We’ve been shooting North American Arms micro-revolvers lately, and those little pistols raise good questions about which types of .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire ammo is best. The round has a wide variety of uses, from light defense handguns to heavy-barreled rifle varmint hunting, but choosing the correct ammunition can make or break your setup.
Whether you have a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, or long gun, these are the five types of .22 Magnum ammo you should already have on your shelf. So when the current shortage is finally over, make sure these rounds are on the top of your list. Let’s look at when to use them and where each one excels.
Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection – Short Barrel
Let the naysayers nay. Sure, rimfire rounds are generally considered marginal for personal protection, but the best gun and ammo combination is the one you’ll have with you all the time and feel confident shooting. When short-barreled .22 WMR’s are tucked in your boot as a backup, pack them with the best for that application – Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection.
These rounds are optimized for use in short-barreled pistols, as marked right on the box. They are ideal for guns like our North American Arms Ranger and Pug, with barrels less than 2 inches. These rounds launch a 40-grain GDHP at 1,050 fps from a snubby barrel.
Rimfires get the job done on small game and varmints, but Hornady’s V-Max has been leading the way in flatter, more accurate shooting ammunition. Their .22 WMR V-Max rimfire line packs a lightweight 30-grain tipped V-Max bullet moving at a seriously zippy 2,200 fps from a rifle.
We’ve fired plenty of these at prairie dogs and chucks over the years through guns like the Savage A22 Magnum semi-automatic and CZ 457 American bolt action. Both accuracy and terminal performance are on point. While rimfires have a limited range, this is perhaps the best option for extending .22 Magnum shooting distances with precision and power.
CCI Maxi Mag Clean-22
Sure, the hardest part now is finding ammunition period, but the next most difficult seems to be keeping rimfires clean. That’s where CCI comes in. Not only does their line of Maxi Mag .22 WMR come with a proven pedigree as a hard-hitting hunting round, but it now performs with less fouling than almost any other competitor.
The Clean-22 segmented hollow-point bullets are polymer-coated to negate much of the copper and lead barrel fouling that kills accuracy. With a 46-grain projectile moving at 1,875 fps, these rounds are always on my shelf as a go-to for .22 WMR plinking or hunting ammo. Best of all, the segmented hollow point offers excellent terminal performance as it splits into three equal-sized pieces on impact, creating three separate wound channels.
Hornady Critical Defense
When we’re talking defense rounds, Hornady’s Critical Defense is always at the forefront of the conversation. That’s no different when it comes to rimfires. This round works equally as well from a miniature NAA revolver, a small-framed Ruger LCR, larger semi-automatic pistols like the KelTec PMR30, or even a rifle.
The 45-grain FTX projectiles use a flex tip that aids in expansion and prevents clogging when passing through clothing. The rounds clock at 1,700 fps from a rifle or 1,000 fps from a handgun, making this a versatile, show-stopping choice in magnum rimfire ammunition.
CCI 22 WMR Shotshell #12 Shot
When shooters think of rimfire ammunition, few conjure notions of shotshells. However, CCI’s families of both centerfire and rimfire shotshells have been around for ages, accounting for quick kills on close-range critters like snakes, rats, and other vermin.
We were pleasantly surprised with the performance of CCI’s .22 WMR #12 shot from our NAA mini-revolvers at defense distances. They’re packing 52-grains of tiny #12 shot that moves at 1,000 FPS. While it may not penetrate anything heavy and patterns open up quickly, with the right application, these babies serve a real purpose.