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.22 WMR Vs .22 LR: Application Defines This Rimfire Rumble

.22 WMR Vs .22 LR: Application Defines This Rimfire Rumble

In the .22 WMR vs .22 LR debate, it’s difficult to claim the rimfire king has been dethroned. The .22LR remains the top choice for all but a few niche applications.

Certainly, side-by-siding the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (.22 WMR) and .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) isn’t akin to, say, comparing the .45-70 Government and .38 Special. No, indeed the popular rimfires are much closer in performance and application than the straight-walled rifle and pistol cartridges. But there are stark enough differences and nuances to the .22 cartridges to warrant some discussion, especially if you aren’t familiar with one or both. Though, given the sheer profusion of the Long Rifle, both being foreign seems a stretch.

In essence, the .22 WMR vs .22 LR discussion boils down to application. While the .22 LR is a generalist extraordinary—capable hunter, unparalleled plinker, dead-nuts target cartridge—the .22 WMR excels in one category. It’s a hunter and even here the terms might too be broad. The magnum rimfire’s specialty, where it makes its bones and finds few its equal is varminter. Pest control, that is.

The .22 LR (left) is a jack-of-all-trades, while the .22 WMR is a specialist, for all intents and purposes.
The .22 LR (left) is a jack-of-all-trades, while the .22 WMR (right) is a specialist, for all intents and purposes.

Yes, it’ll pop prairie dogs from sunrise to sunset. Mangle marmots with the best of them. And flay felonious foxes on the hoof from the hen house. True enough, at a much closer range and without as much authority, the .22 LR will do the same, just as the .22 WMR will murder tin can and spinner targets on a lazy summer afternoon. But there are some good reasons why it worth the effort to keep each rimfire cartridge in its wheelhouse.

Brief History Of The .22s

As always, it worth looking back at the history of a cartridge to get a better sense of its present use. For the .22 LR, it goes way back.

Designed in the early 1880s by Steven Arms, the Long Rifle was an amalgamation of a couple of other .22 rimfire cartridges. Stevens took the .750-inch case from the .22 Long and the 40-grain heeled bullet from the .22 Extra Long to create what we know today as the .22 Long Rifle. Union Metallic Cartridge Company produced the first factory .22 LR ammunition, a 40-grain round that clocked in at 1,082 fps from a rifle. Since, the .22 LR has gone on to become among the most-shot cartridges in the world, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 billion rounds produced annually.

The .22 Long Rifle came in 1887, after the Short and Long. 

The advent of the .22 WMR came much later, the late 1950s, in the first serious attempt in the 20th Century to improve the range and killing capability of the .22 caliber. By all accounts, it succeeded marvelously. Utilizing the .22 Winchester Rimfire case and extending it to 1.055 inches, Winchester greatly increased case capacity, thus the velocity of the magnum rimfire. Furthermore, they topped it with a tougher jacketed bullet to ensure its projectile didn’t come apart at its top-end velocities. Today, the .22 WMR is still the hottest rimfire of that caliber, capable of pushing a 40-grain bullet from a rifle muzzle at 1,900 fps—in some cases even more.

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The Rimfires’ Ballistics

As should be obvious from the above section, the magnum rimfire has a decided ballistic edge in the .22 WMR vs .22 LR discussion. At least in terms of its velocity and range. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a more talented cartridge than the .22 LR. A quick example.

Take two similar CCI loads for the .22s, a 40-grain Maxi-Mag (.114 BC G1) for the Magnum and a 40-grain Mini-Mag (.118 BC) for the Long Rifle. The .22 WMR leaves the muzzle of most rifles at around 1,875 fps, while the .22 LR comes out at roughly 1,235 fps—a difference of 640 fps. This is quite glaring and very notable on the range. As is evident in the graph below, zeroed at 50 yards, the .22 LR takes a much more parabolic trajectory to the target, going a full ¼-inch above the point of aim. On the other hand, for the .22 WMR, the target is nearly a straight shot.

