22 LR vs 22 WMR in revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by skfullen, Jan 10, 2021.

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  1. skfullen

    skfullen Member

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    I'm a huge fan of the 22 wmr, especially in rifles. It fills a niche between the lowly 22 LR and the Hornet, Fireball, Bee, etc, in my opinion.
    In revolvers, the decision between LR and WMR depends greatly on barrel length (for me). I had a NAA mini in ..22WMR and the muzzle blast was brutal. My informal research led me to the conclusion that I was not gaining more than 50 to 75 ft per second over the same weapon (NAA mini) in 22 long rifle (and dreaded pulling the trigger!). I sold it and replaced it with the 22 long rifle version.
    However, in a revolver such as the Ruger Single Six, with a five and a half inch or longer barrel, I'm thinking I'm gaining a substantial increase in velocity with the 22 wmr over the 22LR. (300-400 fps).
    I've looked at the website, Ballistics By The Inch, and they're findings seem to mirror my thoughts.
    I'll add that I've been on many a camping trip/hike with only a Single Six in 22 WMR and felt safe and secure. Of course, I'm in the piney woods of East Texas, and the biggest critter I would fear, other than a meth-head, would be a coyote or bobcat (maybe a hog).
    What say, ye? Is the WMR worth the added expense and noise in a revolver?
     
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  2. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I have several SA revolvers in 22lr/22 mag with the interchangeable cylinders.
    I bought the first one in about 1992/93.
    I have purchased exactly 2 boxes of 22 mag ammo and still have most of 1 box left.
    ALOT of guys love the 22 magnums and depending on the intended use they are a good option but for my shooting purposes if I need more oomph than a 22 lr I will just grab a center fire. To me in a field situation without ear protection I'd rather fire a 38 Spl.
     
  3. Antihero

    Antihero Member

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    If it's a long enough barrel, sure but when I chronographed my Heritage 22lr Stingers actually produced more velocity than the 22wmr. 4.75 inch barrel
     
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  4. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    The .22Mag is a great and underrated field cartridge. It does maintain a good velocity advantage over the .22LR and with a better bullet. I've clocked the Winchester 40gr at 350fps over that of a high velocity 36gr out of the same 5.5" gun. A S&W 648 I had drilled & tapped is one of the guns I regret trading away the most.
     
  5. Plastikosmd

    Plastikosmd Member

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    I enjoy the round also

    my smith 48

    01-B4-C15-D-5771-4089-972-B-3-CF79157-F82-F.jpg
     
  6. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Another big fan if .22wmr here.
    20200411_175157.jpg .22mag cylinder installed on my SSS on this and many other mushroom hunts, woods walks and scouts. Then 22magnum is standard equipment for camping trips, atv, and horseback rides.

    I am also convinced that. 22magnum is slightly more accurate than .22lr in my single sixes.
     
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  7. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I carry a NAA .22 mag whenever I can't carry anything bigger.

    I dont find it that obnoxious and I do like that regardless whether the extra powder is wasted on a 2" barrel it still puts more stank on the bullet which is, as was noted, a better performing bullet over the usual .22 lr.

    I like the NAA and the .22 magnum enough that I am keeping my eyes open for a 4" mini master to use as a bumming trail gun for light walks when I feel like leaving the .357 at home.
     
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  8. skfullen

    skfullen Member

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    Well, I had the NAA mini in 22 WMR, and beside being as loud as a .357 mag, I think I know why they only offer it is a SS finish.
    That way, when you fire it and it flies out of your hand, you can easily find it laying amongst the leaves on the ground!
     
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  9. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I am a big 22 WMR fan as well. It is the only rimfire I use for hunting. Alas, I have not located the right revolver yet. A Smith 648 or Ruger Singke Six stainless would do. I’ll have to stick to my rifles in the meantime.
     
  10. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Depending on the revolver and cylinder gap, .22 WMR will have good velocity numbers over .22 LR starting in as short as 3" barrels (as seen in the video below).

    Seems like most revolvers get max velocity out of .22 WMR in barrels at 6.5" and longer. Once revolver barrels go past 9" the cylinder gap seems to bleed off too much pressure, so velocity improvements in barrels longer than 9" are more likely seen out of bolt action pistols, etc.

    I know my Ruger Single Six with 9.5" barrel sends 40 grain .22 WMR out the tube in the 1400 fps range, while 30 grain ammo reaches the 1700 fps range. Some Single Sixes with 6.5" and 7.5" barrels are known to throw 40 grain ammo as fast as my 9.5" barrel Single Six.

     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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  11. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I'm eyeballing a 9.5" single six now. I understand that you are saying that the 7.5" tubes are wringing max velocity out of the magnums?.
    I would have guessed by the size of the fireball out of my 4⅝ SSS that the 9.5" would still be showing benefits.

