CCI .22 Long Rifle Mini Mag: You Can’t Go Wrong

CCI got started a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when Richard “Dick” Speer teamed up with Arvid Nelson. They began making cartridges for such companies as Weatherby and Newton and came up with a name for the company: Cascade Cartridges, Inc. Or, as we know it today, CCI. They went on to make such items as component primers for reloaders. Eventually, they also began turning out bullets. Of course, this is a simplified history, but it gives the reader an accurate, brief picture of the company’s journey.

Time went on, and over the years, CCI garnered a respectable reputation. In fact, these days, their reputation is considered to be stellar. Especially when we’re discussing .22 caliber ammunition. I’ve used .22 ammo from just about every manufacturer out there, with a few exceptions. I’ve found CCI’s offerings to be the most reliable and of excellent quality. Apparently, I’m not alone; others seem to judge all .22 ammunition these days using CCI as the yardstick of comparison.

 CCI ammunition group fired at 15 yards, offhand, with a Ruger MK IV 22/45 pistol.
Consistency and accuracy, as well as reliability, are hallmarks of CCI ammunition. This group was fired at 15 yards, offhand, with a Ruger MK IV 22/45 pistol.

Target Mini-Mag 22LR

The Target Mini-Mag 22LR has got to be one of CCI’s most popular loads. In fact, when my editor asked if I’d be interested in doing a write-up on this particular round, I couldn’t say, “Yes!” fast enough. You see, I’ve used this very round for a number of years and consider it to basically be my standard for most tasks that are .22LR-related. I’ve fired it through every single .22 firearm that I’ve ever owned. As the title implies, it’s intended mostly for target applications.

From 50 yards, the Savage MK II FV-SR seemed to like the CCI Mini-Mag 40-grain rounds.

I can report to you that I have never had a single issue with it. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I cannot remember a single failure to fire that could be attributed to the rounds themselves. The only issue I ever had was one pistol, and it was simply unreliable with a wide array of ammo that I tried to shoot through it. It was not the ammunition’s fault.

These bullets are 40-grain, which is a healthy weight for a .22 Long Rifle round. They are copper plated, which I prefer to the unplated lead rounds. This is because I think they foul the bore less than uncoated lead. Plus, I’ve seen uncoated lead rounds oxidize after sitting for a number of years in some bullets.

They’re round nose in design, and so they feed most reliably in .22 firearms; There’s no hollow point to hang up on the feed ramp. In all fairness, though, I can’t remember any hollow points actually hanging up, so perhaps this is a moot point.

Other uses?

Although these are listed as Target bullets, I think the range of uses for these particular rounds could be a bit wider. I’m certain they could fit the bill for hunting small game. Another use that comes to mind is Self Defense. Penetration is a positive attribute when being used for self-defense, and the solid nature of these rounds will facilitate that.

My friend, Terril Hebert, conducted some tests with these rounds in 10% ballistic gelatin and had some interesting results.

From a revolver with a 2.5-inch barrel, shooting through a couple of layers of denim, the rounds penetrated around eight inches. Sure, that’s no house on fire, but still, a 40-grain projectile going up to 8 inches into the body is going to create some issues for the recipient. And let’s not forget the havoc wrought by John Hinkley, Jr. during his attack on President Reagan—several people, including the President, went down.

When Mr. Hebert used a 16-inch barrel, things became more interesting. Shooting into the same type of gel through denim, he saw penetration in the 12 to 13-inch range. The FBI recommends at least 12 inches of penetration, so this meets their minimum penetration requirement.

Ballistic gel test of CCI Target mini-mag .22LR ammo
From a 16-inch barrel, the 40-grain fodder penetrates over 12 inches, and that’s after going through a couple of layers of denim. (Photo courtesy of James Hebert)

What’s more, these rounds normally do not deform very much, unless they hit bone or other solid mediums. This fact tends to add to their penetrative qualities.

We see that, if we use a rifle-length barrel, the little .22LR becomes a contender for self-defense. If we further it and use something like a Ruger 10/22 with a 25-round BX-25 Magazine, we now have a viable self-defense tool that is light and comparatively quiet to other firearms.

When we take all of these factors into account, we see that this particular round is relatively versatile. I happen to like versatility. If there was just one .22LR round that I could have, the CCI Mini-Mag 22LR 40 grain might just be The One.

Velocities

The advertised velocity for this round is 1,235 feet per second.

  • At 50 yards, it’s traveling at 1092 FPS.
  • At 75 yards, it’s 1040 FPS.
  • At 100 yards, it’s 998 FPS.

As we can see, it’s faster than some rounds, and not as fast as others. It kind of hangs in the middle of the pack. And honestly, that’s okay. We realize that the .22LR has some limitations, and as long as we work within those, we’ll be good to go.

Firearms Used

As I mentioned, I’ve used this round for years, and it’s become sort of a standard for me. My local gun shop always has a supply of it, and so I usually grab a few boxes whenever I go in there. It helps me keep my ammo stash respectable.

Savage's MK II FV-SR
Savage MK II FV-SR is an accurate, quiet, little rifle that’s a tack driver.

As such, I’ve used this particular load in every single .22LR firearm that I’ve ever owned or reviewed.  This would include:

  • A couple of Ruger 10/22s.
  • A Ruger MK IV 22/45.
  • A Savage MK II FV-SR.
  • A Tippman Arms M4-22 Micro Pistol (AR-15).
  • A Walther MP5 SD6.
  • A Henry Survival Rifle (AR-7).
  • A Squires Bingham bolt action rifle.

And I’m sure there are a few others that are escaping my recollection at the moment. The point is, this round works in all of these platforms beautifully.

Henry's Survival Rifle (AR-7)
Henry’s Survival Rifle (AR-7) is perfect to store and take along. The .22LR fits the survival role perfectly.

Packaging

One very nice aspect of this round is the packaging that it comes in. It’s a sturdy, plastic box of 100 rounds. This plastic package is so durable that I have examples around that are over 15 years old and they are like new. It sure beats the cheap cardboard boxes that some bullets are packaged in. In fact, I could see using these plastic boxes, once they’re empty, to store other bullets in—they’re that good.

I also find it easier to keep track of ammo when it’s in 100-round increments like this. It just works.

Conclusion

There’s a reason why CCI has risen to the top of .22LR ammunition; It is of the highest quality. Plus their selection guarantees that you will find just the right round for whatever task you decide to accomplish with your .22LR firearm.

It’s become the standard by which all others are measured. I suggest buying up a goodly supply of this stuff right now. You never know when the next major Ammo Panic is going to hit. Given our political climate, it could be next week, for all we know. Don’t be caught flat-footed like so many were this last time. As I write this, GunMag Warehouse has this ammo on sale for $8.99 for a box of 100. That is a stellar price! Getcha some!

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

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