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Why is .22LR the Most Popular Caliber in 2012?

by B. Gil Horman   |  March 1st, 2012 127

The first quarter of a new year is always exciting for shooting enthusiasts as the new guns are announced and shipped to dealers. Some years a particular, trend or theme will rise to the forefront of the industry’s media coverage. In 2010, the market enjoyed a surge in new pocket-sized .380 semi-auto pistols. For 2011, .380 pocket pistols were trumped by a blitz of 9mm pocket rockets and we celebrated the birth of the 1911. For 2012, a first look at the playing field revealed a variety of new guns to be released but not the headline-grabbing patterns of recent years. Upon closer examination, one particular caliber has plenty of new additions to get shooters out to the range: the .22 long rifle.

Why does the .22 have such a loyal following? Why does the selection of handguns and rifles chambered for this round continue to grow? When I started asking folks in the industry this question, they looked at me in a funny way. Why not ask the reason people prefer to eat on a daily basis or why they like to go shooting at all?

But this seemingly obvious question bears asking for good reasons. For all intents and purposes, the .22 long rifle should be obsolete. How many other black powder cartridges developed in 1887, with a family tree going back to 1845, have made the transition into the modern era? And of that handful of calibers, how many are stocked and sold by the thousands at local big-box and sporting goods stores? The rimfire primer system is obsolete, the round is not particularly powerful by today’s standards, and it’s actually a relatively complicated round to construct. So what’s all the excitement about?

Whatever weaknesses this cartridge may possess, they are almost universally overshadowed in light of the round’s positive characteristics. A few industry representatives from both sides of the .22 aisle, the gun makers and the ammunition manufacturers, shared with me their customers’ reasons for sending .22 rounds down range on a regular basis.

The single most quoted reason for the .22’s popularity? It’s cheap. Nothing speaks to the cost conscious shooter like the bottom line. Although all ammunition prices have gone up significantly in the last few years, you can still buy 500 rounds of bulk .22 cartridges for the same price as, or less than, a 50-round box of centerfire pistol or 20-round box of big-bore rifle rounds. This low per-round cost allows shooters to literally get more bangs for their buck, which translates to more actual trigger time.

A high customer demand allows manufacturers to keep the .22 ammunition supply plentiful and diverse. Few calibers offer as many bullet and power variations as this little rimfire. Another benefit of buying .22 is that many of these firearms cost less than their full-caliber counterparts. A wide variety rimfire rifles and handguns have price tags in the neighborhood of $300-$400, as compared to $600-$1,000 for guns chambered in centerfire calibers.

If reducing the cost of both the ammunition and the gun is not enough incentive, then consider the reduction in noise and recoil. This is a big part of the fun factor of .22. Shooters can enjoy all of the satisfaction of hitting the target without the shoulder, wrist, or back pain that comes with long sessions at the shooting range with large-caliber guns. Reduced recoil also makes the .22 ideal for training new and young shooters. The .22 produces enough energy to make it good for small game hunting. The bullets are capable of dispatching the game without too much damage to the meat.

Whatever your reasons for choosing to own a .22, this gun and ammunition combination is far from becoming an endangered species. In fact, with recent ammunition shortages and continuing high prices still in the collective shooting consciousness, it’s likely that .22s are going to be as popular this year as ever, if not more so. Here are a few of the new and unusual .22 products to keep an eye out for:

What is your favorite .22? What is your favorite memory of shooting a .22?

  • Rob

    Winchester pump 62A. I got it 50 years ago for Christmas. I will still put it up against ANY new gun. It is a tack driver.

    • Bill

      Oh man, I've wanted a Winchester 62 for so long. There is just 'something" about that design that warms my heart like few others guns.

      • Dave

        I too have been looking for one, but they're hard to find and not cheak. I remember shooting them on the midway at the P-Nut Festival in Alabama, and I liked the way the little 22 shorts made sparks when they hit the steel target. I found out later that they used 22 short rounds loaded with a 29 Gr composite bullet made with iron filings and some kind of clay molded together. This was to insure they'd break up and not ricochet but offered the unintended plus of the sparks. :wink:

    • old vet

      Good rifle to start this page with, my Father in law had two of them, don't know who in family ended up with them, no one is talking.

    • MrT182

      I purchased a new Ruger Single Six back in 1968 for $78.00 and still have it. Also has the. 22 mag cylinder. This gun still shots 1" 6 shot groups at 25 yards, day in and day out. I recently picked up a Ruger Mark III Hunter Pistol, and wow is it nice. So far went through two 500 boxes of ammo, Love both of these Rugers.

