BREAKING: Winchester Recalls Lots Of .22 Long Rifle Ammo

Image courtesy Bud's Gun Shop

If you were one of the lucky few guys who found any .22 long rifle on the shelves in the last thirteen months, Winchester needs you to check your stockpile. It turns out they double-charged two lots of their M22 plinking/target ammo, and these accidental .22 Super-Duper Magnums can blow your gun up and ruin your chiseled, movie-star good looks. Make the jump for the recall details . . .

From Winchester’s Recall Page:


Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling two (2) lots of M*22™ 22 Long Rifle 40 Grain Black Copper Plated Round Nose rimfire ammunition.

Symbol Number: S22LRT
Lot Numbers: GD42L and GD52L

Winchester has determined the above lots of 22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition may contain double powder charges. Ammunition with double powder charges may subject the shooter or bystanders to a risk of serious personal injury and/or death, or cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable.

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® M*22™ 22 Long Rifle RIMFIRE AMMUNITION WITH LOT NUMBERS GD42L or GD52L. The ammunition Lot Number is imprinted (stamped without ink) on the left tuck flap of the 500-round carton as indicated here. The 1000-round intermediate carton does not have a Lot Number.

To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Symbol Number and Lot Number. If it is Symbol Number S22LRT with a Lot Number containing GD42L or GD52L immediately discontinue use and contact Winchester toll-free at 866-423-5224 or visit for free UPS pick-up of the recalled ammunition.

This notice applies only to Symbol Number S22LRT with Lot Numbers GD42L and GD52L. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall.

If you have any questions concerning this 22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224, write to Winchester (600 Powder Mill Road, East Alton, IL 62024 Attn: S22LRT Recall), or contact Winchester Customer Support online.

We apologize for this inconvenience.

Inconvenience? INCONVENIENCE??? Does Winchester really appreciate how hard it’s been to find any .22 long rifle ammo in the last year? This recall notice doesn’t even promise to promptly replace the defective ammo; I’m sure they’ll win plenty of customer loyalty with that.

There have been rumors that ammo QC has been slipping over the last year. This is the first concrete example I’m aware of, showing the risks that manufacturers are running by pushing their production lines 24/7 and training up entire shifts of inexperienced employees.

This risk to shooters is aggravated in this instance, because M22 ammo was specifically designed to be used in AR-style semiautomatic .22s. A bolt-action or break-open .22 probably wouldn’t give a rat’s ass how much powder Winchester stuffed into a .22 long rifle case: it would rupture the case and maybe spit some hot gasses out of the breach but otherwise survive without damage. But a straight-blowback semiautomatic .22 could experience catastrophic internal damage as the still-burning cartridge blasted the bolt rearwards and continued to cook itself off while being ejected from the gun.

This miserable story is a reminder that even the lowly .22 rimfire still demands eye and ear protection. A ruptured .22 long rifle is damned unlikely to kill you, but escaping combustion gasses and case fragments can ruin your vision if you’re not protected.

Shoot safe. Always.

79 Responses to BREAKING: Winchester Recalls Lots Of .22 Long Rifle Ammo

  1. avatarMichael B. says:

    That stuff would be great out of my Ruger Single Six convertible. Thing’s built like a damn tank.

    Everything else? Not so much.

    • avatarKingSarc48265 says:

      My thoughts exactly, plenty of steel on that cylinder around the chambers. I’ll gladly take ammo from those lots from anybody on here. At a severly reduced price of course, it is defective after all. I BID 0.2/RND! :P

      • avatarMichael B. says:

        Seriously, if anyone wants to send me their defective stuff so I can run it out of my Ruger Single Six .22LR/.22mag convertible I’d be more than happy to pay shipping and a reasonable price for it.

        Or you can wait for Winchester to give you a refund, I suppose.

