• Federal's New Hunter Match 22 Long Rifle

    For 2017 Federal Premium has released a couple new types of 22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition, and today we are going to take a look at one of them - specifically the new Hunter Match 22LR HV (P/N 720). Federal Premium's press release for this new ammo states the following:

    "Serious small game and varmint hunters demand more than standard performance from their rimfire loads. New Hunter Match 22 Long Rifle raises the bar, providing true long-range accuracy and terminal performance. The hollow-point lead bullet has been tuned for optimum penetration and expansion out to 100 yards, and its high-velocity loading provides the flat trajectories and energy to take down any target. Its nickel-plated case ensure flawless extraction and inhibits corrosion."

    As noted the ammo is tailored for small game and varmint hunting at distances beyond the typical 25 or 50 yards at which most people shoot their 22LR's. The bullet is a 40-grain lead match hollow-point that is advertised to travel at a velocity of 1,200fps making it a high-velocity round. MSRP is listed as $7.95 per 50-count box.

    Right off the bat the round felt noticeably light in the hand compared to other rounds (CCI 40gr Standard Velocity for example). Weighting five rounds on my beam scale proved otherwise however as I got an average weight of 51.6 grains for the Hunter Match and 51.0 grains even for the CCI Std. Velocity.

    The nickel-plated cases on the Hunter Match look nice, though I question whether it's really necessary in a low pressure cartridge (<24,000 PSI). The one thing that did stick out to me however was that the bullets wobbled a bit in the case indicating a poor crimp. I have run across this with some other brands and types of 22LR ammo (mostly low-end bulk fodder), so it may just be poor production tolerances or possibly by design - I'm not well versed enough in the art of rimfire ammunition production to say definitively either way.

    As previously noted the Hunter Match ammo has an advertised velocity of 1,200fps. I ran a full box of 50 over the chronograph and ended up with an average velocity of 1111.84fps - well below the advertised speed. Extreme spread was pretty high at 113.4 with a Standard Deviation average of 38.48. Not exactly what I would consider "match" consistency - not by a long shot.

    In terms of accuracy it was a mixed bag as most rimfire ammunition tends to be. The rifle used for testing was a Savage Arms B22 FV with a Bushnell 3-12x40mm Rimfire Optic scope. all groups were shot at 50 yards. Conditions during testing weren't the best with 8-10mph quartering headwind with gusts pushing upwards of 20mph. Of the 200 rounds fired at 50 yards during the accuracy testing about 10% of my groups were just under MOA, roughly 20% were just over MOA, and the remaining 70% were in the 1-2 MOA range. Best group with the Hunter Match ammo was 0.462". Given the inconsistency portrayed by the chronograph I was expecting worse.

    Another issue I ran into was that the Hunter Match failed to cycle reliably in my Ruger 10/22. Seven out of ten rounds in a magazine would result in a stove piped case due to bolt not traveling fully rearward to eject the spent case. I had a friend try some in his 10/22 as well and he got similar results, though it ran fine in a third friend's Smith & Wesson M&P15-22.

    In terms of reliability I didn't have a single round fail to fire, so that's a plus. The Hunter Match doesn't seem to be any dirtier than other common 22LR ammo either.

    Overall I would rate the new Federal Hunter Match 22LR HV ammo a B-/C+. The round-to-round consistency could definitely use some improvement, but it still shoots fairly well and proved to be 100% reliable in the half-dozen different rifles it was shot through.

    Additional Photos:

    Ammo Review Reminder:
    While we always include accuracy and results in our testing of any ammunition, we want to remind our readers that each individual firearm will have it's own unique preference when it comes to ammo. For that reason we remind you not to read too much into the accuracy results for ammo tested in a particular firearm or judge it solely based on what the targets look like. The author could have been having an off day, the conditions could have been poor, or possibly that particular firearm just didn't like that particular ammo. For that reason we suggest you place more weight on the included bullet run-out and/or chronograph data (when available) which is a better gauge of the consistency and quality of the ammunition.

    Contact Information
    Federal Premium
    900 Ehlen
    Anoka, MN 55303

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