Not a shooting enthusiast but these are considered the smallest and the most commonly used bullets.
Having been used in the most normal manner obviously for shooters; let us now understand what a .22 bullet is, what we should first understand before we go ahead to range and capacity.
It is a bullet that has a .22 inch caliber or is 5.6mm which is a type of ammunition used in handguns and rifles and their small size offers low muzzle velocity which in turn reduces the lethality and loudness.
It is used for target shooting and small games and is a practice bullet and is used for this purpose because of its low cost and low recoil.
1. Types of Bullets
There are four types of .22 bullets.
- .22 short – The oldest type of ammunition. Mostly used in pocket pistols and rifles. They have very less amounts of powder and a very short length case.
- .22 long – On the contrary to the short, they have longer cases and more powder and are typically used for target shooting and small hunting games.
- .22 LR – The LR here refers to the Long Rifle. These have the longest case length along with the maximum amount of powder.
- .22 WMR – The WMR stands for Winchester Magnum Rimfire and these are heavier and have ample propellant.
2. Factors Affecting .22 Bullet Travel
Before we get an estimate of how far a .22 bullet can travel, let’s understand the factors which affect the range.
Firstly we have to consider the barrel length of the firearm. Now if the barrel length is more it gives a longer path for the gases to push the bullet giving it a higher speed and kinetic energy; this in turn makes the bullet travel a longer distance at a higher velocity.
Next is the range of the barrel arc which is based on how you fire the bullet from your firearm and determines the distance because if the angle of projection of the bullet is somewhat parallel to the ground the bullet will not be able to travel a large distance before it hits the ground.
However, if the firearm is placed at an appropriate angle of elevation the bullet will travel a larger distance before it hits the ground.
3. Does Cartridge Powder Impacts the Bullet Range?
Although not much known, it is a fact that the type of cartridge powder also impacts the range of the bullet.
So the powder acts as a propellant and burns it to create high-pressure gases which eventually fire up the bullet to travel at a higher speed, now the powder more will be its impact.
4. Bullet Style
Bullet style is another affecting criterion. The heavy bullets travel at lower speeds as compared to their light counterparts because of their high weight.
These bullets have a higher mass which in turn requires more propellant to be fired at a higher speed.
Other than that, round-nose bullets are different from pointed-tip bullets. Here the same principle applies in airplanes: the sleek front makes them travel faster while cutting into the air pressure and hence having lesser resistance and lower deceleration.
5. Other Factors
Lastly, we should also consider factors like weather and atmospheric conditions as well.
Snow and rain can affect it largely indeed causing it to blow off. Strong winds can impact both speed and direction.
Similarly; temperature, gravity, and air density also affect the bullet range but these are factors that can not be controlled by human interference and do not create huge deviations as well.
6. How Far Does a .22 Bullet Travel?
A .22 bullet can usually travel a distance of about 1800 m. They do not travel a very large distance due to lesser speeds which are caused by their light weight.
They can travel a mile in about 10 -14 seconds but the above factors affect this distance and speed as well. Since this is only intended for shooting a small range they usually do not have a very large capacity.
For shooting games also these can be used for small animals like birds, squirrels, or rabbits. This small bullet can not affect a large animal because it does not have enough caliber to create wounds in bigger animals like deer.
Interestingly, if we consider the human skull which falls in between bigger animals and small animals this bullet has the stopping energy which can be used to penetrate through the human skull. Which is why it is not an ideal weapon for self-defense.
When we consider water in place of land, they can travel a larger distance however at a slower speed. It is said that it can travel up to 100 ft underwater and can even be used for underwater shooting.
The speed however decreases as the depth of the water increases so if the water is sufficiently scanty the speed increases. Similarly; the density of water also proportionally affects the speed of the bullet.
7. Final Observations
Considering the different types of 22 bullets, we can make the following observations:
- For 22 Pistol Rounds, the standard short-length barrel will make the bullet travel 150-200m before it touches the ground. Now, this will certainly improve with a better angle and LR round bullet. The best it can travel is about 500 m given all suitable conditions and all the best conditions of the atmosphere.
- The 22 Rifle Rounds, have a notable high velocity with a lightweight copper-plated bullet and high muzzle velocity. It can travel almost 2 kilometers when fired at an ideal angle from a long-barreled rifle.
- The 22 Magnum Round is more powerful than the standard bullets in the same range. They are heavier which reduces their speed but they are still better than the 22 LR. Given the perfect shooting conditions, it can travel about 2.5 kilometers.
8. Final Notes
Along with the speed and the distance we also consider the bullet drop, this case of a 22 bullet which is fired by a rifle will drop at around 22 inches, when shot at 100 yards.
This is affected by the weather and atmospheric conditions as well as the muzzle velocity, the projectile weight, and the rate of twist in the barrel.