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Discussion Starter #1
We have had an interesting discussion under "Rifles" regarding the suitability of the 22 Mag in a rifle for defense, and the advice was not to rely on it. I have taken this advice, but now have just a simple curiosity about what I call "the 22 Mag Mystery".

The mystery is that there are many, many anecdotes about the 22 Mag killing deer sized game in the hands of poachers - in fact, poaching and the 22 Mag now go hand in hand. I have only used it for pest control, but inside of 50 yards, it is actually over powered for groundhogs.

In FMJ they penetrate a Kevlar Vest, and the wound channel from a CCI MaxiMag +V in HP is very similar to a 357 Mag 124 gr HP from a 4 inch revolver. There is no difference in velocities betweem my 20 inch Rem 597 and my 17 inch Taurus pump - both average 2265 to 2340 fps with 30 grain CCIs, and 1865 to 1910 fps with 40 grainers.

This level of performance puts the 22 Mag in a completely different category from the 22 LR, not just from a velocity perspective, but the jacketed 22 Mags have a radically different terminal performance. For one thing, they are spinning at 130,000 RPM and throw sharp jacket chards great lateral distances in soft tissue - hence the 357 Mag wound channels.

With this said, I am wondering if any of you have had experience with the 22 Mag in a rifle to support of refute this power mystery.

For defensive purposes, think in terms of 3 quick shots, rather than 1, say 2 HPs followed by a FMJ.
 

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I read your post this morning and just had to compare a .22 mag to a .38+P load. Now, I know first hand of deer being taken with the .22 mag and the .22 LR, but I don't believe they measure up to a heavier caliber. Anyway, this is what I set up, and the results.

Medium was Duct Seal Clay temperature soaked at 100 degrees F. I keep my storage box at that temp so any comparisons I do won't have another variable thrown in. DSC approximates dense muscle tissue as near as I can tell.

Rifle for the MaxiMag was 24" barrel Savage Model 24. Velocity was 1980 +/- FPS.
.38+P was 125 grain Ranier PHP bullet clocking 976 FPS.

Muzzle Energy: .22 - 348 Ft Lb
.38 - 264 Ft Lb

Penetration: .22 - 2.1"
.38 - 2.9"

Wound Channel: .22 - 4.1 cc
.38 - 14.8 cc

Weight retention: .22 - 97%
.38 - 99+%

For defensive purposes, I guess I'd rather have the bigger gun.

DC
 

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Discussion Starter #3
DMC -

Thanks so much for the excellent analysis. The big surprise was the small 4.1 CC wound channel for the 22 Mag - I never would have guessed it was so light, given the FPE at 348. Live and learn.

Let me know if that was a typo will you (4.1=14.1 CC)? Also, was the 22 Mag an HP or FMJ?

If the wound channels were comparable, I might still go with the 22 MAG in a semi-auto rifle, but that is more about the weapon than the cartridge. If its really over 3 to 1 for the wound channel, the 22 Mag is not suitable, period.

Thanks again.
 

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loader,
I don't know about the mystery, but I can say from experience that the 22 mag is FAR more decisive on groundhogs than a 22LR. I used to use the CCI hollowpoints that were plated, not jacketed, and they killed much more quickly with a torso hit that the LR. I don't even know if those are still made: I haven't had a 22 mag or hunted whistle pigs in years (one of the things I miss about the East!).
As far as poachers, they mostly headshoot at close range and it doesn't much matter what they use (don't ask me how I know that! And no, I'm not a poacher!).
Also, I once shot a 22 MAG FMJ completely through a 5" pine tree. No LR load will do that!
For defense, I use a short barrelled shotgun with #4 buckshot. Easy to aim and not likely to go through too many walls into my neighbor's house. IDShooter
 

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Discussion Starter #5
IDShooter -

I had the same experience with the 22 Mag FMJs - they penetrate like crazy. They actually defeat the kevlar vest. Again, part of the mystery.

My game warden friend says that in the old days, poachers did hunt over bait from blinds and take head shots at deer with 22 LRs, but the 22 Mag changed all that. Now they hunt over bait, but not from blinds and stalk and still hunt as well - WITH the 22 Mag.

