Even as rimfire ammunition is beginning to show up on the shelves of retailers once again, the one cartridge that is still rare to find, at a decent price, is the .22 magnum ammunition (.22WMR). Through-out the recent shortage, the one brand that was consistently available was the Armscor .22 magnum, loaded with a 40 grain jacketed hollow point bullet. In order to complete a review and hunt report on the Armscor .22 magnum rimfire ammunition, I purchased a brick and shot it exclusively out of my Browning A-Bolt .22 magnum rifle. This rifle is a spectacular shooter and has never disappointed me when shooting different types of ammunition, so I felt it would be the best option to run this test. After some range time, I took this rifle up to Northern California to shoot Belding’s Ground Squirrels, so we got first hand results on how this ammunition performs in the field on varmints.
Ammunition Specifications – Accuracy Report:
The Armscor .22 magnum ammunition is listed on the Armscor site with the following specifications:
Caliber: .22 Magnum (WMR)
Grain Weight: 40
Bullet Type: Jacket Hollow Point
Muzzle Velocity: 1875 fps
Uses: Target Practice, Plinking
Note that the uses listed do not include hunting (more on that later). I was also informed that the ammunition is made here in the U.S.A., and in the Philippines.
I found that the Armscor ammunition shot at an average of 1905 feet per second, with an extreme spread of 43 fps, over #10 – 5-shot strings (50 rounds). I shot 10 groups, of #3 shots in each group. My average groups were in the 1.25″ range, with some hitting 1.36″ and others dropping to .75″, at 100 yards. I had no misfires, or squib loads and everything cycled through my Browning’s magazine well. After shooting the groups, I inspected the empty cases and everything looked normal, with no split necks, etc.
Although the manufacturer does not list hunting as one of this ammunition’s uses, I planned on using it for just that. I have shot other rimfire ammunition with the same type of jacketed hollow point, so it was not a matter of if it would work, it was a matter of how well would it work.
Click Below to Watch the Video Portion
of this Review and Hunt Report:
Hunt Report and Ammunition Performance:
I threw (not literally) my Browning A-Bolt in with a handful of other rifles and headed up to Northern California to shoot ground squirrels. This ammunition had piqued my curiosity, so after knocking out a bunch of squirrels with my new AR15, I pulled out the .22 magnum and a couple of boxes of the Armscor ammo. When out in the field, I like to extend my range when shooting rimfires. I do so, with the knowledge that most rimfire rounds shed quite a bit of speed, and with that, energy, at longer distances. Because of this, I began my test of this ammo on ground squirrels at ranges within a 125 yard perimeter. I had spent the morning ranging dozens of ground squirrels, so I knew which mounds were within that range and which would be breaking my self-imposed limit.
I loaded up my rifle, adjusted my rest and rear bag, then settled in for a couple of hours shooting. As you will see in some of the clips in the video, the Armscor did very well within 125 yards. Although these squirrels are smaller than their southern cousins, the California Ground Squirrel, the Armscor ammunition was accurate enough to make head shots when necessary and powerful enough to kill them with well-placed, upper body shots. As the shooting continued, I decided to start pushing out past the 125 yard limit I had set for myself and began targeting squirrels in the 125 to 200 yard range. As I started to shoot squirrels farther out, I began to see the slower, 40 grain JHP bullet lose a lot of it’s speed and energy, as I ended up missing quite a few squirrels, because I was not allowing for enough holdover. Once I pulled out my phone and worked out the bullet drop (I guessed and used 0.145 for the ballistics coefficient, though later I was informed by Armscor that the BC is 0.100), my hit percentage stabilized again. However, with the loss of energy in the bullet, squirrels that I shot at in the 175 to 200 yard range, would often roll over when hit, but drag themselves into their hole. My assumption was that the bullet did not have enough velocity to expand fully and cause the massive internal damage that we see with polymer tipped bullets, or JHPs that do not have the soft, lead tip (ie: Speer TNT HP). This is not the fault of Armscor, as they do not include hunting in their list of uses, so it was on me. After a few drag-offs, I returned to shooting within the 125 yard limit and, once again, starting dropping ground squirrels in their tracks.
The Armscor .22 magnum ammunition, with their 40 grain jacketed hollow point is good ammunition, at a decent price. I purchased my brick of ammo at a final, before tax, cost of $13.75 per #50. Considering other brands of .22 magnum ammunition are up in the $17.00 to $20.00 range, this is quite a bit less for those of us who shoot a lot. Although it is not specifically listed by the manufacturer for use when hunting, I feel this ammunition performs well out to 125 yards, when shooting it through an accurate rifle. If you watch the video, you will see some of my shots that were right at the 125 yard mark. Afterwards, you will see a couple of the squirrels I shot at the longer ranges. The results are evident. I am interested to see how it performs on larger varmints, due to the fact that slower, heavier bullets always seem to do well when hitting more mass.
At some point, I am hoping that Armscor makes a hunter friendly option available with one of the many tried and true bullets currently available. It would be appreciated by many of us varmint/small game hunters and give us another option in times of .22 magnum drought! Now, Armscor folks, when are you going to start making the 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum that has recently been orphaned by Centurion/Aguila?