April 7th, 2014
Matt Reams, the V.P. of Sales for Sierra Bullets, recently addressed the burning question in the minds of many shooters these days: “Where did all the .22LR rimfire ammo go — why can’t I find any?” Here is Matt’s answer, from the knowledgeable perspective of a firearms industry executive.
Why Can’t I Find .22 LR Ammunition? by Matt Reams
Even though Sierra Bullets does not make .22 LR ammo or projectiles, we are constantly asked “Why can’t I find any .22 LR ammo anywhere?” Even the conspiracy theorists are at a loss on this one as they can’t even blame it on the government. They toss around thoughts of warehouses full of .22 LR rotting away just to keep it out of their hands, but that does not seem very realistic – even to them.
So what is going on here? Why is it that 1.5 years later, the shelves are still empty and bricks of .22 LR can still be seen selling for upwards of $75-$100 at gun shows? I do not believe there is one answer, but rather a few. Here are my opinions on the matter, for what they are worth.
Hoarders – Some people are piling it away in their basements, garages, bunkers, and under their beds due to fear of not being able to find it again. This is not a huge factor in it, but it is still a factor to some degree. When these hoarders can’t find it on shelves, it only panics them more and causes them to buy even more when they do find it.
Gougers – These are the guys who prey on the fear of the hoarders. These are the guys that wait in line at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. to buy up the daily allotment that Wal-Mart puts out at normal retail prices and then double or triple their price on the weekend gun show circuit. Again, not a huge factor, but keeping the shelves looking empty which keeps the panic level higher for those that are looking.
Demand – Now we are getting to the real meat of the issue. You hear manufactures say they are running 24/7 on their rimfire lines which is putting somewhere around 25-30 million rounds PER DAY (estimate on my part from numbers I have heard from the big rimfire guys) into the market – so how can there be a shortage? I have asked this myself – until we start doing even a little basic math. You hear all kind of numbers about how many firearms owners are in the USA, but you hear 70-80 million quite often. So for the sake of us not arguing that number – let’s cut it to 35 million. Do you know a gun owner that does not own at least one firearm chambered in .22 LR? Do you know any that are not looking for .22 LR ammo or would at least buy some if they saw it for normal prices? How many would they buy when they found it? A lot – right? But again, just to keep the argument on the low end, let’s say they would all be satisfied with just a single 500 pack. 35 million multiplied by 500 .22 LR rounds for them all – is 17.5 BILLION rounds. Let that sink in. Even at 25 million rounds being made PER DAY – that is 1.92 years’ worth of production.
Starts making some sense then doesn’t it? Hoarding and panic emptied the shelves. Gougers try and keep them empty and demand does keep them empty. Then factor in that I probably cut the real number of 22 LR shooters in half and probably underestimated the amount everyone would buy if they found it at normal prices by 300% and you can see how deep the problem really is and why it is not going to go away tomorrow. It also does not take into account the world market – just the USA.
How will it get better? Slowly. The hoarders will get to a point that they feel they have enough or will run out of money. The shelves will start getting enough on them that the gougers cannot buy it all. This will make people stop paying $50-$75 for a brick at gun shows. That will make it less profitable for the gougers to spend their money on and they will stop. The shelves will start to have product again which will ease people’s fears and get them back to buying what they need today instead of what they need for the decade. There is no fast answer.
Are the manufactures hiring people for extra shifts and adding capacity – sure they are. But it is easy to just expect them to ramp up production overnight to take care of our needs, but that is just not realistic. We get the same thing here. The market certainly has not grown 500% so what happens when companies add all that super expensive equipment when things get back to normal? They take a bath on it for sure and waste capital that they could have used to improve their company in a way that makes them stronger. Instead they just added equipment they may never need again and have to mothball while they lay off workers they no longer need. Not a great way to run a business and not a fair way to treat employees.
We all just have to trust that it will get better, do not buy more than we need and wait it out. It will not get better overnight. It will start out with a box here and there and then a few and then slowly the shelves will get back to having all the supply and selection we picky consumers are accustomed to and will certainly appreciate much more than we ever did before… if only for a little while.
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April 6th, 2014
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has taken over the Ruger Rimfire Challenge program. Now called the NSSF Rimfire Challenge, the program retains the format that has made it so popular. This remains a two-gun timed competition with rimfire rifles and pistols. Shooters engage steel targets at relatively close distances. The matches are for young and old alike, all skill levels, with mentoring by experienced shooters. The emphasis is on fun and safety.
