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Old November 4, 2012, 10:05 AM   #1
Yooper1
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barrel length for 22wmr

Two recent threads on 22lr as a self defense round and another about barrel length got me to thinking about the 22wmr as a concealed carry round. Internet sources show that the 22wmr is much more powerful than the 22lr. But I have read some folks' statements that in a short barrel gun (maybe a 2 inch snub nose that one might CC), there is not enough time for all that extra powder to burn, resulting in the 22wmr producing no more actual power than the 22lr in a short barrel gun. How much truth is there in this? It seems that the 22 magnum would be a nice step up for my wife relative to her 22lr beretta bobcat (she really doesn't like shooting my ruger lcr 38).
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Old November 4, 2012, 10:43 AM   #2
WIN1886
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shorter than 4" ?

I have a model 651 j frame 22 magnum with a 4 " barrel....the report is very ear piercing without ear muffs or plugs , lots of unburnt powder left with some ammo so make sure to keep the rear of cylinder pointed straight down when extracting empties to help keep your action from binding up , and even with all that I won't ever sell it ! They make special 22 magnum ammo now that is designed for short barreled revolvers.......I have yet to try it because the .22 magnum ammo I use groups well and is pretty reliable thus far !
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Old November 4, 2012, 12:18 PM   #3
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Check out this thread. It should help answer your questions.http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=329545
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Old November 4, 2012, 01:13 PM   #4
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Thank you. Very interesting data. So it looks like the 22 magnum in 2" barrel adds about 200-250 fps relative to the 22lr when comparing similar weight bullets. In your opinion, what is the practical effect of that increase? Is it significant enough that moving from something like a beretta bobcat 22lr to your Taurus 94 22wmr is a substantive increase in effectiveness in a CC pistol?
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Old November 4, 2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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As with most things in self defense guns we are talking trade offs. In wet pack the 22magnum does more damage even out of a 2inch barrel, in a 4 inch barrel the difference is substantial. From a purely ballistic point of view 22 magnum wins. Now the trade offs, 22magnum out of a 2 inch barrel is VERY loud. It is a lot more expensive than 22 long rifle. With any small bore handgun shot placement is critical. So, if you have a limited ammo budget, I think a well practiced with long rifle beats a little practiced with magnum.
I would not recommend a Taurus 941 for defense to anyone who doesn't have very good hand strength. Their double action trigger pulls are very stiff even after a trigger job. A Smith & Wesson would be a much better but more expensive choice. If, she continues to use the bobcat, try to come up with a plan to deal with a failure to extract as the lack of an extractor is this little guns biggest weakness in my opinion.
So, I guess to sum up, to me ballistically the 22magnum is definitely worth it, both it and the long rifle have almost non existent recoil, but the magnum is very loud. I can't tell you which is better for you, but hopefully what little information I have provided will help you to make the decision of what is best in your situation.
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Old November 4, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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A more powerful cartridge will always be more powerful than a less powerful cartridge, out of same length barrels.
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Old November 4, 2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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Quite correct. The three inch barrel on my old Hi-Standard along with it's Nine rounds would make for a very bad day for any bad guy. That said, No 22 would be my first choice for defense.
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Old November 4, 2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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All good points. I am going to try to talk her into a 380. She just started shooting this summer. Didn't like my LCR 38 at all. So I got her the Bobcat and she loves it. Loves to shoot. So much so that we ordered a couple of Mark III target pistols and she got her CPL. But I would like to get her into something a bit more powerful for CC. And Couldbeanyone, you are right that failures to extract are not uncommon in the Bobcat. Still, the Bobcat is much, much better than nothing. I really like it too.
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Old November 4, 2012, 03:41 PM   #9
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The new .22 Mags that have been engineered for defense use in 2" barrels are actually pretty impressive. The testing I saw gave results approaching .38 Special. Definitely interesting for the recoil shy or physically challenged.
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Old November 4, 2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Thank you. Very interesting data. So it looks like the 22 magnum in 2" barrel adds about 200-250 fps relative to the 22lr when comparing similar weight bullets. In your opinion, what is the practical effect of that increase? Is it significant enough that moving from something like a beretta bobcat 22lr to your Taurus 94 22wmr is a substantive increase in effectiveness in a CC pistol?
Velocity only, is not the end all of how a bullet will perform, especially at handgun velocities. Bullets can be engineered for more or less penetration, or more or less expansion, to achieve a balance of the two. Choosing a faster .22 Mag round, loaded with a projectile designed to kill squirrels, is a poor choice for defense use, despite what the energy charts might say. Those figures are irrelevant for judging terminal performance.

