I’ve grumped about the cost of .22 WMR (Mag) before, because I just cannot fathom how the Mag can be that much more expensive to make than .22 LR — because it isn’t.  I’m likewise unconvinced by the “small market” argument (i.e. that it’s more expensive to make because there are no economies of scale), because that sounds to me like a self-fulfilling prophecy — the high cost of the ammo makes buyers leery of getting into the caliber, ergo  a small market.

Asking the question of my Readers:  ignoring the people who like me have guns chambered in .22 Mag already, how many of you who own .22 LR guns would like to get into .22 Mag, but are pushed away by the high prices?

It’s not just the ammo.  The guns themselves are badly priced. e.g.

I cannot accept that a .22 Mag rifle requires that much higher a production cost than its LR cousin;  we’re not talking about the difference between a .22 LR and a .308 Win.  Basically, what generally happens is that the manufacturer shuts down its production line for, say, a couple-three weeks, drops the necessary tooling and machinery to make the few parts that differentiate the one from the other, then produces several thousand of the Mag rifles, and then reverses the process and goes back to the .22 LR version.  (At least, that’s how a guy from CZ once explained it to me about their 612 and 612M semi-auto rifles, for which at the time there was a $20 difference in their respective MSRPs.  “The $20 pays for the inconvenience of rejigging the machinery.”)

Not $150, as above.

I think we’re being ripped off.  But I welcome comment from any gun manufacturers out there who can give a credible reason for the price difference.

Ditto for Remington, Winchester or anyone else who care to do the same for rimfire ammo.


  1. You have it backwards. Production costs don’t drive prices. Supply vs. demand does.

    .22 rifles sell like hotcakes and there is a ton of competition out there manufacturing them. Thus manufacturers set a lower margin (to compete) and make it up in volume sales. Magnum rifles just don’t have as high of a demand for them, and thus there’s fewer of them made by fewer manufacturers. Thus the profit margin is higher because it’s a lower volume item in less demand with less competition.

    I remember when basic entry-level AR-15s used to cost $1000-1500. Then Obama threatened to ban them and demand spiked. They temporarily went to $2500 causing a ton of manufacturers to flood the market with them. That oversupply caused such a glut that during the Trump years they could be had for as little as $500.

    Those huge price swings have nothing to do with manufacturing costs and everything to do with supply vs. demand.

  2. I used to work in the pew pew industry. Manufacturing of boom sticks company.

    One employee benefit was a 50 percent discount on boom sticks.

    One thing that I noticed was there was always cheap plentiful 22 LR semi auto handguns and rifles. Cheap as in 200 to 450 consumer priced. However in my opinion – I didn’t find the semi 22 handguns to be all that great from ANY brand or manufacturer. Just my opinion. I’m NOT saying semi 22’s are bad. Semi 22’s are just not my cup of coffee other than the exception of the 10 / 22 rifle. (Side note – every home should have a 22 rifle. Not having one should be a crime).

    I love the revolvers in 22. They tended to be a bit on the expensive side, however they ran most any type of ammo. Reliable. And awesome looking.

    The 22 Mag versions of revolvers were not produced in anywhere near the same numbers. I think it is supply and demand myself as well. Plus, many many people (consumers) feel 22 LR is something you have to have on hand.

    22 Mag is thought more of as another caliber that is just not needed. Many feel (right or wrong) that 22 LR is all you need for power in a 22. (Another example like this is 357 Sig though 22 Mag is way way way more
    Available than 357 Sig).

    Also, while 22 LR revolvers were produced in higher numbers than 22 WMR or 22 Mag as many call it, the 357 and 38 revolvers built using the similar frame sizes were vastly more available. 38 and 357 was the most popular revolver type.

    There would be times, especially these days, where the MSRP is similar or a few bucks higher for 22 LR over a 38 / 357 but retailers would sell them for at or above MSRP

    Ultimately, With there being even less 22 Mag revolvers out there compared to the 22 LR, I think people stick with 22 LR.

    Let’s not forget some of the most popular and awesome HANDguns available in 22 LR chambering that are NOT available in 22 Mag

    – GP100
    – SP101
    – Walter P22
    – M&P 22
    – 317 kit gun
    – Ruger SR 22
    – M&P 15-22
    – Ruger 10 / 22 (used to have a 22 Mag version but no longer)

    What is available in HANDGUNS in 22 Mag? (Talking quality mainstream manufacturers here, the Smith or the Ruger).

