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CCI now offers a variety of .22 LR that is polymer coated to eliminate copper or lead build up in the barrel.
I've tried them out for function and basic accuracy and have had good results. I've not done more detailed, comparative accuracy testing.
I use a stiff bronze bore brush – don’t see any lead build-up in the barrel of my Beretta 87 Target. I shoot Aguila Pistol Match exclusively. It has plain lead bullets.
Look about you.
There was a time, long ago, when I shot anything I could get my hands on. It warped my mind and distorted my views. We had a city dump not far from where I lived, and I could hike to it from my parents home. Just like the red Chinese, my principal mode of transport was my shoes. Other folks would also go there to shoot up all the ammo they had. You know the ones, rich kids. If they dropped any ammo, they'd just leave it in the dusty plain. There was a feeling that any ammo that hit the ground got dirty and was dangerous as well as abrasive to the action and barrel. I didn't do anything to convince them otherwise.
For the longest time, I felt I grew up impoverished/poor. My now 99.5+ mother finally explained that dad was cheap. Even with his sons. But I really liked shooting, so I was always careful to not shoot up the ends of my meager stock of ammo. There were days when I'd leave for the dump with only a few rounds of ammo. And I'd come home with more than I left with. I kept myself supplied with the droppings of the rich kids. They would laugh at me because I was such a scrounge. I didn't care as long as they dropped ammo.
Then I got semi-rich in the summer of 1966. I had a job and finally got to buy a brand spankin' new rifle. It was a Browning T2, and it was more accurate than I was. Still have it as my only 22 rifle. But I read an article in the American Rifleman about how to shoot it. They suggested buying a box of any brand ammo I wanted, but then also buying other brands. Then instead of wasting ammo, shoot it at targets and write down everything that came to mind. Like brand, ammo lot, bullet weight and so on. If you do that, you learn some things. Most importantly, which ammo seems to work best in your rifle. But only that lot of ammo.
I still have some mid 1960s boxes of that ammo. And in contrast to the advice of fools, or rich kids who didn't care, Some ammo really is better in your rifle than others. Who'da thunk it. for me and that one T2 Browning, the best by far was Remington 22 hollow points. Those were 36 grain. For what ever reason, the stuff just worked. Since that time I've also discovered that Remington makes shit ammo. The current production failures hasn't reached back and tainted the 1960s ammo.
The prettiest stuff was 1950 vintage nickel plated WW. Yeah, I've still got some of that, too.
Biases die hard. I still don't own any Ruger firearms. I've been told I'm wrong, but I can live with it. Their 10-22s seem to throw up way too much good ammo. On the ground, too. I've learned to not trust the views of any 10-22 owner as to which brand is the most dependable. Doesn't matter to me, the good old bolt actions seem to fire dependably where semi-auto's don't always. Especially doing mag dumps. Go figure.
Unhappy ammo seeker
No 22 long rifle ammo is truly jacketed ( the only exception I can think of is some rare military issue ammo from the ww2 era)
Some does have a light plating. At 22 velocities leading in barrels is generally not an issue ( except for some very low quality types like Remington thunderbolt which is notorious for lead build up in many guns)
Sadly for peak accuracy performance in the majority of guns, a European made ammo is most likely to produce best results( eley, lapua rws sk)
Domestic manufacturers have abandoned quality production for decades now, the only exception being cci still offering pretty decent quality control.
I hate to say it but my experience is Mexican aguila is better in consistency and quality to Remington Winchester and federal.
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