The Best Night Time Hunting Round

The 22 Creedmoor is probably one of the most interesting calibers in the last five to seven years when it comes to nighttime critter hunting. the 22 Creedmoor is not just a nighttime hunting caliber though. It can be used to produce very flat trajectories for long-range shooting and competition circuits while minimizing recoil also. That mix of high muzzle velocities for night hunting and the twist needed to stabilize the longer 85-95 grain bullets is where this becomes an interesting caliber. On the surface, it just seems right that a company that builds tools for demanding customers who want to accomplish a task, would immediately latch on to something like this caliber. We constantly search to provide our customers with zero compromise rifles to fill their needs. This is why when you call, we often have a lengthy discussion to find out what you want, not just a sales pitch of this, this and this are in stock. We do this to ensure when we fill an order, it fills the customer's need.

With this caliber, we feel like we hit the nail on the head for our nighttime hunters. This caliber can deliver 1000 foot-pounds plus to the normal nighttime ranges. In talks with a lot of our hunters their nighttime ranges generally don't push past 400 yards. So our goal is to maximize a flat trajectory to 400 yards while maintaining the highest energy we could from the lowest recoiling platforms we could find. These attributes were specifically requested by multiple customers who either competitively hunt coyotes, or professionally eradicate pests and keep farm fields clear. These customers were already using 204's, 22 - 50s, 22 Noslers, or other lightning-fast, flat trajectory calibers shooting lower grain weight, low BC bullets. These customers often found themselves shooting at animals, they end up hitting them only to have them end up running off. or spend thirty minutes looking for them. These customers had a caliber that was flat and was extremely easy to hit animals with at night. They did not have a caliber that would put these animals down when they needed them to. This scenario is less than beneficial when quick retrieval was needed. Understanding that in some circumstances, you want them to run off, so you don't have to deal with the disposal. In hunting and coyote competition circumstances, the coyote, hog, or deer hunter wants to recover the animal fast. As you can see everything has its place and the waters muddy quickly as to what is needed. This caliber in our eyes is best suited for the hunter who wants a lighter, mid-length style rifle and wants to recover the game where it was shot.

So now to accomplishing this task for our customers. First, we looked at what ballistics would be required to ensure the customers did not have to chase their animals. We determined that if we massively overpowered extremely quick opening projectiles that would virtually guarantee the results on target needed.Oftentimes this number is looked at to be 1000lbs. We have historically negated most every foot-pound requirement other "ballistics experts" have brought forth with accuracy and bullet performance. We don't necessarily look at how many foot-pounds are needed to kill these animals or incapacitate them. We approach this as if I put a giant hole in their heart neck or brain they will be incapacitated. How do we go about doing that?

Generally speaking, this is done by getting a projectile to rapidly expand somewhere between one to three inches of impacting soft tissue. We began to look hard at most of the polymer-tipped projectiles to do this. Historically contrary to popular belief tipped thin jacketed projectiles do exceptionally well at rapid expansion. A lot of the Hornady ELD-M and TMK lines of projectiles do this very well. They also tend to be extremely accurate at the short to mid ranges. Now we agree that we can do a lot with a .30 caliber rapidly expanding projectile moving at lightning speeds. We also agree that no one wants to shoot that three to seven times and try to keep a herd of sprinting hogs in their scope at night. We went on the minimum spectrum of recoil that we felt would maintain the destruction of soft tissue on these animals. This brought us to the 22 calibers. This was largely based on the successes in the past of 77 TMKs in our own experience. In 100 to 150 yard scenarios it's extremely hard to beat this little bullet from a Marksman Light suppressed in a small opening with hogs in it. So how do we maximize that success, we looked at how to extend that range past where it is effective in the 223. We noticed that when we passed the 150-yard mark the effects of these projectiles dropped off quickly. So we decided to take that 150-yard mark wall and bring it out to that 400-yard mark our customers said they generally wouldn't pass at night. Looking for a caliber specifically designed to feed and function well and shoot these higher BC 22 caliber bullets brought us directly to the 22 Creedmoor.

We looked at some other calibers the 22-250, the 22-250AI, the 22 GT, and some others. At the end of the day making something perform a function, versus purposely building a reamer for a cartridge to accomplish something is what we specialize in, and this 22 Creedmoor with our reamer hit the nail on the head. This is exactly how we want to deliver the 900 plus foot pounds with minimal recoil and exceptional accuracy.

In our rifles, you can run any brass manufacturer's brass without the worry of the loaded external neck diameters, small exterior donuts clearance issues, or the need to sit the bullet deep into the case. We have ran 22 Creedmoor Peterson small rifle primer brass, which is our favorite, the 6mm and 6.5 mm Hornady Brass and Eagle Eye 6.5 Creedmoor large rifle primer and Alpha 6mm Creedmoor small rifle primer brass. In an effort to validate the differences in internal case volumes between each of these brass manufactures. We put each of these as new or new necked down with Federal 205MAR or BR2 primers and shot the same charge weights. The average muzzle velocities are below when using H4350 and 75 ELD-Ms with identical seating depths and charge weights.

****Additional note CCI BR2, CCI BR4, CCI 200, FED 205MAR, Federal 210M, and lastly CCI 250 are highly recommended for this cartridge. The BR2/4 being the top of the list********

It is worth noting the 6.5mm small rifle primer casings held pressure longer than the Hornady 6.5mm Large Rifle Primer. The Hornady large rifle primer brass was our only primer to creep out of the back of the cases. The primer nearly failing was from far exceeding maximum published charge weights. Also important is the necked-down cartridges can also have internal neck donuts. This will be noticed when seating you can feel the hard-sticking point in the neck when the bullet goes in. This can be mitigated by utilizing the Sinclair Neck Sizing Mandrel body die with the .22 caliber expander mandrel. We turn our mandrels down to -.003” under the caliber. So, our mandrel is .221” instead of the .224’ that’s factory. While we are discussing reloading recommendations, the Redding 22 Creedmoor Full-Length Body Die Part # 076-91302 and RCBS Match Master Competition Seater Die Part # 10140 are what we use for our shop rifles. If you want to buy a set the Whidden 22 Creedmoor die set and the RCBS Match Master sets are set up correctly for VLD style bullets and will give you enough neck tension. You can also use any bushing die you’d like to get a neck tension under .221” inside neck diameter on your choice of brass. The Hornady 22 Creedmoor seater is not something we recommend. The seating stem is not for VLD bullets, it also gave us bullet deformation on the projectiles we tried seating with it. On a reloading end note, we trimmed out brass to 1.190” for all our testing.

In each of these manufacturer's brass, we have well exceeded the Peterson load data to establish a failure point in our rifles. While we were only able to get one brass to partially fail to hold a primer. We highly encourage you to work up a safe load following the Peterson published load data. We do recognize that lot variances in the powder will change charge weights, fluctuations in internal case volumes of brass even made by the same manufacturer will change what is needed to accomplish muzzle velocities. We do not recommend you start outside the published load data for this cartridge. Given this cartridge's nature, we also know that most hand loaders do not like to stop at book max listings for pressures.