By Bryce Adam Prescott
It seems like not long ago a shooter could enter a gun store or Walmart and pick up a bulk pack of .22LR (usually around 500 rounds) for about $20 and have at least one fun trip of shooting; if not more. Unfortunately, those days are gone. Will they ever come back? Who knows. There are many hypotheses as to why the shortage and increased prices exist. Theses hypotheses vary from increased interest in shooting, more guns chambered for .22LR (which includes conversion kits), “prepping”, worries about ammo restrictions, etc. There is probably some truth in each of these hypotheses. Many also claim the small profit margins of .22LR offer little incentive for companies to pump out more ammo . . .
The amount of quality .22LR chambered guns that have come out in recent years is fantastic. The S&W M&P 15-22 opened many shooters eyes’ as to the fun and useful training that could be had by a “replica” .22LR. After that, a flood of new products came out like that Sig 522, S&W M&P .22LR pistol, takedown Ruger 10/22, various dedicated .22LR uppers, etc. (not necessarily in that order) just to name a few.
But now, with widely available .22LR costing nearly as much as .223/5.56 or 7.62×39, is there really a point to shooting or even owning a .22LR? This is a topic that is very much up for debate and I doubt that there will be a consensus anytime soon. Let’s examine some of the possible reasons to still own and shoot .22LR guns…
New shooter training
Many of us learned to shoot using a .22LR rifle when we were new. New shooters are often young, sound sensitive, and recoil sensitive. Even low recoil centerfire rounds are often too much for such shooters. The almost non-existent recoil and the low amount of noise make .22LR a perfect round for new shooters even if ammo costs a ludicrous $0.50 per round.
While the ammo is not as cheap as it once was, fortunately .22LR chambered guns have not increased in price that much. For less than $300, a person can buy a Ruger 10/22. For less than $200, a person can buy a Marlin 795. Getting a centerfire rifle is usually a $500-$600 proposal unless some surplus semi-automatic happens to be currently imported; which are becoming much more scarce.
Buying one type of ammo and being able to shoot it in both rifles and pistols is very convenient. While it’s true that this is possible with centerfire ammo, it is much easier to accomplish with .22LR.
Some game, like squirrels for example, are rendered nearly useless for consumption when shot by centerfire ammo. Centerfire ammo is simply too powerful for small animals. A hunter is much better served by using .22LR to kill such game which results in a much more usable carcas.
Ease of suppression
Suppressors are getting much more popular and .22LR is the easiest ammo type to suppress. Rimfire suppressors start at less than the price of the NFA tax stamp. Plus, .22LR is the only ammo that comes close to the “Hollywood quiet” that suppressors are rumored to have.
Don’t forget the most important reason. Biathlon.
I race and train biathlon. .22 plays a role, but at five bangs a lap, the gun-side of this sport is well beyond the ammo. Skating on snow at 20 mph on pencil-thin skis with a $3k Anschütz strapped to my back while prepping my heart rate to drop while using all major muscle groups at once puts the limited supply of .22 in perspective. In other words, a non-issue.
Which, by the way, yesterday my fav gun shop had a stack of 1000 round buckets of .22s, no limit. The price was not quite twice what I remember from the good old days. But not the good old old days. I’m sure those days are gone forever.
may as well just let’em go
I recently picked up 1k CCI quite and 2k CCI standard a month ago… Just recently I also picked up 5k Winchester Wildcats for $260…
It was better when they used full-power rifles.
I know it’s still hard, but I’d prefer to see ’em use centerfire.
“widely available .22LR costing nearly as much as .223/5.56 or 7.62×39”
Come on. The valid points you made are undermined by such hyperbole.
No kidding. I pay less than $17 for a 325 round Federal pack at the local Bi-Mart (if it’s in stock, about once a month lately.) Same pack runs about $20 at the local gun store, always in stock.
Consider yourself extremely fortunate if 325 round boxes of .22 LR ammunition for $20 are always in stock at your local gun store. This is not the case in much of the United States. In my part of the nation, most stores routinely have precisely NO .22 LR ammunition on the shelves. And on the rare occasion that a box of 325 or 550 rounds appears on the shelves, they can have a price tag of $30 or more. One or two gun stores occasionally have individual boxes of 40 or 50 rounds for $4 to $5 per box.
The truth of the matter for much of the U.S. is this: if you want a 325 to 550 round box of .22 LR right now, you will pay something like $30 to $50 per box from an online vendor … and that doesn’t include shipping costs. Those prices plus shipping are nudging the price into the 10 cents per round territory … not a far cry from the 20 cents per round territory that is sometimes available for 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition.
And when you consider the cost per box of .22 LR at gun shows (upwards of $70 per box of 500), now you are even closer to the price per round of bulk 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition.
