.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire
The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, also called .22 WMR, .22 Magnum, .22 MRF, or .22 Mag, is a rimfire cartridge. Originally loaded with a bullet weight of 40 grains (2.6 g) delivering velocities in the 2,000 feet per second (610 m/s) range from a rifle barrel, .22 WMR is now loaded with bullet weights ranging from 50 grains (3.2 g) at 1,530 feet per second (470 m/s) to 30 grains (1.9 g) at 2,200 feet per second (670 m/s). Accuracy around 1 MOA is achievable. Compared to the faster but lighter .17 HMR, the .22 WMR impacts targets with higher kinetic energy within its effective range, important for clean kills on larger small game such as coyote, albeit with a less flat-shooting bullet arc.
The .22 WMR was introduced in 1959 by Winchester, but was not used by Winchester until the Winchester Model 61 slide rifle could be chambered for it in 1960. The first rifle to be offered in the new chambering was the Marlin Model 57M Levermatic rifle in 1959, because its design was easily modified to accept the more powerful cartridge. By the time of the introduction of the Winchester 61, Smith & Wesson and Ruger had revolvers for it, and Savage had come out with the Model 24 and since late 2012, the model 42, a more modern update than the 24, a .22/.410 rifle/shotgun combination gun. It was the only successful rimfire cartridge introduced in the 20th century.
The .22 WMR uses a larger case than the more popular .22 Long Rifle, both in diameter and length. The .22 WMR case is a lengthened version of the older .22 WRF. In the most common modern loadings, the combination of more powder and higher sustained pressures gives velocities of 1,875 feet per second (572 m/s) from a rifle using a 40-grain (2.6 g) bullet, and 1,500 feet per second (460 m/s) from a handgun. Because of its larger size, a .22 WMR round will not fit into the chamber of a .22 LR firearm. It is dangerous to chamber .22 LR rounds in a .22 WMR firearm. Doing so can result in injury from high pressure hot gas leaking around the LR case, which is too small for a .22 WMR chamber.
The .22 WMR uses bullets comparable in weight to the .22 Long Rifle, but is considerably faster, it shoots flatter and farther and hits harder at all ranges. The 40-grain (2.6 g) .22 WMR at 100 yards (91 m) still has 50% more kinetic energy than a 40-grain (2.6 g) .22 LR at the muzzle, which provides improved penetration and more reliable expansion at longer ranges with expanding bullets. If sighted in for maximum point blank range on a 3-inch (76 mm) high target, the 40-grain (2.6 g) .22 WMR has an effective range of nearly 125 yards (114 m). This makes the .22 WMR an effective short to medium range varmint rifle and hunting rifle cartridge. The .22 WMR can effectively kill small game such as rabbits, hares, groundhogs, prairie dogs, foxes, racoons, and coyotes. The relatively quiet report and negligible recoil also make it a very pleasant target and plinking round to shoot for extended periods.
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