        • avatarBruce says:

          I have a box of it , unfortunatley I emptied it and mixed it with another box into those nice little 100 round plastic storage boxes.. so I dont know which ones are bad and which ones are good..I know that 1000 of them are bad… out of 2000.. so I cant put them back into the 1000 round boxes .. but now I got a mess and winchester aint going to refund me on the other box with good seriel numbers.. anybody want these 2000 rounds I ll sell them at $11c a round and ship them to you.. i dont want to wait 10 years to get a check from Winchester. ..

        • avatarBruce says:

          I meant 8 c a round

      • avatarChris says:

        At $.2/rd, I will gladly sell you my entire stockpile, none of which I paid more than $.08/rd.

    • avatarKCK says:

      I also did a mental inventory of my .22s and what would be consequence on my marlin 25 bolt, 10/22 and my Single Six and I thought it would be fun to shoot them with the SS.
      The others, I thought, not so much.
      Probably OK in the 25. The idea is that the brass expands tight against the chmber wall and would not split. But in the 10/22 as the bolt goes back and the brass is unsupported, that when the trouble starts.

  2. avatarSteveInCO says:

    Running the production lines 24/7? Then where the heck has it all been going? It can’t ALL be disappearing to be sold at gun shows for a hundred dollars a brick; that kind of market glut would have popped the bubble long ago.

    I am skeptical that their .22LR production lines can possibly have been running flat out like that for a whole year.

    • avatarEd says:

      I can’t seem to dig up the official statement from CCI, but they recently said they produce something like 3 million rounds of .22LR per DAY. That is just CCI. That number includes nothing from the other ‘big’ ammo manufacturers. However, when you take into account the number of new shooters, Newtown aftermath, and the prepper frenzy that was building even prior to the latest panic…that number looks miniscule….6000 bricks per day. That is it.

    • avatarShawn says:

      They are holding it to jack the prices up and then claim shortage.

    • avatarCliff H says:

      Check the DHS section at Warehouse 13. I suspect it all winds up there with the other billion+ rounds of ammo they have stockpiled/removed from the civilian market.

      If you want to rule your country by Executive Orders, and you can’t get “common sense gun control” passed through Congress, you can always make an EO for your puppet agencies to buy up and stockpile all available common calibers of ammunition.

      No, I do not have a tin-foil hat, but my Don’t Tread On Me baseball cap is lined with lead.

      • Love that show. Can’t way for the series wrap up of season 5.

      • avatargonzo gun says:

        Agreed. I have an extremely reliable source that is in the gov. About 9 months ago, they told me roughly what you are saying. The gov gets priority dibs on ammo. They are indeed effectively keeping out of civies hands by buying it up.

      • avatarWallace Freeman says:

        Well if the government is buying up ammo that might be a good thing since they’ll probably end up selling it for pennies on the dollar or giving it away like government cheese. They might even do like they’ve done in the past and take it out and bury it somewhere. I live near a large military post and folks are always finding government property in interesting places. Someone found a bunch of 3″ rockets in a nearby lake and a kid pulled some Hoffman devices out of a park dumpster.

  3. avatarCitizen says:

    Shoot. I just checked and I’ve got some. At least I’ve got other stuff to plink with in the meanwhile.

  4. avatarDanRRZ says:

    No need to check my stockpile, would of had to help the driver unload the truck to score a brick of .22 around here.

  5. avatarPeter says:

    Oh man. I have an unopened 1000 round box of that stuff sitting on my shelf back home. I found it at Wall-Mart a couple months back and thought I’d about won the lottery.

    I’m going to be really disappointed if it turns out to be the recalled lot.

  6. avatarJaredFromTampa says:

    Well, crap. I seem to have 2 thousand round boxes of it sitting in my closet. My only .22 is an old Winchester Model 60 my grandpa left me. I don’t want to blow the thing up, but I also don’t want to send the stuff back. Are you sure a bolt action won’t give a rats ass? Super duper sure?

  7. avatardph says:

    I’ve got 3 thousand rounds of that stuff and it’s all good. Yeah for me.

  8. avatarAnon in CT says:

    Please excuse my ignorance – is there really sufficient room in the cartridge casing for a double ration of powder?