The use of .22 caliber pistols, revolvers and rifles make the Rimfire Challenge more affordable than most centerfire matches. “The affordability of this program is something that participants really like and keeps them coming back,” said Zach Snow, NSSF’s Manager of Shooting Promotions. “Event fees are affordable as well.”
For participants, NSSF Rimfire Challenge offers categories for everyone — Open and Limited Divisions, plus Special Recognition competitions. To learn more about on program equipment, rules, courses of fire, scheduled matches and the first NSSF Rimfire World Championship, visit NSSF.org/Rimfire.
NSSF Rimfire Challenge Basics
NSSF Rimfire Challenge Courses of Fire | NSSF Rimfire Challenge Rulebook
- This is a two-gun event so you need a rifle and a handgun (which can be either a semi-auto pistol or revolver).
- Bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles are allowed, but self-loading (semi-auto) rifles are most popular because they can shoot quickly.
- It is suggested that your firearms hold at least ten rounds each, as there is no reloading allowed during the actually stages.
- It is a good idea to have five (5) magazines per gun (5 each for rifle and pistol). That way you don’t have to reload between stages. If you have a 10-shot revolver, you can reload manually, or use speed loaders.
- At Rimfire Challenge Matches, each competitor get five (5) runs through each target stage.
- Eye and ear protection is required on the range at all times. This is true for spectators as well as competitors.
Many different stage designs can be employed at Rimfire Challenge matches. Here are two examples from the NSSF Rimfire Challengs Suggested Courses of Fire:
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April 3rd, 2014
This week’s big story from the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning involves a lanky Army Reserve Marksman from Montana, Nick Mowrer. The shooting world was shocked when this “pistol guy” (a 50m Free Pistol shooter for the 2012 USA Olympic Team) took a bronze medal in a World Cup rifle competition. Yes, we said “rifle”. And get this — in the process of earning that World Cup bronze medal, Nick racked up enough points to become a triple distinguished marksman (three disciplines).
In the highest level of ISSF competition, it is very unusual for a pistol shooter to even compete in a rifle match. It is unheard-of that a pistol shooter would actually earn a medal. That is like an Olympic 100m spinter also medaling in the Marathon. It just doesn’t happen.
USAR Team shooter Nick Mowrer pulled off this remarkable accomplishment at the 2014 ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning. It’s not known whether a pistol specialist has ever earned a World Cup medal in rifle competition. In fact none of the experts from USA Shooting can recall another shooter who has even competed in both rifle and pistol categories at the same World Cup event. It appears Mowrer made history with his smallbore rifle Bronze medal. Competitive pistol shooters aren’t supposed to be good rifle shooters as well. Mowrer’s bronze-medal-winning performance has changed that view.
Cross-Training Works Well Mowrer Says
Will we see more pistoleros “cross the aisle” and shoot rifle? Only time will tell. But Mowrer believes that “cross-training” with both rifle and pistol has improved his overall marksmanship skills: “I have used prone smallbore (rifle) as cross training for pistol for years now and I am very excited to have the unique opportunity to represent the USA not only in pistol but rifle as well. I shoot multiple events, not only prone, but the reason is just the same; I use other shooting disciplines to be able to compete in more matches and gain more experience that I am able to then use in my pistol shooting! It also keeps shooting fun and exciting.” Read related USAR story.
Mowrer’s medal at Fort Benning has caused a stir among top-level World Cup shooters. The reigning Olympic gold medalist in Women’s 3-P rifle, Jamie Gray, recently posted:
“Today is an amazing day…our Olympic Pistol Shooter Nick Mowrer broke into the medals in Men’s Prone [rifle event]! Couldn’t be more excited for him and obviously his amazing shooting abilities! Nick… [took] a Prone Rifle Bronze, nothing more to say than AWESOME!”
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March 29th, 2014
Those of us engaged in the “relentless pursuit of accuracy” need to take a break now and then, and just enjoy a plinking session with the kids or grand-kids. We need to remember why most of us got involved with shooting as kids — and that was to have fun. Here are two target systems ideal for fun rimfire shooting sessions. With the dueling tree, you can shoot either solo, or with a buddy. The spinner targets can be placed pretty close for .22 LR pistols, and further out for a rifle-shooting challenge.
“You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun. Ask yourself, ‘Am I having fun?’” — Christopher Meloni
“Fun. It‘s this crazy thing where people smile and laugh and are generally pleased. I could have sworn I saw you smile at least once.” — Aggy Bird
Both these target systems are now on sale in Cabela’s online Bargain Cave. They are deeply discounted, so you may want to grab one or both items before the price goes back up. The Triple Spinner Target System is just $9.99. You’ll pay nearly that much for a single movie ticket these days, and the spinner target will provide many more hours of entertainment.
