View Full Version : Effective range of a .22

April 18, 2012, 08:05 AM
I have a Savage arms mark II with a REALLY cheap scope. I'm using wolf target ammo and i'm shooting 1/2 inch groups at 110 yards. I was wondering what the max i can take it out to. Everything on the gun is factory parts.

April 18, 2012, 08:14 AM
While the equipment is a limiting factor, for practical purposes, the largest limiting facor is YOU.

How tight a group can you get without a bench to shoot off? Standing, sitting, prone?

April 18, 2012, 08:22 AM
Welcome to TFL!

Only way to find out it's max range is to shoot the longer distance. :)

And if you are shooting 1/2" groups at 110 yards, you're doing some real nice shooting.

April 18, 2012, 08:49 AM
A cheap form of target practice is to go get a bag of cheap styrofoam cups and go to the river..fill them full of water and set the up along one bank then ride to the other side and shoot them.

Make sure its a good open stretch so you can watch for traffic. We got 270 yards. Lol its like shooting a mile with a 308. Really hard but extremely fun. Some of my friends managed to squeeze 430 but said his scope ran out of adjustment. And wind made it nearly impossible to hit the cups. Unless you just got lucky.

We had 32power scopes, the cups where pretty easy to see. Just not to hit lol.

April 18, 2012, 08:56 AM
Wind starts to be a big factor. I've taken my MkII with cheap ammo to 150 yards; all the shots were on the target but was a pretty big group, 6-8" or so. I think 200 yards is probably the practical limit, bullet drop at that range is pretty significant.

April 18, 2012, 10:00 AM
200 Yards is about the maximum effective range for a .22 LR cartridge.

I've seen people make hits at longer distances than 200,,,
But they are rare and almost accidental.

Here is a ballistics chart (http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_trajectory_table.htm) for an average .22 LR cartridge,,,

Cartridge ([email protected]) = (40 HP at 1,255 fps)
100 yds. = -3"
200 yds. = -40.9"

As you can see the drop at 200 yards is getting fairly severe,,,
It's fun to try and lob a hit in at longer distances,,,
But very difficult to get and consistency.



April 18, 2012, 10:42 AM
I have a Savage arms mark II with a REALLY cheap scope. I'm using wolf target ammo and i'm shooting 1/2 inch groups at 110 yards. I was wondering what the max i can take it out to. Everything on the gun is factory parts.

Wow a miracle rifle, I have problems getting that accuracy at 110 feet.:D

Big Shrek
April 18, 2012, 12:12 PM
Technically, quite a ways ;)

I've used a Calico M-100 to pop rotten pumpkins at 700-800 yards...
but that was by walking the shots in...and about a 45-degree hold ;)
With the 100-rds per mag, its doable...and fun...just an exercise in hi capacity goodness!

But that kinda thing is only feasable if you've got a farm and an afternoon to waste...LOL
I wouldn't even bother trying to do that with a bolt-action...

April 18, 2012, 12:16 PM
200 Yards is about the maximum effective range for a .22 LR cartridge.
Then it's time to move up to the .22 magnum! :D

April 18, 2012, 12:55 PM
I'm sure anything over 200 yards would be pretty hard. I've got a Remington 597 with the $33 red dot from walmart, and it shoots around an inch or so at 100 yards. When I was a kid I remember my dad was trying to shoot a clay at 100 yards with a Norinco and couldn't do it. By nothing but luck, I hit it.
I'm really trying to get into .22lr target shooting with revolvers and rifles. My next outing, I'm sighting my rifle in for 100 yards. Once I'm comfortable with that I'm going to the 200 yard range. With the revolver, the gun is tack driver but hits 2 feet high or so at 25 yards. I'm trying 40 yards next time.

April 18, 2012, 03:20 PM
I've got a Savage MKII FV-SR with a Simmons 22mag scope that I've only had to the range once. Using Federal bulk HP's I had no problem making 1" groups at 100yds off a front-rest. With a full rest and match ammo, I don't think I'd have any issue with 1/2" groups or tighter at that distance.

