.22LR vs .25ACP


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Glock19Fan
January 15, 2013, 06:49 PM
I decided to do a fair, even test today comparing the .22LR and the .25ACP from pocket pistol length barrels. The .22LR was fired from a 2.5 inch barrel, and the .25ACP was fired from a 2.25 inch barrel. Ammunition used was typical, full powered generic ammunition for each caliber- CCI 40 grain RN Mini Mags for the .22LR, and Aguilas 50 grain FMJ in .25ACP. Rounds were fired from a distance of 5 feet.

The test was done by firing 3 rounds of each caliber through a fresh 2x4, with water jugs stacked behind it to measure penetration.

EDIT: Here is the board. Many seem to think its a 1x6 but it is a 2x4.
http://i48.tinypic.com/2qk31n6.jpg


Here is the setup.
http://i45.tinypic.com/jzhbo0.jpg
All rounds fired from both calibers fully penetrated the 2x4 with ease. Here are the entrances. Notice the much larger hole made by the .25ACP.
http://i48.tinypic.com/2hyjgwm.jpg
Here are the exits.
http://i48.tinypic.com/fbm168.jpg
Here are the recovered bullets.
http://i48.tinypic.com/o51dtx.jpg

The .22LR rounds fully penetrated the first jugs, while two of them continued into the second jug, denting the back side of the second jug. The third round tumbled in the first jug, exiting near the bottom, striking the concrete table, bouncing up and denting the second jug. It was recovered on the table between the first and second jug.

The .25ACP rounds fully penetrated the first jug. Two of the bullets continued through the second jug, exiting and impacting a cloth backstop. The third bullet made a large dent on the backside of the second jug, but did not exit.

To be honest, this test surprised me. I expected to get a little more penetration out of the .22LR becuase of the higher velocity and smaller size, but it seems that the tough construction of the .25ACP bullet combined with the heavier weight seemed to be the advantage.

Conclusion: This test may or may not be scientific. It really depends on your definition, but it was equal. It is clear that the .25ACP outperformed the .22LR, and while the difference is fairly small, I do think the wise choice for self defense would be to go with the .25ACP. It is more inheritely more reliable, and from similar length barrels is more powerful.

To be clear, I DO NOT recommend either of these for self defense but for the people that cannot handle a larger caliber, I think the .25ACP would be the way to go.

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VA27
January 16, 2013, 12:27 AM
Even if they were dead even, the reliability of the 25 would trump the 22. I've had more failures with 22 ammo in the last few years than in the previous 20 years. The 25 wouldn't be my first choice, but if it were all I had I'd make it work.

JERRY
January 16, 2013, 12:30 AM
i love these mouse gun debates.....

cost of ammo be damned id take the .25acp because the ballistics are the same but the reliablity of the centerfire is superior.

thanks for the testing you did.

SouthernYankee
January 16, 2013, 12:59 AM
CCI is the only ammo I use in .22 due to its performance and reliability. I think it might have had a little different result?

Swing
January 16, 2013, 01:03 AM
Neat test. Thanx.

heeler
January 16, 2013, 01:26 AM
Nice down to earth kind of test.
I like .22's but in a carry pistol I would opt for the 25 ACP IF we are talking only about these two calibers,which we are.
We all know the mantra of the 40 plus club but either of these would ventilate most humans with zero recoil for the shooter,thus (hopefully) better shot placement,and most likely many shot placements.
Beats throwing rocks.

Glock19Fan
January 16, 2013, 02:00 AM
This was CCI ammo. Mini Mags

Big JJ
January 16, 2013, 02:27 AM
Next time try CCI Velociters.
40 grain bullets at 1450fps.
You may be surprised at the results

JERRY
January 16, 2013, 02:36 AM
next time try cci velociters.
40 grain bullets at 1450fps.
You may be surprised at the results

1450 fps would be a big surprise in deed from a 2.5" bbl but i dont think that will happen.

Got any other suggestions?

