We are limiting our discussion of "Target Ammo" here to rimfire ammunition only as Centerfire ammunition is a completely different topic.
Target ammo, sometimes referred to
as "Match Grade Ammunition", is usually the top-of-the-line ammo and is the
very best the manufacturers know how to make regardless of cost or any other
aspect. The most accurate ammo allows for the greatest margin of error on
the part of the shooter. This helps the newer shooter as well as the
Since the greatest accuracy potential of the ammo varies from production lot to production lot and rifle to rifle, it is imperative that you test different brands and different lots in your rifle. Then, when you find one that really shoots well you should buy as much of it as you can afford. Store the ammunition at room temperature in a dry place and it will keep indefinitely.
There is a lot of difference between competition ammunition and ordinary .22s bought at your local sporting goods store. Target ammo is designed for one task and that is to provide unsurpassed accuracy. Ordinary .22 ammo is designed for a multitude of objectives, for example both low cost and working in different types of actions.
The leader in target ammo for many years, Eley ammunition, has launched a new class of .22 ammo. Named Match Xtra Plus it is now available and gives even better performance for shooters than before. Their ammo grade Tenex has won more championships than any other ammo being used in competition today and Tenex is still the top ammo, but Match Xtra Plus is every now and then as good or even better. Additional Eley grades are Target Rifle, Standard Rifle, Club Xtra, and Practice 100. Club Xtra is an improved Eley Club and is a good practice ammo for a lower low price. Practice 100 and Eley Target will perform well as will Standard Rifle. Although Target, Practice 100 and Standard Rifle are not for championship competition, they are better than regular sporting .22s and adequate for training purposes. Eley’s Silhouex is specially designed for the knockdown energy needed by the silhouette shooter.
Federal’s entry to the target ammo market is the Gold Medal Family of .22 caliber ammunition that is made in the US. This is the ammo that the USA’s shooting team used for a gold and silver medal in the 1992 Olympics. Federal is yet improving their target ammunition and has announced a "low velocity" in both the Gold Medal Ultra Match and Gold Medal Match. Rumors are these are much more accurate than earlier offers.
A newcomer in the target ammunition market is the Finnish company Lapua. Lapua is a world leader in top quality ammunition and is becoming well-liked with world class shooters. Their top of their line ammo is Midas. Scoremax, Multi Match and Master are also in their ammo line. Master has been used with good success by some of our best collegiate shooters in NCAA competition. A cheaper choice for 50ft practice would be Lapua Club.
Now that Winchester is coming back into the target ammo market there may be a challenge to Eley’s top spot. Winchester at one time was the top provider of target ammo and their ammo was hard to beat. The new Winchester is named Supreme Match and is priced to compete with Eley Match and Federal Gold Medal Match.