“Give Me The Crappiest Ammo You Have”
Please, allow me to explain.
Recently I purchased a Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 AR style rifle and have been working on a review of the product for Prep-Blog. So I had been out to the range a few times, as the weather has been pretty good lately, and I was eager to put a thousand rounds or so through the gun so I could give a decent review.
Originally I had expected the gun to be a bit picky in the ammunition it would accept. I had heard from a few friends that this rifle needed just the right bullets since it had a reputation for being a little finicky in this department. They all recommended CCI Tactical.
For my first test I went out for a couple of hours of shooting with the hope that I could zero-in my new red dot sight as well as test for the reliability and accuracy of a few different kinds of ammo. Well, I have a lot of .22 ammo in the safe so I figured I’d start there and see if the rifle would like what I already had on hand all the way from match grade stuff to bulk plinking rounds.
To take a little step back, first I had to mount my scope, which was something I had never done before. The last time I purchased a rifle I chose it with optics included and installed. So, while I’ve shot rifles quite a bit, I’ve never really mounted a scope before. I mounted my Bushnell Trophy 1×28 Red Dot at home in my garage and allowed myself plenty of time. I didn’t plan it for the same day I wanted to shoot the rifle, which may have caused me to rush it. I took a couple of hours, opened up the safe, did a little basic maintenance and safety checking on my other guns and then took out my M&P15-22 and got it settled on my work bench. I locked the safe behind me.
I figured up front that putting the scope on the rifle was going to take patience to get just right and it could be a bit delicate. So I worked cautiously and very carefully and had the scope on in about thirty minutes. Luckily I didn’t need any big corrections in alignment and the fine adjustment dials were fine to zero in with live ammo. It really is not that difficult to mount your own scope if you just take time to make sure all of your levels are correct and the rings are snug. Having a good eye for that sort of thing goes a long way too…
When I got out to the range I first zeroed in on a 25 yard target and needed only a few clicks of correction on elevation and windage to get right in there. I moved up to 50 yards (it was pretty windy at about 15mph left-to-right) and fired off a 10 round clip. In checking my binoculars I found I was still in a very tight group. I’m not going to get into how tight, as I would like to write a separate article on the topic along with specific stats. Instead, let’s focus on the ammo that goes with the rifle, as that was my original intention and the title of the article (but I tend to get distracted).
Since I got my scope zeroed in so quickly I actually got to shoot a lot more rounds on the first day than I had hoped to. While zeroing in the weapon I used CCI Tactical .22 LR rounds and they performed flawlessly as advertised. I had heard from several friends that these were the rounds to get. They were not wrong.
Next I pulled out some Winchester Super X 22LR Plated Round Nose bullets that were about 40 grains and traveled at around 1300FPS. These also performed flawlessly. I fired slowly for a while to try to form an opinion on their accuracy, which I found to be great. I fired rapidly for a while to see if I would have a malfunction. Nothing. No problems. Well I was running out of time so I had to pack it in for the day. I stored my rifle carefully in it’s plastic and foam case and was careful to do everything I could to preserve the scope’s zero.
Very intrigued by my first shoot with this gun I was able to find some time the very next day to get out to the range to do some more shooting. Hoping to find a sort of “lowest acceptable level of ammo” I stopped off at a local gun store and made what may have been the craziest request they had heard all day. (I hope)
“Give Me The Crappiest Ammo You Have.” I said matter-of-factly.
–This was met with a blank stare—-for several uncomfortable seconds—–
“You want What kind of ammo for Who now?” was the response I eventually got.
“I want the crappiest ammo you have. For me.” I replied as modestly as one can when buying bullets.
Now we should all take a moment to remember that it is very typical for gun store employees to carry side arms, and it’s best not to piss them off. Here I was literally asking if they had crappy merchandise for sale, so I was already on thin ice… Suffice it to say that I explained myself in detail, the guys at the store were excited by the experiment, and I was sent on my way with a few hundred rounds the staff felt were Most Likely to cause problems in my 15-22, which was exactly what I wanted.
Not one of the brands or types of bullets they sold me gave me so much as a hiccup! All went well. I’m not sure whether I should be upset at the guys at the gunshop for not coming through with ammo that would cause a problem or if I should praise them outright for not carrying any inventory that would!?
I had one last hurdle for my new rifle just so I would have an idea of how it would perform if I had to shoot reloads of unknown and varying quality. So I took out some old .22 LR bullets that I bought in bulk so long ago that I can’t even put a date on the occasion other than to say it was longer than five years ago but less than twenty. It’s not uncommon for .22 semi-autos to be a bit finicky about the bullets they take so I was really confident that these rounds would cause a problem or malfunction of some sort in my 15-22. But it just didn’t happen. I was waiting for a misfire, a misfeed, a jam of some sort. Nothing. The gun kept firing.
Even with all my attempts to cause a malfunction and find a bullet that the gun couldn’t reliably fire these old generic bullets still cycled through the weapon with no problems at all and with good accuracy!
I don’t want to focus too much on accuracy as, embarrassingly; I’m not that great a shot! I’m looking for ammo that cycles through the weapon reliably and hits the target in a decent sized group. If I want match ammo then I’ll buy match ammo and I’ll set it aside for competitions with my friends. For general use and storage I’m just fine with .22 rounds that are consistently reliable and reasonably accurate.
It’s now been a few weeks and I’ve put several types of ammo through my M&P15-22 and have not had any problems at all. The magazines I’m using are all Smith & Wesson brand and hold a maximum CA limit of 10 rounds each. I’m using a few different styles and they all work just perfectly. I’ve even mixed different brands of ammo in the same magazine and everything has cycled just fine and I have not had one misfire or failure to feed in about 800 rounds or so. No issues at all, knock on wood…
In short, I hit my target every time at 50 yards with my brand new S&W M&P 15-22 no matter what ammo I use or how windy it has been. I know I can shoot out to 100 yards or so with this gun (admittedly lacking much punch) but that’s not what I bought it for. I think this is a great gun under 100 yards that’s super accurate and cheap to practice with. It’s also great in a survival situation for both hunting and home-defense.
Now at 100 yards or further I’ll have to break out my Daniel Defense M4 V-7 5.56 that I just picked up. But that’s another story…