The .22 WRF (.22 Remington Special)

By Chuck Hawks

.22 WRF
Illustration courtesy of CCI.

The .22 Winchester Rim Fire (WRF) is all but obsolete. It was designed for the Winchester Model 1890 pump action rifle and was later adapted to Remington and Stevens rifles as well as Colt Revolvers. Winchester .22 WRF loads used a flat point bullet.

Remington manufactured the cartridge, loaded it with a round nose bullet, and called it the .22 Remington Special. The two are actually the same cartridge and are completely interchangeable.

I mention it here primarily because Winchester .22 WRF ammo will fit in a .22 Magnum chamber, but not the reverse. The .22 Magnum (WMR) is based on a lengthened .22 WRF case. Revolvers and single shot rifles chambered for the .22 Mag. can usually shoot .22 WRF ammo without a problem. However, magazine fed .22 Magnum repeaters often will not feed the shorter .22 WRF cartridge correctly.

The WRF fires a 45 grain, copper-plated, lead semi-wadcutter style bullet at a velocity of 1,320 fps and 175 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle of a 22" rifle barrel. The sectional density (SD) of the 45 grain WRF bullet is .128. It hits with noticeably more authority than the .22 LR. At one time, Winchester also offered a 40 grain hollow point bullet.

Because its case is slightly larger in diameter than a .22 LR case, the WRF will not go into LR chambers. Like the .22 Magnum, the WRF uses standard .224" bullets (like most centerfire .22's), not .220" bullets like the Long Rifle.

It is actually quite a useful cartridge, as it hits harder than the .22 LR and is less expensive and less destructive than the .22 Magnum. Unfortunately, sales have diminished almost to the vanishing point and .22 WRF ammunition is no longer cataloged by Remington, although Winchester and CCI occasionally produce runs of .22 WRF ammo. Note that CCI warns against using their .22 WRF ammunition, which is loaded with a JHP bullet, in .22 WMR guns, although they provide no reason why.

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Copyright 2005, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.