.22 Nosler Ammo

22 Nosler: At a Glance

Key Characteristics
Firearm Type Rifle
Primer Type Large Rifle
Used For Hunting, Long-range shooting
Case Design Rimless, Bottleneck
Year Introduced 2017

22 Nosler: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Higher velocity than .223 Rem/5.56 NATO
  • Flatter trajectory for improved long-range performance
  • Easy conversion for existing AR-15 platforms
  • Versatile for varmint hunting and target shooting
  • Improved terminal performance over .223 Rem

Cons

  • Limited ammunition availability compared to more established cartridges
  • Higher cost of ammunition
  • Increased barrel wear due to higher velocities
  • Not as widely accepted in competitive shooting as some other cartridges
  • Requires specific magazines for optimal feeding

22 Nosler Ammo: In Depth

The 22 Nosler is a relatively new player in the world of rifle cartridges, but it has quickly gained a reputation as a high-performance option for shooters seeking enhanced ballistics in a familiar platform. This caliber offers a compelling blend of velocity, accuracy, and versatility, making it popular among hunters, competitive shooters, and firearms enthusiasts alike. Designed to maximize the potential of the .22 caliber bullet, the 22 Nosler pushes the boundaries of what's possible in the AR-15 platform and other modern sporting rifles.

History and Development

The 22 Nosler was introduced in 2017 by Nosler, Inc., a renowned ammunition and firearms manufacturer based in Bend, Oregon. The company, founded by John Nosler in 1948, has a long history of innovation in the shooting industry, particularly in bullet design and cartridge development.

The development of the 22 Nosler was driven by the desire to create a cartridge that could significantly outperform the popular .223 Remington/5.56 NATO while still being compatible with the AR-15 platform. Nosler's engineers set out to design a cartridge that would offer increased velocity, flatter trajectory, and greater energy delivery downrange without the need for extensive firearm modifications.

The result was a rebated rim design that allowed the 22 Nosler to function in standard AR-15 bolt carriers with only a barrel change. This innovative approach meant that shooters could easily upgrade their existing AR-15 rifles to the new caliber without investing in an entirely new firearm.

Since its introduction, the 22 Nosler has gained traction in various shooting disciplines. It has found particular favor among varmint hunters and long-range target shooters who appreciate its high velocity and flat trajectory. The caliber has also seen adoption in tactical and competitive shooting circles, where its performance advantages can translate into improved scores and greater effectiveness at extended ranges.

Complete Timeline of .22 Nosler Development:

Year Event
2016 Nosler, Inc. begins final development and testing of the .22 Nosler cartridge.
2017 January 3: Nosler officially announces the .22 Nosler cartridge at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Early 2017: Nosler introduces its first rifle chambered for the new cartridge, the Nosler M48 Independence AR.
February: The first commercial .22 Nosler ammunition becomes available to the public.
March: SAAMI officially recognizes and publishes specifications for the .22 Nosler cartridge.
2018 January: At the 2018 SHOT Show, several manufacturers announce new rifles and upper receivers chambered in .22 Nosler, including Noveske and CMMG.
Mid-2018: Nosler expands its ammunition offerings for the .22 Nosler, introducing new bullet weights and designs.
2019 Early 2019: The .22 Nosler gains popularity among varmint hunters and long-range shooters, with positive reviews appearing in major firearms publications.
September: Nosler introduces the M48 NCH (Nosler Custom Handgun) chambered in .22 Nosler, expanding the cartridge's use to bolt-action pistols.
2020 January: At SHOT Show 2020, more ammunition manufacturers announce plans to produce .22 Nosler ammunition, including Federal Premium.
June: Nosler releases load data for handloaders, encouraging more widespread adoption among reloading enthusiasts.
2021 March: Nosler introduces the M48 Long Range Carbon rifle in .22 Nosler, targeting precision long-range shooters.
November: The .22 Nosler sees increased use in PRS (Precision Rifle Series) competitions, highlighting its accuracy potential.
2022 January: Five years after its introduction, Nosler reports that the .22 Nosler has gained a dedicated following, with steady growth in both rifle and ammunition sales.
August: Nosler expands its Trophy Grade ammunition line to include .22 Nosler options, catering to big-game hunters.
2023 April: The .22 Nosler is featured in several "cartridge of the year" articles in gun magazines, recognizing its growing popularity and performance.
September: Nosler announces plans for new bullet designs specifically optimized for the .22 Nosler's velocity potential.
2024 January: At SHOT Show 2024, multiple manufacturers showcase new rifles and ammunition options in .22 Nosler, indicating its continued growth and acceptance in the shooting community.

.22 Nosler Performance

The 22 Nosler offers impressive ballistic performance that sets it apart from many other .22 caliber options. Here's a breakdown of its key performance characteristics:

Characteristic Performance
► Velocity 3,300-3,500 fps (55-grain bullets)
~3,000 fps (70-grain bullets)
Surpasses .223 Remington by 300+ fps
→ Trajectory Remarkably flat
Less bullet drop at extended ranges
⚡ Energy 500+ ft-lbs at 300 yards (55-grain bullet)
vs. ~400 ft-lbs for .223 Remington
↕ Recoil Slightly more than .223 Remington
Allows quick follow-up shots
⦿ Accuracy Sub-MOA groups at 100+ yards
High ballistic coefficient & retained velocity

22 Nosler: Bullet Weight vs. Muzzle Velocity

This chart shows how bullet weight affects muzzle velocity for the 22 Nosler cartridge.