22 WMR vs 22 LR

Extend the range, things become even blunter. Given the Long Rifle round goes sub-sonic around the 30-yard mark, its range is somewhat limited. It only suffers around 2.5 inches of drop at 80 yards, in turn—with the aid of a good riflescope—could pick off a prairie dog at that distance. Much further and it’s pushing things with its quickly degrading trajectory. The .22 WMR on the other hand remains supersonic out to roughly 150 yards and drops 11-inches less than the long rifle at this range. So, it reaches much further.

The magnum’s hitting power is where things get tricky. At 50 yards, it delivers 110 ft/lbs of energy—more than twice as much as the smaller .22. Though, this isn’t a case where more is better. While the .22 WMR will put a varmint on the ground for good, it potentially proves too much for game meant for the table. Tree squirrels for certain, but at closer ranges, it will bloodshot the likes of cottontails and jackrabbits. Not so the .22 LR, which at most normal hunting ranges delivers enough to put an animal down and not much more.

Terminally, the .22 WMR offers greater penetrating potential, which makes it more adept than the .22 LR at snuffing larger critters such as coyotes. Though, it’s a stretch to call it a dedicated predator cartridge—perhaps an occasional one. Additionally, this characteristic perhaps makes it better suited to self-defense than the Long Rifle and some ammunition companies have developed loads for just such work. This isn’t to say either .22 is ideally suited for dealing with two-legged predators by any stretch of the imagination. No arguments, they are both deadly. However, I don’t think it would be wise to rely on either to neutralize a threat. But if one of the .22s is all that’s on hand, they’re better than nothing.

The Many Bullets Of The .22 Magnum

Advances in bullet design have touched all corners of the firearms world including rimfire cartridges. This is a boon for the dedicated .22 LR shooter, who now finds some interesting additions—monolithic copper hollow-points, for instance—in his arsenal. Nice as this is, by and large, solid lead and copper-plated lead bullets remain the staple and give a decided edge to the larger cartridge in the .22 WMR vs .22 LR conversation.

The same V-Max bullet design you'll find on Hornady's centerfire rifle cartridges.
The same V-Max bullet design you’ll find on Hornady’s centerfire rifle cartridges.

Much like its centerfire cousins, the magnum rimfire mainly utilizes jacked lead-core bullets, which allows it to take advantage of some large technological leaps of recent decades. One that quickly jumps to mind, polymer-tipped hollow points, such as Hornady’s V-Max bullets. In addition to improving the bullet’s ballistic coefficient (how efficiently it cuts the air), it also improves terminal performance by initiating the bullet’s expansion. But the magnum rimfire also uses tried-and-true bullet construction to improve its hunting versatility. For meat hunters, soft-point, controlled-expansion options such as CCI Gamepoint, help to ensure less damage is done to the game.

Long Rifle Still The Most Affordable .22

Truth be told, this is one of the big dividing lines between the cartridges, the difference-maker for most shooters. It always comes down to money, right?

In short, you’ll always get more shooting done with a .22 LR, simply because it’s a more affordable cartridge. In saner times, when ammunition isn’t akin to Unobtainium, Long Rifle will run you around a dime or less per trigger pull. While .22 WMR, expect it to run $.20 or more per squeeze. Affordable when measured against centerfire cartridges, it still adds up and certainly makes the larger cartridge less attractive for pleasure shooting.

Gunning Up The WMR And LR

Here’s the good news, no matter where you fall in the .22 WMR vs .22 LR discussion, your cartridge is on equal footing when it comes to firearms. Rifle, revolver, pistol—you can find an iron chambered for either cartridge. Go something like the Ruger Single-Six Conversion you can shoot both with a simple swap of the cylinder. Hey, might as well take advantage of similar bullet diameters. (Note, the diameters aren’t exactly the same the—.223 for .22 Long Rifle and .224 for the .22 WMR.)

The one difference, on average, you’ll find more affordable guns in .22 LR. No, there’s not a conspiracy against the magnum cartridge, it’s simply a matter of more manufacturers make .22 LR guns. These include very economical options typically angled at beginning shooters. As far as what sort of gun each gun excels from … all of them—you simply need to determine what type best fits your applications.

What Are They Good For?

