Buying new 22 Long Rifle Ammo- and shooting the old stuff

Velocitor Ammo

When you can get some; The 22 Long Rifle Cartridge is perhaps the most popular rifle ammo in America today and it is in short supply at your retailer as I have written before.But is the old stuff you and I store at home for years just as good? Read on!

If you are just target shooting then standard velocity is just fine at around 1050 fps in a bolt action rifle. In a semi-auto you will lose some of the velocity as the gas ejects the spent round and a new one is chambered. Today sub-sonic 22 LR are great to have for pests in the back yard but they will not eject in a semi-auto. I have seen these recently on shelves along with CCI 22 short ammo so the stock is coming.

My Marlin rifle loses perhaps 50 or so FPS from published velocities. My father always kept a good supply over the years and I followed suit. Dad has passed away but his legacy lives. Dad bought it when it was on sale for 3 or 4 dollars per 100 rounds.

If stored correctly in a dry safe and secure location, this ammo is likely just as good as when it was made. Since I have access to a chronograph, I decided to check out the velocities of some major brands that have been kept for 10 years or less in the family ammo can. Most brands that say High Velocity are typically 1200 or so FPS for a 40 grain round nose. Since I hunt with them I want a faster bullet like the High Velocity type.

The first 5 shot batch I tested were Remington HV that have been around for 10 years since my Dad had them. The average velocity was 1123 the spread was 56 fps. One round dropped to 1043 fps and pulled the average down.

The second 5 shot batch of Winchester Super X HV 40 grain heads I shot was as old as above. The average velocity was 1130 with the spread at 58 fps.

The third 5 shot batch was CCI Mini-Mags with 40 grain heads and were the same age. The average velocity was 1177 with a spread of 38 fps

The fourth 5 shot batch was newer 1-year-old Federal 38 grain Hollow Point. The came out at around 1180 fps with a spread of 30 fps.

The total variation was less than 30 fps.

I have some older stingers but honestly the packaging was so good that they look brand new, bright and shiny.

If age of 10 or so years has caused a degradation, at all, it is appears minimal in my small sample.

This is a very small sample study for sure but the data trend is goods. It is important to get bullets that are plated to some degree as they are resistant to oxidation.

So when the shortage is over and it will be, then over time stock up so you don’t get caught in the same situation. I ran into a fellow today that has built stock of 22 LR ammo of 10,000 rounds but is holding them like gold bullion. Personally for the average occasional shooter buy a brick of 500 rounds and when it is 1/2 gone buy another brick. It is important to buy what shoots well in your guns so don’t rush out a buy irrationally. Test what works best in your pistols and rifles. Patience is the key! Happy shooting and Hunting! ©




This entry was posted in Bullet Tests and Reviews. by Ed Hale. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.