It really sucked having to reload every 5 rds though. I just bought a couple 10rd mags from CDNN on sale, so my next trip should be a bit more productive.

April 18, 2012, 08:26 PM
I've seen videos on youtube of a guy hitting steel at 400 yards consistently with a Mark II. Of course you have to take that with a grain of salt, but it for sure looks pretty dang far away.

Jim Watson
April 18, 2012, 08:40 PM
A hundred yard NRA Smallbore target has a one inch X ring, a two inch ten ring.
Half an inch at 110 yards? That is Anschutz + Tenex country.
Go win some matches.

April 18, 2012, 08:41 PM
The definition of effective range is that range at which a trained shooter has a 50% probability of a hit, in the military that's on a torso-sized target.

For a .22 LR, it isn't far, maybe 150 yards. I once hit a beer can at 204 yards with a Ruger Single Six, one round, but for me, perhaps 100 yards is a fair statement for effective range with a .22 LR in a rifle.

April 18, 2012, 09:36 PM
I've shot out the larger clay pigeons at 200 yds with my 10/22 AND my AR-22 using subsonic ammo.

Personally I wouldn't take shots out further than 200yds with a .22lr. You start talking about some serious adjustments on the scope and wind becomes a MAJOR factor. Effective range for me then is maxed out at 200yds.

Of course the warning on the boxes says that the .22lr can travel up to 1.5 miles and STILL have enough energy to kill.

April 18, 2012, 10:18 PM
I have posted about a 346 yard prarie dog shot with my Marlin 60, and two witnesss. My ammo is Walmart Federal.

Last week I did one at 290. A local FFL dealer was with me.

That said, after 200 the vagaries of ammo quality and wind add 8-10 inches of randomness.

April 19, 2012, 02:35 AM
I can ring (well, more like ping) the 200 yds gong at my range every shot with my 77/22. If you know the range and the trajectory, you can hit 4" targets pretty consistently out to 300 yds, beyond that it really takes some skill.

April 19, 2012, 05:53 AM
Effective range depends on the object or critter to be hit, killed, or destroyed.

As a hunting weapon, anything beyond 80 yards is difficult due to range determination/trajectory and wind.

As a plinking rifle, it depends on the target size and number of shots you want to use to hit it. I've hit objects beyond 230 yards, but had to aim about 3-4 feet high, depending on the round. I never tried adjusting my scope for that distance because it wasn't serious shooting, just trying to hit milk jugs or cans laying out there. Wind can be more difficult to compensate for than elevation at extreme ranges.

Being a rimfire benchrester, I haven't even shot my bench guns beyond 50 yards because we don't compete at longer ranges and don't want to waste $15/box ammo. At 50 yards, my rifles will shoot under 1/4" groups and one has shot two perfect 250x250s and a 249 at one three-target IR 50-50 Unlimited match last summer.

BTW: If that Savage is shooting 1/2" groups at 100 yards, you should try some benchrest matches with it. I've seen a lot of claimed 1/2 minute groups, but never with an inexpensive sporter like that one. It's either a 1 in a million rifle, or somebody isn't counting flyers.

April 19, 2012, 09:51 AM
For target work the .22lr will stretch well beyond 200 yards and is the best way to learn long range shooting. 200 yards with a .22lr is akin to 600 with many centerfires. You'll need a good adjustable mildot scope (around 10x), a dope book, range finder and wind gauge just like the centerfire long range shooters use but it's worth it and much more affordable.

Hunting is a whole nother ball game and comletely dependant on the game you are hunting, you, your gun and your ammo.


April 21, 2012, 12:35 PM
It's always the new guys that somehow claim to be shooting .5 inch groups with a 22. I think that after you start to really train yourself and also buy better equipment, accuracy goes down. (sarcasm)

I love seeing how new guys at the range find group size. They look at their 2" group, blame the 2 fliers on (fill in the blank), and then count the rest of the shots as their group. Then at the end of the day they find their smallest "group" and that's the moa their rifle shoots.

