Calibers for Beginners: .22LR

Calibers for beginners .22LR New Shooters

The Calibers for Beginners series has been dedicated to delivering fast facts about some of today’s most common, controversial, and useful cartridges in a way that’s easy for new shooters to grasp. So far we’ve looked at a diverse group of cartridges to include the ever-popular 9x19mm, the slowly dying .40 S&W, and the love/hate relationship with the 6.5 Creedmoor (or Crudmore depending on your stance). What we haven’t looked at yet is arguably the uncontested king of beginner’s cartridges: the venerable .22LR.

The .22LR is probably the most popular cartridge in the world. It has been made in the trillions and it’s safe to say that virtually every American knows someone who owns a gun that fires it. It’s used worldwide for sport shooting including Olympic events, small bore matches, and pistol shoots. It’s also a very popular small game cartridge and is often the very first round a young hunter uses.

The universal popularity of .22LR is due to several factors that make it not only a great beginner’s cartridge, but a good cartridge for any shooter. Here’s a short list of why the .22LR is so universally popular:

• Cost effective The .22LR is, by comparison to centerfire cartridges, very cheap. A recent trip to my local Cabela’s revealed that it can be had by the bucket of 1,400 rounds or more for about $75-80. You can get in a tremendous amount of practice for very little expense with this cartridge.

• Widely availabile The .22LR can be found almost anywhere, from grocery stores to your jean pockets and under the cushions of your sofa. There are dozens of manufacturers that produce all kinds of variations of the ammo, from cheap plinking bulk stuff to high end match-grade.

• Low recoil Because most .22LR bullets weigh only about 40gr, are made of soft lead, and travel at about 1,000fps, recoil is very, very low. That makes shooting a .22LR rifle nothing but enjoyment and a new shooter can simply focus on marksmanship instead of worrying about recoil management.

• Low noise Yes, you should always wear hearing protection when shooting. Guns are loud — even a .22 — and your hearing is worth protecting. That said, the .22LR generates far less noise than virtually any centerfire, even in a handgun, so it isn’t a terrifying experience for a newbie. I’ve seen guys bring their ladies and kids to the range and have them shoot their magnum chambered rifles and it’s never been pretty.

• Great accuracy Most .22LR rifles and pistols out there are pretty darn accurate at their effective ranges. I’ve shot some rifles from the 1900’s and earlier and they shoot like they were made yesterday. Granted, there are some guns that aren’t great, but the majority of what’s available today at very reasonable prices is pretty darn good. That also helps learners with building their skills. A teen who gets his hands on a cheap, single-shot .22LR will probably be a better marksman in the long run than the kid who has a semi-auto and dumps mags.

The new shooter may be, at least at the gun store, treated to a series of facts about .22LR that aren’t so much facts as they are misguided fables. These are usually spun for the uninformed and you’ve probably heard them thrown around.

• A .22 isn’t powerful. I’ve heard this all over and some people try to treat a .22 as a toy. This is fatally wrong in many cases. A .22, like any gun, is a lethal weapon and can easily kill a human being. This isn’t meat to scare you, just to emphasize that a .22LR firearm must be treated with respect, like any other gun. This carries over to the next one.

• The .22LR kills more people per year than any other cartridge. Again, kinda false, kinda true. The prevalence of the .22 makes it so that it is commonly used in self-defense, but it isn’t always a first choice for many, just the one that’s available at that moment. I’ve also heard that it can’t go through t-shirts or puffy jackets, which is utterly false. There are barrier and penetration issues with all bullets, not just .22LR.

• The .22LR is no good for self-defense. I’ve heard all three of these from the same guy in the same conversation. It’s all  hyperbolic nonsense. I’ll outline this simply for you here, dear beginner. The .22LR is a good round for self-defense. Does it have the velocity, muzzle energy, and recoil of a .357 Mag? Of course not. But a .22LR in the pocket beats a .357 at home. I believe that some of the best self-defense .22 guns are small revolvers, such as the Ruger LCR. An easy-recoiling 8-shot .22 that doesn’t have feeding or reliability issues is ideal for many shooters and the LCR is all of the above. I’d rather you have some gun than no gun at all.

