Alternative Varmint Whackers

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As rimfire riflemen and pistoleros, we love our HP ammo for enhanced performance, but over the years there’ve been plenty of alternative bullet styles proving exceedingly lethal. Some were homemade, some were the brainchildren of independent inventors, and some were developed in-house by major cartridge manufacturers.

What caught my attention lately was CCI’s 2018 introduction of their .22 LR Mini-Mag Segmented Hollow Point load. Boy, is there a story there.

The Three-Way Split

That’s what the segmented hollow point does when it impacts liquid-bearing tissue, separating, sending three independent missiles ripping through the target. It’s a virtual bomb on small game and will pull the rug out from under a coyote at reasonable distances. It’s the brainchild of Tom Burczynski, one of the ammo industry’s leading research engineers.

Do you remember bullet names like Federal Hydra-Shok, Polywad Quik-Shok, PMC Starfire, Federal HST, Federal Guard Dog and Remington’s sensational Golden Saber Black Belt? Yup, all those lethal missiles are the products of Burczynski’s fertile mind, including the .22 LR segmented HP, covered by a US patent.
To make a segmented bullet, a lead-antimony slug is extruded through a three-bladed cylindrical die. The extrusion leaves a small central core holding the three resulting lobes together until impact. The extrusion is then compressed and formed back into an aerodynamic bullet form.

Small-bore smackdown: Burczynski’s segmented hollow point becomes three separate bullets upon impact. Photo: Tom Burczynski.

Flat points work! Eley’s CB wadcutter whacks barnyard vermin like a .22 Short HP.

Quik-Shok

With patent in hand, Burczynski licensed the independent shotshell company, Polywad, to produce and market a sabot slug and .22 LR ammunition based on his segmented design under the Quik-Shok label. Polywad contracted CCI — then owned by Blount — to produce .22 LR Quik-Shok ammo based on the Stinger cartridge platform. It was a superior product, but due to marketing and distribution issues, it was not long-lived. Not until CCI revived the design under the “Segmented Hollow Point” designation in their Mini-Mag, Quiet-22 and LR lines.

Once you try segmented technology, you’ll never go back to the lowly HP for small game and varmints. Just don’t take a body shot on edible critters like squirrels though!

The original Quik-Shok rimfire ammunition was produced by CCI using the Stinger platform. CCI
also makes the new Velocitor (a conventional HP) and the effective flat-pointed Small Game Bullet.

Flat Points Flatten Stuff

When I was growing up, you could buy boxes of 100 conical pointed CB caps made by Remington, Peters or Winchester. They were cheap and just the thing for potting pigeons and rats around the barns. The only problem was they weren’t always in production. Much to my surprise one day, the hardware store coughed up boxes of CB caps made by Eley.

Rather than sporting conical points, the Eley CB’s were loaded with tiny wadcutters! They looked odd, but, boy, did they ever whack varmints. They behaved like HP Shorts, not CBs, and they were quiet. We hoarded and traded them like fine marbles.

Years later, the father of Jim Taylor, a friend of mine, took a file to the noses of standard LR cartridges and declared “Eureka!” Mr. Taylor had created the Small Game Bullet (SGB), a flat-nose LR flattening small game all out of proportion to its size. The idea was passed on to another mutual friend who ran a custom reloading tool business, the Hanned Tool line. Hanned in turn produced a hardened, bullet nose, file trim-die named the .22-SGB, which permitted us to file up our own SGB bullets, only to have CCI pick up the idea and market their own flat-nose SGB cartridge.

With their wide meplats, flat points hit harder and tend to plow a big, straight furrow.

The Hanned file/trim die opened up the world of the SGB to hundreds of shooters.

Aussie Test Bed

On a continent with lots of tough critters and generous bag limits, the Aussie end of Winchester-Western developed a unique .22 LR round. Instead of a conventional HP, their “Aussie Ammo” round featured just a dimple on the tip of the bullet nose to initiate a slow, controlled expansion and deeper penetration on tougher game. Aussie Ammo proved so effective, Winchester-Western moved it over to the USA as their Dynapoint brand in the LR and .22 Magnum lines. The Aussies know a thing or two about rimfire game bullets, much to the chagrin of American woodchucks and foxes.

Whether it’s the product of scientific minds like Tom Burczynski’s or that of inventive amateurs, the rimfire cartridge will always be a hotbed for new designs. Stay tuned. It’ll only get more exciting.

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