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Old July 7, 2013, 12:08 PM   #1
Dragline45
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Why No .22LR Hard Casts?

Just for fun yesterday I was messing around with a few different .22LR rounds to see how they reacted when shot into buckets of water. Due to them being soft lead they all deformed in one way or another, which got me to thinking why don't they make .22LR hard Casts? Since .22's can not be jacketed it would only make sense to have hard cast .22 rounds.
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Old July 7, 2013, 12:38 PM   #2
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I believe that the speed, size and power of the .22LR is not enough to make cast bullets worthwhile. Considering that the majority of game taken with the .22 is small game, the upset of the soft bullet is a major advantage over hard cast, who's primary benefit is penetration over expansion.

So, besides needing additional steps in manufacturing, and a potential reduction of performance against small game, nobody is very interested in hard cast slugs for the .22 LR.

Now, when you get up to 35 caliber and larger, with bullets 4 or more times the mass of a .22, and/or speeds in the 1600fps neighborhood then hard cast bullets show a marked advantage over softer ones. (handguns)

With rifles, cast bullets are available in .22 cal (well molds are anyway), and you could cast and load them hard. For .22 centerfires, what you are looking for is harder cast slugs to survive higher speeds. Even with hard cast slugs and gas checks, 2200fps is about the top end you can get with lead bullets before the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. For faster speeds you must go to a jacketed bullet, or be prepared to scrub lead out of your bore every few shots...
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Old July 7, 2013, 02:33 PM   #3
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Not needed for plinking.
For varminting, you don't necessarily want a hardcast bullet that just zips on through doing relatively little damage.

For head shots if hunting for meat, you don't need a hardcast bullet.

No real need for a hardcast .22 rimfire at all, that I can see.
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Old July 7, 2013, 03:24 PM   #4
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Not to mention hard cast from a .22 would probably lead the barrel.
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Old July 7, 2013, 06:55 PM   #5
Dragline45
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I can see all your points, but you would think at least some ammo manufacturers would make some as a specialty ammunition and just charge a few bucks more per box. Many people own .22 rifles as survival rifles, and even though a .22LR is not really suitable for anything but small game, if in a pinch some .22LR hard cast rounds would at least give you slightly more of an edge if you need to take slightly larger game. Also, not that I recommend it, but there are many people who use .22LR pistols as a carry or SD gun. One of the major arguments besides reliability for not using .22LR for SD is lack of penetration which a hard cast round would help with. I think a CCI Stinger with a hard cast bullet would be pretty nifty to have around even if you have no plans to ever use it. I mean there's a reason .22 magnum rounds are jacketed, I don't see how a hot .22LR round like the stinger could not benefit from a hard cast.
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Old July 7, 2013, 10:45 PM   #6
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I'd like to see the return of the 22 wadcutter bullets made before WWII, but I will not hold my breath. I'm sure if one of the manufacturers saw a market for hardcasts it would have been filled.
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Old July 7, 2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Well, you could load your own.
There are two experimenters that I know of who are loading real deal black powder .22 LR with cast bullets. Not hard cast, true, but if you were going to stay with smokeless, you could.
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Old July 7, 2013, 11:59 PM   #8
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The Remington Viper loads are probably about as close as you'll come for a penetration load. They were a flat point truncated cone bullet. They killed small game better than round nose loads in any event, even without expanding, and I believe were a little hotter than normal.

People still slaughter livestock with 22's, using proper placement up close, but standard loads seem to do the job.

I believe one reason 22 bullets aren't hard is because there is enough variation in bore sizes that they likely wouldnt shoot as well in as many different guns as the regular loads. Just a guess.
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Old July 8, 2013, 12:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
...Also, not that I recommend it, but there are many people who use .22LR pistols as a carry or SD gun. One of the major arguments besides reliability for not using .22LR for SD is lack of penetration which a hard cast round would help with...
It's my understanding that .22lr actually penetrates surprisingly well given its meager mass and velocity. I've seen numerous ballistic gel tests where the bullet exceeded 12" of penetration (out of handguns and rifles). Here are a few:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2PSd...2F9C412133861E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MMpCXpztAg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDvdj...2F9C412133861E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbVY4...2F9C412133861E

In my own very informal tests at SD distances, I've found that CCI Velocitors and RN Mini-Mags out of a 4" barrel will punch through at least four gallon jugs of water (24").

