.22WMR short barrel data points (S&W model 48-4)


March 21, 2010, 12:50 AM
I chrony'd a couple loads through the factory repaired model-48 today. It has a 4" medium-taper barrel. The chambers can be a little sticky, which I heard (here?) was common with the 48. Dunno if that means the chambers are generally too large, small, or rough. They certainly didn't feel small when I rattled rounds around in them.

I used an Alpha Master Chrony about 8ft from the muzzle. Temp was about 70deg.

* Winchester Dynapoint 45gr (the ugly bullet): 1159fps avg, ES 129, SD 42
* CCI Maxi-mag 40gr HP: 1370fps avg, ES 86, SD 44

Unfortunately I didn't do any accuracy testing as I was occupied with handloads for another gun.

I was hoping the Winchester 45gr's would fare better in the short barrel, figuring trading mass for velocity would be ok in a handgun. Instead they kinda suck. I can get 1106fps from CCI Velocitors in a 4" revolver, and that's a .22LR. Why waste maggies for the same performance, especially for defense or field shooting where you'll deafen yourself with the extra powder.

The CCI's surely had a little more pop to them, and 1370fps is squarely in magnum handgun territory, giving a solid 23% more velocity than the nearest .22LR competition (the same Velocitors). That translates to quite a bit more KE, and since the .22Mag is generally aimed at shooting non-paper targets, I guess this is a decent go-to load. It's harder to extract than the Winchester.

This pretty much indicates what is already known - that the .22mag in a handgun is neither fish nor foul. At 6" of barrel it really starts to turn into something, but shorter than that it's very inefficient compared to a .22LR. Yes, you WILL get more performance, but it's a weak trade for the extra noise without tuned ammunition. Too bad it can't practically be handloaded. (Yes, I know it's been done).

I'd like to get a .22LR cylinder for this handgun, which I think would get a lot more use.


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March 21, 2010, 01:04 PM
I'd agree the Velocitors do exhibit much better performance from the revolver than the 45 grain 22 mags. Nice observation. And they cost less.

As far as the Maxi-Mags go, this puts their revolver velocity in the same value range as the 357, 41 and 44 Magnums. Their sectional density and ballistic coefficients are also similar. One group of cartridges, similar ballistics and trajectory. Simply move up and down the power range to match their intended target/game.

Also, those Maxi-Mags are deadly accurate in a T/C Contender.

March 21, 2010, 05:22 PM
Magnumite, that's a good point about the value range of the magnum cartridges.
I'd be curious to try some of the ~35gr versions in the same gun.

WRT the Velocitors, Yes, they perform decently and cost less, with the further advantage that I can shoot really cheap ammo in the same gun for general plinking fun. Not so with the .22mag.

What really chaps my patoodle is that these are rimfire rounds, not spendy centerfire packages. The cost of .22mag has about doubled in the last two years. At this point from an end-result standpoint I'd be better off with a 4" .38spl for most purposes (got one of them too) with factory ammo, or even more better with handloads at $6/box.


March 21, 2010, 06:25 PM
Well actually like the Dyna points in my .22 Mag rifles. It kills 30 pound and under animals very well with little noise! It is like a hollowpoint .22 WRF which a shoot quite abit in older guns. In my 4" .22 mags I too like the Winchester 40 grain stuff, put it is louder and really doesn't seem to kill any better than the Dyna Point. The 40 grain Winchester FMJ load in 4" barrels is the favorite steer slaughter gun around these parts.

March 21, 2010, 06:50 PM
Dynapoint don't have enough pop to reliably work the action on my Remington 597 magnum. I get an occasional partial extraction. I avoid the stuff. CCI works great in the gun.

The short barrel problem and slow powder is why I avoided .22 mag in a NAA mini. I have a .22LR that gives me 800 fps from a 1 5/8" barrel. It's a good also gun in a weak side pocket and it comes in handy when I need to take out a trash marauding possum, don't seem to bother the neighbors. Can't go poppin' noisy guns around here and I always seem to have that thing when I need something.

