Short Long and Long Rifle Cartridges

The .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges can be fired in both handguns and rifles. The term "Long Rifle" as it is applied to the most powerful of these three cartridges does not indicate that the cartridge is intended exclusively for rifles.

Rifles and handguns chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge will fire the Short and Long cartridges as well. In the case of semi-automatic weapons, however, the weak recoil generated by the Short and Long cartridges is generally insufficient to work the action. A few semi-automatic rifles can fire .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifles interchangeably.

Repeated firing of .22 Short cartridges in a weapon chambered for the Long Rifle cartridge may cause leading of the firing chamber, with subsequent difficulty in inserting Long Rifle cartridges. Some handguns and rifles are designed to use Shorts only and will not chamber the longer cartridges.

Weapons chambered for the .22 rimfire cartridge have an 0.223-bore diameter with a 1-in/16 in. (1/16) twist. Optimum velocity is said to be obtained from a 14- to 16-in. barrel. No notable reduction in velocity occurs until the barrel reaches 18 in. in length.1 Table 2.1 (see Chapter 2) gives the rifling characteristics of the more commonly available .22 rimfire rifles. Marlin uses Micro-Groove® rifling in the rifles they manufacture. There are 16 lands and grooves in Marlin rifles chambered for the .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges and 20 lands and grooves in their .22 Magnum rifles. Recovery of a bullet with Micro-Groove® rifling indicates that the individual was shot with a rifle since such rifling is not found in handguns (Figure 6.2). Jennings Firearms and Phoenix Arms produce semi-automatic pistols chambered for the .22 LR cartridge that have barrels with 16 lands and grooves

Figure 6.2 .22 Long Rifle bullets with Micro-Groove® rifling.

with a right twist. Rifling imparted to a bullet fired down such a barrel can be confused with Microgroove® rifling. The difference is that Microgroove® rifling has extremely narrow lands with grooves twice the width of the lands. In contrast, in Jennings weapons the lands and grooves have equal widths while the Phoenix pistols have lands that are only slightly narrower compared to the grooves.

The .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges are available in either standard-velocity loadings designed for target shooting, short-range hunting, and plinking or high-velocity cartridges containing the same bullet that is loaded in standard velocity cartridges but loaded to a higher velocity. All three cartridges are loaded with unjacketed lead bullets. A small number of full metal-jacketed, .22 rimfire bullets were produced for the military during World War II. These are rare. Tracer Long Rifle rimfire cartridges have been manufactured by the French.

There are four major manufacturers of .22 rimfire ammunition in the United States and probably hundreds in the world. The major manufacturers in the United States are:




CCI (Blount Industries)

The head stamp imprinted on the flat base of every .22-caliber rimfire cartridge made in the U.S. will identify the manufacturer. Representative symbols used by the manufacturers are shown in Figure 6.3. All Remington ammunition now has the inscription "Rem" on the base. These four ammunition companies sell their ammunition not only under the company name but also under secondary brand names. Thus, ammunition manufactured by Remington-Peters has been sold under the Remington, Peters, Thunderbolt, Cyclone, and Mohawk brands; Federal under the Federal, American Eagle, and Lightning brands and Winchester-Western under the names Winchester, Western, and Wildcat. Some large chain stores have sold ammunition under a house brand. The head stamps on these cartridges may show who the manufacturer is. In addition to American manufactures, increasing quantities of .22 rimfire ammunition are being imported from throughout the world. The author has seen ammunition from the Philippines, Korea, China, Russia, Serbia, Mexico, etc.

.22 Rimfire ammunition, like all other ammunition, is made in batches called "lots." A lot is a large quantity of one type of ammunition that is manufactured under the same conditions and with materials as nearly identical as possible. Each lot is assigned a number, which is stamped on the box.

Figure 6.3 .22 Headstamps. Top row (from left to right): Federal, Winchester, Winchester, Winchester, and Winchester. Bottom row (from left to right): Remington, CCI, CCI, Remington, and Winchester.

.22 Short Cartridge

The .22 Short cartridge is available in both standard and high-velocity loadings. The cartridge is generally loaded with either a solid-lead, round-nose, 29-gr. bullet or a 27-gr. hollow-point bullet. The high-velocity bullets generally have a thin copper plating or in the case of Remington ammunition, a "gold" coat (copper and zinc). High-velocity ammunition sold under secondary brand names; standard velocity loadings and target ammunition do not, as a rule, have a copper coat. .22 caliber high-velocity and hollow-point bullets manufactured by CCI have a thick layer of electroplated copper on all surfaces. On initial appearance, they appear jacketed. Manufacturing of .22 Short ammunition appears to be decreasing.

.22 Long Ammunition

The .22 Long round serves no useful purpose and is obsolete. .22 Long Rifle Ammunition

The .22 Long Rifle cartridge is available in either standard or high-velocity loadings. It is manufactured by all four major companies and is the most popular of the rimfire cartridges. The cartridge is usually loaded with either a 40 gr., lead round-nose bullet or a hollow-point bullet. The weight of the hollow-point bullet varies, depending on the manufacturer. CCI and Remington load 36 gr. hollow-point bullets; Winchester 37 gr. and Federal 38 gr. Remington also loads a 38 gr. subsonic hollowpoint. Winchester manufactured a special Long Rifle cartridge loaded with a 40-gr. hollow-point bullet called the "Dynapoint." This round had a very shallow cavity at the tip of the bullet. It is no longer manufactured.

The high-velocity loadings, whether hollow-point or solid, have a thin copper coating when manufactured by Federal and Winchester and a "gold" (copper zinc) coat when manufactured by Remington. High-velocity ammunition sold under secondary brand names, e.g., Mohawk and Wildcat, does not have the copper coat. Bullets manufactured by CCI, except target and standard velocity loadings, are electroplated with copper on all surfaces. On initial appearance, they appear jacketed and can be confused with .25 ACP bullets.

Winchester manufactures a silhouette round loaded with a 42 gr. lead truncated cone bullet. The bullet is not copper coated. Muzzle velocity is 1220 ft/s in a rifle. CCI makes a 38 gr. truncated cone small-game cartridge that is not electroplated and a 36 gr. high velocity round that is electroplated.

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