We have 22lr all over the Dallas area. Cabelas had the big buckets at a fair price.
I’ve even seen it in Walmart last night
Yea, this guy talking crap about exaggeration in regards to .22 makes me chuckle. I’ve seen it so infrequently over the past 3 years that I don’t even KNOW what the going rate is. I may have seen it on shelves once or twice since Newtown.
Mine is probably an extreme case, but nobody should assume that their local market is representative of the national market. The .40 and .223/5.56 never dried up where I am whereas the last 6 years have been particularly hard on those two in other areas.
Always Keep in mind YMMV, we don’t all live in Muskogee…
“10 cents per round territory … not a far cry from the 20 cents per round territory that is sometimes available for 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition.”
Ok… so… 10 is “not a far cry from” 20.
And the 20 cent Russian gun rust in a steel case is “sometimes available.”
Last time I was at Cabela’s they had shelves of it for 10 cents a round.
Last time I actually bought it was when Cabelas had it on sale for 6 cents a round, several months ago.
And yet, 2 hours out from DFW we are still in the 22lr ammo drought in both supply and price.
Rather than picking nits, why not stop being obtuse and read what multiple people are telling you, Curtis… You’ve had three people point out that YOUR market is not EVERYBODY’S market.
Wloo area I haven’t seen 22 on the shelves in over a year. Oh, I take that back… I saw some cci shot shell 22 at 12.50 for a 50pack. The local farm store had a pack of 50 for 15.50 as well.
Yet I regularly hear people in MN and WI going on and on about the abundance of 7 cents/rd around them. Either we aren’t getting any in the area or jerkwads are still buying the cheap local stuff and selling online. Personally I can’t sit around and check 12 stores a day to try and get lucky enough to buy a single 500 pack.
Exactly! I’m occasionally finding .22 ammo at 5-9 cents per round (9 cents is for the better stuff like Mini-mags). Furthermore, I never pop off 500 rounds in one outing. That seems wasteful. I normally pop off around 100 rounds of .22 and then a few rounds of 9mm/.38sp/.40/.45/9×18/.357/.380/12 gauge/7.62X39 or 54R depending what guns I feel like shooting that day. All of those other cartridges cost at least 20 cents a round (except .38sp which I reload). Also, I wouldn’t consider paying $200 for a Marlin 795, $300 for a basic 10/22, or say that centerfire rifles cost at least $500-600. My 795 cost $129 (a year ago), and I recently picked up another Marlin 60 for $115, and an SKS for $315. I still love .22, and have a fair bit of ammo stored from years ago (purchased for less than $10/500).
what’s “wasteful” for you is a slow day for many. 1-2 bricks over the course of a weekend is not uncommon. you can consider it “wasteful,” but some of us like to shoot.
Duane is right, Art…
500 rounds in a session is not abnormal for me, and a pitifully small number for many. YMMV, but if it’s being enjoyed or put to actual work, it’s not wasteful at all IMO.
Duane and Matt – I also loved popping off hundreds of rounds of .22, when the price was 2-3 cents per round (and the ammo available). I don’t do it now though. We are 3.5 years into the great .22 ammo drought. I bought a bolt action .22 rifle, and a single action .22 revolver partly to slow down my ammo consumption. My Ruger SR22, Marlin 60, and 759 are all fun, but they can really blow through the stash. Still, even when the ammo was cheap, I’d usually get tired of shooting after a couple hundred rounds.
Not too far from 9mm, though – where a case of 1000 can be had online for $200 easy.
Count your lucky stars then. In my stomping grounds when 22lr can be found people are often found standing around it in disbelief. At least until they grab the allotted limit. Prices,per 100 for the average stuff,around $5-$7 per hundred. On the stunningly rare occasion you see a brick,$30 is the bottom end.
Not really, .22LR runs about $0.09-$0.11 per round. I can find 9m for $.16
That’s what I have seen, but I gave up looking a while ago, maybe it’s gotten better. Used to be ~$150/1k for ok 556/762 vs. ~$0.01 for .22
Word. In the Orange County, CA area, you’ll see an empty space in the .22 LR section of your gun store shelf. Or maybe it $.09-.14$ a round with high California taxes. Cabela’s south of West Bend, WI near the 41/45 usually doesn’t have .22 LR or has a 1-2 box limit. If I buy it online the shipping costs negate savings. I travelled to northern CA and all the way to Depoe Bay, Oregon and every Wal Mart I stopped at had zero .22 LR except for the shotshell packs.
Compare that to cheapo 9mm ammo which can be under $.20 or 9mm reloads which can be even less. Plus the 9mm obviously has a lot more power, pushes a bigger bullet, and is just as accurate as typical .22 LR.
