The 5 best 22LR hunting loads on the market
1. CCI – MEAT EATER 22 LONG RIFLE MINI MAG AMMO
Created with the inspiration and name of famous hunter Steve Rinella, the CCI MiniMag “Meateater” 36 grain range of hunting ammunition features a reasonably fast bullet speed of 1260 fps on standard 16 inch barrels. The Meateater range uses a 36 grit copper plated hollow point and in my experience these feed well on all my semi autos and are great for rifles with even longer barrel lengths. CCI ammunition always uses the cleanest propellants and primer materials. This ammo is therefore also ideal for keeping your weapon clean, even when you are training with it.
Advantages/Non-fouling components and reliable copper-plated hollow points
The inconvenients/36 kernels may be a bit light on larger small game such as turkeys and coyotes
Final result/Great for vermin like squirrels and prairie dogs!
2. Federal, Game Shok, .22LR, RCRPP – 40 grain
Federal has some of my favorite self defense ammunition on the market and they also have one of the best non-hollow 22lr hunting ammunition on the market. Federal Game Shok ammunition features a 40-grain copper-plated round nose bullet that contains 137 lb-ft of muzzle energy. These ammunition are ideal for long range shots at small game like groundhogs or even pest birds. Best of all, Federal’s Game Shok is pretty light on the wallet in terms of hunting ammo.
Advantages/Cheaper than competitors, round nose for reliable power
The inconvenients/Lack of extension capabilities to longer spans
Final result/Ideal for longer distance engagements on smaller critters.
3. Small game ball CCI SGB)
This 40 grain flat point bullet features the same ballistics as the standard CCI 40 grain round lead nose. This means you’ll get good speed, good trajectory, and the same point of impact, so you won’t have to adjust your optics or sights for precise shots. The flat point bullet means you’ll be sure to get a good expansion up to 50 yards and all the energy is transmitted to your target instead of passing through it.
Advantages/Features identical ballistics to the 40-grain CCI offerings, meaning no sight adjustment
The inconvenients/A little more expensive per unit than other 22LR class hunting ammunition
Final result/A worry-free way to make sure your shots matter without adjusting your optics or viewfinders
4. Winchester Subsonic 42 MAX
Winchester 42 max was one of my favorite types of rimfire ammunition. Unfortunately, it quickly disappears from shelves and inventory, but sometimes you can find it in stores and online. The subsonic variant of the 42 max features a heavier bullet and a consistent trajectory regardless of distance, meaning your shots are more predictable than supersonic hunting ammo at longer range. Finally, the 42 max works well with almost all 22LR semi-automatic firearms.
Advantages/reliable, consistent and heavy hitting
The inconvenients/Exposed lead bullet further fouls your gun
Final result/Ideal for longer range engagements and for reducing noise in suppressed and non-suppressed firearms
5. CCI 22L LR segmented subsonic hollow point
Featuring one of the industries that only fragments 22LR cartridges. The CCI Segmented Hollow Point is a subsonic offering that allows maximum stopping power on small targets. These fragmentation cartridges are ideal for ensuring a clean and quick kill on most small game, but the round limits your killing range to the speed threshold where the bullet will consistently fragment. Being a subsonic round this is further reduced, but the reliability of this ammunition when it comes to quickly landing targets is why it is on this list.
Advantages/Consistent kills regardless of shot placement
The inconvenients/limited range due to muzzle velocity and expansion capabilities
Final result/Ideal for suppressed firearms
What type of small game can I hunt with 22LR?
22LR is completely humane and effective at killing a variety of small game including foxes, squirrels, groundhogs, groundhogs, prairie dogs, and even turkeys. Even though the 22LR is capable of taking down small game, you should still prioritize shot placement over any perceived stopping power the ammo claims to have – make those shots count.
Is it legal to hunt deer with a 22LR rifle?
It is not legal to hunt deer with the 22LR in any state in the United States. 22LR is quite capable of killing deer, but in most cases it won’t be a humane or clean kill and you are much more likely to lose your kill and cause it to bleed later in the day. an unknown place.
How far does 22LR remain lethal?
For most small game, the 22LR will remain lethal up to about 200 yards. Most of the rounds on this list are subsonic, so you’ll have to practice a lot to make sure your shots land where you expect. Personally, I would recommend that the longer range shots beyond 100 yards be taken with something that moves a bit faster like the 17HMR or 17 HM2.
We are committed to finding, researching and recommending the best products. We earn commissions on the purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how it works.