Glock19Fan
January 16, 2013, 02:54 AM
My .22LR is picky about ammunition. So picky that it wont feed ANYTHING except CCI Mini Mag solids. Yet another advantage to the .25ACP.

Even Velocitors wouldnt break 900 FPS from a 2.5 inch barrel. MAYBE 950 but that is really pushing it. The Mini Mags are right around 850 FPS.

Kiln
January 16, 2013, 04:13 AM
All the guys that hate .25acp and say they'd rather have a .22lr pistol are simply ignorant of the facts.

1. That text that says 1400+ FPS on the side of a box of .22lr is from a RIFLE length barrel. Out of similar guns, the .25acp and .22lr are nearly equal in terms of ballistics.

2. The .25acp has the massive benefit of being centerfire. Even the most reliable rimfire ammunition (CCI) even occasionally has issues, where issues with modern centerfire ammunition are extremely uncommon. This is the reason that .25acp was invented in the first place.

3. Full metal jackets. The .25acp has the benefit of having a FMJ bullet construction, where the .22lr is a solid lead bullet. FMJ's feed better and have more reliable penetration.

Neither is ideal for defense but if you're going with a mouse gun, you should go with a mouse gun that is at least chambered for a reliably primed cartridge.

PRM
January 16, 2013, 09:02 AM
Don't know where you folks are getting all this unreliable .22 ammo. I've been shooting .22s for over 4 decades and haven't had any more problems with it than any other caliber. I grew up on a farm in the rural South and it was just about all we had growing up. It was the caliber I learned to shoot with.

Its been in production since 1887. You would think if it was all that bad, it still wouldn't be around. I plan on picking up a couple of bricks this weekend at a local gun show.

smkummer
January 16, 2013, 11:24 AM
I was getting 900 FPS with CCI 22 LR ammo and a little over 700 FPS with older factory 25 auto ammo and lead bullet reloads. I also tried 22 HS short out of a Colt Junior auto and was only getting 700 FPS. 900 over 700 is a big difference in my book but I did not try any other ammo. A chronograph is cheap these days and the Smith is my carry mouse gun when the Colt agent 38 is too noticable. The CCI has always fired and cycled in my gun. I can't say that for the bulk remington thunderbolts.

greyeyezz
January 16, 2013, 11:29 AM
So much for a .25 bouncing off someone's head.

billybob44
January 16, 2013, 11:40 AM
So much for a .25 bouncing off someone's head.
That just depends on the HEAD?? Some are as hard as Cue Balls...Bill

Fiv3r
January 16, 2013, 12:06 PM
Interesting tests. Thank you.

I have always viewed the .22lr as a great hiking caliber. Having a gun that shoots cheap, small ammo is a real plus for most kits. It's great for impromptu plinking if you are in an area where it is safe and allowed. It's great for an emergency use as you can gather game with it, fend off MOST nasties that don't outweigh a man, and it makes a great noise maker if you are trying to get someone to pinpoint your location. On top of that, for a couple bucks you can keep 50 rounds on your person with very little extra weight.

In terms of self defense, I certainly wouldn't choose the .22 for daily carry. My grandfather does and has for 50+ years. So far so good. My grandparents have lived in a pretty crappy area for the last 30+ years, and he feels perfectly protected with an old snub nose .22. Hey, if it works for him, I guess.

I'm also a little iffy on the .25, but my dad has been carrying one of those in his truck for 30+ years. He's a surgeon with that little sucker. He can STILL outshoot me with his little Saturday Night Special regardless of what gun I pick...well maybe not my 6.5" Blackhawk loaded with .38s, but its still impressive what he can do with that little bugger.

.380 is my bottom level SD caliber. For me, it makes more sense to pack a reliable (if a bit snappier) round that is bigger and more cost effective than the tiny .25. That said, I wouldn't want to face down the business end of either the .22 or .25. Under those circumstances I bet those barrels look like manholes:evil:

I'm actually kinda surprised you got as much penetration with .25. Thanks again:)

bannockburn
January 16, 2013, 12:25 PM
I think between these two cartridges in something small, like a Beretta 21A and a Baby Browning, I would go with the .25ACP. More reliable centerfire ignition would be a signicant factor over the rimfire priming operation.

