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What is the most deadly .22LR round?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by storm shadow, May 9, 2007.

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  1. storm shadow

    storm shadow Member

    May 7, 2007
    I am relatively new to guns, so please be polite. :)

    What is the most lethal and deadly .22LR cartridge on the market for personal defense in a concealed carry pocket pistol?

    (Please spare me the sarcastic comments, wise-cracks and jabs about how wimpy the .22LR is for this role. I already know that.).

    However, on the other side of the coin, keep in mind that an individual who practices virtually non-stop with a .22LR pocket pistol and can place his shots where he wants them (in the face, groin or hand for example), is going to be far more effective and yes, even lethal than someone who never practices with his 9mm and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Just my own opinion.
  2. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    I suppose if you are stuck with it, go with the fastest load you can find, CCI Stingers or something.

    That said, a great pastry chef who spends months practicing whipping egg whites to perfect peaks with a brick would be better at wipping egg whites than someone who has never done it before trying with a wire whisk. But can you imagine if used a wire whisk instead? Woo boy, those would be some perfectly beaten egg whites.
  3. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Northwest IL--the other 'Downstate'
    CCI Stinger is probably the best defensive .22 LR --not all guns will feed it well. Use only in modern guns. It is roughly a match for .380 ACP (target loads) for energy. If it feeds well in your pistol, it is a solid performer.

    Best out of a .22 revolver (newer S/W would be best). It is a problem child is .22 auto pistols sometimes.

    I can understand physical limitations might make one go for a .22, but it really is too light for defensive use except when nothing better is at hand or permitted for other reasons.
  4. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    Howard County, Merry Land
    I'm not trying to be sarcastic or rude, but people who assert their ability to place shots in precise areas better than most because of extra practice...sound to me like they've got their heads in the sand.

    The reason I say this, is because unless you have undertaken an amazingly varied and stringent training regimen, most practice you could ever do will not even come CLOSE to the type of chaos and stresses that you'd encounter in a violent encounter. Sure, you're a wicked shot with your .22 at the range, but what about at 1 AM in the dark, dodging an attacker?

    Like I said, not trying to be sarcastic or mean, but it's the truth.
  5. SoCalShooter

    SoCalShooter Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    That's for me to know and not you!
    A .22LR to the head will usually be fatal. And practicing a lot with a weapon and increasing your accuracy can definetly affect the lethality of the user not the weapon.
  6. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    How do you figure? While it'll hit 1640 fps out of a rifle for 191 ft/lbs, it only clocks at about 750 fps (1 5/8" barrel) and 1000 fps (4" barrel) in a handgun for between 40 and 71 ft/lbs. Pretty much any .380 will have at least twice as much energy as the high end of a stinger out of a handgun.
  7. The_Shootist

    The_Shootist Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Richmond Tx, CSA

    What about Aquila's Super Max 30 gr HP? Those (indeed so do the Stingers) feed well out of my Beretta Cheetah - which eats wide variety of 22 LR loads (surprisingly) without a hiccup.
  8. 44AMP

    44AMP Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    upper US
    Unusual question

    Perhaps it is because you are new to guns. It is a small thing, but words carry meanings beyond their dictionary definitions, and in a court they carry legal consequences as well.

    Asking what is the most lethal bullet when talking self defense is considered bad form. In a court it is much worse. When we talk about self defense ammo, we use the term "effective".

    Effective at stopping the attacker. Not killing them. Stopping them.

    If an attacker dies as a result of being stopped, so be it. It is not a concern, as long as they are stopped. Most states laws are written so that you are only justified shooting someone if they must be stopped from harming you/others. You are allowed to use "deadly force" to stop. You are not authorised to "kill".

    Lawyers, prosecutors, courts, and cops understand the word "kill" to imply a premeditated act. This can get you in all kinds of legal trouble if you ever have to shoot someone in self defense. Just as you train with your firearm, you should train the way you speak. One does not shoot to kill (that is murder), one shoots to STOP an attacker, that is self defense. One never shoots to wound. Saying you only meant to wound implies (to the law) that in your mind, deadly force was not justified. And if deadly force is not justified, then you are not, legally, allowed to shoot someone.

    Sorry for the language lesson, but it is almost as important as your physical skills with a firearm. Train properly and your skills will protect you. Your choice of words, and the impression they create may be the difference between a decision of justified self defense and having to defend yourself again in a court of law. Seriously, think about it.

    Now, as to your .22LR question, here goes;
    I have chronographed a number of regular "High Velocity" ammo (40gr bullet) from several different 6" barrel .22 pistols, and they all get around 1250fps, allowing for the variation found in individual guns.

