.22 Rimfire Ammo & New Shooters

By Glen Wunderlich

.22 Rimfire Ammo & New Shooters
.22 Rimfire Ammo & New Shooters, Competitive Shooter Samuel Payne
Glen Wunderlich
Glen Wunderlich

USA-(Ammoland.com)- At long last it’s official: The .22 rimfire ammo shortage is over. Little by little the big supply houses, such as MidwayUSA, Brownells and Cabela’s, are getting more and more quantities of some America’s favorite, inexpensive plinking ammo; it’s even showing up in local hardware stores.

The new normal means inexpensive in relative terms, however.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when we could pick up a box of 50 rimfire rounds for under a buck. Now, that same ammo has skyrocketed to about 4 times as much or more! Compared to any centerfire fodder – or, for that matter, even the more quality-controlled rimfire target and match offerings – the lower-cost rimfire rounds are today’s bargain for economy-minded shooters.

If you’ve contemplated introducing a youngster to shooting, the .22 rimfire is a great way to begin. Month after month, the new rimfire firearms have been introduced, although some of them are mere variants of other models. Nothing wrong with that, but I wondered how popular any new gun would be, if ammo was unavailable. With supply catching up with demand, we are about to find out.

One of the more innovative .22s introduced during the ammo shortage is the Mossberg Flex-22 Youth. I had an opportunity to try one out a couple of years ago, when Linda Powell of Mossberg brought one to the shooting range at a media event. I found it to feed reliably and with an inexpensive red dot sight, it was downright fun to shoot. With a free-floated barrel, grooved receiver scope rail and 10-round magazine, the approximate cost of $200 seems reasonable.

But, the Flex stock system makes it a gun that can be adjusted to fit a youngster’s length of pull, as he grows up – a decided advantage over fixed-stock platforms.

.22LR Long Rifle Ammunition
.22LR Long Rifle Ammunition

Noise and recoil can turn off a beginner and neither is a concern with the little .22s, although the use of hearing protection is still warranted. Sub-sonic, target, standard velocity, or match ammo brings the noise level down, as well, and is readily available and well-suited for the beginner. And, that’s how 6 year-old Landon got his start.

I broke out some ancient CCI CB shorts – ammo that is about a quiet as ammo gets. Of course, it doesn’t have the power or velocity of even sub-sonic target ammo, but when sighted in properly, it is a good short-range alternative for a newcomer. Landon’s first shot was about an inch from the bull’s eye and the second shot was perfectly centered. We then moved on to some reactive steel rimfire targets and the young man didn’t miss from the sturdiness of a solid sandbag rest.

It wasn’t long before I loaded some sub-sonic ammo into the tubular magazine of my 79 year-old Marlin model 81 bolt gun. The youngster began thinking he was the greatest shot alive, as his confidence grew. Oh, he still missed at times, when he wanted to peek at the results before pulling the trigger. I explained that he had to keep looking at the target after shooting and he got the message.

The concept was now cemented and a new shooter had emerged.

I don’t know who was having more fun between us but it didn’t matter. It was just plain fun!

About Glen Wunderlich:

Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org  Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).

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Peter Stevens

It may be official for you, but the shortage is not over in Albany, NY. Wal Mart gets one unannounced shipment every every two or three weeks. The selection is one brand per shipment The .22 ammo gets into the locked display cabinet around 10:30 on a week day & is long gone before 3:00 pm. Sales are limited to two boxes per customer. Dick’s had a grand opening for a new store; no supply there. One gun store has about 20 boxes of ELY Target (50 round boxes) on the shelf for $19.95 each. Also, due to New York… Read more »


Not sure how you can say the shortage is over. The shelves in my area are still bare. And the places online that do have it in stock are all at ridiculous prices. You must just be trying to make people feel better about future 22lr firearms purchases. The shortage is still in full swing.

