52C Shorts-Only Sporter Range Report: Lil' Bit'O Good, And A Whole Lotta Ugly - RimfireCentral.com Forums

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Old 08-16-2012, 10:36 AM
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52C Shorts-Only Sporter Range Report: Lil' Bit'O Good, And A Whole Lotta Ugly



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The title basically says it all. First, the obligatory pics:






First, the good:

Every cartrdge went off when I pulled the trigger, and most of the bullets hit the paper...oh, and I was able to get to the range without being involved in an accident. Thats about it for the good.

Now for the ugly:

First Mistake: Going to the range on a fairly windy evening.

Second Mistake: In my haste to test this rifle, using cheap-but-high rings to clear the Lyman 48F, I foolishly mounted my Leupold FX 30X to really squeeze every bit of accuracy out of my latest project at 25 yards. Well, I had forgotten this scope only focusses, or is parallax free, down to 50 yards...AAAAARG! Significantly, this meant I would not be able to watch every bullet impact, even if I could manage to place the crosshair on the target...and keep my eye centered and in the same position in the eye box for each shot.

Third Mistake: Sitting next to a guy testing his "tacticool" AR-15. This meant I could not hear every report and impact on the paper, with him aimlessly (literally) yammering away.

Now, some details. I took the loads I was most hopeful would shoot well, mostly due to availability. Specifically, CCI Short Target, CCI CB Short, CCI HV HP, Rem GB Short, and RWS R-25 (I have a good stash of this).

I sighted in with the CCI CB Shorts. Peering through the blurred haze of the scope, I could see a small group trying to form, but I could not see each impact. On the fifth shot, something didn't feel right and, sure enough, the shot was about 6 inches low...and it appeared to take a loooong time for the bullet to get there. Again, with the AR concussion next door, it was hit and miss (no pun) on hearing anything. This continued with little clover leaf groups of three or four and a flier or two waaaay low. I became concerned the bullets were barely clearing the tight Lilja bore. Gave up on CBs.

I think I wanted the CCI Short Targets to shoot the most, because they are available and do well in my shorts-only ATD. They grouped well, and the fliers not nearly as bad, but with the gusting wind, poor sight picture, and obvious parallax (about a 1/2 inch!), it was just frustrating. I did not give up on this load yet, but it really is not much more powerful than the CBs, so, realistically, they are about as risky.

The R-25 was bug-holeing, but closing the bolt met with great resistance, to the point I thought it was not good for the rifle. Gave up on R-25

The HV loads were next. Actually, it was satisfying to feel the greater power, and I stopped worrying about bulging my barrel. The Rem GB Shorts lived down to their reputation, producing about .75" groups at 25 yards. The CCI HV HPs actually shot well under .5", but this is 25 yards, for crying out loud! I finally moved out to 50 yards, mostly so I could see the targets. The Rem Shorts were about 1.5", but the CCI HV HPs hovered around .75", I would say. Not bad, but nothing to bay at the moon over.

The stubby rounds would feed from the shorts magazine very well, and ejection was good, but the magazines sit too high and bind the bolt badly. I'll need to take about .010" off the little lug on each of the magazines, but that is entirely doable.

Then, the final dark cloud on this dismal range trip appeared as I was leaving. I was glancing down the barrel (it was nearly dark at this point) and thought I could see a slight bulge about 6" from the muzzle. Running my finger gently along the barrel confirmed a slight bump!!! I was just sick that I might have fired a round with a bullet stuck in my barrel. Now, despite the beautiful finish in the bore, the Lilja barrel was not contoured on a CNC lathe, and I had already noted a bit of unevenness in the contour just in front of the chamber area before I even fired a shot. So, all the way home, I was hoping against hope that that little bump was a machining blip and that I hadn't ruined this barrel! Also, the little ridge was only about .100" long and very even around, with almost a slight shoulder, so it didn't look or feel like most rimfire buldges. Still, the drive home was tense filled, to say the least. Anyway, I slugged it 10 times when I got home and could feel absolutely no difference as the slugs passed through that area. WHEW!!!!

So, at this point, my conclusion is the rifle shoots about like any rifle using shorts in a .22 Long Rifle chamber...so, unremarkable. On the other hand, looking at this image really gets the nostalgic shivers running up and down my spine, so I don't want to give up yet:


I'm really hoping the HV Winchester loads will come through for me. The low-powered match loads are just too risky in this tight bore.

End of transmission,

Teddy Bear Rat

Last edited by TEDDY BEAR RAT; 08-21-2018 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:44 AM
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Don't give up on it just yet , T.B.R. ! I have a hunch it may suprise you when you get some better shooting conditions available ! Looks great !
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Old 08-16-2012, 03:42 PM
z06
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TBR........

First off, nice looking rifle! I always enjoy your pictures........... I would say that if you are "hovering" around 3/4" @ 50 yds. with the CCI HV HP's you're doing very well............ I consider that good shooting for the "average" .22 lr rifle. That's what my CZ's do @ 50 yds. (average) with the CCI mini-mags.