Triple Spinner .22 Target System, Item: IK-230137
Cabela’s Do-All Triple Spinner .22 Target System
Here’s a fun, reactive target for both rimfire pistols and rifles. This Triple Spinner .22 Target System is now offered for just $9.99, marked down from $24.99. Made specifically for soft-nosed .22 pistol and rifle shooters, the system uses a hands-free spinning target. The force of the bullet spins the target over the attachment bar and back into the set position. Four stabilizing legs provide a secure base. Note: This is a limited-time, online-only price in Cabela’s Bargain Cave.
.22/.17 Dueling Tree, Item No: IK-226450
Cabela’s Bargain Cave Dueling Tree
For a limited time, Cabela’s is offering the Do-All Outdoors .22/.17 Steel Dueling Tree for just $39.99. That’s a 42% savings off the regular $69.99 price. This is a classic dueling tree, but with compact plates for use with .22-caliber and .17-caliber rimfire guns. The eight targets swing right-to-left or left-to-right and are automatically snapped back into position at impact by a spring-loaded mechanism. Spring tension is adjustable to ensure proper reset each time, whether you’re shooting .22 Shorts or .17 HMR. The 8mm steel targets are positioned with a forward angle that directs most bullet splash into the ground, but you still still always wear eye protection! Online Only Price – limited time offer. Price may vary in stores and catalogs.
SAFETY WARNING: .22/.17 Caliber targets are rated for Shorts, Longs, and Long Rifles at a minimum distance of 30 yards. Magnum and .17′s at a minimum distance of 100 yards. Use ammo with soft-nose lead bullets only.
Cabela’s Tips from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 26th, 2014
Ouch. The Ruger American Rimfire (RAR) rifle has only been on the market for a few months, and now some of the .22 WMR and .17 HMR versions are already being recalled. Some of these RARs left the factory without the necessary gas venting port.
CLICK HERE for Full Ruger American Rimfire Recall Notice
Reason for Recall
Ruger American Rimfire rifles chambered in .22 WMR and .17 HMR manufactured between November 17, 2013 and January 8, 2014 were manufactured without a vent hole. This hole should appear just below and behind the serial number on the left-hand side of the receiver. The hole does not serve any function during normal operation of the rifle, but is a safety feature and may help vent gas in the event of a problem such as a ruptured case head or bore obstruction. Rifles are being recalled to add the vent hole to the action.
Which Particular Rifles Are Being Recalled?
Only Ruger American Rimfire rifles chambered in .22 WMR and .17 HMR within the serial number range 830-34831 to 830-43880 are subject to the recall. If your rifle is chambered in .22 LR or falls outside this serial number range, it is not subject to the recall. If you do have a RAR chambered in .22 WMR or .17 HMR, examine the left side of the receiver, just below and behind the serial number. If there is a hole there (Figure 1), then you do not need to return the rifle. If there is no hole (Figure 2), then the rifle should be returned.
If you own a RAR chambered in .22 WMR or .17 HMR that is subject to the recall, contact Ruger. Call (603) 865-3100 or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. After verifying that the recall applies to your rifle, Ruger will send out a packing container, detailed instructions, and shipping label so you can send in your rifle FREE of charge. Ruger will then retrofit your rifle and return it to you within one week of the day Ruger receives it.
For RAR owners affected by the recall, Ruger will pay all costs of shipping (both ways). Ruger will also include a free magazine, a $24.95 value, when Ruger returns the rifle. Connecticut residents will receive a ShopRuger.com gift certificate in lieu of the magazine.
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March 23rd, 2014
The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup season kicks off right here in the USA, March 26 through April 3, 2014, in Fort Benning, Georgia. Many of the world’s best rifle and pistol shooters will be on hand — more than 400 competitors from 50 nations are expected to compete at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).
ISSF World Cup (Fort Benning) 2013 50m Rifle Prone Winner Valerian Sauveplane of France.
At the last Rifle/Pistol World Cup USA back in May 2013, the USA earned two medals with Will Brown winning a gold medal in Men’s 10m Air Pistol and Dempster Christenson winning a silver medal in Men’s Air Rifle. Highlights from last year’s ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning are featured in the 24-minute video linked below. The video covers both rifle and pistol disciplines.
Here is last year’s women’s 50m 3P winner at the Fort Benning World Cup, Andrea Arsovic of Serbia.
