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· Founder
17,151 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From a prepping point of view, should "buy cheap and stack deep" apply to 22 long rifle? What kind of accuracy could we expect to see between cheap and expensive 22 long rifle? I decided to put those questions to a test at a local sand pit.

My oldest son brought his new Remington model 597 and my girlfriend brought her Walther P22.

With the Walther P22 we were looking at reliability. With the Remington 597 we were looking at accuracy.

For this trip we used a single rifle. In the coming months I will go back to the sand pit and use a variety of rifles. We will then be able to look at the results spread out over several weeks.

Ammunition used:

Federal game-shok 38 grain
Federal Champion 40 grain
Remington golden bullet, 550 round brick, 36 grain
CCI mini-mag 36 grain
Winchester super-x, 40 grain, red box of 100 rounds, varmint and small game

Walther P22

Winchester super-x failed to fire and failed to cycle. Because of the problems Winchester super-x was excluded from the rest of the testing on this trip.

All other brands functioned properly.

The handgun test was not included in the video.

Remington 597

This is a new rifle with less than 100 rounds through it. In the coming weeks I will go back to the sand pit with a verity of older rifles and repeat the test.

Four rounds were fired of each type of ammo.

Federal game-shok - Produced a nice 3 round group with one flier. I suspect this one flier may of been shooter error, but further testing needs to be done.

The three shot group measures 1/2 inch. With the flier the group measures 1 1/2 inches.

Text Tree Soil Plant Number

Federal champion - Produced a nice 4 shot group that went from left to right in a straight line.

The group measures 3/4 inch.

Wood Soil Plywood

Remington golden bullet - Was the worst group. two rounds hit next to each other while the other two were off.

At its widest point this group measures 1 5/8 inches.

Text Font Wood Tree Number

CCI mini-mag - Two groups were shot with this type of ammo. I shot 5 rounds while my son shot 4 rounds.

My group measures 3/4 inch. My sons group measures 1 1/16 inch.

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In the prepping community the Remington golden bullet in bricks of 550 rounds is the go to round for stockpiling. The question I have is why? Why are we stockpiling the cheapest 22 long rifle ammunition?

In the accuracy testing, which was off a bench rest at 25 yards, the Remington golden bullet gave the worst results.

I am going back to the sand pit in a couple of weeks to test the Winchester and will bring a couple of different rifles. But the fact stands. Using a brand new Remington model 597 the golden bullet gave the worst accuracy. So why are survivalist / preppers stockpiling it?

In another post we talked about how tacticool has no place in prepping. Why are we buying the best in certain things, then stockpiling the cheapest ammo we can find?

I have to ask again, should the "buy cheap and stack deep" mentality apply to 22 long rifle? For that matter, should it apply to ammunition in general? While we are on the topic, should buy cheap and stack deep apply to anything?

If you are serious about prepping and want to make sure your family survives an all out collapse, are you going to bet on cheap ammo?

22 long rifle is the corner stone small game hunting ammunition. Why stockpile the cheapest corner stones you can find? Why not spend a few more dollars and build a good foundation to hunt small game with? Isn't your family worth spending a few more dollars on quality 22 long rifle ammunition?

Next round of test

Same 22 long rifle ammunition, but Winchester will be included.

Marlin model 60, Ruger 10/22, H&R bolt action rifle, Remington 597 will be used for testing.

Probably include some more types of 22 long rifle in the nest test. I am thinking of keeping each round of test to about 5 different types of ammo.

My 22 long rifle stockpile is an area of my preps that are unproven. How do I know for a fact that CCI mini-mags will shoot good through my Ruger 10/22? That is the purpose of this test is to make sure that I know how the type of ammunition I am stockpiling will preform when needed.

· Freedom isn't free.
6,472 Posts
Buy it cheap and stack it deep and then practice. Both my 22lr rifles can shoot 3/4" (ocassional 1/2"), 5 shot groups at 50 yards with Remington Golden bullets. CCI Mini Mag 36 grain HP gets us 1/2" groups at 50 yds with an occasional 3/8" group. This is with the gun stock rested and shouldered.
Golf balls at 100 yards are real easy and I can put a 22lr bullet into a zombie brain out to 150 yards, 100% of the time. (Using a 50 yard zero and holdovers in the milling reticle)
Carlos Cricket and his white feather. ;-)

· Registered
732 Posts
If you are serious about prepping and want to make sure your family survives an all out collapse, are you going to bet on cheap ammo?
Yes and no. That is the simple answer that really doesn't make sense.

For what you are shooting here, I have piles of all of them except the golden bullet. I don't buy it because I think they are the least consistent and least reliable .22lr round there is. So to kind of answer your question, I stack cheap and deep... but not that cheap.

Any other .22lr I have is at least consistent. At your tested 25 yards, anything other than the rems is "close enough" for me for critters using a Ruger or Marlin. I would prefer nothing but mini mags, but have much more federal than anything, and it kills critters at that range just fine.

If we jump out of the .22 realm, say into 9mm, my actual self defense rounds are minimal compared to my stacks of "target" ammo. Plus, I will buy Remington 9mm all day long. Cost is an issue. Would much rather have several thousand CCI Blazer (or even UMC) rounds than a few hundred rounds of Hornady. An empty gun is a useless gun.

For AK and SKS rounds, the cheaper the better. I will bet on that every day in a total collapse. Cheap steel from whoever is fine by me :)

· Registered
7,320 Posts
I have a Walther P22, Ruger 10/22 and S&W M&P 15/22, I have fired rem golden bullet, CCI standard/high velocity and Agulia super extra. Have had zero malfunctions using the aforementioned ammo on multiple trips to the gun range...

