March 27th, 2023

Rimfire Competition Ammo Guide on Shooting Sports USA

shooting sports usa rimfire .22 lr ammunition ammo review

Do you compete in rimfire benchrest, silhouette, or NRL22 matches? Then you’ll want to check out the Shooting Sports USA .22 LR Ammo Roundup released last week. That article covers .22 LR ammunition from Lapua, ELEY, SK, RWS, Norma, Wolf, and Aquila. Notably there’s a detailed discussion of Lapua’s new Long Range and Super Long Range ammo. In addition, SSUSA confirms that SK ammo (made in Germany by Nammo, parent of Lapua) and Wolf Match Target ammo (made by ELEY) both offer quite good performance for a moderate price.

The article notes that there is a much wider range of .22 LR ammo types available now than a few years ago. It’s not just a choice between cheap products and high-end match ammo. As SSUSA explains: “It used to be that .22 LR was either quite expensive match grade ammo, or it was cheap plinking or hunting ammo. Today, competitors have choices in grades of .22 LR match ammunition to suit their pocketbook or firearms.” We’ve seen good results with relatively inexpensive Norma Tac-22, and the SSUSA article says that SK performs well above its price level.

Seven Brands of .22 LR MATCH AMMUNITION

Lapua Super Long Range and Long Range .22 LR

Lapua Super Long Range and Long Range ammunition comes from Finland, and is designed for the growing long-range rimfire disciplines with targets at 100-300 yards. Lapua says this ammo delivers very low ES and SD numbers. Our friend F-Class John recently tested this ammo and confirmed it performs very well (SEE video above). “Each production lot of Lapua’s new rimfire products are test-fired in 50-round groups for dispersion”, Capstone’s Marketing Director, Geoff Esterline, said. “The results determine whether it makes Super Long Range or Long Range packaging.”

ELEY .22 LR Ammunition
ELEY has long been a top choice for .22 LR competition — both position shooting and benchrest. ELEY now offers 11 different varieties of .22 LR match ammunition, ranging in price from $7 (Benchrest Outlaw) to $20 (ELEY Tenex). If you’re in the rimfire benchrest game, you should definitely try some ELEY in your rifle.

SK .22 LR Ammunition

Numerous .22 LR ammunition types are offered by SK, suitable for a variety of disciplines — from NRL22 to Biathlon. Generally cheaper than ELEY Match ammo, SK offers good “bang for the buck”. F-Class John says it performs great considering the price. The SSUSA article notes that: “German manufacturer SK has eight match-grade .22 LR offerings, including two for pistols, one for semi-automatic rifles, and one for frigid, wintertime conditions.”

RWS .22 LR Ammunition
Sometimes hard to locate at vendors in the USA, RWS is popular among European competition shooters. The top-tier RWS ammo is a choice of many competitive shooters. RWS currently offers nine Premium Line .22 LR varieties and three Professional Line offerings. The SSUSA tester noted that RWS Rifle Match ammo shot great in his Bergara BMR, shooting one-ragged-hole groups at 50 yards and about one MOA at 100 yards. That’s great performance for $10/box ammo.

Norma .22 LR Ammunition
Norma xtreme lr-2 rimfire .22 LR ammunition

Norma recently introduced XTREME LR-22, a new type of competition rimfire ammo with a radical new bullet. This unique, patented bullet design has a special base with a cone (see diagram). Norma claims that this “rocket tail” design reduces drag by creating less negative pressure at the back end of the bullet. It will be interesting to see how this new bullet design works in rimfire ELR competition.

Wolf .22 LR Ammunition
shooting sports usa rimfire .22 lr ammunition ammo review

SSUSA says that Wolf Match Target is a top performer in the under-$10 per box category. This is because, according to SSUSA: “It is manufactured by ELEY in England (and loaded with Vihtavuori powder) and re-branded, if online information is correct.” Wolf Match Target is available from Target Sports USA for $84.99 per thousand ($0.17 per round).

Aquila .22 LR Ammunition
Made in Mexico, Aquila .22 LR rimfire ammo is the bargain item among the seven ammo-makers featured by SSUSA. We wouldn’t choose Aquila for a benchrest or three-position match, but it could be more than adequate for a local NRL-22 match or a steel-target competition at relatively short range. Aquila .22 LR ammunition starts at under $3.50 per box.

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