Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world. Last week we did some testing with various pistols and Federal’s 22LR Punch personal defense ammunition. While the results demonstrated that Federal Punch performs quite well and achieves sufficient penetration, it did not expand. Beyond that, the ammunition did seem to live up to its velocity claims which were also something nice to see out of a product that is specifically marketed for self-defense. However, a couple of you had mentioned in the comments that you would like to have seen the tests repeated using clothing, and also using a 10/22 rifle to see if it made any difference. So for this week on The Rimfire Report, we’re going back to the range with another gel block and some new guns to see how Federal’s 22LR punch ammunition performs in those particular situations.
More Rimfire Report Articles @ TFB:
- The Rimfire Report: Review of Federal Punch 22LR Personal Defense Ammunition
- The Rimfire Report: How 3D Printing Saved My High Standard Flite King
- The Rimfire Report: Testing Norma’s ECO Speed and ECO Power 22LR Ammo
The Rimfire Report: Federal 22LR Punch Out Of Ruger 10/22 – More Effective?
Just like last time, we are using a homemade 10% ballistic gelatin block that has been calibrated to FBI specifications. However, this week we’re changing the game up a little bit and adding in 4 layers of clothing for each shot, and we’re also swapping out the SIG P322 and Ruger MKIV for a Ruger 10/22 with a barrel length of 16 inches.
I chose to eliminate the P322 and MKIV simply because I know that from my previous tests with 22LR Punch and those pistols, the rounds don’t expand but they do penetrate sufficiently (beyond 12″). Just like last time, I’ll put the data down here and then speak as to the results just after that, and then we can start to draw some conclusions.
- Bullet Weight: 29-grains
- Muzzle Velocity: 1070 fps
- Test Barrel Length: 2-inches
- Bullet Style: Nickle Plated Lead Core FLat Nose Bullet
- Usage: Personal Defense
- Price Per Box of 50: 10.99 (~0.22 cents per round)
- Product Link: https://www.federalpremium.com/rimfire/personal-defense-punch-rimfire/11-PD22L1.html
For the clothing, I couldn’t find any genuine denim at the thrift store so I opted to cut up one of my older pairs of 5.11 Defender Flex pants and used 4 layers of that instead. Not exactly up to FBI test protocol but down here in the south, you’re lucky if most people are even wearing a t-shirt in the summer so I think the 4-layers of 5.11 pants should work just fine for comparative purposes.
- Avg Vel: 1,038-fps
- Max Vel: 1,073-fps
- Min Vel: 1,033 -fps
- Extreme Spread: 40-fps
- Std Dev: 16.3-fps
- No. of Failures: 0
- Min Penetration Depth: 10.5-inches
- Max Penetration Depth: 14.5-inches
- Average Penetration Depth: 11.7-inches
- Expansion: No rounds expanded
- Weight Retention: 100%
Just like last time, none of the rounds fired from the Taurus 942 expanded but we did see a slight increase in velocity and I’m almost certain this has to do with the increase in temperature we’ve seen where I live in the last week. Even with the slight increase in average velocity, the Taurus 942 still doesn’t consistently deliver the advertised 1,070 fps velocity out of its 2″ barrel but like we discussed last week, this is probably because of the cylinder gap sapping away some of that energy. I was only able to recover one of the rounds as 4 out of the 5 rounds fired yawed pretty violently and exited the side of the block at about the 15-inch mark. Wound cavities looked about the same from what I could tell and were about 1 to 1.5″ wide and about 2-3″ long.
Ruger LCP II Lite Rack
- Avg Vel: 1,081-fps
- Max Vel: 1,092-fps
- Min Vel: 1,070 -fps
- Extreme Spread: 22-fps
- Std Dev: 7.8-fps
- No. of Failures: 0
- Min Penetration Depth: 16-inches
- Max Penetration Depth: Unknown
- Average Penetration Depth: 16-inches
- Expansion: No rounds expanded***
- Weight Retention: 100%
This time I only managed to retain 3 of the projectiles out of the 5 fired and some of you will also notice that I didn’t list a maximum penetration depth. Due to some severe logistical issues, I was only able to bring out one 16″ block. Since we are looking for a minimum penetration depth of 12″ I decided to go ahead with the tests as it uses significantly less gel and also still gives us the data we’re after. The flattening of the bullets you’re seeing is from the two layers of Level III soft body armor inserts. I think the data we’re seeing above demonstrates that even through clothing, Federal 22LR Puch still has sufficient energy to penetrate to the necessary depth.
Ruger 10/22 Carbine
- Avg Vel: 1,519-fps
- Max Vel: 1,533-fps
- Min Vel: 1,527 -fps
- Extreme Spread: 6-fps
- Std Dev: 12.3-fps
- No. of Failures: 0
- Min Penetration Depth: 10-inches
- Max Penetration Depth: 11.5-inches
- Average Penetration Depth: 10.5-inches
- Average Expansion: 0.341″ (0.118″ expansion)
- Average Weight Retention: 28-grains retained (no fragments recovered)
To be 100% honest, I was actually impressed that the rounds expanded as much as they did. Since these are flat nose bullets and designed for maximum penetration, I had assumed that the bullets were hard enough to withstand expanding at the higher end of their velocity threshold (rated at 1,650 out of a 24″ barrel). However, it seems like the rounds will reliably expand when passing through clothing and tissue if they are going about 1500 feet per second. However, the bullets are sacrificing penetration depth and none of the 5-rounds tested penetrated to the 12″ minimum depth required by the FBI. The wound channels were noticeably bigger but also shorter at about 2″ average in width but only lasting about 2″ maximum length.
I hope those of you who were morbidly curious about the performance of the Federal 22LR Punch are satisfied with these results. Although the rounds did indeed expand to something closer to the size of a 9mm. Like many of us speculated, Federal 22LR Punch seems to be optimized for penetration depth over everything else. I suspect that an 18″ barrel might have gotten us both expansion and adequate penetration depth but that would also put us squarely out of the realm of a self-defense tool and more into the region of a varmint hunting tool.
While expansion does indeed do more physical damage to a target for the first bit of its travel, the round is losing so much energy during the mushrooming phase that it’s not penetrating deep enough. In a live target, I suspect things like bones, dense muscle tissue and animal hide (or clothing) might further complicate things and make the bullets lose most of their energy before they’ve had a chance to adequately penetrate and damage vital organs. For human targets, I personally think that the ability of the Federal 22LR Punch to penetrate deeper and strike multiple organs might be a better method of attack than trying to expand the bullet to what amounts to a 9mm FMJ while sacrificing a significant amount of penetration which would lead to less organ and tissue damage overall.
However, once again I’d like to turn it over to you fine rimfire folks. What did you think of this test and did the result surprise you or were you expecting the rounds to expand when pushed to a high enough velocity? Next week we’ll be doing another series of gel block testing this time with CCI Velocitor 40-grain copper-plated hollow points out of the same set of guns (plus one more) to see how they would work in a self-defense situation. Thanks as always for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report and we’ll see you next time!
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