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Bullet Points – 5 Tips and Tricks for .22LR

If you own more than one gun, chances are anywhere from one to eleventy-four of them are chambered in .22LR. That caliber is both inexpensive and fun to shoot with — when there's not an ammo shortage driving the price up, that is.

Here are some ways to maximize your range time.

Bullet Points – 5 Tips and Tricks for .22LR


1. Cleaning is not key

This may sound strange or counter-intuitive, but try not to clean the barrel of a .22LR weapon too often.  The wax, lube, copper and lead foul up the barrel and your rifle will eventually reach a steady point of impact.  If you clean your rifle regularly, your rounds will not consistently impact (i.e. the printing will change somewhat after each cleaning).  Clean the bolt and other internals, including the bolt fact, but  leave the barrel be.  You should only clean it when you start having issues like failure to feed, extraction problems, etc.  If you do clean your barrel, just keep the same point of aim and don't adjust your scope until you put a few rounds downrange.  You will notice the holes slowly shifting to where they used to hit.

2. Drywall anchors are cheaper then snap caps.


Unless you know for sure it won't damage the weapon, it's best not to dryfire a 22LR gun.  Most modern weapons are set up so you can, but your grandfather's rifle most likely is not.  Instead, go to the store and spend a some money on a couple of snap caps. Head to that local hardware store with a .22LR casing in hand.  Typically #4-6 drywall anchors will work just fine.  A couple of bucks later you have hundreds of snap caps.  In older guns, the first round loaded could be one of these, then you never have to worry about round count.  In newer guns it can be used to simulate stoppages.

3. Your gun is picky.


Accept up front that .22LR guns are downright finicky.  You can take two versions of the same rifle and both may prefer a completely different round.  So, if you're going out for to do some training (or plinking) with a gun you haven't gotten to know well yet, buy a bunch of different fifty round boxes and see which one groups teh best.  Take a sheet of printer paper, put black dots on it, and label each group with the type of round used.  When it's done and you figure out which brand performs the best, buy every damn box of it you can find. Who knows when you will see it next?

4. Wind is your enemy.

Those light little bullets you're shooting are easily effected by wind.  The farther you shoot, the more energy bleeds off the round, and the greater the spread you'll see on target. A small piece of ribbon tied to the top of the target stand will help you judge when to shoot (or how to judiciously apply Kentucky Windge).

5. Don't forget to yell Fore!


Paper targets are fun but playing golf with a rifle is one helluva lot better.  Grab a bag of cheap golf balls from someplace and set them up at various ranges.  When you hit them they will go flying, thus forcing you to estimate distance.  The other thing you can do is set up a line of white ones up on a berm with a one you've rattle-canned in the center. Then you and a friend start shooting from opposite ends, racing to the center.  Those balls rocketing off into the sky will bring a smile to your face, and it provides good practice shooting small targets at a distance under the pressure of time.

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