Ammo Review Follow-Up: CCI COPPER-22

We’ve already reviewed CCI’s new COPPER-22, the fastest .22 LR ammunition anywhere, but I left some questions unanswered. What’s the velocity like through an extremely short barrel? A longer barrel? Does it really lose accuracy in dramatic fashion past 75 yards? We headed back to the range to find out.


I brought the CZ 455 with its 16.5-inch barrel as a control, since I used it in the original velocity testing. This time around the COPPER-22 averaged 1,933.6 fps through it, which is effectively identical to the first test (only 0.37% off).

Through the 22-inch barrel of my old WesternField, the average was 1,831 fps. Yes, it was slower from the longer barrel. No, this isn’t a scientific enough test to state for sure whether that’s due to the fact that the powder burns completely and all projectile acceleration finishes so far short of 22 inches that the projectile actually begins to slow down from the friction of the additional barrel length (a distinct possibility, though, if not highly likely) or something inherently different in the WesternField such as a larger bore diameter.

The rifle is a good, impressively accurate shooter though in perfect mechanical order. I believe the COPPER-22 simply hits full velocity well short of 22 inches of barrel length.


Of course, we know for sure that it needs more than the 4.72 inch barrel we used in the first test, which netted a 1,529 fps average. Through the NAA Mini Revolver‘s 1-1/8-inch barrel the average predictably dropped further, dipping down to 1,009 fps.

For reference, I shot a couple CCI Stingers through this guy immediately after testing the COPPER-22s, and they hit 797.4 fps. Is a 21 grain projectile at 1,009 fps better than a 32 grain projectile at 797 fps? That one’s up to you.

Here’s a little slow-mo footage of firing the COPPER-22 through the NAA. The lightweight projectile limits recoil, but the hot load adds most of that right back. It was totally like a bazooka and I got PTSD. No, not really.


At 50 yards we saw ~1.2-inch, five-shot groups. The rumor is that this ammo is accurate to 75 yards, and then falls to utter sh*t beyond that.


At 70 yards, the group measured 1.66 inches. So that’s 40% farther away and a 37.5% larger group. Makes perfect sense.


I once again took five shots at 80 yards, but only three were on paper. As this group was near the top of the target I have to assume they went high. Unfortunately, no real way to measure this group properly and I didn’t have enough COPPER-22 left to do it again.

I think it’s fair to say things are already opening up at 80 yards, though, if two missed the target entirely, and the 102-yard target definitely bears this out.


At this point, all bets are off. I was aiming at that top left bullseye and the three of five shots that found themselves on paper were all over the zip code. Extreme spread between them was just over 10 inches, which is probably in keeping (should the other two shots have found paper somewhere) with comments I’ve seen on the interwebs of 12+ inch groups from this ammo at 100 yards.

Terminal Ballistics

So we saw in that first review — in the video, at least — just how devastating the COPPER-22 is on soft targets. I admit I’ve personally been a bit confused as to how “frangible” this ammo is, though. While it’s made of compressed copper dust, there’s also polymer mixed in there and when it’s compressed, it all melts together into a solid chunk of copper-dust-impregnated plastic. It obviously doesn’t come apart or deform in soft targets, including ballistics gel, but everything I saw and read said it’s basically frangible on steel, rocks, and other hard targets.


Well, not on a portable propane tank. The COPPER-22 whizzed right through, making a clean entry and exit hole. In the photo above, it’s the one in the middle that you can see clear through. Impressive, really.


Adding barrel length to that 16-inch federally-mandated minimum is likely barking up the wrong tree if you’re trying to maximize the CCI COPPER-22’s velocity. If you want to hit what you’re aiming at, keep the range to  about 75 yards or less. Within that range, it’s as devastating on target as .22LR gets.

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