CCI’s .22 Long Rifle Stingers

The CCI Stinger is one of the warmest and most popular .22 LR rounds on the market, but it bears mentioning where it originated. In 1887, the J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company introduced the .22 Long Rifle. It was derived from the .22 BB cap of 1845 and the .22 Short of 1857. It has a heeled bullet, which means that the bullet is the same diameter as the case. The narrower heeled portion is the part of the bullet that fits into the case.


It’s hard to imagine a more popular round than the .22 Long Rifle. Given how long it has been around and the fact that it’s not slowing down, it will probably be around for a long time to come. A large percentage of shooters have cut their teeth on the .22, to include your author. My half-century (and counting) love affair with the .22 Long Rifle is far from a secret.


The .22 Long Rifle is great for beginning shooters because it offers almost no recoil or muzzle blast. New shooters have less chance of developing a flinch when using a .22. These qualities make it fun to shoot for everyone – unless you enjoy rounds that thump your shoulder when shooting.

When taking to the field, a supply of ammo that will last all day is easy to carry, as the rounds are small and light. A lot of ammo can be dropped into a small pack and brought along. Varmint hunters love the .22 Long Rifle for short-range hunting. It doesn’t tend to over-penetrate. Plus, the round is relatively quiet, so the report doesn’t carry very far. It’s excellent for competition, as shooters can afford to buy a lot of practice rounds, as well as rounds for competition. It’s quite popular for short-range competitions.

A Stinger Hollow Point.
They’re small but zippy! It’s hard to imagine that such a tiny round can create so much havoc. Photo: Jim Davis.

Some people even use the .22 Long Rifle for self-defense. Many would question the validity of this because it’s small and often seen as rather anemic. But is it really that ineffective? We’ll get to that in a bit.

Why might someone choose to use the .22 Long Rifle for self-defense? Some people might be aging and develop strength deficits in their hands or arms. Pulling the slide on a semi-automatic pistol of a higher caliber might be difficult or impossible. However, on a .22, it takes much less effort. In the same vein, controlling the recoil of a .22 will be far easier than on a heavier caliber weapon. And especially indoors, the report of a .22 will be far quieter and less dramatic than heavier calibers. Finally, many people can shoot the .22 far more accurately than larger calibers that deliver more muzzle blast and recoil. In addition, many people can shoot it more accurately and rapidly, especially with long guns. If you’re using something such as a Ruger 10/22, a shooter can quickly and accurately empty an entire magazine into a small target. There’s certainly something to be said about fast, accurate fire. There’s no doubt about it; the .22 Long Rifle covers a lot of bases.


Many consider the CCI company the gold standard by which other bullets (specifically .22) are compared. It all began when Richard Speer established CCI in 1951 and provided primers to reloaders. The CCI plant’s location and formation are interesting. It all started as a 17-acre chicken ranch located next to the Lewiston Gun Club. The farmhouse served as both an office and a warehouse. A renovated chicken coop was the site of the production area! More modern manufacturing buildings and labs followed before long. When the gun club next door moved, Speer bought that property so they could expand. To this day, CCI still occupies this site. Nowadays, Cascade Cartridges, Inc. supplies rimfire ammunition (and other calibers). Not just any ammunition, but some of the best in the business.

Personally, I have not found a brand of .22 caliber ammunition that works better than CCI. For me, CCI has been the ultimate in reliability and quality (no, they did not pay me to say that. It is just the truth).


The CCI Stinger is one of the highest velocity (they call them hyper-velocity) rimfire rounds that CCI offers. How fast are they? CCI lists the velocity at 1,640 feet per second. For a .22 Long Rifle rimfire, that’s pretty zesty!

CCI Stingers.
CCI Stingers are 32-grain hyper-velocity .22 Long Rifle rounds. Although small, their velocity is higher than that of most other rounds in this caliber. Photo: Jim Davis.

