CCI’s new COPPER-22 advertises that it sends a 21 grain lead-free projectile down range at 1,850 fps. Actually meeting that figure would make it the fastest .22 LR on the market — perhaps ever — by about a 100 fps margin.

Designed for plinking as well as for small game and varmint hunting, the non-lead projectiles make the COPPER-22 legal for hunting in California and some other areas that restrict the use of lead ammo.

Ammo Review: CCI COPPER-22, the Fastest .22 LR Ever

The bullet itself is made of copper dust and polymer, apparently compressed into shape. It isn’t frangible in the traditional sense, turning into dust only upon contact with a hard target such as a steel plate, while retaining its shape on soft targets like fruit, veggies, ballistics gel, and most small critters. As near as I can tell after 100 rounds, it doesn’t foul a barrel or suppressor like most traditional frangible ammo seems to — and it doesn’t shed particles.

Ammo Review: CCI COPPER-22, the Fastest .22 LR Ever

It is, however, safer than lead and jacketed lead bullets in that it’s much less prone to ricochet.

But it’s the velocity, right? We’re all here for that claimed velocity figure. I brought my CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool Suppressor-Ready rifle and CZ SP-01 with Kadet Adapter out to the woods with me — chronograph, too — to see if CCI’s engineering could keep up with its marketing.

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