Where 22Magnum excels.

22WMR is hardly an efficient pistol caliber, most of the time. The exception is when it’s used with CCI Gold Dots or other loads made just for short barrels. Then it becomes usable, if not ideal, for self-defense.

The plus side is that 22WMR has minimal recoil compared to 38 Special. So does 32H&R Magnum, but 22WMR ammo is far, far more available and quite a bit less expensive. So this chambering splits the difference between the ideal practice and the useful defensive loads. For somebody who only owns one revolver, that can be a useful compromise.

Holster: Sideguard
Revolver: Charter Arms Pathfinder

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8 Responses to Where 22Magnum excels.

  1. Tony Lekas says:

    I wonder about reliability. I do not own a firearm in .22WMR so I have no experience with it. However, my experience is that .22lr is significantly less reliable than center fire cartridges. Is .22WMR, at least the ammo sold for self defense as reliable as self defense center fire ammo?

    Another issue is that some old indoor ranges, such as the one I teach at, do not permit it’s use due to the velocity the backstop can take. That rule was in place before I became Safety Officer for the club and I have not tested it. However, I did test .17HMR and we did have to prohibit it. I shot two rounds out of a 15″ Thompson Contender and each shot left a little crater. If we get demand for the use of .22WMR I’ll have to borrow a firearm and test it. On the other hand .44 Magnum does not cause a problem.

    The range was built by club members in 1947 and has the original backstop. We do have to have a welder cleanup the surface once a year or two to keep the back splatter down. I don’t know how many ranges with this backstop limitation exist.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      Practice ammo in 22WMR (Winchester Dynapoints) isn’t jacketed and has pretty low velocity form a handgun. Defense ammo is faster but also designed to expand. Ball ammo from a rifle, being jacketed and much faster, could be an issue.

  2. Brian L says:

    Yes, Tony, I’ve found rimfires to be a little more likely to misfire than good centerfire ammunition. Almost all .22 magnum handguns are revolvers, though. The revolver cure for a misfire is pull the trigger again.

  3. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    I’m a long time fan of the .22 Magnum, I’ve shot it for nearly 40 years. Too expensive to shoot as a plinker, but for HUNTING, especially where large small game is (i.e. turkey, javelina) it really is well worth the cost. I’ve seen the terminal effects of meat damage it causes and compared to 22lr, it is more. The common comparison is that the .22 Magnum effects at 100 yards is what the .22lr is at muzzle.

    I thought about this some years back and purchased a Taurus 941UL .22 magnum snub nose for ranch carry and just in case a physical condition appeared where I could no longer shoot a centerfire cartridge (yeah, I need an excuse for another one, lol :^). One caution – do not assumed because its a rimfire, you can forget hearing protection. These .22 magnum snub nose are nearly as loud as a .38 special snub nose. Just bear that in mind.

    This is one of my favorite .22 magnum articles. I think he made a good case for it.


    A useful tool, the .22 Magnum.

  4. Rob L says:

    Good points! I recommend the little .22 mags to the recoil shy. Several of our little ole lady friends can handle and shoot a .22 mag revolver quite well. One friend has a PMR 30 ready to go. The only downside of them is so many of the rounds emit a bright flash in low light…
    In Bill Jordan’s Excellent book ‘No Second Place Winner” Mr Jordon opined that the .22mag was a great choice in a 2″ J…he related his experience with the little magnum effect on flesh as “Wicked.”
    If anyone thinks a .22 mag is merely a hot .22 LR, they have not used the magnum enough. It is in it’s own class. For the record after tens of thousands of rounds of .22 mag, I have yet to have a dud or malfunction of the cartridge. They are made to a higher standard than say CCI Blazers…

    • Oleg Volk says:

      CCI Mini Mags are already 100% reliable in my experience. 22wmr ammo is made to even higher QC standard. Terminal performance with jacketed bullets is much better also.

      Muzzle flash…is BRIGHT!

  5. Bill Cleveland says:

    As another 22Mag believer, I can’t say as I have ever had a misfire. Cheap ammo in any kind of semi-auto 22 Mag can result in a failure to feed or failure to eject. My preference for wheel guns in 22Mag are the Ruger SingleSix or any of the Charter arms revolvers.

    Back in the day, Browning/Highpower furnished a 22WMR semi pistol to some of the NoSuchAgency outfits, called them hush-puppies; they saw lethally effective use in a theatre or two. Easily suppressed, pinpoint accurate at 15 yards and nasty in close. These days the Smith Model 41 is a great choice in a semi auto pistol in 22 WinMag – if you can find one.

    I just bought a Tanfoglio built 22WMR Semi-Auto Bullpup. 18 in barrel, 29.5 in overall. 10 round magazine, I have to this date run 700 rounds thru it without a hiccup. Shoots consistent 3 inch groups at 125 yards over open sights. My 63 year old eyes aren’t what they used to be and I don’t know what it would really shoot if someone with better vision was pushing it. I intend to put a 3x magnification red-dot on it and expect to see a bit of improvement on that. I was so impressed I bought second one for my grandson.

    22WMR isn’t a .308 or a .45- but they are a serious inhancement to any collection.

    • HTRN says:

      The Hush Puppy was neither a 22 nor a Browning – it was a modified(a slide lock was added) Smith and Wesson model 39 with a Suppressor, called the “Mk 22, Mod 0” for the Navy SeALs.

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