The .22 LR is a cool little round bit ammo is much more difficult to find for it than 9mm. The .22 can’t be reloaded while the 9mm can. I’ve switched to 9mm and .223 / 5.56 for volume shooting and only rarely shoot .22 LR.
The Newtown drought made me consolidate calibers and convince more than a few friends to do the same. I almost haven’t seen ANY .22 on shelves, but haven’t given a damn either.
When I am able to find 22lr around me, it goes for about 10 cents a round. I can reload 38 special for less than that. My levergun has become my defacto plinker with 125 grain 38 specials.
I know right. I can pick up bricks of .22 today if I wanted to for 10 cents a round, sometimes for as little as 8 cents a round. Yes, that is more than double what it use to be, but it still less than half the price of 9mm range ammo and only a 1/3 to a 1/4 of 5.56 ammo. Give me a break. Yes, .22 is hard to come by at pre-panic prices, but even at the “inflated” prices (supply and demand, folks) in online classifieds and forums, it is still a far cry cheaper than center fire cartridges.
He should’ve included 9mm. It’s superior to .22 all around, and is nearly the same price.
If you are paying 50 cents a round for .22 then you have never heard PT Barnums famous quote. “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
If someone is paying the same price for .22 LR as .223, they are getting ripped off. Just check the prices on Ammo Seek. I haven’t had a problem purchasing .22 ammo online for years. And it’s much cheaper than .223.
I just checked Ammo Seek and you can get .22 for about $0.07/round. You can get steel cased .223 for about $0.20/round. That’s means the cheapest .223 is almost three times more expensive than the cheapest .22.
So there’s no reason to pay the same for both. That kind of destroys the entire premise of the article. The answer to the title is, “Yes, there is still a reason for .22 LR. It’s about three times cheaper than .223, and it’s readily available online.”
I have a 300blk rifle with an integral suppressor thats as quiet as 22lr suppressed. Check out the Liberty Leonidas. Super quiet shooting. Excellent rifle. Cant recommend it or Liberty in general highly enough.
Where are you finding .22 for $.50 a round? I find mini mags and CCI standard frequently for $.07 to $.09 a round. The only .22 I have seen lately for even close to that is RWS match stuff for $.30 per round
This. .22 LR is still vastly less expensive than bulk packs of the cheapest 9mm, .223/5.56 or 7.62×39 or 7.62x54R.
I made a pledge to myself that I would not buy any .22 ammunition until I could get it for less than $25.00 for a brick of 500. If everyone else would make that same pledge, the price of .22 would quickly get back to normal again. A fool and his money are soon parted.
You won’t see .22Lr for a nickel a round again, in your lifetime.
Just like you won’t see the minimum wage at $5.00/hr. again, in your lifetime.
It’s called inflation.
Consider yourself blessed if you manage to find some on sale for around 7 cents, and grab a few years’ supply when that happens.
When I last bought two of these, they were 69.99, not 79.99 like in the listing. This was only two months ago, so I don’t know if 69.99 was a sale price or not, but it WAS .05 a round…
Still good deals out there.
Well, so you’re the one without .22 ammo for your guns, while others have it and shoot it. And it is very likely to stay that way.
Who is the fool in that arrangement?
Lol. Used the same quote up above before I read further. Your darn right. Last week at the local Wally mart I found 500 for 7 cents a round. You can’t get 9mm even close to that unless you like shooting junk ammo.
Current prices may suck. But i’m not jumping off the bridge with you just to prove a hopeless point.
“But now, with widely available .22LR costing nearly as much as .223/5.56 or 7.62×39, is there really a point to shooting or even owning a .22LR?”
From Lucky Gunner (General Plinking stuff)
.22LR $0.11 to $0.18 per round
.223 $0.31 to $0.32 per round
7.62 x 39 $0.23 to $0.36 per round
However, I seek the local Dicks and other stores and routinely procure .22LR at $0.06 to $0.075 per round. So I really can’t agree that .22LR costs are prohibitive.
But, really great read.
for my purposes, if 22 gets much more expensive, your first reason would be my only reason.
Where on Earth are you seeing .22 LR for $0.50/rd?
You do realize that that makes your brick of Remington Thunderbolt cost $250, right? That’s absurd.
Even here in Alaska, where ammo is typically harder and more expensive to purchase than it is Outside, I’ve seen stacks of .22 on big box shelves for $30-35, and people weren’t flocking to it.
.22LR is kid friendly, recoil friendly, wallet friendly (still) and newbie friendly. Besides, after shooting twenty-twos for more than 55 years, I don’t see a reason to stop.
