American Rifleman - August 2017 - 77
artridge wildcatters are visionaries. For them, an
existing cartridge is simply a stick of moldable
clay or an unchiseled block of marble hiding a
masterpiece within. Adhering to an avant-garde
approach, wildcatters such as Charles Newton, P.O. Ackley,
Ned H. Roberts, Richard J. "Dick" Casull, Ken Waters and
J.D. Jones, among many others, altered existing cartridges
(or created new ones) in order to improve efficiency,
increase velocity, maximize energy, better consistency or,
in certain cases, fulfill a niche. For gunsmith and Armscor/
Rock Island Armory (RIA) consultant Fred Craig, the latter
was the impetus for creating the .22 TCM.
In developing the cartridge which was originally coined
.22 Micromagnum, Craig sought to produce an affordable,
high-performance, .22-cal. center-fire cartridge suitable for
use in the ubiquitous M1911 platform. It's widely reported
that, while Craig was working at Armscor's Marikina,
Philippines, facility, company president Martin Tuason became
enamored with the cartridge and the prospects of chambering
it in the company's guns. Craig's wildcat was then renamed .22
TCM, for Tuason-Craig-Micromagnum, and, shortly thereafter,
production of .22 TCM M1911 pistols began.
In true wildcatter style, Craig eschewed existing pistol
cartridges for the parent case; they were incapable of
providing the inspiring external ballistics that he pursued.
Testing revealed that such was true of the .30 Carbine, too.
Craig found the perfect parent case to be the ubiquitous
.223 Rem. Why?
Key to the development of the .22 TCM was functionality
through 9 mm Luger magazines. That requirement mandated that some critical dimensions of the new case-such
as rim diameter and body width-be reasonably close to
those of the 9 mm Luger cartridge. The .223 Rem. case was
suitable for the task because, according to Sporting Arms
and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute (SAAMI) specifications, the 9 mm Luger/Luger +P have a rim diameter
measuring 0.394" (-0.010"), while the .223 Rem. is 0.378"
(-0.010"). Sample Armscor .22 TCM loads measured 0.374"
across the rim. Moreover, the diameter at the case mouth
of the 9 mm Luger and the shoulder of the .22 TCM are,
once again, close enough for sure functioning in magazines
designed for the 9 mm Luger.
With a maximum average pressure (M.A.P.) of 55,000 p.s.i.,
the .223 Rem. case is also robust-especially in the critical
web area. Achieving 2000 f.p.s. with a 40-gr., 0.224"-diameter,
jacketed-hollow-point bullet from a 5"-barreled M1911 pistol is no easy feat; in fact, factory ammunition is currently
loaded to around 40,000 p.s.i. That's higher than the M.A.P.
of the 9 mm Luger +P (38,500 p.s.i.), .38 Super Auto +P
(36,500 p.s.i) and 10 mm Auto (37,500 p.s.i.). Its pressure
mimics the M.A.P. of the .357 Rem. Max. Keep in mind that
the .22 TCM isn't a SAAMI-approved cartridge yet, so no
"standards," such as a M.A.P., currently exist for it.
Given its case length of 1.760" (-0.020"), the .223 Rem.
required significant shortening to function in an M1911.
The .22 TCM's case is 1.025" long, and the maximum cartridge overall length (C.O.L.) is 1.265" (some sources cite
this as 1.260")-0.010" less than that of the .45 ACP-
though measured factory loads ranged from 1.241" to
1.250". In comparison, the 9 mm Luger's C.O.L. is 1.169".
Giving the cartridge its rifle-like bottleneck shape is a body
with very minimal taper and a somewhat sharp shoulder
angle. Further, whereas the rim on the .223 Rem. is 0.045"
(-0.010") thick, that on the .22 TCM measures 0.050"-
identical to the 9 mm Luger (0.050"-0.010"). Lastly, to
improve functioning in M1911s the .22 TCM's extractor
groove has been altered; it more closely approximates that
of the 9 mm Luger than its .223 Rem. parent. A small pistol
primer provides ignition.
Factory ammunition for the .22 TCM is limited to that
produced by Armscor, and the company's website currently
lists only a single projectile-a stubby, 0.469"-long proprietary, jacketed hollow point with simple cup-and-core construction. Featuring a wide, flat meplat and a significant
amount of exposed lead, it's ideal for "soft" targets such as
varmints and predators-especially at the high velocities
that the cartridge can propel it.
The bullet's blunted profile can be considered a "catch22"; necessary to preserve its modest overall length for
sure functioning from 9 mm Luger magazines, the semispitzer design-especially when combined with a flat
base-lessens the ballistic coefficient, or the projectile's
aerodynamic qualities. It's a moot point at typical M1911
ranges, but it becomes a real consideration when the
cartridge is employed in the M22 TCM BA bolt-action rifle
for hunting. Essentially, it relegates the round to midrange varminting, a realm also occupied by the .17 WSM,
.22 Hornet, 5.7x28 mm FN and .218 Bee. As for cost,
50-count boxes of Armscor .22 TCM 40-gr. JHP ammunition
sell for as low as $16.45 (outdoorlimited.com). At that
price, it certainly bests the price of the other .22-cal.,
mid-range center-fire rounds.
The .22 TCM is based on a .223 Rem. case, shortened, necked
down and with changes to the extractor groove. The only factory load has a 40-gr. bullet and is offered by Armscor (r.).