Contract hunters that harvest deer to protect crops will use the 22 Mag when close to homes and skiddish farm animals, particularly horses. One has taken 40 deer with the 22 Mag semi-auto with no lost animals. These are 25 to 50 yard shots at stationary or walking deer, but generally NOT head shots.

Admittedly, these often involve 3 to 5 quick shots, but the effect is lethal. This makes sense to me as it is very easy to shoot a 5-shot 4 inch group in 1.5 seconds at 25 yards with a good 22 Mag semi-auto. The point of aim simply does not move with 0.5 fp of free recoil.

Again, I am with you on the shotgun, and that is my choice as well. The 12 Ga double is actually the gun that won the west - even the black powder versions duplicated the velocities of modern smokeless shotguns and they settled arguremnts before they got started. Anyone good with a 45 colt was also not stupid enough to take on a double 12 at hand gun distances.

However, I am faced with the fact that the 3 female members of my family regularly blow up Coke cans filled with water at 50 yards standing, and 100 yards wih a rest. They have fun doing it, and are confident about their abilities. Hence my interest in 22 Mag effectiveness.
 

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Loader,

Your last post begs what is perhaps your most important question rather than the one you initially asked. " Are the members of my family that are and will only ever be casual shooters better served for personal defense with a marginal weapon that they are comfortable and competent with rather than a more potent weapon that they are unlikely to master?"

I think the answer to this question is clear. Arm them with the weapon they use well. Your daughter is much safer putting a .22 Mag. into the would be rapist, than a .45/70 into the wall or worse not defending herself because she has no confidence in her ability to use the weapon at hand.

Fireplug
 

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Loader,

No, that wasn't a typo - it was 4.1 cc. The cartridge was CCI MaxiMag hollowpoint. It expanded quite uniformly - .380 at its widest, .369 measured turned 90 degrees.

I'm sure the full jacket would give better penetration, I just don't have any to shoot right now.

The other number to throw into the picture is how many hits scored. A hit with a .22 beats a miss with anything else.

DC
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fireplug -

Your advice is sound and has moved me back in the direction of the 22 Mag. Its quite interesting how important recoil and report can be to a casual shooter. I think there is something to a scoped sight picture that allows the shooter to see the bullet impact. Even a 2.5X or Red Dot at 15 paces in a semi-auto 22 is a great teacher for defensive applications: get the first shot off fast, and stay on the target as you continue to shoot.

At this distance, the recoil moment of a 22 Mag semi-auto rifle is about 1/2 inch on the target from the standing position. Recovey time is zero and rate of fire 2 or 3 per second in the hands of a casual shooter.

DMC -

Thanks again. I'll get some duct seal cement and try some FMJs at 40 and 50 grains and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
DMC -

Well I did some initial tests, sort of. Lacking your media, I used fresh glazing compound at 70 degrees F. I rolled 8 lbs of it, wrapped in 2 layers of cling wrap and compressed it into a coffee can.

The 22 MaxiMAG FMJs had a wound channel 2.5 inches long with a 6.4 CC cavity - quite close to your results (2.1 in and 4.1 CC).

The MaxiMag +V HPs did 1.7 inches with a 42 CC channel(almost a 1.7 inch sphere).

The New MaxiMag TNT round produced the same results, but split the can top to bottom.

I will repeat this test with a 9MM Luger and 124 XTP later to compare.

The big problem with the 22 MAG seems to be the shallow penetration, at least in such a dense media. I may try the old wet newspaper routine as well - its a bit more like the thorax.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
DMC -

My comparison test used the same media and container, but a 9MM +P+ 124 gr XTP round out of my CZ 75 with 4.7-inch bbl. Velocity was 1266 fps for 466 fpe.

This gave a 3-inch long, 41 CC wound channel, and split the can vertically. The spherical channel was almost identical to the 22 Mag TNT but had a 1.2-inch .40 Cal entry channel moving the sphere deeper.

Again, the 22 Mag is short on penetration but the wound channel seems good as far as volume goes. Need to try wet newsprint to get a better idea of actual penetration.
 

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The .22 WMR is more effective as a rifle round, than as a handgun round. However, for defense purposes it behaves like other light-weight, frangible projectiles, having a shallow depth of penetration, which may fail to defeat heavy clothing or intervening cover.