Don’t forget noise-friendly and danger-zone-friendly (for those of us that can shoot outdoors in rural/semi-rural areas). Many distant neighbors that don’t have a problem with the innocuous “pop” of a .22 rifle, would call the sheriff to investigate if we were cracking-off .223 rounds (or even 9mm) in the same location.
.22 is still the best to train new shooters with. It’s still cheap, easy to fire and easy to use. I have an M&P 22 pistol, Marlin 795, and Chiappa .22 upper. All three shoot reliably on most ammo.
Between Wal-Mart and my favorite LGS down-county, I’m paying about 6 to 8 cents a round.
Not too shabby, and I’m fine with it, if it’s the “new normal” for a while and doesn’t go up.
Picked up a brick of 1000 rounds for $50 over the weekend. I suspect it will be a while before we risk paying $0.50/round.
On the flip side, I think the rise in pistol caliber rifles is making the vaunted flexibility of the .22LR look a little less impressive. I admit I’m looking at a .357 Big Boy over another lever action or a trapdoor in .45-70 specifically because it’s pushing cheaper rounds.
Oh! Look what showed up in my Inbox today! http://www.midwayusa.com/product/847005/cci-standard-velocity-ammunition-22-long-rifle-40-grain-lead-round-nose-box-of-500-10-boxes-of-50?cm_mmc=pe_weekly-_-availablenow-_-cci-_-20160317
Add in Midway’s high shipping fees, and the fact that they have a limit of ONE box… not worth it at all.
and pre-Sandy Hook that brick would have cost you about $15. $30/brick would be expected but still exorbitant. $45/brick? that’s just plain gouging.
I got my first 22 in 1960. I could shoot for a penny per shot. It now costs me between a nickel and a dime per shot. Still worth it and much cheaper than my centerfire guns. I have rifles in bolt action, semi automatic and lever action. I have handguns in semi automatic and revolver. I have more 22 caliber guns than all of the others combined. The cheapest I can find centerfire is about twenty cents each. I can normally shoot 3 rounds of 22 for each round of the cheapest centerfire I can find.
Preach it, Ken!
You’re far from alone.
If it was a penny a round in 1960, then taking inflation into account, it should be about 8 cents per round today. I routinely find the cheaper stuff for about 5-6 cents per round, meaning it’s cheaper to shoot .22 today than it was in 1960!
Steel challenge is another reason to shoot 22. You can shoot the match with a carbine instead of a pistol but only if its a 22.
Looking around, it seems like 22 costs noticeably less than even reloading 9mm or .223. But probably not enough less for you to justify buying a 22 as a cost saving measure unless you had another reason to want it.
I call BS on the “substantially cheaper” aspect of reloading 9mm over 22lr. Admittedly I realize there is controversy around cast in certain brands of 9mm firearms but bear with me and I’ll throw a rhetorical example out of my .357 mag revolvers. I typically load for .38 SPL not 9mm but to that end 158gr cast will be more expensive than a 115,124 or even a 147gr cast bullet.
-.04/primer, last gun show batch was .03/primer
-Titegroup powder, it seems to be common enough. Last batch at the gun show was $75 for 4lb. Typical load is 3.8gr. At this rate it’s just over a penny of powder per round.
-.357 158gr “Kieth” bullets. $50 after tax for 500.
If you break this down into per round quantity, you’re at 14-15 cents per shot, or 7.50 a box with components I’ve bought in 2016. At the low end (I’ve bought for $4/box in the last year) it’s almost 2X as much, but if you’re talking $6/box which seems a lot more common the gap is significantly closer.
Now then, I’m going to get the Lee 105gr SWC mold and start doing my own bullets with powder coating. Lets re-crunch again:
$1/lb lead from the scrap yard. Yeah, it’s pure but if I keep velocity to say 1Kish FPS who cares? For stash ammo I’d rather have something that would deform anyways. If you use Lee 105gr SWC (also work in 9mm) You get around 66ish bullets/lb or 1.5 cents. Add in lube cost (or powder coat) and you’re at under 2 cents each. Yeah you may have some ancillary costs (I’m probably adding lead free solder to help with casting from a yard sale) but even if you round up to 3 cents per bullet you’re still at a nice flat $3.50/box which is better than I’ve seen 22lr in a long time. Not to mention I’m shooting centerfire guns.
Now then where 223 is interesting is you can pick up 5.56 bullets for .10ish. The best powder I’ve found for weight efficiency is IMR 4198 and you’ll get 370ish rounds per pound. With AR-Comp you’ll get 320ish. That means you’re talking about a dimeish for powder unless you get a good deal then it’s 6-8 cents a round. Add it up and it’s 22 cents a round or $11/50 vs $4-6/50. Not a huge jump in cost for what you get if you can shoot it (One benefit of a 22LR AR upper to me is that you can use it at a lot of indoor ranges.)