As I pointed out at the beginning of the article, the .22 WMR excels in one particular niche—varmint hunting. Does this mean it can’t be used as a meat hunting cartridge or for target shooting? Perish the thought. With greater velocity, shooters utilize the cartridge for long-range rimfire shooting. A scaled-down firearm—say a 6-inch barreled revolver—tames it enough to work on edible game at closer ranges, if there’s a steady enough shot behind the trigger. But overall, most cherish the magnum rimfire as among the most economical options to ride an acreage of ground squirrels or exterminating vermin such as skunks. Well out of spraying range, mind you.

As for the .22 LR, what can’t it do is a better question. While its killing power isn’t as great as the .22 WMR, particularly at longer range, it’s still the go-to cartridge of bunny hunters and other small-game enthusiasts. And it’s equally as potent on varmints, it just won’t catch them as far out or product as dramatic results as the magnum.

Additionally, its resume as a target round is impeccable. Among the fastest-growing precision shooting competitions, NRL22, is tailored to the Long Rifle and it’s a staple of bullseye matches. Perhaps its only limit is its range, but that’s bothered few the past 100 some year.

And price? Even in lean years, the .22 LR remains the most abundant and affordable cartridges. Plain and simple, you’ll get more shooting done with the old standby.

Parting Shot

Most shooters are well served having guns chambered in both the .22 LR and .22 WMR. Neither is going anywhere any time soon and each absolute joys to pitch downrange.

What if it’s one or the other? In that case, if you happen to be a farmer or rancher that requires an economical option to keep ground squirrels out of the hay or prairie dogs from tearing up an alfalfa field, the .22 WMR is perhaps the best choice. The cartridge owns the pest-control wheelhouse and stands tall in this role.

For the rest of us, the .22 LR is the logical choice. It’s simply the more versatile of the two cartridges. Be it drilling bullseye or putting small critters out of their misery, the Long Rifle is a proven asset. And one that won’t break the bank. Honestly, no collection is complete without one.


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Concealed Carry

Customization and Concealment: How to Modify Holsters for Perfect Fit


Finding the right holster for your firearm is essential for comfortable and secure concealed carry. However, off-the-shelf holsters may not always provide the perfect fit for your specific needs and preferences. In this guide, we’ll explore the art of holster customization, offering tips and techniques to modify holsters for a personalized fit that ensures both comfort and concealment.

Understanding Your Needs: Identifying Areas for Improvement


Before diving into holster customization, take some time to evaluate your priorities when it comes to concealed carry. Consider factors such as comfort, concealability, retention, and accessibility. Determine whether your current holster meets your needs in these areas or if there are specific areas for improvement.

Examine your existing holster for any discomfort or issues that may arise during daily carry. Common pain points include pressure points, sharp edges, or inadequate retention. Take note of these areas as they will guide your customization efforts to improve overall comfort and functionality.

Holster Modification Techniques: Tips for Customization

One of the most common methods for holster customization is heat gun molding. This technique involves using a heat gun to soften the holster material, typically Kydex or polymer, and then molding it to fit your firearm more closely. Be cautious not to overheat the material, as it can lead to warping or damage.

If your holster lacks sufficient retention or is too tight, consider adjusting the retention screws or adding retention devices such as adjustable tension screws or retention straps. Experiment with different settings until you find the right balance between retention and ease of draw.

To address discomfort caused by pressure points or sharp edges, consider adding padding or cushioning to your holster. Options include foam padding, adhesive-backed fabric, or leather lining. Apply padding strategically to areas that come into contact with your body to improve overall comfort during extended carry.

Concealment Enhancements: Tips for Discreet Carry


Adjusting the cant and ride height of your holster can significantly impact concealment and comfort. Experiment with different cant angles and ride heights to find the optimal position for your body type and carry preference. A slight forward or reverse cant can help improve concealment and draw efficiency.

Consider adding concealment wings or clips to your holster to enhance concealment and stability. These accessories attach to the holster and help distribute weight more evenly, reducing printing and improving overall comfort. Choose options with adjustable angles and tension to customize the fit to your body shape and clothing style.