    • Ralph

      have a few 61s same here

    • Ralph

      22lr at 50yds is one nasty round.our whole family lived on deer meat 50 years ago single shoot 22 still got it 1 22 1deer

  • Antonio

    My Savage Mark II bolt action is sweet. I mounted an affordable 3-9x scope on it, and I'm dead on out to 65 yards. At 100 yards it is more accurate than I am (but I'm working it!). I believe competency with a .22 is a good quality for the all-around firearms sportsman: target, small game, affordability, and just plain fun.

    • old vet

      What more an you ask for?

      • old vet

        My "c" doesn't always work.

        • Alan_T

          Mine either Vet …. the price we pay for getting older . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

          • Mark

            This rifle was my first firearm purchase. Added a 4x scope. Shoots accurately out to 100 yds, and have consistently hit a 3 foot high steel target at 250 yards. I also have a Sig Mosquito, but it runs only CCI minimags (or more powerful rounds like velociraptors) , which around here have been running 20 cents a round.

  • Dave

    Favorite 22 Rimfires—Any of the 7 in my safe.
    Especially the S&W41 and 617 pistols and the Rem 541-T-HB rifle.
    Favorite memory of shooting a 22 rimfire—Probably as a kid shooting with my father

    • old vet

      I, same as you am attached to every one of my .22s, have parted with several of my larger guns, sometimes with later regrets, but still own every double deuce I ever had.

      • Bill Patterson

        You got a good heart, Old Vet. Only negative about the .22 rimfire is …you can't reload it.

  • Hugh

    My two favorites are the Remington 541 S and the Sig Mosquito. Whats could be more fun than shooting a 22 which mirrors your 700 BDL? Light, fast, deadly accurate. It helped me develop good shooting habits and made handling the high power rifles a breeze. The mosquito is a blast as well and despite all the rumors have yet to have an FTE after 2000 rounds. I agree with Dave. Shooting with my dad is hands down the best memories of a 22.

  • Tony

    with out a doubt, my Remington Nylon 66 (Apache Black) I received for my 12th birthday. Thousands of rounds later, still as accurate and good lookng as ever. When a certain 2 year old hits the big 12, it'll be ready for him to have another 60 years of fun with it.

  • Tim Pyle

    My Colts Woodsman .22 caliber collection with examples from all series made during the 1915-1977 production years. They never skip a beat and I think are still one of the classist looking and well made pistols from the 20th century.

  • Gary D. II

    I still have my dads .22 Remington 15 rnd. front load rifle. With that the best memory is my dad and I going out to Alpine, CA and shooting this beat up washing machine. A memory I will never forget.

  • Untacticool

    All .22s are great, but the 10/22 is the greatest. I have at least 10 of them in every barrel weight, stock design, stock color that I can find; and yes, even a pink one. All iron sights and will shoot less than an inch at 50 yds if it's not windy. The speedloader takes the tedium out of loading the mags.

  • bigdukesix

    Manly calibres start at .38!

    • Tim E

      I beg to differ. Manly calibers begin with .4

      • Buzz

        BS I don't care if its a pellet gun as long as I'm shooting

        • Alan_T

          Buzz …… I like the way you think !

    • Dan Ess

      Manly? A .38 is what many women buy that want a carry conceal gun. In addition .357 is a lower number, but it makes a .38 seem like a .22LR.

    • bob

      Yeah, yeah, yeah.rated as BS

  • C Mayne

    Have to admit I love my Model 75 Target Winchester! With the Redfield peeps or the Unertl scope it will "drive nails" ( we have done that) and the little oregon Ground Squirrels are in deep trouble out to 300 yards (we have done that). I have 3 others but you just can't help but love that old heavy barrel wonder!!

  • Rich A., AZ

    Anyone ever heard of the American Arms Int'l, American 180? I bought mine from my former partner/Sgt. in the late '80's and have kept it as a covetted shooter ever since. I have 2, 177 round carousel mags and winders and the broken-down rifle and mags all fit in a 4 handgun, dual layer carry case. The only draw-back to the rifle is that it will only cycle properly with hyper-velocity .22lr ammo, specifically CCI Stingers. Despite its appetite for the more expensive ammo, once loaded and started shooting, your trigger finger will get tired before your first mag is empty. Unfortunately, E & L Manufacturing is the only company that now produces the rifle and accessories, but the accessories and services are reasonably priced, but the rifles are custom ordered and start at around $1000.

