Federal’s Gold Medal Match HV .22 Long Rifle ammunition is a favorite load of competitive rimfire shooters who appreciate its high-quality components and superb accuracy. Federal is now offering a version of that round designed specifically for small game: the Hunter Match .22 Long Rifle.
“Rimfire competition shooters have always relied on the classic, traditional lead roundnose bullet design in our match-grade, Gold Medal ammunition,” says Federal’s J.J. Reich. “Now, taking that time-tested, proven bullet design and simply adding a hollow point, hunters can take advantage of that enhanced performance.”
Hunter Match ammunition combines the hollow-core version of the lead bullet found in Gold Medal Match HV ammo with a nickel-plated case for smooth, reliable feeding. I tested the round in a vintage Winchester Model 75 Target with a 28-inch barrel topped with a Leupold 2-7X scope, and the results were impressive. After firing five five-shot groups at 50 yards, the smallest cluster of shots measured .37 inch, the largest .61. The overall average was .44 inch. That’s impressive for factory ammunition with a suggested retail of $8 per 50 rounds. Average velocity for 10 shots over a ProChrono chronograph averaged 1,139 fps when measured 10 feet from the muzzle with a standard deviation of 14.1.
I had a chance to push ranges a bit farther at a media event where we shot targets out to 118 yards from field positions. Even so, it was not difficult to keep the four-inch steel plate spinning as the ringing echo of lead slapping steel rang down the canyon walls.
In addition to its accuracy potential, this is also a clean-burning round. There was significantly less fouling in the chamber and bore of my Model 75 than what you can expect from some bargain basement .22 ammo.
The Hunter Match is an ideal round for the smallest game. It will work well on both tree and ground squirrels and will also function for pest control. For you furbearers it is also a good option since it offers excellent accuracy and energy without the worry of damaging valuable pelts. Best of all, it’s affordable enough that this round could serve double-duty for backyard plinking and preseason practice.—Brad Fitzpatrick