Rimfire firearms are notorious for being very finicky, performing well with one load of ammunition, and then failing miserably with another. It is typically a gun-by-gun phenomena, and you can’t even say that “gun ‘X’ by ‘Y’ manufacturer will shoot ammunition load ‘z’ accurately” and have that blanket statement be true.

For this reason, I’m extremely leery when I hear someone claim that a given brand of ammo is “junk” based upon shooting a couple of boxes through one firearm (or even several firearms) in one range session. The reality of the matter is that there are at least four main variables in play.

  1. the firearm
  2. the shooter
  3. the ammunition
  4. range conditions

Each and every one of those main variables has tons of sub-variables of their own.

Is the barrel of the rifle in good shape, or has it been neglected, or somehow damaged? Is the barrel clean, or fouled? What is the condition of the chamber, and the quality of the sights or optic?

Is the shooter tired? Over-caffeinated? Distracted? Skilled? Consistent? “Technique-challenged?” What position is he shooting it? Is the rifle being fired supported or unsupported, and is the barrel touching something, or is it free-floated?

How is the lot-to-lot consistency of the ammunition in question? How has it been stored, not just by the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer, but by the end user?

What are the range conditions? Is wind a factor? Is it hot or cold, dry or wet, etc?


In the video above, the shooter is blaming the ammunition for vertical stringing and acting as if that is the only variable in play.

That is one possible reason, but it isn’t the only one, and not even the most likely one, since he doesn’t seem to have and concerns over variations in velocity. The most common reason for vertical stringing is a shooter’s breath control.

This is precisely why Appleseed stresses firing only when your lungs are completely empty; those taught to take a breath and let “half” of it out let may let out 48% of their air one time, and 52% the next. It affects your vertical grouping, and can lead to groups just like this. Am I saying that this is definitely the issue here? Absolutely not.

What I am saying is that it is unfair to claim that the ammo itself is horrible, or blast it as “junk ammunition,” when you didn’t shoot the way you wanted on one day, in one gun with that box or two of ammo.

Tags: Video