    • avatarDJ9 says:

      A charge that is technically twice the normal charge? Probably not. An overcharge, which may have been caused by the automated machinery TRYING to double-charge a case, and the excess falling out as the bullet is seated? Oh, yeah. And it doesn’t have to be a 2x charge to ruin your gun, and your day. 1.2x is probably enough to burst a case and send your extractor into orbit.

      Or send it into your face…

      • avatarJoshinGA says:

        I dont know about 1.2x the powder charge completely destroying your gun/ruining your day. Im thinking from a legal standpoint they had to issue the recall because this ammo exceeds the SAAMI pressure specs and thus makes them legally liable for any injury/damage to firearms using this ammo. It would be interesting to me to see what sort of load (and pressures) it would take to make a modern firearm in good repair fail dangerously with a .22LR. I’m curious if its even possible. I think many internal parts would suffer failure before it got to dangerous levels.

        • avatarDJ9 says:

          Well, the “completely destroying” phrase is yours, not mine. I did say it would ruin the gun, and having seen multiple .22 rifles of various action types with the extractors blown off, magazines damaged, or other major problems caused by blown .22 case heads, I would submit to you that while not destroyed, these guns were, in the short term at least, ruined, as they would no longer function correctly (or safely, in some cases). In one case, the plastic AR-style upper receiver had to be replaced with a new one due to a hole caused by the burst case.

          I would also say that many folks underestimate the explosive power of a .22 cartridge, and I myself have fallen into this trap. I once saw a .22 rifle barrel on display at a gunsmith’s shop that was split in half for almost its full length, banana-peel-style, and the gunsmith insisted that it was caused by being fired with a simple plug of snow in the bore. I called BS on it, but he took it down and let me examine it closely, and there was no evidence of anything but a plugged bore (bulge where the split began), and it had a .22 LR chamber and markings of the company that made it. He also said it wasn’t even the first one he’d seen, although it was the only one he’d saved.

        • avatarJoshinGA says:

          As I mentioned, parts failures are more likely to occur than a dangerous failure. Barrel obstructions are completely different animal than over-pressure in the chamber.

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      That was my first thought as well…

  9. avatarPulatso says:

    Dammit, I found a brick of M-22 about a year ago. Luckily, I’m using 20 year old Winchester for what little plinking I do, so it’s sitting untouched. I’ll have to check the lot number when I get home.

  10. avatarWI Patriot says:


  11. avatardeft says:

    I’ve had nothing but problems with winchester ammo. No primer compound in the primer… OAL way too long…. Now double charges in .22lr wtf.

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      M-22 has been really good for me. In fact, it is my preferred .22LR ammo for semi-autos. I luckily couldnt find any of it the past year, so this doesnt affect me. But from previous lots I had very very few failures, think match grade stuff failure levels. Now other Winchester .22LR are a different story entirely…

      • avatarlolinski says:

        How many FTFs do you have on average? I shoot Eley (supposed to be good) and have a FTF or two every 100-150 rounds. this is match grade stuff, but how does average ammo fare? I am especially interested in CCI standard velocity.

        • avatarJoshinGA says:

          With M-22, I shot a 1000 round box on a single outing and had less than 10 FTF (I think the exact number was 4 or 5). I have had similar experiences with every other use of M-22, but never count FTFs. I dont think match grade is worth it unless you have a rifle where it would make a difference, and you care that much about small variations in accuracy.

        • avatardeft says:

          winchester bricks of 22lr have had up to 1/7 completely fail, no primer… hit it with different guns multiple times on the failed rounds. only ammo I ever returned.

          The win 223 stuff is fine for me tho.

        • avatarlolinski says:

          It makes a difference to me since I shoot with a 2000 dollar target rifle. That is the reason I buy the “good” ammo. That and its pretty quiet (subsonic out of a 50 cm that is 20 inch barrel).

  12. avatarDJ9 says:

    This is the third .22 ammo recall that Winchester has suffered upon us .22 rimfire shooters in the last 8 years. There were also recalls in 2006 and 2007, and the 2007 recall was for the same problem (but not in the M-22; it was a different load).

