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Old March 12, 2014, 03:40 PM   #1
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Why are 22 match bullets 52 or 53 grains?

I're gonna say that there are match bullets in the heavier weights, but let me ask the question. Back when 22 caliber match rifles had slower twists, match grade bullets seemed to be either 52 grain or 53 grain - not 50 and not 55. What made the 52 and 53 grainers so special in comparison?

And the same question can be applied to today's heavier bullets in the 68 and 69 grain range. Why are they specifically in that tight weight range.

Now don't go confusing the issue with blabbering on about even heavier match grade bullets. I'm just interested in why a match grade bullet in that caliber has such specific weight ranges. Could be it's just as simple as having a 55 gr bullet and drilling a hollow point in it and winding up with 53 grains, but surely it can't be that simple.
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Old March 12, 2014, 05:21 PM   #2
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Personal choice of the bullet's designer. Nothing matters accuracy wise. With the right twist, they'll all shoot in the ones from good barrels using good components regardless of weight or shape.

Note that until jacket material was uniform enough in its metalurgy, long jackets for heavier bullets could not be made to shoot as accurate as lighter weight ones. This issue is why heavier match bullets in all calibers 22 to 30 were not available until long after lighter weight ones were.
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Last edited by Bart B.; March 12, 2014 at 07:05 PM.
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Old March 12, 2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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THEY made 'em as long as could be stabilized in the old slow twist .224" ID barrels.
Even then my old SAKO BullBBL 222 [ NOT HB..] would not stabilize the Hornady 52[53?] grain bullet and shot perfect overlapping keyholes at 50 yards when I brought it all in close to see what was happening. The Hornady 50gr SX was always a tackdriver in the SAKO. The 55grSX was just fine too.
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Old March 12, 2014, 05:55 PM   #4
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THEY made 'em as long as could be stabilized in the old slow twist .224" ID barrels.

Sounds a bit like the 87 grain bullet arising for use in the .250-3000 cartridge because it was the heaviest bullet that could be driven at 3000fps.
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Old March 13, 2014, 10:43 AM   #5
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Essentially, if you take the standard "size" of the 55gr bullet, and don't extend the lead core to the tip (form it as a match bullet) you get a bullet in the 52-53gr range.

The hollow points in match bullets are not drilled, the are formed as a result of the way the bullets are made. In a typical match bullet, the lead core is shorter than the jacket (for better uniformity) and closing the jacket to form the bullet tip makes what looks like a hollow point, but isn't a hollow point like the ones in expanding bullets.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old March 16, 2014, 03:13 PM   #6
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Wondered the same myself. My old Ruger 77V in 22-250 absolutely loves either. But, it is not an expanding bullet outside of 100 yds. Or at least, a destructive bullet. Crows and groundhogs just sort of get a modest hole punched in 'em. Shot a crow last summer out there beyond 300...couldn't find a hole! Didn't look hard but....I was surprised. Maybe he died of fright.
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Old March 18, 2014, 06:49 AM   #7
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I have no knowledge of this, but hey, its the Internet.

Simple answer: marketing. Common bullet weight is 55gr, make it 52 to be easily differentiated on the shelf. Then 53gr just to be different.
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Old March 18, 2014, 07:41 AM   #8
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Take a 55grain and remove enough lead to make a hollow point and its 53 grains.
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Old March 18, 2014, 08:31 AM   #9
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When I started BR some were still shooting 222 with custom 52gr FB bullets and you could spec pressure ring. Berger sold most of the jackets for those bullet and Berger made 52gr FB.

52/53gr you can use same jacket size
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Old March 18, 2014, 02:22 PM   #10
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Hornady SX 50 grain bullets are also the best ones in my Tikka 595 with a 1:12 twist.
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