22 Long Ammunition
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History of .22 Long Ammunition
Introduced in 1871, the .22 long was intended to be a natural progression of the .22 CB to .22 Short then to the .22 long. The idea was to improve the performance of the .22 Short by extending the case and increasing the powder charge, but keeping the 29 grain bullet from the Short.
After 15 years of being the most powerful of the .22 rimfire cartridges, the .22 Long Rifle was introduced. With a heavier bullet and more powerful charge, the .22 LR would quickly outpace the .22 Long in popularity and become something of an “orphan” cartridge. The .22 Long was not as quiet as the .22 Short and not as powerful as the .22 LR. So what did the .22 Long have to offer to shooters? Was it possibly a compromise, maybe a “best of both worlds”? Unfortuantely, this compromise was an answer to a question never asked. According to author Jack O’Connor, a Twentieth Century shooting icon, the .22 long was a “pretty useless contraption”.
The .22 Long has some fairly weak performance when compared to the .22 LR. It sends a 29 grain bullet downrange at approximately 1040 feet per second. This equates to about 67 foot pounds of energy. This pales in comparison to some .22 LR ammo which can easily double and in some cases triple the muzzle energy of the .22 Long. Although this paints a discouraging picture, the .22 Long has remained popular enough to have Winchester and CCI continue producing ammo in amounts that make it fairly easy to find. Firearms dedicated to the .22 Long chambering have not been in regular production for almost 50 years, but with rifles that will shoot .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle, the .22 Long has remained popular enough to make at least two ammo manufacturers take notice and continue production. It seems that as firearms made specifically for the .22 Long become antiques and are relegated to wall hanger or safe queen status, the continued production of the .22 Long remains unsure.
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