.22LR is a fascinating round (well, to me, anyway). It’s used for everything from plinking, to pest control, to personal defense, even Olympic competitions use the little .22LR. I did a review of the North American Arms mini-revolver, and included a lot of ammo testing from that tiny handgun. Like many of us, I have a variety of .22 firearms, and I thought it’d be interesting to see how a few types of ammo would perform from different types of guns. Sometimes a round can be fantastic from a rifle, and terrible from a handgun (or, the other way around.) Accordingly . . .
I’m going to be conducting a series of three-barrel tests where I put the same ammo through three different guns with widely varying barrel lengths. The guns used in this testing are:
- a North American Arms mini-revolver with 1 1/8″ barrel;
- a Bersa Thunder 22 with a 3.5″ barrel, and
- a Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle with a 16″ barrel.
- CCI Velocitors, a hyper-velocity 40-grain hollowpoint
- Aguila SuperMaximum, a hyper-velocity 30-grain hollowpoint
- Aguila Sniper Subsonic, a low-velocity heavy 60-grain solid
- Winchester Power Point, a standard-velocity 40-grain hollowpoint
The PowerPoints didn’t really excel at anything. Disappointingly, they failed to cycle the handgun properly, so I wouldn’t use these in my semi-auto. The bullets all fragmented from the rifle, and from the handgun they didn’t really penetrate deep enough to meet the standards I’m looking for.
The Sniper SubSonics were fantastic from the rifle and very good from the handgun, but terrible from the mini-revolver (none penetrating more than 7″). They tumbled from the handgun, so even though they don’t expand, they could still end up doing a notable amount of damage. And, if you’re firing them through a silencer, these subsonic rounds should be very quiet.
The Supermaximums were intriguing; they were schizophrenic from the mini-revolver (two of the five were lousy, three of the five were superb). From the handgun and the rifle, they were nothing special. They weren’t bad, but the handgun rounds fell a little short of the desired distance. From the rifle they came up short and all fragmented. They would indeed put the hurt on something, but other rounds perform better.
The Velocitors were stellar from the rifle and from the handgun. They were a mixed bag from the mini-revolver; just like the Supermaximums, we had two that came up quite short, and three that were simply magnificent. From the handgun, these were the best performers, reaching very deep and expanding, too. And from the rifle, they were pretty much a textbook example of how you’d like .22LR rifle ammo to perform.