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Federal's Rimfire Cartridge Lineup: Something For Everyone!

Of unbeatable quality, Federal's rimfire ammunition is a staple for American competitors, small-game hunters and everyday plinkers.

Federal's Rimfire Cartridge Lineup: Something For Everyone!

Beginners and veterans alike lean on rimfires for practice and low-cost fun. More recreational shooters are out burning up rimfire ammo than ever before. This has created an unprecedented demand for ammo, everything from plinker and training loads up to top-shelf competition stuff. Just consider the plethora of new rimfire rifles on the market. Rimfire handguns, too, are phenomenally popular. High-performance rimfire rifles — particularly the 17 HMR — are likewise meteorically popular. The svelte little bottlenecked rimfire can do at 200 yards what the 22 LR can do at 75, and modern shooters enamored with shooting farther and faster love it for that. All those rimfires need to be fed. Thankfully, Federal has an amazing lineup of ammo, covering all the needs from high-volume plinking and practice right up to top-quality match cartridges. Let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of each line, starting with that affordable but awesome American Eagle ammo in Federal’s Target lineup.

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Target Rimfire Ammo

American Eagle

American Eagle is one of the more affordable options on the market, yet it shoots like a premium 22 LR load. Being the vintage firearm specialist for Shooting Times magazine, I test and write about well-worn classic rimfires. These often have corroded chambers, loose or tight specs, worn parts, and other characteristics typical of old guns that tend to cause reliability issues with many 22 LR loads. But American Eagle ammo feeds, functions, and fires with boring reliability. And just as importantly, it shoots tiny groups. This combination of reliability and accuracy makes it my go-to favorite for plinking and high-volume target shooting, particularly for use in space-age semiauto race guns that can be a bit picky about ammo. American Eagle is no slouch for hunting, either. The round-nose bullet exits the muzzle at 1,240 fps, well into the “high velocity” category. Since it has no hollow point, it’s more of a penetrator than an expander, so it’s suitable for use on critters as big as coyotes yet doesn’t cause much meat damage when potting squirrels and rabbits for your evening stew. If, on the other hand, you don’t need penetration but want more wallop on impact, pick the 38-grain jacketed hollow point, which shoots 1,260 fps and is just as accurate and reliable.

American Eagle Suppressor

This awesome load sports a heavy-for-caliber 45-grain copper plated solid bullet at about 970 fps. It’s shockingly quiet in my CZ bolt-action fit with a suppressor. Point of impact is a bit lower than with high-velocity 22 ammo, and trajectory has a lot more curve. However, for use inside 50 yards or so, this stuff is consistent, accurate, and hits with a wallop. Nothing is better for weeding varmints out of the back garden without disturbing the neighbors.

Champion

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BYOB buckets hold an impressive 1,375 rounds, and they can be had in several rimfire calibers.

Champion Training is a great entry-level target line. In the standard load, the projectile is a 40-grain lead round nose that takes rifling consistently, serving well as a practice round in target rifles. Muzzle velocity is still high, at 1,200 fps, so it’s no slouch for use out to 100 yards and is plenty capable of taking small game. There’s also a version ideally adapted for small-game hunting. It pushes a 36-grain copper-plated hollow point at 1,260 fps. Boxes of various quantity are available, right up to the awesome BYOB (Bring Your Own Bucket) square bucket that holds 1,375 rounds. It’s got an easy-pour top, so you can dispense high-volume ammo to your plinking constituents with ease. Even cooler, Federal offers Champion lineup ammo in 22 Magnum and 17 HMR in the BYOB. Both feature copper-jacketed hollow points, and quantity is 250 rounds. Federal’s all-time No. 1 selling rimfire product by far (due to bulk pricing), AutoMatch is designed for the target shooter. With bulk package value in mind, it is an affordable target-quality product optimized for the semiauto.

