A black Ruger .22/45, barrel pointed down, with 2 boxes of ammunition against a wooden background.

Why Buy the .22 Long Rifle Cartridge?

A proven resource in creating a marksman is the use of inexpensive .22 caliber ammunition and .22 caliber firearms. The rimfire offers little or no recoil, minimal report and good accuracy. It is recognized that the rimfire is a good training aid for pure marksmanship, that is trigger control and learning sight alignment and sight picture. In today’s tight economy, we see both .22 caliber conversions and dedicated .22 caliber firearms pressed into service in training. With the high, and increasing, costs of training, .22 caliber conversion units and .22 caliber firearms appear to be a good buy.

7 22 comp pistols RugerMk3

Top 10 .22-Caliber Posts as of June 8, 2013

Most shooters say they like more power in their rifles and handguns, but their buying habits show they overwhelmingly prefer less power — that is, in total rounds sold, .22-caliber firearms and ammunition dominate cartridge sales figures.

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Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2012

Chronicle staff writers pay attention to stories the Cheaper Than Dirt community enjoys—how information is delivered and what topics our readers prefer in The Shooter’s Log. Based on what customers actually clicked-on and read in 2012, lists are a favorite kind of article—the top-five most-read items over the past year were compilations of some sort.

Aim Small Miss Small, the .22 is Still as Big as Ever

The .22 Long Rifle cartridge is one of the most useful cartridges in production. When it comes to raw number of cartridges sold, the .22 LR is by far the most common type of round ever sold. Gun manufacturers make the .22 cartridge compatible with various rifles, pistols, and revolvers. Since it is one of the most common cartridges, almost every firearm manufacturer makes at least one model chambered for .22 LR. The .22 LR has a feature that is common with much older cartridges. The projectile has a heeled design, which means the bullet is the same diameter as the case. The narrower heel portion fits into the cartridge, which results in an odd-shaped, but effective projectile.

22 LR Cartridge

22 LR Cartridge

So why is the .22 so darn popular? This may not surprise you, but the relatively low-cost of the ammunition is what really drives sales. A shooter can put rounds through a .22 all day long and not feel a strain on their wallet, or their shoulder for that matter. The .22 is also a fairly quiet round, which makes it ideal for recreational shooting, initial firearms training, small-game hunting, and pest control. Many of us old shooters probably remember the first gun we shot being a .22. Even among professional and expert shooters, the .22 is a low-cost option for practicing fundamentals and keeping yourself in tune with your skills. Shooting, much like many other sport requires constant practice to truly excel, and without practice skills can diminish or perish entirely. The low recoil and noise of the .22 helps novice shooters avoid the bad habit of flinching while pulling the trigger. Novice shooters often have difficulty shedding this habit once it presents itself.

.22 Long Rifle – Subsonic Hollow point (left). Standard Velocity (center), Hyper-Velocity "Stinger" Hollow point (right).

.22 Long Rifle – Subsonic Hollow point (left). Standard Velocity (center), Hyper-Velocity "Stinger" Hollow point (right).

Despite its low recoil, the .22 LR performs remarkably well at distances inside of 150 yards. Subsonic .22 LR rounds have become popular among shooters as well. A high-velocity supersonic round tends to be less than ideal for accuracy. The reason for this inaccuracy is the shock wave created by supersonic travel can overtake the projectile, causing minor fluctuations in accuracy. For hunting, the .22 is perfect for small game such as squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, and small foxes. At shorter ranges, the .22 can take down larger animals such as coyotes and small deer, but head and chest shots fair much better at with these animals. However, it is generally inadvisable to hunt deer with a .22.

Some shooters do not give the .22 the respect they give other cartridges in regards to safety. The low noise and recoil tend to make some shooters treat is as though it were a small BB gun, or pellet gun. A .22 can travel up to a mile and a half, and is more than capable of killing a human being. Like all firearms, a .22 is a deadly weapon, and only pointed in a safe direction at all times. Due to the design of the .22 bullet, the projectile tends to ricochet, rather than penetrate or disintegrate. This makes it more dangerous to shoot in some areas as the projectile will bounce around through thick woods and brush.

The .22 rifle has been around a long time, and will most likely continue to be. As a hunting or target round, the .22 has a legacy that is unlike any other, and remains the mainstay of the range, and the hunting lodge. Happy shooting everyone!