My rifle length gas AR is comparable to a 22lr IMO recoil wise, it’s super soft shooting. I wouldn’t be afraid to give it to someone who has never shot before.
My wife never liked shooting any of my center fire rifles. Almost to the point where she didn’t want to come shooting with me. Then, she tried my scoped 10/22 and fell in love with it. Now, she shoots the hell out of it when we go.
And lately, she’s showing more interest in my Mini-14.
Accuracy is a secondary concern then?
“Some game, like squirrels for example, are rendered nearly useless for consumption when shot by centerfire ammo”
It’s easy to tell who has never hunted much squirrel for the pot. .410 is the only way, I consider it reckless to use even .22 on tree squirrels.
I would not consider it reckless to use .22LR on squirrels on the ground if you have a decent backstop. In a tree, yes. On the ground, perfectly okay.
I heartily disagree that .410 is “the only way”. My pot has seen MANY squirrels as have my fathers and grandfathers. We all used and still use .22 for the vast majority of those critters. I was taught very young to only take tree shots with the tree as a backstop and to use .22 instead of shotgun to hone our skills for hunting larger animals with a “real rifle”.
I trophy squirrel hunt. Only shoot the young ones. Ive killed every game animal in Kansas except elk and pronghorn, with a .22 long rifle. And I bet if I could get close enough they could be killed with it too.( but I quit poaching years ago). Gramps used .22 to kill steers and hogs for butchering. IMO its the best cartridge ever invented. Wish it was cheaper tho.
There is yet another application for .22 LR that the author did not mention: home defense. A semi-automatic rifle chambered in .22 LR is a workable choice for home-defense for shooters that are extremely averse to recoil or who lack the strength to wield a firearm in a larger caliber. (Think children or people with physical disabilities.) While a single .22 bullet is anything but guaranteed to promptly stop an attacker, the non-existent recoil of a semi-auto rifle means a homeowner could easily put five shots on target in about 1 second … or about 10 shots on target in 2 seconds. I don’t know too many home invaders that are going to keep attacking after 5 to 10 bullets strike them at 1200 fps — even lowly .22 caliber bullets.
A larger caliber is certainly desirable if a person can shoot it accurately. If not, a semi-auto rifle chambered in .22 LR is far better than harsh words, sharp sticks, and baseball bats when it comes to home defense.
You lost me with your opening thoughts. Referring to the S&W 15-22, or the M&P-22 as “quality” guns seems silly to me. I know 2 guys with a 15-22, and one of them also has the M&P 22 pistol. None of those 3 guns can run 2 consecutive magazines without a failure. I’ve watched them choke on 3 different brands of 22 ammo. After seeing how frustrating those guns are I would never buy one.
Then you compare 22 ($30 for a box of 500, which is even a bit high) to 223 ($175 for a 500 round case) and say they’re basically the same??? I basically quit reading right there.
You also forgot to have a conclusion to your article, which is a bit of an error since you started it asking a question. You never answered the question! Writing takes lots of practice, so get back to work son.
Then there is something wrong with the rifle or the ammo. I have THOUSANDS of flawless rounds through my M&P 15-22. The ONLY time I’ve had an issue was with crappy ammo. I won’t buy Winchester or Remington bulk .22LR. They are crap in any semi-auto in my experience. But, I can go through an entire box of Wally World Federal Bulk (Champion) without a single malfunction. Same with CCI minimags or “tactical.”
The same is true for my Ruger SR-22 pistol. If I use decent ammo, it’s flawless.
I agree about the bad math and lack of conclusion. I got to the end of the text, and reloaded the page, thinking that the server or my browser must have flaked out and cut off the rest of the piece. This is an article that definitely could have used the input of a good editor…
Another positive take on the .22 round.
I just went scanning around the ‘net and found the following prices:
.22LR: 7.8 cents/round to 19.2 cents/round.
.223 Rem: 21.4 cents/round to 35.7 cents/round.
5.56 NATO: 24.1 cents/round to 44.2 cents/round.
The high end of the .22LR market is true match ammo. This is the top-end Lapua, RWS, Eley, etc ammo. Mostly, what I see are prices for bulk good quality .22LR in the $0.11 to $0.14 range.
Much of the cheap .223 Rem I see is steel cased ammo. If you want to shoot steel cased ammo, go ahead, it’s your gun. Most .223 brass-cased ammo starts in the $0.24/round range.
.22LR is still a good deal, relatively speaking. .22Magnum however…
My local everything store always seems to have mag ammo. Usually12 bucks a box.
