Living in a rural/agricultural area, I’m able to shoot on my property. I enjoy sitting on the front steps in the afternoon after the sun goes down below the trees and plinking with a single shot 22 rifle.
Although I don’t live close enough to neighbors to disturb anybody with gunfire, I prefer to shoot something that doesn’t generate an ear splitting muzzle report. I’ve found that the ‘Quiet’ 22, made by CCI of Lewiston, Idaho, serves the purpose perfectly.
Unfortunately, the availability of almost all 22 rim fire ammunition is virtually nonexistent. Which means, if I want to continue plinking with something that matches the description of the ammunition mentioned, I have to make it myself.
Because rim fire cases are not reloadable, I have no choice but to use cases in a center fire caliber. I own two rifles chambered in 223 Remington. The caliber is easy to reload and because I cast my own bullets, the cost per round is a few cents each.
One of the rifles is a Harrington & Richardson Super Light Youth Model. I call it the “SLYM”. It weighs 6.5 pounds with the scope and is 36 inches long. It has a 20 inch barrel and the stock pull is 12 inches. Because I’m relatively short of stature, it fits me perfectly. And the light weight makes it very pleasant to handle.
The Quiet 22 round is loaded with a standard 40 grain bullet in a long rifle case and has a claimed muzzle velocity of 710 feet per second. The muzzle report of this round fired in my Remington 514 single shot rifle is about like popping a child’s balloon. Because it’s so quiet, I don’t need ear protection for plinking.
In my quest to replicate this round in a 223 load, I decided to use a Lyman 225438 cast bullet. Lyman’s description of this bullet states it was “Designed by Guy Loverin for the 22 Hornet.” It goes on to say it “Closely resembles the 22 Long Rifle bullet in shape.” At 44 grains, it’s the perfect choice for this project.
I chose Alliant Bullseye powder as the propellant. It’s a very high speed, high energy powder and is not position sensitive. I knew that generating a velocity of about 700 FPS would not take much powder. A tiny charge like that would have to be a high speed powder for the primer flash to light it all instantly.
Developing subsonic load data requires a method unlike normal data development. Rather than start with a low charge and work up, it’s best to start at a charge that is a bit high and work down. Working down, eventually you stick a bullet in the bore. The upside of this method is determining the bottom of the pressure window. That’s the starting point for load development.
Having worked on subsonic data development in 223 most of last year, I know two grains of Bullseye will push a 40 grain bullet out of the barrel. I started at two grains and reduced the charge by 2/10ths of a grain per charge. I stuck a bullet at .6 grains. I fired two more rounds at .6 grains to verify. All three rounds stuck. I found the bottom of the pressure window.
The next step was to find a charge that would push the bullet at about 700 FPS and hopefully find an accuracy node somewhere close to that velocity. The first test batch of three rounds was loaded at 8/10ths of a grain. The muzzle report wasn’t even a respectable pop, more like a ‘poop’. I could have shot the bullet farther with a slingshot.
I’ve spent days developing data with a particular combination. This was one of those rare events where I hit the jackpot on the second test load. At one grain of powder, the muzzle report was very similar to that of the CCI Quiet 22 round.
I set up a target at a measured 50 feet, put the rifle on the bench and fired six shots. Typical of cast bullets fired through a clean, dry barrel, the first shot was off, a bit low and left. Once the barrel was fouled, however, the next five shots grouped beautifully. They all went into a 7/8″ square bullet paster.
I was amazed. I had actually replicated the muzzle report and accuracy of the CCI Quiet round. That wasn’t quite enough, though. I wanted to know the velocity.
I have a chronograph, but I really didn’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up the stand and the chrony just for this. It’s just plinkin’ ammo, it ain’t like I’d be shooting a hundred yards with it. I decided to establish the velocity by calculation.
I recently bought the Quickload program, written by Hartmut G. Broemel of Babenhausen, Germany. After entering all the required data, the program dictated an expected velocity of 615 FPS. That’s 95 FPS slower than the claimed velocity of the Quiet round, but at least I had some idea of the bullet’s speed.
Just out of curiosity, I ran the data through Quicktarget, a program that’s part of the Quickload package. The program shows the bullet entering a two inch high point blank range at five yards, peaking at 24 yards and dropping out at 42 yards. The first zero occurs at 12.5 yards and the second zero occurs at a chosen 35 yards.
At a cost of three cents for a primer, 2/10ths of a cent for the powder and no cost for the gas check or bullet (I make my own), that equates to $1.64 per box of 50. At that price, I’ll gladly sit at the bench and make my own, thank you very much.