• .22 can be used on deer and other larger game if you’re an expert/godmode hunter. This is wrong, both morally and ethically. There are people who advertise this as a way to seem tough or something, which nobody actually cares about in real life. These are the same people who play make-believe sniper on animals at long range, brag of stalk hunting with dull knives, and binge play Call of Duty to teach kids a ‘lesson’ in ‘respect’. They can be found at places like this if you need further reference. A .22LR should never, ever be used on deer-sized game. A .22 is best used on small game like rabbits, squirrels, and sometimes coyote at fairly close ranges. It’s not cool, admirable, or morally defensible to shoot deer-sized game with a .22LR at any range.

• .22 LR isn’t reliable. It’s true that a rimfire cartridge like the .22 is generally more prone to failure than a centerfire cartridge. This has to do with the priming compound that’s pressed into the rim, which isn’t the most reliable way to make powder go bang. I’ve noticed that I have more .22LR ‘duds’ than I do with centerfire cartridges, but even at that it’s usually not more than two or three rounds out of 1,000. In short, a .22 is plenty reliable.

Basically, every single large gun maker makes a number of .22LR guns. There are literally too many to list here, but I’ll highlight some of the best options available today.

• Ruger The 10/22 rifle is probably the most popular single .22 rifle ever made and for good reason. It’s available in a range of models and there’s a market for older collector versions as well. Ruger also makes guns like the Mark IV and 22/45 pistols (TTAG reviews coming soon), revolvers like the LCR and Bearcat, and many others.

• Smith & Wesson S&W makes some excellent .22LR guns, especially their revolvers. A great .22LR made for carry is their 43C, which is an extremely lightweight, 8-shot revolver that can slip into a pocket. This company has made dozens of .22LR guns over the years, far too many to list here.

• Remington This company has a long history of making good .22LR rifles. Some of the finest target rifles made, such as the 40X, come from Remington.

• Henry Repeating Arms If you’re not a sem-iauto person, Henry makes some of the coolest lever-action rifles available today. They are just about the perfect rifle for a new shooter, as they have good capacity, no mags to fumble, are supremely reliable, and very accurate.

There is so much to cover with the .22LR that there’s no way to cover it all here. In addition to being the ultimate beginner’s cartridge, the .22LR offers a great number of advantages to all shooters regardless of age or skill.

 

Pistol in the title photo is a Ruger Mark IV Target in stainless with a threaded muzzle (TTAG review to come). Chickens in title photo are Speckled Sussex, the chicken that all serious gun enthusiasts should have. (It’s a proven fact their eggs raise your scores.)

comments

  1. avatar Bloving says:

    “Twenty-twos are made to make people smile”

    I sincerely want that engraved on a wooden plaque and hung on the wall behind the .22 case at my shop.
    🤠

    1. avatar DrewR says:

      I think I’m going to head out back and smile some right now.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      yeah,..now that the price has finally come down and the availability improved….

  2. avatar DrewR says:

    I think that every American should be trained on a quality 22 rifle and 22 pistol as a child. The amount of fear and misinformation out there would drop to near zero and accidental shootings by kids would be nearly nonexistent. If you have a kid and a gun, it is your duty as a responsible parent to introduce that kid to safe gun handling and shooting (when they are old enough.)

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Yes, absolutely. When I was young, many schools actually owned a brace of quality rimfire rifles and they had rifle teams.

      My alma mata had a rifle team, equipped with Winchester 52’s. While I was there, the captain of the rifle team was a young woman who could shoot rings around just about everyone else. The rifles were owned by the school, and the ammo purchases were offset by the $50/semester “activity fee” that all students paid and which all clubs had ability to draw from…”

      We even had an indoor range, up on the fourth floor of the school administration building.

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        Brace = two, no idea what you were going for with that
        * Alma mater

        My HS didn’t have any firearm classes so I’m a little jelly.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          You’re right on the choice of word ‘brace’. As I recall, it was eight rifles or so.

          This was in college, not HS. In HS, people would bring in their hunting shotguns on the first day of deer season, and the principal had a locker in his office to store shotguns brought to school so that kids could go hunting straight out of high school at 3:00 pm.

          The anti-gun harridans have no idea how much guns used to be normal and accepted around children. These shrieking females have raised a couple generations of idiot children who cannot withstand contact with the real world.

