New Shots With The Old Favorite

By Brian Lovett

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box and cartridge of CB 22 Short laying on a table

Retro is cool, whether you appreciate stuff from yesteryear simply because of nostalgia or a respect for tradition. But sometimes, those seemingly bygone items retain practical value. Consider CB 22 LR rounds. They were once staples of the plinking world, and although they don’t receive as much attention nowadays, they still shine in many situations.

The Place For CBs

“I think CBs are valid ammunition for this day and age because a lot of people still have a lot of old bolt-action rifles and lever guns,” says YouTube shooting sensation and CCI ambassador 22plinkster. “If you have that old family heirloom in your safe or on the wall that was handed down to you, and you don’t want to mess it up and want to shoot lighter loads and still have fun, the CB is a good option. A lot of those older guns don’t like the higher velocities of ammo that’s on the market now.”

CBs come in 22 Short and 22 Long, both of which feature a 29-grain bullet. Most modern .22 rimfire rifles are chambered for 22 LR, but decades ago, many were chambered for 22 Short, including uncountable models commonly used as gallery or carnival guns in the 1940s through 1960s. So naturally, anyone with an older rifle chambered for 22 Short will find CB Shorts to be a great ammo choice.

“The muzzle velocity with the Shorts is 710 fps, which is good for short to moderate ranges,” 22plinkster says. “For longer ranges, because it is a lighter bullet, the wind will affect it more than a 40-grain bullet. But it’s a good, soft-shooting lead projectile that’s just fun to shoot and extremely quiet.”

CB 22 Long box laying on a table

The latter aspect also points to another great use for CBs: close-range varmint control when a suppressor isn’t handy. In fact, 22plinkster says he shot his first squirrel with a CB 22 Short fired from a single-shot rifle. His godfather operated heavy machinery and was clearing an area for a subdivision, and he let 22plinkster ride along with him, toting a box of CB 22 Short.

“I would sit on a stump down in a hollow while he worked on the dozer, and I’d stay there and shoot squirrels,” he says.

That combination of a single-shot rifle and the quiet, soft-shooting CB 22 Short proved to be a great learning tool—something that also still holds true.

“The great thing about CBs is they are a great teaching tool for newcomers to shoot and learn the fundamentals,” 22plinkster says.

And there’s another advantage of using CB 22 Shorts, especially if you own a lever-action rifle such as a Henry Golden Boy or Octagon Frontier: increased ease of use.

“One of the cool things I like about them is that you can hold a tremendous amount of ammunition in lever-action guns using the CB Shorts,” 22plinkster says. “A lever gun can hold 21 of them compared to 15 rounds of 22 Long Rifle, so there’s a lot less reloading.”

Maybe what’s old is new again. Whatever the case, CCI CB .22 rounds still serve many valuable functions, especially when it comes to short- to moderate-range plinking, varmint control and shooting fun.