Complete ISSF World Cup (Fort Benning) Match Schedule
If you want to watch the matches,or meet some of the shooters here is a schedule for the all the events, starting with training sessions on March 27th.
CLICK HERE for General Match INFO (PDF)
CLICK HERE for list of competitors, grouped by Nation (PDF).
Photos ©2014 ISSF | Competitor Photos: Marco Dalla Dea
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March 19th, 2014
Nikon’s Rock Your Rimfire promotion is back. Now through May 11, 2014, shooters can save up to $40 on select models of Nikon’s rimfire-dedicated riflescopes. These models are all compatible with Nikon’s Spot On Custom Turrets. “Year after year our Rock Your Rimfire promotion continues to be a favorite,” said Nikon General Manager Jon Allen. “We hope shooters will take advantage of these savings with one of our rimfire-specific optics.” For more info, visit nikonpromo.com.
||Price After Savings
|6718 4×32 PROSTAFF Rimfire Nikoplex
|6725 3-9×40 PROSTAFF Rimfire BDC 150
|6734 3-9×40 AO PROSTAFF Target EFR
|8498 2-7×32 P22 Nikoplex
|8499 2-7×32 P22 BDC 150
|16313 2-7×32 P-Rimfire Nikoplex
|16314 2-7×32 P-Rimfire BDC 150
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March 14th, 2014
Lapua has a very cool video — “eye candy” for any precision shooter. Definitely WATCH THIS VIDEO. This 12-minute video contains a surprising amount of “hard” info on Lapua products. As well, there are some amazing segments showing Lapua brass and rimfire ammo being produced. Watch carefully and you’ll see most of the processes used for forming and loading brass. Another short segment shows a Lapua technician inspecting a case for run-out. Neat.
The video spotlights some of the important American and international records set with Lapua ammo. You’ll see top 300m and Olympic rifle shooters in action, and there are also short comments from many champions, including American Benchrest legend Tony Boyer.
NOTE: This is long video — you may need to let it buffer (pre-load) for 10-20 seconds before playback. If that doesn’t work, let the entire video load, then hit the replay button.
Yes, this video is first and foremost a marketing tool, but that doesn’t lessen that fact that it is fascinating to watch. We suspect many of you will want to save the video to your computer for future viewing. That’s easy to do. Just click on the link below. (Note: After downloading, we suggest that PC users play it back through Windows Media Player. You can then drag the Media Player corners to expand the video viewing size.)
CLICK HERE to download 25mb Lapua Video (fast connection recommended).
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January 26th, 2014
Two new 50m rimfire 40-shot group size records were set last week at the Eley test range in Fellbach (Stuttgart), Germany. This range employs an electronic target system that automatically calculates shot placement with great precision. The rifles are secured in clamping fixtures during testing. On January 21st, a new 13.2 mm record was set, follow by an even-better 12.4 mm record (that’s 0.488″). The previous record was 13.3 mm set in 2007.
Before we go further, we need to explain how these 40-shot records are determined. The record is not 40 shots fired in one single, continuous string at a single target. Instead the record is based on the software-calculated “consolidated” group size of four, separate 10-shot groups. Software at the Eley test range is capable of over-laying four, 10-shot groups so they appear as one large “consolidated” group. These “consolidated” 40-shot group overlays have been recognized as new records.
Here are the target images. The first row shows four separate targets. The second rows shows the consolidated overlay of 40 shots, along with consolidated score numbers.
Record 1, 13.2 mm Consolidated Group (Score 426.7)
Michael Baumann, Bleiker Rifle, Eley lot 1014–01002
Record 2, 12.4 mm Consolidated Group (Score 427.7)
Michael Baumann, Bleiker Rifle, Eley lot 1014–06005
The first record was a 40-shot, 13.2 mm group (Score 426.7), which broke the previous record by 0.1 mm. The second record (using the same equipment) was a fantastic group size of 12.4 mm (Score 427.7), breaking the new record by 0.8 mm. Both records were set with Eley rimfire ammo produced in 2014 just 10 days before the test.
ELEY now offers three Test Ranges located in Birmingham UK, Stuttgart Germany, and Winters, Texas. All three ranges have two 50-meter lanes ideal for testing .22 Rifles and Free Pistols. USA and German ranges also have the ability to test Free Pistols and Rapid Fire Pistols at 25m. For more information on Eley’s customer test ranges, go to: http://www.eley.co.uk/en/test-ranges
Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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January 18th, 2014
The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire cartridge (aka 17 Win Super Mag or 17 WSM) debuted last January. There was lots of buzz about this new, high-velocity rimfire cartridge in 2013, but the ammo was hard to get. Also, months passed before rifles chambered for the new cartridge were available. Now that situation is changing. Winchester has been producing 17 WSM ammo for a year now, actually making twice as much 17 WSM ammo as originally planned.
