Monday, December 24, 2012

Winchester 22 LR 36 Grain HP 555 Bulk Pack Clear Gel Test

To date, pocket guns have been limited to .32 ACP and up as far as the blog was concerned.  I'm actually surprised that no one has called me out on this and asked about .22 and .25 testing.  I always wanted to cover the whole spectrum, but I never wanted to make the investment in .22 LR and .25 ACP pocket guns.  That changed recently and thanks to an early Christmas present, I found myself as the new owner of a pair of pocket Berettas in .22 LR and .25 ACP.  The pair of used - as new Berettas arrived at about the same time as a new block of Clear Ballistics Gel.  I decided to use the new block for some baseline testing with the Berettas.

Thinking through it, I considered which ammunition I should test first.  I decided to run some baseline tests with the most widely available .22 LR loads around.  If you've been to a mass retailer then there is a good chance you've seen the various 500 round bulk packs sitting on the shelves.  The packs typically sell between $20 and $30 and offer a whole lot of shooting per box.  This test focuses on the Winchester 555 22 LR Bulk Pack 36 Grain Copper Plated Hollow Point.

Pistol Specs:
Beretta 21A 2.4" Barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at the end of a Clear Ballistics Gel block.  I take the shot from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 2 inches away from the block.  Clear Ballistics Gel is calibrated to 10% ballistics gel density.  I shoot the block at the range and then bring it home to analyze the block and recover the bullets.  Immediately prior to shooting the block, I take a 5 shot velocity test over my chronograph.

The video below documents my entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts:
I think it is very unrealistic to think we would see 1280 FPS from this load and pistol combination.  Velocity in the high 800's seems very reasonable from the very short 2.4" barrel.  As you can see in the data chart, the retained weight was 100% at 36 grains.  Penetration was the big surprise for me when I measured over 11" for this shot.  In the photos above you can see that the bullet tried to expand, but the low velocity kept it from expanding to its full potential.  

So there you have the first of what may be many more terminal tests with .22 LR and .25 ACP.  I plan to stick with the same testing and reporting format used with the larger calibers.  As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions for improving the quality of the tests.

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.


  1. So glad to see test with the pocket guns, Look forward to more.

  2. It is a good round to start with but I would rarely put ammo like this in a gun being used for anything other than practice or hunting. When kept around the house for "business " I load it with Stingers, Vipers or Yellow Jackets and/or Hydro-Shok ammo. I haven't a clue which is best as even .22 is hard to get. I scored 200 rounds today and felt blessed.

    Also, how would a .22 LR do compared to a .25acp and the .32acp plus the .17hmr from a rifle at-distance. All you need is cash, right? I understand, pal.

    Thanks for the work so far.

    1. I actually wonder about the same things, but time is a greater constraint than money at the moment and for that I am always thankful.

  3. With Keltec's PMR 30 and other .22 magnum pistols out there, do you have any intention of testing any .22 WMR?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Crazy coincidence you ask this today. This afternoon I picked this up at one of my local shops. Yes, it will be used for 22WMR testing.

    3. THAT is more like it! (IMO)

      I think the newer "pocket guns" as they call them are better suited for IWB carry.
      Not saying that they cannot or should not be pocket carried, but I like the NAA
      version of POCKET CARRY :D

      Had a friend with an NAA revolver, forgot he had it in his pocket and brought it to work LOL!
      He says it is so small and light, that he easily forgets he has it. We are construction types,
      so YMMV but for "regular guys" that carry a good bit of items in pockets, this is a good indication.