22 Vs 556


When it comes to choosing a rifle caliber, there are numerous options available. Among the many calibers available, two popular options are the .22 LR and .556. While both of these calibers have their similarities, they are vastly different in terms of their applications, ballistics, and limitations. In this article, we will be comparing the .22 LR and .556 calibers in detail, discussing their differences and similarities, and exploring their specific applications.

The Difference Between .22 LR and .556

The .22 LR is a rimfire cartridge that’s approximately 5.6 mm in diameter. It’s commonly used for hunting small game such as rabbits and squirrels, as well as for target shooting. On the other hand, the .556 (also known as the .223 Remington) is a centerfire cartridge that’s approximately 5.56 mm in diameter. It’s primarily used for tactical and military applications such as in the AR-15 platform.

Ballistics-wise, the .22 LR isn’t exactly known for its stopping power. Its velocity ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 feet per second, with its kinetic energy generally below 200 foot-pounds. The .556, on the other hand, has a velocity of approximately 3,000 feet per second, with kinetic energy ranging from 1,100 to 1,700 foot-pounds.


So, what areas do these two calibers excel in? The .22 LR is popular in hunting small game and target shooting. It’s lightweight, compact, and comparatively cheap, making it ideal for novice shooters who don’t want to break the bank. Additionally, its minimal recoil makes it suitable for shooters of all skill levels.

The .556, on the other hand, excels in tactical and military applications. Its high velocity and energy make it highly effective against various threats, which is why it’s commonly used in military and law enforcement scenarios. It’s a lightweight round, making it highly portable and convenient for tactical scenarios.

Advantages and Disadvantages

While both calibers have their strengths, they do come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

The .22 LR is an affordable, easy to shoot and maintain rifle. It’s highly accurate up to 100 yards, and the rounds are relatively quiet, reducing the chance of hearing damage. The downsides include the caliber’s low stopping power and weak penetration, which would limit hunting applications.

The .556, on the other hand, is a highly effective caliber that can take down large game, making it ideal for tactical and military scenarios. Its high velocity and energy, coupled with its accuracy at long ranges, make it a highly effective weapon for all sorts of tactical and hunting applications. However, the rounds can be costly to produce, and the recoil might be too much for novice shooters or some hunters.


In conclusion, both the .22 LR and .556 have their strengths and weaknesses, making them suitable for different applications. While the .22 LR is ideal for novice hunters and target shooting, the .556 is more suitable for tactical and military scenarios. Understanding the differences in ballistics, applications, and limitations of these two calibers can help you make an informed decision when choosing your next rifle.


Is a .22 LR an effective self-defense round?

While the .22 LR can be effective in self-defense scenarios, it’s not recommended. The caliber’s low stopping power and weak penetration can make it ineffective against most threats. In general, the .22 LR is only suitable for target shooting and small game hunting.

Can I shoot a .556 round out of a .22 LR rifle?

No. The .22 LR is a rimfire cartridge, which means it requires a different type of firing mechanism compared to the centerfire .556. Additionally, the .22 LR is significantly smaller than the .556, so it won’t fit and could cause serious damage to the rifle if attempted.

Should I choose a .22 LR or .556 for hunting?

It depends on the game you’re hunting. The .22 LR is suitable for small game like rabbits and squirrels, while the .556 is ideal for larger game such as deer and hogs. Additionally, the .556 is suitable for tactical hunting applications and self-defense scenarios where the shooter needs stopping power and penetration.

Can I convert a .556 rifle to a .22 LR?

Yes, it’s possible to convert a .556 rifle to a .22 LR. However, it requires replacing the barrel and magazine and potentially modifying the action. It’s a labor-intensive process, and you should seek the advice of a professional gunsmith before attempting any modifications.