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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not asking about caliber here for carry purposes - but I am curious as to why rimfire ammunition is generally less reliable than centerfire. As I understand it, the "rim" on the casing is thicker and requires more force to set off the powder but the guns are made to handle that aren't they?

I know some people have issues with some centerfire ammo in their particular gun, but I don't know anyone that hasn't had issues with .22 ammo in just about every gun - unless it's CCI I guess. I shoot Winchester in my shotgun and also in my 9mm, never have an issue. If I use it in my SR22 I have all kinds of issues. Same goes for Federal and I won't even touch Remington ammo any more (too many issues across the board).

I guess ammo manufacturers just figure it's used for plinking and don't feel it's necessary to make it ultra reliable.
 

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I for one have never had a problem with the reliability problems accustomed to .22 rim fire cartridges, including Remington. I did have a slight problem a number of years ago with an AR-7 using Winchester Wildcat .22LR. Note I've got about 20+ .22LR arms in everything from revolvers, to pistols, to rifles, but again the only problem I've ever had was using the Winchester Wild Cat in that one AR-7, further I've shot well over 50,000 rounds over my 50+ years shooting different guns.

I've heard a quite a few complaints about the Remington Golden Bullets, but then again I've shot at least 5000+ rounds of those without a problem either, maybe it's just the luck of the Irish.
 

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There used to be a CCI promotional video on Youtube. It hasn't been around for a few years, but it was very educational. In short, every part from the raw brass and lead to the finished product is very refined, precision, and repeatable, with one exception. The brass is primed by hand. The have a process where a lot of casings (1,00, 2000?) are put in a rack, and a worker pushes wet primer material into them with what looks like a drywall blade. Apparently it only becomes explosive after it dries. Although they are pretty good at it, there is no way that process can be 100% reliable in getting primer consistently all the way around the rim.

Just my $.02. It's been a while since I saw the video, but it made an impact.
 

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I guess ammo manufacturers just figure it's used for plinking and don't feel it's necessary to make it ultra reliable.
Believe your guess is correct. Of late, I reload everything. However, when I do have to buy center fire ammo, I usually use Winchester X ammo or Federal Match. They all seem to work great.

Just went out over last weekend to run a few rounds thru my GSR and my 10/22. I ended up using a 100 ct. plastic box of Winchester .22 LR. Out of 100 rounds, I had 14 failure to fire. I examined every one of them, and all had been struck sufficiently to cause ignition. Reloaded every one of them again and gave them all a second go. None of them fired the second time either. Won't buy Winchester .22's any more. Can't imagine having to actually rely on that percentage of failures in a critical situation. But, I also don't pack a .22 for protection. In the woods or on the asphalt. :cool:
 

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I just had a Remington Golden Bullet .22lr fail to extract in my SR22 a couple of days ago. When I finally got the empty casing out, I found the reason it didn't extract.....it was split.

I've never had a centerfire primed case split.

I think the rimfires just have issues in part due to the small size (it's harder to get an accurate measurement of the powder consistant. A fraction of a grain more or less can result in large variability in performance.)

The small size of the rim coupled with the much change in the "thickness" of the wet primer material as it is "spun" into the rim can result in gaps in the primer.
 

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In my own experience, I have NOT found 22LR ammo, even the cheapest of the cheap, to be unreliable. Now don't get me wrong, I have the occasional FTF, but that is with EVERY brand, even CCI. 22 ammo is somewhat difficult to make, strictly from the way it ignites, plus it is made by the millions. But overall, I would say the failure percentage on 22, as compared to the numbers made, is just as reliable as any other mass produced ammo.

Usually if a gun won't reliably cycle ammo..........its the GUN, not the ammo
 

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In years past, I don't recall of every having a dud 22 LR and I went through many bricks a year. In the past few years, it is not unusual to have a couple percent duds ... no doubt caused by vastly increased production with less quality control. This goes for virtually all US companies ... but I've still never had a dud with Wolf Target Match ammo ... made in Germany, and I've fired a lot of it.

The major problem is the priming compound. In the manufacturing process, the primer compound looks like cookie dough and is rolled out on a table then cut into "cookies" that are placed inside the case. The case is heated which causes the "dough" to liquefy and flow into the rim and dry. Herein lies the problem .... sometimes the priming compound doesn't flow in the rim or may just flow in part of the rim. This is evidenced by merely rotating a dud cartridge where the firing pin is 180 deg from the first strike. Usually it will fire but I've found quite a few Federal bulk pack cartridges that didn't have any priming compound at all. The dud rate seems to be much higher in bulk pack ammo but I've also had a few duds with premium grade 22 LR ammo. I can almost guarantee ... if you shoot enough 22 LR ammo that was made in the past few years, you WILL have a few duds.
 

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Sometimes I think folks get upset at anything less than perfection. And if there are any failures, they codemn "all" of that kind as being "failures"! For all the reasons mentioned above, .22 is not as "foolproof" as centerfire cartridges. However, none of them are perfect. They are all made by humans and will thus have flaws.

