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Thread: .22LR Rabbit Hole

  1. #1

    .22LR Rabbit Hole

    Failing to heed a friend's (@JRV) advice to avoid going down the .22 accuracy rabbit hole, I have, at the least, stuck my head pretty far down to see what's there. I convinced myself that all that was standing between myself and better, or at least more consistent, accuracy was a more accurate rifle. With at least a modicum of financial constraint, I discounted any Voodoo- or Anschutz-price level rifles. Price considerations aside, I had no thought of formal competition; I just wanted to (further) relax in retirement, and fixating on punching small holes can totally remove other thoughts from one's mind. Well, that or fly fishing for trout.

    Eventually, I decided one of the CZ rimfires with the match chambers (MTR) would be a step up from my Bergara BMR (which is a great trainer or squirrel rifle), and ended up with the CZ 457 Varmint Precision Trainer MTR. I bolted a scope on, roughly adjusted the scope with a laser, and went to the local range. I refined the zero with some Lapua Center-X target ammo. I immediately found myself shooting better groups. Perhaps the heavier weight of the rifle, particularly in the muzzle (The BMR has a carbon, steel-lined barrel, compared to the 457s stout all-steel bull barrel) was significant; perhaps the match chamber made the greatest improvement. Whatever, I was wowed. Shot what for me were some really good groups, with more consistency, and nded up with this 5-shot group at 50 yds (roughly 0.2"):
    Name:  CZ457 w:CX at 50 9-10-23s.jpg
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    Next trip, 100 yds.

    (And yes, the .22 accuracy rabbit hole does appear to be very interesting . . . if only I could get just a bit better look inside. Someone hold my feet . . .)

  2. #2
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Dunedin, FL, USA
    The .22 LR accuracy pursuit can be a lot of fun. It can also be frustrating as some rifles do better with certain lots of certain ammo. It becomes frustrating when I need to source new ammo as it becomes a "trial and error" process where I buy untold boxes of different ammo, clean rifle, shoot fouling shots, shoot for groups, record groups, and then repeat the process. Once I find something that consistently groups well, I order as many cases as I can afford. Prior to popular belief, Eley Tenex has never been the ammo that groups the best with my target rifle. SK Rifle Match is one this rifle likes at 50 yards, but it shoots poorly with SK Long Range Match at 100 yards with one lot of CCI Mini-Mags actually delivering smaller groups at 100 yards. I use the CCI ammo for informal shooting as it is much less pricey than the SK Rifle Match.

    My rifle is a Winchester 52D topped with a Leupold M8 12X AO scope with the "Target Dot" reticle. It is paired with a Randolph Front Rest.

  3. #3
    Welcome to the Rabbit Hole. You won't be alone.
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  4. #4
    Well, moved back to 100 yards at the indoor range this morning with the new CZ. Had assembled some Center-X, SK Rifle Match and Long Range Match, Tenex and a few others. Tried the Center X first. It did OK, but wasn't spectacular at 100. Well, more likely, the shooter wasn't spectacular (that would be me of course).

    Tried the Rifle Match, and, on about the second 5-shot group at 100, pulled this group out of . . . somewhere:
    Name:  CZ457 at 100 w: SK Rifle Match 09-16-23.jpg
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    Pretty sure that's a PR for a hundred yard group for me, either rimfire or centerfire. I didn't want to spoil the moment, so I moved targets up to 50 yards, and shot a few more groups before calling it a morning. Didn't even try the other ammo I had with me.

    Lots more experimenting to do. Gun is completely stock at this point, and the ammo choices are huge, if tough to find.

    The rabbit hole is . . . well, it takes quite a while for the echo to return.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    Its a fun rabbit hole to go down. About 2 years ago I got into shooting NRL22 and PRS22 with a CZ455 20” Varmint barrel (.820” dia @ muzzle). Added a few doo-dads to be able to dial out to 400 yds, a few other competition oriented accessories, and jumped in. I did some informal lot testing but basically it shot SK Long Range match decently enough for shooting steel plates without the cost of Lapua Center-X. I also played around with a 22” IBI barrel which did tighten up the groups a fair amount over OEM and the heavier contour made it balance better for positional shooting.

    Fast forward a year and I went full send with a Vudoo and 22” straight contour Bartlein barrel and an XLR chassis. In fact I just shot the PRS22 NW Regional Championship today. I didn’t win but managed to eke out a 6th place finish for the 2023 season.


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