Cold weather testing of .22lr

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Kingfish, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Hi guys, last winter at the advice of a special forces guy I met online I did some testing of all of my weapons in extreme cold situations. .22 long rifle cartridges are what Im going to to talk about. This testing involved my older Ruger 10/22 rifle using factory, Eagle, Butler Creek and Pro line magazines and I tested ammunition from Remington, Winchester, CCI, Federal and Aguila. Ill not get real detailed as this post could take 5 days to type. But put my Ruger through some real nasty tests to see how reliable it would be as defensive weapon if it was all I had. I learned a lot about this rifle and everything that goes into it.

    First off I froze the gun in my Chest freezer to get the core temp down and then shot it outside with temps at 17 degrees. The older Factory magazine was stuck and would not chamber a round. At that time I inserted a plastic Eagle Magazine that was in the freezer but in a zip loc bag. The dry Magazine cycled the first round which was a dud. The ammunition was Remington Thunder bolt As I have 6 Magazines I tried one loaded with CCI Stingers. The rifle cycled and fired all 25 rounds with no jams or problems. I did this test with every type of ammo I have mentioned. The results were pretty eye opening. I did many tests freezing bullets, boxes of ammo and even the magazines and the rifle. I even left the rifle out in the snow over night.

    I had to clean and oil it completely after this harsh testing. Here are some of the important things I learned.

    #1 The Ruger 10/22 will fire in severe cold temps if the gun is not over oiled and the Magazines are dry and either clean or new. The rifle did not fail to work with dry ammo in dry Magazines meaning you can not insert a magazine packed with snow into the weapon and expect it to fire.

    #2 Remington Thunderbolts failed to fire or have enough power to cycle the action 4 out of 10 rounds. Winchester Wildcats and PMC failed at 3 to 5 rounds for every 10 attempts. Federal bulk failed 2 in 10.

    CCI was impressive never failing to fire or cycle the rifle frozen or not as long as the rounds and Magazines were dry. Aguila and Federal Match grade had about 1 in 100 failures.

    Cold weather really effects cheap .22 ammo so if you have lots of it Like I do use it in a bolt action rifle for small game only.

    I trust my Ruger to fire and work as well as my AR-15 as long as the mags and ammo are dry. I keep the rifle in a state of dry oiled meaning it has no extra puddles in the action. I am using CCI Velocitors in mine and these rounds while not the most accurate will cycle and fire in most any conditions. Rain did not effect any operation usng the CCI in my 10/22. But if you get into a situation where its below 20 degrees and you are carrying a 10/22 above all else keep your magazines and ammo dry.

    My 10/22 is as dependable as it can be right now with proper care.

    It is not a BATTLE RIFLE. Anyone thinking they could use one for a gunfight is mistaken unless they know their gun inside and out. If you have any doubts and live in the cold belt then do the tests. Your eyes will be opened and you will find yourself fixing some things.

    In my rifle the Eagle plastic 30 round mags worked great as they are all new and not full of residue yet. My old factory mag had to be taken apart and cleaned for it to function in severe cold. After that it worked great.

    I did have a butler creek mag jam a couple of times I think due to the fact that it is built out of both metal and Plastic. I tossed it out. I will not trust anything that doesnt work every time.

    The guy who told me this and challenged me to do the testing also told me this. He said a non professional practices until he gets it right and a professional practices until he cant get it wrong.

    If you have any doubts on any of your weapons in cold or severe situations test them and fix the problem.

    The .22 rimfire can be a great asset to your defense plan but only if you have figured out what ammo and magazine works flawlessly in your gun. It took me over two weeks on and off to get to the point I am at now with just this one rifle. My 10/22 has moved to the third position in my line of defense weapons. My Ar is number one. Then my 30-06 Remmington 7400 and then the .22 I trust all three of them to fire every time . Of course we we have shotguns and other long guns, hand guns and archery stuff but those are my main three for defense of my home and property. Kingfish
  2. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Good testing! I use CCI when it really counts too - they just almost NEVER fail.
    Good reason to use a 'dry lube' too - no worries of the oil or grease freezing.
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    You have my eyes wide open in shock. I have about 40,000 rounds of ammo that did not do all that well in your test. However I do live in Florida. Although it was in the teens this morning. it will be 60 this afternoon. MMMV.
    When I was young and really couldn't afford to buy large quanities of ammo, I only bought CCI 22 ammo.
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Just remember there are some that will work down below -40 F but once the temp rises back up some will gum up, not good when shooting sustained firing.
    Also in cold weather shooting as the barrel heats up from below freezing there can be a slight looking fog going up and will give away your position.

    Try this for cold weather lube for your rifles.
    G96 Products Company - We Support Our Troops!
  5. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    I have 4000 rounds of Winchester Wildcat and about 1000 of Remington thunderbolts left. I purchased a Marlin 981T to shoot all that suspect ammo. Another round we tested that did well was the Remington Yellow Jacket . It looks to us that the higher end cartridges tend to be more reliable. A 10/22 can serve you well as a backup defensive weapon just make sure that you have the right mags and ammo for your gun. Not all 10/22 rifles will work well with the the eagle mags either. Mine does but I have talked to others who have issues with them. Test and test again. Kingfish
  6. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    We picked up another 400 rounds of CC1 yesterday. Walmart has them for 5.47 a box which is a little better then I have been paying. Mini mags at 6.47 a box. I got 200 of each. Kingfish
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary