Gone Outdoors

How Powerful Is a 22 Cal Gun?

by Danny Furman

Gun barrel calibers range from about .17 to .80. While certainly not as powerful as a larger-caliber firearm, a .22-caliber gun can inflict lethal damage to humans in a range of up to several hundred yards.

Proper Use

The .22 long-rifle rimfire cartridge is the most commonly used ammunition worldwide, originating in the mid-1800s. Rifles and pistols come in this caliber and range in effective accuracy from a few dozen up to a few hundred yards. "Drop," wind and other factors can affect a bullet's trajectory, even at close range in an open area.

The Bullet Matters

Standard plain lead bullets travel with less velocity than copper or gliding-metal-plated ones. Plain lead bullets may also leave residue in the barrel, which can oxidize and lead to problems with loading and firing.

"Low Power" by Reputation

Most firearms are more powerful than a .22, but "relative low power" should not make owners underestimate potential danger. Humans and large animals can be killed with shots to the head or other critical areas from hundreds of yards away. From close range any shot can cause life-threatening blood loss. Birds and small mammals are unlikely to survive any direct shot or a close-range ricochet.

About the Author

Danny Furman has been writing since 2009 as a financial blogger for the website Seeking Alpha, His work has also appeared at BullFax.com, TheStreet, MarketWatch, WallStNation, among other finance websites. He writes on topics such as global monetary policy, macro social trends and international stock picks. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of California-Davis.