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Beating the .22 Magnum at Its Own Game

By Oleg Volk

When Armscor originated the 22TCM cartridge, it was perceived mainly as a pistol round. Its massive muzzle flash should have tipped us off to the promise of this round for longer-barreled firearms, and these appeared on the market shortly after the handguns. The descriptively named M22 TCM BA is a fairly simple bolt action that uses either a flush-fitting detachable five-round double-stack magazine or 17-shot magazines common to Armscor’s numerous 9x19 and 22TCM models. Utilitarian in appearance, this rifle is an impressive performer.

Launched from a 22¾-inch barrel, the 40-grain jacketed hollow point bullet achieves 2,800 feet per second. Minimal muzzle flash and mild report suggest that the powder burn is almost complete. The bullet is identical to that used in Armscor’s .22 WMR cartridge, and it achieves essentially the same velocity from the 22TCM and .22 WMR at 100 yards. In spite of this, the 22TCM keeps the bullet supersonic out to 230 yards, while the rimfire only gives it 125 yards. While the engineering of the bullet gives it consistent expansion over an impressively wide range of velocities, it performs best from right at the muzzle out to about 150 yards. Beyond that distance, sufficiently rapid expansion in small varmints becomes less certain. Also, unlike the disposable rimfire case, 22TCM brass can be reloaded several times—more than a few when fired from a bolt action and not resized full length.

Among the historic hunting cartridges, the .22 Hornet in 40-grain load happens to be an almost exact ballistic match to the 22TCM. Where the 22TCM wins is in its case dimensions, providing better extraction and easier functioning in semiauto arms through a more pronounced bottleneck, much shorter overall length and rimless configuration. Off the store shelf, the 22TCM is also about 20% cheaper than the .22 Hornet.

The bolt is unusual in design, with the front purely cylindrical and the sole locking lug hidden in the bottom of the back, right next to the bolt handle that acts as a safety lug. This configuration permits reliable feeding from detachable pistol magazines. There...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N10 (December 2017)
and was posted online on October 20, 2017

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