The FMJ bullets differ in peformance, depending upon typeand manufacture. The conventionally jacketed Winchester-Western bullets with cupped and drawn FMJs perform as would any other round-nosed FMJ bullet with small flat meplat. Bullet deformation is minimal, and the wounding mechanism is mainly due to crush, with deep penetration and a cylindrical permanent cavity.

The JHP types, regardless of brand, fragment early, leaving secondary particles in the wound path, but with shallow depth of penetration. They are too destructive for edible small game or wild turkey, but will give good performance on varmints. When used in handguns the penetration of the JHP loads is greatly improved, due to their reduced striking velocity. Their permanent cavity when fired in 10 percent gelatin is about what you would expect given their kinetic energy.

The use of Duxseal and other improvised expansion media are unreliable in predicting performance. If you cannot use calibrated 10 percent gelatin in accordance in IWBA specifications, the next best thing is to use a sufficient number of water jugs to capture the behind a "meat manager's special" $0.19/lb. roasting chicken or turkey. Or go out and hunt groundhog with it. If the load doesn't produce 9 out of 10 one-shot stops on a groundhog, I don't care what Evan Marshall says about the load, I don't believe him. Everyone should research and read Dr. M.L. Fackler's articles debunking the Marshall and Sanow book.

I worked with Col. Fackler when was still running the Army wound ballistics lab, and he collaborated with us on evaluating the Soviet AK-74 rifle and the M16A2 development and operational testing in the early 1980s. I have much more faith in his sound scientific methods and procedures than those of wannabe self-styled experts.

Getting back to the business at hand... Thaw your bird well, leave the shrink-wrap on it, then shoot the bird at real hunting range, 50 yards for a handgun or 100 yards for a rifle. Support the bird and backup water jugs up off the ground using plastic milk crates or a folding card table. You will need about 8-10 gallons, or 3 layers of gallon milk jugs minimum behind a 12-lb. turkey, or 12 gallons and 4 layers behind a 3 lb. fryer chicken.

Set up your test to capture your bullet while your charcoal grill is heating up. Make your test shot or two then do your post mortem and cut up the undamaged pieces to cook for lunch. If the bird is blown to flinders, then use what's left for fox or coyote bait. That's what I do.
 

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Mr Harris

I don't know who Marshall or Sanow are, but if you contend that DS clay cannot be used to COMPARE the two different loads, I guess that I would have to disagree. Granted, the simulation isn't perfect, but performance on flesh isn't the primary consideration, the relative wound-causing capability is.

DC
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, I agree that it is fine for comparison. In fact, physics says that the wound channel will be a function of the square of the ratio the density of our media (Duct Clay or Glazing compound) to that od 10% Gelatin. The gelatin is close to water, specific gravity = 1.0. My glazing compound is around 3.0, so the 2.5 inch channel is 2.5 squared or 6.25 inches. Volume is more complicated due to the fact that elasticity and density are different things.
 

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Mr Harris,

Good to see you here. I think I have alot of your various papers downloaded and printed to hard copy.

I can say that the .22Mag fired from a rifle will put down a bull moose, but it will not be a one shot drop. It will not penetrate the skull, but will punch through the brisket and reach the lungs. The same solid bullet that would not penetrate the front of the skull will penetrate the area just behind the eye and below the ear. It will not exit.

I have grown partial to a larger caliber, but the .22Mag will do in a pinch ;*)

Scotty
 

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s barrel length goes down, so doe the 'wow' factor of the .22mag. Get a nice massive fire ball and a very loud noise, but the effects on target fall off the graph pretty quickly.
I still use a good bit of the round, mostly from rifles but also from a 6" and a 3" revovler. The only good thing I have to say about the 3" revovler is that (1) it bestas a .22LR from the same length and (2) FMJ bullets will penetrate well.
Still, I often carry an ancient Pathfinder 3" on many walks in the woods, but I'd not SELECT it for defence use if other calibers were available.
Have to agree, ord. gelatin is the standard of comparison, but some data can be extrapolated from using other substances. It's the uniformity of the gelatin that makes the data useful...made to specs. the results will be repeatable and your data will be able to be checked with others.
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A very ugly aside: Comparison of contact wounds would give the .22mag. a pretty big edge...while that flash isn't actually driving the bullet from a short barrel, it does very ugly things when the barrel is in contact with soft material.
 
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