    I had a chance to buy some Winchester .22 ammo several months ago.

    I passed.

  13. avatarsteve says:

    Just checked mine and they are different lot numbers. Thanks for this article. I don’t like the idea of gun blowing up in my face.

  14. avatarSteve in MD says:

    Crap. I overpaid for a box of those. I hope the lot number doesn’t match.

  15. avatarWassim Absood says:

    It’s not a flaw, it is a design feature: 22lr +P ammo for all your tacticool plinking needs.

  16. avatarKCK says:

    If you bored out a bolt .22 to accommodate a WMR cartridge, wouldn’t that be equal to running a double charge so how much more stout is a .22 WMR rifle chamber and bolt than an LR gun?

    Also, my single six gives a nice blast as not all of the WMR powder is burned by the time the bullet exits the muzzle probably the same in the LR cylinder with an over charge.

    • avatarKCK says:

      This was written in a Firing Line Forum by FrankenMauser on February 17, 2011, 02:14 PM

      “.22 LR has an average powder charge of 1.3 to 1.8 grains.
      .22 WMR has an average powder charge of 6.5 to 7.5 grains.
      -And, yet again, .22 WMR has more than 4-5 times as much.”

      Is this true? If so, a double charge of LR is still only 1/2 of WMR?
      Does this affect anyones comments?

      • avatarsupton says:

        Double charge in a smaller case means… Well I don’t know, other than it will be way more than double the pressure. A case where you increase the numerator while simultaneously reducing the divisor. The resultant pressure could be beyond WMR.

        WMR has a bigger case and needs more powder to overcome that also.

        • avatarKCK says:

          I know little of the micro physics of cartridge inter action so this is a question or theory not a rebuttal.
          As soon as a pressure threshold is reached, the bullet moves down the barrel and increasing the effective volume
          of the case as is the situation of a muzzle loader. The barrel becomes the case.
          With a straight case as opposed to a bottle neck it would seem as though the bullet itself would act as a pressure release blow off valve. The small friction surface area of the 40gr .22 would have self-limiting ability to resist movement to produce a great deal of pressure buildup, a lot less than the bolt or the side walls of the chamber and barrel.
          I can see a cycling problem in an auto loader with split cases and flaming debris out of the breech but in a bolt gun the only way out is down the barrel. The bullet is what is going to give.
          Any firearm physicist out there?

  17. avatarmike says:

    Had a single M22 bullet case rupture in my pistol last year. Thankfully all it did was cake my hands with powder. I probably had one of those bad lots. Too late now though, already shot the whole box/case.

  18. avatarAccur81 says:

    I’ve got 2500-3000 rounds of Win .22 LR, but none of it is the M22. I hope those are the only lot affected.

  19. avatarChuck says:

    Glad mine appears to have missed the bad lots; this stuff cycles nicely in my AR with 22LR upper…

  20. avatarBluntpirate says:

    If they want my recalled ammo they will need to send me a case for every recalled box.that is wasting my time and money i was wondering why my 10-22 was louder than norm i kinda like it

  21. avatarNoishkel says:

    Well make sure to smack my brother next time I see him… He works at the factory that makes it. >,,>

  22. avatarJoe Grine says:

    In my experience, Winchester .22LR bulk packs are the lowest quality domestic .22LR ammo made. I generally avoid it if possible.

    • avatarGunr, from Oregon says:

      Then you have probably never tried Remington “Golden bullet” I bought 3 525 round boxes a bout three years ago. I average about 3 FTF’s a hundred, sometimes more, Now I just use it in my 22 revolvers. There is hope though, It’s almost gone.

  23. avatarNarcoossee says:

    NOTE! The recall is only for TWO LOTS of M-22. Just because you have some M-22 in your inventory, that doesn’t mean it’s been recalled.

  24. avatarmike says:

    Silver lining here. If Winchester replaces each bad box with 2 good ones as a courtesy, everyone’s gonna wish they had the bad lots lol.