        2. avatar Stop it says:

          …but your HS evidently excelled at picking nits in diction and spelling. Congrats!

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        competitive shooting with this caliber requires you to put a .22 caliber bullet through a .22 caliber hole…and is quite demanding and not always the most comfortable type of shooting…plinking it ain’t!…..

  3. avatar Nigel the expat says:

    Shouldn’t this have come earlier in the “beginner” series?

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Just a little…

  4. avatar OpinionsNotFact says:

    I agree a 22 should not be used on deer or larger game but “can’t” be used misleading and completely inaccurate. It “can” be used and unfortunately some do use it though legally speaking that Varies upon location. Many older generations used the 22 quite handedly and provided deer and other larger game animals.

    Everyone has their opinion so it’s clear not using it is yours.

    Carry on..

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      poachers do it routinely….

    2. avatar Jim Wilkins says:

      I have killed a deer with a .22 rifle. It was a doe that had been hit by a car. Her hip was broken and she was in enough pain that she was drooling. I don’t advocate the regular hunting of deer with rimfires, however. That for the same reason I no longer hunt medium game with a handgun.

  5. avatar Cole says:

    Very good article. TTAG should make a section of the website that has just these Calibers for beginners articles. I know they are under the Guns for beginners tab but a year from now someone would have to page through dozens of pages under that tab to find this one. One spot with all of the calibers for beginners articles would make it very easy for beginners to learn about some of the most common calibers without having to search or page through to find them all.

  6. avatar Ing says:

    If you’re looking for a cheaper option than the Ruger, Remington, or Henry .22 rifles, the Marlin Model 60 is your ticket.

    Heck, even if price doesn’t matter to you, it’s still your ticket. It’s inherently accurate (arguably more accurate than any of the above), totally reliable, will last forever with minimal care & cleaning, and costs about half the price.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with those other rifles. I own a Henry .22, and it’s a sweee-eet little thing. Love it. But nothing beats the Marlin Model 60 in terms of bang for your buck. It’s probably the ultimate low-risk, high-reward starter rifle.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      Back when I was 10 my Grandfather gave me his Dads Marlin 1897. Interesting rifle, like your lever action but it could reliably shoot shorts, longs and long rifle cartridges. And way before Rugers takedown it could be disassembled. But back then I was not allowed to do that.
      I was allowed to use shorts to shoot it and the first time I shot a 22 LR in it I was surprised by the noise.
      I had bought the box of LR myself. At a drug store no less, I was into ham radio so my slight electronics knowledge came in handy as dad would not pull the tubes out of the TV . So would I remove the tubes, take them to the drug store and test them. Remember the rejuvenation function most of them had? Push the button watch the filament glow brightly then test it again. If bad grab the replacement tube from under the testor and go pay. While there I saw boxes of ammo and bought a box.
      This rifle also taught me a valuable lesson.
      I was told don’t shoot anything other than targets unless I wanted to eat it.
      So my brother and I were out working our way along the edge of a field and I see a blackbird on a post. I took careful aim and dropped it. And was surprised to see my dad come up behind me. He said nothing but went over and gathered the bird and said come on. I got to learn how to clean a small bird and he took it inside. Now I did not think he would follow through but at supper that night there sat the little bird on my plate.
      The lesson I learned? Don’t let dad catch you.
      Sadly I do not have it anymore. While I still lived down in Miami and was getting ready to move over to the west coast we put our house up for sale. I arrived at home one day and noticed the door in the carport was open. I walked into a emptied house. I mean everything was gone. Neighbors told me a large truck with moving signs on it had backed up to the carport and they just assumed we were moving.

    2. avatar 16V says:

      ” Ruger The 10/22 rifle is probably the most popular single .22 rifle ever made and for good reason.”

      It is the rifle with the most mods available.

      Popular? Bwah, hah, hah. Ruger has sold around 6MM. The Marlin/Glenfield 60? 12MM.

      Facts, not feelz kid….

    3. avatar Furious George says:

      I bought my Marlin 60 about 1990. The bore is still pristine, and while I didn’t know it at the time, I got one of the “transitional” models that has the updated action with the bolt hold-open, but still has the 22″ barrel and the 17+1 capacity. It’s one of my favorite guns, easily holds minute of squirrel out to 100 yards, and I have trained several friends with it due to its low recoil and a magazine that supports a satisfying mag dump once in a while. Still haven’t bought a 10/22 because I don’t see why I need one. 😉

    4. avatar frank speak says:

      got a mossberg 146…with the original long scope and eye cup…that sucker shoots as well as any of the target rifles i’ve used in the past….