  • fsnno

    shoot for pennies, accurate at 100 yds, what more could you want

  • Mike

    Own two Rugers One is the MK I long barrel and the other MK II with bull barrel. Both are a lot of fun to shoot and tack drivers.


    • Alan_T

      Great pistols Mike , I just replaced my MK II 22/45 with the new MKIII 22/45 target model .

  • hicusdicus

    I have a Keltec PLR .22. So far so good. I also have the PLR .223. You can't tell them apart unless you turn them upside down and look at the bottom of the Mag.

  • drechemist

    I have an old Anschutz that was made in the early post-WW II days. It is simple and plain, but outshoots every other rifle I have ever owned. My .22 sidearm is a Ruger 678. Both firearms are a pleasure to shoot, are extremely accurate so that even my limited abilities look impressive, and have been with me on too many adventures into the woods to be counted. While shooting is fun, shooting an accurate firearm is the best!

  • James

    Am fast approaching 80 yr of age, Have enjoyed multiple of varieties and make 22 cal. rifles in my life time. thus Started out as a kid with single shot Springfield rifle. As I grew older, moved up to Rem 550, the which I literally wore out three of same over some 30 to 40 years shooting pleasure. Next in line was a used Win model 63 simi auto with tube mag in stock. Mounted with old Weaver 6 power scope could literally could take a squirrle's eye out if was all that was visible. Moved on to a Rem. 552 for plinking turtles etc on the farm. Shot more that four bricks thru it. Carried in farm truct. showed wear & lack of care. Still reliable. Sold it for more than paid for it. Replaced it with new Rem 597 mag fed simi auto the which have not had a real test on it's preformance. Before the 552, traded for a Stogers Luger 22 pistol gun which proved great up to30 to 40 yard on turtles and killing wild pigs in trap. Shot at least two bricks thru before the 552 can on the scene. Still carried both in truck for several years. The 22 cal. rimfire still the most enjoyable as well as economical firearm still available to us a American. Still great varmint cal. Less report of the 22cal another nicer thing over the larger centerfire calibers.

    • Alan_T

      I wish you 80 more years James !

    • Mark E. Johnson

      It never ceases to amaze me that anyone would demean the .22cal. It is inexpensive (not cheaply made), accurate for its purpose and can be deadly when used properly. Thanks for the history you've shown here, James; it proves the point of such a wonderful caliber!

    • R.Robert Burdick

      I am 84 An My 22 is a Marlin Model 80 Dl Bought years ago when i was 16 years old an still use it an it shoots well

  • Jim Boliek

    I still have my Remington >22 with 24 inch barrel semi automatic that shoots shorts,longs and long rifle .22s.It has no serial number but says Remington 550-1 on barrel. Its deadly accurate on rabbits and squirlls,also rats at the dump when I was younger. My parents bought this for me used when I was 12 years old. Im now 70. Would like to know how old it is and if its worth anything?

  • Kimber

    My Nylon 66 and Browning Challenge II. They combined for a zillion squirrels, rabbits, rats, black birds and sparrows when I was a kid. Great memories.

  • Bob

    I love the Uberti carbine.Single shot, rolling block.

  • -bp

    pic is not a 464 SXP

  • Bill

    My favorite memory is of learning how to shoot with my Dad. He still has a clip fed Mossberg rifle patterned after the M1 carbine complete with Lyman sights meant for use on the Springfield 1903A3. I have used many different .22s over the years from Remington, Winchester, Savage, Marlin, Ruger, Mossberg. My favorite .22s are my Marlin 39-A, and stainless Ruger Super Single-Six! I also love to shoot large bore rifles in .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .44 magnum, .30-06 whenever I can afford the ammunition, and a place to shoot them. Fortunately, I can afford to shoot on a regular basis with the .22s. This makes me a better shot with the S&W model 29 when I do have the means to use it.

    • Raymond Clifford

      Far out man! I also owned around 1978 a Super Single Six with the .22 Magnum option! Also had one of those compact Bearcats! So many of these comments have mentioned Rugers!

  • Untacticool

    Manly cartridges? Try .338 Lapua, .338-378 Weatherby, .375 H&H, .378 Weatherby, .416 Rigby, .416 Weatherby, .450/.400 Nitro Express, .458 Winmag, .460 Weatherby, .500 Jeffery, .505 Gibbs and of course .50BMG and .416 Barrett.
    Also waiting for delivery of .577 Tyrannosaur and an 8-bore muzzleloader.

    I still enjoy the .22LR as much as any of those. Shoot the heads of pushpins at 50 yds with iron sights.

  • Ralph De La Huerta


    • Alan_T

      I got one for my 13th birthday back in 1966 …. I sure wish I still had it .

