Going long with accurate 22 Rifles -
One of the best methods for improving your shooting skills is with Precision rifle shooting.
Precision Rimfire shooting is currently experiencing an all-time high in popularity and 22 rimfire shooting is experiencing a similar reception.
The reasons for the coincident rise in rimfire shooting are the absence of recoil, the relatively short target distances, which makes ranges easier to find, and the slightly lower expenses associated with rimfire competition.
What is Precision Rimfire?
Precision rimfire refers to a type of rimfire cartridge that is designed for high accuracy and consistency.
Rimfire cartridges have a priming compound around the rim of the base of the cartridge, as opposed to centerfire cartridges, which have a separate primer located in the center of the base of the cartridge.
Rimfire cartridges are generally less powerful and have shorter ranges compared to centerfire cartridges.
They are commonly used in small caliber firearms, such as 22 caliber rifles and handguns, for recreational shooting, small game hunting, and pest control.
Precision rimfire ammo is also designed to have a high level of accuracy and consistency, making them suitable for target shooting and competition.
Standard features include specialized bullets, carefully controlled propellant charges, and precise manufacturing tolerances to improve their accuracy and consistency.
When it comes to Precision Rimfire firearms, rifles and handguns are commonly used in long-range and precision shooting competitions.
Many precision rimfire rifles that are used for varmint hunting or pest control, and other popular handgun models are used by gun enthusiasts who enjoy recreational shooting and plinking.
Precision Rimfire vs. Centerfire: Similarities
While precision rimfire shooting comes with some unique characteristics, it's also important to cover the similarities it shares with centerfire precision rifle competition.
Precision rimfire and centerfire refer to the type of cartridges used in a firearm. A cartridge is a self-contained unit that consists of a casing, a primer, a propellant charge, and a bullet or shot.
Rimfire cartridges have a priming compound around the rim of the base of the cartridge, while centerfire cartridges have a separate primer located in the center of the base of the cartridge.
Precision rimfire and centerfire refer to the accuracy and consistency of the cartridge. Precision rimfire and centerfire cartridges are designed to have a higher level of accuracy and consistency, making them suitable for target shooting and competition.
In addition, they may feature specialized bullets, carefully controlled propellant charges, and precise manufacturing tolerances to improve their accuracy and consistency.
The main similarity is there isn't much difference in the costs of the gear, because a lot of the gear is the same. Rimfire rifles can use the same chassis, stocks, triggers, and scopes as centerfire rifles.
Zermatt and Vudoo are two top-of-the-line examples of rimfire manufacturers, and their prices for barrels, actions, or barreled actions are about what you'd expect to spend for the same components in centerfire.
Other rimfire manufacturers include CZ, Tikka, and Bergara. These brands offer competitive rifles that won't break the bank, proving it is possible to save on gear costs if the absolute best isn't desired.
Unique Elements of Precision Rimfire
While there are gear similarities, rimfire rifles also possess some unique characteristics of which the shooter needs to be aware.
The first is rimfire rifles assembled from custom actions, and barrels don’t always bolt into a chassis and feed reliably.
The size of the cartridge case head (the bottom of the cartridge) is much smaller on a rimfire cartridge than on a centerfire cartridge. This means when the bolt comes forward and pushes a round out of the magazine and into the chamber, it has to hit a much smaller target.
Additionally, suppose you have a favorite chassis with a Remington 700 inlet. In that case, the Vudoo or the Rim-X will work just fine.
However, if the magazine doesn’t sit at the right height, the rimfire rifle can require some work to function reliably.
The Rim-X magazine has an adjustable tab on the magazine’s spine that allows the shooter to fine-tune magazine height and, for this reason, gets my top recommendation for the ultimate in precision rimfire rifle reliability.
Precision Rimfire Ammunition
Another difference that comes with rimfire rifles is the ammunition. Unlike centerfire ammunition that can be loaded by hand and tailored to match a rifle’s chamber, 22 Long Rifle (LR) ammunition comes from the factory.
There is also a lot of variation between brands, ammunition lines, and even one day’s factory production to the next. The only way to see how a particular lot of 22 LR ammunition will do out of a rifle is to load it and shoot it.
It’s also best to get a few hundred rounds on a new rifle before testing lots of ammunition for accuracy.
There’s a real temptation when shooting to get the cheapest ammunition possible, and that’s a huge mistake with rimfire.
I wouldn’t say the most expensive ammunition is always going to shoot the best, but there are a handful of premium loads that usually achieve the best accuracy out of a precision rimfire rifle like those listed above in this article.
Ammunition like RWS 50, Eley Tenex, and Lapua Center-X or Midas is usually a great place to start. 22LR has a bunch of different chamber designs, so don’t be surprised to see a rifle that prefers either Lapua or Eley/RWS.
The bullets each of these ammunition manufacturers uses are uniquely shaped, and most chambers will favor either Lapua or the other two.
I’ve only had one custom rimfire rifle that shot all of them well, and that rifle was from Primal Rights.
If all of the brands listed above are too expensive, try SK Rifle and SK Long Range Match, or Eley target and CCI Standard Velocity. One of those is likely to produce good results from a precision rifle.
Precision rimfire is here to stay and will likely outlast its centerfire cousin. All it takes to have a killer rimfire precision match are targets out to 300 yards instead of 1,000 yards and beyond for centerfire.
The reduced noise is a benefit for everyone (especially the range’s neighbors), and the absence of recoil means even the kids can get in on the action.
If you haven’t tried a precision rimfire match, you’re missing out on fun for the whole family.