Disclaimer: I only took crib notes, sometimes I wasn’t the one shooting but had somewhat eyes on and this is more general findings rather than exact scientific data. 22 LR guns are particularly finicky and the ammo is unique. Your mileage may vary etc.
Long post, but I’ve been greatly frustrated this fall with some 22LR guns.
Cliff notes: Ammo selection, keep the ammo above 60*, proper lube amd clenliness.
I posted some of this in a thread I made in the pistol section about Ruger MKIV feeding issues and a few in a new M&P 15-22. These failures to feed were all either nose to feed ramp or nose over chamber jamming up the gun. After several experiments, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is primarily temperature related. On top of that, it seems to be a narrow temperature band.
I bought both guns new, and had no issues all summer inside or outside even with the mods and add ons.
We’d been shooting several matches and I started having failure to feed in the MKIV, about every third round out of all magazines as the weather cooled. The first two to three rounds were fine, then a fail to feed, then the rest of the mag fed fine. I first looked at cleanliness of the gun and magazines, amount of lube, limp writing etc. No issues at the indoor range.
Then I looked at bullet length and profile, thinking the shorter rounds were an issue. While they have more issues if the first round is not nose up, there has been no further evidence to state that it’s the issue. The longer rounds do seem to do better as the first round but at subsequent testing, there was no standout issue.
Last match, I had a newer shooter have issues with the gun. I noticed more of a drag when loaded with 7 or 8 rounds but not before or after. Using all CCI AR Tactical 40gr solids, very similar to MiniMag 40gr solids. I again cleaned things, at the range even, with no improvement. Tried dry and a thin spray lube with no change.
At some point I tuned the mags per a Tandemkross video.
Went out a few days after and only had 2 issues out of 300 rounds, not counting having the first round not pointed up. Not an issue on the longer solid bullets. I had cleaned the gun and even doused the bolt in oil trying to get it to short stroke or something. According to the truck, it was about 10-15* warmer this day. The MP 15-22 had not been cleaned and only had one issue in about 200 rounds.
After further research online and in person, it appeared cold has an effect on the wax lube on the bullets causing it to become sticky/dragging in the magazine. So far, the drag only appears to happen in a range of 20-40 degrees give or take. I was able to duplicate the issues tonight as it cooled off, but I didn’t take a temperature. However, my garage is at 45* and there doesn’t seem to be a drag and with the magazines loaded in the freezer for 30 minutes there was no drag.
Due to the nature of matches and range rules and not being the shooter, I was not able to get a good look but at the last match I was able to duplicate the issues my friend was having.
Accuracy is fine for my uses, shooting at 6” plates at 10 to 15 yards. I can generally keep them on a 2x3 card offhand at 20yds.
From the other post:
I did some quick measuring of some 22 LR ammo I have. Five of each and also loaded them in a mag to see. A very small sample obviously, but if the averages work out, the RN solids are longer and closer to the feed ramp when in the magazine than the HP. Oddly, I seem to remember the Federal GameShocks working just fine. They are a middle length and maybe the HP is formed better. Further testing to follow, including the suspect magazine.
CCI Mini Mag 36gr CPHP
Muzzle Energy 127 ft-lbs
Muzzle Velocity 1260 ft/sec
Federal GameShock 38gr CPHP
Muzzle Energy 134 ft-lbs
Muzzle Velocity 1260 ft/sec
CCI Mini Mag 40gr CPRN
Muzzle Energy 135 ft-lbs
Muzzle Velocity 1235 ft/sec
New ammo yet to try:
CCI Standard Velocity 40gr LRN
Muzzle Energy 102 ft-lbs
Muzzle Velocity 1070 ft/sec
Norma Tac-22 40gr LRN
Muzzle Energy 102 ft-lbs, est based on CCI numbers
Muzzle Velocity 1066 ft-sec
Federal AutoMatch 40gr LRN
Muzzle Energy 128 ft-lbs
Muzzle Velocity 1200 ft-sec
CCI AR Tactical
Muzzle Energy 128 ft-lbs
Muzzle Velocity 1200 ft-sec
The Norma ammo has a slightly oily feel as compared to the harder lube on the CCI.
