Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing

22 LR

Know before you go...

target practice, small game hunting and pest control.  Special Operations units and civilians in some countries utilize this cartridge for use in combination with a sound suppressor.  Sound suppressors are well-suited to the use of 22 LR ammunition as the firers location can still be given away based solely on the configuration of the bullet and irregardless of the efficiency of the sound suppressor used.

         As a general rule, the lower the aerodynamic efficiency of a bullet, the louder it will sound to those situated to the side of the bullets path of travel.  The aerodynamic efficiency of a

         The 22 LR or 22 Long Rifle is perhaps the most familiar cartridge in the shooting world.  It is popular because it is cheap to shoot, very low recoil and produces a low muzzle signature which makes it comfortable for new shooters to shoot.  Because of the low energy produced by this cartridge, both rifles and handguns may be found chambered in 22 LR.  This cartridge finds a wide variety of uses with shooters worldwide.  Tasks easily accomplishable by this cartridge include

bullet is driven by its diameter, length, shape and velocity.  The first area of concern is selecting a bullet that is subsonic when it leaves the muzzle.  Supersonic bullets make a loud crack as they travel that is very similar in nature to an unsuppressed muzzle discharge.  Where the 22 LR shines is in the ability to use full-power (for the cartridge) ammunition while still remaining subsonic.  Subsonic loads exist for most handguns and rifle calibers but they are typically ‘reduced power’ loads and bullet stability is an issue. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See how well this caliber stacks up against the FBI performance requirement of expansion and 12.0” or deeper penetration depth.

See how well this caliber stacks up in military-standard performance evaluations.

“Only Six rounds of 22 LR..?”

“You’re in trouble now.”

         Without the proper twist rate of rifling, bullet instability can result.  The effect of this can be inaccuracy or at worst result in bullet impact with and damage to the suppressor.  The 22 LR gives the shooter the choice of subsonic ammunition without any need for specialized sources of ammunition—a huge benefit in a survival situation.  This ammunition is usually so-labeled which aides in identification.

         Lots of people want to use 22 LR for self-defense and some of them email me looking for confirmation of their decision to do so.  I do not recommend 22 LR cartridges for self-defense unless that is the only gun that you have access to.  When shot from a handgun, the velocities are too low to allow for expansion and sufficiently deep penetration.  Most bullets do not expand when

shot from a 22 LR handgun and the ones that do, do not penetrate deeply enough.  The 22 LR rifles are a different story—if this is the only longgun that you have, then it is an acceptable choice if you cannot find a larger rifle.  Please recall that if you are in a position to fire a firearm at an attacker, they are usually in a position where they can fire a weapon at you.  If you are going to expose yourself to danger, try to reduce that danger by hitting it as hard as you can, the first time that you pull the trigger. 

         If a 22 LR handgun is what you have available, I recommend using JHP ammunition that exhibits very moderate expansion.  Examples of these are listed in the summary tables linked on the bottom of this page.  Second in preference is the Aguila 60gr Sniper Subsonic round nose because of its exaggerated length over diameter ratio and its usually unstable travel out of the rifling twists found in most handgun barrels.  This promotes tumbling early inside of the target and is acceptable as long as practical accuracy is maintained.

         If a 22 LR rifle is what you have available, you have many more choices available to you in terms of ammunition with satisfactory terminal performance.  One metric of success is to find ammunition that meets the FBI criteria, or more accurately, gets full ‘points’ for penetration depth in 10% ballistic gelatin by penetrating to 12.0” or deeper.  Expansion of course is important too so the best course of action is to test your ammunition, out of your gun, in ballistic gelatin or ’wetpack’ and look for the bullets that exhibit only moderate expansion.

 

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