.22LR: Myths and Truths

.22LR: Myths and Truths

One of the biggest debates going on in the Preparedness community outside of EMP frying cars is about the .22 long rifle. I’ve been a fan of the .22 since I first shot one as a kid, and when I turned 18 my paycheck paid for a brand new Marlin Model 60. I later sold the rifle to a guy I knew who wanted it to teach his daughter how to shoot. Years later when I got married, I gifted a similar Marlin to my wife as a wedding gift. She still has that rifle today.

Currently, I’m a huge fan of the Ruger 10/22. Throw on a rail such as THIS one that allows you to use your iron sights without removing the rail and you are good to go. I like the .22 long rifle so much I recently gifted my brother with an extra 10/22 I had in my cabinet since he never owned one. At least not one smaller than .223 Remington. I say all of this to prove that I do LOVE this caliber, and find it’s uses and abilities to be greater than what people deem them to be. With that said… There are also many concerns I have for people who put much greater importance in the round than even I give it credit for.

Though it only a lowly rimfire cartridge invented in 1887 by Stevens, this ammunition has remained one of the most prolific and popular chamberings in the world. This posting is here to address many of these myths and truths when it comes to this amazing caliber.

1) “.22LR ammunition will be a “currency”

Let me explain this one to you… There are people out there who put so much stock into how popular the .22LR round is that they believe that this ammunition will be the primary source of trading during a post-apocalyptic event. I literally see this conversation about once a week online and it, in my opinion, is one of the most ridiculous there are. In my mind, I envision someone who is “wealthy” per those standards and uses a bank vault to hoard bricks and cases of .22LR ammunition. One day they’ll turn those in and buy a house with a picket fence so that the dog can run around. In truth what these folks believe is that they might trade their ammunition for food or something else that might be needed. I typically kill this argument by simply asking, “If you need food, and you have ammunition, why didn’t you hunt it?”

2) “.22LR is awful for self-defense”

I 100% of the time almost really do agree with that statement… Until we get to the part that no one wants to be shot by a .22LR ever. Remember that you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight? Well, I’d much rather have a 22 than a knife when it comes down to fighting. Something else to consider is that whether you use a rifle or a pistol in the chambering, you are shooting just as fast as any other commonly chambered handgun. WHAT!?!? That’s right. Whether you are shooting, 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP more than likely you are only pushing that bullet to about 950-1200 feet per second depending on the loading. Well, same as the .22lr. This is an argument I’ve had for years which leads to the only common reply anyone can give… It’s not as big. Well, say that to the number of people killed by them. According to statistics (you can find them yourself if interested), about 40% of the time a .22LR will put a one-stop drop dead shot on a human. Now that leaves the other 60% bleeding from at least one, if not MULTIPLE holes in them. Considering how fast you can pump a 22 rifle or handgun accurately, I would be willing to bet that the FBI statistic(again you can find it) that the .22LR kill more humans in the USA per year than any other caliber is more than likely true. Is the .22LR the BEST for self-defense? Nope. It is, however, an option for those who might not like the recoil in other weapons.

From left-right: Winchester Extreme Point in .30-06 Springfield 150gr, Hornady Whitetail 60gr .223 Rem, 115 gr 9mm Luger from Winchester , Remington Golden Boy .22LR 40gr.

3) “.22LR is not accurate”

I get this one a lot. “Ralph, the .22 just isn’t accurate!” Really? I can easily put a 4″ group in at 100 yards. Yes, I am aiming 4″ high but then the point is that it can be done. A 4″ group isn’t accurate! It all depends on what you want to do with those 4 inches. Probably won’t be the best for shooting a squirrel though it could be done… But it would work just fine to a few rounds into a coyote wagging its tail at you. SAAMI specs for 5.56mm NATO is only 3″. An M-16A1 had to meet at a minimum of 8 MOA in the military or else it was kept stateside for training. Now let us talk accuracy when it comes to weapons. While it may not be the MOST accurate out to 100 yards, I can vouch that it is capable. I prefer mine with a red dot on top like the Bushnell TRS-25.

4) “.22LR isn’t reliable!”

