Remington Bucket O Bullets
Lewis Creek Shooting School 02.28.14
At a recent party, the conversation came to the availability of .22 rimfire ammunition and I heard someone say, “Friends don’t let friends shoot Remington.” I asked what was meant by this, and the guy who said it said that Remington simply didn’t make good ammunition anymore. I defended Remington because I shoot classic shotguns and Gun Club is my favorite shell.
I have a pretty good stock of the old white box Remington rimfire the Civilian Marksmanship Program sold and it’s been great ammunition. I’ve heard negative reports on Remington rimfire in the last few years and most involved failure to fire issues.
In October, Remington’s VP of ammunition, Keith Enlow, explained the rimfire ammunition shortage and mentioned that even during the shortages, they had been working on improving quality. Remington’s headquarters is near my home in North Carolina and it happened my friend Chris Cerino and I recently had a duck hunting trip with some Remington guys, including Keith and Matt Ohlson, senior product manager for shotshell and rimfire. At the end of the hunt, as everyone was saying goodbyes, Keith handed Chris a 1,400-round bucket of bulk, hollow point, .22 Long Rifle ammo: the Remington Bucket O Bullets. “You guys take these home and see if we’ve done a good job,” he said smiling. We committed ourselves to a test that weekend.
I have never been a big fan of plinking. I’ve been a competitive shooter most of my life and I tend to shoot deliberately at paper, thus consuming ammunition at a slower rate than the average Joe. It was a little hard to decide to simply burn 1,400 rounds of hard-to-get .22 rimfire, but a test is a test and Chris Cerino is a fun guy to shoot with.
We used four rifles and two pistols in our quest to the bottom of the bucket. Chris had brought an S&W M&P rimfire rifle and a Volquartsen rifle like the one he used in Top Shot. I had a Colt M4-style rimfire and a Compass Lake precision rimfire upper on a DPMS match lower. We each had a standard plinker and a precision semiauto. Chris also threw in a Ruger LCR in .22 rimfire and an S&W M&P rimfire pistol.
Both plinkers have a reputation for being picky. A couple of companies have even put ammunition designed specifically for these finicky guns in their product line. The Compass Lake and Volquartsen both have tight match chambers. The Compass Lake shoots like an Anschutz (I know a guy who wins local smallbore matches with one), but it’s really picky about ammunition and mine has light-strike issues with the Federal Gold Match that shoots incredible groups through it.
We shot at distances of 25, 50, and 100 yards, with most of the shots being at a 2.5-inch rimfire dueling tree I have at 50 yards. We began by getting zeros at 50 yards. The two precision rifles shot about the same sized groups, averaging about one inch for five shots. This is pretty good performance for bulk ammunition. The plinkers ran about a half-inch bigger, still not at all bad. We didn’t bench the pistols and they only accounted for a hundred rounds or so.
At 100 yards, the precision rifles would hit a Hunter’s Pistol chicken target almost every time in prone position and off the bench. At 50 yards, the precision .22s were boringly consistent on the 2.5-inch disks on the dueling tree. We decided to shoot most of it standing. We took turns and shot six in a row a lot of times, sometimes getting 10 in a row. Chris’ 16-year-old son, Colton, came out, shot 10 in a row, and went back in the house. Sometimes, I hate that kid.
As we neared the bottom of the bucket, we began to work on 25-yard spinner targets with the plinkers. In a fairly long run, I bested Chris by a couple of targets and this puffed me up a bit. Chris is a good shooter. We shot to the bottom of the bucket by mid-afternoon of the second day,(we were shooting some other stuff for reviews) and had not experienced a single failure to fire and only one misfeed in the Compass Lake. Out of six different guns, five of them semiautos with reputations for being picky, every round fired the first time. By the way, we didn’t clean the guns during this adventure. Not a single round failed to fire.
The most impressive part of this is that the improvements were made in a time when demand was at the highest level in history. Keith and Matt, I am impressed. I believe that, through hard work and dedication, Chris Cerino and I have proved that friends can let friends shoot Remington, and I’ll place a wager there won’t be a problem.