    • avatarMichelle says:

      How’s that a silver lining? So far they don’t even say they’re going to replace it, just that they’ll “arrange for a free UPS pick-up”. Then we get to wait and maybe in 2015 something might happen.

      Maybe we’ll get a check for the MSRP of it, regardless of how much it cost at the time.

      I have 4000 rounds of it. Knowing my luck, its all in those lots.

      All Winchester -has- to do is send me a check for around $30 and say “Well, thanks, and good luck.”

  25. avatarBrian says:

    I don’t have any of this ammo, but that’s pretty scary, especially since I let my 6-year-old shoot my M&P 15-22 (supervised, of course).

  26. avatarTom in Oregon says:

    I’m don’t think I’ve seen that color/brand around here.
    Still going to have to check the ammo cans to be sure. Bummer.

  27. avatarHannibal says:

    As mistakes go, this is a pretty bad one to let out of the factory. I can see a bad primer in a box, but boxfulls of overcharged rounds? Is there no lot testing?

  28. avatarsupton says:

    Ruger only load for 22lr!

    Seriously, no random sampling of the lot prior to shipping? They don’t pull random rounds from each line and test for pressure, powder weight, etc?

  29. avatarNyoka Tisa says:

    OK, my lot number is “109N93″(the “3″ is printed upside down for some unknown reason)…
    Guess I dodged the bullet, so to speak, this time…
    BTW, the Wincester white box lead hollow points work very reliably in my .22 AR, although it burns dirty as hell and requires thorough cleaning afterward….

    • avatarDJ9 says:

      As most of those letters and digits EXCEPT for the “3″ can be viewed upside down, and either be the same, or different, are you sure your lot number isn’t 36N601?

  30. avatarPulatso says:

    Mine is 2GD-62L, so I guess I’m good. Still not impressed with Winchester leaving out any details on compensation or replacement.

  31. avatarJshuaS says:

    I bought 1000rd M22 just a couple of weeks ago, for my dad. He just got a Ruger Single 6 convertible. Figured he would be fine, tank after all. But checked anyways and gtg.

  32. avatarDon1974 says:

    I’ve got 2,000 rounds of this stuff. 1,000 of it is the recalled ammo. There is no mention on Winchester’s press release or their website about compensation other than they will pick it up for free. Gee thanks! Anyone that has info would be appreciated. Thanks.

  33. avatar2hotel9 says:

    Never liked Winchester .22lr, have not bought any in 20 or so years.

  34. avatarRic says:

    I’ve been looking for 22LR for months but it seems it all must be hanging out with Unicorns and Leprechauns because its certainly non-existent!

    I put absolutely nothing past our government… No civilian entity can possibly be buying ammo so fast that it can’t find its way to Walmart or even the on-line vendors!

  35. avatarEd says:

    I can’t figure it out. The casing must have a big air pocket if they can stuff twice the power in it.

  36. avatarDaniel says:

    could it be that this possibly a red herring paid for by the government to put out this warning, to reduce the number of rounds private gun owners actually possess? Just saying…

  37. avatargary aldridge says:

    I have 2000 rounds of m22, 1000 rounds of the recalled, Winchester told me they would send me a check for $100. for the box and pick up, I don’t want to sell my ammo, I want it replaced, there not interested in that, think ill just keep,

  38. avatarJake Healey says:

    Similar problem. I bought five thou rounds of the 22 Golden Bullet Short. Thinking they’d be like the CCI shorts I use to tap squirrels but Noooo, those golden shorts are like LR longs +P. Freaked me out with my 1941 mod 60.

  39. avatarBob Katerle says:

    Could we just weigh every round? What else do i have to do while watching the Olympics? Mine are stamped 2GD52L are these in the recall?

    • avatarBob Katerle says:

      Just called them,They are in the recall. They wanted to mail me a check till i told them i wanted replacement ammo. the replacement ammo is the same type m-22.

  40. avatarFrank Ivey says:

    This is the way the government stops gun use you can bear all the arms you want just don’t have ammo for them. Simple huh?

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