Tuesday, January 24, 2017

22 LR Ammo Test - CCI Subsonic 40 Grain HP

This CCI load is intended for small game hunting.  Running at subsonic velocity from rifle length barrels, this load eliminates the supersonic "crack" that comes with bullets traveling at higher velocities.  This make it an ideal ammunition to use when you wish to minimize your noise footprint in the woods.

Occasionally, subsonic ammunition doesn't generate enough recoil energy to operate a semi-auto rifle.  In my testing, I had no issues with the ammunition failing to cycle the actions on two different semi-auto rifles. 

For my evaluation, I performed accuracy and velocity testing at 25 yards using a basic Ruger 10/22 rifle with 3-9 power scope.  Gel testing was done at 25 yards with the Ruger 10/22 and also another semi-auto rifle with a short barrel and suppressor. 

Overall test results were good.  It would have been nice to see a tighter group on our test target, but not all rifles like all ammunition brands equally.  Luckily for us there are many different ammunition options available so we can find what works best in our specific rifle.

Velocity was right on the mark with manufacturers specification, and on target kinetic energy at 25 yards appears sufficient to humanely harvest small game quarry.

With regard to the one bullet that failed to expand, I'm left scratching my head as to why. Logically, you would expect a bullet travelling faster than a bullet that successfully expanded would also expand. As we saw in this test, gel testing can yield results that defy logic.  For me, that's part of what makes testing so interesting. 

My Thoughts:

CCI Sub-Sonic functions reliably in my semi-auto rifles.  It's accurate enough to meet my needs for small game hunting with iron sights at ranges out to 25 yards.  It is noticeably quieter than using high velocity ammunition and does not appear to sacrifice terminal performance at the lower velocity. One other thing to like about this load is the price. When you can find it in-stock, it's usually at a retail price of $9.00 per box of 100.

This load has been a staple in my ammunition cabinet for many years, but I've never had a chance to gel test it.  What I observed in the gel tests match what I've seen when using this load for small game hunting.  It's a good one.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Umarex Octane .22 Pellet Testing

I've had a Umarex Octane 22 pellet rifle for quite some time.  I initially purchased it during the Winter of 2013-2014 when I was going full tilt with centerfire ammunition gel testing on my other blog and YouTube channel.  That winter was pretty brutal for this area and I didn't get a chance to test very much so I thought I could bring my testing indoors and run some pellet tests in my basement.  I got a couple tests done and must have gotten distracted by something else, or maybe the weather got better.  Regardless, I've been sitting on a small tote of several varieties of pellets that I've never tested in my rifle.

Spin the clock ahead to a couple weeks ago when a friend posts on Facebook that he recently purchased a Umarex Octane 22 for pest control around his home.  I said, "Hey I have one too".  He says "What pellets does it like"?  I suddenly realized I had no idea. With that casual reminder, I thought I better get the old Octane out the range and get some testing done.

The mission was pretty simple.  .22 pellets come in many grain weights ranging from about 10 to 25 grains.  I had bunch of different pellets that fell in the middle of that range so my initial focus was on pellets in the 14 to 16 grain range.  I initially had a red dot optic installed on the rifle, but the stock on the Octane allows for a great cheek weld for the iron sights.  Add an optic and your cheek weld becomes a jawline weld.  I opted to go with the excellent fiber optic open sights with targets set at 25 yards.  Shooting was done seated behind a table with the just the forward elbow on the table.

I slowly worked my way though 7 different varieties of pellets I had available.  The targets appear in the order they were shot.  For each page of targets, I started with the upper left target and moved around the page clockwise.

In my specific rifle, the Crosman Piranha turned in the best group.  Crosman Powershot Penetrators weren't too bad either.  I guess my Octane is a cheap date because she seemed to prefer the mass retail pellets over the specialty brands from abroad.  She really didn't like the Gamo round balls based on my group size.  If you want the specifics on the pellets tested, you will have to click on the pictures so they enlarge.  At full-size you can see most of the details on the label of each pellet tin.    

With a clear winner in the Piranha, I wanted to make sure my group wasn't a fluke or just some lucky shooting.  Using one of the target holder clothespins as my skill shot target, I took one more 25 yard shot and broke the clothespin.  It's not a fluke.  My rifle likes Piranhas.  So I'll be getting a few more tins in case I ever have the chance to get the rifle into the field for some small game hunting.

Hey Billy, my Octane likes Crosman Piranhas.  You can get them just about anywhere.