    Stingers, Vipers, Yellowjackets, or other "hyper velocity" rounds are faster, and use lighter (usually 36gr) bullets. Out of a pocket pistol, you lose velocity, 35-50fps per inch of barrel. There is a lot of individual variation in the amount of loss, due to variables in the gun, and the particular ammo.

    So, out of a pocket pistol, you could be down to 1000fps, or even less. NO .22LR has any excess of energy available for self defense use, and out of a pocket pistol, you are on the bottom of the available energy scale. Only precise shot placement is effective, and even then it may not work 100%.

    When you are talking small game hunting, there is a significant difference in the effectiveness of the standard and Hyper velocity rounds. Against humans, the difference is not nearly as significant.

    If, because of your circumstances, you must rely on a .22 pocket pistol for self defense, I would recommend using whatever ammo proves the most reliable functioning and accuracy in your gun. And relibility is more important than a small difference in group size. Whatever shoots to point of aim and feeds, fires, and ejects all the time (even if it does not produce the smallest groups) if what I would choose.

    Hope this helps.
    rvenneman likes this.
  9. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Northwest IL--the other 'Downstate'

    Please see the data table on the CCI/Blazer web site.

    If I'm off base I'm sorry. You may have me on barrel length--I'm not sure on the test barrel specs they used for their data. My larger point being--

    If you're hell bent on a .22 for defense, CCI is very solid in terms of reliability and relative power (for a .22)

    That said, my bedroom gun is (most often) a .32 ACP 1903 Colt. I wouldn't swap it for a .22 pistol of any stripe. And, if I lived somewhere nasty (like I used to) I wouldn't have a .32 as a home defense weapon either:) .

    As a primary carry pistol I have a .45 ACP and have no illusions that in a crisis I could do anything short of hitting the target in the torso. With training, in a crisis, --that's good.
  10. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    I Agree, That said, I wouldn't trust my life on a .22lr round. A .38 is the smallest self defense round I'll count on.
  11. heypete

    heypete Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    Remember that velocity and muzzle energy are well and good, but momentum is also important -- a bullet having less momentum will be more easily stopped by whatever resists its motion (air, a target, a bad guy, etc.)

    momentum = mass * velocity

    Here's an example of a bunch of common ammo brands:
    Aguila Super Max: 30gr * 1750 ft/sec: 52,500 gr*ft/sec
    CCI Stinger: 32gr * 1640 ft/sec: 52,480 gr*ft/sec
    CCI Velocitor: 40gr * 1435 ft/sec: 57,400 gr*ft/sec
    CCI Mini-Mag: 40gr * 1235 ft/sec: 49,400 gr*ft/sec
    CCI Subsonic: 40gr * 1050 ft/sec: 42,000 gr*ft/sec
    Federal Game-Shok: 40gr * 1260 ft/sec: 50,400 gr*ft/sec
    Federal Game-Shok: 38gr * 1260 ft/sec: 47,880 gr*ft/sec
    Federal Game-Shok: 31gr * 1430 ft/sec: 44,330 gr*ft/sec
    Federal American Eagle LRN: 40gr * 1260 ft/sec: 50,400 gr*ft/sec
    Remington Thunderbolt: 40gr * 1255 ft/sec: 50,200 gr*ft/sec
    Remington Cyclone: 36gr * 1280 ft/sec: 46,080 gr*ft/sec
    Remington Yellow Jacket: 33gr * 1500 ft/sec: 49,500 gr*ft/sec
    Winchester Super-X Power Point: 40gr * 1280 ft/sec: 51,200 gr*ft/sec
    Winchester Dynapoints: 40gr * 1155 ft/sec: 46,200 gr*ft/sec

    While many cartridges move faster than the CCI Velocitor, it seems that the Velocitor would pack the hardest punch on impact. Combined with an expanding bullet, reliable CCI priming, and good feeding in most guns, this seems to be the optimal choice.

    Caveat: All the data was from MidwayUSA's Technical Specifications & Uses page for each item, except for the Aguila information which came from a PDF from their website. I do not know what the barrel lengths in each test was, or how the ammo would perform in a handgun -- it's possible that the Velocitor would have considerably less momentum when fired from a handgun due to the powder burn characteristics being optimized for rifle length barrels.
  12. peterotte

    peterotte Member

    May 8, 2007
    22 ammo stopping power

    I found CCI mini-mags to have more hitting power out of a 4 inch barreled revolver than another brand when fired against a steel drum. I would have thought that penetration is all that counts when using a 22 against a human sized attacker.

    An expression comes to mind - a wee 22 pistol in the pocked is a heap better than a 45 in the safe.

    I do think that practice and accuracy counts for more than power but what would deter an attacker more - a big hole in the barrel pointing at him or a small hole?