    – 351 PD
    – 648
    – Single Six

    Yes there are more. But the list is shorter.

    People just seem to say, 22 LR is available Ammo wise and gun wise and it is cheaper.

    Myself? Best of both worlds for me – I gots me a Ruger Single Six. Mr. du Toit wrote an article a while back about them
    And I realized, why don’t I have one already! He’s a genius. With the Convertible Single Six, you can use LR or Mag. One gun. Can’t beat that. But there are some people out there (weirdos of course) that dislike single action revolvers.

    To each their own. But 22 LR remains king.

    1. The Heritage Rough-Rider combo is, in this seller’s opinion, more popular than the .22lr pistol.

    2. I agree with you and Kim about a .22 in the home, but in two of the homes I am most familiar with besides my own, I am unhappy that the women even know where the kitchen knives are. My friend from fifty years ago and his wife, no problem.

  3. Do not confuse cost and price, there is a common fallacy that cost drives price but it is unrelated. Price is always driven by the market (demand relative to supply) and nothing else. If the market price is below cost (which can happen) it impacts availability/supply – which may impact market price over time or not depending on the specifics.

    So 22 WMR is more expensive because people will pay it. That is the reason.

  4. Spent decades in the gun biz myself as an FFL. There is a bit of chicken-or-the-egg flavor to this, especially in today’s world, where perception tends to blast right past reality to become self fulfilling prophecy.

    I would also add that 22WMR has in the past been a challenge to manufacture in a reliable semi-auto platform. Even today, the choices are nothing compared to 22LR. I’m surprised I don’t see more discussion of 22WMR among preppers.

    I also own a convertible Single Six, three screw.

    1. Hornady has a solution to that 22WMR challenge with their V-Max cartridge – it has eliminated any feeding problems for my client’s 22WMR semi’s.

  5. Kim, you surprise me.

    The manufacturers charge those prices for one single reason: People are willing to pay them. If they were not, the prices would either decrease to levels that would make you happier, or they would cease manufacturing them altogether.

    And there is nothing in the world (outside of Marxist economic theory) that requires price to have a relationship with manufacturing cost.

  6. shot rabbits at over 200 yards with a 22 mag. I could not even begin to do that with 22LR. 50 yards is pretty much max for that round. I have a lot of both and will use 22 mag most times over 22 lr if I absolutely need to kill something.

    That being said I have more 22 caliber irons as well as probably 10x the amount of 22 lr over 22 mag.

    Reminds me I need to get some more 22 mag for the pile.

  7. as I get older and arthritis will eventually take hold, I doubt that I’ll be able to shoot 45acp or even 38 special or 9mm in sufficient quantities to maintain skills so I’m looking for a 22mag revolver. 22mag will give some increase in performance over 22lr. I’d prefer a revolver in case I have a cartridge that won’t fire, I can just pull the trigger again.

    I think the price of 22mag ammunition and firearms is higher is because there is less demand. I doubt bringing the price down would really increase demand.


  8. You might be able to find .22 WMR on the used market, it seems that there were a lot of folks that bought it during the .22 shortage, not realizing that it was the big brother to the round they actually wanted.

  9. FYI – I don’t know about current availability, but the Ruger LCR is offered in .22 WMR. The trigger is smooth, and there is the original concealed hammer, and the exposed hammer LCRX (both 1.87″ and 3″ bbl.).

    I bought one in the .327 Fed Mag a few years ago, like the little thing, but wish it handled the hottest rounds (100 gr @ max pressure) more gracefully (bbl too short to develop max velocity, and it BUCKS). I really think that Ruger should offer it in the 3″ LCRX as well, and maybe even port it. I would snap one up in a minute.

    1. I love the LCR line. 9MM and 38 special snubbies. Great. Yea they kick. Yea they don’t have the smoothness of a Sig or Glock. But they carry well, hold up to all weather and they are an awesome get the fuck off me piece.

      I always want more than I can afford. Someday I’ll have to add a 3 inch to the toolbox. Those LCR X external hammer fired 3 inch mixed look sweet.

      1. One of the first times I took my LCR to the range, there was a guy down the line that had one in .38 SPL. We traded for a few rounds, and I was surprised that the std .38’s kicked harder than the 90 gr .327’s, and it was close to the recoil of the hot 100 grain rounds.

Comments are closed.