And now you can finally get a rifle to shoot the speedy little cartridge, the fastest rimfire round ever created. Browning offers a Falling Block chambered in 17 WSM, Savage has its new B-Mag rifle in 17 WSM, and Volquartsen is taking orders for an impressive, semi-auto 17 WSM. So the future is bright for this little cartridge, which can drive a 20-grain bullet at 3000 FPS, or a 25-grain bullet at 2600 FPS.
Savage B-Mag Rifle Chambered in 17 Win Super Mag.
Easy One-MOA Accuracy, Even in High Winds
We had a chance to shoot some 25-grain 17 WSM ammo through a new Savage B-Mag rifle. This polymer-tipped ammo showed its capability to buck the wind way better than .22 LR ammo (or even 17 HMR). In gusty 15-20 mph winds, Jason was still able to put five shots inside an inch or so at 100 yards.
Watch Jason Shoot 17 Win Super Mag in Savage B-Mag Rifle. In Second Part of Video, Winchester Staff Talks about 17 WSM Ammo Availability:
The B-Mag rifle worked well. The trigger is surprisingly good, with a crisp break at around 3.5 pounds. The B-Mag employs a “cock-on-close” design. Last year we tried an early production prototype B-Mag, and the bolt closure was very heavy. Though Savage claims there were no significant design changes, we can tell you the B-Mag is improved. Bolt closure takes less effort and the feeling as you drop the bolt handle is much smoother. (Perhaps the firing pin spring rate has been softened.) We did get a misfeed from the rotary-style magazine when cycling very rapidly. However, if you slow down a bit it works fine. You also must make sure the bolt is pushed ALL the way forward before you begin to rotate the bolt handle downwards.
Click Boxes to View Larger Charts
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January 18th, 2014
CZ USA had many new (and updated) products on display at SHOT Show 2014. A new camo version of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) caught our eye. This is one of the best options for Rimfire Tactical Competitions, and well as cross-training with low-cost rimfire ammo. Chambered in .22 LR, the Varmint Precision Trainer was designed to provide the same look and feel as a full-size tactical rifle while allowing for more economical training. The high-quality Manners Composite T4 stock wears a new camouflage paint scheme this year. The rifle features an .866-diameter heavy barrel that should offer good accuracy. MSRP is $940.00.
The black-stocked rifle below the camo VPT is another interesting rimfire from CZ. New for 2014, this CZ 455 Tacticool Suppressor-Ready sports a 16.5″ varmint-contour barrel with 1/2×28 threads for the “can”. This allows easy installation of your suppressor, while allowing a short overall package. For varmint hunters who want a quiet, stealthy rifle, this model fills the bill. NOTE: CZ does NOT provide the suppressor. That must be purchased separately and an ATF tax stamp must be obtained. Check the laws in your jurisdiction to determine whether suppressor ownership is legal where you live.
3-Gun Competitors will be impressed with CZ’s new scattergun, the 712 Practical. Priced at an affordable $699.00 (MSRP), this semi-auto shotgun, designed specifically for 3-Gun competition, features 10-round capacity (counting a shell in the chamber). The 6-position, adjustable buttstock offers various lengths of pull from 11.25 to 15 inches. The ATI fluted magazine extension provides 9+1 rounds of firepower and extends just past the 22″ barrel to help protect the muzzle. The new 712 Practical comes complete with 5 choke tubes — all for a price that undercuts some comparable 3-Gun shotguns by hundreds.
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January 4th, 2014
In the hit Hollywood movie “The Patriot”, the hero Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson), tells his sons: “Aim small, miss small”. That advice was given to help his sons survive encounters with the British redcoats, but the “aim small, miss small” mantra can benefit target shooters as well.
We have found that novice and intermediate shooters can often improve their accuracy simply by using targets with smaller, more precise aiming points. Inexperienced shooters can benefit by starting with a large-size aiming circle, and then progressing to smaller and smaller target dots. This lets the shooter increase the challenge as his gun-handling becomes more steady and his aim improves.
Here are two rimfire training targets with “big to small” target circles. Start with the largest circles, then move to the smaller ones in sequence. This systematic drill provides increasing challenge shot-by-shot. Novices often are quite surprised to see their accuracy improve as they move from bigger to smaller aiming points. That provides positive feedback — always a good thing.
Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of these targets.
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