Originally posted at Liberty and Lead 2 before I shut up shop, David has kindly asked me to post some here and I am glad to be a part of his fine blog.
I decided I needed a .22lr that would be the base for a project that would meet several specific criteria. This rifle would need to be capable of hunting as well as putting lead into a hat at up to 300 yards once the balloon goes up. Don’t question me as to this criteria or my reasons, just come along for the ride and buckle up sweetie. The Hoppes and tinfoil is included on this trip so, if you’re ready……
My brother-from-another-mother has birthed into several of my tribe the desire for accurate and capable rimfire rifles. I have wanted a CZ 455 Tacticool or Precision Trainer for a good while and my first inclination was to just go ahead and get one. I mean, everyone knows bolt guns are mo betta…. right?
The .22 demi-god from the far west though began whispering in my ear “semi-auto is a force multiplier” and “10-22s can be hammers with top quality parts”…. Before you know it I am looking at 10-22T models. They are $400+ and other than the heavy barrel… Meh. Regular stocks and triggers with questionable barrels that end up being a lottery.
Then, while perusing the local classifieds, I saw it. A nicely built 10-22 with all Kidd Innovative Designs internals including trigger guts, bolt, V block and all the rest. It wore Kidd’s 20″ stainless match barrel in a black Boyd’s Pro Varmint stock. It was a good price for what was some really expensive stuff and had been used in 100yd bench rest and had shot 6″ steel out to 300yds.
I waffled. I could get a 455 Tacticool for less…
“… force multiplier…”
I contacted the guy again and told him to mail it to me.
After some inspection, a few things became apparent, the factory Ruger receiver was machined/cast with the barrel bore canted. Also, the screw holes for the scope rail were stripped and were not even centered on the receiver. After reading that these were common problems, I decided to go all in. I ordered a Kidd Innovative Designs receiver, their complete aluminum 2lb trigger, their 20MOA rail and a 16.5” threaded barrel to replace the 20” Kidd barrel.
After these parts, the rifle was all Kidd components except for the stock, which was a professionally pillared and steel block bedded Boyd’s ProVarmint. I found a nice PA mil/mil 4-14x scope which is known to track well and has 30+ mils of vertical adjustment, which with the 20MOA rail would easily get me 400 yards. The glass quality is more than adequate for 400 yards so no Uber expensive scope is necessary, only that it tracks and is repeatable when dialing. I mounted it in some nice low rings, sighted it in at 50 yards and began to see incredible accuracy. It has shot many low .100s with a best to date of 5 shots into .116 at 25 yards. I packed it up and took it to a meetup with friends where the plan was to shoot 22s out to 400 yards and test our entire premise, could 22lr be an effective rifle to use for … varmints.
Had the opportunity that weekend to shoot some long distance with the rifle.
Took it all the way to 400 yards with 3 different types of ammo. Eley Contact, Federal Gold Target 711B and Federal Bulk (for giggles, but it surprised me and some others)
Eley Contact is incredible ammo for this purpose, it is 42g at 1090fps. Those extra 2 grains really help with the wind and help it to be a very good penetrator as a solid. At 300 yards, it will penetrate 1/2 pine.
Dialed the scope out through 400 based on my ballistic calculator Strelok Pro. Zero was 50 yds. Actual dope was as follows.
Contact was :
100 ^ 2 mils
200 ^ 7 mils
300 ^ 13 mils
400 ^ 20.3 mils
Fed Gold Target was :
100 ^ 2.5 mils
200 ^ 7.5 mils
300 ^ 14 mils
400 ^ 22 mils
Fed bulk 550 (high vel, not subsonic)
100 ^ 1 mil
200 ^ 5 mils
300 ^ 11 mils
400 ^ 18 mils
Wind is hard on .22lr out past 300 yds.
At 400 yards, a subsonic rimfire is dropping 280+ inches! At 300 it is 140+ inches. Dialing accurate turrets and knowing your dope and range is critical.
A good spotter with a good spotting scope is essential to acquire that dope.
400 yards is a LONG way for .22, 300 is out there. Both are doable and make you feel like a million bucks when you find your hold and put em on steel.
200 yds, saw easy baseball sized groups, rapid fire with swirling wind. 300 yards saw about 6” to 8” groups … winds man…and 400 was minute of man with good torso hits….the wind wrecks havoc by then on subsonic ammo.
The surprise for me was how well the plain bulk Federal from the 550rd boxes did. The much talked about trans-sonic transition did not seem to affect a thing with these projectiles like they can with spitzer centerfire bullets.
What did I accomplish? What did I learn? As things turn more … sporty, an easily handled, quiet (even unsupressed) rifle with easily affordable ammunition that can put 10 rounds into 10 hats as fast as you can acquire sight picture and pull the trigger is indeed a force multiplier. Imagine the chaos when varmints realize that their varmint buddies have head or neck wounds pumping out blood. You have to realize that even at 400 yards, a subsonic 22lr is clipping along at over 700fps, with a pretty high sectional density and not much chance of deformation. In other words, it will penetrate extremely well, a small hole perhaps but it’ll go deep.
We had people connect with even Marlin 60s, with of course larger groups, but what I want folks to get is that these are real tools that with some care and parts, from high end models to common ones, these rifles will be useful. Get on it. Get your stuff sorted now. Make range cards, get plenty of your preferred ammo while it’s cheap and practice.