Notes on 22 Long Rifle Ammunition

Over the years, I have expended tens of thousands of 22 long rifle rounds from a number of manufacturers, below are a few of my observations.

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Rim Fire Cartridges

There are four major brands of 22 long rifle cartridges sold in the United States today, CCI, Federal, Remington and Winchester. Assuming that each has the same cost per round, Federal is the brand that I prefer. Whether it is cheap bulk pack high velocity ammunition bought from Walmart or standard velocity target loads, I have always found Federal rimfire cartridges to be the more reliable and accurate than it's competitors. That being said, all of the major brands produce decent quality 22 long rifle ammunition.

CCI produces high quality rimfire cartridges but there is generally a higher cost per round associated with that brand compared to the others.

Remington rimfire cartridges will produce decent groups but it has been my experience that they also have a greater rate of misfires when compared to other American brands, usually a few duds out of a brick of 500 rounds.

Winchester's lower grades of ammunition have never impressed me with their accuracy and I have had problems with Winchester Wildcat® ammunition spitting debris out the side of revolvers even though the cylinders were properly timed.

One of the more oddball types of rimfire ammunition that I have tried is a 22 long rifle subsonic load which actually uses a 22 short case with a 60 grain bullet. Manufactured by Aquila of Mexico, this ammunition generated an average muzzle velocity of about 932 feet per second when fired out of a rifle. I found these cartridges to be terribly inaccurate with a strong tendency to keyhole.

Ballistic Table 22 Long Rifle

Standard Velocity 40 grain Lead Round Nose bullet.
50 yard zero
Wind Drift - 10 mile per hour cross wind

22 Long Rifle Standard Velocity, sea level
Range (yards) 0 25 50 75 100 125
Impact (inches) -0.5 0.68 0 -2.75 -7.75 -15.19
Velocity (fps) 1155 1082 1027 982 945 912
Energy (ft lbs) 118 104 94 86 79 74
Wind Drift (Inches) 0.0 0.8 1.9 3.6 5.8 8.5

High Velocity 40 grain Lead Round Nose bullet.
50 yard zero
Wind Drift - 10 mile per hour cross wind

22 Long Rifle High Velocity, sea level
Range (yards) 0 25 50 75 100 125
Impact (inches) -0.5 0.56 0 -2.39 -6.84 -13.52
Velocity (fps) 1255 1160 1089 1032 986 948
Energy (ft lbs) 140 120 105 95 86 80
Wind Drift (inches)0.0 0.9 2.1 4.0 6.4 9.5

Sighting in a 22 Rifle to hit at 100 Yards

Standard Velocity 22 LR fired from a rifle - To hit at a hundred yards, bullet impact should be about 2.6 inches above the point of aim when fired at a distance of 25 yards
or 3.9 inches above the point of aim when fired at a distance of 50 yards.

High Velocity fired from a rifle - To hit at a hundred yards, bullet impact should be about 2.3 inches above the point of aim when fired at a distance of 25 yards or and 3.4 inches above the point of aim when fired at a distance of 50 yards.


Data for trajectory tables produced using the ballistic calculator at Handloads.com