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Designed by Remington benchrest shooter Mike Walker in 1950, the .222 Remington was initially sold as the cartridge for one of their bolt action rifles – the Model 726. Remington still produces rifles chambered for .222 today, as do Ruger and some European companies. It was the first varmint cartridge designed specifically for use in bolt action rifles, which is one of the reasons it set the bar for later varmint cartridges to come. The .222 was the second cartridge of this caliber to have a rimless case, the first being the .22 Newton.

Most of the .22 centerfires that preceded this round were modified cartridges from larger rounds, but not so of the 222 Remington. This was a totally brand new round. Originally, the cartridge came with 48-grain bullet standard. However, this proved ineffective against the varmints for which the round was designed. Soon after its introduction, the 48-grain bullets were replaced with 50 grain. Because it has a velocity of 3,200 feet per second, it boasts a greater range than the .22 Hornet as well as greater accuracy than the .220 Swift.

222 Ammo and Benchrest Shooting

Designer Mike Walker was one of the founders of International Benchrest Shooters. He first fired the cartridge in a competition at Johnstown, New York, in 1950. A Remington employee, the rifle he used eventually transformed into the 40X target rifle sold by Remington – one of the dominant rifles in benchrest competition until the mid-1970s.

If football is a game of inches, competitive benchrest shooting is a game of nanometers. High-precision rifles are mounted onto a bench, then fired at a paper target. Like most benchrest shooters, Mike Walker was a tinkerer who was always looking for ways to improve his round. The 222, which dominated the sport for decades, is arguably his crowning achievement.

Benchrest shooting is a sport dominated by gunsmiths. Much of the difference in competition is made by the skill involved in tinkering with custom firearms to get increasing amounts of accuracy. Unlike other forms of competitive shooting, however, handloading ammunition is strictly prohibited in benchrest shooting. Stock ammunition must be used, but the weapons can be modified in any way. The sport evolved out of varmint hunting, which requires incredible amounts of accuracy.

Despite the fact that it is no longer de rigeur in the world of competitive benchrest, it has a solitary achievement that can never be duplicated: It was the first round to ever be fired in a perfect grouping. On September 23, 1973, Mac McMillan shot a 0.0000" grouping, the first perfect one-hold grouping in competition ever recorded. The final verified grouping accuracy after being sent around to seven judges was finally measured at 0.009". This stood as a record for 40 years until Mike Stinnett beat it by 0.002" with 30 PPC rounds.

The Decline of the 222 Ammo

The .222 Remington was introduced shortly after World War II, and was the first new cartridge of the era presented by a large manufacturer. A unique characteristic about this round is that the case is original, as opposed to modifying an already existing case to become the new caliber. Since the .222 was introduced, however, it has become the inspiration for many other successful cartridges – including the .17 Remington, .221 Fireball and the .223 Remington. The last of these has largely eclipsed the 222 for dropping varmints, as rounds produced by the American military tend to perform a lot better than their civilian counterparts.

A leader in benchrest competitive shooting for nearly a quarter century, the accuracy of the .222 exceeded every other cartridge of the era, and established new standards for competitive shooting at long distances. It was only finally dethroned by the 6mm PPC and the .22 PPC. The .222 Remington is no longer used for competitive shooting, but it remains a well respected cartridge among varmint shooters.

Can You Hunt With 222 Ammo?

While mostly known as a competitive benchrest round and a varmint round, it has a certain audience among those who hunt medium-sized game. Medium-game hunters like the round because of its light weight and almost imperceptible recoil, as well as its high levels of accuracy – all things that make it perfect for competitive benchrest shooting. It’s often touted as a great round for women, young people or as a training round. However, not everyone is convinced. It has been said that the 222 simply does not have the stopping power and is not an ideal round for medium-sized game. Barring a head or neck shot, it might not be capable of actually felling an animal.

There’s an amusing anecdote about this worth sharing: A man became so in love with the 222 that he started using it on everything. He was knocking down deer, sheep and antelope with it. Then he tried it on a black bear who promptly chased him up a tree, where he sat until his wife came along with a 30-06 to finish the job. After this incident, he only used the round to drop gophers.

The Triple Deuce in the Military

Known as the “triple deuce,” the 222 Remington almost saw action in the military, as it was originally designed for the AR-15 with 20 percent greater powder capacity. It ultimately wasn’t accepted by the military as a standard round, but it has entered the commercial market. While this round is practically obsolete, it retains a core of followers in the handloading community. It also acted as the parent round of the .204 Ruger.

The 5.56x45mm NATO is likewise a stretched out 222 designed for the M16. It was built to satisfy the following parameters:

• 22 caliber
• Supersonic at 500 yards
• A six-pound rifle weight
• 20-round magazine capacity
• Semi- and fully automatic capability
• Able to penetrate .135-inch steel plate and a U.S. helmet at 500 yards

Several companies, including Remington and Winchester, quickly set to work trying to come up with the round NATO was looking for. The result was an international movement toward smaller, lighter weight, higher velocity rounds for military service. This allowed for a greater carrying capacity for soldiers in the field.

While the round is all but obsolete in the United States, it still enjoys popularity in Europe. Sako, Tikka and Sauer continue to produce the round regularly. One reason for this is that many nations in Europe ban civilians from owning “military” caliber rounds. The 223 is classed as a military-grade round and the 222 is close enough – but not as far as the law is concerned.

