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.22 Mag vs .22 WMR | Is There Really Any Difference?

.22 Mag vs .22 WMR
Written by Dan Goldsmith
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Confused about choosing between the .22 Mag vs .22 WMR rounds? I’ve got some news for you!

There are practically no differences between these two cartridges! They are just different names for the same product.

The manufacturer company, Winchester, released their .22 cal magnum rimfire cartridges as “.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire” AKA the “.22 WMR/22 WMR” in 1959.

Over time, as the rounds became popular, the .22 became known as the .22 Mag/22Mag.

The Infamous .22 Mag

Also known as the “.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire”, or the “.22 WMR”; the .22 mag is perhaps one of the most widely used small cartridges in the world.

The Infamous .22 Mag

The .22 WMR became the only successful rimfire cartridge introduced in the 20th Century and as a result, they are still used in a variety of functions like pest control, target practice, and self-defense.

These nifty little rounds are equipped with 40 grains of load and can provide velocities up to .22,00 fps. Here are the basic dimensions and properties of the .22 WMR/.22 Mag:

  • Released: 1959
  • Primer type: rimfire
  • Bullet diameter: .224 inches
  • Rim diameter: .294 inches
  • Bullet weights: 20 – 50 grain
  • Total length: 1.35 inches

22 Mag vs 22 WMR: Is There Any Difference?

Well, no. The same .22 caliber bullet from Winchester is known as the .22 WMR or the .22 Mag.

They are the result of the continuous improvement cycle the .22 caliber rimfire family had to undergo. Many rounds have multiple names like the .22 Mag.

22 WMR

How and when did people began referring to 22 Mag as 22 WMR?

The official name of the .22 caliber magnum rimfire ammo is the “.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire.”

After a worldwide success, the round became popular in the short form like .22 WMR or the .22 Mag. So, there’s virtually nothing to discuss about .22 WMR vs .22 Mag.

The history

The .22 Mag was the result of the contemporary hunter’s desire for a rimfire cartridge that could take down small game (up to 20 lbs) accurately within 125 yards.

These handy rounds can take down rabbits, foxes, prairie dogs, and even coyotes effortlessly.

The .22 caliber platform saw a lot of variations for many different uses.

The predecessor of the .22 mag, the .22 long rifle AKA .22LR provided decent quality power; but wasn’t powerful enough to handle some of the larger pests like coyotes.

The history of .22 mag

As a result, the designers took inspiration from one of their previous creations, the .22 WRF, and increased the dimensions of the cartridge.

With astounding energy of more than 300 ft-lbs, the newer .22Mag became the perfect replacement for its predecessor, the .22LR.

What is the .22 WMR used for?

The .22 Mag became the most popular as an effective varmint rifle cartridge that can be used over short-medium ranges.

Even after extensive use, these rounds generate little recoil and a quieter report. As a result, these power-dense cartridges also became popular in self-defense.

.22 WMR Uses

The ammo can be used in both single-shot rifles and handguns, which makes them incredibly popular in self-defense applications.

According to Marshall and Sanow shooting studies, the .22 WMRs were 42% successful in stopping an attacker from continuing their attack.

Nowadays, these nifty bullets are primarily used for pest control, self-defense, and target shooting practices.

So, now you know there is virtually no difference when talking about .22 mag vs .22 WMR. 


1. Can I fire .22 WMR in a .22 LR firearm?

Ans: No. The .22 WMR is too long to fit in a .22 LR firearm’s chamber and the pressure is too powerful to handle. This can potentially damage the firearm and harm the user.

2. Can I hunt deer with .22 WMR?

Ans: No, you shouldn’t. The bullet is too weak to handle games like deer. They can hardly deliver a fast and humane kill.

There are many better options available. Many states have even banned the use of .22 Mag/WMR bullets for deer hunting.

3. Is .22 WMR good for self-defense?

Ans: Technically, yes. The primary reasons for highlighting the .22 WMR for self-defense applications are the low recoil and the small size of .22 WMR handguns.

When it comes to stopping power, there are many better options available.

4. What can I hunt with .22 WMR?

Ans: Mostly vermin and predators. The nifty .22 WMR rounds are perfect for dealing with rodents like squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, nutrias, porcupines, and prairie dogs.

The powerful little cartridges are also capable enough to take down predators like coyotes, bobcats, and lynxes.

About the author

Dan Goldsmith

Hi, this is Dan. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 30+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed.

My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

Whenever I am able to catch a moment of free time, you will find me enjoying my family or heading to the range on my motorcycle. I have enjoyed shooting sports ever since my dad introduced them to me as a child.

I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman who lives his life to the fullest. I hope you will benefit from my efforts to create valuable resources on this website. Happy reading!

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