I'm curious about the R25 ammo. Where is it meeting resistance when you close the bolt? Could you lengthen the chamber a little........ It sounds like that ammo may have the most potential.....
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:58 PM
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TBR........

First off, nice looking rifle! I always enjoy your pictures........... I would say that if you are "hovering" around 3/4" @ 50 yds. with the CCI HV HP's you're doing very well............ I consider that good shooting for the "average" .22 lr rifle. That's what my CZ's do @ 50 yds. (average) with the CCI mini-mags.

I'm curious about the R25 ammo. Where is it meeting resistance when you close the bolt? Could you lengthen the chamber a little........ It sounds like that ammo may have the most potential.....
I was thinking the same thing. Then I checked and it appears that it's been discontinued! If you have a good supply, TBR, throating it for that round is an option.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:23 PM
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It's really not a throating issue, but one of tight headspace; the last 3/4 of the down stroke of the bolt is very stiff after chambering a round. The problem with the R-25 is, even though I have a good supply, it is discontinued and nearly impossible to find, since .22 match shorts are no longer used in rapid fire pistol competition. Additionally, it is also very low powered (about 650 FPS), and I'm just afraid I'll stick one in the bore. Next range trip, I do plan to give it another shot (no pun).

You know, you're right about 3/4" at 50 yards being respectable, and, for a 22 short in the wind aimed through a fuzzy scope, down right good! In any event, I have decided I will probably leave it a shorts-only rifle, since I have 7 or 8 high-end .22 LR sporters already that shoot exceedingly well. Like I said, just seeing .22 short ammunition somehow makes me happy .

When I get back from the Sierra Nevada mountains, I plan to test all the other loads and retest these using a scope that actually focusses at 25 yards .

TBR
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:40 PM
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TBR,
I sure enjoy your work and follow your projects closely. In regards to shorts only rifles, I have done a bit of trial and error myself and have developed a few ideas. After MUCH effort I determined a shorts only 10/22 barrel was not worth the effort. I experimented with twist and chamber depth. My conclusion was that for most real practical purposes a good bentz LR chamber would shoot just about as well as a shorts only chamber. The ammo is critical, I did find euro target loads to be more uniform. As far as commercial shorts only guns go the best I have owned is a Win 74, it shoots most shorts reasonably well and certain loads VERY well. I have owned a shorts only Browning TD and for me it would not shoot. It was a shorter barreled gun and I would like to try one of the 22incher's. I think head space is as important as chamber depth with shorts, not sure why but it seems to be so. The best results I had was with a custom TC Contender rifle barrel with an extremly tight, short chamber. It was an aftermarket barrel. Just a few of my observations......
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:57 PM
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So, how well did your 74 shoot?

TBR
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:16 PM
southernrifle
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With iron sights and an improvised rest, (the spare tire on the back of my truck) it will easily keep five shots under a dime at 25 yards, and a magazine full, 20 rounds under a quarter. I know rather unscientific but that is usually how I shoot in the hills. I have been known to shoot whistle pigs with that gun at 75+ yards, offhand. It will also repeat with cbs when kept clean. The gun was well used when I got it and I really have not done anything to it. Its one of those guns that just plain works. It is not grooved and I have argued with myself for sometime over whether to drill or not to drill. The gun is not too beautifull so I dont think it would hurt it too bad,, but so far havent had the nerve.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:56 PM
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You guys got me wornderin just how good a 52 in 22 short would shoot in a barrel with the correct twist.

I happen to have a bunch of different short match ammo from my Rapid Fire Pistol days just setting in storeage. Does anyone know if a 52 has ever been done up with a correct twist barrel and tested with good ammo ?.
Harry P.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEDDY BEAR RAT View Post
The barrel is a Lilja 52 sporter-contour 4-groove that I slugged to ensure proper placement of the crown.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEDDY BEAR RAT View Post
So, at this point, my conclusion is the rifle shoots about like any rifle using shorts in a .22 Long Rifle chamber...so, unremarkable.
Maybe I missed it, but have you ever mentioned the rifling twist rate?
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:13 AM
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That whole "wondering" thing is why I built this rifle. I covered this in previous threads, but some of the manufacturers with experience in this, like Scott Volquartsen and others, have indicated the single most important factor is a shorts-only chamber, and that the slower twist did not really improve accuracy in their tests. This is why I ended up using a 1-16" twist. This and the fact Lilja does not offer a 1:20" or 1:22" twist barrel. The discouraging part is they all agree that even with a shorts-only chamber, accuracy was never on par with a match .22 LR, due to ammunition tolerances. Still, I'm not looking for true benchrest accuracy (although it would be nice ), but I am still hoping to get tack-driver sporter accuracy.

One quick update, I purchased an inexpensive Mueller 8-25X44 scope for testing at 25 yards; can you believe I don't have a single high-magnification scope that focusses at 25 yards!! I've also located some other HV and match loads with unplated lead bullets, so I've got more loads to test when I get back from my annual squirrel trip.

TBR
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