  • Micah

    my favorite 22 is the Henry lever action I got "for my son". Favority memory, teaching my son to shoot and watching him shoot bulls on his first trip out, on the 100m target I had out to sight in my deer rifle.

  • Lee

    My best and most lasting .22 LR memory is winning the NYS Smallbore Indoor Gallery Championship with a Winchester Model 52 Bull BBL and Redfield Olympic Sights in 1956. Oh to be able to see that well and to shoot that well. The rifle probably still does, but even with the Unertl Scope I have on it, my eyes are no longer good enough to shoot better then the rifle can. She is a beauty; too bad it is not made any more.

  • jim

    My Dad took apart a 22 LR cartridge and showed me the shell, powder and a small bullet about the size of a green pea, to me it did not look very powerful at all. Dad had me fill a 5 gal bucket with water (heavy for a 10 year old) and place it on top of a 3 inch thick phone book which now sat 10 foot below our rear deck. Dad fired 1 shot straight down into the bucket, there was a big splash… and in a instant that bullet displaced all of the water save a inch and went though the phone book too. I'll never forget that.

  • Lopaka Kanaka

    I like all my 22LR, My Ruger MKIII with a 6 inch barrel is my favorite and I go out to the range and shoot it ever weekend. My first 22LR was a lever action winchester rifle that I purchased new in 1970 and did a lot of shooting with it. I have a Marlin 795 22LR semi-auto rifle and my wifle enjoys shooting the rifle and this is her first time shooting a rifle. Her brother's are hunters and get there deer every year. My 22mag is what I plan on my next purchase. The 22LR is the the best trainging I can get with out shooting my 45AP 1911 A-1 each weekend.

    • Chris

      I love my Ruger MK lll. It's the most reliable 22 pistol I've ever owned, thousands of rounds without missing a beat and accurate too! Ruger was a genius in developing this pistol. My compliments on your favorite!

    • Alan_T

      I;m with both of you Lopaka & Chris .

  • J Collins

    Nylon 66 still a strong contender….gotta have the STG-44

  • Michael

    Favorite .22 LR? That would be my dad's Winchester Model 52 from 1928. It looks like an older military piece but it still shoots great. It will still be shooting great when I pass it on to my grandson. As many previous posters have noted, the .22LR is a great training piece and less expensive to use than the larger caliber weapons usually used to bring home the bacon.

  • matt

    remington model 12 pump

    • Rick

      Matt, I have owned a Remington Model 12C pump rifle with an octagonal barrel. It is supposedly an old gallery gun. What are these old rifles worth today?

  • matt

    i also love my model 341 remington bolt action 22.unfortunetly i live in crook county illinois but found an old pekin bullet trap years ago and shoot subsonic 22lrs into it from the back of the garage downnrange .the dink of the lead on the metal is louder than the report.

  • Two Eagles

    My all time favorite .22 is my first rifle. A Winchester 141 bolt action, tube fed through the stock. My dad took me to buy it on my 11th birthday in 1969. That little tack driver has had tens of thousands of rounds through it in the past 43 years without any problems. It is still my go to .22 rifle and has harvested more squirrels,rabbits and small game than I care to count. My favorite .22 handgun by far is a my Ruger MK II, Target Bull Barrel. Ultra reliable and more accurate than I am. All of my children have learned firearm safety and to shoot with these guns. In a couple more years the grand kids will get their turn. Long live the.22

  • Mo- Ron

    My favorite is mt J.C. Higins (sp) I bought 46 years ago used for $7.00. It was ugly then and ulgy now bur it's a tack driver even though it's one at a time

  • hank

    winchester 94/22 and colt scout sa are my favorite

  • Randall

    Winchester single shot 67. Winchester bolt action repeater model 141, tube fed through the stock.
    Ruger's latest and best, the Mark III Stainless fluted barrel with high viz sights.
    All the Colt Woodsman's and the High Standard semi autos.

  • Gary Edwards

    That Mossberg, it's a joke, right? Nobody in their right mind. . .

    • old vet

      What about Mossberg?(sp) my best friend had one of their semi's and it was a hoot! Had more front sight combos built in than I could count. and worked great. Also front of fore end folded down so you could grip it kind of like a Tommy Gun.

    • Alan_T

      It doesn't appeal much to me ……. but I don't see anything wrong with the Mossberg if people like it .

