Looking for .22LR history


December 18, 2003, 08:34 PM
There seems to be a lot of "history" scattered about the .22LR (and it's other .22 siblings like the short, the long) but I haven't found anything definitive about it's history or a full "story".

Anybody care to share if they know?

Specifically, was there any official commission for the .22LR, and which .22 came first? The short, long, long rifle, and are they any other variants I don't know about?

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December 18, 2003, 09:05 PM
The short was first. It was developed in 1857.
The long followed in 1871.
The long rifle came out in 1887.

The book "Cartridges of the World" has a short history of most cartridges. I once had a soft back copy or "The Rimfire" which was excellent on the cartridge and guns, but unfortunately it got borrowed and never found it's way back home.

Ther was also the .22 extra long, the .22 Winchester Rimfire (WRF), the .22 Winchester Automatic, The .22 Remington Automatic, The .22 Short Magnum Rimfire, and of course the .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum (WMR).

December 18, 2003, 09:39 PM
22 Short was created by TA DA S&W.

22 LR was created by Stevens.

The Long is the middle of the family in size and age, can't remember who came up with that one.

December 18, 2003, 09:56 PM
Stats from the Winchester website says that more .22LR is shot than all other calibers COMBINED. In fact, if you are talking purely projectile, the .22LR is put downrange than all other calibers (tanks etc. included) combined.. there are quotes like 2 Billion rounds a year... but I'm not sure..

Anybody verify this?

great caliber considering it's well past the century mark..

December 18, 2003, 10:03 PM
The long and the long rifle share the same cartridge case. The long is loaded with the 29 grain bullet of the short while the long rifle started with the 40 grain bullet. Both used the same powder charge, 5 grains of black powder.

December 19, 2003, 04:20 PM
Some odds and ends excerpted from an article in a magazine, The Complete Book of the .22 Rimfire by John Lachuk - 1993. The article is on page 11 and is called The Romance of Rimfire.

Bulleted Breach Cap begat the BB Cap that was patented in 1849 by Frenchman M. Flobert.

Daniel Wesson started working on ammo for his original cartridge revolver, the Model 1, in 1853 and came up with the .22 Short.

.22 Long credited to Frank Wesson who marketed rifles in that caliber from 1868-1870.

.22 LR credit given to Joshua Stevens with an assist from W.W. Thomas of Union Metallic Cartridge Co. Stevens introduced the round in 1888 in a break-top single-shot target rifle. These were uncrimped rounds. Peters Cartridge Co. added a crimp to the LR so the ammo wouldn't come apart in S&W revolvers. By 1890 it was a very popular round.

Previously regarded as a kid's gun, the cartridge gained international stature because of the efforts of famed target pistol shot Anson Paine. "With a flair for showmanship, Paine publicized the accuracy of the .22 LR by pinning back the ears of every serious target competitor in the United States with his Lord Model Stevens tip-up single shot pistol. He then traveled to the Continent, where his markmanship exhibitions earned him the title of Chevalier as he shamed the best shooters that Europe had to offer."

.22 WRF appeared in 1890.

Remington Klean-Bore priming introduced in 1927.

Smokeless powders in the '30s.

.22 WMR appeared in 1959.


December 19, 2003, 04:45 PM
It's quite incredible how long this stuff has been with us.

I posted this before but .. some examples of old stuff I have accumulated.


Higher res version would aid readability but trying to keep filesize reasonable.

December 19, 2003, 09:09 PM

Was some of that stuff made before my grandpa was born?? :D I'd be scared to fire some of that stuff..

Interesting, as most say the .22LR isn't that accurate...

December 19, 2003, 09:38 PM
twoblinkWas some of that stuff made before my grandpa was born?? hahahaha!! well .... IIRC (and I think I need Standing Wolf again - he commented last time I showed this pic) ...... the lower box with green label .. was pre 1900 ... that had the 5 grain BP charge.!!

So yeah - I guess pre your Grandpap!!

The top three square boxes are various vintages of the old ''copper'' color shell case - the two on right which have very dull cases ... probably be lucky to have 2 or three fire!! I checked out one box like that years ago and they were mostly dud. Manufacture maybe - around 40's, 50's?

The box to left of those with ''shinier'' cases (red lines on label) probably would be better but - not reliable. These were smokeless but - I think the priming compound has deteriorated badly.

Top left is some very early ''Kynoch'' .32 acp's.

December 19, 2003, 10:29 PM
Interesting, as most say the .22LR isn't that accurate...

And just who are these people? Arguably the .22lr is the most accurate cartridge in the world bar none.

December 19, 2003, 11:18 PM
Arguably the .22lr is the most accurate cartridge in the world bar none. Why is that?

December 20, 2003, 12:08 AM
Also, maybe a stupid question: (Maybe related to the above post)

Are ALL .22 cartidges rimfires, or just some, and some are centerfires?

December 20, 2003, 01:10 AM
The .22 caliber can be had in a rimfire and a centerfire cartridge.

For accuracy just check record books for the various calibers. It is used internationally by almost every country. Take a look at the exotic firearms devoted to accurate shooting of the .22lr.

December 20, 2003, 06:52 AM
Looks like a pile of 40s and 50s .22 ammo to me....

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