Now it's time for us all to pay homage to the most under-rated and affordable cartridge known to man - the humble .22 Long Rifle rimfire.
First, a little story about my discoveries regarding its penetration abilities. Up at the cabin one day, I was target shooting as I often do. I had
two handguns with me - my Colt New Agent (.45 1911 compact) and my old Ruger Super Single Six. The .45 was loaded with military style FMJ round nose,
the .22 with standard velocity lead round nose. The target was a Shoot-N-See plastered onto a gigantic hunk of oak, 2.5' around and about 3' thick.
I had tipped it onto its side so I could have a flat surface to put the targets on.
After shooting some with the .45, I let fly with the .22 quite a bit. Then I switched back and forth for a while. The .45 made the stump jump, which
is impressive as it weighed at least 150 pounds! The .22 of course did no such thing.
After I was all done, I became curious. I brought out the maul and the wedges and split the thing in half, right down the middle, and did a
The .45 rounds had all managed to penetrate about 2/3rds of the way into the hunk of wood. Some went a bit farther than that, but that was the extent
of the damage.
Many of the .22's had penetrated most of the way to the back of the stump. Many more had exited the wood, and were nowhere to be found! Some of the
smaller trees behind the log had holes going clear through them, .22 caliber holes. Measuring the .22 bullets I found in the stump showed that they
had lost a lot of diameter, being about .18-20 of an inch across when they came to rest.
Bear in mind, this was from a revolver with a 6" barrel - the .22's had not the time to develop the velocity they would have, if they were fired from
All in all a pretty impressive showing from our old friend, the .22, which got me thinking about stopping power. There are three basic ways that
bullets stop an attacker - either by destroying a portion of the central nervous system, a blood organ like the heart, liver, or kidneys (or a major
artery or vein) causing massive blood pressure drop and starving the CNS, or by massive trauma which disables the body or a major component
Then I got to thinking about rabbits. When I was a young lad my grandfather and I often hunted rabbits. He had not done this since he was a kid, in
the late teens and early twenties of the previous century. He used a .22 Long Rifle of course, but a standard velocity cartridge loaded with lead
round nosed ammo.
I always managed to bag a few rabbits under his guidance. Our first couple of trips out we ended up with rabbits that looked like they sat on an
M-80. We're talking giant chunks of flesh the size of my fist (sometimes both fists balled together - like 1/5th of the rabbit) just evaporated! He
remarked that his rabbits never suffered such a fate when he was a youngster. So we looked at the remaining factor - the ammo. It was high velocity,
hollowpoint Remington High Speed. Kind of a forerunner to the super high velocity rounds we have now. They have bronze jackets, (doesn't appear to
be a plating - I still have over half a box) and literally explode on impact. So, we started buying the normal velocity lead round nosed stuff, and
the rabbits did not end up nearly so pulped, although occasionally there would be damage nearing what we always got with the hollowpoints. I think
that happened when the bullet hit a bone, and decided to fly apart.
The point of this story is that the humble, much maligned (some people even call it a toy) .22 LR is nothing to be sneezed at. Just like a 9mm or a
.45 ACP, if it finds its way into one of the vital zones, it will kill a man dead right quick, and I feel that the hollowpoints (which aren't really
even that hollow, more like round nosed ammo with a tiny depression) would probably make their way through clothing with the hollow intact better than
larger rounds might. I put my money where my mouth is, as my daily carry gun is the North American Arms Mini Magnum, loaded with a mix of round nose
and hollow ammo. I often bring my .45 with me into the woods, and while traveling it always sits cocked and locked in the center console, but I don't
even take the garbage out without my Mini.
edit on 26-1-2012 by HattoriHanzou because: (no reason given)