  • DAN

    my first .22 that i own is a Marlin Carbine M60, other wis i like to shoot my fathers Savage Arms Stevens short/long bolt rifle Modle 34 10 Round Mag USA , 9 shot .22 short/long Revolver H&R Modle 600 Single action USA, and his Benjamin Franklin .22 pelit single shot bolt action pump Modle 342 USA

  • Dan

    Does any body know anything or where i can find out info on a

    Savage Arms Stevens .22LR Modle 34 Bolt Action 10 Round Mag WestField Mass. USA.

    H&R H&R inc 9 shot .22 short/long revolver Modle 900 single action USA

    • Alan_T

      Garry James could probably answer that for you @ Guns & Ammo .

  • Dan

    Does any body know anything or where i can find out info on a

    Savage Arms Stevens .22LR Modle 34 Bolt Action 10 Round Mag WestField Mass. USA.

    H&R H&R inc 9 shot .22 short/long revolver Modle 900 single action USA

    • old vet

      As far as your rifle just Google Stevens 34, have one and got all the info needed. Probably same for your pistol.

  • mike

    Love my Winchester 9422 xtr that I got for Christmas in 1980.

  • Roger D. Eagle

    Nothing better than a Remington ApatheBlack .22lr. You load it thru the stock, so reloading is very easy. One in the barrel, and 14 down the hatch. A round every time you pull the trigger. Rats at the dump have a very hard time getting away.

    • old vet

      Those Remington nylon rifles are cool, because of their material they "self lube" themselves. Don't disassemble though unless you have lots of time and patience and a good gunsmith friend to help you put your box of parts back together.

  • Deb

    My very first pistol was a 22 cal Ruger Bearcat I bought at Montgomery Wards ( yes children, they sold handguns along with Sears and Roebuck and Western Auto in the good old days) and my 1st rifle a Winchester model 62 pump. My mom gave it to me. I cherish both of these little 22 cal firearms, they have given me many hours of shooting pleasure and family memories.

    • old vet

      My first rifle was a Revelation ( from Western Auto) bolt action tube feed, mushy but workable trigger and VERY accurate. For a reason, it was made by Marlin, although it did not have Micro groove. Learned the basics with it and had great times with it. With all the firearms I own now, would be hard pressed to part with it. For all you who blab about "manly" calibers, I've shot almost everything available to the service in the late 60's including the Ma Deuce, held my own with most all of them, Being a member of one of the finest clubs in the area, still get to try something new, the .22 rimfire takes every bit as much skill as any other. It is the only caliber I can say, if it were not here, It would have to be invented.

  • Jack Meadows

    on my second Rossi .22 pump (had to sell the first one, bought the second practically brand new from a friend after his father passed away for $100) and have a pair of .22 single actions (one Heritage 4 3/4 convert blue and one FIE 4 3/4 nickel, virtually the same gun, most parts interchange). Miss my Ruger Mark I with the 6 inch thin profile barrel (sold) and my grandfathers 60s vintage Marlin 39 Mountie that some douchebag broke into my uncle's house and stole several years ago. Looks like my next purchase will be a .22 also, that awesome StG-44, but I'm afraid to see the price.

  • Trevor

    My favorite memory of shooting a .22 was shooting a Ruger 10/22. This is because this gun was the first I had ever fired.

  • Alan_T

    My very favorite .22LR is a CZ 452 LUX …it likes almost everything and puts MOST rounds between 1/2 & 3/4 of an inch at …….. 75 YARDS ! …. Yeah I'm proud of it and no , I don't want to sell it . HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • old vet

      You hit upon the almost unbelievable precision a .22 is capable of. Don't buy it? just watch a.22 bench rest match. 50 yards, but the X is smaller than a large pea. one shot at each bull. It's really fun when the wind kicks in. Not for me though, way too tense.

  • Burnell51

    My favorite is the Remington 121 "Fieldmaster" pump. I learned to light kitchen matches by hitting the white "head" of the match at 25 yards and even managed to drop birds on the fly. My accuracy really pissed off my brothers and the cousin I always hunted with. But I was never able to match my Dad.
    My Dad's favorite was the original Ruger Mark semi-auto pistol. He was the best I've ever seen in person. I saw him win a $100. bet in 1966 by striking all the coins in his pocket(6), tossed in the air with his left hand, before they hit the ground. He also would hunt squirrels with his Ruger. Every squirrel he killed was dropped with a head shot, even when running full speed!

    • old vet

      Great story about your dad. I had an old neighbor who could shoot a .22 pistol close to that skill level. I use my Mark I for squirrels, but I have to admit all it does for me is give the squirrels the advantage.