The .222 today is mostly employed to hunt varmints up to 250 yards out, as well as small deer in Europe. Its bullets commonly weigh between 40 and 60 grains in the common configurations of FMJ and SP, and muzzle velocity ranges from just less than 3,000 feet per second to more than 3,500 feet per second.

The best features of this cartridge include groups at less than MOA, gentle recoil, mild muzzle blast and lower operating pressures than similar cartridges – which extends the life of chambers and barrels. Rifles are not currently manufactured in volume for the .222 , but many companies still manufacture .222 ammunition.

Even though the competitive days have ended for the .222 Remington, it remains an excellent choice for hunting varmint and small game.

[URL="https://ammo.com/rifle/222-ammo#caliber-history"]History of 222 Ammo[/URL] originally appeared in [URL="https://ammo.com/articles"]The Resistance Library[/URL] at [URL="https://ammo.com/"]Ammo.com[/URL].


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 140 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There is so much misinformation here that I can hardly count it all. For a few...

the .222 Remington was initially sold as the cartridge for one of their bolt action rifles – the Model 726.

Never heard of a Model 726, the .222 was introduced in the 722, followed by 725 and 700.

It was the first varmint cartridge designed specifically for use in bolt action rifles

Not counting the .220 Swift are we?

handloading ammunition is strictly prohibited in benchrest shooting. Stock ammunition must be used

Absolute nonsense. Benchrest ammunition is handloaded, frequently right at the range.

rounds produced by the American military tend to perform a lot better than their civilian counterparts.

In sales because of all that taxpayer funded development, but ballistics are pretty ordinary.


Known as the “triple deuce,” the 222 Remington almost saw action in the military, as it was originally designed for the AR-15 with 20 percent greater powder capacity. It ultimately wasn’t accepted by the military as a standard round, but it has entered the commercial market. While this round is practically obsolete, it retains a core of followers in the handloading community. It also acted as the parent round of the .204 Ruger.

Very confusing, do you mean the .222 Remington Magnum?
 
Posts: 2925 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Transplanted Hillbilly
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My Dad had a 722 in .222 and it was scary accurate. It was also a serious groundhog slayer. Smile
 
Posts: 1837 | Location: Central Pennsylvania | Registered: December 08, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dang it. I thought my Remington bolt action collection was complete but now you have me trying to scrounge up a model 726.
 
Posts: 343 | Location: East Texas | Registered: June 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I started with nothing,
and still have most of it
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quote:
Originally posted by Jim Watson:
There is so much misinformation here that I can hardly count it all. For a few...

You can add to that the part about it being "practically obsolete". I see factory ammo many places, including Walmart and Sportsman Warehouse.


"While not every Democrat is a horse thief, every horse thief is a Democrat." HORACE GREELEY
 
Posts: 1663 | Location: Central NC | Registered: May 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Fire Away:
My Dad had a 722 in .222 and it was scary accurate. It was also a serious groundhog slayer. Smile


My grandpa probably killed at least 3,000 chucks with his. It was the original Varmageddon.


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 140 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jim Watson:
There is so much misinformation here that I can hardly count it all. For a few...
[/b]


I appreciate your feedback. I'll send it all over to the writer for consideration now.


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 140 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ammodotcom:
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Watson:
There is so much misinformation here that I can hardly count it all. For a few...
[/b]


I appreciate your feedback. I'll send it all over to the writer for consideration now.
 
Posts: 194 | Registered: January 11, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I feel fortunate to have three 222s. A H&R UltraWildcat, a Savage 340 (Western Auto Revelon) and Savage 24 222/12 gauge. All are accurate.
Far from being obsolete, during shortages it is much easier to find than 223. 6.5x55 is the other one I seem to find when everything else is sold out.
 
Posts: 194 | Registered: January 11, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a 1950s Remington 722 in .222 with a Redfield TV-View 4x scope that was my dad's first deer rifle as a kid.

I took it out a few years ago and sighted it in and shot a deer with it for nostalgia's sake.

For a 60 year old factory rifle with an inexpensive scope shooting cheap varmint ammo, it was startlingly accurate.

I wouldn't recommend it for deer hunting. It worked because I shot the deer right under the chin from not very far away, but it was a little deer and the bullet didn't even exit the neck.

It's a great little rifle, though.
 
Posts: 5546 | Location: TX | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
To all of you who are serving or have served our country, Thank You
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ammodotcom Whoever wrote that totally snubbed the 222 Remington Magnum and the 220 Swift. The 222 Remington was lenthened to become the 222 Remington Magnum in early 1957. The 223 came from a modified 222 Remington Magnum not the 222 Remington. Later the 204 Ruger also came from the modified 222 Remington Magnum not the 222 Remington.
 
Posts: 2086 | Registered: March 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, that was in the paragraph I rated as "confusing."

I once read that in the development of the .222 they considered using the .25 Remington head diameter but concluded that their .25 case blanks were not thick enough. So it was simpler to design a whole new cartridge than to beef up the .25 to handle bolt action pressure? That would have produced a .219 Zipper Rimless, of which the .219 Zipper, Improved Zipper, and Wasp were the leading varmint/target rounds of the late single shot era.
 
Posts: 2925 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jelly:
ammodotcom Whoever wrote that totally snubbed the 222 Remington Magnum and the 220 Swift. The 222 Remington was lenthened to become the 222 Remington Magnum in early 1957. The 223 came from a modified 222 Remington Magnum not the 222 Remington. Later the 204 Ruger also came from the modified 222 Remington Magnum not the 222 Remington.


More good feedback – thank you. We're going to revamp this as soon as possible.


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 140 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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