Similarly to accuracy and self-defense use, it all depends on what you are doing with it. Most folks that say that these weapons aren’t reliable have gone to the range and shot a brick of 500 rounds without cleaning or lubricating the weapon. When a weapon is a blowback design and already shooting a cartridge that IS known to be dirty, what do you expect? When out shooting, I suggest cleaning the bolt after every 100-200 rounds. All it needs is a good wipe down and then you can go back to shooting. One of the worst parts about many rifles and handguns would be the magazine. Sure enough, whether it is a weak spring, deformed feed lips, or just plain dirty, the magazine typically is the source of many issues. That can be said of just about every weapon on the market though. When it comes to the 10/22 by Ruger, even their BX-25 magazines are known to cause issues. A tube style might work better, but after so long even that spring gets weak and needs replacing. I’ve known many shooters complain about their Model 60 that’s 15 years old, but then they refuse to change the tube spring. It all falls down to caring for your weapon. It will take care of you as long as you take care of it.

So what do I think?

After reading all that you might now ask, “What do you recommend?” If I had to pick one weapon in .22LR then it would have to be a 10/22. Whether that’s a Charger pistol or a full rifle is up to you. They are reliable, accurate, and fast shooting. These weapons are ideal for new shooters, those that are scared of recoil, or those that may have had previous injury/surgery on their hands/shoulders. Being lightweight typically, almost anyone can use a 10/22 if they can pull a trigger. Other recommendations would be made by Marlin, Savage, Mossberg, S&W. You can even find .22 caliber weapons made in AR, AK, M1, and other styles.

984 round of .22LR ammunition in this picture. Cost per round at the time of purchase was about the same, with the Federal being the most inexpensive.

Pound for pound, you can pack more ammunition for a .22LR in a smaller space than you can any other on the market that is used for firearms. If you do your part to care for your weapon and use good quality ammunition then you will be set for success. I highly recommend ever shooter and prepper purchase at least one .22LR chambered firearm if they are legally able to do so. The best part about the weapons is that the ammunition is also the least expensive on the market. You can buy 100 rounds for less than $9 per box. In many cases, you can find bricks of ammunition in 550 round lots for less than $40. That’s only 2 boxes of good quality hunting ammunition for my .30-06!

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Be sure to check out my friend Rourke’s posting on .22LR HERE.

Thank you for reading and be sure to comment in the discussion!

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6 thoughts on “.22LR: Myths and Truths”

  • You can carry many, many more .22 rounds than you can larger caliber. So it’s effective to roll with.. It will take most game in the states, and doesn’t leave the huge sound signature compared to center fire cartridges. With the Colt AR you can practice operations of AR platform with very low cost .. .5 – .6 cents vs 8x to 10x as much.
    That same AR .22 will lay down 30 rounds on target 40-50 yards as fast as you want to pull the trigger with no target acquisition time.. Even with armor that would be hard to walk through if you shoot other than center mass. I would sing it’s praises of course .. .22 in no way produces the plasma shock and one shot put down of center fires, nor does it do long range well. Then again suppressed it is almost can’t be heard… and you can take multiple targets ,, rabbits, ducks, squirrels, or others.. It is likely to be more available longer than other specific calibers .. It is the most common caliber sold and has been for a long while. 12 Ga. also..
    Like anything else each has a mission specific niche it fills well..
    If you MUST choose a .22 pistol or break down as well as a Carbine might be a good call IMO

  • Well considering when I was a kid put squirrel hunting with my mossy rifle shooting 22lr in it or shorts I killed as many if not more than my brother using a 20 gauge single shot and I used the same amount of ammo. I guess what I’m getting at is accuracy is all in the hands and eyes of the person shooting. 22 rifles and hand guns can be deadly. Just as any weapon. This is a great write up Ralph, and anyone that doesn’t own a 22 in their hoard of weapons to me is missing a key ingredient to survival!

  • Excellent article Ralph great viewpoint the 22 is under estimated in my opinion it’s easy to suppress if need be it’s accurate deadly in the right hands is a formidable defense! Thanks

  • A great article! It’s so nice to see a positive article on the 22lr. I’ve shot one all my life my day gave me a marlin module 60 when I was 12 I still have it I turned 50 this year, and it’s still my goto in for plinking and sm. Game. As far as killing power it’s the only caliber that I know of thats taken more deer than the 30-30. I personally have made many shots out to and possibly a little further than 100 yards on sm. Game. And accuracy once a buddy and I put out some jugs for catfish and a storm came up it brought the water up with it. When we were able to get back to reclaim our jugs we found the majority of them hanging in trees. So we put my model 60 to Work shooting the fishing line. So in conclusion I can’t imagine anyone not having a 22lr in their arsenal, they are fast easy accurate and powerful enough to get the job done. I would recommend the 22lr to anyone for survival of defense.

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