Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report In this weekly series we discuss and explore the various firearms, ammunition, trends, and concepts surrounding the rimfire firearm world. This week we’ll be diving into a topic I think gets very little attention but perhaps is gaining some traction due to recent times. The fact of the matter is that we are currently in the midst of one of the greatest ammunition shortages this country has ever seen. All but the most obscure of ammunition is absent from the shelves and even some wildcat calibers are taking on new popularity simply due to their availability. This week on The Rimfire Report we will discuss the value of the humble .22LR round has become for keeping your shooting life alive.
The Rimfire Report: The Value of .22LR During Ammo Shortages
Even though .22LR is at the time of writing both hard to find and overpriced, it still carries with it the same advantages it had before the price inflation and scarcity. This not to say that centerfire ammunition is any less valuable, but instead that the value of your inexpensive rimfire ammunition has taken on a whole new role. So throughout all of this, do not feel that I am simply saying that .22LR should be shot away without a care, you should still take into account your stockpile and the ability of you to replenish your .22LR reserves to an acceptable level.
The .22LR is widely considered to be an inexpensive caliber to shoot. Save for specialty ammo like match grade ammunition or specialized hunting ammunition, .22LR still remains one of the least expensive ammunition to shoot. Current prices (based on a 50 round box) are putting .22LR right at 10 cents per round. Even though that price is quite inflated it is still a full 8 cents cheaper than a 50 round box of bottom barrel Tula 9mm 115gr ammo.
So it seems that no matter what you’re doing, whether it be training, competing, or just having yourself a good old fashioned range day, .22LR still remains one of your most economical options for running a firearm. On that note, generally speaking, .22LR firearms will be less expensive than their centerfire counterparts.
As a reloader, I am still paying more per round to shoot anything other than .22LR and that is not including my time (which I value at zero). Keeping a shelf full of .22LR should be relatively easy if you keep yourself up to date with email notifications for shipments or restock times. One additional tip I can pass along here for making sure you keep your cheap plinking ammunition in good reserve is to simply call your local gun store and ask nicely if they could keep you apprised of any shipments they receive and or perhaps set aside a box or two that you’re willing to pay for when a shipment does arise. Could they say no? Sure, but it never hurts to ask.
This could end up being a hotly debated subject but I’m going to take a step out of line and say that I think that .22LR is probably the perfect training medium for most situations. Not only is training with .22LR less expensive, but it is also much better than simply taking your firearms out, sitting inside your house, and dry firing them. Dry fire practice is great but when it comes down to it, there is no substitute for the visual, physical, and audio sensations you get when discharging a real firearm.
Admittedly the effects of .22LR are greatly diminished when compared to 9mm or 5.56, this can’t really be avoided. However, at a minimum, you are still getting the sound, smell, sight (on target), and feel of the firearm being discharged which I personally think transfers too much more effective training than just dry firing. I’ve often toyed with the idea of training simply with an airsoft or CO2 pistol as this would be even less expensive while giving you the benefit of both being at home and still getting some sort of audible and physical reaction to discharging the pistol or rifle. This might be a concept I explore later in more detail.
All that being said, there are plenty of good .22LR firearms out there that can serve as good stand-ins for your go-to rifle and go-to pistol during times when ammunition prices make training too expensive for regular range trips. I previously wrote an article going over some of the best .22LR replica guns and while some of those are there simply for show, there are actually a lot of firearms out there that more or less mimic their copied firearm with a 1:1 scale.
The idea here is that training is still important. You may end up spending the same amount or slightly more using a less powerful round when training with .22LR but the important part is that you are continuing to go through the actions of training and refining your skills so that they do not diminish. Being a well-oiled shooter is a perishable skill and without regular training, you will end up losing your edge in short order.
Even the most die-hard .22LR shooters know that their beloved round isn’t a universal tool for every situation. Defensively it leaves much to be desired and for extreme long-range shooting, it performs very poorly simply due to its nature. However, one of my favorite rounds has ended up being the saving grace for both my pocketbook and my shooting skills throughout this tumultuous year and it has helped me better appreciate the humble .22LR round. I’d like to hear what some of you rimfire shooters out there do to get the most value out of your .22LR shooting and what types of training and drills you use in order to hone your skills on a budget. Thanks again for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report, and we’ll see you next time!
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