    Are you sold on your 9½ incher? I want a hunter/plinker.
    A good friend had one as a raccoon hunting gun. When he drew that long barrel ruger, it was soon raining 'coon. God rest his soul.
     
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  12. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    BTW, since I mentioned cylinder gap and .22 magnum . . .

    I remember the first time I took my 9.5" Single Six to the range and was sighting in the iron sights. I had it rested on shooting bags, which were within an inch of the cylinder gap. That .22 mag cylinder gap blast cut open the shooting bags on both sides of the gun in one cylinder full.
     
  13. skfullen

    skfullen Member

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    Good video with good info.
     
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  14. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I'd have to find the old info I remember reading, but I recall the Single Six Hunter with the 7.5" barrel nearly equaling the velocity numbers my particular 9.5" Single Six can reach.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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  15. CaptHank

    CaptHank Member

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    Here is my Single-Six Hunter, 22 Mag. I had two brands of ammo to try out, Hornady 30 GR. V-Max and Remington 40 GR. Targets were shot at 25 yards. As you can see, the Hornady's did okay. Loaded the Remington's, did excellent, plus I prefer the heavier Remington. My Marlin 22 Mag, also likes the 40 GR. Remington.

    IMG_1948.JPG
     
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  16. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I really like the 9.5" Single Six. If one's eyes are good, it makes for an excellent open sight shooter.

    If one's eyes aren't good, a red dot or scope help in that department, but a scope adds so much weight that I consider my 9.5 incher a shooting stick gun at that point. That 9.5 incher is at 52 oz. with the Herretts and 2x scope mounted.

    I'd say the 9.5" is plenty adaptable to what you want to do as long as you can accept the long barrel. Which is pretty cool in a Buntline sort of way.

    Here are several ways I've had my Single Six set up. All fun and a literal blast in .22 WMR.

    View attachment 969577

    View attachment 969578

    View attachment 969579

    View attachment 969580
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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  17. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    The .22Mag is going to gain velocity all the way to 18-20".
     
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  18. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I have three revolvers that each have two cylinders for swapping .22 LR and .22 WMR, so I don't have to decide between one or the other. ;)

    Unfortunately, only one of them is pretty enough to rate a place in this thread:

    View attachment 969608
     
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  19. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Sadly, all the older links I have to some good .22 magnum revolver info seem to have gone off the net. If y'all happen to find these by their titles . . .

    "Three .22 WMR Loads From Remington by Phil W. Johnston" (shows a 6" barreled S&W with velocities similar to a 7.5" Freedom Arms)

    "The .22 Magnum As A Revolver Cartridge - American Handgunner" (can't even open my old saved file on this one)

    "The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire In Sporting Revolvers by Mike Cumpston" (shows a Ruger Single Six 6.5" shooting with nearly the same velocities as a 9.5" Single Six)

    I'd say the bottom line is it's going to depend on the gun, the size of the cylinder gap, and the ammo as to what speed you really get out of .22 WMR in a revolver.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  20. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Two fine-looking SSS.
    Those are impressive groups, @CaptHank ...seriously.
    I like the hunter, but they're hard to find,...the 9½ bbl has some sentimental attraction.
     
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  21. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I wonder if the hunter edition has any additional accuracy features that aren't on the SSS.?
    I know the sights are upgraded, and rings.
     
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  22. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I like the .22 WMR. I have a 4” Taurus 941 that’s not a lot of fun to shoot at the indoor range due to the heavy trigger pull, but in a 6” K frame or 6.5” Single Six it’s great.

    6” S&W Model 48-4:

    AB33B922-DA5F-41CF-A857-D83835CD3927.jpeg

    I have a couple of rifles in .22WMR, too. I’ll agree with the others above, I also think it is a great round. :thumbup:

    Stay safe.
     
  23. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Good question. Looks like the grips are nicer than the plain plastic checkered grips on typical convertible Single Sizes.

    I know I ended up giving my Single Six a mild trigger job and thinned the front sight when I still used it for open sight shooting. I wonder if the Hunter comes with a better trigger?
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  24. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have a Single Six Convertible and an S&W Model 51, both with 22 Magnum Rimfire capabilities. I do not think I've put two boxes of 22 Magnum Rimfire ammunition through both of them. The Model 51 was my father-in-law's revolver.

    For rifle, I reload 22 Hornet and my 22 Hornet Contender is a great little carbine. At least with the Single Six, I have no idea what the appropriate sight settings would be with the 22 Magnum Rimfire rounds so it is not a simple process if I want to shoot at something with the Single Six with 22 Magnum Rimfire ammunition.

    So, for me, 22 Magnum Rimfire really does not fit my needs but I'm sure it is a great round.

    But, on reflection, the Model 51 might be a good firearm to dispatch a couple ground hogs we have around our farm. As easy to carry but with more oomph than my 22 LR Model 317.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  25. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Nope. Ruger makes them all the same. They have different sights, don't know if I'd call them upgraded.
     
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