November 19th, 2007

New 2200 FPS .22 Mag Rimfire from Hornady

This should interest varminters looking for a harder-hitting rimfire round with better ballistics and accuracy. The most common .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) ammunition features a 40gr round nose or flat point bullet with a Muzzle Velocity of about 1910 fps. All the major makers — CCI, Federal, Remington, and Winchester — sell 40gr ammo loaded to this specification.

Hornady’s new 22 WMR offers a more accurate bullet traveling faster — roughly 300 fps faster to be precise. The new Hornady round features a 30gr V-MAX™ bullet leaving the muzzle at 2,200 fps. The new 30gr Hornady 22 WMR ammo should be available in “early February” according to Hornady.

Hornady 22 WMR

While the new Hornady 22 WMR offers significantly better ballistics than a typical 40gr, 22 WMR load, other ammo makers do offer similar high-speed 22 WMR loadings. Both CCI Maxi-Mag +V and Federal V-Shok ammunition push a 30gr HP bullet at a claimed 2200 fps. But the Hornady round, with its higher-BC, V-MAX™ bullet, should maintain a velocity edge downrange, as less speed is lost to aerodynamic drag.

Excellent Accuracy
Hornady claims the new 22 WMR loaded with the 30gr V-MAX™ is “significantly more accurate” than any other 22 WMR ammo they’ve tested. According to Hornady’s Dave Emary, “we started with a better bullet, and the added velocity provides a flatter trajectory.” Even out of old, inexpensive rifles, the new ammo is delivering 1.5 MOA or better groups at 100 yards. That’s exceptional for a 22 WMR according to noted gun writer Chuck Hawks: “I have also owned and used enough .22 WMR rifles to know that they will seldom match that level of performance. I used to have a rather accurate Mossberg bolt action varmint rifle that would consistently shoot into about 1.5″ at 100 yards if I did my part. That is as accurate as any .22 WMR rifle I have ever tested.”

We think the potential is there for even better accuracy, perhaps even half-MOA in a match barrel, but unfortunately Hornady decided to short-load the ammo, pushing the 30gr bullets well inside the case. Bad move. As a result the case crimp is right on the ogive (and with production variances, the crimp may actually be forward of max bullet diameter). Given the shape of the bullet, which curves aggressively away from the case mouth, there’s no way you can get the seated bullet to touch the rifling, even with a zero-freebore match chamber. This was a deliberate decision on Hornady’s part, but we still wish the ammo was loaded longer — even just a little bit, to ensure that the ammo is crimped on the full-diameter bearing surface. We have seen examples of 17 Mach 2 and 17 HMR rounds with crimps forward of max bullet diameter and this kills accuracy while causing problems such as mangled case mouths and canted bullets with extreme run-out.

Compare the CCI Maxi-Mag +V shown above. It has a distinct driving band. This ensures that the crimp is on the full diameter of the bullet. We would like to see Hornady load its new 30gr 22 WMR longer to ensure that the crimps are ALWAYS on the bearing surface, and NEVER on the ogive. If Hornady is already at SAMMI max Cartridge OAL of 1.350″, it could modify the plastic bullet-tip to allow the bullet to be moved further out of the case.

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