CCI markets this as a varmint round. It weighs 32 grains, so it’s a light round, which contributes to its velocity. CCI states that the pressures for this load fall into the industry standard range. CCI implemented a hollow point to help take advantage of the high velocity. Given the hypervelocity, this hollow point stands a good chance of opening upon impact. The velocity is not enough for many rimfire hollow points to open up the hollow point, making it an iffy proposition.

Another aspect that I like about this round is that it is copper-plated. I prefer copper plating to exposed lead; the lead deposits more into the barrel because it’s softer, causing more fouling. Because I am lazy, I don’t like to clean more fouling. This is not to say that you don’t have to clean the barrel after firing these rounds, it just seems to foul less with copper-coated rounds. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

These rounds come in a plastic 50-round box. I like the CCI plastic boxes, as they’re durable and last a long time. Presently, the CCI Stinger sells for $6.99 per box. For the quality of the ammo you get, this is a steal!



As discussed, this round is primarily designed for hunting varmints such as squirrels and woodchucks. The high-velocity CCI Stinger will increase the odds of humane kills on game. The high velocity will also give this round a flatter trajectory than many other bullets.


I guess you could use this round for plinking or target shooting. However, a better choice might be standard ammo since it would be a shame to waste such great ammo on paper. Still, these rounds are very accurate, so they’d certainly fill the bill.


Granted, the .22 Long Rifle isn’t the world’s premier self-defense round. It doesn’t create large wound channels, and it isn’t a heavy round. So why even consider it for self-defense?

Some folks, through age or disabilities, do not have a lot of hand strength to rack the slide of larger-caliber handguns. Small caliber handguns such as those in .22 Long Rifle are typically pretty easy to chamber a round.

Ruger 10/22 and 25-round magazine.
Ruger’s 10/22 can pack a lot of firepower into that 25-round magazine. The .22 Long Rifle offers a few advantages over other rounds. Photo: Jim Davis.

Lack of recoil and easy controllability are other huge plusses that the .22 has going for it. Being able to dump several rounds into a tiny area rapidly is a good thing, and the .22 allows that to happen. Simply put, the .22 is far from the loudest cartridge, especially in a long gun version. Indoors, that can be a factor. Imagine touching off a 5.56 or .308 round indoors. The noise and resulting concussion are guaranteed to be dazzling to the senses (and that’s an understatement).

The case for having a long gun loaded with CCI Stingers for home defense is a good one. Imagine a Ruger 10/22 with a 25-round magazine loaded with CCI Stingers to repel boarders. It’s not loud and packs a respectable amount of firepower.

My friend Terril Hebert did some gel tests with the .22LR CCI Stingers, which yielded some interesting results. From a 3-inch barreled derringer, the Stingers passed through four layers of denim and then penetrated between 11 and 13 inches of gel before coming to rest.

Stingers in ballistic gel.
CCI Stingers passed through four layers of denim and were fired from a 3-inch derringer. The rounds come close to the FBI’s 12-inch requirement for penetration in some circumstances. No, it’s not a duty round, but this performance from a short-barreled derringer is telling. Photo courtesy of Terril Hebert.

Many of you are likely familiar with the FBI’s penetration recommendations, which are between 12 and 18 inches. Amazingly, the Stingers meet the minimum FBI criteria at least some of the time and come close even when they fall a little short. Penetration is important because it allows the round to reach vital organs to ensure a stop.

We’re not talking about using the .22LR as a duty round here. It’s an alternative that has some advantages in certain situations. Another one of those niches could be as a backup or deep cover concealment piece for law enforcement. There are more powerful backup rounds, but they come in larger packages.

Final Thoughts

The CCI Stinger features hypervelocity bullets that are good for hunting small game. They’re very reliable and at the top of their game for rimfire ammunition. Am I making a case that the .22 Long Rifle is the ultimate man-stopper? Not at all. I’m saying that, in some cases, for some people, it is far better than nothing. And, in my opinion, a semi-auto with a magazine full of rounds can convince a home invader that it’s time to leave. And for older people or those with physical infirmities, the .22 can be a definite alternative. It’s cheap, and shooters can buy a lot of it to practice with. Check out the CCI Stinger; it’s an enjoyable, effective rimfire round.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

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