The following is an excerpt from the Ammunition chapter in the new, 2nd Edition of The 10/22 Companion.
In 2010 an expert benchrest shooter conducted a test of over 40 brands of .22LR ammo at 50 and 100 yards under rigorous, tightly controlled conditions. (His full report can be found here: Accurate Reloading Forum Rimfire Accuracy) At 100 yards, the most consistent, expensive match-grade ammunition made groups of .45” to .75”. The best moderate priced ammunition (CCI SV and Minimags, Winchester) grouped at .94” to 1.1”. Other first-tier bulk brands (CCI Blazer, Federal Value Pack) grouped at less than 2.0”. (Remington, Aguila, Armscor and other bulk brands were not tested.) This was in one of the world’s most accurate rifles, shot indoors with no wind. In practical outdoor conditions, the best-quality, customized 10/22s are capable of sub-1” groups at 100 yards with match-grade ammunition. You should expect groups of 2-3” at 100 from a stock 10/22, fired from a good bench rest, with first-tier ammunition and a decent scope. But some owners have found Remington Thunderbolts to work best in their rifles. There must be a scientific explanation of how specific ammo performs in a specific rifle, but it hasn’t been found yet.
How accurate do you need your 10/22 to be? It depends on how you use your rifle. Here are some examples of the standard of accuracy needed for different purposes:
|MOA = Minutes of Angle||MOA at 25 yards||MOA at 50 yards|
|Soda or beer can: 2.5” diameter||10.0||5.0|
|Squirrel’s brain: about 1.25″ long x 3/4″ high:||5.0||2.5|
|Diameter of a paintball: .69”||2.8||1.4|
|Diameter of a golf ball: 1.68”||6.7||3.4|
|NRA Smallbore Silhouette Turkey: about 2.5”wide x 2”high (shot at 77 meters in competition)||na||2.1
|100 ring of an ARA benchrest target: .50”
(Note: uses outside edge scoring, shot at 50 yds.)
|10 ring of a CMP Rimfire Sporter target: 1.75”||7.0||3.5|
|X-ring of a CMP Rimfire Sporter target: .875”||3.5||1.75|
|5-ring of a 400m Appleseed silhouette: 1.06”wide||3.9||1.9|
|10-ring of an ISSF 50-meter target: 10.4mm||0.8||0.4|
Some of the specialized target competitions are clearly not suitable for 10/22s. But for most of our purposes, the 2 MOA standard of accuracy typical of the stock 10/22 is good enough. If you are shooting casually at moderate distances, bulk ammo is a lot of fun for the money. Many competitors in Rimfire Steel Challenge like CCI Minimags because their high velocity with the 40 gr. bullet cycles the action reliably and they have good priming which ignites reliably as well.