Letter Re: .22 Magnum in Times of General Ammunition Shortages

Saturday, Feb 9, 2013

Dear JWR:
I currently live in the People's Republic of Illinois and have seen the mad dash for ammo and firearms make it very difficult to acquire even the standard .22 Long Rifle rimfire ammo that until a few months ago could be purchased by the case at nearly any Wal-Mart, gun shop, or sporting goods store. Recently when browsing the aisles of both Bass Pro Shop and Wal-Mart I noticed something rather peculiar: that .22 Magnum ammunition was aplenty. This struck me as really odd that .22 Magnum was even being sold in bulk packs (CCI brand) at Bass Pro with no purchase limits. It appeared as though one could easily (even now) buy 5,000 rounds of .22 Magnum without so much as a single person to compete with for it. My thoughts are now leaning towards acquiring a Kel-Tec PMR-30 [30-round .22 Magnum pistol] as well as a decent bolt-action (also in .22 Magnum) so as to provide myself the flexibility to buy this ammo even in times when other calibers may be hard to come by.

Your thoughts and opinion would be appreciated. Thanks, - K.

JWR Replies: That might be a good mitigation plan for our current circumstances. But keep in mind that even after the current shortages end that the cost per round for .22 Magnum will always be substantially higher--which makes target shooting more expensive. Hearing protection is also crucial with this cartridge. Our friends at Chuckhawks provide some background info and here are some ballistics comparisons. Yes, the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) has substantially more energy than .22 LR, but it is quite expensive.

You should also consider that WTSHTF, the current supply situation may be reversed to the longer term norm, for barter. (Since .22 LR is ubiquitous, while .22 Magnum will always be the much more expensive oddball.) So stock up heavily if you opt for .22 Magnum rimfires.


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