I cannot recommend Remington Thunderbolt .22LR ammo

Discussion in 'Ruger Rimfire Forums' started by Redleg, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Redleg

    Redleg New Member

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    In these times of ammo shortages we are all using and buying whatever we can find. Notwithstanding this, I have decided not to shoot Thunderbolt .22LR in any of my firearms anymore.

    On one occasion my Mark III was so clogged in the chamber from firing T-Bolts (about 100 of them) that it would not load rounds reliably.

    On another occasion recently one of my Mark IIIs suddenly started shooting highly erratic groups and completely lost zero. Turned out that the barrel was so heavily leaded from shooting 150 T-Bolts that the rifling was completely defeated.

    I have NEVER experienced anything like the above with any other .22 round, or any round. Even cheap Centurion .22LR is wildly cleaner and better than T-Bolt.

    I read some of the threads about T-Bolts but attributed it to just Internet complaining like you sometimes hear. Not so. I experienced this in the past ten days, personally -- this is not hearsay. This stuff is bad news and I am not even going to use the rest of my brick.
     
  2. harrise

    harrise New Member

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    Funny you should bring this up. So far my rifle has been eating it with only one per mag not lining up and lodging in the corner by the spring bar. Grandpa was done with it like you...
    [​IMG]


    I'll keep working through it since he gave it to me. But for what it's worth, if I had a new .22 I would not put those bullets through it.
     

  3. redmist3455

    redmist3455 New Member

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    My 10/22 has no problem firing thunderbolts. I fired a whole brick of 500 rounds with one jam.
     
  4. bonefamily

    bonefamily New Member

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    Agreed that Thunderbolts can certainly be problematic. Sad that in these current days, it may be all that can be found. I would shoot less and clean more with these rounds.
     
  5. robhic

    robhic Curmudgeon

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    Functionality of the bullets is not the issue. They shoot just fine. It's the fact that they seem to have something that causes them to lead-up your barrel (it leaded my MkIII's) after only a few rounds. I had MAJOR problems with them a couple of year ago. It required a lot of time and effort to remove a LOT of lead from my barrel. Tried again and same thing. So I just swore off the T-bolts. Shoot fine until they cause keyholing from the lead deposited in your barrel!:eek:
     
  6. Redleg

    Redleg New Member

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    Yes, this explains it perfectly.
     
  7. rjtmac

    rjtmac Texan by Birth • Grace

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    I have been wanting to not believe the post after post on the Thunderbolts.

    Seems as though the reality is they are just not a product one wants to cycle through your weapons.

    I had one brick of Thunderbolt I got just after I got my 10/22 tactical. It was the only ammo that I had any trouble feeding. Winchester, Federal and CCI all worked just fine. I had multiple feed jams with the Thunderbolt.

    I know when I cleaned my 2 Beretta Neos pistols after the Thunderbolt range visits they were the dirtiest they have ever been. Didn't really notice any leading but that doesn't mean it wasn't there.

    All that to say it is very disappointing. I have had 33 bricks of Thunderbolts on order at a Local Gunshop and they are supposed to be in next week. Do not want to turn it down and most likely won't. Part of it is earmarked for coworkers, family and friends.

    I just do not want to be a party to supplying people close to me with crap ammo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  8. Redleg

    Redleg New Member

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    I have been shooting .22LRs, .45s, .380s, 38 specials, and .357 Magnums for 40 years or more. Never have I had an experience like I had this weekend with Remington Thunderbolts. As I said in my earlier post, after about 120 rounds my Mark III started shooting extremely wide and erratic groups, as though it lost zero. At first I thought that my front sight had come loose or something. No, what had happened is that my Mark III barrel was so leaded up that the rifling was completely defeated. I was shooting a smoothbore!

    When I got the gun home, I poured Hoppes #9 bore cleaner down the barrel and let it sit. I then tried to put a bore brush through the barrel. What a mistake! That sunovagun got stuck in there and I had to pound it out with a hammer after soaking the barrel assembly in a tupperware tub of Mil Pro 7 gun cleaner. There were just gobs of lead in there. It appears that I did not damage the gun's rifling, which looks OK after a ton of bore brushing and patch cleaning. We'll see tomorrow when I get the gun to the range.

    Here is a photo of some of the leading that was coating the barrel:
    [​IMG]

    I will never, not ever, use Thunderbolt .22LR again. I advise all of you to avoid this stuff -- it is weird ammo -- no other ammo that I have ever used does anything like this. The strange thing is that the rounds look pretty OK when you examine them. But there is something weird about them that would cause them to lead up a barrel this way.

    I just thought that I would warn my friends on this forum. I did not think that I would ever get my Mark III barrel cleaned out, but finally I did.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    Got some thunderbolts left from about 20 years ago. Won't shoot them, and don't hate anybody bad enough to give them away. Stopped shooting them, when my long range accuracy fell of in a hurry. They were really dirty. Bore wasn't to bad because I caught it right away. Was a Ruger MK 11 SS with a 10 inch barrel.
    They even smelled bad.
     