Overall length and profile plays a part with the longer round nose ammo having a slight edge especially in the first round out of the magazine. However, all the guns ran fine on all the ammo in July/August.
Ruger MKIV Lite 22/45 with Volquartsen kit and Vortex Venom Red Dot
S&W M&P 15-22 with Volquartsen extractor and Steiner PX4i scope
Ruger MKII Competition Target
Ruger 10/22 With Volquartsen kit, Butler creek barrel and Vortex Venom red dot
Stock magazines in all, the MKII is 12+ and the 10/22 is 20+ years old. The M&P and MKIV are new this summer.
Lubed with ALG Defense Go Juice, I put the MKII in the freezer for an hour and a half. The first hand pull of the bolt was sticky but after that, I couldn’t say it was enough to for the bolt not to cycle. I don’t plan on firing the gun right out of the freezer but I intend to go out this winter and shoot on a cold day. 20* or less.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Riley,
Thanks for the interesting report. I can't add anything, because i only shoot my Beretta 87 Target in moderate temps. I really like Aguila Pistol Match. If there's any wax lube on the plain lead bullets it's so thin that I can't detect it.
I think all 22 ammo has a coating of some kind. Mostly it looks like white wax if it’s overly built up. Generally not to noticeable.
After I switched to Federal Automatch, my AR-22 has been 100 percent reliable from 40 degrees on up. However I do have to clean the action at least every 400 rounds or I will start having feeding issues. My rifle is using the CMMG conversion kit, and has a custom barrel that does not use the barrel extension.
1 round FTF or FTE out of 200 rounds with ANY .22 LR is pretty normal from my experiences.
I’m not sure I fully understand everything you’ve discussed here regarding the failures to “feed,” but as something else to consider, low temperatures can adversely affect the performance of 22 Long Rifle ammunition. For that reason several top-tier European manufacturers offer special biathlon ammunition to provide consistent performance in cold weather.
“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
Indeed, and I’ve researched biathlon ammo. While it may help feeding, its too expensive for my use at steel plate matches. Also, I do t shoot much in the cold but we have some cold days toward the end of the match season.
Basically in my instance, the cold affects the lube on the bullets causing drag in the magazine at certain points. It mimics a week magazine spring in that the rounds aren’t making it completely to the top of the magazine before the bolt start to move forward. This allows for a partial feed from the magazine but because the bolt is now over the rim of the cartridge, the round noses up to far and gets smashed by the bolt. Or, it’s up just enough to nose into the feed ramp and jam.
However, once the round made it into the chamber, from that point there generally were no issues. Other than the odd fail to fire common to many brands of .22LR ammo.
As a side note, many folks were shooting CCI standard Velocity in a variety of MK pistols this summer with no issues.
I’ve had good luck in the summer with very few failures of any kind in any of the guns mentioned. At least not enough to stick out. Much of my shooting this summer has been on the timer and times are fairly consistent for me anyway, but certainly enough to show an increase time due to malfunction clearance.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Riley,
The fun never ends.
Today I went out to test some more, and to plink. Plink with record keeping? Target was a 6 plate rack at 20yds. Set for 9mm power, the goal was only to have a target army, not to knock them over. Temperature was 20* according to the truck. I was out for about 2 hours so plenty of time to cold soak the guns and ammo. The focus was mainly on the MKIV but I forgot some ammo and I got cold so not as full of a test as I wanted but informative. I’m disappointed I didn’t bring the AR TAC and 40gr MiniMag as those are the two main suspects for cold weather issues. However, the round nose profile and bare lead of the TAC-22 and CCI Standard didn’t have an issue.
Crib notes: The MKIV didn’t care for the TAC-22, the MKII was ok with it, warmer weather ammo maybe. CCI Standard, Federal GameSkock and CCI MiniMag 36gr are good to go.