Deer_Freak
January 16, 2013, 12:34 PM
Most people that carry a 22 for self defense use round nose ammo. All the 22 has going for it is penetration. All the high velocity rounds have hollow point bullets. I really doubt the hollow point from a velocitor or a stinger would perform as well as the round nose mini mag in this test.

Glock19Fan
January 16, 2013, 04:50 PM
I have some other .22LR rounds including Stingers, 60 grain SSS, and possibly some Velocitors. I also have some Super Maximums, but the problem is none of these are reliable in my pistol. I can test them for others to see, but as far as what is reliable I can only use .22LR Mini Mags.

But I am still impressed with how much larger the hole is from the .25. And it really makes me doubt some stories I have heard about the .25 failing to penetrate heavy jackets, or just getting stuck in someones adipose layer, although I guess there are squib loads in every caliber.

usp9
January 16, 2013, 08:12 PM
Why the two different sizes of board? The top photo looks like a 2x4, but the second photo looks like a1x6. Just curious.

Glock19Fan
January 16, 2013, 08:34 PM
There is only one board. Notice the exact same cuts, bullet holes, and writing.

It is all the same board. A 2x4.

lloveless
January 17, 2013, 01:07 AM
Everyone "assumes" the .25 to be more reliable because it is center fire. No one shoots enough of it to really know. I prefer the .22 because I can afford to shoot enough of it to know exactly what will happen.
ll

RJTravel
January 17, 2013, 01:35 AM
That board is NOT a 2X4. It is a 1X6 - period. It is very, very unusual for either a .22 or .25 out of a handgun to even come close to penetrating a 2X4. Both handguns would have to be autos to make a comparison. A revolver with a 2" barrel has an actual 2" barrel. An auto with a 2" barrel has an effective 1" barrel given that the chamber in an auto is included in barrel length. In my own similar testing I found the .25acp to be substantially more potent than a .22lr.

Glock19Fan
January 17, 2013, 01:43 AM
Someone please explain to me how a 1x6 measures 1.5x3.5

It is a 2x4 period. I tried explaining it, and I even provided a picture of it.

Both weapons used in the test were semi automatic pistols with barrels measuring 2.25 for the .25ACP and 2.5 for the .22LR.

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST.

kmrcstintn
January 17, 2013, 02:22 AM
my .22 handgun is NOT designed for concealed carry, but it is ALWAYS good to know what feeds, ignites, extracts, ejects well in it; next step is accuracy at a variety of distances using 2 handed, single handed strong side, and single handed weak side shooting;

my pick for a 'impromptu' defense load in my Ruger Mk III Standard w/ 6" barrel is CCI Mini-Mag 36gr hollowpoints...

heeler
January 17, 2013, 08:50 AM
The angle of the picture only makes the board look like a 1x6.
If you look at the far right of the picture you will clearly see the thickness and it is a 2x4.
Also look at the board sitting on the oil jug and at that point it is quite clear it is not a 1x6.
Finally I can clearly see the saw cuts on the board in question.
It's a 2x4 people.

jimbo555
January 17, 2013, 09:46 AM
If recoil is the problem than I would choose the 22lr because you have better platforms available in that caliber. the ruger lcr22 would be superior to a beretta 25 in my opinion,if hitting the target is your goal.Also cost of ammo makes the 22lr more likely to get the practice needed to be proficient.

RJTravel
January 17, 2013, 04:15 PM
Try that test in a real douglas fir 2X4. Not gonna penetrate. Works well in the 1X6 shown in the pics, but I think surprise is in order when a real 2X4 is used.

CTPhil
January 17, 2013, 04:32 PM
For what it's worth I just shot a doug fir 2x4 with a .25 FMJ and it didn't go through.

P-Dog
January 17, 2013, 07:23 PM
Neat test! Thx! My 10/22 is real picky about ammo ... Federal is now only for the revolver, I get constant misfeeds in the 10/22 with those. CCI and MiniMag have been good also.