    5. avatar Scoutino says:

      And if you don’t mind paying more for all steel rifle that is very accurate and will serve you for rest of your life (and then your kids and grandchildren) look into some CZ 455.

  7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘.22 can be used on deer and other larger game if you’re an expert/godmode hunter.’

    I can’t attest to the truthfulness of the story, but I had an old friend that worked on a ranch in Idaho back in the 80s and he claimed to know an Indian who was dirt poor and all he had was a single shot .22 rifle, but he used it to hunt moose. Apparently he’d just put a few rounds into it’s lungs and follow it around for a few days until it dropped. Probably thought it was being stung by bees or something. I do believe it’s plausible, and most anything is ethical if you’re hungry enough.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      usually shoot ’em in the ear at close range….

  8. avatar Brian says:

    I must be shooting garbage ammo because I get WAY more than 2 or 3 problem rounds out of 1,000.

    They are definitely less reliable to feed than centerfire in semiautomatic, both because of their shape and the bullet simply isn’t seated that tight/deep.

    Good article, though!

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      If you’re getting that many duds, you probably are shooting junky ammo.

      Too many people judge .22 ammo as follows: “What cheapest? That’s best.”

      In match-grade .22 ammo with Eley primers, I can’t remember the last time I had a round fail to ignite.

      But Remington green-box ‘target’ ammo? Holy crap, it would have two duds per hundred.

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      CCI Mini Mags are very reliable for .22. I’d rather have reliable .22 at 5-9 cents a round than a whole lot of 3-4 cent ammo that doesn’t work. Match ammo is a lot more, but you get what you pay for. They may be slower but they are much more accurate. Reloading a .22 LR is theoretically possible, but yields hideously unreliable ammo (based on the reports I’ve seen) that isn’t worth the effort.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        try to stick to CCI “stingers” in my NA mini…seem to hit pretty hard…..

    3. avatar Jim Wilkins says:

      Have you tried cleaning the firing mechanism of your gun? .22’s will build up a layer of wax that will sometimes cushion the firing pin causing intermittent failures to fire. The bullets are lubricated with a waxy substance.

  9. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    When I was a callow youth in the 1960s .22s were seen as “almost, but not quite” guns. You went to boy scout or church camp and got an hour of marksmanship every day with a single shot Remington bolt action. I learned to shoot that way back around 1964. We also did Bible studies which would make heads explode today. .22 ammunition was less than a penny a round and I can remember going to the local hardware store with a buck and walking out with a hundred rounds of Remington or Federal long rifles, but only after the clerk had called my mother or aunt to verify that it was “okay” for a 12 year old to buy ammunition.

    We’ll never see .22s for a penny a round again but right now they’re relatively inexpensive – so cheap that plinking with a .22 can be a great form of entertainment. Even people who are afraid of center fire pistols or rifles will shoot a .22 firearm because its not a “real” gun in their minds.

    .22 rifles and pistols are available at very reasonable prices. The author doesn’t mention my favorite .22 semi auto pistol – the Browning Buck Mark. The Browning vs Ruger debate is one of those Ford vs Chevy things. I own a couple of Rugers but I’m firmly in the Browning camp for pistols. No matter which brand you choose a quality .22 pistol will work just fine.

    The .22 has a place in the self defense universe. There are lots better cartridges but the .22 far exceeds harsh words, rocks and sharp sticks. Lots of elderly people can’t handle much more. My 70 year old 4’10” 95 pound wife has an old Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 mag (that’s a discussion for another day) as her nightstand gun and I truly believe that anybody who messes with her will have lots of fun explaining to St Peter where those six holes in their heart came from. Gun control is hitting the target and I’d rather hit with a .22 than miss with a .44 magnum. I hear of gang bangers saying that getting shot really wasn’t that big of a deal and meth heads and crazies don’t care anyway but the old statement that “nobody wants to get shot” is still pretty valid. A decent shot with a .22 can put multiple hits on the target which means more loss of blood pressure, more trauma, and maybe more luck with even a blue state jury because the shooter only used a .22, not some super powerful magnum round. I’m not advocating that everybody give up their 9mms, .38/357s, .45s etc but I am saying that given the choice between an older or infirm family member shooting a .22 because that’s all that they can handle or nothing at all beyond a cell phone, I’ll go with the .22 every day.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      Adjusted for inflation, .22 ammo is WAY cheaper now than it was in 1964. Today, you can get it for around 4 cents a round. A penny in 1964 would be worth 10-15 cents today. In 1964, silver was still used in coinage, and the USA was still sort of using the gold standard. The dollar really has been badly debased over the last fifty years.

