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Old May 12, 2020, 12:04 PM   #1
simonrichter
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.32acp vs. 22lr muzzle energy

I always assumed that .22lr out of a pistol is somewhat superior only to .25acp. Now, just out of general curiosity, I checked the data just to see that there is actually not soo much difference. You can squeeze roughly 110 ft lbs out of a 5" .22lr, the same a 3" .32acp will average. Did I get something wrong there or do you really need some 2" more to achieve the power of say a Kel Tec P32 with a (thus somewhat larger) .22lr?
Due to the smaller diameter, penetration must even be better...
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Old May 12, 2020, 12:42 PM   #2
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.22 LR penetration is not going to be as good as .32 ACP, the heavier bullet is the difference, even if it is 45% larger in diameter. Looking at the Lucky Gunner tests, the .22 LR from a 4" barrel gets about 15 inches consistently with a 4 inch barrel, while .32 ACP gets 17 inches with just a 3 inch barrel, well over 20 inches with a 4 inch barrel.

Also, at longer distances the .32 will hold it's energy better than .22 will from a handgun, that means better penetration and not just that, but straight penetration. The biggest problem with .22 it's so light it curves in a medium easily so where you hit a target, it may take a dive and exit out their side or some other wacky move.

Does that mean .22 is useless for defense? No, it's just not superior to .32 ACP. .25 ACP... it probably is solely because it's so much less expensive that people can shoot their gun a lot more and become very proficient with it.
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Old May 12, 2020, 12:43 PM   #3
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.22 velocity does drop off pretty fast at short barrel length: http://ballisticsbytheinch.com/22.html

Using CCI Velocitor, you can probably expect about 1000 fps out of a 3" barrel, and there are some .32 acp loads that will exceed that velocity with a heavier bullet (e.g. the underwood xtreme defender +p load).

However, penetration from both is probably just fine. If you put a hole in something really important, caliber doesn't matter too much: https://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alte...stopping-power

I do think something like a 5.5" Ruger Mark-series .22, loaded up with CCI Velocitor could be a fearsome weapon, due to sheer speed and accuracy. It just requires the right mindset and skill.
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Old May 12, 2020, 12:43 PM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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The .22lr is not superior to the .25 from a 2" barrel.
The .22 lr is primarily a rifle cartridge that needs barrel length to achieve velocity.
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Old May 12, 2020, 12:51 PM   #5
ThomasT
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Quote:
The .22lr is not superior to the .25 from a 2" barrel
Yep. I love my 25 auto.

I fired a Hi-Velocity 22lr from a 6" Ruger standard model and got 1090fps. The same load from a rifle showed around 1190fps IIRC. So a closed breech 22lr does pretty good from a longer barreled handgun.
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Old May 12, 2020, 12:58 PM   #6
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Kinetic energy is m*V^2 or m*v*v

comparing against each other we can say that it's proportional to bullet weight times the velocity times the velocity again.

22 LR ... 40 x 1014 x 1014 (4" barrel cci mini mags) = 41 Petes
.32 acp... 65 x 939 x 939 (4" barrel fed hydoShocks) = 57 Petes
so there is more kinetic energy.

Momentum is mass times velocity
22 LR... 40x1014 = 40.5 milliBumps
.32 65x939= 61 milliBumps
so there is more momentum

the hole size is ... pi r squared
22 LR.. 3.14 x .223x.223 = .156 inches squared vs
.32 3.14 x .3125x.3125 = .307 inches squared
assuming the hollow points don't expand, the holes are three times bigger

In terms of cool factors,
.22 ... Mossad Assassins
.32 ...James Bond (for those that actually read the books)

Yeah Buts-
.22 "Yeah but .22 wmr and shooting jello penetration and I read that..."
.32 "Yeah but when I have saved up enough to afford another magazine you'll be sorry! Now be quite while I use these tweezers to load some more ammo."
I think the edge there goes to the center fire round.

Pros:
.22 Low recoil, cheap ammo, quiet, everyone should own at least 3 .22s
.32 Some very attractive well made surplus firearms and super accurate Olympic level target pistols. Recoil is also very low.

Doing the math for .25 caliber is left as an exercise for the student.
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Old May 12, 2020, 01:16 PM   #7
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Israeli Mossad and/or Sky Marshals w/ Beretta 71's (22 LR) > Terrorists w/ AK47:
https://www.tactical-life.com/firear...mossad-22-lrs/

I mean .32 would just be crazy overkill.
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Old May 12, 2020, 02:03 PM   #8
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Energy is a poor predictor of how well cartridges perform, so is momentum. Real world they will be closer than many believe. Neither would be my top pick, but I'd lean toward the 32 if choosing. And a big part of that is that while pretty reliable, rimfire ammo is always a little more likely to misfire than centerfire ammo
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Old May 12, 2020, 07:17 PM   #9
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In order of energy from a 2" barrel - 22LR, 25 ACP, & 32 ACP. For the same number of rounds in a pistol, I'd take a 25 over a 22 and a 32 over a 25.

