The Year Of The 22
There are many benefits and specific uses associated with .22 ammunition, like practicing your marksmanship, for example. For the purposes of this article, unless otherwise stated, we will be referring to the .22 Long Rifle, the most popular .22 caliber rimfire round in America, and around the world.
Here are some good things to know when appreciating the .22 round.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
The oldest commercial self-contained metallic cartridge in America is the .22 short—introduced in 1857 by Smith & Wesson. A 29 grain bullet with 4 grains of fine black powder.
The .22 long came around in 1871 for revolvers, and shortly thereafter produced for rifles. It’s still being produced today, although the long rifle and short have dominated it in most applications.
Developed by the J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company in 1887, the .22 long rifle round was originally a 40 grain bullet with 5 grains of fine black powder.
Remington introduced a high velocity .22 long rifle cartridge in 1930. And then, the 40 grain solid point, and the 37 grain hollow point came along—still available today.
COST OF AMMO
Anyone who’s purchasing ammunition in a variety of calibers knows just how much more affordable .22 ammo is than any other. While prices of .22 have gone up, it is still the cheapest option on the shelves.
No matter where you go, somewhere nearby sells some .22 ammo.
If you’ve tried to take your .44 or .357 to a handgun range only to find out that those calibers are prohibited, you might be surprised to learn that many ranges that won’t allow centerfire ammo WILL allow the .22. This is often due to the type of steel used in the targets. There are many cheaper, mild steel targets that can withstand .22 rimfire rounds all day long, but would be easily damaged by more powerful cartridges. Some handgun-only ranges will still let you shoot .22 rimfire rifles, as they do not reach the velocity of other rifle rounds.
If you’ve tried to take your .44 or .357 to a handgun range only to find out that those calibers are prohibited, you might be surprised to learn that many ranges that won’t allow centerfire ammo WILL allow the .22. This is often due to the type of steel used in the targets.
There are many cheaper, mild steel targets that can withstand .22 rimfire rounds all day long, but would be easily damaged by more powerful cartridges. Some handgun-only ranges will still let you shoot .22 rimfire rifles, as they do not reach the velocity of other rifle rounds.
The .22 can help you hone the very best techniques when firing your firearms. With far less recoil and noise, you can detect small details in your shooting habits, like flinch, a heavy trigger finger, or improper grip.
PLENTY OF COMPETITION
There are more and more chances to compete with a .22. Steel Challenge matches, NRL 22, and Youth 22, just to name a few.
The .22 is a low-cost, easy-to-use and get used to way to bring a newcomer into the fold when it comes to shooting sports.
IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY
Even the major manufacturers know what a benefit it can be to incorporate a .22 into training and learning. That’s why so many have created .22’s in the spirit of their higher-caliber favorites.
Glock 19/Glock 44—The Glock 44 is dimensionally almost identical to the 9mm Glock 19. The weight obviously doesn’t feel the same, but the G44 provides the same grip angle and sight radius as the ever-popular G19.
AR-15/S&W M&P15-22—Smith & Wesson’s M&P15-22 was designed to be a less expensive alternative for training with an AR-15 style rifle—at a greatly reduced cost compared to most AR-15s, with ammo much cheaper as well.
HK SP5/ATI GSG-16H—The HK has a slightly longer barrel length, and weighs almost two pounds more, but much of the overall design and construction is similar to the .22 caliber GSG-16H.
Sig P320/Sig P322—The Sig P322 is slightly larger in height and width, along with being eight ounces lighter—makes a fine companion to its higher-caliber counterpart in the P320. And a perfect trainer for that handgun.
Ruger Precision Rifle/Ruger Precision Rimfire—the Rimfire is visually similar to the larger caliber Ruger Precision Rifle with some slight design variations, it comes in seven different model lines.
Affordability. Availability. Training. And a host of other reasons. Embrace the many benefits of the .22 caliber round to expand your firearm experience. Even if you are going to the range to shoot other calibers, why not bring a .22 along next time, and be reminded of the simple joy of going back to the basics?
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