Gold Medal

This is where perfection occurs. Federal’s Gold Medal line of centerfire ammo has long been the benchmark against which all others are measured, and the rimfire line is just as good. Spec’d for ultimate accuracy by optimizing tolerances and maintaining mind-boggling consistency, Gold Medal Target rimfire ammo pushes an ultra-precise 40-grain lead round-nose projectile. Two versions are available: a standard-velocity load at 1,080 fps, which is maximized for ultimate small-bore competitive accuracy, and a high-velocity load at 1,200 fps, which offers precision up close but more capability at extended distances. Want to compete with the guys shooting Europe’s best but be true to American ammo? Gold Medal Target is your ticket to happiness.

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Small Game Rimfire Ammo

Small Game

Federal has a dedicated ammo line named “Small Game.” As you might guess, it’s engineered specifically for small critters. While not as sophisticated (or expensive) as other ammo in the line, it’s good stuff. Several iterations make the Small Game line versatile. For all-around use, pick the 38-grain jacketed hollow point at 1,260 fps. For minimal meat damage, there’s a 40-grain round nose at 1,240 fps. You can even get a speedy 31-grainer at 1,430 fps or a light 25-grainer at just 1,000 fps for minimal sound signature. Plus, of course, Small Game is available in 22 WMR. This load pushes a stout 50-grain jacketed hollow point at 1,530 fps and packs a lot more wallop than 22 LR loads.

Varmint Ammo

Recommended


For those of you unsatisfied with the classic 22 LR, Federal manufactures superb magnum rimfire ammo. Yep, both 22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire) and 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire). The Varmint-Predator ammo line offers best-in-class magnum rimfire performance. These projectiles provide — and I quote — “Explosive performance on impact.” Federal makes the bullets, the brass, the primer. It’s accurate, flat-shooting, and consistent. Whether you’re a 22 Mag. man or prefer a 17 HMR, TNT has you covered. The 22 WMR load spits a 30-grain Speer TNT bullet at 2,200 fps — amazing velocity for a .22-caliber rimfire. As for the 17 HMR load, it generates 2,530 fps with a 17-grain Speer TNT, which has a profound flattening effect on trajectory. It’s a deadly little shoulder-fired grenade.

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Ideal for the entry-level shooter, Champion is bulk priced and performs well as a practice load. No matter the target species, Federal offers a complete line of ammunition catered toward varmints and other small game.

Varmint & Predator V-MAX

This line contains just one player, but on today’s rimfire varminting scene, it’s absolutely the MVP. Yep, I’m talking about the 17 HMR, and in the varmint-shooting realm, it flat-out dominates. This load shoots Hornady’s excellent 17-grain V-MAX bullet at 2,530 fps, which is the bullet that helped vault the 17 HMR to rimfire stardom and has best-in-class long-range ballistics. It zaps prairie dogs like the proverbial lightning strike.

Defensive Ammo

Personal Defense Punch 22 LR

For 2nd-Amendment-minded shooters that pack a tiny 22 backup to their CCW sidearm, or for shooters that just like the low recoil and fast follow-up capability of the 22 LR, or just for the guys and gals that pack a 22 because that’s what they have, Federal engineered a top-performing 22 self-defense load. It’s topped with a 29-grain, nickel-plated projectile featuring a broad, flat nose. This profile maximizes tissue damage without incurring the “parachute effect” of a big mushroom and minimizes deflection potential so the bullet will penetrate as deep and straight as possible. Propellants are optimized to provide maximum velocity in short 22 handgun barrels. Impressively, Personal Defense Punch bullets generate 1,070 fps in 2-inch barrels and 1,650 fps in 24-inch rifle barrels.

Rimfire ammo is manufactured around the world and without doubt is the ruling high-volume player in the shooting realm. Since 1924, Federal has been making a great variety of quality, task-specific rimfire loads, sought after by shooters worldwide. It’s a beautiful thing for American shooters and hunters. We’ve always been known as a nation of riflemen, and without doubt we have the greatest sidearm-owning and personal protection freedom in the world. Federal Ammunition plays a massive part in fueling our passions and capabilities.

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