POP! 22LR vs Balloons

22Plinkster has long been putting tiny rounds into tiny holes and has likewise expanded into shooting 22 into various medium (including a remarkable test of 22LR vs Drywall). In light of the upcoming Independence Day holiday, Mr. Plinkster is out to see how many balloons a 22LR can penetrate. Given that the 22 penetrates 4.5 internal walls, it would stand to reason that 100+ balloons would be a cinch.

Or not, Plinkster comments that he asked a few industry professionals what they thought the penetration would be. Answers varied from ~15 to as high as 49 balloons, all under half of the potential total. By those estimates, the rubber would be quite draining on kinetic energy as they are penetrated, perhaps by the minute rubber-band effect until the projectile broaches the material. Or, its possible that the round is deflected easily by the material or the compressed pressure of the air during the “pop”

While not quite 100, the fast rimfire round performs extremely well, popping at least 60 balloons during a light breeze. Unfortunately, trying to line up 100 balloons in a row was practically difficult, so its up to the user to surmise the potential penetration of the rounds under idea conditions.

I, for one, hope Plinkster is able to pick up some solid high-speed equipment, which would answer this now pressing question. How many balloons can a 22LR go through under ideal conditions?


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Lysenko

    It looks to me like the trajectory may have taken the round up above the balloons towards the end, given the sag of the line, but still nifty.

  • jamezb

    Try this again, weighting each balloon with a few grams of water or a couple pennies to make them less susceptible to wind, and I think you might break them all.

    • jamezb

      Lysenko makes a good observation. perhaps stretch a piece of baling wire with a vehicle or come-along to eliminate as much sag as possible.

      • jamezb

        Great video regardless!

  • Austin

    Had that lined up right it probably would have cleared all of them

  • Bob

    why screw around? use the M-2 FIFTY !!!! GRIN

    • michael franklin

      The blast and shock wave would take out at least half

  • M.M.D.C.

    That settles the “what caliber for balloon” argument.

  • Pete Sheppard

    The slo-mo was pretty cool!

  • Fruitbat44

    Shooting a long line of balloons with a .22? Some people might say, why? Others, why not?

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Skip to 1:00, stop at 1:50.

  • Kevin Craig

    Why not just stretch deflated balloons across frames, to eliminate motion?

    The real point of the test is how many layers of latex it will penetrate, right?

  • LarryLem

    It would be faster to count the balloons that are left. 🙂