Table of Contents
1. CCI – MEAT EATER 22 LONG RIFLE MINI MAG AMMO
Created with the inspiration and name of well-known hunter Steve Rinella the CCI MiniMag “Meateater” lineup of 36-grain hunting ammunition features a reasonably fast 1,260 fps bullet velocity out of standard 16″ barrels. The Meateater lineup uses a 36-grain copper-plated hollow point and in my experience, these feed well out of all my semi-autos and are great out of rifles with even longer barrel lengths. CCI ammunition always uses the cleanest propellants and primer material so this ammo is also great for keeping your gun clean, even when you practice with it.
Pros/Non-fouling components and reliable copper-plated hollow points
Cons/36-grains can be kind of light on larger small game like turkeys, and coyotes
Bottom Line/Great for varmints like squirrels and prairie dogs!
2. Federal, Game Shok, .22LR, CPRN – 40 Grain
Federal has some of my favorite self-defense ammunition on the market and they also have one of the better non-hollow-point 22lr hunting ammunition out there as well. Federal’s Game Shok ammunition features a 40-grain copper-plated round nose bullet that packs 137 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. This ammo is great for longer-range shots on 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 ammunition.
Pros/Less expensive than competitors, round nose for reliable feeding
Cons/Lacks expansion capabilities at longer ranges
Bottom Line/Great for longer range engagements on smaller critters.
3. CCI SGB Small Game Bullet)
This 40-grain flat point bullet features the same ballistics as the standard CCI 40-grain lead round nose. This means you’ll get good velocity, trajectory, and the same impact point so you don’t have to make any adjustments to your optics or sights for accurate hits. The flat point bullet means that you’ll be sure to get a good amount of expansion up to 50-yards away and make sure all the energy is delivered into your target instead of passing through it.
Pros/Features identical ballistics to 40-grain CCI offerings meaning no sight adjustments
Cons/A bit more expensive per unit than other hunting ammo in the 22LR class
Bottom Line/A worry free way to make sure your shots count without adjusting your optics or sights
4. Winchester Subsonic 42 MAX
Winchester 42 max has been one of my favorite types of rimfire ammunition ever to exist. Sadly it is fast disappearing from shelves and stockroom but occasionally you can still find it out there 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 ammunition at longer ranges. Finally, the 42 max works well out of nearly every semi-automatic 22LR firearm.
Pros/reliable, consistent and heavy hitting
Cons/Exposed lead bullet fouls your gun up more
Bottom Line/Great for longer range engagements and for reducing noise in suppressed or unsuppressed firearms
5. CCI 22L LR Subsonic Segmented Hollow Point
Featuring one of the industries only fragmenting 22LR rounds. the CCI Segmented Hollow Point is a subsonic offering that allows for maximum stopping power on small targets. These fragmenting rounds a great for ensuring a clean and quick kill on most small game but the round does limit your kill range to within the speed threshold where the bullet will consistently fragment. Being a subsonic round this is further reduced but the reliability of this ammo when it comes to putting down targets quickly is why it made it on this list.
Pros/Consistent kills regardless of shot placement
Cons/limited range due to muzzle velocity and expansion capabilities
Bottom Line/Great for suppressed firearms
What kind of small game can I hunt with 22LR?
22LR is entirely humane and effective at killing a variety of small game including foxes, squirrels, groundhogs, woodchucks, prairie dogs, and even turkeys. Even though 22LR is capable of taking small game down you should still prioritize shot placement over any perceived stopping power any ammunition 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 22LR in any US State. 22LR is entirely capable of killing deer but in most cases, it won’t be a humane or clean kill and you are far more likely to end up losing your kill and having it bleed out later in some unknown location.
How far out does 22LR remain lethal?
For most small game, 22LR will remain lethal out to about 200 or so yards. A lot of the rounds on this list are subsonic so you’ll have to do a lot of practice to make sure your shots are landing where you expect them to. I’d personally recommend that longer-range shots beyond 100 yards be taken with something that is moving a bit faster like 17HMR or 17 HM2.
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