The world of .22 Long Rifle is full of offerings, with cartridges suited for the most different uses, from inexpensive plinking to .22 long range shooting: the SK Long Range Match belongs to this latter kind, with very interesting features.
The SK Long Range Match is a very interesting load meant for .22 lr long range shooting disciplines.
With the ballistic envelope of the .22 lr cartridge being pushed farther, out to previously unthinkable distances (we are talking from 100 yards to 400 yards and more), the discipline of .22 Lr long range shooting is becoming more and more popular every day as a scaled down version of larger bore disciplines, offering the same significant challenges with lower costs and without needing a mile long range.
It also requires adequate ammo, bulk 22 lr plinking ammo just won’t cut it: you’ll never know if that uncalled flyer is due to some shooter issue that went unnoticed or some quirk in cartridges that have to be pumped out at ten bucks a hundred.
On the other end of the spectrum, top tier ammunition offers pinpoint accuracy and total confidence in cartridge consistency but at prices that have become increasingly prohibitive: my carbine favors Lapua Midas M cartridges, but if years ago these were expensive, now they have reached centerfire price tags, with top tier match rimfire ammo costing as much as a box of standard .223 Remington.
So, I opted for something less expensive but credited with very good performance, at least on paper: the SK Long Range Match.
SK cartridges are manufactured by Nammo Schönebeck GmbH, part of the Nammo group which owns Lapua, Berger and Vihtavuori: a very good pedigree indeed, and the price of this cartridge, while higher than bulk .22 lr, is still quite affordable, midway bewteen bulk and the top tier stuff.
But the proof is in the target.
The SK Long Range Match comes with a 50 grain bullet (compared to the usual 40 grainers loaded in most .22 lr cartridges) covered in a very slick lubricant.
I tested this little cartridge at a distance of 100 meters in my CZ 452 Varmint carbine to get a feel of how it would perform.
The results were indeed very interesting. Most groups were under 1 MOA, with a 10 shot group slightly over 1 MOA.
The SK Long Range Match is a very accurate, consistent cartridge, that allows the shooter to practice with confidence that, if a shot goes astray, it’s because of something he did, and not because the cartridge production line hit a bump. SK prides in constant servicing and technological improvement of their machinery to keep an unfailing, high-quality level.
On the one side, unfortunately an unusual, very windy day with sudden, unpredictable strong gusts prevented a more in depth test at longer distances and with more groups to evaluate the load’s inherent accuracy: since .22 lr is very sensitive to wind, the sudden gusts were blowing my bullets every which way, no matter how careful I tried to be.
On the other, to see the half-full side of the cup, I could practice wind estimation in such unpredictable conditions.
Now, I would have been mightly pissed off shooting Lapua Midas on such a day: probably I would have just quit practice and gone home, as coming from a background of shooting in a region which seldom experiences significant winds, I’m not that good at wind calls, and I’m not so rich I can casually burn through two boxes of Midas just to see how much I have to learn about doping the wind (full disclosure: I’m not endorsed by SK and I just bought the stuff from my local gun shop, paying it from my pocket, like everyone else), but the affordable price of the SK Long Range Match allowed me to go on practicing with full confidence in the cartridge’s consistency, which allowed me to see when my wind call was off and learn something.
I had another nice surprise when cleaning the carbine: the .22 lr is notoriously a dirty cartridge and I was used to lengthy cleaning sessions after shooting less expensive loads, but all I needed after 100 shots to get a spotless barrel were two passes with a bronze brush and a wipe with a solvent wet patch. Probably this is due to the very slick lubricant on the bullets.
To wrap it up, the main strong point of the SK Long Range Match is their excellent quality/price ratio, with very good, consistent performance that allows shooters to get a lot of bang for the buck, literally, and to train a lot, even in adverse conditions, gaining meaningful results which translate into experience, with ease of mind about their wallet.
I think I will burn through a lot more of these cartridges in the near future. Let’s hope the wind keeps up.