Video of my 14 year old daughter firing the Walther P22 at 25 yards and S&W M&P 15/22 at 50 yards...

Stopped buying 22LR a while ago as we are already "stacked deep" and have enough for a lifetime of shooting...

· Remove Kebab
3,592 Posts
I have a Marlin Model 60 I have had since I was a little kid. I stock Armscor 36gr hollow points. They seem accurate enough, reliable enough, they cycle the Model 60 and they are really inexpensive and often in stock.

· Remove Kebab
3,592 Posts
Same here. My dad bought it used. First gun I ever shot.

Will grab some Armscor next time I see it and give it a go.
It was a great learning gun. Very accurate. The Armscor has had one bad primer out of a hundred so far. I have also had one double feed out of that hundred as well. Not terribly bad for low price .22LR in a semi auto. Definitely worth grabbing some.

· Registered
2,040 Posts
There are good reasons to keep the crap ammo in your stash.

An unprepared friend comes over- they get the Thunderbolts and Golden Bullets... Someone comes over begging for some- wants to trade- again- perfect for that situation.
A third situation: training or plinking.. Save the better stuff for later...

Not all ammo in your stash is just for your use. Sometimes, it's worth keeping or shooting in the interim.

· Registered
8,612 Posts
while golden bullet isnt that consistent it will do the job for hunting, but mainly for practicing. If I get 10 close and then get a flier, it is no big deal.

My favorite cheap ammo is cci sv and it isnt even that consistent.

I have enough cheap ammo that I only buy the good stuff. If I get enough good stuff, Ill start to sell the cheap stuff (or let the kids use it to practice).

· Registered
2,223 Posts
Stack it high, stack it deep, stack it rich, stack it cheap.

For every one box of good ammo you get, get 10 boxes of the cheap stuff. Why? Because if you practice with 10 boxes worth of cheap ammo, you'll be good enough to make proper use of expensive ammo.

"I wish I hadn't bought so much 22lr." - Said No One Ever.

· Live Secret, Live Happy
18,483 Posts
Yes, if you can buy 40 grain 22 LR at a reasonable cost, I suggest buying a few cases.
At one time Winchester wildcat was sold at gun shows for $60/5,000 rd case.

I would avoid buying cases of ammo loaded with lighter bullets until you get a chance to test it.

· Militant Normal
10,668 Posts
Since when have MiniMags been 36 grain? Mine are all 40.

Personally I would stock only MiniMags, CCI Standard Velocity, and CCI Quiet. Maybe Federal Auto Match. Back when Clinton was in office, I bought a dozen bricks of Thunderduds, being ignorant, and wish I hadn't. Nothing made by Remington is worth wasting money on. That's based on a long study I did a couple of years ago on how to make a stock 10/22 shoot accurately. Weighed a couple thousand cartridges, sorted out the outliers, swaged ''em to make the bullets uniform, measured rims, measured runout, all the stuff that serious competitors do. Remington's process control should embarrass them them no end. Bullet weight variance of 2 grains extreme spread wasn't unusual. Often only got 25 out of 50 Thunderbolts with weight variance under 0.4 grains from a given box. From CCI and Federal I'd have to segregate maybe six or seven.

Winchester Wildcat was second worst. I'll spare you the gory details. Also ammo bought in the Clinton era, which I now regret.

Bottom line? That Ruger got sold. It was a 5 MOA rifle to start; I got it down to 2.5 MOA. My Dad's old Marlin 39 handily outshot it even without all my ammunition fiddling.

BTW I use cast-off Marlin 60 barrels (bought on Gunbroker) when I rebarrel old single-shot "boy's rifles". Hopkins & Allen 822 and 922, Stevens Favorite, and Stevens Model 12 Marksman are best. They shoot under 2 MOA with a new chamber and new crown using CCI Standard Velocity ammo. Not bad for second-hand mass-market barrels.

· Pusher of brooms
641 Posts
An interesting question, quantity or quality?

Guess it comes down to how long do you think you'll have to go before you can resupply?

My grandfather, a depression kid, kept a couple hundred .22's in the cabinet.
Me, until I started teaching my kids, kept @10k .22's in the back. I won't even say how far down I am.

I notice a major difference in ammo, guns and attitudes today.

When I was growing up, major changes were happening in the gun companies.
Quality and reliability dropped, heavily.

Not too long ago I had 4 Marlin M39's. One each from the '50's, '60's, '70's and '80's.
They all worked. But as they got newer, they got rougher and more finicky.
The '50's gun didn't care what you fed it.
And the '80's gun didn't like unplated bullets.

Comparing a Remington 511 also from the late '50's to an '80's Marlin, the Remington is better across the board. Even with junk ammo.

So if I'm using my 511 to compare ammo, its almost an unfair comparison, same for the worn out '70's Marlin 60 that misfires and jams with everything.

From another viewpoint, if I were stocking up for the 511, I could put anything back and not have to worry.
But the tweaked and tuned 10-22? It's temperamental at best.

Best advice, choose a round or two that work in everything and stock just those.

As to attitudes mentioned before, peoples expectations today are out of whack.
Expecting performance from $129 clunkers that they'd be hard pressed to find in $800 custom guns.
Cheap stampings vs machined parts.
Cheaply rough machined barrels vs lapped barrels.

One doesn't buy a Tercel and expect BMW performance outside the gun world, and .22 ammo especially.

· Combat marxism Now!
9,566 Posts
I have some older 22 that simply went bad. Many of the rounds have corrosion and/or moisture issues and fail to work properly.

I'm not convinced that older 22 ammo is all that stable. Especially in hot n sticky South Florida.
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