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Rimfire Firearms .22, .17 and other Rimfire Handguns and Rifles

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  #1  
Old 01-15-2018, 5:40 PM
Gooseman Gooseman is offline
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Default Is Rimfire Ammo (22) Dirtier Than Other Calibers?

I've heard that rimfire ammo (22 LR) is dirtier than other (larger) calibers, such as 9 mm. Is that true? If so this means I need to clean my 22 caliber guns more frequently?

Appreciate the advice!
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Old 01-15-2018, 5:54 PM
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In my experience, some brands are cleaner than others. I've noticed Remington and Aguila can be dirty, whereas CCI and Federal seem to be clean.

Some are so dirty and gritty the gun jams pretty quick.
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Old 01-15-2018, 5:54 PM
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Depends on the ammo. My 9mm bucket of bullets is just as dirty as my 22 bucket of bullets lol which is dirty!

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Old 01-15-2018, 5:56 PM
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On average, if it's quality ammo it is not much dirtier than center fire ammo.
Used in a bolt action, it can be pretty clean.

The bottom of the barrel in cost is the cheap .22LR cartridge, so there are probably more dirty loads than in center fire.

However, the blow back action type used by most semi-auto .22s does result in lots more gunk being blown back onto the breech face, into the receiver, etc.

Semi-autos should be definitely be cleaned more often.

Anybody ever shoot any of that Russian Junior .22LR ammo?
It appears to be covered in cosmoline and every round needs a hand cleaning just to fit into the chamber.
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Old 01-15-2018, 9:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooseman View Post
I've heard that rimfire ammo (22 LR) is dirtier than other (larger) calibers, such as 9 mm. Is that true? If so this means I need to clean my 22 caliber guns more frequently?

Appreciate the advice!
Clear or dirty depends on the quality of ammo, powder and primers, and not caliber specific. There are clean and dirty centerfire powders (e.g. Bullseye vs W231 or Universal Clays) just as there are for rimfire, but per number of rounds fired, you can get away with cleaning your rimfires less than centerfire (I always clean my centerfire firearms after every range trip, whether I shoot 50 rounds or 250). All bulk 22LR is dirty compared to something like SK + or any mid-range target ammo, by a wide margin.
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Old 01-15-2018, 9:10 PM
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In my experience, my 22 lead bullets dirty up my chamber in my ruger pistol and I get extraction problems. I never get that problem shooting copper plated bullets
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Old 01-15-2018, 9:49 PM
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Good question, for me, when I shoot 9mm/40SW/10mm/45ACP/380ACP pistols, I shoot about 200 rd. or less , but when I shoot 22RL, I shoot 400 rd or more. So more rounds more dirty, it is a normal thing, but that dirty is manageable, at the range, just a piece of cloth and a barrel snake will solve the problem. I never have FTF/E or jam causing by the dirty of 22LR at the range.
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Old 01-16-2018, 7:00 PM
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Good question, for me, when I shoot 9mm/40SW/10mm/45ACP/380ACP pistols, I shoot about 200 rd. or less , but when I shoot 22RL, I shoot 400 rd or more. So more rounds more dirty, it is a normal thing, but that dirty is manageable, at the range, just a piece of cloth and a barrel snake will solve the problem. I never have FTF/E or jam causing by the dirty of 22LR at the range.
I was going to say the round count per trip is often greater on 22LR.

Also smaller nooks and crannies.
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Old 01-17-2018, 6:53 AM
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I watched a program that explained how 22lr were made. The long and the short of it is(pun intended), manufacturers have yet to develop a powder that will completely burn in such a small case, thus making it "dirtier" than centerfire.

Their conclusion was that pretty much the same powder is being used now, as that was used back in the day. And as a 60 something year old codger, I can attest to the fact that to me, it still even smells the same after all these years!!
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Old 01-17-2018, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
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I watched a program that explained how 22lr were made. The long and the short of it is(pun intended), manufacturers have yet to develop a powder that will completely burn in such a small case, thus making it "dirtier" than centerfire.

Their conclusion was that pretty much the same powder is being used now, as that was used back in the day. And as a 60 something year old codger, I can attest to the fact that to me, it still even smells the same after all these years!!
Powder would be burning down the length of the barrel. The soot isn't flammable, so it's not unburnt powder. Maybe there's something about the case which doesn't seal the chamber well.
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Old 01-17-2018, 4:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooseman View Post
I've heard that rimfire ammo (22 LR) is dirtier than other (larger) calibers, such as 9 mm. Is that true? If so this means I need to clean my 22 caliber guns more frequently?

Appreciate the advice!
Just my opinion but it's the action, not the caliber.

Most if not all 22lr semi-auto guns are blowback and that tends to put burnt powder and residue into the action much more than a closed breech firearm. If a comparison is to be done it ought to be between a semi-auto 22lr blowback and a centerfire blowback such as a Marlin Camp 9. I happen to own one and the Camp 9 is dirtier by far. Last weekend I used a CZ 83 in 9mm Makarov, it's a blowback and was far dirtier than my Walther PP in 22 lr and the locked breech semi-auto centerfires I was using.
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Old 01-20-2018, 9:40 AM
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Rimfire is dirtier. Because of the ignition system, rimfires have more primer compound since it has to go all the way around the rim, and it ignites more unevenly. resulting in more unburned powder than a properly developed centerfire cartridge.

Blowback vs. locked breech also adds a new layer of dirtiness but isn't the whole issue. You'll see more gunk in a bolt-action rimfire vs. centerfire as well.

Now, having said that, this is mitigated to a large extent by the fact that most rimfire cartridges are very small. The total powder volume in a .22LR is only about a fifth of a 9mm, and a twentieth of .223. Were large rimfire cartridges like .38 rimfire or .41 Short still in fashion, you'd see some real fouling.

Does this mean more cleaning is necessary? Sure. I've run an AR-15 thousands of rounds with no appreciable hit to reliability. Try that with a Marlin 795. But it's not a big deal. Clean it when it needs it.
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Old 02-03-2018, 4:25 PM
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That's the conventional wisdom. Interesting because the cartridge is so much smaller than a 9mm, for example. Interested to know how much fouling is caused by one 22lr vs one 9mm.
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Old 02-05-2018, 2:37 PM
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Think the combination lubrication and a primer that goes around the entire rim, adds a bit more grime.
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Old 02-05-2018, 2:52 PM
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For my benchrest bolt action rimfires, I only clean the bore when accuracy falls off. After cleaning, they take a variable number of shots to settle back down. I may clean the chamber with a bent .22 brush more between matches, though. As mentioned above, semi-autos' actions get cleaned more often. I find Hornady One Shot cleaner/dry lube works well on actions.
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