Inherent Cartridge Accuracy

I often hear people (even shooting professionals such as Jerry Miculek) say that such n’ such caliber is an extremely accurate cartridge. When I hear anyone make such a blanket statement I think they have a gun in that caliber that they can shoot accurately.

Are certain calibers inherently more accurate than others or is it just the gun and barrel that determine accuracy?

You never hear anyone say such n’ such cartridge is inherently not very accurate.
The 22LR is a design that was outdated 150 years ago. That’s how long ago it’s been since heeled bullets were considered a good design. The first metallic cartridges were heeled bullets. The Russian government told Smith & Wesson “we like your model 3 revolver but don’t like the heeled bullet it shoots”. I hate to admit it but the Russians are the ones that told the Americans to get rid of the heeled bullets. Since then heeled bullets went away everywhere except for the 22LR. Most 22LR guns are very accurate even with the heeled bullets.

I can’t shoot worth a crap with my Schofield. It’s my least accurate gun. And my Ruger Vaquero isn’t much better. Both are chambered in 45 Colt.

When I switch to my S&W Model 29 chambered in .44 Mag and it’s bullseye after bullseye.

Now I’m wondering if some cartridges are more accurate than others.

I have 3 revolvers chambered in 38 Special and they’re all tack drivers.

Even my snubby

Are some cartridges more accurate than other?
Now I’m sure someone will post that they can shoot the hind leg off a gnat at 50 yards with their 45 colt. Yea but is it an uphill battle when a manufacturer tries to make an accurate gun out of a bad cartridge?


Could be the ammo just is not sized right for the barrel dimentions.


Wow, giving @ammodotcom a run for their money with the history lesson :grin:

Good stuff :+1:


My Blackhawk in 45Colt shoots well.
Also my super redhawk in 454shoots well w 454&45colt ammo. You Rugers sights are not the best for accurate shooting.
Some calibers seem to shoot better than others. I haven’t shot any hand gun in 40s&w that I was impressed with the accuracy.


I have the most accurate pistol I’ve ever shot. 6” government bull barrel ruger markII.

It’s a bear to take apart an assemble though. To keep it accurate you need to swab that barrel every 100-150 rounds.

Practiced splitting playing cards apart learning. Had a great teacher though. A S&W K-22 is also a very accurate pistol. They both take advantage of the .22LR.

I’m already sold on .22’s are the most accurate. I’ve seen groups of five in the same hole. I’ve never seen heavier calibers do that. It might have something to do with sectional density. Not sure.

But then I’ve watched buckskinners put out candles with a patched ball at 50 yards with a siler lock flintlock too.


Hypotheses to test:

  1. Maybe the exposed lead as in 22LR conforms better to the rifling than a jacketed bullet?
  2. Maybe SAAMI specs on accurate rounds are tighter and more repeatable?
  3. Maybe guns that fire dirtier rounds like 22LR get cleaned more, artificially boosting accuracy?
  4. Maybe rounds with longer casings (compared to the chamber diameter) are less prone to starting the bullet off cock-eyed?
  5. Maybe since rimmed cartridges fulcrum with the chamber at the far edges of the casing, they are initially straighter than rimless cartridges, which fulcrum at the case opening and just after the rim, a shorter “sight radius”?
  6. Maybe higher-recoil, louder rounds disturb shooter focus so much that the shooter twitching nullifies any designed mechanical accurizing of the round?
  7. Maybe rifle rounds only for use at 150yds in have an advantage, because they are given less distance over which to drift, and are more often shot indoors where there is no wind?

Which brand of ammo are you shooting out of it to get your results.


You guys overlooked an important line of questioning

How many have you shot, how often, how recent :grin:

I have noted being very impressed with a Bersa 22 on accuracy, I believe its due to having a fixed barrel, I believe your Ruger does as well?

Aside from that the Bersa offers no special trigger or other notable advantages I can credit

Actually the Ruger does not even have a slide that moves with the front site, isn’t that correct? I have to imagine that also adds to potential for accuracy


Well, this is about “inherent cartridge accuracy.”


Hello Jeff. That’s the best question you could have possibly asked. At one point I decided to try the “high end” Elley rounds. The result was quite dismal. Olympic level stuff. Supposedly. I found the federal target loads to shoot well in mine. Also the ones that have a hornet on the box. Remington hornets?

The most stable are any of the target loads in my experience. At certain velocities most .22LR seem to loose something. Maybe it’s the mad dash to hyper velocity bullets to stroke egos of the consumer base. Don’t know. Maybe the velocity vs the twist is also a factor. Go with lead target loads seemed to work best in mine.

