Do the Math: .22 Ammo is Still Best Survival Round

22 ammo best survival ammunition

Is .22 Ammo Still the Best Survival Ammunition?

Even with recent advances in ammunition technology for other calibers, the answer remains a resounding “yes.” Let me make my case for .22 Long Rifle as the best survival ammunition in terms of rifle cartridges.

What does .22 ammo have that would make someone even consider it as a survival choice, let
alone the best all-around?

Why .22 Ammo Remains on Top

I was able to find a chart on the Internet that compared the weights of various pistol and rifle (both rimfire and centerfire) cartridges in bulk. I did a bit of checking on my own using a postal scale, and found it took 143 rounds of .22 ammunition to equal 16 ounces.

Digging a bit deeper, I learned that one pound equals:

  • 10 rounds of 12-gauge shells
  • 21 rounds of 30-30 cartridges
  • 23 rounds of .243 cartridges
  • 17 rounds of .30-06 cartridges

My point? Though very much concerned with pinpoint accuracy, I am also a believer in the mantra: Peace (or Continued Existence) through Superior Firepower.

That said, I would opt for 143 effective, though admittedly circumstantially limited, cartridges over 17 or 21 or 23 bigger, more powerful rounds.

The bottom line is that using .22 ammo offers the option to carry an absolutely ridiculous number of rounds easily; the others, not so much.

Availability of .22 Ammo

Even in the most out-of-the-way country grocery store, there’s almost a 100 percent chance it’s going to have a box — or several boxes — of some sort of .22 ammunition lying around. The ammo shortage may still be in effect, but odds are still decent enough with .22 ammo.

Effectiveness of .22 Ammo

Inside 100 yards, you should be able to hit what you are shooting at easily with a .22 Long Rifle.

If it’s a meal you’re in need of, there’s really no cause to look further than .22 ammo. Whether it’s squirrel or cottontail rabbit or sitting duck, .22 ammo works with precision shot placement.

Keep Reading About .22 Ammo and Survival Guns

Read about .22 ammunition and moreEditor’s Note: This piece was excerpted from the Fall 2013 issue of Living Ready magazine, available on print and digital newsstands across the United States.

Click here to download the issue now. Or check out the many ways to subscribe to Living Ready magazine here.

9 thoughts on “Do the Math: .22 Ammo is Still Best Survival Round

  1. noobers

    something people are hesitant to admit you can take down a deer with a 22 as well as rabbit and squirrel (tree rats -_- ) the problem being is that unlike most ammo you cannot reforge 22 ammo . can’t reload a rim fire

    my bet would be having a one size fits all next to your survival 22 . thompson center is a good bet because of interchangeable barrels and chamber size .

    in a urban environment ehhhh get out . run as fast as you can because in times of crisis the only thing there is the human monster

    1. allagante

      I have read stories of in Africa they use .22s to run the elephants out of the crops and one one of the crop guards is in the bar saying he kill an elephant with his .22. So the next day a couple of his buddies when with him and he did it again. He shot both of them right under the front leg by the elbow and bullet when straight into the heart. Another story was when the Remington Model 66 first gun with a plastic stock the fish and game guys gave some to the Eskimos to kill seal rather than clubbing them to death. There was stories on the Eskimos kill polar bears with the .22s. They said just shot them in the ear and the bullet bounces around in their head. Not if I want to try to get a polar bear to turn his head. As far as .22 ammo available I go to Albany, or once a week and every time I stop at one gun store the always have ammo for the last couple of months. When to the second day of a gun show in Portland yestersday and there were boxes of .22 all over the place no bricks but boxes including CCI Mini-Mags for a low as $14 per 100 have not seen many of those around, bought three bricks of them on armslist here in Oregon a couple of months ago for $30 a brick. So in this part of the world now you can about anything you want, not down to old prices but getting there.

