U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- At the SHOT Show, Browning ammunition has introduced a subsonic, 45 grain, suppressor optimized .22 Long Rifle load for pistols. It uses the heavy, 45-grain bullet to increase energy from a pistol at subsonic velocities. It is loaded to reliably stay subsonic from pistols. If fired in rifle-length barrels, it may reach supersonic velocities, with the resultant sonic barrier snap produced by bullets exceeding the speed of sound. A rough estimate of the price is about 10 cents a cartridge. The market for ammunition is fluid, so prices are difficult to forecast.
Browning ammunition is produced by Winchester, which does the research, testing, marketing, and production, branded with the Browning name.
This is the first introduction, of which I am aware, of .22 Long Rifle rimfire being produced for optimum subsonic energy from .22 LR cartridges for pistols. It is optimized for suppressor use, with black copper plated bullets to reduce fouling. According to my calculations, a 45 grain bullet at 1060 feet per second produces a bit more than 111 foot-pounds of energy. That is about 9% more energy than a CCI standard velocity 40 grain bullet produces at the muzzle of a .22 rifle. On the boxes produced for the SHOT Show, the graphic designers mistakenly placed an energy number of 100 foot pounds. The error will be corrected before the new ammunition is shipped out.
This makes the cartridge an interesting contender as a self-defense cartridge for .22 pistols. In my opinion, what is wanted in a .22 for self-defense, is penetration. The 45 grain bullet is 12.5% heavier than the standard 40 grain bullet. It is not a hollow point, so it should penetrate about 12.5% more than the 40 grain bullet, at the same velocity. Theory needs to be tried to validate the concept, of course. It is likely ammunition testers with Youtube videos will determine how many inches of ballistic gelatin this round will penetrate.
Optimizing the round for suppressed pistols may mean the powder burns a little faster. This would help suppressors reduce the sound signature. The concept behind the cartridge is sound, pun intended.
This correspondent looks forward to testing some of the ammunition, once it becomes available. A conversation with Jimmy Wilson, Winchester Product Manager, indicated it could reach dealers in early summer. Jimmy was willing to spend some valuable time and talk about his new products, and a similar older product for rifles. Winchester produces a similar product for rifles.
It is a suppressor optimize .22 Long Rifle, 45 gr black copper plat bullet, rated at 1060 fps from rifle barrels. The one box this journalist obtain last year appears promising, but no more has been seen. Winchester does limited runs of specialty ammunition. Another run of the 45 grain suppressor Long Rifle cartridges for rifles is expect this spring.
Suppressors are becoming more and more common in the United States, in spite of the heavy regulation and extreme taxes on these safety devices. The last data from the ATF, over two years old, showed about 2.5 million legal suppressors in the USA. There could easily be more than 3 million now. Once you have used a suppressed .22, the utility of these devices becomes obvious. They are excellent training devices for new shooters, and help preserve hearing throughout a lifetime.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught Arizona conceal carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attain. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.