Veteran Gunsmith at large

Terry, I live in SE Michigan, and I have a Meijer store a mile from my home. They do sell ammunition, and even have shelf space dedicated to some Winchester and a foreign import .22 LR – they never have it in stock. I have been to this store literally every hour of the day and night, every day of the week, over the past six months, (I’m a retired night shift worker and insomniac), and I can never find even one 50 round box of .22 LR. I have addressed this issue with store and corporate management and they… Read more »


Nice timing. I learned shooting my dad’s Marlin lever action .22 when I was about 8 yrs old, out on the farm. My task was to rid the fish ponds of fry eating turtles. I took my job very seriously and never (nope) let on that I was having the time of my life! Learned how to use iron sights shooting these targets the size of a quarter. Also learned about safety, always having a safe backdrop and understanding where you bullet COULD go. Obviously I grew out of that & moved on to ducks, deer, turkey & quail. College… Read more »

Wild Bill

@ David, Do you know of a any company that mades a drop-in replacement trigger for the Ruger Mini-14? I only ask because you have some rebuilding knowledge?


Hey Wild Bill,

Haven’t heard of any drop-ins for the Mini… I even checked out Timney & Ruger, no go. But why not do some work on it yourself? It’d be fun. If you goof things up you can always drop it off at your gunsmiths, and maybe he’ll walk you through what to do?

Check this out for some ideas about trigger work… Trigger info about half way down the page. Good luck!


Wild Bill

@David, That is a terrific article, good explanation accompanied by really good photos. Of course you know that I was only a trigger puller. I have zero armorer skills. When my drill sergeant said to only take this, this, and this apart on my issue weapon, I followed his instructions to the letter. Sadly, my armorer and gunsmith skills have not improved. But it looks interesting, and as you say, I can always drop it off at the gunsmith.

Wild Bill

@David, By the way was your dad’s rifle a Marlin model 39 or a model 39A?


Hey Bill… It was (is) the Marlin 39A. He still has it in the cabinet, though I don’t think it’s been shot in over 20 years!

As for the Mini, you should try it anyway!

Kerry Smith

I enjoyed this short piece. That is everything except the opening picture of the youngster shooting without ear and eye protection. Then I took a second look and noted the overloaded electrical receptacle. Perhaps it was meant to give us a sense of nostalgia for the good old days when no one cared.

F Riehl, Editor in Chief

This image has been deleted, Thanks for having our backs.

John Moore

I have no way of knowing how many pairs of “Ammoland” eyes reviewed this article prior to publication. The photo of the young lad aiming, and (theoretically) about to fire, I would expect to see in a 1956 gun magazine, not a respected 2016 on-line firearms publication. No hearing or eye protection? C’mon guys, wake up & pay attention!

The photo caption should have read: “Rifle student taking dry-fire practice.”

With Respect,

John Moore
NRA Certified Firearms Instructor

HMLA-167 Warrior


Also pull off that scope and teach the young one to shoot using their iron sights. Let them graduate to red dots or scopes once they have proven proficiency with the irons.

F Riehl, Editor in Chief

We agree. This image has been deleted, Thanks for having our backs.


Are we looking at the same photo? The young man is indeed wearing clear-lens eye protection, and he has small orange ear plugs inserted (although he is admittedly not wearing earmuff-type hearing protection). What am I missing?

Kerry Smith

They changed out the picture. The one we saw first had a young boy, looked 1960ish, without eye or ear protection, and in the background was an octopus of electrical wiring – the kind that put firemen into apoplexy.

Jim Macklin

Ruger’s fine Compact American .22 carbine is a great choice for introducing the youngsters to shot one round at a time. The Ruger 10/22 is also fine but I advise loading one round in the magazine. Having to drop the magazine every shot will slow the pace and instill When the boy or girl can put all the shots into the black, one at a time, let them load two rounds. Stale crackers or expired prescription plastic pil bottles full of water make interesting action targets. On the price of .22 ammo going up, it really hasn’t. I recall that… Read more »