.22 LR Velocity By Barrel Length
Velocity by barrel length for .22 Long Rifle (also referred to as .22LR or often just ".22" for short). Data for .22LR shown below is sourced from Ballistics by the Inch. A number of popular loads from major manufacturers were tested. We'll also discuss things like ideal barrel lengths for various firearms to help navigate the various barrel length offerings. This is especially relevant when it comes to things like AR-15 rifle and/or pistol builds, as well as offerings like the Ruger 10/22 (and its "Charger" pistol variants).
|Barrel Length||CCI 27 gr. CPHP||CCI 29 gr. CPRN||CCI Stinger: 32 gr. CPHP||Remington Yellow Jacket 33 gr. (truncated cone, CPHP)||Remington Viper 36 gr. (truncated cone CP)||Remington Golden Bullet 36 gr. CPHP||CCI Mini-Mag 40 gr. CPRN||Winchester Super X 40 gr. RN||CCI Velocitor 40 gr. CPHP||Aguila Sniper SubSonic 60 gr. LRN|
Best Barrel Length For .22 Long Rifle
For Subsonic Loads
For a heavy subsonic load like the Aguila Sniper Subsonic 60 gr., the loading doesn't gain too much velocity in anything more than an 8" barrel. For non subsonic loadings, it's important not to go so short as to make all .22 loadings subsonic, unless that's what you're looking for! Something like an AR-15 in the 8-inch barrel range, or Ruger's shorter 8" "Charger" 10/22's, pairing these with a 5" suppressor like the SilencerCo Sparrow leaves you with a suppressed firearm that is still 5 inches shorter than a more typical rifle setup at around 18" barrel length.
For Maximum Velocity
If one were so inclined to squeeze every bit of velocity out of a .22LR firearm, an 18" barrel does an excellent job of taking full advantage of everything the round has to offer. Some manufacturers offer Ruger 10/22 barrels at 21 inches in length. But as an example, Volquartzen offers match-grade bull barrels in lengths like 16.5" as well. Keep in mind that according to the data above, velocity gains at longer than 16" barrel length were fairly negligible, so 16" appears to be more than enough overall. Still, most stock .22 rifles come with an 18" barrel, so don't worry too much. Any more length is up to you, but doesn't appear to be necessary for a .22LR firearm.
Best Overall Barrel Length for .22 Long Rifle
The big question to ask is whether you plan on using a suppressor with your .22 Long Rifle firearm, and how long that suppressor is. If looking for a more average setup, a typical 18" barrel will give you everything the round has to offer, and it's not worth putting a ton of thought into it. If you want to get the vast majority of .22 Long Rifle performance in a short package, 8 or 10 inches like the lengths offered on the 10/22 Charger, will do well. But if you're absolutely planning to attach a suppressor, it appears that an 8" barrel is a great place to be. Remember that a suppressor will increase muzzle velocity somewhat. If going with something like a SilencerCo Sparrow, an 8" barrel with this 5" suppressor gives you a handy 13" effective barrel length, without leaving performance on the table. You could even go shorter, but the additional length of a suppressor probably won't fully make up for performance loss with a shorter barrel. Overall, if you could only pick one barrel length for any application (or multiple applications with the same firearm), something like an AR-15 pistol with an ~8" barrel will be great. For an average rifle setup, a typical stock 18" barrel is a no-stress decision. But if you must have every bit of velocity with a suppressed setup, 10" still leaves you with an overlength under 18" with almost all suppressor offerings. In that case, something like the Rugged Oculus with a potentially tiny length of only 3.25 inches could be an attractive option to keep the setup short.
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