The loads that have come out recently in .22 Mag that are designed for defense, will outperform anything else in rimfire ammunition, regardless of velocity.
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Old November 5, 2012, 01:12 PM   #11
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About 30 yrs ago I bought a H&R 2" 6 shot, pull pin, 22mag revolver. Really picked up for snake shot, regular ammo at that time was very disappointing. On one occasion we retrieved a CCI MaxiMag hp from an aluminum soda can shot at about 7-10 yards! I could be wrong but I feel that 22mag ammo today is loaded with much more flexible powders in respects to barrel length, back then CCi and Winchester where the only easily found options and muzzle blast was something to behold! I wish I still had that little gun, I'd like to try the same test again, I think today's ammo would give better results.
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Old November 5, 2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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In your opinion, what is the practical effect of that increase? Is it significant enough that moving from something like a beretta bobcat 22lr to your Taurus 94 22wmr is a substantive increase in effectiveness in a CC pistol?
Yes the .22M is more but not enough to change outcomes IMO. It's a big long shot that the difference is gonna have any additional effect. Never fear, that's why we have .32's and .38's if you're worried a .22lr isn't enough.
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Old November 5, 2012, 10:53 PM   #13
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Yes the .22M is more but not enough to change outcomes IMO. It's a big long shot that the difference is gonna have any additional effect. Never fear, that's why we have .32's and .38's if you're worried a .22lr isn't enough.
While I would have agreed with that statement a year or two ago, the testing I have seen on the defense specific .22 Mag rounds, demonstrated a monumental improvement in terminal performance over .22 lr. They achieved low end .38 special performance.

Here's one of the rounds.

http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/954.htm

The test data that I saw had the round expanding to over .40 caliber, retaining nearly all of it's weight, with penetration of around 11 inches. Better than some .38's do, in a 7 shot, 10 ounce gun with virtually no recoil.
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Old November 5, 2012, 11:50 PM   #14
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The more it expands the less it will penetrate. I assume that data is pretty much the upper level of .22 mag. 99 ft-lbs of energy strikes me as pretty limp. 125 grain standard .38 special from Buffalo bore shows:

Quote:
1. S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel - 921 fps (235 ft. lbs.)
2. S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch barrel - 938 fps (244 ft. lbs.)
3. Ruger SP101, 3 inch barrel - 1019 fps (288 ft. lbs.)
4. S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel - 1078 fps (322 ft. lbs.)
The .22 magnum at its best does not seem even close to the .38 special.
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Old November 6, 2012, 12:10 AM   #15
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In ultra short barrels of some pocket deringers the lenght of the .22 Magnum case means that for the same barrel length theres far less bullet travel than with the .22 LR.

For revolvers a short barrel doesn't mean bullet travel will be that much lessened.

I haven't seen any short barreled .22 Magnum autoloaders.

A very loud muzzle blast can be a plus for a self defense handgun. The more noise the better in fact.
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Old November 6, 2012, 01:01 AM   #16
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The more it expands the less it will penetrate. I assume that data is pretty much the upper level of .22 mag. 99 ft-lbs of energy strikes me as pretty limp.

The .22 magnum at its best does not seem even close to the .38 special.
If energy was pertinent to terminal performance in handguns, you'd be correct.
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Old November 6, 2012, 01:07 AM   #17
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The more it expands the less it will penetrate.
There are quite a number of .38 Special loads that won't make 11" penetration in bare gel.
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Old November 6, 2012, 01:27 AM   #18
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I agree with Elmer, re the huge improvement in ammo in the last couple of years. The manufacturers have been paying attention. Hornady's Critical Defense .22WMR lists ballistics on the box, for both 24" barrels and 1 7/8" barrels. The latter is what my wife has in a Smith snub. Fired it last week with this ammo and flame was not nearly as "long" so to speak, as a .30 Carbine out of a 7 1/2" Ruger.

What I thought was most interesting is that out of the barrel there is a huge difference in velocity (1700 vs 1000), but at 200 yds the numbers were 980 vs 868. Now of course no one except Bob Munden one is going to try to hit anything at 200 yds. with a snub-nose, but what I thought interesting was that the short barrel energy must be very decent relative to rifle-length energy to be able to close the gap like that.

This and Elmer's Gold Dots are the only two SD loads I would use right now, but it is likely other makers like Federal will try to compete. As it is, their 50gr. Game-Shok is not half-bad IMO.

My wife is a lot like yours - she won't even shoot a .32 Long. But she loves the .22WMR. A minor plus relative to SD is that the little magnum is loud out of a short barrel and that can help in getting attention from a distance and in disorienting an attacker.

