MARLIN XT-22 AMMO TEST

At the end of December last year, I wrote “The ‘tactical’ ‘coon huntin’ rifle“. I had bought a Cricket single shot 22 in the early fall of 2011 to hunt with and it served me very well. I killed several ‘coons with it and every shot I fired were ‘one shot’ kills.

But, alas, as it is with a lot of shooters, I decided to upgrade. I sold the Cricket and bought a Marlin XT-22 last fall. The XT is made of all stainless steel and is fitted with a synthetic stock. The receiver is grooved for rings and the bolt action is designed to feed shorts as well as long rifle ammo.

It comes with a tubular magazine which I much prefer to a ‘snap-in’ type. I’ve always been afraid of bumping the mag release on a tree branch and the mag falling out. When that happens out in the woods at night, there’s no sense in even thinking about looking for it, it’s gone.

I told a really great friend about my new rifle and mentioned that I’d be getting a scope for it soon. He told me “Hold off a bit, I think I have one that will work for what you want.” A few days later, a box from my friend showed up in the mail. I opened it and ’bout fell over! I had in my hands a Weaver K-4 in mint condition!

Just as I had done with the Cricket, I put a targeting light on the stock of the Marlin. I mounted a 250 lumen pocket light to the fore end of the stock on the right side. I’m left handed, so when I’m holding the rifle, the button on the light is right at the tip of my thumb on my support hand.

When I’m ‘coon huntin’, I don’t like having to carry anything in my hands. I prefer to walk ‘hands free’. Some of the places we go requires holding on to Laurel branches and pulling yourself up steep slopes. That’s impossible to do while carrying a rifle. I need a sling.

In my collection, I found a leather military style sling I had forgotten about. Perfect. Heavy duty and no buckles to adjust or loosen. I set it so I could sling the rifle across my shoulders and on my back.
dscn1202-e1349546408708[2]

I killed quite a few ‘coons with this rifle last season.

I realize all the afore mentioned doesn’t seem to have much to do with an ammo test. I wanted to give a description and brief history of the rifle to lead into this.

Since the season closed back in March of this year, I’ve found a few choices of 22 ammo I didn’t have at the time. I figured it was time to break out the ol’ ‘coon rifle and run a coupla’ tests. I was curious as to whether any of the new ammo I had picked up would shoot any better than the CCI blazers I had been using.

I’ve recently aquired a chronograph that was given to me by a good friend. I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of velocities I would get from some of this new stuff and a few choices of my ol’ ‘stand by’ ammo. I only chronied the long rifle ammo that’s listed at normal velocities. I did not chrony the two types that are subsonic.

I chose seven types of ammo to test. I fired groups of ten shots of each at 100 feet. The bullseye in each target is a 7/8″ square bullet hole paster. That will give you an idea of the group sizes.

First up is CCI 22-QUIETS. The advertized velocity is 710 FPS.

22 GROUP TEST, 22 QUIETS

The group size is 1.975″. When you need to put a bullet in a target that’s about an inch in diameter, that don’t cut it.

Next up is CCI CB 22 SHORTS.

22 GROUP TEST, CB SHORTS

Another lousy group, 2.010″. This rifle doesn’t seem to care for subsonic ammo.

For the third test, I used Remington brass plated hollow points.

22 GROUP TEST, REM. PLTD. HP

The group size for this ammo was 1.185″, not much better than the two subsonics I tried. At a hundred yards, that equates to over 3.5 MOA. I expect better from a relatively full power long rifle ammo. Below is the chrony data.

22 VEL. TEST, REM. PLTD. HP

With a velocity average of 1172, just over 91% of claimed, I have to wonder what kind of platform Remington used to get their advertized velocity of 1280. An extreme spread of 158 doesn’t say much for their quality control either.

The fourth test was shot with another Remington product, their famous Golden Bullets.

22 GROUP TEST, REM. GOLDEN

Group size here was 1.580″. That won’t work for me. The chrony results are below.

22 VEL. TEST, REM. GOLDEN

Again, poor quality control shows up in an ES of over 10% of average velocity. And the average velocity was only .4% better than the other Remington product.

Federal’s Auto Match was used for test number five. Group size came in at 1.185″.

22 GROUP TEST, FED. AUTO MATCH

I suppose this would do for ‘coon huntin’. With a group of just over one inch, I think I could make one shot kills with this ammo on a regular basis.

22 VEL. TEST, FED. AUTO MATCH

I was impressed with the ES and the velocity average. Unlike both types of Remington ammo, I could not detect any difference in the sound of the reports.

Test number six was shot with my ol’ tried and truely proven CCI Blazers. This has been my ‘go to’ ammo for killin’ ‘coons for three seasons now. This ammo has served me well and I have three bricks of it on my shelf.

Taking out of the equation the first shot fired through a clean barrel (I call that a ‘cold flier’), the group size came in at .755″! That’s why I have three bricks of it.

22 GROUP TEST, CCI BLAZERS

Chrony results are below.

22 VEL. TEST, CCI BLAZERS

How ’bout an ES of 41? That explains the group. CCI does not give an expected velocity on the box. I’m guessing it’s 1280. If that’s correct, this stuff turns in a velocity average of 95.3%. Notice my note in the bottom left of the photo: “Lowest ES in tests”, meaning all the ammo I shot. This is good stuff.

I saved the best for last. CCI Standard Velocity REALLY caught me off guard. Including that one ‘near miss’ flier, group size is .588″. If you take that one ‘flier’ out, group size is .370″! I think I might have a new ‘coon huntin’ ammo here.

22 GROUP TEST, CCI STD. VEL.

And the chrony results.

22 VEL. TEST, CCI STD. VEL.

While not quite as good as the Blazers, it still came in second place for ES. A velocity average of 97% of claimed ain’t too shabby, either.

Honestly, I’m not real bowed up about ES and velocity averages. Look at the group, man, look at the group!

Seven types of ammo is nowhere near all the types available, that’s just what I chose to test. Truthfully, though, I don’t think I need to do any more testing. What I need to do is find my wallet and my credit card. I need to order a coupla’ bricks of CCI ‘Standard’.

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About Jim

Retired from industrial construction and livin' the dream in the mountains of Virginia.
This entry was posted in Rifles, Rimfire. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to MARLIN XT-22 AMMO TEST

  1. Greg DeLong says:

    Jim, any chance you can show pictures of the 22 boxes I am familiar with the all except the CCI standard velocity. Gsdelong

  2. Jim says:

    Greg, I don’t have any more of the CCI Standard Velocity on hand. If you use Google and choose ‘Images’, you’ll find dozens of photos of the boxes.

    Thanks for your comment!
    Jim

  3. james says:

    gday jim,

    thanks for the review of ammo. im going to buy a marlin and you are going to save me a lot of time.

    thanks again.

  4. Rolin says:

    Jim,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. As a squirrel hunter, I have been keeping watch for a good tube-fed .22LR to be my new squirrel rife. The old man who taught me squirrel hunting and pest control shooting always used a Marlin tube-fed .22 that he kept in his greenhouse for pest control. The poor rifle was never cleaned or had a minute’s care, but Fred never missed with it either. The bluing had long ago been replaced by rust and the stock was devoid of finish, but it never failed to function or, in Fred’s hands, drop a squirrel.

    RJ

  5. Neiil says:

    I have this rifle, and CCI Std. Velocity is the most accurate ammo I have found for it. It shoots really tight groups with CCI Std. Velocity.

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