Note: Actual velocities may vary based on specific loads, barrel length, and other factors. These values are estimates for comparison purposes.

22 Nosler: Effective Range for Different Game

This table provides estimated effective ranges for the 22 Nosler cartridge when hunting various game animals. Ranges are based on typical bullet weights and velocities.

Game Type Effective Range (yards) Notes
Varmints (Prairie Dogs, Ground Squirrels) 0-400 Excellent for long-range varmint hunting
Small Predators (Coyotes, Foxes) 0-300 Good balance of velocity and energy for medium-sized predators
Small Game (Rabbits, Hares) 0-200 Use lighter bullets to minimize meat damage
Medium Game (Deer, Antelope) 0-250* *Use heavier bullets (70gr+) and limit to ethical ranges
Target Shooting 0-600+ Excellent for long-range target practice and competition

Note: Effective ranges can vary based on factors such as bullet selection, shooter skill, wind conditions, and individual animal size. Always prioritize ethical shot placement and adhere to local hunting regulations.

22 Nosler: Barrel Twist Rate Optimization

Optimal barrel twist rates vary depending on bullet weight. This guide helps you choose the right twist rate for your preferred 22 Nosler loads.

Bullet Weight (gr) Recommended Twist Rate Visualization (barrel length for one full rotation)
40-55 1:8"
8"
60-69 1:8" or 1:7"
8"
7"
70-77 1:7"
7"
80+ 1:7" or faster
7"
6"

Understanding Twist Rates

A barrel's twist rate refers to the distance a bullet travels to complete one full rotation. For example, a 1:8" twist means the bullet makes one complete rotation every 8 inches of barrel length.

  • Faster twist rates (e.g., 1:7") make the bullet rotate more quickly, stabilizing heavier and longer bullets.
  • Slower twist rates (e.g., 1:8") rotate the bullet more slowly, which can work well with lighter bullets.
  • Many 22 Nosler rifles come with a 1:8" twist rate, which is a good all-around choice for most bullet weights.

In the visualization, shorter bars represent faster twist rates, as the bullet completes one full rotation in a shorter distance.

Note: These are general guidelines. Factors like bullet length, muzzle velocity, and intended use can also influence optimal twist rate. Always consult your rifle and ammunition manufacturers for specific recommendations.

Applications for 22 Nosler

The 22 Nosler's versatile performance profile makes it suitable for a wide range of shooting applications:

Varmint Hunting
  • Excellent for extended ranges
  • Effective on coyotes, prairie dogs
  • Suitable for small to medium-sized predators
Target Shooting
  • Precise shot placement at distance
  • Less wind drift and bullet drop
  • Outperforms traditional .22 caliber options
Competitive Shooting
  • Niche in certain disciplines
  • Valued for high velocity
  • Flat trajectories in AR-15 platform
Tactical Applications
  • Adopted by some law enforcement
  • Improved ballistics
  • Compatible with existing AR-15 platforms
Medium Game Hunting
  • Effective for deer-sized game at moderate ranges
  • Requires appropriate bullet selection
  • Considered at the lower end of power for this application

Available Firearms

The 22 Nosler is available in various firearm platforms, each offering unique advantages. Here's why you might choose each platform:

AR-15 Platform Rifles

Why choose: The AR-15 platform is the 22 Nosler's native habitat, offering:

  • Easy conversion from .223/5.56 (often just a barrel swap)
  • Semi-automatic operation for quick follow-up shots
  • Customizable with a wide range of aftermarket parts
  • Familiar ergonomics for many shooters
  • Ideal for varmint hunting and competitive shooting

Bolt-Action Rifles

Why choose: Bolt-action rifles chambered in 22 Nosler offer:

  • Maximum accuracy potential for long-range shooting
  • Robust action suitable for heavy use and harsh conditions
  • Often lighter overall weight compared to AR-15s
  • Preferred by many hunters for their simplicity and reliability
  • Excellent for precision varmint hunting and target shooting

Semi-Automatic Rifles (Non-AR-15)

Why choose: Other semi-automatic designs in 22 Nosler provide:

  • Alternative ergonomics that some shooters may prefer
  • Potentially better suited for left-handed shooters
  • May offer proprietary features or benefits
  • Could be legal in areas with restrictions on AR-15 style rifles

Custom Builds

Why choose: Custom-built 22 Nosler rifles allow for:

  • Tailored specifications to meet specific shooting needs
  • High-end components for maximum performance
  • Unique designs not available in factory options
  • Optimization for particular applications (e.g., long-range competition)

Manufacturer Options

Here are some of the manufacturers offering 22 Nosler firearms in various platforms:

  • AR-15 Platform: Nosler (M48 Independence AR), Noveske, CMMG, Wilson Combat
  • Bolt-Action: Nosler (M48 Long Range Carbon), Savage, Mossberg
  • Semi-Automatic (Non-AR-15): Limited options, but some manufacturers are exploring this platform
  • Custom Builders: Many custom rifle builders offer 22 Nosler as an option across various platforms

Available Ammunition

The 22 Nosler is supported by a growing selection of factory ammunition, as well as components for handloaders.