We have all been doing it wrong guys.

April 21, 2012, 12:46 PM
In recent weeks I've been shooting the heck out of my 24" CZ-452,,,
I've been making groups at 150 and 200 yards that really are actual groups.

Last session out I put 21 out of 25 rounds in a 10" paper plate at 200 yards,,,
This is off a bench with a plastic front rest.

If I tried this with any of my 18" or 20" rifles,,,
The hits would have been less than half of those fired.



April 21, 2012, 05:15 PM
I would be willing to say that maximum effective range is probably going to be about 250 yards which would have you hitting about 2-3 inches high at 100 yards. beyond 250 your hold over is going to be quite significant and you will barely retain the needed energy to kill a squirrel.

April 21, 2012, 05:36 PM
Jim Watson hit it right!
If the OP can shoot 1/2" groups at 100 yds with Wolf / SK ammo, he should enter some NRA smallbore matches & clean house. He'll be a high master after no more than 500 rds downrange.
Perhaps he should offer that magic Savage up for auction and make a LOT of money. The folks I shoot against in NRA smallbore competition are using Anschutz rifles that START at $3600.00, add their scopes / sights, the cost runs WAY over $5000.00 and they are shooting Eley Tenex @ $19.00 per box of 50. They are (VERY) happy to keep to the X ring of 1.2" diameter at 100 yds!
Of course, they are holding their rifles up without bags, stands, holders, bipods etc. Just a rifle, a sling, jacket and glove.
He can enter bench rest competition where the costs (in my club) are at least equal to the smallbore competition rifles and clean house there too.


April 21, 2012, 07:50 PM
i am running a 10/22 with a shilen barrel and i can pretty consistently put them on a clay pigeon at 200 yards

April 21, 2012, 08:10 PM
I imagine with a 22lr it really depends on wind. With some stingers and no wind you could probably stretch out to 300. The bullets are so light that any variance in wind is going to cause huge problems though.

I am trying to remember if I have ever shot a 22 at 100 yards even and i think not. I am sure my Marlin 891TS would shoot that range quite well, but I use it to practice fundamentals and to let kids shoot, so I don't know. Maybe I will give it a try now.

As far as shooting Coyotes at long ranges, I am sure it can. I am one who looks at shooting varmints like coyotes a whole lot different than shooting game animals, but I still would probably bump up to a 223 if shooting coyotes.

"Effective range" has nothing to do with shooter. I believe the military uses the point at which a hypersonic load goes to subsonic. I am under the impression the abnormal turbulence/drag involved at this point greatly reduces accuracy. Assuming I am correct in this belief, it may not really work here as some 22lr loads used are subsonic in the first place.

Zen Archery
April 21, 2012, 08:53 PM
Effective range?!
Depends on shooter and their equipment.
Put in the the time and you'll know your effective range.

April 22, 2012, 09:22 AM
Once upon a time a guy on a 'survival site' reported that his 'weapon' was a 10-22. He claimed to be able to easily hit a frozen turkey at 300 yards. He also claimed that at 300 yards a .22 long rifle would completely penetrate the frozen turkey when it was wrapped in 3 layers of clothing.
I've made some pretty fair shoots with a .22 revolver but they were all within 50 yards. I consider a .22 to be a 100 yard max hunting tool, 25 yards is much better.

April 22, 2012, 10:42 AM
I've killed a lot of critters of various kinds with .22LRs (and many other cartridges).

Most of my squirrel kills have been within 50 yards; the vast majority closer to 25 yards in the woods. Shooting into the upper branches of trees (where it's safe to do so) lengthens the distance that the bullet stays within fractions of an inch of line of sight because target distance is dependant on the horizontal distance to the target, not the line of sight distance (hypotenuse of the triangle).

When trying head shots on squirrels, etc., the kill zone is very small. For such hunting I used to prefer receiver sights with twilight apertures, but my aging eyes limit best shooting in the woods to scoped rifles these days.

