Commonly referred to as the “Triple Deuce”, the .222 Remington can lay claim to several firsts in the realm of cartridge design.
This little fellow was the first varmint cartridge specifically designed to fit well on bolt action rifles, and essentially set the bar for what is considered modern varmint cartridge performance.
The Triple Deuce is also the first cartridge in line with what would eventually become “benchrest” type cartridges.
More on Guns & Ammo
After its release in 1950, the .222 set many target competition records and remained the more or less undisputed king of the benchrest community for decades.
Perhaps the .222’s most lasting contribution to the shooting world has to do with what it spawned when Gene Stoner took notice of the cartridge for his new rifle, eventually found it a little underpowered and subsequently drummed up the .223 Remington for the AR line of rifles.
Over the decades, the .222 has been a perennial favorite among varmint hunts thanks to its unparalleled accuracy, low recoil and the fine rifles chambered for it.
Initially, the .222 was really popular with the prairie dog crowd because it generated velocities up to 3400 fps, which were enough to really make varmints pop with frangible bullets. Until the .222 came along, bullet performance on small critters was considerably less impressive.
After its introduction the .222 had a flirtation with a big game career, but this was short-lived and never really the right role for this small cartridge.
Many years ago an elderly acquaintance of mine told me how he had fallen hard for the Triple Deuce right after it came out, and rushed to try it out on big game. Deer, sheep and antelope all fell to his .222, and he began to think the rifle could do no wrong.
That all changed one day when he made a bad shot on a black bear, got chased up a tree and had to hang out up there until his wife came along and killed the bear with a 30-06. After that his .222 was strictly a gopher gun.
Currently, the .222 Remington is every bit as capable of fine varmint performance as it ever was, but it has lost a lot of its popularity to the .223 Remington.
The .223 has a slight edge on the .222 and offers considerably more options in terms of component availability, but a lot of folks still prefer the .222.
Much of this might have to do with people just liking to be a little different, but some of them simply realize what a great little cartridge the .222 is and refuse to give it up.
Over the course of its career the .222 has been offered at some time by every American bolt action manufacturer, and for a while Remington chambered it in their pump action 760 rifles. Foreign outfits like Rossi have also fallen for the Triple Deuce, chambering a line of absolutely adorable single-shot rifles for it.
RELATED: The Killer Pocket: An Ammo Safety Public Service Announcement
If the .222 has one hang-up, it is only that it is so close in appearance to the .223 that owning both guns can cause some confusion with ammo. It’s important to keep these two cartridges and their brass apart, as it is with any cartridge, so be careful if you want to possess both chamberings.
The .222 Remington has been around a long time and isn’t going to disappear any time soon. While it originally set the bar for performance, it now carries enough “old time” cachet to keep it in the running as a varmint cartridge.
The Triple Deuce was great when it came out and it’s still a great choice today.