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Ammo Selection for the Ruger 10/22

Some time ago, I picked up a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 semi-auto rifle.  The 15-22 is the 22 rimfire little brother to an AR-15 5.56mm rifle.  It is a blast to shoot and the thing I like most about it is the similarity between it and a regular AR-15.  The manual of arms for the 15-22 is the same as for an AR-15.  Practice time spent on the 15-22 goes directly towards improving your AR-15 skill set.....at about 1/10th of the ammo cost.  if you haven't shot one, you really need to get your hands on one and give it a try. 

So why is Ruger 10/22 in the title and I'm writing about the M&P 15-22?  Because I had bought a handful of different brands of ammo several weeks ago for running through the 15-22.  I was looking to see just what kind of accuracy I could get from it when using something better than the typical Federal Bulk ammo I typically plink with.  With that range session out of the way (which turned out not nearly as promising as I was hoping it would be), I decided to turn my attention to my old Ruger 10/22 and let it sample the same ammo I tried in the 15-22.  My Ruger 10/22 was bought back in the 70's when I was serving in the Navy in Norfolk, VA.  Aside from the recent addition of a free 3-9x Burris rimfire scope (that came with my 4.5-14x Burris Full Field II), it is stock.  No trigger mods, no barrel upgrades, etc. 

As I hadn't done much with the Ruger 10/22 since using it this past spring at a local Appleseed shoot, I took the opportunity to see if I had anything in that pile of rimfire leftovers that it might like.  Here are are the targets I shot today.  Since I was a little pushed for time, I didn't do the customary "5 strings of 10 shots each averaged" to get my group size.  I simply shot a single 10 shot string @ 50 yards off of sand bags on the bench.  I wasn't looking to find the definitive group size but rather see if there was something in the ammo box that seemed to appeal to the 10/22.  If so, I would pursue it further. 

So....without any more delay, here are the targets I shot today using my Ruger 10/22. 


String #1 was the obligatory Federal Bulk ammo producing a 2.86" group.  Since I always have a bunch of this to use for plinking, I also start a session using it as it works well as a base line.  Most of the time, it is THE ammo that performs the worst...but hey, it is also the lowest price stuff in the ammo bag so one can't complain too much.

String #2 was Western T-22 military contract 22LR target ammo producing a 2.03" group.  The remnants of this last brick came from the 70s when I was shooting on a command pistol team.  It showed a reasonable improvement over the Federal Bulk.


String #3 was some more Federal Bulk used while adjusting the scope.  I hadn't really done much with getting the scoped zeroed since mounting it and with the first two strings printing notably to the right, I decided to use a few rounds and get it centered a bit better.  As such, no measured group size for this string.

String #4 was some old Remington Thunderbolt that produced a 1.72" group.  It was laying around the 22LR ammo shelf so I tossed it in the ammo bag.  While not super great, it was a small step up from the T-22. 


String #5 was Remington Target Rifle made by Eley and produced a .86" group.  Now that was a very nice step up from the last string...and right at $9 a box, I was glad to see it did.  Given the price, the Ruger won't be seeing a steady diet of this ammo.  However, it is nice to see that it can do a pretty good job with good ammo in the magazine.

String #6 was Fiocchi Biathlon SM340 Super Match producing a .87" group.  In all honestly, more trigger time and several more groups from both the Eley and Fiocchi ammo is needed to see which one will consistently make the better group.  It certainly put the rounds closer to my point of aim.  It too costs about $9 for a box. 


String #7 was Federal Gold Metal Target and produced a 1.92" group.  Clearly the 10/22 wasn't liking this target ammo nearly as much as the two previous brands.  The Federal was half the price of the Eley and more than double the group size.  It was about an inch better than its Federal Bulk cousin from string #1. 

String #8 was Aguila SuperMax Hyper Velocity and produced a 6.88" group.  Oh yeah.....this was suppose to be some great stuff according to the guy at the gun store.  Now you might think this was about the time my medication must have worn off.  But that wasn't the case.....it shot nearly as bad in my M&P 15-22 when I tried it several weeks ago.  Aguila SuperMax Hyper Velocity is 100% crap from what I can determine.  You know its bad when you have to connect the holes with a felt tip marker just so you know where they all went. 


String #9 was CCI Mini-Mag and produced a 1.60" group.  Given that its price range is between Federal Bulk and Eley, it did OK as far as I am concerned.  It's nothing to write home about but it wasn't that bad either.  Given that you CCI 22LR ammo is sold just about everywhere, it's good to know it will run pretty well in the Ruger 10/22. 

So...maybe you are wondering how the Ruger 10/22 did in comparison to the M&P 15-22?  Here are the results of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 accuracy session

Well, there you have it.  Not exactly done in the most scientific or statistically proper fashion, but it is what it is and I now have a better idea as to what my old Ruger 10/22 likes to graze on, at least with this mixed bag of 22LR ammo.  More testing with other brands would hopefully find some more good performers.  If you are like me, you probably have to balance availability and cost versus required accuracy.   One thing is for sure, I think I just might use some of that Remington Target Rifle (Eley) ammo on my final Appleseed AQT.  When I look at the group size being made by the Federal Bulk, which is what I used at my last Appleseed shoot, I'm thinking I just might have gotten those 2 points I needed to qualify just from the reduced group size of the Eley ammo.




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