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From: (Doug White)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: *reliable* .22 LR target ammo
Date: 4 Mar 1996 00:16:31 -0500

A bunch of people have been trying to blame .22 rimfire reliability 
problems on some sort of mechanical problem.  Yes, this is possible, but 
it's very easy to test, and it isn't the most likely suspect.  As an 
estimate, I have fired roughly 100 thousand rounds of various .22 over 
the years, mostly in target pistols.  I have had LOTS of misfires, and in 
order of frequency, I would classify the causes in the following order:

1) Poor quality control on the ammunition:  When a cartridge won't fire 
no matter how many dents you put in the rim, the brass splits, won't 
chamber, or you get a squib load that barely gets out of the barrel, 
you've got bad ammo.  I've seen plenty of this stuff, mostly from 
Remington in recent years.  It can vary dramatically from lot to lot, and 
year to year.  The safest approach is to find a dealer that has a good 
price on some reasonable quality ammo, and that just received a big 
shipment.  Buy a brick and test it thoroughly.  If it works, go back to 
the dealer, and buy all you can afford from that lot number.  You CAN get 
ammo at a reasonable price that's every bit as good as the expensive 
stuff if you shop around this way.  

2) Dirty firearm: In semi-auto .22 target pistols, the biggest problem is 
gunk building up on the face of the breech and slide.  This slowly backs 
the slide away from the cartridge rim, and you can get a light hit.  
Keeping your gun clean works, but you can reduce the frequency of 
cleaning required by using ammo with a hard wax type lubricant.  
Federal's lube is pretty good this way.  Some ammo (the Russian stuff is 
a prime example) come with a really heavy, sticky grease.  This tends to 
build up quickly, and attacts a lot of grime and unburned powder residue.

3) Serious mechanical problem:  At least in good quality target pistols, 
firing-pin/hammer springs tend to hold up pretty well.  If a firing pin 
isn't hardened properly, they can shorten up over time, but I've never 
actually seen one lead to misfires this way.  They DO break occasionally, 
and that usually leads to a dramatic (but not necessarily complete) 
increase in misfires.

In summary, if you are having problems with .22 ammo reliability, don't 
dash off to the gunsmith immediately.  When you get a dud, reload it with 
the rim rotated so the firing pin will strike someplace new.  If it goes 
off, and this happens frequently, it COULD be a sign of gun trouble.  
Clean the gun thoroughly, and try some different ammo.  If the problem 
persists, THEN you can take it to a gunsmith.  

Doug White

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