  2. Smithkowitz

    My personal opinion is this: All those who bought AR style 22LR weapons are burning up the ammo faster than they can produce it. Prior to the manufacture of these, there were no completely out of stock for months in a row issues for 22 ammo. These weapons will burn up 30 rounds in the time we spend burning up 6 -10 rounds with a revolver or semi-auto 10 round pistol. In addition, there are 10’s of thousands of new shooters out there that have purchased 22 caliber revolvers and pistols to practice with. I personally recommend to everyone I see getting into shooting, to purchase a 22 caliber pistol or revolver. Cheaper to shoot and still gives you live range time to work on your basic skills. In the past 4 months or so, I have seen .17 available more often than .22, though I have seen 22 shotshell ammo regularly. The 22LR bricks when available are 3 to 5x’s the price they should be. I agree with nimrod, in the city it would be wise to have some 38special, 9mm, 40S&W or 45LC stocked up. Especially good if you have a rifle that also shoots one of those calibers.

  3. nimrod666

    I agree with both of you. I have plenty of ammo on hand and stashed in different places. I have several thousand rounds of .22 LR as that will feed me and my family on small game up to and including deer. I have shot shells, shorts, regular LR, and sub-sonic and hyper rounds. I also have a supply of larger calibers for more serious situations. I stocked up on shotgun shells, pistol ammo and rifle ammo five years ago when the commie was first elected. I saw the writing on the wall. For those who think a .22 won’t kill a deer let me tell you how it is done. Put some bait on the ground under a tree. Climb the tree and be prepared to stay for a while. Get comfortable. When a deer or hog starts to eat, whistle softly, when it looks up shoot at a point where two lines drawn from the left eye to the right ear and a line from right eye to the left ear crosses. One shot one deer. Be patient, remember this is not for fun, but to save you and your family from dying. I learned this from an old man when I was young and I am now that old man. Nothing wrong with store bought bait either. Read some books to learn which tree to chose. Then spend some time outdoors to learn woodcraft. Remember this, if the stuff hits the air mover there is no need to worry about being lost, the worry is about being found. You won’t need a mirror to signal.

    1. nimrod666

      I live out in the country and my advice would not apply to those of you who live in a town or city. You do however have my sympathy. I would venture that you may need a bigger caliber as your opponents will be armed and you may not be able to avoid a meeting. I intend to avoid all contact as much as possible, except to barter with those of like mind who I already know. Be aware that if the electric grid goes down for any reason, that by the end of one year over 90% of Americans will be dead. Cities will be a dead zone. No food, no water, nothing but bare concrete. Plan to get out as fast as you can.

  4. JLA

    “Even in the most out-of-the-way country grocery store, there’s almost a 100 percent chance it’s going to have a box — or several boxes — of some sort of .22 ammunition lying around.”

    Up until last December this was true. Now it’s not. I’ve spent entire afternoons going from store to store to store looking for a box of .22lr, any box of .22lr, and found absolutely nothing! I’ve got email notifications set up with nearly a dozen online ammo suppliers (Midway, Natchez & othes), but I haven’t received an ‘in stock’ message from any of them in weeks. I’ve managed to secure a whopping 2 boxes of Federal .22lr ammo in the last 3 months, at a cost of just over $100. The stores around here sell out within minutes of getting a new shipment, on the now rare occasions that they actually get a new shipment of .22lr, and many of them have taken to charging from $50 all the way up to $90 for a 525rd box that should sell for less than $20.

    I don’t know what the hell is going on with .22lr ammo right now, but you had better either have all you’re going to need already stockpiled or have some other firearms in different chamberings to depend on if the SHTF anytime soon, because you’re not going to be finding a lot of .22lr ammo available in most of the country right now! If/when things get back to normal I intend to start buying a couple extra boxes a week and not stop until I have at least 25,000-50,000 rounds of .22lr stockpiled, in addition to my supply for everyday use!!!!!

      1. MickeyTheHead

        I work retail and this “IS” the reason no one can get ammo. The amount of ammo produced has actually increased in the last few years. Maybe fear that President B was going to do something that he never did or whatever started it, but people started buying large lots of ammo and it started making it hard to keep on the shelf at the sore. This created a circle of panic which has only lead to more people stock piling and making it increasingly harder to get. We have people who will line up for hours waiting for shipments to come in, even with a two box limit imposed often we don’t even get a chance to put it on the shelf.