Extra note - the Critical Defense feeds flawlessly in my PMR-30 and weighs next to nothing.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:04 AM   #19
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If energy was pertinent to terminal performance in handguns, you'd be correct.
Actually I do think energy pertinent to terminal performance. It takes energy to alter matter. Each tissue bond that is broken takes its toll. The more energy available, the more bonds that can be broken. The more bonds that are broken, the more damage that is done. It really does not seem a whole lot different than automobile accidents. A bigger, heavier car going faster is going to do a lot more damage when it hits something. A .38 Spl when compared to a .22 mag is bigger, heavier and faster.

I also think momentum is pertinent to terminal performance and it mass times velocity. I think the heavier faster projectile will have better terminal results.
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Old November 6, 2012, 01:02 PM   #20
Elmer
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Actually I do think energy pertinent to terminal performance. It takes energy to alter matter. Each tissue bond that is broken takes its toll. The more energy available, the more bonds that can be broken. The more bonds that are broken, the more damage that is done. It really does not seem a whole lot different than automobile accidents. A bigger, heavier car going faster is going to do a lot more damage when it hits something.
There are several 9mm and .38 Special loads that exhibit more energy than .45 Auto 230 grain JHP's. Would you consider them superior for self defense?

Handgun bullets crush tissue. They do it through their diameter and penetration. There is no extra points for higher energy levels, despite what some gunwriter or ammo company might tell you.

Quote:
A .38 Spl when compared to a .22 mag is bigger, heavier and faster.
.45 hardball is bigger and heavier than the best .40 and 9mm loads. It does not have better terminal performance, even if driven to higher velocities.

Thompson-LaGarde has been eclipsed with newer methods of scientific testing, and bullets purpose built for terminal performance. 100 years can change things. We know what makes handgun projectiles work.

Quote:
I also think momentum is pertinent to terminal performance and it mass times velocity. I think the heavier faster projectile will have better terminal results.
A good .38 Special load will have better terminal performance than the .22 mag loads that I was speaking of. I never claimed otherwise.

However, these .22 mag defense loads will perform as well as some .38 Special loads, and even better than some.
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Old November 6, 2012, 04:23 PM   #21
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You're saying the good .22 WMR loads perform better than some .38 Sp. loads such as wadcutters and ball? Okay, but it's faint praise.

"Handgun bullets crush tissue."

Yes, but there is more to the body than tissue and the little 40-grainers appear to be more likely to be deflected or stopped by bones, buckles and buttons.

John
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Old November 6, 2012, 05:14 PM   #22
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There are several 9mm and .38 Special loads that exhibit more energy than .45 Auto 230 grain JHP's. Would you consider them superior for self defense?
So far just your statement. Do you have any links that support your statement ? 99 Ft-lb is pretty anemic.
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Old November 6, 2012, 05:23 PM   #23
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Even an 800 fps 140 grain WC has twice the energy of a .22 magnum.

A 200 grain .45acp SWC at 790fps has more than twice the energy of the .22 magnum.
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Old November 6, 2012, 06:43 PM   #24
Elmer
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Quote:
There are several 9mm and .38 Special loads that exhibit more energy than .45 Auto 230 grain JHP's. Would you consider them superior for self defense?
Quote:
So far just your statement. Do you have any links that support your statement ?
The Google is your friend...

Not a fan of Hawk's site, but he has a nice comparison chart for this purpose. Looking at any of the factory ammunition site would bring up similar information, if not as concise.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/handgun_power_chart.htm

Quote:
Even an 800 fps 140 grain WC has twice the energy of a .22 magnum.

A 200 grain .45acp SWC at 790fps has more than twice the energy of the .22 magnum.
Both true.

And a 9mm 115 grain +P+ JHP has more energy than many/most .45 Auto hollow points.

You don't think that means they have better terminal performance, do you?
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Old November 6, 2012, 07:02 PM   #25
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You're saying the good .22 WMR loads perform better than some .38 Sp. loads such as wadcutters and ball? Okay, but it's faint praise.
Actually, .38 special wadcutters outperform many .38 special hollow point loads, even at their low velocities. They penetrate very deeply, and their sharp shoulder cuts tissue, rather than slipping through.

Yet another example of a projectile's design being more important than it's muzzle energy.

Quote:
"Handgun bullets crush tissue."

Yes, but there is more to the body than tissue and the little 40-grainers appear to be more likely to be deflected or stopped by bones, buckles and buttons.

John
Bone, depending on the size and density, can stop or deflect most handgun cartridges. That's why it's not considered in modern handgun performance testing. It's too great a variable. Science seeks reproducible testing results.

Is a substantially larger caliber, with a heavier, properly designed handgun bullet, going to perform better than a similarly designed smaller, lighter bullet?

Of course. That's why I like .45 ACP. But those who think their .40 is closer in performance to a .45 than a 9mm, are sadly mistaken.

And as even some of those who have chosen to argue with me have alluded to, shot placement is far, far, more important, than the differences between well designed bullets of various calibers.
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