There's nothing much more fun than busting cans with a rimfire. It's a great way to introduce beginning shooters to the sport, and if you fill the cans with water, you can really impress them with the power of even the lowly .22.
One of the earliest tests I ever remember seeing in a magazine was a "baffle board" container exhibit.
1" white pine boards were slotted into a wooden box 1" apart. A .22 Long Rifle fired into the box penetrated seven of the boards and was stopped by the eighth. Any bullet that can penetrate seven inches of white pine is capable of doing serious damage.
Of course, you've probably heard of what is called the "Coroners' Big Three." The guns most used in homicides resulting in coroner autopsies are purported to be the .22, .38 Special, and shotguns.
That's apocryphal, but colorful and interesting. And with the explosion of popularity in the 1990's of semi-automatic handguns, it's probably suspect. But it illustrates a point. A hell of a lot of people get shot with "mouse guns"--small-caliber handguns that tear a thin wound channel with a small crush cavity. And they die. Maybe not as quickly as with larger calibers--but enough people are put away by them each year to give strength to the old saw that the most important gun to have in a gunfight is the gun you brought to the gunfight.
A few years ago a new rimfire cartridge was introduced which claimed much higher levels of stopping power than even the hyper-velocity .22 cartridges that were becoming popular.
Upon striking water or flesh, the bullet, which is striated in three places, separates into three tiny projectiles flying off at extreme angles from each other.
The interesting thing about these new bullets exhibited itself in tests--if you fired them into a dry medium, they acted like normal .22 rounds, simply punching through. But if you fired into containers of water, these literally exploded with the impact of the round.
The photographs show the results of shooting the can on the left with Remington High Speed Golden .22 hollowpoints. As you can see, the aluminum soft drink can was split open with a large exit cavity as the water was pushed out in front of the projectile.
But the two cans on the right show the effects of CCI .22 Quik-Shok. These nasty little rounds separate within an inch of hitting moisture, and blow the cans apart. It is dramatic and impressive to see the cans explode at the impact of the bullet.
Shoot a regular high speed .22 hollowpoint at a gallon milk jug filled with water, and it will split the seams of the plastic, causing an impressive bulge as the water leaks out. Shoot a Quik-Shok round through another jug, and the tiny projectiles will push a hand-sized piece of plastic out of the back of the jug. The jug won't leak out rapidly--there won't be any water left in it.
I once tried a test to see how far apart the projectiles would be in the distance of the approximate width of the human body. I propped a piece of cardboard about three feet by four feet some six inches from the rear of a gallon milk jug filled with water.
Firing a single Quik-Shok round from my old Ruger Mark II with a six-inch bull barrel, I centered the jug and watched water soak the cardboard in a surfer's wave from top to bottom.
There were three small holes in the wet cardboard approximately two feet from each other in a triangular pattern. The milk jug was destroyed, of course. I estimated the projectiles took off at 45 degree angles from each other within an inch of striking a liquid medium. This angle of dispersion would make a devastating wound channel within the width of a human body.
It is doubtful, of course, that the small projectiles would penetrate completely through the width of a human body anyway.
Early testimonials to the company described shooting feral dogs the sizes of Rottweilers and German Shepherds, and having them drop instantly--dead when they hit the ground. One gentleman from New Orleans described joining the Jefferon Parish Sheriff's Office SRT team as they embarked on a nighttime assault against nutria (a large muskrat-like rodent that burrows and was destroying the canal banks in Jefferson Parish.)
As he told it, every nutria shot by everyone else made it to the water, unless anchored by a head shot. Every rat he shot in the body with Quik-Shok died where it was hit, never even trying to get to the water.
Tom Burcynski, the inventor of the Hydra-Shok bullet, now one of the baseline self-defense loads in all calibers, designed the Quik-Shok to overcome the drawbacks of earlier "stressed" bullets that either did not separate, or cost a small ransom to shoot. Internet searches reveal lots of different tests of not only the .22 round, but QUIK SHOK centerfire rounds also.
In the rimfire, opinions as to the effectiveness of the rounds seem mixed--and frequently seem biased towards the authors' own preferences in rimfire ammo. But many of the ballistic gelatin tests, both independently conducted, and by the manufacturer, show some impressive wound channels--looking more like centerfire than what is normally caused by rimfire rounds.
And, until someone actually shoots a miscreant with this stuff, I guess we'll never really know. Nothing works like street experience.
But judging from testimonials from people who have used Quik-Shok on animals, and my own numerous water tests, I personally carry it in my .22's for defense.
I'm not advocating .22's as the end-all, be-all for self-defense. But if you have one, and carry it at all as a backup or primary piece, you would be well-advised to test some Quik-Shok.
And watching those cans explode, and getting showered with water from ten and twelve feet is impressive, too.