On NAA's site, they list the 40 grain stuff under 1000 fps from a 1 5/8" barrel. Only the 30 grain CCI +V breaks 1000 and it's around 1100 IIRC. I'm getting over 1200 fps from a 30 grain conical in my super companion cap and ball NAA (1 5/8" barrel) shooting 2 grains of Bullseye. There's your "reloadable magnum". :D Using a spare cylinder, it actually reloads quicker than the conventional gun, too. It's a significant better bite than the LR, but I admit, I'd rather carry a .38 or 9, even a .380. :D I think it's about as good as the .32, though, pretty close. Either gun needs a dead center hit on something like an eyeball and I'm getting better with the little super companion. I was drilling 5" groups today slow fire from 40 feet with it. I amazed myself. :D

That's about what I'd figured a 4" barrel would do for the CCI just knowing what it does in shorter barrels and guessing. Yeah, I'm guessing 6 or 8 inches minimum is what it'd take to really wake the cartridge up. Now, you guys seem to be getting giddy about the SD/velocity vs .44 mag or .357 mag. I hope you don't think the .22 mag is that serious a defensive weapon. :D I mean, as a deep concealment/back up it's okay in a tiny pistol for specialized circumstances, but I wouldn't go walkin' around with a .22 mag as a primary, especially in a gun as big as a J frame when I could be carrying a .38 special. Energy and bullet momentum have a say in effectiveness, ya know, and when I look at those little holes in the target paper, I don't get a rush of confidence in anything, but a head shot. :D

March 21, 2010, 07:09 PM
Compare the dyna-pointes to the cci's by firing them into something (phone book, something of that nature). YOu will be very surpised. I found dyna-pointes penetrate deeper and expand by deformation very well. Much better than the unreliable cci's. Shot out of a 1 1/8" barrel Mini-Mag. CCI's are high velocity sure but they are all bark no bite. Heavier grain copper PLATED bullets work better in the mini's than fully jacketed light anything bullets. This pertains to performace measured in penetration and deformation (expansion). The thick copper jacket of the cci's couldl prevent them from deforming and expanding. dyna-pointes are superior.

March 21, 2010, 07:38 PM
I just got my super companion, did the chronograph work, but haven't gotten to the penetration tests, yet. I plan to use milk jugs full of water. I'm testing it against the .22LR Federal Lightening I use in my .22LR NAA, though. I don't have a magnum mini.

So, the penetration tests will be a 30 grain conical at 1250 fps vs a 38 grain HP at 800 fps. I think I know the winner already. :D

March 22, 2010, 02:26 PM
Daizee, my own experimentation echos your findings.
The .22 Magnum needs a minimum of five inches of barrel to gain enough velocity to be practical in a handgun.

As you and many, many other shooters have learned, the cartridge can be somewhat tempermental when fired in something other than a manually operated rifle action, hence the sticky case phenomenom.
Accuracy of various loads can also vary wildly.

You can have the chambers and rim rebates polished glass smooth by a gunsmith to somewhat eliminate the sticky case problem but it doesn't entirely solve it.

Neither fish nor fowl is a good way to describe the WMR and for rifle use I presonally much prefer the .22 K Hornet and .25/20 Winchester for the ability to reload and much more balanced performance.

March 22, 2010, 04:30 PM
Onmilo, I'd looooove to have me a nice .22 k-hornet. Single-shot, Bolt, Lever, whatever.
At this point it makes a lot more sense to me than the .22wmr.

I think my ideal .22WMR handgun is the single-six hunter with its 7.25" barrel. Mmmm... donut.


March 23, 2010, 12:10 AM
My Remington 597M really shoots the black box Winchester Premium ammo very well. Complete confidence with that combo.

March 23, 2010, 02:08 AM
I wish I still had a box of the Winchester Supremes to chrony in this revolver. I recall it had a wicked looking hollowpoint, 36gr, and wasn't that expensive before they disappeared.

Has anyone shot the Fiocchi .22WMR ammo?


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