For added safety and concealment, consider modifying your holster to provide enhanced trigger guard coverage. This can help prevent accidental trigger access while ensuring a smooth and consistent drawstroke. Add-on trigger guard extensions or molded-in trigger guard covers are available for many holster models and can be easily installed.

Customizing your holster allows you to tailor it to your unique needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and secure carry experience. By identifying areas for improvement, exploring modification techniques, and enhancing concealment features, you can create a holster that fits you perfectly and provides reliable performance day in and day out. Remember to take your time, experiment with different adjustments, and prioritize safety throughout the customization process. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can transform your holster into the ideal companion for concealed carry.

Has this guide helped you to pick a holster? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Holster Materials Demystified: Leather vs. Kydex vs. Hybrid Options


Choosing the right holster material is crucial for effective and comfortable concealed carry. Each material, whether it be leather, Kydex, or a hybrid of several materials, offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. This guide will help you understand the differences between these materials, aiding you in making an informed decision based on durability, comfort, maintenance, and functionality.

Leather Holsters: Traditional Comfort and Elegance


Leather has been used in holster manufacturing for centuries due to its durability and the unique way it conforms to the firearm and the wearer’s body over time. A well-made leather holster can last for many years if properly cared for. Leather’s natural give ensures that it doesn’t scratch or dent your firearm, protecting the finish over long periods.

One of the primary advantages of leather is its comfort. Leather holsters tend to be more flexible than Kydex, which allows them to mold to the body’s contours, providing a personalized fit after a break-in period. Aesthetically, leather also has a classic look that appeals to many gun owners who appreciate its traditional appearance and craftsmanship.

The main drawback of leather is its higher maintenance requirements. Leather needs to be regularly cleaned and conditioned to prevent drying out or cracking. It is also less resistant to moisture compared to synthetic materials, which can be a consideration in wet climates or for everyday carry.

Kydex Holsters: Modern, Durable, and Low Maintenance

Kydex is a lightweight, thermoplastic material that is both durable and maintenance-free. Unlike leather, Kydex does not warp, crack, or require regular conditioning. It is highly resistant to moisture, making it an excellent choice for humid environments or active individuals who might sweat during carry.

Kydex holsters offer a firm, secure fit that doesn’t change over time, which means consistent retention and a reliable draw every time. These holsters are generally designed to offer an audible click when the gun is properly holstered, providing additional security feedback. Kydex is also easier to clean; usually, a simple wipe-down is all that’s required to keep it in good condition.

The primary disadvantage of Kydex is that it can be less comfortable for extended wear, especially directly against the skin, as it does not conform to the body the same way leather does. Additionally, the rigid nature of Kydex can sometimes cause wear on the finish of the firearm with repeated drawing and holstering.

Hybrid Holsters: Combining the Best of Both Worlds

Hybrid holsters are designed to offer the best features of both leather and Kydex. Typically, these holsters use a backing of leather (or sometimes a breathable synthetic fabric) that rests against the body, providing the comfort and flexibility of leather, coupled with a Kydex shell that holds the firearm. This combination ensures that the holster is comfortable against the skin while maintaining the structural integrity and easy re-holstering benefits of Kydex.

The leather backing of a hybrid holster conforms to the body, similar to a full leather holster, improving comfort for daily wear. The rigid Kydex shell keeps the gun securely in place and allows for smooth, consistent drawing and reholstering without the holster collapsing.

While hybrid holsters attempt to offer the best of both materials, they may also inherit some disadvantages. The leather component may still require maintenance, and the overall bulk might be greater than a single-material holster. Additionally, depending on the design, the sweat protection for the firearm might not be as robust as with a full Kydex design.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Needs

When selecting a holster, consider your personal needs, daily activities, and the environments in which you will be carrying. Leather offers a traditional, comfortable fit at the expense of greater care and potentially less durability under extreme conditions. Kydex provides excellent security and low maintenance but may sacrifice comfort. Hybrid holsters balance these factors but check that the design fits your specific requirements and comfort preferences.

Ultimately, the best holster material depends on your unique situation and preferences. Testing different materials and types can provide firsthand experience and help you make the best choice for your concealed carry needs.