Receiver sights put the line of sight closer to the bore, which, for short ranges, keeps rounds in the kill zone. The larger the distance between bore and line of sight, the more difficult it is to hit very small targets at various ranges encountered in the field. Receiver sights are more accurate than open sights, especially under varied lighting conditions.

That said, I did kill a woodchuck at 100 yards with a Ruger Standard Auto .22LR, but thought I was shooting at a rusty can in a field. You can imagine my surprise when there was a "plop" instead of a "ding" as the chuck fell dead from a neck shot. :D

April 22, 2012, 10:22 PM
Target shooting at 100 yards with a 22lr is fine but hunting beyond 70yards with a 22 is not humane in my opinion while yes they will kill beyond 100 what is the point no one caliber fits all requirements.

April 25, 2012, 02:08 PM
I was shooting my Marlin 60 with Tech Sights at 200 last weekend at the range for kicks. With my 50 yard zero the holdover must have been something like 30" because the sweet spot if I wanted to hit a 12" target was somewhere up on the berm above the target stand. Never tried anything past 100 up until then.

I do shoot at 200 with a Marlin .22 mag quite a bit. It's significantly less drop at that distance, I want to say about 5.5".

April 25, 2012, 05:51 PM
My club has a tactical 22 steel challenge match every month. Distances are out to 210 yds with small steel targets, some with hostage targets in front. The targets are in the shape of IDPA silhouettes but only about 6 inches tall.

I haven't made it to a match but some of these guys helped me get my 10/22 consistently hitting 1-2 inch spinning steel targets out to 150 yds when I ran out of Elevation adjustment and mil dots on my scope. There was no wind to speak of. I was using Wolfe standard target ammo I believe.

I put som Burris offset scope rings to get me to 210 yds but haven't gone back out to get the new dope numbers


April 27, 2012, 01:33 AM
I got stuck on this one: A cheap form of target practice is to go get a bag of cheap styrofoam cups and go to the river..fill them full of water and set the up along one bank then ride to the other side and shoot them. Is this how it's done in Dixie?

April 27, 2012, 08:16 AM
thanks for all the help and advice. i have been looking for some competitions but i haven't found anything around maryland. i took the rifle back out this week and i was able to shoot a clip off a soda can hanging from a string after about 20 shots. if anyone knows where there is a competition in maryland can they let me know

May 25, 2012, 04:26 PM
I shoot My CZ 452 alot (3,000 rds. a year) Mostly at 50 & 100yds. shooting SK std.+. At 50yds. I avg. in the mid .4" , the best I ever shot was .16". At 100yds. I avg, 1.0" with my best ever at .650". The smallest group I've ever shot at 200yds. was 2.25" but my avg. is about 3.5" all 5 shot groups. Any body that can look you in the eye and say they are shooting .5" groups at 100yds. With a Savage MKII and cheap scope. Should run for office.

May 26, 2012, 07:14 PM
Drop is easy to compensate for. The 50cal bmg drops something like 12ft at 1000yards and its considered to be very accurate but for different reasons. With a good bolt gun 400 yard hits is not out of the question. As kids we would shoot 5 gallon buckets at 400yards+ with our 10/22s with about a 75% hit rate. It would be unethical to shoot game at that range imo but for target shooting its not just a lucky shot.

May 26, 2012, 08:15 PM
My father told me of hitting a crow at 300 yards with his bolt action springfield 22 rifle which he got when he was 10 years old. (about 1930). I did not say anything but I had my doubts.

Several years later in 1977 we were walking through a field which I knew to be 300 yards long. A crow landed on a fence post at the far end of the field. He shot the crow from the standing position. I now believe that he made at least two 300 yard shots on crows with that 22 rifle.

My point is that a shooter who has shot the same rifle over a lifetime over many ranges can connect on some unreal shots. The shooter who knows his weapon and his capabilities can do some unbelievable shooting.