Of course, water and ballistic gel don't have bones in them, but as Malamute pointed out, full grown cattle (with thick skulls) are slaughtered with a .22 to the brain (the same can be said about Alligators). I wouldn't say penetration is necessarily a glaring weakness of the 22lr.

Last edited by idek; July 8, 2013 at 12:55 AM.
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Old July 8, 2013, 06:35 AM   #10
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Soft lead is necessary for .22LR rounds to expand the hollow bases to seal propulsion gasses.

There is a company that makes (or made) accurizers that allow a person to better size .22 LR rounds for chambers and to create either hollow-point, or dimple-point rounds.

It's called the Paco Kelly .22 cal Pase IV Acc'Rzr Tool, shown in the attached picture. I only used it to re-size some old Winchester ammo that was given to me. The rounds were corroded where the lead met brass and wouldn't chamber in any of my guns. I re-sized them, using one of the four "chambers", using the cup point to flatten the nose a bit and to eject the round from the device. I then used melted candle wax to re-lube the bullets where they were corroded.

I didn't know how badly the ammo was affected by whatever storage prior to my receipt, so decided to try it in my Marlin 39A at about 35 yards. I fired from a sitting position, resting on a sandbag on the porch railing.

The results were somewhat astounding. I was expecting duds, wildly varying velocities, and bullets stuck in the barrel, but was surprised to find that the old WW Super Speed ammo shot as well or better than current bulk ammo. Groups were 1/2"-5/8" at the 35 yard distance.

I haven't yet tried the tool on any of my RWS 50 or other good quality ammo, but intend to do so soon.
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:35 AM   #11
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D45, as many have said, no need and no point.
In fact, one of the best small game, and presumably self defense, .22 rounds on the market, IMHO, is the CCI SGB. It is a very soft lead, slightly heavier than most others. I once did a highly scientific test of this bullet. Using a variety of other rounds I fired into an old stump. All made a tiny hole and that was it. Using the SGB it tore fist size chunks out of the stump. I believe it would be a convincing round on bad guys.
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:14 PM   #12
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With all that said, why are many .22 magnum rounds jacketed if a .22 round benefits from the softer lead?

Quote:
I'd like to see the return of the 22 wadcutter bullets
As would I
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Old July 8, 2013, 08:52 PM   #13
Jim Watson
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Same reason a .220 Swift shoots jacketed bullets.
Even the .22 WMR is too fast for swaged bullets.
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Old July 11, 2013, 01:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Since .22's can not be jacketed
I shoot jacketed 22's all the time, they are called .223 Remington.

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Old July 19, 2013, 08:41 AM   #15
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Remington Thunderbolts are about the hardest deepest penetrating 22lr bullets I've played with.
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Old July 19, 2013, 08:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Remington Thunderbolts are about the hardest deepest penetrating 22lr bullets I've played with.
Unless they've done some serious improvements they're the wort crap I've ever tried to use.
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Old July 19, 2013, 10:12 AM   #17
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They work fine for me in my 10/22 and SR22. They have a really hard bullet (for 22lr) that penetrates as well as any 22lr ammo I've tested and they're cheap. People complain that they're dirty but show me rimfire ammo that isn't. I clean my guns anyway so it's a non issue for me.
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Old July 19, 2013, 11:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragline45

With all that said, why are many .22 magnum rounds jacketed if a .22 round benefits from the softer lead?
1) A .22WRM is not a .22LR, in bore & bullet diameters, and velocity - and is a different breed of cat.

2) Many .22WRM "jacketed" bullets are not - they actually carry a plating that appears like a separate jacket, and seems to be enough to act like one.


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Old July 19, 2013, 12:03 PM   #19
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FWIW, at the start of WWII the US military did place a large order of FMJ .22 Long Rifle cartridges. However they were designed for shooting people , not rabbits.
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Old July 20, 2013, 04:05 PM   #20
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I would think that hard cast bullets for .22LR would at least double the price of swaged lead bullets with no real benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Picher
Soft lead is necessary for .22LR rounds to expand the hollow bases to seal propulsion gasses.
I have pulled quite a few .22 LR bullets and have never seen a hollow base.
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Old July 20, 2013, 09:56 PM   #21
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Reloading .22 LR is easy; it is getting the primers that is hard. Must be a government plot.

