In the first two parts of making the case for the .22 Long Rifle being the most important rifle you should own, I covered how easy a .22LR is to own and shoot, and I also covered the versatility in regards to the huge selection of different rounds that are available for the .22. Now, I am excited to share a fact about the .22LR that even most seasoned hunters have never heard; they are effective enough to kill a human-size animal at over 440 yards. That’s right; over 400 yards.

Many years ago, the U.S. Army established a standard that a bullet must have 59 foot pounds of energy to kill an enemy combatant (a human). This number has been changed and been re-written over time, but it was an actual standard at one time. To translate that measurement into a practical example, it essentially means that 59 foot-pounds is the equivalent to a ½” pine board. So, if a bullet will travel completely through a half inch pine board, it is effective enough to kill a human being.

First off, it needs to be said that although a .22LR can cause a lethal wound at over 400 yards, it does not mean that scenario will produce any sort of knock-down power. A lethal wound just means a person can or will die from it, not that it is guaranteed or can be relied upon for any sort of stopping power. However, at that range, a person (or deer) might not even know they are hit until it is too late. Obviously I am not advocating shooting people with any of the information I am presenting, and all common sense readers will know this, but I am simply presenting the facts and standards in relation to Army standards. That being said, sometimes self defense is not limited to point blank situations.

The specific round that I witnessed going through a half inch pine board, was an SK high velocity .22LR. The round was shot from a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle with a scope. The actual distance was 440 yards and it punched clean holes right through the pine. The only obstacle to a repeat performance is getting your scope properly dialed in so that you can aim well enough for a .22LR to find its mark downrange. This will take practice and a decent scope, but no matter what, you can send a silent surprise over 400 yards and that is pretty cool.