The .22 Long Rifle is the most widely produced and most popular cartridge in the whole United States. For more than 100 years, it has served the needs of hunters and sport shooters, law enforcement and even the military. Based on the Flobert BB cap, .22 LR ammo is the result of the continuous improvement of the BB cap to meet the need for a cartridge with accuracy, low recoil and low noise for a multitude of applications. The .22 LR rimfire cartridge can be used in many different situations, from target shooting to plinking and small rodent control. It's comparatively inexpensive, widely available and lighter to carry – making .22 LR ammo a fantastic choice for long shooting sessions at the range, an extended hunting trip or a long hike.
Pistols and rifles of all action types have been chambered in .22 LR. Choices from small derringer pistols to full-sized clones of military rifles, .22 LR ammo has more firearm models chambered for it than any other caliber. A popular trend for this cartridge is to convert a firearm that normally fires a larger centerfire caliber, such as .223 Remington or 5.56x45mm, with a smaller barrel and firing chamber. This allows the shooter to train with less recoil, cost and noise with the weapon they will fire in competition or carry every day.
.22 Long Rifle ammunition has only experienced minor changes since being introduced in 1887 by the J. Stevens Arm & Tool Company. From that time, the .22 LR has seen an increase in velocity, range and accuracy. Hollow point bullets are also produced that offer a flatter trajectory and better energy transfer. Some companies manufacture a .22 LR shot cartridge that propels a small payload of #12 shot to dispatch small rodents at close range – a safer method than using a solid point bullet. Beyond all the applications for a .22 LR, it is frequently the first firearm that many people shoot.
The .22 LR is the choice for youth shooting programs around the world due to the low cost, low recoil, minimal muzzle blast and stellar accuracy. Shooters are able to concentrate on shooting fundamentals without worrying about loud bangs and jumping recoil. Considering the variety of firearms chambered for this affordable cartridge, as well as the many shooter-friendly features, it is likely that the .22 Long Rifle will remain popular for years to come.