I’m not sure where they’re getting that 0.50/round figure. That would make it $25/box. Currently, I can get it for around $4/box. While it’s a far cry from that $10 brick I used to get in the 90’s, it’s still pretty damn cheap compared to anything else out there.
No .22LR here in Minnesota, unless bought at the gun show for panic scalping prices or online, with shipping.
I see it once in a blue moon, and buy it then.
For the current prices for 22LR is precisely why I purchased a PCP air rifle with the added benefit of not being a “firearm”, fully shrouded barrel, 10 shot mags, adjustable 2 stage trigger that can be measured in ounces and plentiful inexpensive match ammo (JSB Jumbo Heavy, 500 pellets for under $18). It will also shoot .5 inches or better at 50 yards and will put down a racoon if needed with one shot. At 32 lbs of energy, I am getting over 30 shots per fill.
What caliber? I got a ,17 spring,chinese made itll kill squirrels but dont think it would do a coon,Its a pos tho.
I almost never see 22lr for reasonable prices. I can’t reload it myself and there is no guarantee I can find it on the shelves, so I have completely lost interest in 22lr. I won’t buy another 22lr firearm until the ammo shortage is fixed. Centerfire is more fun anyway.
The solution to your situation is easy. When you find .22 for a good price, buy a lot. I recently found some 525 round boxes of Federal for $23. I bought 20 boxes. Yes, it was $460. But its also 10,500 rounds.
This is why folks can’t find .22 in quantity. People are still buying it, in quantity. It is still being “hoarded”.
Yea, shooting has taken an uptick in the market, but it’s not just new shooters heading to the range.
If you can’t find it locally, it’s because people are still buying all that they can because they can buy all that they can. Whether they’re actually shooting it or not is a completely different question.
There’s still “panic” buying going on out there.
I haven’t shot 22 since I was a kid. And that was 50years ago. Or more. Things will never be perfect. Or the same as the “good ole’ days”… Good article if exaggerated on the cost of 22.
9mm subsonic sounds about as quiet to me as 22lr. I’m actually amazed at how loud the sonic crack is when I shoot regular 22lr from my rifle and compare it to 9mm subs from a CZ scorpion evo. I mostly hear the action on the evo and not the firing of the round. Now 22lr from my pistol with the suppressor is nice because the bulk ammo I’ve tried still comes out under sonic speed. I guess I would really see the difference if I had a bolt action 22lr with a can on it. 22lr is pretty fun to suppress anyway though and I’m glad I got my feet wet with a 22 suppressor because now I’m hooked. I guess its the same with shooting in general because 22lr was what got me into shooting ever since grandpa handed me my first rifle.
As a reloader, .22LR has lost some of its appeal. Mainly because I can reload 9mm for about $5.50 per box. At that price, .22 isn’t much cheaper when you are talking about the cheap stuff. And its about the same price as my 9mm when you are looking at quality ammo for suppressed use like CCI Standard Velocity or Gemtech.
9mm makes more sense than .22 all around. You get more bang for your buck, it’s only a couple cents more per round. Out of a carbine it’s perfect for small game and new shooters. I have no need for a small carbine right now, but when I do, it’ll be a 9mm.
You young whippersnappers Why when I was young I could get it in the Rem green box for a one cent a round… though that was for .22 long not .22 long rifle
I didnt like longs, seemed they werent as accurate for me.Bought shorts instead, cheaper too.
My experience, also. Shorts worked fine for pest control and were even quieter.
I have seen it at Walmart 1 time in the entire Atlanta Metro area in the last 5 years.
None in the California Bay Area, i visit there once every couple of years.
None in Florida just last week, the sales woman just laughed when I asked.
About to take a crosscountry road trip, perhaps I should plan my route through areas with “plenty” of stock.
Pellet gun. Nuff said.
The outrageous cost of 22 ammo it’s ridiculous over the last 8 years I haven’t bought more than 500 rounds, and I’ve shot even less. Its just to hard to fine it and when I do find it I can’t justify spending $70 to go shoot. It’s a bunch of crap.
FYI, by widely available I meant in person in a brick and mortar store. Sure there are deals to be had online but you have to pay for shipping and not everyone likes buying ammo online. If you see bulk packs, that’s great for you! Where I live, I usually see the high end stuff (Eley) that is priced $0.40-$0.50 (near the cost of brass 5.56 where I live) in Cabela’s, Scheel’s, and Sportsman’s Warehouse. I absolutely never see any .22LR at Walmart. So, no, at least for me I am not exaggerating much as long as you put it in that context. In hindsight, I should have put these stipulations in the article, but I’m thrilled that so many people have made comments; that meant they read it. Thank you!
And thank you for a good topic. Brought back memories of an Iver Johnson single shot
There is no .22 LR ammo in Houston, TX. Please don’t come here looking for any. ?