Do you have a preferred material for your holsters? Why? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Concealed Carry

Concealed Carry Essentials: Choosing the Right Holster for Your Firearm


When it comes to concealed carry, choosing the right holster is as crucial as selecting the firearm itself. A good holster not only secures your weapon but also ensures comfort, accessibility, and concealment. Whether you’re a seasoned carrier or new to the world of concealed carry, understanding the different types of holsters and what makes them suitable for certain situations can help you make the right choice for your needs.

Understanding Holster Types

Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) Holsters

IWB holsters are one of the most popular choices for concealed carry because they offer excellent concealment. Positioned inside the wearer’s pants, these holsters sit just behind the hip or at the appendix position. They are designed to conceal the gun effectively beneath a lightly draped shirt or jacket, making them ideal for those who wear casual or business attire regularly. The key is to find an IWB holster made from a comfortable material that minimizes discomfort against the skin.

Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) Holsters

While OWB holsters are less concealable than their IWB counterparts, they are often more comfortable for extended wear, especially if you spend a lot of time seated, such as driving or working at a desk. These holsters sit on the outside of the pants, held close to the body by a belt. OWB is a preferred choice for open carry, duty carry, or when using larger frame pistols that are harder to conceal inside the waistband.

Pocket Holsters

For those preferring to carry smaller handguns, pocket holsters are a viable option. These holsters protect the firearm from debris and lint while ensuring that it stays upright and accessible in your pocket. The holster’s design also masks the shape of the gun, helping to prevent ‘printing’ (when the outline of the gun is visible through clothing), thus maintaining concealment.

Material Matters: Selecting the Right Fabric


Leather Holsters

Leather is a traditional choice that combines durability with comfort. Over time, leather holsters can mold to the shape of your gun and body, offering a custom fit. However, leather requires maintenance to keep it supple and functional, and it might not perform as well in very wet conditions.

Kydex and Other Synthetics

Kydex, a type of thermoplastic, is a popular alternative to leather due to its robustness and low maintenance. Holsters made from Kydex are resistant to water and sweat, making them suitable for humid climates. They also retain their shape over time, which facilitates quicker re-holstering. However, they might be less comfortable against the skin than leather and can wear the finish of your firearm faster.

Hybrid Holsters

Hybrid holsters combine materials, usually leather or a soft fabric backing with a synthetic shell. This design aims to offer the best of both worlds: comfort from the backing material and durability and easy access from the synthetic shell. These are particularly popular among those who carry daily as they balance comfort and functionality.

Fit and Comfort: Ensuring a Proper Holster

Custom Fit

It’s crucial that your holster fits your firearm snugly. A good fit prevents the gun from shifting, falling, or being difficult to draw. Most holsters are built for specific models, which means a one-size-fits-all approach might not be the best when it comes to holsters.


Comfort is key, especially if you plan to carry your gun daily. A comfortable holster should distribute the weight of the gun evenly without chafing. Padding can be crucial, particularly for IWB carriers. Test different holsters to see how they feel when sitting, walking, or bending.

Retention and Accessibility

Good retention keeps the gun securely holstered but allows for quick drawing when necessary. Some holsters offer adjustable retention screws to tighten or loosen the hold on your firearm. Moreover, ensure the holster does not obstruct your grip; when drawing, you should be able to get a full grip on the handle.

Concealment and Practical Considerations

Pistol in the holster.


Choose a holster that keeps your firearm out of sight but within reach. The best concealed carry holster offers a balance between accessibility, comfort, and invisibility. Consider your daily activities and the type of clothing you wear when selecting a holster for optimal concealment.

Practical Considerations

Lastly, consider other practical aspects such as the ease of holstering and unholstering, the holster’s profile (does it add too much bulk?), and its compatibility with your wardrobe. Some holsters, especially those designed for deeper concealment, may require practice to achieve a smooth and quick draw.

Choosing the right holster is a personal journey and often a matter of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to test different types, materials, and positions until you find the perfect combination that offers safety, comfort, and confidence in your ability to carry concealed effectively.

Do you have any tips for people looking for holsters? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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