Mike Walker, who worked for Remington as a bench rest shooter, designed the .222 Remington in 1950. At first, Remington sold the cartridge for one of their bolt action rifles, the Model 726. Remington still produces rifles chambered for .222 today, as do Ruger and some European companies.
The cartridge, developed by a bench rest shooter, was intended to be a cartridge for benchrest shooting. The .222 Remington was introduced shortly after WWII; it was the first new cartridge of the era presented by a large manufacturer. The case for the cartridge is original - it was not based on an already existing case that was modified to become the new caliber. Since the .222 was introduced, however, it has become the inspiration for many other successful cartridges, including the .17 Remington, .221 Fireball and the .223 Remington.
The .222 was a leader in benchrest competitive shooting for nearly a quarter century. The accuracy exceeded every other cartridge of the era, and established new standards for competitive shooting at long distances. It was only finally dethroned by the 6mm PPC and the .22 PPC. The .222 Remington is no longer used for competitive shooting, but it remains a well respected cartridge among varmint shooters.
Bullets for the .222 commonly weigh between 40 and 60 grains in the common configurations of FMJ and SP. Muzzle velocity ranges from just less than 3,000 feet per second to more than 3,500 feet per second. The .222 today is mostly employed to hunt varmints up to 250 yards distant. Hunters in Europe use the cartridge to take game of many varieties as large as small deer.
The best features of this cartridge include groups at less than MOA, gentle recoil, mild muzzle blast and lower operating pressures than similar cartridges which extends the life of chambers and barrels for rifles chambered in this cartridge. Rifles are not currently manufactured in volume for the in .222 , but many companies still manufacture .222 ammunition.
Even though the competitive days have ended for the .222 Remington, it remains an excellent choice for hunting varmint and small game.