      Curious about the Bible studies that would make heads explode – sounds like fun

      I agree that a .22 can make an ok defensive gun for the elderly, infirm, or or just gun shy folks. My wife and I are in our 40s, but she only likes to shoot 22s. It’s better than nothing.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      my ruger mkII can put 11rds so fast it’s impossible to count them…no wonder it’s a mob favorite!….

  10. avatar Hannibal says:

    “The .22LR is a good round for self-defense. Does it have the velocity, muzzle energy, and recoil of a .357 Mag? Of course not. But a .22LR in the pocket beats a .357 at home…”

    I mean… that last sentence is true, as far as it goes, but it could be said of almost anything. There’s a lot of options between a .22 in the pocket and a .357 at home. I would not call it a ‘good round’ for self defense given all those many options out there. If it’s your only option for some reason, okay, but that doesn’t make it good.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      How about a holstered .357 magnum on your hip? That said, I’d bet you’d be hard pressed to find an example of an attacker who took 11 rounds of .22 to the face and didn’t break off his attack. Personally I’d like to see more (or any), LCP sized .22s. They all seem to be at least in the LC9 size or up. I could see a lot of people preferring a 10oz .22 over a 10oz .380, even if the latter is a bit more powerful.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      wonder how many of you guys who “tote the badge” have seen that training video of a traffic stop by big, burly state trooper of a small, harmless-looking black guy…the trooper lets his guard down for a moment and the perp shoots him under the arm..just above the vest…fatally wounding him with a NA mini….and escaping the scene…yeah,..it can happen!

  11. avatar Ed says:

    “..the slowly dying .40 S&W..” I didn’t know this was an opinion article. EVERYTHING new I buy is either .40 sw or 10mm. All reloading components are interchangable except brass and if you’re not a little girl, recoil shouldn’t be a problem.

    1. avatar DrewR says:

      You must not have read the rest of this series if you didn’t know this was an opinion article. It’s fine that you like and buy 40, but he isn’t entirely wrong to call it a “slowly dying caliber,” though I would lean more towards “a caliber of fading popularity.”
      In my area, at least, 40s sit in the display case far longer than most anything else, and at least one LGS has decided it isn’t cost effective to carry new or used 40s, they have some used ones for quite good prices yet the last time I was in they said they hadn’t moved a 40 in six months.
      I have nothing against 40, but I don’t personally see much advantage to it. I am going to buy a 10mm though, as there are definite, substantial increases in performance. I might pick up a 40 just in case there is another ammo shortage, though.

    2. avatar Midwestexile says:

      In the previous article on the .40, the author defined slowly dying as losing market share to the 9mm among defensive handguns. I am sure guns for the .40 will continue to exist and the 10mm is resurging in hunting platforms. The series actually started with guidance for new shooters on defensive handguns, for some of whom “little girl” would be literally accurate. Even the FBI decided the 10mm was not everyone’s cup of tea. Enjoy living in a country where you have choices and the right to your opinions too.

      1. avatar Ed says:

        Yes, but anyone who recomends .22lr for any type of self defense is doing the advisee a serious dis-service. “The .22LR is no good for self-defense. It’s all  hyperbolic nonsense.” This is a completly false statement. Anyone with HALF a brain knows that there is NO stopping power behind even the heviest .22 rounds. People shooting under stress are not as accurate, but this is where practice comes in. Even most elderly ladies can handle a .38 special fueled by adrenaline under stress. Bottom line is you should be using the largest caliber comfortable to the end user and only the frailest of the frail can’t handle at least a .380. Yes, a .22lr will kill…but it may be 3 days later.

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          aim for the eye……..

