Saturday, April 15, 2017

Aguila and CCI - Standard Velocity Shootout



I've long considered switching from 22LR high velocity ammunition to standard velocity match ammunition for speed steel competition.  While most wouldn't consider the recoil of 22LR ammunition as a detriment to fast shooting, I've done enough side by side comparison testing to know I can "feel" the difference between standard and high velocity ammunition.  With competitions won and lost by tenths of seconds, anything that allows me to get back on target faster is something I'm interested in exploring.

If you are new to the world of 22LR ammunition, here's a ballpark overview of the 22LR velocity continuum.  It's not exact, and you will notice that the ammunition types may overlap at the ends of their velocity range.  Let's just call this my interpretation of 22LR ammunition I've seen available recently with a little bit of 22LR SAAMI specification review thrown in for good measure.
     Subsonic  usually less than 1080 fps
     Standard Velocity between 1050 fps and 1125 fps  
     High Velocity  between 1150 fps and 1300 fps
     Hyper Velocity over 1300 fps

As 22LR ammunition supply has started to catch up with demand, two of the more widely available standard velocity loads are produced by Aguila and CCI.  CCI Standard Velocity is a favorite of many shooters and has been for many years. Aguila Super Extra is comparatively new to me.  I honestly can't remember ever seeing the Aguila ammunition brand until about 5 or 6 years ago. Earlier this month I purchased a brick of each and decided to do a little testing to see if either brand performed noticeably better than the other when tested in firearms similar to those I use for speed steel competition.

At this point, I feel compelled to state the obvious.  These tests were funded entirely by me. The tests were conducted as stringently as possible to control variables that were under my control.  The test results are representative of the performance differences I noted when testing TWO SPECIFIC SAMPLES of ammunition purchased at retail level. The results are not intended to be interpreted as representative of their respective brands, or even other samples of these specific ammunition products.  I have no vested interest in the outcome of the tests other than my own knowledge and satisfying my curiosity.

My test firearms were previously used by me in speed steel competitions.  High power scopes were added to facilitate more precise shooting.  Both scopes were dialed up to 16x magnification for the tests.  Rifle barrel length 16.5".  Pistol barrel length 4.5".  All shooting was done from the rests shown in the photo above.

Targets were set at 25 yards.  A chronograph was positioned 10 feet in front of the muzzle to capture the velocity of each test shot.

The velocity data summary and test targets are all displayed below.  Three rifle test groups were shot on the bottom targets and a single pistol group was shot on the top target of each page.  The groups are labeled for your convenience.





























It might be tempting to rush to judgement based on this comparison test, but we also need to consider functionally reliability.  I actually worked on this project over two days. On day one, I sighted in the scopes.  I quickly discovered the trigger installed in my rifle was giving me light strike failures to fire with both ammunition types.  More frequently with the Aguila than the CCI.  I recovered a few of those rounds and included a picture below.


I swapped out the trigger with another I had on hand before returning to the range to conduct the actual testing.  Replacing the trigger resolved the light strike "problem" with both ammunition samples.  Clearly, this wasn't really a problem with the ammunition, but rather my test firearms.  It does illustrate the importance of testing ammunition in YOUR specific firearms before you rely on it for competition.

Similarly, your personal pistol and rifle barrels may give you better, or worse, groups than I managed in my testing.  My take away from this testing was confirmation that Aguila Super Extra SV groups really well from Tactical Solutions X-Ring rifle barrels.  This is something I initially discovered during my accuracy testing with the Ultimate Lightweight Small Game Rifle.


I'm currently working my way through my last few cases of Federal Champion AutoMatch.  Before that supply is gone, I'm going to do some additional testing with Aguila Super Extra SV in my current competition firearms to make sure it's 100% reliable. If it is, I anticipate making the change to use Super Extra SV as my practice and competition ammunition.

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