Cold temperature problems with .22LR

Hugnot

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Two days ago I began shooting my .22 using Winchester Power Point 40 gr. hollow points. This ammo normally gives .5 or so groups at 50 yards, like 1 hole that you can put your finger in. I started shooting with a warm rifle & ammo with the usual accuracy. I took a break and every thing cooled down to 30* or so. The fine accuracy went away, flyers some 2-3 inches out. I noticed that there are some types of ammo like Lapua Polar Biathlon, Fiocchi Exacta Biathlon, Lapua Biathlon Xtreme for biathlon events. Is this ammo formulated for cold temps? I checked my rifle out and it performed the same good way when it was warm. Rifle, scope or Ammo?
 

LoneTraveler

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At 30 degree F.
The thing I would check is the bolt and firing pin. Lube getting cold in the firing pin channel may be giving inconsistent primer strikes and varying velocity.
Check the trigger also, Bad lube may be raising the trigger pull or causing changing trigger pulls.

At - 30 (Thirty Below), Going to compete in very cold climate, Special Biathlon ammo may mean the difference between the Gold Metal and I competed.
 

Hugnot

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At 30 degree F.
The thing I would check is the bolt and firing pin. Lube getting cold in the firing pin channel may be giving inconsistent primer strikes and varying velocity.
Check the trigger also, Bad lube may be raising the trigger pull or causing changing trigger pulls.

At - 30 (Thirty Below), Going to compete in very cold climate, Special Biathlon ammo may mean the difference between the Gold Metal and I competed.
Good thinking, it's not 89* any more. Looks like a complete bolt clean up and a rerun next week at +20* or so. I will sample my real good assortment of .22LR ammo for this event.
 

Dean2

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RF ammo is sensitive to temperature. I would make sure the bolt is clean and dry graphite lubed. Just at freezing seems a little warm for the extreme flyers you are getting but I would test some other ammo at the same time. It will quickly show you whether it is the ammo or the gun. The cold may be causing your barrel to bind or touch, torque to go up etc, it isn't always the ammo.
 

Glenn Tullius

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Put your ammo in a little cooler with a heated up coffee bean bag for sore muscles. Take out and shoot right away. RF does not like to be much below 50 degrees in my experience.
 

Allthewatts

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Put your ammo in a little cooler with a heated up coffee bean bag for sore muscles. Take out and shoot right away. RF does not like to be much below 50 degrees in my experience.
This! though remember you can't leave it in the barrel for 60s waiting to make a shot. It will cool very fast.

I have the same issue in the opposite way, leave the black rifle in the sun, its hot to the touch and shoots poorly.
 

Glenn Tullius

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I was assuming your rifle was in the house warm first. Leave it in the warm car while you set up your target, bags, rest etc. Then shoot! Agreed on the black guns in the sun! A big no-no!
 

Dean2

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I don't know about you guys but shooting competition in the winter or hunting small game, keeping ammo in a cooler and the gun warm in a car is not a very viable set of options. I have always concetrated on finding ammo that shot well in the cold instead. There are quite a few that don't show near the temperature effect that others do. One suprising one is the inexpensive Winchester Xpert line. Works well for hunting in cold weather. For target shooting Federal Champion and the various Biathlon rounds all show good cold weather accuracy.
 

Allthewatts

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Remember, biathlon shooters have cold components and shoot well, so it clearly can be done. I have heard that the biathlon powder is a very old formula, I wonder how true that really is.

I'll try some of the Xpert line some time when ammo is available.
 

D2wing

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I live in Minnesota and shoot in cold weather. If it is that bad I don't think it is the ammo. You may have the dreaded carbon ring. Get a bore scope and check the are just beyond the chamber. You may have a difficult cleaning chore ahead of you. Carbon rings are worst when the rifle is cold. It takes aggressive cleaning with quality products to fix this.
 

25WSM

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I agree with ignition being a very likely cause of the issues. 22s are very dirty shooting guns and need cleaned often. The barrels need cleaned too. Remember the bullets are all coated with liquid wax or lube. This stuff gets thick in the extreme cold. A lot of match ammo will actually shoot to fast in really cold weather and not be subsonic. You would think they would be slower but they are not. I think the wax is a factor in cold extremes. I’ve never had to do it but I know guys that shoot matches in the winter and they take the lube off the bullets. I thought the barrel would lead up but they said it didn’t. Bill Calfee wrote about not cleaning your barrel after shooting day was over and then when you shot it the next time the barrel would lead up and take many shots to shoot good again. He showed pictures of bullets pushed through dirty barrels that were not cleaned and they were very scratched up. He said the fouling left in the barrel hardens up and maybe in the extreme cold the same thing is happening faster. I just got a new B14R but it’s too cold and windy for me to want to shoot it. I’m glad my matches don’t start till spring.
Shep
 

D2wing

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I agree with ignition being a very likely cause of the issues. 22s are very dirty shooting guns and need cleaned often. The barrels need cleaned too. Remember the bullets are all coated with liquid wax or lube. This stuff gets thick in the extreme cold. A lot of match ammo will actually shoot to fast in really cold weather and not be subsonic. You would think they would be slower but they are not. I think the wax is a factor in cold extremes. I’ve never had to do it but I know guys that shoot matches in the winter and they take the lube off the bullets. I thought the barrel would lead up but they said it didn’t. Bill Calfee wrote about not cleaning your barrel after shooting day was over and then when you shot it the next time the barrel would lead up and take many shots to shoot good again. He showed pictures of bullets pushed through dirty barrels that were not cleaned and they were very scratched up. He said the fouling left in the barrel hardens up and maybe in the extreme cold the same thing is happening faster. I just got a new B14R but it’s too cold and windy for me to want to shoot it. I’m glad my matches don’t start till spring.
Shep
Yes, not cleaning the barrel is the main problem.
 

25WSM

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22 rimfire and barrel cleaning are not used in the same sentence much. Until you ask a rimfire BR shooter about cleaning. I’m not a BR rimfire competitor but do smithing for a world record holder and it’s a whole different world. I will stick with center fire. No bloop tube. No noodles. No slides. No mid barrel tuner. I do use tuners on my match rifles but not all the crazy things they do in rimfire.
Back to cleaning. He said if you don’t clean after your match or shooting sessions that the carbon and wax harden up in the bore and it will make your barrel strip lead off of your bullets. This lead sticks in the bore and causes the inaccuracies. So maybe we need to clean our 22lr rifles more often.
I know I do now at they definitely shoot better.

to the op if you figure out what was going on let us know. I hate threads where everyone makes suggestions and the op never comes back to update the situation.
Shep
 

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