holding a 22LR ammo

Top 10 Ammo For Your 22LR [In-Depth Review]

In the upcoming sections, we’ll cover the advantages of the .22 LR in general, the bullet types and weights of the .22, and then the best 22LR ammo that you can buy.

If there is one gun that absolutely no gun collection of any kind is complete without, it’s the .22 LR. Every gun collection needs to have at least one .22 firearm in it, be it a handgun or a revolver, without question. There is a great multitude of .22 firearms available to buy, and along with that, there is also a great variety of 22 LR ammunition as well.

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Advantages of the .22 LR

There are so many reasons to own a .22 LR firearm that an entire book could be written on the subject.

Man at the range testing 22lr target ammo

That being said, many people still underestimate the .22 and its capabilities. Too often, the .22 is relegated to being a plinking weapon for casual target shooting and not much else. In reality, the .22 can be used for far more than that, for everything from target shooting to tactical training to small game hunting to homesteading to survival to pest control to teaching new shooters how to shoot.

.22LR Recoil

The .22 LR has minimal recoil and low noise, which makes it an excellent training round without disturbing your neighbors. No, you can’t go shooting if you live in a suburban neighborhood, but if you live on a homestead with neighbors in relatively moderate to close proximity they likely would not be bothered by you firing .22s into a mound of dirt versus if you were to fire larger calibers.

.22LR Versatility

And as survival or an SHTF round, the .22 LR is arguably one of the best calibers that you could have. True, it’s not the greatest round for self-defense (even though it could be used for that purpose).

But on the other hand, the fact that .22 ammunition is so small and light mean you can carry literally thousands of rounds of it on your person. That’s something you can’t do with 9mm or 5.56x45mm NATO. The limited noise also reduces your risk of being detected by those at moderate to far distances.

.22LR for Small Game Hunting

The .22 is also a highly versatile round capable of bringing down virtually any kind of small game, and even deer with a proper shot. It’s for these reasons that the .22 LR is often depended upon as a ‘survival round,’ and it’s also why it would be a good choice in an SHTF scenario.

From survival to target shooting to training to small game hunting, the .22 LR is a very versatile round and one to be reckoned with. Next, we’ll talk about the .22 LR round in greater detail.

The Variety of .22 LR Ammunition

There are many varieties of 22lr ammo

There is an extremely wide variety of .22 LR ammunition available on the market. Bullet weight can differ significantly from twenty all the way up to sixty grains, while velocity can be as low as six hundred feet per second up to nearly two thousand feet per second.

.22 Ammo Uses

Some .22 ammunition is designed specifically for the purpose of plinking or casual target shooting, and this ammunition is what is commonly sold in the ‘bulk’ backs at discount prices.

Other .22 LR loads are designed to be used for hunting or for specific guns. Certain popular .22 pistols, such as the Walther P22 for instance, are designed to function reliably only with high velocity .22 ammunition (or ammunition with more than 1,250 feet per second).

However, not all .22 ammunition is created equally, and some rounds are higher quality than others. This is no different than with other calibers. In the next section, we’ll talk about the best brands of .22 LR that you can buy.

The Best .22LR Ammunition On The Market

Here is a list of the best .22 LR ammunition on the market:

 Product NameWhere to Buy
image of CCI Mini-Mag MeatEaterCCI Mini-Mag MeatEaterCheck Price
image of CCI A17 17 Grain Varmint TipCCI A17 17 Grain Varmint TipCheck Price
image of Eley Tenex Biathlon 40 GrainEley Tenex Biathlon 40 GrainCheck Price
image of Federal Punch 29 GrainFederal Punch 29 GrainCheck Price
image of Remington 36 Grain HPRemington 36 Grain HPCheck Price
image of Aguila Super Extra 40 Grain CPRNAguila Super Extra 40 Grain CPRNCheck Price
image of Aguila Colibri SubsonicAguila Colibri SubsonicCheck Price
image of CCI BlazerCCI BlazerCheck Price
image of Federal AutoMatch TargetFederal AutoMatch TargetCheck Price
image of  LG Mixed Manufacturer LG Mixed ManufacturerCheck Price

We realize 22LR ammo stock is scarce. Click here to find 22LR Ammo in stock.

Best 22LR Ammo for Small Game Hunting – CCI Mini-Mag MeatEater

CCI 22LR Minimag 36 grain bullet

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The CCI Mini-Mag has a 36-grain bullet. This makes the bullet light enough that it reaches 1,260 fps out of the muzzle. It can retain +1000 fps for ~100 yards.

