October 10th, 2008

Lapua Will Resume Production of .222 Rem Brass

.222 RemingtonHere’s good news for fans of the “Triple Deuce”, the .222 Remington. Lapua plans to start making premium .222 Rem brass again. The .222 Rem once ruled the roost in benchrest competition. Prior to the introduction of the PPC family of cases, the .222 Rem was considered the most accurate cartridge on the planet. Some benchresters, such as George Kelbly Sr., still shoot the cartridge in BR competition, and it remains very popular with varmint shooters.

The Triple Deuce has a much longer neck than the .223 Remington. This long neck is considered a plus by many .222 shooters — they believe it reduces throat erosion (compared to a .223 Rem), while improving accuracy. Certainly, since the .222 Rem burns less powder than a .223 Rem, the .222 could yield longer barrel life than a .223, with charges of equal pressure.

Adam Braverman, U.S. representative for Nammo-Lapua, just returned from a visit to Lapua’s production facility in Finland. Adam was pleased to report that Lapua plans to resume production of .222 Remington brass. This will be produced “in-house”, and will carry a Lapua headstamp. Lapua plans to start production late in 2008, and the new .222 Rem brass should be available in early spring of 2009 in North America. No price has been announced, but we can expect the .222 brass to be priced comparably to Lapua .223 Rem brass, which runs $44.79/100 at Grafs.com.

.222 Remington Lapua Brass

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October 10th, 2008

Eley 17 Mach 2 Ammo Discounted at Grafs.com

Grafs.com has Eley 17 Mach 2 ammo on sale for just $4.49 per box (item EL17HM2). This ammo, based on a 22 Stinger case necked down to 17 caliber, shoots a 17gr jacketed V-Max bullet at about 2050 fps. We’ve shot all the brands of 17 Mach 2 ammo, and the Eley is as good as anything out there. What you’ll typically get with a 5-shot group in a good rifle is 3 or 4 shots in a tight cluster and then one out. This is caused by a lot of factors (run-out, crimp problems, OAL variations etc.), and is true of all the 17 Mach 2 brands. Still, the round is fun to shoot and the 17 Mach 2 can deliver sub-MOA groups at 100 yards even with the “flyers”.

We recently tested the Eley, CCI, and Hornady 17 Mach 2 in a Hall-actioned BR rifle with a tight chamber. Shooting the Eley at 50 yards, we managed a couple 5-shot groups in the low ones — basically one-holers. That was exciting… but not repeatable. After a great group, the next group would typically be a 3/8″ or larger, with an unexplained flyer high or low. Still the average group size of the Eley was substantially smaller than either the CCI and Hornady ammo. Both CCI and Hornady 17 Mach 2 ammo are produced in the same plant. However, the particular sample of CCI we had did shoot better than the Hornady. The Hornady ammo also showed the biggest variance in cartridge length (from 0.961″ to 0.996″ COAL), while the Eley was the most consistent in length, with 3/4 of the 50 rounds in the box measuring between 0.990″-1.000″. All the brands performed best in a freshly-cleaned barrel. Groups opened up noticeably after 35-40 rounds had been shot without cleaning.

Bang for the Buck
When you consider that most brands of 17 HMR ammo now cost about $12.00 a box, the Eley 17 Mach 2 is an excellent value. The Mach 2 delivers the same 17gr V-Max bullet as the 17 HMR, but the Mach 2 just runs a little slower — 2050 fps vs. 2500 for the 17 HMR. For many shooters, it makes sense to use the 17 Mach 2 rather than a 17 HMR. With Eley just $4.50 a box, you can buy 133 rounds of 17 Mach 2 for the price of 50 rounds of 17 HMR.

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