  10. bonefamily

    bonefamily New Member

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    Yikes !!!!!
     
  11. redhawk4life

    redhawk4life New Member

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    Has anyone done a hardness test on the t-bolts or any other 22 ammo for that fact. IMHO the bullets seem to be softer than they used to be...you can mark them with your thumb nail easier than other brands. It would be interesting if someone could do a comparison to other brands...also it seems lately there are a lot more ftf my guess on this is they are trying to produce at capacity and quality control has gone out the window... I would like to see the results of a hardness test if someone on this post has a tester.
     
  12. bikeride4fun

    bikeride4fun NRA Benefactor Member

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    Thanks for the post.....Wow that looks bad. I have never used any of the T-Bolts, and after seeing that I don't plan on it. Thanks for the tip....
     
  13. Redleg

    Redleg New Member

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    I took my Mark III to the range during my lunch hour to test it. It shoots great, thank goodness. But I am swearing off of Thunderbolts; no exceptions. I put 150 rounds of Winchester HV and 100 round of Remington Goldens through the gun. It shot great and was 100% reliable excepting one verified dud round (a Winchester, oddly enough.)
     
  14. robhic

    robhic Curmudgeon

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    One thing you might try and it's kind of a pain. If you have a bunch of T-Bolts and hate to waste 'em with .22lr being such a hot commodity these days.

    I was getting lead problems with ammo a while back. What I did was alternate the bad ammo (leading) with some good stuff like Mini-Mags. I'd shoot a mag of T-bolts and then a mag of MiniMags or even mix them up even more. The cleaner shooting MM sorta wiped the bore of any "stuff" left by the T-bolts and problems were averted.

    Takes extra time and is annoying but in these times of hard to get 22 ammo, not wasting any might be worth it. Just spread the T-bolt use over a loooong time and fire good stuff as much as possible. It might just work.
     
  15. Redleg

    Redleg New Member

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    This is probably a good solution. I am going to be extravagant and simply not use the T-Bolts, but your solution makes sense and likely will work.
     
  16. Scarface26

    Scarface26 New Member

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    Several years ago, my brother-in-law and I did an accuracy test of 19 different .22lr cartridges. We used our two upper end sporter rifles (a Kimber and a Sako) firing off sandbags and rests at 50 yards. We would shoot (4) 5 shot groups of each type then clean the barrels thoroughly before trying another type. Although the results varied somewhat between rifles, the most inaccurate .22 in both of them was the Remington Thunderbolt (3 1/2" groups), and the most accurate cartridge was Eley 10X (3/4" groups). Subsonic rounds also proved more accurate overall by quite a margin. I have never fired Remington Thunderbolts since. Anyone who buys a good quality .22 rifle and some Thunderbolts is likely to think that his new rifle isn't very accurate. I recommend that you try a box of Eley 10X or a box of subsonic cartridges (below 1126 feet per second) to get an idea of your rifles potential.
     
  17. Gwgw60

    Gwgw60 New Member

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    I recently had a similar problem with T-bolts in my SR22. After starting to get bullet tumbling after around 100 rounds, I stopped shooting. When I cleaned the Ruger I got out lead chunks similar to what Redleg showed us. I also had a high percentage of primer failure (four out of ten rounds). I've seen others with comments about no problem with Thunderbolts, so it makes me wonder if a bad production lot got out.
     
  18. Redleg

    Redleg New Member

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    My guess is that people who report "no problem" fired 100 rounds or less of it. I started having problems around the 130 round count on two separate occasions. Or you may be right; might be some bad lots.
     
  19. bonefamily

    bonefamily New Member

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    Perhaps. I admit to only shooting about 300 rounds of Thunderbolts in my pistols but that 300 went ok. Then again, there were never more than 50 consecutive rounds of Tunderbolts before cleaning.
     
  20. billt

    billt In the army now..

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    I'm wondering just how many of these issues can be laid at the doorstep of poor quality control, along with running ammunition lines 24/7 since the start of the ammo crisis? Going back 10 years, this type of thing wasn't heard of. Now it seems it's everywhere.

    Back in the 70's I shot Thunderbolt's by the brick full in all of my .22's without an issue. I feel lucky that I have tens of thousands of rounds of Federal and Winchester, Hi-Speed Copper plated ammo on hand that I purchased years ago. I really think quality control has taken a back seat to enhanced production levels these days, as ammo manufacturers pump out as much product as they possibly can to meet demands.

    Also I'm wondering how much they've relaxed their demands on raw materials. Softer lead, cheaper brass, etc., in order to keep enough on hand to meet these increased production levels. Anytime you try to do something faster, you wind up not doing it as well. Their profits are way up as well. They were making money at $18.00 a brick. Imagine what they're making at $60.00?