    3. avatar John in AK says:

      If the .40 S&W was renamed to ’10mm Creedmoor,’ it would soon become the Hottest Thing Since Sliced Bread, a veritable Miracle Cartridge capable of being used in pistols sized for the measly .355x.75 DeutschesWaffenPistolePatrone but offering nearly the power of the 10mm Auto in a shorter case, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, with flatter trajectory, more energy, and longer range than any other similar cartridge ever even imagined.
      Sadly, ‘.40 S&W’ just doesn’t ‘sing’ enough. That is also why the .256 Gibbs never caught on; If it had just been named ‘6.5mm Wimbledon,’ back in 1913 just imagine. . .
      Alas!

  12. avatar Nanashi says:

    I’d add a Savage 64F to list of guns. It’s one of the cheapest firearms you can buy and freefloated for accuracy (something most entry 22 rifles can’t claim).

  13. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    You can judge how serious a shooter you’re dealing with by the quality of the .22’s s/he owns.

    I have met some serious shootists who had far more time and money invested in centerfire pistols/rifles than their .22’s – but darn, darn few.

    My favorite comment by a serious F-class competitor: “Oh, that’s just my Winchester 52D…”

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Mine was made in the early 60s. It was one of the guns passed down to me by an uncle who was a professional balistician for about 50 years. I am surpised at it’s current value, but it will never be for sale.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Don’t be surprised at the current value.

        And don’t be surprised what value it eventually attains. Look at the prices being given on some pre-war Model 70’s… 52’s can go higher. Much higher.

  14. avatar Arandom Dude says:

    This series is pretty goofy. .45 isn’t obsolete, .40 isn’t dying, and .22 isn’t a good choice for defense. It is better than nothing, but it isn’t good. Yes, people have been killed with .22, but that doesn’t make it a good option. If the stars align so that .22 is your only option, use what you have, but don’t delude yourself about its effectiveness. Then again, the author of this series is a die hard 9mm fan, so I suppose it’s only logical that he thinks .22 is a good choice for defense.

    1. avatar Josh Wayner says:

      I don’t usually reply to my own articles unless I need to clarify something. I’m not a diehard 9mm fan. I don’t even own a 9mm. I primarily carry a .38+P or a .380 ACP. I think that 9mm does most people the most good, which is why I advocate for it above others available today to new shooters. I do think it offers the most as far as technology, ammo capacity, and size as compared directly to .40 and .45. Why don’t I carry one regularly? I just don’t find it to be exciting. I have between 3 and 10 9mm pistols here at my office at any time for review and I get my fill of them.

      And, as stated above, I’d rather have a recoil-sensitive beginner carry a .22 than no gun at all. Not everyone is macho or has meaty wrists. The gun community can have tunnel vision when it comes to what ‘normal’ people use on a daily basis. If you look at my survey articles here on TTAG and elsewhere you will find that I have great knowledge of what the general population considers a viable self-defense cartridge.

      1. avatar Furious George says:

        You’re spot on here. My bedside handgun safe has a .357 Magnum for me (as well as electronic ears and tinted glasses, because Federal 357B is like the crack of doom and a flamethrower combined in a dark hallway), and my Ruger Mk.II 5.5″ bull barrel loaded with the CCI Stingers it loves for my wife. She is uncomfortable with something bigger, but she grew up in the sticks of Nevada, and with a .22, she has confidence and can knock the eye out of a grasshopper at 20 yards. Half a dozen misses with something bigger will be much less effective than her putting six or seven Stingers into an invader’s skull.

        Of course, if I’m home, as we make our way outside after calling 911, I’ll be in the lead with my 12 gauge and my Mini-14 in a two-point sling for a New York reload, but I trust her with my back despite only having a .22. She’s freaking Annie Oakley with that gun!

  15. avatar Mustrum says:

    Don’t forget the pump .22 rimfire rifles! My favorite design is the Winchester 1890 and its descendants … the only one still in production that I can think of is the Rossi

    1. avatar Mustrum says:

      nope it seems that Henry and Remington are the last ones standing still making a .22 rimfire pump gun…. I would have sworn it was Rossi sorry for the error

  16. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    sorry in advance but…

    22WMR !!!! Tack Driver!!
    The Creedmoor of .22s!!