MKIV, no comp installed, clean bolt with TandemKross Halo loop and lubed with ALG GoJuice.
MKII, stock, fully clean and lubed with Slip2000 gun oil.
First, the Norma TAC-22:
MKIV: This ammo fed and fired 100%, however the failure to extract rate was so high in 50 rounds that I quit counting. Generally only had about half rear bolt travel and a simple racking of the bolt would chamber the next round and repeat. Occasionally I would get three rounds to function, but not reliable. I attribute this to a newer tighter gun, lube, shorter barrel and lowers velocity. I believ this ammo would be fine in the warmer weather, see the MKII notes. Slightly quieter sound on the steel and didn’t reliably knock the plates down.
MKII: I had three failures to eject out of the first magazine and then the other 47 worked fine. I attribute this to a few things. This gun has fired many, many more rounds than the MKIV, the 6.5” barrel may allow more push on the bolt and a thinner lube.
CCI Standard Velocity
MKIV: Out of 100 rounds, the only issue was 1 failure to lock the bolt open on an empty magazine. Didn’t happen again with any ammo so maybe a fluke. Same with the TAC-22, not as authoritative on the plates.
CCI AR TAC:
MKII: Only has 20 rounds of this with me, but it exhibited the drag in the magazine as I was witnessing in the MKIV on previous cold days. Fire and ejection was 100% but would close on an chamber the first three 3 times out of both mags. Holding the bolt open, I could watch the rounds slowly moving up and after 5 seconds or so, they were in position to feed and no more issues after the three rounds. Based on other testing and experience, I will not be using this ammo anymore.
MKIV: In 100 rounds, one fail to feed. Slightly better ping on the steel and better knock down.
CCI MM 36gr:
MKII: 100rds with no issues as normal. A little more ping on the steel.
Everyone is kind of over looking the gun and the lube used in it. During cold weather use a lube designed for cold weather. That advice has been around for ions and is the first thing you should consider when the weather turns cold. Or don't use any lube if it gets too cold.
Everyone I talked to immediately went to lube or bad magazines or magazine springs. In my case, neither is the issue.
I’ve switched to Slip2000 Gun Oil on the 22’s and it works well. What I was experiencing was ammunition dragging in the magazine. At colder temps, certain ammo would drag and in the magazine and thus not be in position to be stripped by the bolt or only partially. Normally, if you took your finger off themagazine button, the ammo would snap into position under the feed lips. With some ammo, you could let go of the magazine button and the ammo would slowly slide up to the top.
None of these issues present themselves at the indoor range or on warmer, 40* plus days.
Even on the coldest days I’ve been out, most ammo would fire and extract just fine.
As to be expected, the plain lead ammo left the gun much dirtier than the copper plated stuff.
I don't have an extensive collection of semi-auto 22s, I have S&W 41s, a Pardini, and several Ruger 10-22 clones.
I use SSI-SV for them all most of the time, I also use various higher end target ammunition, Lapua, Eley, & SK when shooting at distances beyond 20 yards.
I probably average one failure to feed in the 41s with CCI-SV every 250 rds or so. I have never had a failure with the Pardini regardless of ammunition (it has a 5 round magazine and a very straight feed path.
Some Lapua will not reliably feed in the 41s, it tends to have heavy soft sticky wax. Eley is lubed with a beeswax mix and feeds well in most everything.
I believe that you are correct to suspect the wax coating.
There several ammunition varieties sold for semi-auto target shooting, I have used some of it and it typically has a very round nose and thin hard wax coating.
A quick update. I’ve added some measurements for Federal AutoMatch and the CCI AR Tactical.
Again, a small sample, but I noticed that the CCI AR Tactical is the longest of the sampled ammunition by .005, which is probably more a curiosity than significant. It also has an ever slightly sharper shoulder to the bullet rather than a more gentle ogive like the others. As this so far seems to be the most troublesome feeding from the MKII and MKIV magazines it is interesting to me anyway. Ultimately, after this box is gone, I’ll probably not use it anymore. It’s good ammo, but not in my particular guns.
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