Lapua .22 Long Rifle Ammo

By Randy Wakeman

It is rare to have a certain type of ammo that functions supremely well in every gun you've tried it in. If things always worked that way, I guess we would all be shooting the same thing? It is also rare to have rimfire ammo that thinks it is $15 match ammo, but is priced at one third of that level or less.

This brings us to Lapua rimfire ammo. Lapua has gained a reputation for having the best brass in the centerfire cartridge industry, and their rimfire ammo has been a wonderful surprise.

The parentage of Lapua is a bit hard to follow. It is essentially Finnish, with German manufacturing centers, and is also connected to Vihtavuori in various ways. It goes a bit like this: the present name is Patria Industries Oy. In August 1998 Patria Industries Oy, Celsius AB of Sweden and Raufoss ASA of Norway signed an agreement concerning the establishment of a Nordic Ammunition Group, the Nammo Group. The operations of the Group began in the summer of 1998.

In Finland the Nammo Group comprises Nammo Lapua Oy. Following operations were transferred to Nammo Lapua Oy: Lapua Ammunition plant, SK Jagd-und Sportmunitions GmbH, Product rights of Vammas Defencetec Oy, some functions in the Jyskä, Leppävirta Plant (brass cases), and part of the operations of the Vihtavuori Plant. In 2004, SK Jagd- und Sportmunitions GmbH in Germany (affiliated company of Nammo Lapua Oy) changed its name to Lapua GmbH. I'm glad I could clear all that up for you?

To cut to the chase, "The Patria Group" holds an interest in two Nordic ammunition, propellants and explosives groups called Nammo and Nexplo. In addition, the Patria Group has founded a joint venture with Swedish Hägglunds Vehicle AB and German Windhoff AG. That's enough for any growing boy to digest.

Several types of Lapua ammo have been recently tested in a Savage Mark II-BV, Marlin 39A, and Ruger 10/22, my standard battery of .22 rifles. All these rifles are as supplied from the factory, with no exotica added in the way of modifications. In fact, no modifications have been made at all excepting the addition of 3-9 arena scopes.

On a related note, you might be wondering how the rifles compared. They are all "best of breed" rimfire as far as I'm concerned, with the Accu-Trigger Savage Mark II-BV edging the Marlin 39A in accuracy by the slimmest of margins, with the Ruger 10/22 a distinct third. Nevertheless, the Ruger 10/22 is more than sufficient for most small game applications, and an outstanding semi-auto. The tested Lapua rounds include their "Standard Club," "Speed Ace, "Hollow Point," and "Signum" ammunition.

The Lapua Standard Club is supplied in a 500 round pop-top can and has been called the "best value in .22 rimfire ammo today." I really can't disagree. It has done well in every rifle tested, and it makes a lot of common rimfire fodder look sad by comparison. The standard velocity 40 grain round makes little noise and is the most economical ammo Lapua offers. It averages around 1040 fps, is supplied fairly oily, and makes 1 inch ten shot groups at 50 yards child's play with all three test rifles. I've not had any failures to extract or feed; there has been the occasional flyer that turns a half-inch group into a one inch 50 yard group. The Lapua Standard Club also is supplied in 50 round boxes if you'd like to give it a test drive before bulking up.

The Lapua "Signum" has lube-holding grooves on the bullet, claimed to hold 50% more lube than more conventional bullets. The theory is smoother acceleration and better accuracy. That may be the theory, but that is not at all what I experienced. It did not shoot in the same league as the other Lapua ammo and is also the priciest of the lot. The Signum was the sole disappointment of the Lapua rimfire ammo I tested and offered no benefit that I could discern.

The Lapua 40 gr. "Speed Ace" breaks the rules for high velocity ammo, as does the 36 grain Lapua "Hollow Point." Both shoot like ultra-match ammo, though they are not priced that way. Shooting outdoors at 40 yards in the breeze, there really is nothing conclusive I can say between the two at that range.

It is a lot of fun to just shoot and shoot and watch a hole grow before your eyes in concert with the wind gusts. That's what both the Lapua 36 gr. high speed Hollow Point and the Lapua Speed Ace ammo did for me again and again. All I can say is that once you try them, you'll likely find it hard to settle for anything less. I know I won't.

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Copyright 2006, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.