I have some Winchester .22 LR that was in my dad's damp basement for 30 years. I think altogether there were probably close to 500 rounds. In my GSG 1911-22 or my Ruger 10/22, they will fire, but they do not have enough "punch" to cycle the action. However, in my Henry .22 lever rifle or a .22 revolver, I have only had 1 or 2 that did not fire and I have probably shot half of that supply.

During the recent .22 shortage, which is still going on in this area, I have been buying anything I can get my hands on including some brands I have never heard of before. Again, some of the stuff will not cycle a semi-auto .22, but it all seems to work fine in a lever or revolver. I would say not more than a couple of duds per 100 rounds. Not perfection, but I sure am not ready to condemn them all as worthless.
 

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In years past, I don't recall of every having a dud 22 LR and I went through many bricks a year. In the past few years, it is not unusual to have a couple percent duds ... no doubt caused by vastly increased production with less quality control. This goes for virtually all US companies ...
I agree way back when in the eighties me and my 10/22 saw a lot of action with thousands of rounds I NEVER had a dud. Bricks were sold, probably as loss leaders for $5-$10. I'd buy a few as money was tighter back then and Uncle Sam wasn't paying me a whole lot so a brick was a lot of money back then. I have around 3,000 22lr stockpiled but am afraid to shoot it so I don't know what the reliability rate of current vintage ammo would be. If there is a reliability problem I'm sure it's directly related to the fact that they have stepped up production and QC has taken a back seat to output.
 

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I have a bunch of 30 year old 22 ammo. Shoots just like new ammo. Also have some reloads from the early 60s that my dad loaded up.......shoots fine. If old ammo does not have a greenish tint from the nitrates escaping the powder..........it's good to go. If there IS an issue with newer ammo, it is strictly related to the rate at which they are trying to make it.
 

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I've never had a CCI fail to fire, in a gun that's kept clean or a revolver it's always worked every time. I can't say that for Win, Fed or Rem. Some of their ammo is crappy. I did have real good results with Fed Auto Comp before the supply ran out.
Some of it is the priming compound falls out of the rim, some seem to have less powder than it takes. My 10/22s will shoot nearly anything but not if no primer or powder in the ammo. I do have a few boxes of old Wolf ammo that is really good, don't know how newer stuff is, probably good still.
 

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Due to design "flaws" it's amazing how reliable the .22 rimfire shoots in such a variety of firearms. After shooting my MKIII 22/45 Friday I had an empty hull in my pocket that bounced off the lane divider and decided to examine the dent of the firing pin on the rim with a hand lens. If the firing pin or bolt tolerance isn't very close the round may not fire. Thanks to the ammo and firearm manufactures we have a great round.

American Rifleman | The Impossible .22 Rimfire
 

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Think of it this way ... when you get a lemon ... make lemonade. Think of all the practical experience you will get clearing malfunctions!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Great feedback guys - thanks!

RockDoctor - that article was very interesting thanks for posting that. After reading it, I'm amazed they actually work so well.

I'll have to check out the vid from 22plinkster as well. I never mind watching his videos, he's one hell of a shot lol.
 

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Maybe I should have noted, that the .22LR ammo I had was all much older, and that the only newer .22LR ammo I've shot recently is CCI, as that is the only ammo I've been able to get out here recently. Further I reload all center fire ammo, and have found that is much more economical to shoot.
 

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I just had a Remington Golden Bullet .22lr fail to extract in my SR22 a couple of days ago. When I finally got the empty casing out, I found the reason it didn't extract.....it was split.

I've never had a centerfire primed case split.

I think the rimfires just have issues in part due to the small size (it's harder to get an accurate measurement of the powder consistant. A fraction of a grain more or less can result in large variability in performance.)

The small size of the rim coupled with the much change in the "thickness" of the wet primer material as it is "spun" into the rim can result in gaps in the primer.
I had 3 Remington Golden Bullets split and get stuck on one day.
I have also had numerous FTE's with the same ammo, so I just quit buying them.
CCI is my preference and I have never had any issues with them, but they are hard to find, so I buy whatever I can get with the exception of Golden Bullets.

BTW, the split casings were between two different guns, a 22/45 Lite and A TC Contender, so it was not a gun related failure. Golden Bullets are just cheap ammo, and you do get what you pay for.
 

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Believe your guess is correct. Of late, I reload everything. However, when I do have to buy center fire ammo, I usually use Winchester X ammo or Federal Match. They all seem to work great.

Just went out over last weekend to run a few rounds thru my GSR and my 10/22. I ended up using a 100 ct. plastic box of Winchester .22 LR. Out of 100 rounds, I had 14 failure to fire. I examined every one of them, and all had been struck sufficiently to cause ignition. Reloaded every one of them again and gave them all a second go. None of them fired the second time either. Won't buy Winchester .22's any more. Can't imagine having to actually rely on that percentage of failures in a critical situation. But, I also don't pack a .22 for protection. In the woods or on the asphalt. :cool:
14 rounds of FTF is completely unacceptable IMO. I think that QC is pretty shoddy when you're trying to crank out as much overpriced .22 LR ammo as is humanly possible.
 
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