Alright, I was up and at em at 0700 this past Friday. That's fairly early for a retired lazy man like me. Even better than that was that I decided to forego my morning laptop session, of two ours or so, and get my arse out of the house. I was in the parking lot of my local range by 0845. I soon met someone there to whom I handed off 2K of 22LR ammo. All legal, all okay, it was a face to face private transfer of ammo here in the Socialist Rebooblik of New Yorkistan and it went smoothly as expected. That being done, it was time to shoot.
Before leaving home, figuring I'd be in the range parking lot, I had decided why not get in some shooting too. So, I took along something to shoot. Besides what I had strapped on my hip, which I would not be shooting, I decided on my S&W Model 17-8 revolver in 22LR. I also had a decent assortment of 22LR ammo from various manufacturers. That ammo included:
CCI Blazer - 50 rounds
CCI Mini Mags - 100 rounds
Federal Value Pack (from December 1993) - 250 rounds
PMC Score Master - 50 rounds
Remington 22 Target - 250 rounds
Remington Golden Bullets - 50 rounds
I set the my target at 50 feet (just over 16.5 yards). It was an NRA B3, official rapid and timed fire pistol target, meant for that distance. I used about 5 with the blank side facing me and the other 5 with the bullseye winking my way. I always figure that if I am plinking at cans, shooting a rabbit or defending myself against an armed intruder - none of them is going to be wearing a bullseye (unless the intruder is very stupid). So, I like to shoot the blank side a lot.
A few times past, when I have shot the Model 17, using various different ammo on each of several range trips, it liked two of the cheapest brands/makes of ammo imaginable. One of those was CCI Blazer ammo and the other was Remington Golden Bullets. I don't know what happened yesterday, it all but told me it detested the Golden Bullets. Accuracy sucked with them, I had a hand sized group or larger at 50 feet. It certainly was nothing to brag about. The Remington 22 Target Ammo was fairly accurate, at least for the ones that actually fired (more on this below). The CCI Blazer was okay in the accuracy department,for plinking or hunting. I did not shoot as good with it on Friday as I have in the past through the Model 17. The Federal Value Pack was also acceptable for plinking and probably hunting. The CCI Mini Mags were an improvement over everything else so far.
The hands down best of the bunch yesterday was the PMC Score Master ammo. This stuff was old but not as old as the Federal. I figure the PMC ammo had to have been at least 12-15 years old and it was my last box of it (too bad since it is impossible to find now). I had three groups the about the size of a silver dollar, or a tad larger, each with a flyer or two, while shooting it at 50 feet. At 7 yards, I shot a slowfire grouping of about the size of a quqrter, that group consisted of 20 shots with a few flyers. The three other groups at 50 feet consisted of 10 rounds each, the Model 17-8 holds that many in the cylinder.
This ammo report though is not as much about the inherent accuracy of any of the brands or types of 22LR ammo I had with me as it is about quality control and the reliability of the ammo. While shooting, I had several no go bang moments that just should not have happened and that's what I am targeting right now. Except for the PMC and Federal ammo, all of the 22LR ammunition I fired yesterday was purchased within the last 1 to 6 years, all stored dry and relatively cool.
Federal Value Pack: The Federal had zero, I repeat ZERO, failures to fire. This ammo is from December 1993, over 22 years old. Despite it being that old and a relatively inexpensive ammo, every round fired; some of the recently manufactured stuff did not even come close to that. There was one failure to feed, the round would not go into the chamber. That was due to the shell casing being bent. One round that I found in the box had turned blacked and had crusty oxidation on it, I disposed of that one. Strange since none of the others resembled that one.
PMC Score Master: The PMC (a brand made in S. Korea) had no, I repeat NO, failures to fire. This particular PMC ammo had the oddest smelling gunpowder, its aroma is unlike anything I have ever shot before. It was fairly clean shooting too. Again, this ammo had to be at least 12 to maybe 15 years old.
CCI Blazer: Every round went bang. The Blazer ammo is dirty as all heck, a lot of unspent gunpowder came out of the cases when ejected. The Mini Mags fired much cleaner. The Blazer ammo was purchased in 2014.
CCI Mini Mags: The CCI Mini Mags did not have even a single failure to fire. It was much cleaner than the Blazer. This was probably the oldest of the more recently manufactured ammo, I figure I got this 5 to 6 years ago when CCI still had it in the amber plastic boxes.
Remington Golden Bullets: There were four misfires, with the Remington Golden Bullets. They failed to fire on the first hit of the firing pin but I kept pulling the trigger until their chambers came round again and on the second hit each one of them fired. That is a failure rate of 8% and is totally unacceptable even for plinking, let alone hunting or self-defense. These were purchased new in 2013 and that does not say anything good for Remington's quality control nowadays. I have another batch from 2015 that I hope is better in that department.
Remington 22 Target Ammunition: - This stuff was surprisingly horrendous. I had at least 10 failures to fire and the second strike on each of those cartridges also failed to fire them. I even tried a third hammer fall on a few of them but to no avail. Out of 40 rounds that I tried to fire, about 1/4 of them were duds; that is terrible. Oddly enough, I have used this type of ammo in the past with zero problems.
Since there were no major problems with any of the other ammo, except another type from Remington, and since even that Remington ammo went off on the second try, I seriously doubt this problem with the Remington 22 Target ammo was in any way due to a malfunction of the Model 17. I think it had to have been the ammo, either hard brass (although the rims looked dented enough to have fired) or the primer. My bet is on the primer being the likely thing to have failed. This ammo was bought new four years ago. It had been stored with all the other 22LR ammo fired during this range trip, so method of storage likely has nothing to do with the failures to fire.
I already was aware that Remington Golden Bullets and Remington Thunderbolt have only fair reputations at best, mostly because of misfires and failures to fire, but I never before had a problem with the Remington 22 Target ammo and have never heard of there being such problems with it. I have about 200 rounds of it left over. I plan to try to shoot some of it out of other 22 pistols and some of my rifles to see if the problem replicates in them. If so, I will rest assured it was the ammo and not the Model 17 that caused the issue. If it is the ammo, in the bad ammo bin at the range it will go.
All the best,