  • HM-UK

    Two favorites in the .22 line. Firstly my Dads Marlin 39a which still shoots off the rest sub half inch at 50 yards and if I do my bit under an inch and a quarter at 100 yards. This despite the fact that it has had over 500,000 rounds through it since he first bought it back in 1976. I can be sure of the ammo as here you cannot buy ammo without it being recorded on your firearms certificate.
    My second is the first target rifle I owned, a Remington 40x with a bull barrel which is still complete with all its original metal peep sights, although I have changed for some more up to date sights. When shooting prone with it I can shoot sub half inch groups at 100 yards but more often than not I let the rifle down and the groups open out to the inch and a half plus.

  • Steven Green

    The Marlin 39A was my first rifle, bought at Abercrombie & Fitch in 1958, the store was in the middle of New York City back when they had a sporting department (6th floor?). Loved its walnut stock, spent many hours rubbing linseed oil into its pores. Wither a Weaver 4X, it was the first and best loved of all my rifles. Unfortunately I sold it during my divorce, I really miss that gun…

  • Lyndon

    Hard to believe I only notice one other CZ fan here ;)

    I have a 452 Lux.
    Thousand of rounds through it, each one sweeter than the last…

  • Rudi

    I have three Rugers, two 10/22s (ones a tricked out carbine, the other is a Mark 4 pistol) a Mrk II and a Henrey lever action, and love them all.

    • Raymond Clifford

      How about the Super Single Six with optional .22 Magnum cylinder?

  • matt aronson

    my ruger 10/22 rifle with a 30 round "banana clip" and a 4-power scope was my favorite for years until I sold it many years ago; the new ruger kr 22 looks like a winner and anxious to get one when delivered to local dealers; also, liked my s&w 22A with wooden target grip and red-dot scope; both of these firearms rarely jammed using a variety of ammo.

  • h87111

    Mine have all been Rugers.

  • h87111

    I did inherit my Dad's Colt Police Positive revolver, an excellent example of .22 trainer for a full size service weapon.

  • greg bareisa

    Winchester Model 52C bull-barreled target rifle (topped by a 15X Unertl scope).
    I have trophies from rifle club and, as a kid (before I strayed away from hunting) easily took woodchucks, crows and became good enough to shoot turtles' heads off at over 100 yards.

  • mike o.

    I still have the Remington 510 single shot given to me by my Grandfather. I'm 40 now but when I was 17 I shot my first squirrel with it right between the eyes! This .22 was made in 1946 and my Grandpa's younger brother carved a hole in the stock in an attempt to make it a repeater. Needless to say my great uncle live a long life although Grandpa was not happy!
    Today I installed a fiber optic sight on my Browning Buckmark pistol. Last week I was hitting the rifle target at 50 yards with this 5.5 inch barreled Handgun. I love .22s and I sure do miss Grandpa.

  • Jamie Spaulding

    Marlin mod 25, Ruger 10/22 & 2- 22/45s (one threaded & suppressed), Taurus Mod. 94 & a 96 (best $200 I ever spent), Mossberg US 44, Kimber Govt. Mod. 84/22, Remington 513, Smith & Wesson Mod. 18 (wish they all were this sweet), Advantage Arms Glock Conv. Kit, These are the most fired guns in the house. I love shooting the big stuff but my .22s are indispensible for marksmanship training and introducing new shooters to the sport. I have never had anyone, at the end of a .22 shooting session, not have a smile on their face. If you want to save your sport, take an anti-gunner to the range with a trunkful of .22s and plenty of ammo.

    • Raymond Clifford

      GOOD point with the mention of introducing new shooters to the sport! Also the term plinking would not exist with the price of some the other calibers available! Do you remember the Ruger Bearcat?

  • chris S

    my Remington model 12a. it may 100 years old but still shoots like a dream.

  • ron

    old vet, i had a mossberg like the one your friend had but somehow disappeared years ago during move,
    last year picked up a ruger 10/22 along with some other hardware. have been shooting 22's since i was
    kid many, many years ago and still enjoy shooting them.
    sure do like all the comments and hearing the old memories.
    take care.

  • corey

    My favorite gun to shoot is a Winchester Model 75. I remember shooting this rifle with my dad when I was around 8 years old. I am still shooting the same gun 40 years later with my son, doesn't get any better than that.

  • Dave

    My favorite is the Nylon 66 my mom bought my dad in 62, second is the old Remmington 510 single shot bolt action that old man McSwain gave to my dad on his 15 th birthday in 1936. My dad worked in his hardware store and the $5.00 rifle was very much prized by my dad. He told me once that the only two store-boughten' gifts he got when he was growing up was a Barlow pocket knife when he was 6 and that rifle. The depression was hard on a dirt farmer from Alabama, but they all ate good and the little 22 supplied a lot of small game taken with 22 short HP's.