  17. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Yeah, I agree with the guy above…….22WMR is much better. Has some power to it…So people in ammo testing said it’s the “Poor Mans 5.7 round…” I know its zippy…It was the first pistol type I shot when I was a kid….And I understand with the right ammo type…It can be the equivalent to a .380, or .38spl. ….

  18. avatar New Continental Army says:

    “• .22 can be used on deer and other larger game if you’re an expert/godmode hunter. This is wrong, both morally and ethically. There are people who advertise this as a way to seem tough or something, which nobody actually cares about in real life.“

    THANK YOU!!!! The single most annoying thing I read on gun blogs these days, is statements like that from fat pieces of shit who’ve never hunted in their life, let alone stepped outside their shitty apartment in the past week. Yeah, I saw the article about the .22 That killed a bear once too. Just because someone did something once, doesn’t make it a good idea. And just because that person did it, doesn’t make it possible for you or other people to do it either. Use an appropriate caliber for your desired game.

    1. avatar DrewR says:

      Yup, like the folks who think a .45 ACP is a good enough bear gun because that guy killed a bear with a Hi-Point ,45. They seem to forget it took him about twenty rounds shooting out of his upstairs window, not exactly what I’d call good medicine for bear.

  19. avatar samuraichatter says:

    “.22 can be used on deer and other larger game if you’re an expert/godmode hunter”

    Except that it has been used to harvest some serious mega fauna. I am not advocating it, and a strong argument could be made that it is indeed unethical (and oftentimes illegal), but 700+ lbs. crocodilians have been harvested w/ it.

    I know it would ad to cost and cause faster wear on barrels but .22lr in fmj (or a really hard lead solid) would add even more versatility to the cartridge. It can be done because it was done.

  20. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    Wow! This is about the largest response to “Beginner Cartridge” that I’ve seen. It is also the most appropriate article on this subject I’ve seen. It started both my children on a .22 Chipmunk. If you’re wise you’ll give them a wide berth if you have bad intentions. .22 LR should only be used on large game in survival situations. (Few and far between.) I do keep a .22 S&W 4″ stainless Kit Gun for the occasional dispatch in my hunt pack. Also, don’t skimp on the quality of your .22 firearms. They are amoung your most important.

  21. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    Wow! This is about the largest response to “Beginner Cartridge” that I’ve seen. It is also the most appropriate article on this subject I’ve seen. I started both my children on a .22 Chipmunk. If you’re wise you’ll give them a wide berth if you have bad intentions. .22 LR should only be used on large game in survival situations. (Few and for between.) I do keep a .22 S&W 4″ stainless Kit Gun for the occasional dispatch in my hunt pack. Also, don’t skimp on the quality of your .22 firearms. They are amoung your most important.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      definitely good for snakes…once took out a large one I had stepped on in the high grass with a snap shot to the head with my high standard sentinel…

  22. avatar Weapon Of War says:

    I also enjoy the .22 magnum, aka…..
    ..the .22 Creedmoor. Geez, now I’m doing it too. Sorry gents, won’t happen again.

  23. avatar Moltar says:

    Bought my oldest son a Mossberg 464 rimfire lever action and my middle son a Savage Rascal. Given a mulligan I’d buy 2 of the Savages. Great little guns.

    Also please try to avoid using 22lr for self defense use nothing smaller than a 380 or 38 spl. and make sure it is easy to find or that you have enough components to roll your own for your old, weird calibers.

  24. avatar CV says:

    The statement about the chickens has me cracking up.

  25. avatar Ralph Briese says:

    Try this out for bullet performance testing with all your calibers. I have shot into oak fire wood. Split it open when done. You can easily see just how powerful your bullet is. I do live out in the country where this is probably easier for me to do than most. One time I was building a chicken house. I was trying trying to drive 16 penny Commons nail in an actual 2 inch thick seasoned oak 2×4. The nails kept bending. I didn’t have a cordless drill (40 years ago & no electricity was close) so I got my Stevens single shot .22 & shot through the oak & then was able to get the job done. 2 inches of seasoned oak is mighty hard stuff & a .22 bullet will easily go through it. In seasoned oak fire wood my hard cast, 240 grain .44 magnums over 8.5 grains of Unique got about 6 inches penetration. Also .357 magnum 158 grain JHP got 4 inches . No .22’s aren’t ideal but I don’t want to be shot by one
    Ever. I just remembered this true happening to a young man I knew well. In an argument at a party. He got shot in the neck with a .22 rifle. He died right there.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      remember…one of these things almost took out reagan…even if the guy was using “devastator” bullets…when they fragment they’re a nightmare for surgeons…..

