Perhaps the most striking thing about the .222 Remington is the fact that it was the first rifle caliber to revolutionize the sport of modern rifle shooting, small game hunting and target shooting. It wasn't that there was a dearth of rifle cartridges available for these purposes, like the .22 Long Rifle in rimfire cartridges or the .22 Hornet in centerfire cartridges; rather, it was a cartridge that filled the gap that these other two examples could not. It was faster, more accurate, and had more power than anything else chambered for a .224" caliber bullet of the time.
Another interesting thing about the .222 Remington (sometimes called the "triple deuce") is the fact that it was the first factory cartridge designed from scratch since the .30-06 Springfield, developed in 1906. Usually, the factory designs a new cartridge based on the design of an older cartridge. This is done in part because it is easier to work with ideas that have already come about; it is also because it is easier to modify existing tooling without having to completely retool — a huge cost saving measure. More importantly, I think, is the fact that if the reader looks to cartridge history in total, they will find the majority of cartridges produced today were not the result of the factory coming up with a new idea; rather, it was the process of the hot rodder's — the wildcats. Without the tinkerer, there would be a large void in the catalog of rifle and pistol cartridges today.
The brainchild of Mike Walker, a ballistician in the employ of Remington Arms Company, the .222 was created in 1950. As mentioned, the .222 filled a gap that was otherwise absent; there was a space to be found between the larger .308 caliber rifles (for big game such as deer and elk) and the diminutive .218 Bee caliber (for pests and varmints). The .222 is accurate and lethal to 200-225 yards for smaller sized game. It is so inherently accurate that it dominated the benchrest rifle shooting circuit for many years. Recoil is light enough that one can shoot this round all day or throughout a match without feeling fatigue that is normally associated with the larger caliber rounds.
Think about that for a second. From 1906 to 1950 (and in truth, the .30-06 was formatively created in 1903 and only finalized in 1906), there were no new cartridges that were stand alone creations — from the case up, as they say. The .222 eventually begat the .222 Remington Magnum (Remington's failed creation to satisfy an Army contract for a new round; eventually, this contract round would become the .223 Remington) and was subsequently given a run for its money by the .22 PPC on the benchrest circuit. Even so, the cartridge still can be found in the fields and on the benches. This is a testament to sound design. This doesn't happen every day, as most cartridges are just rehashes of old ideas, sometimes poorly executed in both origin and contemporary form.
Chambered mainly for bolt action rifles, this cartridge has also found its way into pump action and single shot rifles as well. Otherwise, this cartridge has found its way into single shot pistols, though not nearly as much as it has been chambered in a rifle.
The .222 was originally chambered in the 40X, 40XBR and the Model 700 Remington rifles. Bullets for the .222 range from 40 to 55 grains in weight with an average velocity of 3,200 FPS. The .222, while a cutting edge technical achievement in its day, has been overshadowed by the .223 Remington, .220 Swift and .22-250 Remington.