Manufacturer Most Popular Load Velocity
Nosler 55-grain Ballistic Tip Varmint 3350 fps
Nosler 70-grain RDF Match 3000 fps
Nosler 77-grain Custom Competition 2950 fps
Federal Premium 55-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip 3300 fps
Black Hills 77-grain Sierra MatchKing 2900 fps

Caliber Comparisons

To understand the 22 Nosler's place in the shooting world, it's helpful to compare it to similar cartridges. Click on each comparison to see more details:

22 Nosler vs. .223 Remington/5.56 NATO ▼

22 Nosler vs. .224 Valkyrie ▼

22 Nosler vs. .22-250 Remington ▼

22 Nosler vs. 6.5 Grendel ▼

Recoil Energy Comparison

Compare the estimated recoil energy of the 22 Nosler with other popular cartridges. (Based on a 7.5 lb rifle)

Note: Recoil energy can vary based on specific loads, rifle weight, and other factors. These values are estimates for comparison purposes.

Ballistic Trajectory Comparison

This chart compares the ballistic trajectory (bullet drop) of the 22 Nosler with other popular cartridges over distance.

Note: Trajectories are calculated for a 100-yard zero. Actual results may vary based on specific loads, atmospheric conditions, and firearm characteristics.

Wind Drift Comparison

This chart compares the wind drift of the 22 Nosler with other popular cartridges in a 10 mph crosswind.

Note: Wind drift is calculated for a 10 mph full-value crosswind. Actual results may vary based on specific loads, atmospheric conditions, and firearm characteristics.

Energy Retention Comparison

This chart compares the energy retention of the 22 Nosler with other popular cartridges over distance.

Note: Energy values are calculated based on typical bullet weights and velocities for each cartridge. Actual results may vary based on specific loads and environmental conditions.

Estimated Barrel Life Expectancy Comparison

This chart provides a general comparison of estimated barrel life for the 22 Nosler and similar cartridges. Actual barrel life can vary significantly based on factors such as firing schedule, barrel quality, and maintenance.

Cartridge Estimated Barrel Life (Rounds)
22 Nosler
 
3,000
.223 Remington
 
5,000
.224 Valkyrie
 
3,500
6.5 Grendel
 
6,000
.22-250 Remington
 
2,000

Note: These are rough estimates and can vary greatly depending on usage, load data, cleaning regimen, and individual barrel characteristics. High-volume shooters may see shorter lifespans, while casual shooters might experience longer barrel life.

Sectional Density Comparison

Sectional density is a measure of a bullet's mass relative to its diameter. Higher sectional density generally indicates better penetration and energy retention.

Cartridge Bullet Weight (gr) Sectional Density Relative SD
22 Nosler 55 0.157
 
22 Nosler 77 0.220
 
.223 Remington 55 0.157
 
.224 Valkyrie 90 0.257
 
6.5 Grendel 123 0.252
 
.22-250 Remington 55 0.157
 

Note: Sectional density is calculated as (bullet weight in pounds) / (bullet diameter in inches)². Higher sectional density generally indicates better penetration, but other factors like velocity and bullet construction also play significant roles in overall performance.

Conclusion

The 22 Nosler represents a significant advancement in .22 caliber cartridge design, offering enhanced performance in a package that's compatible with one of the most popular rifle platforms in the world. Its combination of high velocity, flat trajectory, and moderate recoil makes it an attractive option for a wide range of shooters.

Varmint hunters will appreciate its devastating effect on small game, while long-range enthusiasts will value its ability to reach out to extended distances with less compensation for bullet drop and wind drift. For AR-15 owners looking to upgrade their rifles' performance without investing in an entirely new platform, the 22 Nosler presents a compelling option.

While it may not have achieved the widespread adoption of some more established cartridges, the 22 Nosler has carved out a niche for itself among shooters who demand top-tier performance from their .22 caliber rifles. As more manufacturers continue to support the cartridge with firearms and ammunition options, its popularity is likely to grow.

.22 Nosler Ammunition FAQs:

Yes, in most cases. Conversion typically requires only a barrel change and possibly a new magazine, as the 22 Nosler uses the same bolt face as the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO.

The 22 Nosler produces slightly more recoil than the .223 Remington, but the difference is minimal and most shooters find it easily manageable.

While it can be effective for deer-sized game at moderate ranges with proper bullet selection, many hunters prefer larger calibers for better terminal performance and ethical kills.

The effective range depends on the specific load and intended target. For varmint hunting, it can be effective beyond 400 yards. For target shooting, skilled marksmen can engage targets at 600 yards or more.

Due to its high velocity, the 22 Nosler may experience faster barrel wear than the .223 Remington. However, with proper care and cleaning, barrels can still provide excellent service life.