Glock19Fan
January 17, 2013, 09:11 PM
nevermind

heeler
January 17, 2013, 11:01 PM
Dont sweat it Glock19FAN.
I can see it was a pine 2x4 board.;)

Gordon
January 17, 2013, 11:24 PM
Velocities vary greatly in .25acp; Baby Brownings or Bernadelli VB get around 700+ with PMC ball and a loose barrel 1908 Colt usually won't get much better. In a new Beretta 950 or 21 the velocity is 100 to 150 fps greater in my testing. Colt Jr.s and are in the middle as our good shape Walthers and such. Yup a tight barrel .25acp can get over 900 fps with Geco ball and they go right thru a pressure treated fir 2x4 or full 2" thick heart redwood.

Glock19Fan
January 18, 2013, 02:39 AM
Heeler- I just think some people post without reading a single post. :barf: :)

Gordon- I agree, old pitted barrels of any caliber will not hold the accepted velocities that many would expect. However both of the weapons I used in the test are fairly recent models with excellent bores. In fact I suspect the .22 to have a tighter bore than normal but have no way of measuring it.

But when the weather starts looking better I will run both calibers through the chrony. Til then I think I will test the 60 grain SSS and maybe the Stinger through the same.

Isaac-1
January 18, 2013, 03:00 AM
I have to wonder if this holds true for other test situaitons, maybe the .22 deforms more going through the wood than the .25 and therefore slows faster in the water, etc.

Glock19Fan
January 18, 2013, 03:51 AM
It is possible, but judging by the hole in the wood from the .25ACP, it appears much more energy is lost compared to the .22LR. Also keep in mind that while the .22LR does deform, it is barely larger than its original size, and no larger than the .25 bullet.

I will run the ammo through the chrony sometime in the next week, but looking at these figures, the two are almost the exact same energy wise.

.25ACP- 50 grains @ 750 FPS (62 FPE)
.22LR- 40 grains @ 850 FPS (64 FPE)

Fanfare Ends
January 18, 2013, 04:35 AM
Did you do this testing inside your house?
Are you [still] married? ( : >)

Glock19Fan
January 18, 2013, 04:41 AM
:) I took it to the range to do the test, but becuase of freezing rain and ~34 degree temps I decided to take it indoors for the report.

Fanfare Ends
January 20, 2013, 01:34 AM
( : >)

Pete D.
January 20, 2013, 07:58 AM
25acp; Baby Brownings or Bernadelli VB get
700+fps.
OK. My little VP chrono'd at 760 fps using S&B ammo. That info about tight and loose barrels is certainly good to know in any case.

Thanks.
Pete

AFDavis11
January 20, 2013, 09:45 AM
Honestly, I'm asking . . . What hypothesis would someone gleen from this?

Is this representing a rib cage/breast plate bone or something?

So, .25 ACP out penetrates .22 through a 2x4? Ok. I take it this was something that someone, somewhere, didn't already know?

Is the idea here to slow the bullet down through wood so that penetration is measurable?

What is it about this test that suggests to you that the wise choice is a .25 ACP? I was really surprised by the conclusion that .25 ACP is/was more reliable. I assume that is some prior assumption?

Have you considered that both rounds are over-penetrating?

The_Armed_Therapist
January 20, 2013, 05:32 PM
That text that says 1400+ FPS on the side of a box of .22lr is from a RIFLE length barrel. Out of similar guns, the .25acp and .22lr are nearly equal in terms of ballistics.

OK, so I know that .22LR has more velocity from a rifle barrel, obviously. Is there a simple way to approximate how much velocity something like the mini mags have through much shorter barrels? I usually use momentum as an approximation of expected penetration, which would give the .22LR about a 25% advantage over the .25ACP. Running some numbers tells me that, assuming momentum is somewhat reliable in measuring penetration, the .22LR would have to be only achieving a velocity of 950 to be equal the .25ACP in momentum; and, under 950 to penetrate less.

