB,

    your results today confirmed my results from last week at our 25 yard bullseye match. I switched .22 ammo in my High Standard as I ran out of what I used last year. At the match, all my shots were going left of POA – by up to 2″ – with the new ammo. Readers should note also that just like pellets, the different .22 ammo used in these tests went to different points on the target even though the point of aim remained the same. I went back to the range Sunday to re-sight in my pistol and confirm that the reason for the target result was the new ammo I intend to use during this season and not my trigger control or loss of zero on the red dot I use. Wish it was easier to buy .22 ammo but the hoarders are still active!

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Fred
      Dead on with what you said. That’s why the bullet matters in firearms. And pellets really do matter in airguns also.

      So after you went back Sunday to the range it was because of the different bullet then I suppose?

      • GF1 – affirmative. When I shot RWS50 22 LR ammunition, then some Eley which I will use this year, then the Wolf ammo I used last Wednesday, both the Wolf and Eley were hitting well to the left of the RWS50 I used all last year. The Eley was the farthest – a good 2″ away from the Wolf which appeared to be about 1/2 to 1″ away from the last of my RWS50. Interesting that elevations were not affected (shooting off a bench rest so that I eliminated the dreaded trigger snatch that typically causes a low/left result).

        Well tonight is anther match so I’ll see if I can improve over last week.

        Fred DPRoNJ

          • I don’t want to talk about it. It was one of those days that I wasn’t really “on”. However, my result was higher than my average from last year so there is improvement, just not enough to suit me. Next week!

            Fred DPRoNJ

            • Fred
              At least you did better than your average last year. So that’s good. Anyway I would be interested to know what happens after next week. Maybe you will have a idea of what the ammo is acting like more?
              Let me know if you will.

  21. The accuracy of pellets like .22 rim fires varies considerably from brand to brand and from lot to lot. Recently I opened the second of eight tins of .177 H&N Excite Econ pellets that I had purchased from Pyramid Air. It was soon evident that something was different. My first tin of Econs proved very accurate in three of my springers, but were mediocre in my Crosman 1000X, Remington Vantage, and my two pneumatics, a Daisy 953 and a modified Crosman 1377. The pellets from the second tin shot great in all my air guns. The difference; two different lot numbers. Fortunately of the eight tins I had purchased the first tin used was the only one with a different lot number.

    When .22 LRs were still readily available it was my practice to buy a single box first and, if the rounds proved accurate, I would buy as many bricks as I could afford of same lot. After my experience with the Econs I wish I could do the same with pellets.

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