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Ammo Review: 22 Short

Ammo Review: 22 Short

Before 22 Long Rifle, there was 22 Long, and before that, there was 22 Short. As one of the parent cartridges of 22 Long Rifle, 22 Short is effectively a shorter, older version of 22 LR.

If you have an old 22 Short handgun or rifle or would like to shoot 22 Short in compatible 22 LR firearms, learn about the best 22 Short ammunition available on today’s market.

A Brief History of 22 Short

22 Short is one of the first self-contained metallic cartridges ever invented. It was introduced to the market in 1857 for Smith & Wesson’s very first revolver, the S&W Model 1.

S&W Model 1

22 Short was initially conceived for self-defense, and the Model 1 is a small, lightweight revolver that is easy to carry concealed, much like today’s modern carry guns. It is the first American 22 rimfire cartridge and the second oldest overall, after the earlier 6mm Flobert (22 BB Cap), designed in France in 1845.

This cartridge is part of a long lineage of 22-caliber rimfire cartridges, fitted with a 0.222” heeled bullet, a 0.421” case with a base diameter of .225” and a 0.271” rim. These dimensions formed the basis of numerous other cartridges, the most well-known being the following:

  • 22 Long (1871)

  • 22 Long Rifle (1884)

  • 22 CB (1888)

  • 22 Winchester Rimfire, or 22 WRF (1890)

  • 22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum also called 22 WMR or 22 Magnum (1959)

Purposes for 22 Short

Although it is obsolete today for self-defense, 22 Short continues to be produced by modern ammunition manufacturers due to its enduring popularity in multiple domains. These include recreational gallery shooting (e.g., carnival guns), various sports, and Olympic shooting disciplines, such as 25-meter rapid fire pistol or pentathlon.

Many rifles and handguns produced exclusively in 22 Short are available. While some of them are modern-production (e.g., NAA 22 Short mini-revolver), most firearms compatible with 22 Short today are, in reality, multi-caliber 22 rimfire guns. 

These guns are compatible with 22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle (often featuring “22 S/L/LR” or similar markings), due to all three cartridges sharing identical dimensions other than length. Additionally, any 22 Long or 22 LR revolver can safely chamber and fire 22 Short even if not explicitly marked as such, just like a 357 Magnum revolver can safely chamber and fire 38 Special.

22 Short vs 22LR

22 Long vs Short

The primary difference between 22 Short and 22 Long Rifle is the case length, and consequently, the quantity of gunpowder inside each case. A 22 Short casing is approximately 0.421” long and topped with a 29-grain bullet. Such ammunition usually develops about 900 ft/s of muzzle velocity out of a handgun and 1,100 ft/s from a rifle.

In contrast, standard-velocity 22 Long Rifle ammunition features a longer case (0.613”), a heavier bullet (40 grains), and higher muzzle velocities across the board (about 1,100 ft/s from a handgun and 1,200 ft/s from a rifle).

Overall, 22 Short is less powerful and less plentiful than its more well-known larger cousin. Still, it is also generally less expensive, produces even less recoil than the already low-recoil 22 LR, generates less noise, and is naturally subsonic even when fired from a rifle.

Best for Plinking and Training: CCI CB 22 Short 29-Grain Lead Round Nose

CCI 22 Short 29 Grain

CCI is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rimfire ammunition and one of the few to produce a complete line of modern-manufacture 22 Short cartridges.

This CCI 22 Short ammunition is part of the CB product line, designed for low-noise applications. It features 29-grain lead round nose (LRN) bullets, ideal for accurate, low-recoil plinking, training, or pest control without generating excessive noise. With an average muzzle velocity of 710 ft/s out of a rifle barrel, these rounds are well below the supersonic threshold and are an excellent pairing with a suppressor for silenced shooting.

Specifications:

  • Projectile type: Lead round nose (LRN)

  • Projectile weight: 29 grains

  • Quantity per box: 100 rounds

  • Muzzle velocity: 710 ft/s

Best for Target Shooting: Winchester Super-X 22 Short 29-grain Copper-Plated 

Round-Nose

Winchester 22 Short Super X

Winchester’s line of Super-X ammo is one of the oldest and most extensive brands of premium-quality hunting and target shooting ammunition. The Super-X brand has existed since 1922 and encompasses dozens of rifle, shotgun, and rimfire cartridges.

Winchester’s 22 Short Super-X ammunition features a round-nosed bullet with a lead core and copper plating, acting as the rimfire equivalent of a copper jacket and significantly reducing the amount of lead buildup in the barrel. Besides being reliable and accurate, Super-X 22 Short ammo helps you spend less time cleaning the bore and more time putting rounds on target.

Specifications:

  • Projectile type: Copper-plated round nose (CPRN)

  • Projectile weight: 29 grains

  • Quantity per box: x rounds

  • Muzzle velocity: 1,095 ft/s

Best for Varmint Hunting: CCI 22 Short 27-grain Copper-Plated Hollow-Point

CCI 22 Short 27-grain Copper-Plated Hollow-Point

If you like to use a rimfire gun for pest control and varmint hunting, the best projectile type for the job is a fast-expanding hollow-point bullet. CCI’s 22 Short Hollow-Point ammunition may well be the best tool for the job.

This cartridge features a 27-grain copper-plated hollow-point projectile designed to fly at approximately 1,105 ft/s out of a rifle barrel. This velocity helps ensure the bullet reliably expands on impact every time, making it ideal for eliminating varmints, birds, and other small game within 50 yards.

Specifications:

  • Projectile type: Copper-plated hollow-point (CPHP)

  • Projectile weight: 27 grains

  • Quantity per box: 100 rounds

  • Muzzle velocity: 1,105 ft/s

Best Blank Ammunition: CCI Noise Blanks 22 Short

CCI Noise Blanks 22 Short

Although they do not feature a bullet or any type of projectile, blank 22 Short cartridges have numerous useful purposes. These cartridges have over a hundred years of use in starter pistols and the movie industry. They can also be used for training and gun handling purposes, helping people get used to the sound and feel of a firearm without using live ammo.

If you need 22 Short blanks, CCI Noise Blanks are your best bet. These high-quality, modern-production blank cartridges are produced on the same assembly lines as other CCI ammunition and use the same high-quality propellants and priming, ensuring reliable function and cycling in firearms.

Specifications:

  • Projectile type: Blank-firing cartridge

  • Projectile weight: N/A

  • Quantity per box: 100 rounds

  • Muzzle velocity: N/A

 

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Carry Every Day, Train Regularly with We The People Holsters

Whether you own a 22 Short firearm or any other type of pistol, rifle, or shotgun, it is critical for every gun owner to be as educated as possible and train as often as possible. 

At We The People Holsters, we aim to provide all gun owners with top-quality EDC holsters, magazine carriers, gun belts, and free printable targets. They’re ideal for plinking, general-purpose practice, and training exercises.

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