It’s like all the different loads I have tested over the years. There’s always the max load for any particular cartridge. The closer you get to max the less accuracy you have. Obviously I can’t prove that but it pans out in my case. More is not better. Any particular bullet and its seated depth has a curve in its accuracy on a graph. It’s probably never at max. It’s a mistake.


Correct Robert. It’s a pretty rigid pistol. It’s just a difficult pistol to disassemble and reassemble. A shooter MUST follow the instructions. There’s a point during the assembly where you absolutely must not dry fire it. It will ruin the firing pin and you will have to get a new one.

I’ve never tried the Bersa. At least I don’t think so. I haven’t shot bullseye with it in a long time so there may be some really good stuff. I would most likely stay away from hyper velocity stuff. But that’s just my experience.


In my opinion yes. I’ve shot the browning target pistol and the K-22. Both of these are great pistols as well.

You can take a kid. Sit them down at a bench and within a couple of hours, he will be able to shoot the bullseye out of an NRA regulation target. This is an opinion based on my personal experience. That doesn’t make it gospel. Some may say “no recoil” gives the kid that capability. I’m not sold on that. I’ve shot M1A’s and M16’s to 500 meters in the corps with open sights and score 10’s all across the board. Heavy recoil with a light rifle is a serious mistake. I personally would never buy such a rifle. No matter how big the mountains.

Due to its versatility and accuracy, I really do believe the .22 rifle is the perfect survival tool.

I learned on my father’s Remington nylon 66.

Set a .22 pistol in a vise and decide for yourself. I’m certain you will see it. With the right ammo? Right through the same hole.


Let’s talk some more about caliber accuracy. What most people don’t know and you can test this in a chronograph.

The velocity variation of smokeless powder is rather wide. Sometimes as much as 15 to 20 fps variations. This is the nature of smokeless powder. With smokeless powder we rely on the tech design of bullets for accuracy and even impact trauma when it hits.

BPC ( black powder cartridge) shooters will get 1-3 fps velocity variation. Theoretically, black powder is far more accurate shot to shot than smokeless powder when using a cartridge case. The difference is bullet design for BPC. The modern bullet is the game changer.

Maybe shooting lead bullets in a .22 (target loads), is the reason for its accuracy advantage. The bullet swages into the barrel and then velocity becomes a determinant factor possibly. My thoughts on high velocity .22LR apply here.

Measure through the chronograph the velocity variations for the .22 target load. I would venture to say that the variations in velocity are around 1-2 fps. Just speculation of course.


Meh, like laws, merely suggestive optional guidelines :hugs:


Here is my ruger and an Sig mosquito. What’s really interesting is that the Sig does much better with hype velocity ammo. However, with standard target load .22’s I get fantastic accuracy out of it.

One here is a target, bull barrel pistol and the other is an sig automatic .22.
Virtually the same accuracy capability with stand velocity .22s. If I load either of them up with hyper velocity, the game changes. More power = less accuracy in this case. It could be a total fluke and I’m out in left field or it’s spot on.


That Ruger is practically a rifle especially considering the size of the ammo, wonder what it would be if proportions were considered say of it with 36gr compared to 165gr 308 and barrel length of 16" … :thinking:


Haha. If you could carry it.


I have never used those but have read reviews that echo your statement of not impressive, speaking of Elley ammo.

I have a ruger mark lll and a buckmark both do me well but, I have found federal automatch to be above other brands as far as reliable function of these 2 pistols. Again I just shoot plates or self healing balls etc, and not trying to put rounds through 1 hole in paper. Neither have a bull barrel and are shorter than six inches. Fun to shoot and when ammo was cheap, I had stocked up and 22’s have seen some use from me over the last couple years.

As well as a 10/22 which seems to have less failures even with say thunder bolt (Remington) which hits what you aim at just more failures functioning the gun.


My 40 S&W CZ 75B at 25 yards was a 3 incher for 10 with the factory mags. It is now retired. The CZ P-09 that replaced it is at it’s very best 6 inchs for 15 from it’s factory mags.

I would like to get a 9mm match barrel for the P-09 I am sure accuracy and speed would improve. Hot Chaos etc out of the 40 barrel would still be my carry. The 22 LR Kadet slide is miserably inaccurate at 15 btw.


Yeah not impressed with the Thunderbolt. Let 'em sit in the summer sun for an hour or so. That seems to be the ‘Hot Tip’. :laughing: