Monday, September 8, 2008

Range Report 09.07.2008

After dispensing with some banter between myself and the range master yesterday, I proceeded to unload just under 100 rounds from the Saiga and several mags were put through the Hi-Point as well, as I hadn't shot that thing in a good long while. Really I just wanted to shoot my 10/22. I still had over 200 rounds of that shit Winchester stuff, and then I had some higher end stuff that it was my intention to test out and compare.

CCI's Mini Mags are a good enough place to start, as they provide a round I'm quite familiar with. This has been my quality round of choice for some time now, and with good reason. CCI has put together a quality standard high velocity round, at over 1300 feet per second, these babies fly downrange... you'll hear their impact just about as soon as you pull the trigger, and for the most part will hit at whatever your crosshairs were imposed over at the time you dispensed the round. My only real complaints with this ammo are minor, but worth noting: occasionally you will get a package of rounds that are completely encased in wax. I've only had it happen once, but from some research is not horribly uncommon. It doesn't affect the shooting much, but is a bit nasty when handling the ammunition. The other complaint I have is that you are more or less guaranteed one or two completely errant rounds per magazine... just wild shots that end up totally outside of whatever group you were shooting. But when said groups are 1" tight, this complaint, again, is exceptionally minor.

I moved on to PMC Moderator subsonic rounds next. First of all, this stuff is quiet as hell. Cameron, a buddy that went along, didn't even realize I'd taken any shots with this stuff by the time I finished the first magazine. Everything cycled just fine using the Ruger rotary mag, but as soon as I filled my Butler Creek 10 round 'nana clip and started shooting, problems arose. First of all, the velocity on these guys is rather low... under 1000 feet per second low, in fact probably closer to about 800-850 feet per second. That means that the charge which expels the round is a great deal smaller, which needs to be the case anyway, since the rounds are subsonic. Which in an aftermarket magazine can cause issues with feeding properly. Other than that gripe, they are good rounds overall, granted now that I'm through with the box, I won't be buying these guys anytime soon again. They have an odd smell that is far from pleasant, and I want a round versatile enough to work consistently in both of my magazines, and any future mags I might invest in.

The next brand I chose to test is an old box of Remington High Velocity rounds I found at Joe's a couple of weeks back. So old in fact, that the SKU was no longer active in their system and they had to refer to an old catalog to find the price. Boasting a velocity of 1600 feet per second, and hollow points to boot, these rounds are some of the all around best that I've fired. They are versatile enough to work flawlessly in both magazines that I use, the factory 10 round rotary mag and the aftermarket Butler Creek banana clip. Where you point, they go and they go there quick. For those .22LR addicts out there, these would make a phenomenal home defense round, though beware they will pass through just about anything tender at close range as their max range is two miles, and are accurate up to almost 300 yards from the reading that I've done. The furthest I bothered to take them out to was 50 yards, and they are right on the money there as I have my Bushnell sighted for a 50 yard ideal distance. I love these little guys and am loathe to shoot them, as I haven't seen them on offer anywhere else.

The last round that I tried yesterday, was a round that I was actually a bit afraid to try as I had read some horror stories of putting these guys through a 10/22. Aguila SSS Sniper Subsonic .22LR. They caught my eye because the round itself is huge. The case on the ammunition is half the length as it is on a normal round in order to compensate for the gigantic bullet, which was exclaimed as "sexy as hell" by the range master. Heavy too, and not terribly smooth feeding into the rotary mag. My fear was that one of these guys would lodge itself in my barrel, leaving me to try shoving it out with a cleaning rod, because of my skepticism to just how much charge they can actually fit in a casing that small, as well as many stories of tumbling right after the firing pin hits the case. I love my 10/22 and I pretty much baby the hell out of it, so I get paranoid when I hear stories of this, but when you compare the Aguila round to a normal .22LR round, you'll see exactly why I feared the worst:
I went ahead and circled the actual round to give you a better visual, but as you can see, the Aguila is twice as large as the pictured CCI round. I started out with a single round fed from the rotary mag, and snapped the trigger. This round was quieter than the PMC stuff, no louder than a cap gun actually and as I watched through my scope, it nailed exactly where I focused the center of the scope reticle. The case was ejected properly and all was good, so then I loaded 2 rounds into the rotary mag, and no problem, fed just fine. So I loaded another two rounds, firing one at the paper, which again was dead on where I pointed, and shooting the other round at the board the target was fixed to so as to examine the effect. 25 yards is what I would consider failry close range with rifle shooting, and that round caused a hole as big as a 12 gauge slug through that weak wood. Color me impressed. Once a cease-fire was called, I placed a new target and focused on my accuracy with a rotary mag full of the Aguila rounds:Except for three errant shots there, caused by my own grip on the rifle, I managed to punch out a group less than an inch. This is some of the best shooting that I've done with this rifle, and I have no trepidation now when it comes to thought of putting these rounds through my rifle. Devastating when they hit something of substance and accurate as hell at least up to 25 yards, these bad boys are a varmint shooter's dream, and would make an ideal home defense round to boot. I can only imagine how well the perform in a .22LR revolver. I never did get around to trying them out of the Butler Creek mag, and probably won't, and really have no complaints about these guys. They're expensive, which could be a strike against them, and they smell seriously foul after firing. Aside from those two minor gripes, I will continue to invest in these guys as they are exceptionally fun rounds to fire overall.

For the day, the winner for affordable and great overall ammo would actually be a tie between the Remington and the CCI Mini Mags. Both are great versatile plinking rounds, with the CCI's proving consistent reliability and the Remingtons proving a great high velocity round for both plinking and defensive uses. The PMC rounds were the losers for the day, as they proved problematic in a semi-auto rifle, though if fired from a bolt action rifle or revolver would no doubt be ideal. The Aguilas were the surprise. Fun to shoot, accurate, and devastating on a solid target, they will be a repeat buy for sure, and the Winchester still holds the crown for the shittiest ammo ever made... end of story.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

NIce. I still have my entire 525 rnd. Federal budget box and a couple boxes of CCI mini-mag for this weekend. We'll teach Crime.wav the joy of 10/22's.