    • Dave Again

      I guess that I should add that I love my 10/22 and my two MK II pistols.

  • terry patrick

    At age 56 i still have the very first 22 i ever shot a remington model 1910 pump haveing run the numbers thru remington i have learned it was made in 1912. the rifle still looks like they day it was it bought except for some of the blueing on the slide being wore. i took my 12 year old grandson out a couple a of weekends ago and for just a minute it was age 12 shooting that rifle all over. LONG LIVE 22's

  • Walt

    10/22 and Winchester Mod 63 tie for favorite. Best memory is when I was jumping an empty ammo box. My Dad asked why I let the box stop between shots. Full of youthful pride, I said something to the effect of, "If you can do better, go ahead." Using MY rifle, he never let the box stop moving till he ran out of ammo. A little humility is good for all young shooters.

  • dave

    still have my colt woodsman marlin 39a and ruger single six all purchased in the 1960 s great shooters ,favorite 22 is sig sauer 1911 22 very accurate !

  • Rob

    Favorite .22?? That would have to be the Ruger 10-22. We have several, in different configurations. Best memory?? Ahhh, so many to sort–Probably the cold, wet Saturday I shot a 300/9X possible with an old Colt Woodsman Match Target with a 4" tube. I was rated NRA Expert and nearly got into Master with that one.

  • 48 Short

    Guess I must be a Ruger guy: Two 10/22s, Single-Six, and a Mark III 22/45.
    Though, I'll admit my Buck Mark is nice, too……

    • old vet

      Nothing wrong with being a Ruger guy, I have many, my favorite are a really early 1022 and MK i 22 for the most part, you can,t go wrong.

    • Dan Ess

      Surprised there are not more Buckmark owners here. I have two Buckmarks, a Practical with a 5.5" and a 4" barrel, also a Buckmark Hunter with 7.5" barrel with scope. I have a Ruger Mk III and I prefer the Buckmarks. Have had inconsistent stove pipe and failure to eject issues with the Ruger. I have shot the Buckmark twice as much and as long as I don't let it get too dirty, it functions flawlessly. I unfortunately cannot say the same about the Ruger.

      • old vet

        Have to agree, shot and handled several and they are indeed probably every bit the pistol Ruger is, and possibly better for the price.

  • Bill Patterson

    Hmm… .22 caliber rimfire. Well, depends on what you seek. Fun, it's Winchester Model 63 or a Marlin 39A Mountie, about same accuracy. Serious target imprint: Anschutz 1400 range or Winchester 52 for long barrel; High Standard Military Trophy or S&W Mode41 for hand.

  • Mack Missiletoe

    This is great! I recently started shooting pistol, and now itch for a .22lr pistol. The ammo is affordable.

    I have read a lot and have come to the conclusion that the Ruger Mark III and Ruger 22/45 are the .22lr best design. Another great design is the Beretta U22 Neos. Though it looks odd, it is very nice with its steel slide.

    I really like the SR22 but was turned off by reports of the takedown lever breaking. It was then that I took a look at the 22/45 and Mark III. I really like the design now after studying it. The thick cylindrical action and barrel is attractive and easy to aim. The ejection port looks like a smooth cut and the action is known to feed different .22lr cartridges fairly well (less jams). Field stripping is not a problem once understood.

    I have decided on a Ruger Mark III, and have fallen in love with the old .22lr cartidge again. It reminds me of my youth. Want to hear the best part? .22lr pistols actually have a tiny bit of recoil vs. .22lr rifles, so they are more realistic.

    Have fun shootin'!

    • Mack Missiletoe

      I like the .22WMR a LOT too. I consider it the 'improved .22lr'. The design is more accurate and it is a very pretty cartridge. I bought some Remington 33gr V-Max cartridges in .22WMR and they look so nice I don't want to shoot them, I'm saving them for Varmints.

      The .22WMR comes in a lot of configurations. Federal has some .22WMR HP's for about $10 per 50. No need to reload cases.

  • Uncle Leroy

    Has to be the memory of my dad and I sitting on the bank of the river shooting my Mossberg 342KB bolt-action 22 over 40 years ago. I lost my dad 20 years ago so the memory is very special. I now have my daughters shooting my SIg Mosquito and they seem to really enjoy time spent doing that.

