Match-Grade Rimfire Ammunition – Is It Worth It?

    I mentioned that I am on a quest, right? I’d like to be able to shoot one-hole groups at 100 yards – quietly. Ok, I’ll settle for 0.5 MOA at 50-100 yards. But before I start talking about my equipment and ammunition deficiencies, let me be clear: I need practice. Lots of practice. That being said, at what point does a promising precision rimfire shooter need to start using match-grade ammunition?

    After my ‘MOA All Day’ post a few weeks back, I was determined to get back out on the range and punch some even smaller groups. I was out of my favorite Eley flavor of match ammo, so I decided to check out the other options available at my local gun store (LGS). My thought was this: buy a few boxes of different varieties and find one that shoots laser beams. Then head back to my LGS and buy a case or two of the same lot number that performed best.

    I talked briefly with Steve Boelter of Anschutz North America about my ammo dilemma. “For the most part, it depends on the kind of shooting a person is doing. If you are practicing off-hand shooting, and your hold on average at 50 meters is 5″ circle, then the small difference between high end ammo and target ammo does not matter,” said Boelter. ” If you are learning Benchrest shooting and reading the wind, then you really need to use the best ammo possible because you won’t know if the slightly off shot is ammo or a missed condition.”

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    I spent a couple hours trying out a handful of brands of match rimfire ammo, targets set at 75 yards with disappointing results. As such, I asked myself, is it worth it to buy match-grade ammunition when my skills and equipment are still just average?

    Did I tell you that I need practice?

    RWS R50

    ($18.95/50)

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    Federal UltraMatch

    ($9.00/50)

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    CCI Quiet 22 Segmented Hollow Point. (Non-Match control)

    ($5.99/50)

    In my (and CCI’s) defense, this particular ammo wouldn’t cycle my 10/22’s action. I also didn’t re-zero, so I had a significant amount of holdover.

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    Observations:

    • I need a better bench (in process)
    • I need a better optic
    • I need a better (bolt) rifle
    • I need more practice

    However, while I work on my list, I still can’t decide if I am ready take advantage of match-grade rimfire ammo. At what point does standard ammunition make it difficult to shoot for score? Does buying more standard ammunition at lower prices or less match ammunition at higher prices at make more sense at this stage of the game?

    I know quality rimfire ammo makes a big difference for an expert marksman. But what about for the ‘slightly-better-than-average’ shooter?

    Thoughts and ideas welcome.

    Pete

    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]


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