  26. avatar EDWARD M FREEDMAN says:

    I went from shooting 9mm, 38 special and 45 acp handguns back to primarily 22’s when I realized that the sound I was hearing instead of bang bang was money, money. I really love my Ruger Single 6 which also converts to 22wmr.

  27. avatar Higgs says:

    When I decided it was time to learn to shoot and purchase guns for home protection i reached out to a friend who is a FFL. She recommended a 22 pistol to learn on. Here reasoning was sound. With so little kickback, if you are not grouping your shots fairly well you have technique issues you need to address. Once you shoot well with a 22 with good shooting habits, then move to a larger caliber.

    It was great advice. Every member of my family has learned to shoot on that pistol. I was at the range for the first time with 2 of my daughters when the range master came by to say hello. We had dry practiced at home ( Safe for my particular 22), they knew the rules, and appeared to have good form. My girls were putting up 6 inch groups at 7 yards and 8 inch at 10 yards. He ask how often I took them shooting. He was shocked when he found out it was there first time, and said he had regulars that were not as consistent as my girls were. They have gotten better and are now doing 2 inch groups at 10 yards. They will some times shoot one of my 9mms and do well with it, but they love shooting 22 and they could use it to defend themselves quite well.

    Is the 22 the best defensive round. Ballistically no, that is science. However I do believe the best defensive round is the one you can put on target every time. If that happens to be a 22lr for you…. then carry it proudly.

  28. avatar dragos111 says:

    I have a Ruger 10/22. Great little rifle! I have a 3×9 Bushnell scope on it. At the plinking pond, it is a tack driver, breaking chunks of 2×4 wood and sending marshmallows flying with every shot! Great fun!

    I also had a Remington Nylon 66 for my son when he was growing up. With simple iron sites he could hit anything with that rifle. Also, it absolutely never failed to fire, even after a couple thousand rounds in a single sitting. That, too, was a great tool for teaching a young one to shoot!

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      some of the anti-castro groups sent into cuba by the CIA were actually equipped with nylon 66’s…[although they weren’t too happy about it!]….also the Israelies have successfully employed the AK-22…super quiet with a suppressor….

  29. avatar little horn says:

    i only disagree with the reliability statement but there are too many factors that go into play but my experience, they are flaky.

  30. avatar Accur81 says:

    Everyone should do themselves a favor and own at least on Henry pump or lever .22. Shoot some subsonic shorts in it as well – very quiet and huge fun.

  31. avatar craig k says:

    Any love for .22 Magnum?

  32. avatar TWP says:

    Good article except…

    “.22LR kills more people per year than any other cartridge. Again, kinda false, kinda true”

    No, as an unambiguous assertion of objective fact, this is either true or it isn’t. The reasons discussed later in the paragraph may help explain why or why not, but don’t make it ambiguous.

    Don’t be Snopes or Politifact.

  33. avatar Em says:

    I like shooting at targets with Rutger 9mm, but I am more accurate with my wife’s (pink handled) .22 Rutger revolver…
    Do I try to cover the pink with my hand? Well, maybe….
    But as I get older and the arthritis gets worse in my wrist, I may be getting my own .22LR. Like the article says, “any gun is better than no gun”….

  34. avatar El Duderino says:

    “This isn’t meat to scare you”

    I said that a few times at 2:30am back in my single days…

  35. avatar The Nothing says:

    Prior to last night, I haven’t shot .22 in over 30 years. This week, though, I bought my 5yo daughter a lil Savage Rascal. After dinner last night, I took it to the indoor range nearby to make sure the Rascal was going to work.

    I haven’t had so much fun shooting in a long time. Yes, I have fun shooting regularly, but that Rascal, as was said above, was made to put a smile on the face. And a different smile than the first 200yrd 1″ grouping.

  36. avatar Big Al says:

    Simple & all encompassing. The 22lr cartridge is THE very best choice for beginners. End of discussion.

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