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Old July 23, 2013, 04:34 PM   #22
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Do you know how many...

Winchester 1890's and First and Second edition 1906's are STILL shooting.

Putting a hard cast bullet through one is about the same as giving
"hard likker to your great-grand-dad"!


That's why we are know seeing the jacketed .17 and .204 caliber coming out for when lead bullets are banned.
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Old August 12, 2013, 01:42 AM   #23
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Quote:
I have pulled quite a few .22 LR bullets and have never seen a hollow base.
They aren't as big a cavity as a hollow-based wadcutter, more like a skirt, but the idea is the same, to expand and seal gases. I've never seen a flat-based .22 LR.
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Old August 13, 2013, 05:39 PM   #24
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Yep 22 long rifle bullets have a concave base. Nothing near as drastic as civil war-era conical bullets but its there nonetheless.

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Old October 30, 2013, 07:05 PM   #25
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Sorry i'm late to this thread, but i've done a lot of relevant testing and i believe i can offer a lot of very good info that has not been discussed, so....

There is actually one area- two really, where hard cast lead bullets would have a pronounced effect on the real world performance and effectiveness of modern .22LR.

I have tested numerous calibers against .5" and 1" polycarbonate (bulletproof) glass, and against various soft body armors.

Believe it or not, 30gr flat nose solid Aguila Supermax ammo will cleanly penetrate .5" polycarbonate that stops .45 acp FMJ fired from a 5" government model 1911 pistol and 1100+ fps Buffalo Bore .380+P solid copper hollowpoint ammo dead cold.

While it is a solid, the supermax 30gr flat nose bullet is actually very soft, and deforms quite a bit when shot through hard barriers. I believe a hardcast lead bullet of the same profile and weight/velocity would actually easily penetrate 1" polycarbonate bullet proof 'glass'.

Also, i have tested the same round against level IIA, II and IIIA soft body armor. Even with the soft bullet design, the supermax 30gr solid will defeat IIA with ease, and comes very close to defeating level II. I believe that with a hard, non expanding bullet, it would easily penetrate virtually any level II and probably most types of level IIIA soft body armor. (not all IIIA is created equally, some of it will actually stop hot SS192 FN 5.7mm ammo, some others will not)

Buffalo Bore used to make a 115gr+P+ 9mm para load that used a brass jacketed hardcast lead montana gold bullet with a very shallow hollowpoint that in my tests would reliably penetrate a 25 layer safariland IIIA vest with ballistic stab protection, when fired at a velocity of 1400fps.

The supermax round hits 1700fps and has much smaller frontal area than 9mm, so it would actually dramatically outperform the buffalo bore 9mm+P+ round, and almost all pistol calibers, in tactical barrier penetration if it had a hard cast lead bullet.

Also, with a hard cast lead bullet, the supermax would punch through heavy animal bone and muscle much, much, much better.

One never thinks of the .380 as a dangerous game trail defense round, but Buffalo Bore's 100gr+P hard cast flat nose round will shoot clean through a 31" thick block of gelatin, and has actually shot clean through an insurgent by an infantryman that was knocked on his back and fired up at his attacker (using a Ruger LCP) who was about to smash his skull in with the butt of his rifle. It entered the hip, went clean through it, and traveled all the way up through the body hitting and piercing the opposite shoulder bone, stopping just beneath the skin. The insurgent was instantly stopped from that single round of 'wimpy' 100gr+P .380 ammo.

There are accounts of this incident on the web if you google it. It happened in Afghanistan.

People say use a minimum of .44 mag on a black bear, but the truth is that this 100gr+P round has about 300% more penetration than a .44 magnum 240gr JHP. The 100gr+P round also has a nice wide flat meplat, so it will leave close to a full diameter hole, probably the same exact diamater as a hard cast lead .357 magnum would.

A deep .35 caliber hole is a deep .35 caliber hole, it really doesn't matter what caliber creates it.

Hard cast lead offers vastly superior performance vs soft lead bullets in both tactical barrier penetration and soft tissue performance.

So there would very much be uses for a .22LR hypervelocity supermax hardcast lead bullet. It would be an awesome survival or SHTF round for a .22 rifle.
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