Thursday, June 20, 2013

22 LR Denim and Gel Tests from the NAA Wasp Mini Revolver

Having recently acquired a North American Arms mini revolver chambered for 22 WMR with a 22 LR conversion cylinder, I thought I should probably run some terminal tests to see what kind of performance I could expect from the little 1 5/8" barreled mini pistol.  Since I'd never shot a NAA mini prior to doing these tests, I thought I should run a few practice rounds through the pistol before commencing with the test.  I was actually pleasantly surprised when my first 5 shots nestled into a 1" group when fired from the standard 8 foot testing distance.  That was plenty accurate for my needs so testing commenced with confidence.

The decision to run tests on two solid point loads was based on previous experiences with 22 LR hollow point tests run with a barrel almost 1 inch longer than the NAA used for these tests.  If the longer barrel wouldn't allow enough velocity for hollow point expansion, there was simply no way a shorter barrel would.  I picked these two specific solids because I had them on hand, they are usually easy to find, and the Federal Lightning is even cheaper than the Federal 550 bulk pack because it isn't copper washed.

Test Pistol:

 Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 8 feet.
Step 3)  Run first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 8 feet.
Step 4)  Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz. per yard heavy cotton denim.  Shot distance is 8 feet.
Step 5)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Tests from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on this Test:
My initial thoughts are if 22 LR performs this well in the revolver, why incur the additional cost, blast, and noise of 22 WMR ammunition.  I was particularly impressed by the performance of the budget priced Federal Lightning load.  If supply ever catches up with demand and prices drop back to levels seen 2 years ago, you could lay up a good supply of Federal Lightning for less than a $20 bill.

The CCI load also performed well in this test.  As we have seen in other tests with CCI rimfire ammuntion, the bullet shape or weight distribution will cause the bullet to tumble or yaw as it passes through the gel block.  This test was the first time we encountered a 180 degree spin instead of a full 360 degree rotation.  The 180 degree spin and base forward progress through the block negatively impacted the overall bullet penetration depth of the bare gel shot.

Pick or Pan:
I would be comfortable loading either one of these rounds.  I think it will be difficult to find other 22 long rifle loads of similar weight and velocity that can perform measurably better than these two loads, but we'll keep looking. 

Next week we will take a look at two 22 WMR loads and see how they performed from the same pistol.

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. I like the cvang grips. Its always the compromise on small guns, grip size.

    The Germans came up with a spoon tipped bullet in the 70-80's to promote upset in small calibre bullets 4.6x36mm, looked impressive in soap block tests, albeit at much higher velocities.

  2. The best test I have seen on the 22 LR.This proves that these rounds are a definite option for those sensitive to recoil.With practice the NAA offerings are quite accurate.
    I stand amazed!
    Thanks for doing these tests!

  3. A useful follow-on test might be to test the effect of filing a bit off the nose of a common high velocity solid, such as CCI Blazer, to produce a flat-nosed bullet having a 1/8" diameter meplat. I have a fixture made by Hanned Precision which enables you to quickly do that, first using a pocket knife to clip off the rounded nose, then use a file to uniform the nose to blend with tbe hardened die surface. Testing these in my WW2-era High Standard Model B - US, accuracy is unaffected, but the flat-nosed bullet is a sure killer on squirrels. It should also be interesting to make a few "spoon point" experimentals, simply by filing a 45-degree flat on the bullet tip, free hand, just to try the concept.

  4. please test the remington vipers in the naa