22lr, 500 meters – some maths

I have been enjoying watching Graeme from the Taranaki Long Range Shooters stretching out his 22lr recently. One of his recent videos has him hitting 2 hits out of 20, shooting CCI Standard out of a Tikka T1X at a 1.5-litre bottle at 500 meters.

That’s a long way for a little 22lr – that’s for sure. 40mil of elevation is nothing to sneeze at – at 500 meters, that would mean he was holding 2001.07 cm high – that’s 20 meters above the target!

I also came across a video from Mark and Sam shooting out to 900 yards. 1 hit out of 50 at that distance on a much bigger target.

So – what’s going on here? Apart from the insane amount of elevation required to get the round out there, basically, it’s at the point where the rounds are going all over the place and it’s almost random when they actually hit.

The answer, of course, is maths!

I have written about this a bit before over at the bloke – https://thebloke.co.nz/error-budget-and-you/ – in that article I talked about how it didn’t really matter until past 800 meters – of course – I was also talking about cartridges that were pushing projectiles supersonic until past 1k. Not subsonic out of the barrel.

So – I was interested in doing some number crunching on the 22lr to see if what the lads were finding meshed up to the modelling.

First of all, though, I needed some data.

Data gathering. Or – sending a pile of shots onto a piece of paper at 100 meters for fun? Either way, suppressed 22’s are just so nice to shoot.

Not that I was shooting particularly well! This is my newish Lithgow Arms LA101 shooting CCI standard – I have just put a Vortex Diamondback Scope on there, and, well, it’s certainly not the AMG. Enough that I think I will just deal with changing the zero on my AMG when I have to swap the scope back and forth over rifles – I didn’t like the glass on the Diamondback much at all. I was also kind of holding in the middle of no-where – as this was just a sideline project to zeroing some clients rifles and didn’t want to mess up the existing targets on the board.

So – take the 2.5 MOA group size with a grain of salt.

You might also note in the next photo – I only recorded 20 shots on the Labradar – that was me being a little dumbarse and forgetting to change the velocity range on the unit from supersonic (rifle) to subsonic (pistol) – then it picked it up just fine.

An SD of 13.3! That’s actually not bad, and way less than I expected. Actually, I was very surprised – reading online, you will often hear of SD’s of up to 50fps.

Anyhow – the data is the data – so that’s what I am going to use.

Turning to Coldbore, the software I have been using for a few years now, I am able to plug in the variables to see what and where they affect the projectile flight.

If I remove all other considerations, bar velocity deviation (SD), allow for a 1.5 MOA system precision level (realistic for 22LR shooting CCI Standard) and a 5-inch target at 500 meters, we get a resulting model as above. The purple is the system precision, the green the target size, and the yellow dots are the modelled hits.

It essentially means, that if nothing else in the world affected the flight path of the projectile, bar the SD, we are looking at a 25% hit rate. Each and every shot broke perfectly, no wind variations and so on.

Of course, that isn’t going to happen. So, if I instead model for a medium level of uncertainty (you can read the exact details here) then we get this result. This adds in a bit of wind variety and actually includes the shooter group size.

The circle in the middle is getting rather small now. Expected hit percentages are getting pretty much close to zero. Not saying it’s not possible – both Graeme and Sam prove that – but you will put a lot of rounds, theoretically on the same spot, and still not hit. It’s not necessarily the shooter. It’s the gun, and the inherent variables in every shot we take.

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