Is 900 f/s down from 1235 normal for .22LR ammunition in short barrels vs. rifle barrels?

Pete D.
January 20, 2013, 06:33 PM
I have meant to chrono a few brands of hyper velocity .22s from my S&W 317. Haven't done it.
I do know that Barnes' CotW has this note about the hyper velocity .22s:

"....their increased performance is most pronounced when they are fired from a rifle rather than a handgun. In some instances, particularly in short barreled pistols or revolvers......these loads can generate much less energy than standard .22 Long Rifle high velocity loads. They actually exit the muzzle slower. (Barnes, CotW, 11th Ed., p.478)

What is it about this test that suggests to you that the wise choice is a .25 ACP? I was really surprised by the conclusion that .25 ACP is/was more reliable. I assume that is some prior assumption?
I wasn't surprised at all. I have owned both types of pocket pistols. The 22 was a jam-o-matic; the .25 has never jammed. Never.

Pete

AFDavis11
January 20, 2013, 07:06 PM
Pete,

That's why it is a prior assumption. Nothing about the test demonstrates or test reliability. Ive owned only one .25 ACP; it couldn't cycle two rounds in a row.

il_10
January 20, 2013, 10:40 PM
Cycling reliability is secondary to the question of the rounds' individual performance. .25ACP is a centerfire round. .22lr is a rimfire. Centerfire wins. That's the point of .25; that's why it was invented. He didn't suggest his test showed reliability, he commented on its inherent reliability, which is pretty generally accepted. There's a reason we don't have rimfire military arms.

Glock19Fan
January 21, 2013, 03:36 AM
Honestly, I'm asking . . . What hypothesis would someone gleen from this?

Is this representing a rib cage/breast plate bone or something?

So, .25 ACP out penetrates .22 through a 2x4? Ok. I take it this was something that someone, somewhere, didn't already know?

Is the idea here to slow the bullet down through wood so that penetration is measurable?

What is it about this test that suggests to you that the wise choice is a .25 ACP? I was really surprised by the conclusion that .25 ACP is/was more reliable. I assume that is some prior assumption?

Have you considered that both rounds are over-penetrating?

If you look at almost .22LR vs .25ACP discussion, you will see the massive amount of people stating the .25ACP is a worthless caliber and that the .22LR is better in every way.

The test was meant to show how each bullet will react to hard and soft targets, and how the penetration would compare.

The .25ACP is obviously the wise choice based on reliability and penetration. Neither rounds over penetrated becuase with these calibers, the best thing that it can do is penetrate deep since expanding bullets are not desireable in these calibers.

While I will continue to plink with the .22LR, if I decided to throw either one in my pocket, the choice would be the .25ACP.

Chris-bob
January 21, 2013, 04:02 AM
Loved the test. Thanks for the info. Already thought it, but it's nice to see it shown.

AFDavis11
January 21, 2013, 07:07 AM
Glock19,

I see. Yes, that would be an inaccurate assumption. .25 ACP has been outperforming .22 for defense for a while. I'm not really certain that we've proven that expanding rounds are less effective in the smaller calibers yet, but I've noted it seems to be a common "assumption" floating around the forum.

I was of the impression that most people who used .25 ACP did so out of "Saturday Night Special" pocket guns and had realized their inherent unreliability. Although I've never heard of a .25 ACP that was genuinely reliable it's nice to know that they are out there.

I have always used revolvers for .22 work, so you can probably imagine that I've never experienced a failure to feed with a .22 cal.

Do you carry either of these rounds in a BUG?

il_10
January 21, 2013, 04:11 PM
The Colt, Browning, and Beretta models in .25 have, in my experience, been pretty dadgum reliable. The only issues I've had with any of them that I've fired has been rimlock in the magazine, but that was my fault and happened early on in my using semi-rimmed cartridges.
Ortgies, Walther PP and PPKs, and the like are also pretty solid.

Comparing a Jennings .22 to a raven .25 isn't going to tell us much. But between a Beretta 21 in .25 and a 21 in .22, the OP is suggesting it's better to carry the .25.

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