22LR is a rifle cartridge. A number of years ago, I picked up my first NAA Mini. It had a 1 5/8" barrel. I chrono'd it with about a dozen different cartridges and the average fps was between the high 500's to the low 700's. That translates to a maximum of 50 ft lbs

A 25 ACP from a old Bauer or Colt Vest Pocket will give you somewhere around 70 ft lbs.

A 32 ACP from a Kel Tec P32 will give you 110 to 175 ft lbs depending on ammo.

A lot of crap has been said over the years about 25 ACP, but to this day there hasn't been a 32 or 380 as small as one of those old 25's.
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Old May 12, 2020, 07:22 PM   #10
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What he said ^.

And I'd take any one of them over no gun and to be honest, I'm partial to the .25acp and love my Beretta Bobcat in 22lr.
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Old May 12, 2020, 09:44 PM   #11
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I've heard/read that JB created the .25 to be a center fire cartridge with .22LR ballistics, with the advantage of the .25 being CF reliability.
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Old May 12, 2020, 10:11 PM   #12
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A large part of that CF reliability is FEEDING. Its not just more reliable ignition than a rimfire. Remember that back around 1900 and for a while after, center fire ignition was not as reliable as it is today.

One of the reasons the .25s and even the .32s are useful is that they nearly always work. FMJ ammo and centerfire ignition are as reliable as it gets.

Often the lead .22 bullet will do more damage than a .25 cal FMJ in a human body, because it flattens, expands and may veer off course.

In my experience, here is no other firearm as temperamental about feeding as a semiauto .22LR pistol. Some will run well on any or everything. Some won't. Some will only run well on one or two brands/types of ammo. Some won't even do that, reliably. If you have one that runs well on something great. But if you don't? Then what??

When talking personal defense, which is better, something that punches an ice pick type hole every single time, or something which might do slightly better now and then, and maybe jam on the next shot?

If a bullet reaches or passes through a vital spot, small differences in energy and diameter don't seem to matter much. If it doesn't having reliable follow up shots is very important. Over all, as a group, semi auto .22s are just not as reliable as centerfires. Individual guns may differ.
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Old May 13, 2020, 05:20 AM   #13
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No .32's may ever have been made as small as some .25's, but I doubt that extra reduction in size ever made a difference.

Personally, I don't trust .22 LR in a small semi auto, the length and heeled bullet is just too much to be reliable for any small semi auto pistol, but .22 Short I would trust more. It's weak, super weak, but at when we're talking muzzle energies of 75 ft/lbs or less, there's not much difference in effect on target other than penetration.

I've said it before and will say it again that the only place I'm ever going to aim for with such small calibers is the head and neck. I can't imagine that it will make much difference if you hit someone in the face if they'll be able to tell it was a .22 Short or a .25 ACP.

The one thing I can do with .22 Short is shoot it a lot more than .25 because of the price of ammo and even tho I reload, I'm never touching .25 ACP.

.32 tho, it's the king of pocket guns. It is the smallest caliber I will ever trust to aim center mass during a fight and while it may not stop someone immediately, it has a lot better chance of doing so than a smaller caliber would.
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Old May 13, 2020, 07:38 AM   #14
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I'd go for the .22LR. The .25 and .32 ACP's aren't much of a cartridge and are a pain to load for.

Dad always advised me to never carry those mini ACP's. He said if you needed it all it would do is make someone mad enough to stick it up your butt and kick the handle off.
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Old May 13, 2020, 10:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Dad always advised me to never carry those mini ACP's. He said if you needed it all it would do is make someone mad enough to stick it up your butt and kick the handle off.
A friend used a 25acp to shoot someone who was trying to rob his gas station. The robber was going to stick the gun up my friends butt and kick the handle off but before he could do so he fell on the floor and died.
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Old May 13, 2020, 10:59 AM   #16
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The first murder I responded to was committed with a .25 auto. 1 round centered on the bridge of the nose, DRT. A .22 would probably have had the same effect.

If I had to chose between a .22 or .25 in a small pocket automatic for defensive purposes. I would chose the .25 simply for the reliability alone. I've seen too many pocket sized .22 pistols malfunction compared to a .25.
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Old May 13, 2020, 11:41 AM   #17
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If I was going to carry a .22 for SD I would want one of these. The 3" would have more velocity, but has the Snag City front sight. The 2" has a ramp sight, but less velocity. That bunch out in Utah should make a modern version; DA with 7-rd cylinder less than 1" in diameter.

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/867812455

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/867481193
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Old May 13, 2020, 06:59 PM   #18
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Lucky Gunner covered some of these in their pocket pistol series. You can check out the .25 acp considerations here:

https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/i...ense-cartridge

In my limited experience, .25 acp is pretty similar to .22 LR but in a centerfire package. That can have advantages. Generally, I'd prefer .32 acp for defensive use. Of course, I'd prefer .380 to that and 9mm to that but it all depends on size constraints. You need a gun you can carry and you need to be able to use it well. If that means dipping down on the defensive power ladder on occasion, so be it.
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