  • Phil

    ruger 10/22 magnum mod trigger 2 1/2 lbs …1/2" 10 round group 50 yards any ammo…love it ….
    winchester 62A….wicked gun ..had for years ….smith 622 6" amazing and light , a couple more versions of 10/22 reliable……memory ….local dump 35 years ago w the 10/22 4 10 shot mags …my brothers loading the mags ….a farmer had dumped a cow carcass off and was burned days before ….was a wriggin mass of rats
    needless to say my brothers had blisters from loading mags but we ran through 2 bricks of aguilas before there was so much bee wax ( bullet lube mexican rounds )..the gun couldnt close anymore …we still talk about that day :) a decent day in Canada i say

  • JebNY

    My current primary is a WInchester 1890 Pump made in 1903. I also have a single shot Winchester and a Hi-Standard M-101. Just ordered in a Ruger 10/22, thought I should own something made in this century. They are a lot cheaper to shoot so they get a lot more range time.

  • Todd

    10-22, savage 24,remingtons, brownings, colts, winnys, etc. They all shot great and are fun to own. Everybody has their favorites. Mine is a Browning Challenger in pistols and the 10-22 in rifles. All time cherished rifle, a Belgian auto 22 by Browning, even with its jaming issues when dirty!

  • Raymond Clifford

    I am 56 and grew up with a variety of .22 caliber weapons! Among them the Ruger Bearcat,Luger knockoff and my favorite the Super Single Six in stainless steel! I loved the capability to change the cylinder to allow for firing .22 Magnum cartridges! This single action pistol was so cool! OH and the economic factor plays a big role here too! Thank you.

  • dustin746

    Just watched a video on the lethality of the .22 on youtube, its still lethal past 440 yards. So don't underestimate a .22. Cheap and just as deadly as any other bullet

    • Rodger

      There was an article I read once that if someone is shot with a .22 cal shell, it is strong enough to bounce around in the body or head before it stops. What do you think?

  • CHA

    Worth save .22 cal best grow up future enjoy funny game. cheap price .22 cal ammo many more to up long time than other ammo few time expensive. .22 can be design with pistol and rifle. Good reason .22 cal can be exchange other 9mm 0r .45 barrel only. Company don't give up .22 caliber and .17 HMR. Go go!!!

  • Dan Ess

    Browning Buckmark 22LR, my first 22 and I still shoot it more than anything else. Also have an S&W 617 6" 10 shot revolver which is awesome. As the article stated, 22LR's are very economical. You stay in practice with stance and trigger pull if you have similar firearms (ie: other revolvers of same make). There are lots of 1911 style 22's and polymer framed semi-autos that mimmic their larger caliber relatives. They were designed specifically to have the same feel so you can practice with less pain all the way around. There are also the fun 22's by NAA, that shoot 22LR and 22WMR ammo. Not as cheap as LR but provides a lot more snap. Still can be had relatively cheaply compared to all the other calibers, gets close to 9mm price range but still $3-$4 less per 50. Don't know if I'll always be shooting my 460mag or 44mag, but I will always have the 22LR & 22WMR.

  • Gab

    At 12 years old my friend and I took all day to shoot a 10" tree limb in two (500+ rounds) from about 40 yds. I had a Savage and my friends had Ruger 10/22. Those were great times….

  • kenneth

    the best 22lr wasnt even mentiojed here, the marlin model 60. nuff said

  • Aj Venom

    Economic to shoot and some 22lr ammo shot out of a rifle is as powerful as 38 special handgun over 200 ftlbs of energy…not bad …but for small game hunting and pest control it works well.

  • Rocky

    The most popular .22 caliber ammunition is the kind one can obtain/purchase, period, end of story. Personally, the subsonic is worthless unless you plan to shoot at pillows, marshmallows, and paper but if one has a semi-auto, plan, at least as with mine, digging every other shell casing out manually. The decent and semi-ammo is being sold as if it were medication for those recovering from an addiction. Utterly ridiculous….

  • Jordan

    I use a discontinued CZ-USA rifle, the 452 Full Stock. I’ve taken many a squirrel with it, and am extremely satisfied. I recommend any CZ-USA rifle to you.

  • banjo

    could you rate thenaa22ms-hg please

  • glenn

    my favorite 2 was the Remington nylon 66

  • MrApple

    The lowly 22LR is just soooo much fun to shoot.

  • Bob Kerrigan

    Cindy, you are SO right on, about that pistol! It's inexpensive, yet accurate and so fun to shoot. I introduced my kids to shooting, and that did the trick! The girls were a little timid at first, but they were quickly won over!
    Now, THEY ask me, to go to the range!
    Bob Kerrigan, San Diego

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