Why Do We Like .22s So Much?

Easy, cheap and fun has something to do with it!

Close up of .22 caliber long rifle cartridges on white background.

People who love to shoot love rimfire rifles and ammunition. Why? The ammunition is affordable and the guns are fun to shoot. A rifle like a .22 is easy to transport and works well for small game.

The don’t have a lot of recoil and because of this are good for people who are just learning to shoot. There’s a lot of variety in the styles and finishes of rimfires that the buyer an get, too. The .22 LR is the most popular rimfire caliber and while a few years back it was getting hard to find .22 ammo, nowadays that seems to not be the case, at least not in stores in my area. Ammunition is costing about .08 cents per round, which is reasonable.

What’s the difference between rimfire and centerfire ammunition? Rimfire ammunition has the priming compound in the “rim” of the cartridge. The priming compound sparks to ignite the gunpowder when the rim is hit with the firing pin after the trigger is pulled. It’s a reliable construction because the priming compound and the powder charge is located close together. With centerfire cartridges, there’s a thicker case. They use a button called a primer that is in the center of the cartridge. When the primer is struck by the firing pin, the priming compound is forced against the primer to make the sparks to ignite the gunpowder. It’s slightly less reliable to shoot these. There’s also more recoil and a louder bang.

I’ve shot and owned firearms of both types. I still always prefer the rimfire cartridges, because I know I’m not going to spend too much money to shoot them. It’s also just generally a lot of fun for me to go out looking for smaller birds. I have my grandfather’s .28 and he used it for squirrels and quail, so that’s always been an appeal to me, since I was a kid.

The .22 long rifle is one gun that I think almost any shooter can agree on and would be happy to shoot. Pretty much any hunter I’ve ever known in my life has had at least one of them. Personally, I have two.

A .22 is easy for young shooters to handle and since there’s not a lot of recoil, is simply a good all-around practice gun. The lack of recoil makes learning trigger control pretty easy. Because it’s easy to shoot, the shooter can practice with it for an afternoon without getting worn out. You can also spend the afternoon shooting and not spend a fortune, which makes it more appealing in a lot of ways, whether you’re just learning or just wanting to have some fun.

Gun makers have capitalized on the popularity of .22s by offering MSRs, modern sporting rifles, that look like AR-15s but are chambered in .22 LRs. Tell us your .22 story! Why do you love your .22?