“Will they ever come back? Who knows.
Let me save you the suspense– No, they won’t. Retailers have been busy finding the price-to-pain threshold that consumers are willing to cuss them out for, but still willing to purchase their ammo at. The cost of .22 has pretty much stabilized at most retailers and like tolls, it’s never going to go down or away once they know what you’re willing to pay.
Remember; Once you have their money, never give it back.
Umm…with the vast number of rifles and handgus chambered in .22 short-long-long rifle, from modern designs to workhourses and valuable shooter-collector pieces dating back to the 1800s , coupled with high numbers who have a preference for shooting//plinking/training/hunting with the round and the guns chambered in it, the very concept of it being obsolete or discontinued it, well, that’s just goofy and dumb.
The title of this ‘article’ said it all and no further substantive reading was warranted.
Good lord…some of the fluff and filler I see written on various freedom and firearms venues is akin to the vomitus and blatherings generated by the 24hr ‘news cycle’, where ‘media’ talking-heads babble, make up and repeat meaningless crap to fill the time and compete against the ‘other guys’.
So what’s the “new normal” on .22? We’ll never see ammunition for two or three cents a round again – and I’m one of the old farts who still has a few 50 round boxes of Winchester .22 with .98 price tags on them. I’ll give consideration to anything under ten cents a round, especially if its good quality stuff like CCI. Eight or nine cents a round seems to be a reasonable internet price with no purchase limit. I know that many people are reluctant to go the internet route because they “leave records” with their credit cards. I’m on enough lists right now – gun owner, disabled vet, C&R license holder, church member, reserve law officer – that where I buy my .22 really doesn’t matter. I live in one of the reddest states and nobody cares how many rounds of ammunition you have. So I’m not afraid to go the internet route and I order what the credit card balance allows. I recently hit 10K rounds of .22 so its time to start shooting again.
An alternative to .22 for plinking is a good air rifle. I picked up a Gamo .177 last year and its lots of fun. I can shoot it in my back yard – the neighbors don’t care, its not a “firearm” by state law so there’s no restrictions on shooting it in the city limits, and I can buy pellets at Academy Sports and Wally World.
When I got my very first rifle two years ago it was a .22. I got it from an older gentleman who was retiring and he included with it a thousand round box of Federal ammo. I still have about 700 rounds left in separate 100 round boxes. It says something that I have been offered up to $50 for a box of 100. I don’t sell of course, it’s damn hard to find any .22 LR in my area.
I get the point of the post… I was of course a little irritated that I paid $48 for a brick of CCI standard velocity the other day. But the cheapest steel x39 I can get shipped is still about 2.5x that at .25c/round. And you can’t really pop off x39 just anywhere like you can .22. Gotta be careful around steel targets, etc – and certainly can’t hunt small game with it. Maybe I should count myself lucky for scoring the brick for 48, I just saw a brick of Remington Thunderbolt (crap ammo) for .18c a round on lucky gunner – ugh…
Been shooting .22 for $.04 a round for the last 4 years… oh wait that’s from a pellet gun.
Pellet guns are fun though but I never really cared much for .22 rimfire so I’m a little biased
“widely available .22LR costing nearly as much as .223/5.56 or 7.62×39”
WTF? I bought 2000 rounds (20×100) of CCI Mini-Mags for $160 at Dick’s 2 weekends ago. That’s $8 for 100 rounds. Not as cheap as it used to be, but that much 223 is going to cost well over $500.
Well, if you read my follow up post, you would see that “widely available ammo” in my mind means a brick and mortar store. I go to every store in my area and they only carry Eley ammo which is nearly expensive as centerfire. Dick’s is not one of them though. As with all gun related topics, YMMV. So, for me, it is only a slight exaggeration. I’m happy you’re able to get .22LR for so cheap. Read other comments and you’ll see that some people agree.
We’ve all got access to the internet, here. Anyone who’s paying anywhere near .50/round for .22LR is simply being foolish.
Choice of the mob. 2 to the head.
Well, let’s see: Not long ago was April 29, 2016 for me. I walked into work and found that we had 10 cases of 500 round boxes of Remington Thunderbolt .22 high velocity that needed to be put on the shelf at $25.99 per box. At quitting time I picked up a box and paid $20.79 for it with my discount.
We (Academy) have been getting lots of .22LR. It’s not always bulk packs, and the shipments are erratic, but there’s more of it every week. .22 Magnum remains rare, but I think the drought is over for .22 LR.
“Is There Any Point to .22LR Any More” Sure hope so!