    The other Pete
  13. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 19, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    Mini-mag +V solids have good penetration and ignition reliability. That said, they are not very good defensive loads because they would not likely penetrate adequately.
  14. LAK

    LAK Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Overall I would say the Remington Viper which features a truncated cone solid. I would place a much higher priority on penetration tan I would on exapnsion.

    However, the preferred load must function reliably in your individual pistol, and be acceptably accurate. Very low ammo cost means you can run alot of ammo to establish reliability. Once selected, I would suggest buying a large number of bricks to ensure results consistant with your initial successes down the road.


  15. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Not too long ago there were two break-ins within a couple weeks in the midwest that ended with a well placed .22 bullet.

    Just for the nay-sayers :neener:
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    All of them are deadly, but none of them will stop an attacker reliably. He may drop, or he may not know he's been shot till an hour later. They're simply not a good choice for self defense, at least not out of a handgun.
  17. Rabbi

    Rabbi Member

    May 11, 2004

  18. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

    May 8, 2003
    Reno, Nevada
    use enough gun!

    To stop an attack, a pellet gun could be lethal in certain situations.
    that is a certainty, a Prosecuter(SIC) could say you were researching the most lethal weapons on the internet before you killed the poor innocent child of 19 who only wanted your TV

    Now, back on topic.
    imo the most lethal .22 is the one that is stuck in your head and the doctor decides it needs to be removed:neener: Doctors kill far more people then people with guns do.

    FYI I know two guys who after being shot at close range with .22LR's beat the heck out of the "gunman"
  19. Plink

    Plink Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    I can't tell you what's the absolute most effective, but I can tell you some that are the least effective for self defense. Stingers and their kind, along with the ones that split into 3 parts are about the worst defense rounds possible. I know the velocity addicts will disagree, but the fact is the Stinger and the other lightweight hyper velocity loads were designed to disrupt and dump their energy quickly in small game. They just don't penetrate well. There have been more than enough gelatin tests to prove that. Paper numbers are meaningless compared to tissue damage.

    As for the best rounds, any of the high velocity full weight hollowpoints give a good combination of penetration and expansion and solids penetrate quite well. Velocitor looks very good in gelatin. CCI Mini-Mags are good performers also.
  20. M92FS

    M92FS Member

    Feb 9, 2006
    quote by cosmoline : All of them are deadly, but none of them will stop an attacker reliably. He may drop, or he may not know he's been shot till an hour later. They're simply not a good choice for self defense, at least not out of a handgun.

    +1 :)

    although you may not like to hear it , but here goes : minumium caliber recommeded for SD by shooting instructors is .380 Auto for pistols and .38 Spl for wheel guns. :)

    in a life and death situation , shot placements is important as well as stopping power.You will wanna make sure the BG stay down for good. I'm not asking you to pack a hand cannon for ccw , but at least carry a ccw that can stop a BG during a bad situation and not ended up in a bodybag. :(

    during a shootout , aiming for the torso has the highest % of hits. just my 2 cents , I hope you won't mind. :)
  21. Biker

    Biker Member

    Mar 10, 2005
    IIRC, JE223 did some ballistic gellatin tests on some .22s. You might do a quick search.

  22. RandyB

    RandyB Member

    May 1, 2003
    Remington Viper which has a truncated cone solid. I would opt for any solid as penetration to vital organs is more important that velocity or expansion. The bullet simply has to get there first and then if you get expansion thats a plus in my book.
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    May 22, 2003
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Deadly .22

    Outside of military actions, there have probably been more graves filled by the little .22 than any other single caliber, with the .38 Special following close behind. The issue isn't one of lethality, but rather of the round's ability to shut down an attacker as quickly as possible, with the least number of rounds fired...hopefully one.

    A .44 Magnum revolver is perfectly capable of killing an adult male Grizzly Bear with one well-placed shot...but it may take some time for the big bruin to realize that he has, in fact, lost the fight. In the time that it takes him to die...which can be several minutes...if you're not able to stay out of his way, he's (also) perfectly capable of dishing out a world of hurt in your direction.
  24. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State
    Fuel For Thought

    In nearly 21 years as a LEO, I have seen more persons killed by the .22 LR
    cartridge, than any other types. It didn't matter 'bout the type, or who the
    manufactuer was; they did their job, as these people were STONE COLD DEAD. :uhoh: ;)
  25. ravencon

    ravencon Member

    May 5, 2005
    Such anecdotal observations are hardly a convincing argument for using a .22LR for self-defense.

    For example, 100 people are shot with .38 and 50 are killed.
    1,000 are shot with a .22LR and 100 are killed. Twice as many are killed with .22s, does that mean you'd want to use a .22LR over a .38?

    I doubt that in your 21 years in LE you carried a .22LR as your duty weapon.:)
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