There are millions of 22lr revolvers, pistols and rifles in the USA. It’s a caliber that new gun owners learn to shoot, experienced owners enjoy plinking, hunters hunt with, eliminate pest with. As more folks decide to drip their toes into gun ownership, 22lr is a good caliber, due to lower recoil, not a huge bang factor, makes for comfortable and fun shooting. I’m not a new shooter but will occasionally take Ruger SR 22lr to the range. .My grandfather’s ranch rifle was a 22lr, watched him kill rattle snakes that were too close to his cattle or dropping a hog with one shot for the table. Maybe not considered the best self dense round, but if that’s the caliber you can shoot most accurately, nothing wrong with it. With the number of weapons in 22lr caliber, don’t see it fading away
The reloading comments here are interesting.
As I understand it (not a reloader), reloading rim fire isn’t practically possible. Is it possible that the “expendables” in a center fire cartridge (bullet, primer, powder) adds up to less than similar rim fire round? I’m assuming a pretty high number of reloads per case is possible for low pressure rounds like .38, or perhaps some of the “old” center fire rounds with more .22LR like ballistics.
IOW, for those versed in reloading, is it possible that with today’s raw materials prices, a low powered centerfire caliber could be sold as reloads, or at least reloaded privately, for a price competitive with rimfire rounds? Either an old, “outdated” caliber, or some sort of “.22 Ruger Centerfire Short”, specifically designed (i.e. extra small pistol primers….) to take at least part of the place rimfire traditionally held?
The only way to make the math “work” to make centerfire pistol reloading seem cheaper than buying rimfire, is if you have already amortized the cost of the equipment, you re-use old/scrounged brass, you cast your own bullets from scrap/reclaimed lead, and you don’t count your own time/efforts as being worth anything in assembling the ammunition or doing any of the above tasks.
Without a doubt, the most famous and most important, self contained cartridge of all time.
I vote ammunition manufacturers dump the
. 22 WML
. 17 Mach 2
And replace them all with;
A .17 -.25, and a .22 – .25.
Basically necked down .25 ACP
The range I go to in PA has had .22LR for 8-10 cents per round for the last 3 years at least.
Even during the shortage they had it for 8-10 cents per round. They limited purchases to 1 box during the shortage but they had it. Now I can buy an entire case from them still 8-10 cents per round. That’s at least half if not less than you would pay for any other caliber.
Must be a typo? Thought I just read 22LR instead of NFA.
By 2019, it will be illegal to take any animal in California with a lead bullet. One has to use certified lead-free ammunition, the certifier being that site of California and this includes rimfire cartridges. That may just kill rimfire in California except for target shooting
You think 22LR is hard to find, try 9×39! hehe.
I have been a Hunter Safety Instructor for decades and used .22’s for the introduction part of the class. With their limited supply I have been reloading reduced load center fire ammo for that portion of the sessions. I tried buying the lest expensive ammo but most students balked at those rounds until they felt comfortable because of the recoil etc. Note that the majority of my students are youngsters getting their first opportunity to shoot. I too miss the lower cost of .22 and this has put most of my .22 weapons back in the safe hardly ever to be used again. That is too bad because they are fun to use and great for practicing when using a “big caliber weapon” is just too much. The cheapest .22 I have found locally has been $ 50. for a brick of 500 and that is not very common. It is more like $ 60 plus. If you order it online the shipping costs raises the price to a ridiculous amount.
I still believe in the conspiracy that the government is somehow controlling .22 production or availability. Remember the Liberals are in it for the long game. The normal path growing up is BB/Pellet gun, .22 then something bigger. If they eliminate inexpensive .22 ammo you just cut the path for most of the next generation of gun owners. No shooters less resistance to gun control.
I think the premise of the article is okay, but it all rests on the price and availability of the great and humble 22LR. Its on the Net @ $0.06 a round if you look, commonly found at .07 still gouged at .10! Its showing up at the big box stores too, during daylight and you don’t have to stand around like a vulture waiting on stock to roll out. The article is basically a few years late.
With a good quality pellet gun (several calibers now) you can do most of what the 22LR does and most of it cheaper if you consider long term ammo costs and the price or both types of guns
.22LR is an American icon that thousands and thousands of people have learned to shoot on. It will always be relevant. I don’t know where the author gets his ammo, but if he’s paying .50 a round for .22 he isn’t as well connected as most recreational shooters are. Go to Ammo Seek and you can find .22LR for as little as .06 a round.
The claim that it costs .50 a round is ridiculous.
I refuse to pay the prices they ask for. Last I saw they are asking 146.00 for 1400rds. I can get a case of 9mm for less that 200.00. Why would you pay for 22lr when its so close to 9mm in price and you get so much more reliability, accuracy, and stopping power out of the 9mm? They need to bring the price of 22lr back to plinking prices or people should boycot the round. “America”!