The copper plating of the bullet helps prevent lead deposits in the barrel. The nose cavity on the bullet makes it the ideal 22lr ammo for small game hunting.

The Varmint Hunting Option – CCI A17 17 Grain Varmint Tip

The CCi A17 Varmint Tip is optimized for semi-automatic feeding

image of a button check this price

This 22lR ammo is made for 17 HMR rifles. Optimized for semi-automatic feeding. That said it works well in bolt action 22s. It delivers a muzzle velocity of 2,650 fps when fired from a 22-inch barrel.

However, what makes this 22lr ammo unique is the bullet itself.  The polymer tipped bullet has a G1 ballistic coefficient of 0.128. The tip has an explosive terminal expansion, making a very bad for any varmint it encounters.

Best Cold Weather Accuracy 22lR Ammo – Eley Tenex Biathlon 40 Grain

Eley Tenex Biathlon 22lr Ammo

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You may not be a Biathlete, but if you are looking for accurate 22lr ammo in cold weather then Eley Tenex Biathlon fits the bill.

The 40-grain bullet is Eley’s signature lead flat nose. This makes the bullet more accurate by aerodynamically stabilizing it in flight.

Best 22LR Ammo for Self Defense – Federal Punch 29 Grain

Federal Punch 22LR Self defense ammo is great for concealment

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Sure most people don’t think of 22LR for self-defense. However, a 22’s small profile makes it great for easy concealment.

Typically 22s don’t have enough momentum to expand and penetrate deeply. The Punch’s hard nickel-plated exterior and flat nose bullet doesn’t expand thus penetrating deeply.

Best Hollow Point 22LR Ammo – Remington 36 Grain HP

Remington 36 Grain HP -22lR Ammo has a muzzle velocity of 1,280 FPS

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Remington has always been known for creating high-value rimfire ammunition. This round is loaded into a brass rimfire primed casing.

Remington’s .22lr s are capable of a muzzle velocity of 1280 fps and are non-corrosive. No list of the best 22LR ammo would be complete without the Golden Bullet.

Best 22LR Ammo for Plinking – Aguila Super Extra 40 Grain CPRNAguila Super Extra 22lr ammo

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If you are going out for a fun day of plinking then it’s hard to beat the value of the Aguila Super Extra. The high muzzle velocity of 1,255 fps means it will provide decent accuracy at a long distance.  The copper-plating will prevent lead build-up in your barrel. Seems to burn clean and cycle well.

The Subsonic Option:Aguila Colibri Subsonic

Aguila Colibri Subsonic 22 LR Ammo is quiet and does not standard powder

As a subsonic round, the Aguila Colibri is designed to function reliably at a speed that is less than a speed of energy. As a result, firing this ammunition means you will experience less muzzle energy and velocity. In other words, you’ll be trading less speed and power in exchange for a quieter round with less muzzle flash.

Another interesting fact about the Aguila Colibri ammunition is the fact that they do not use powder. Instead, they are reliant on the primer to propel the bullet down the barrel.

This is one reason why the Colibri ammo is so quiet. For pest control or target shooting on a homestead where you really don’t want to disturb anyone else, this would be excellent ammunition to go with.

Unfortunately, since the bullet relies on the primer to be propelled forward, this ammunition can only be used in pistols and revolvers. It cannot be used in rifles, so if you were hoping to use this ammunition in your Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60, unfortunately, you’ll be out of luck.

The Economical Option: CCI Blazer

CCI Blazer 22LR Ammunition is often times is sold with 5,000 rounds per box

The CCI Blazer ammo is commonly sold in bulk packs and is widely available, often times being sold with 5,000 rounds a box and for affordable prices.

For casual plinking ammo, the CCI Blazer is definitely the best the market has to offer. Is this the absolute best performing .22 ammo? Not exactly, but it works well enough, and if you’re looking for ammo that you can just shoot all day without breaking your bank, it can’t be beaten.

The CCI Blazer ammo has a bullet weight of 40 grains with a lead round nose. This has one major pro and one major con: it will expand on impact (which is good should you need to use it for self-defense), but on the other hand, it will cause fouling to build up in your firearm, requiring you to clean it more often.

All in all, for an economical .22 round that will be a great choice for casual target shooting and practicing, the CCI Blazer ammo is an excellent and practical option.

The Higher Quality Option:Federal AutoMatch Target

Federal AutoMatch Target 22LR Ammo is a great bullet for target practice

If you’re looking for .22 ammo that is just a notch above the CCI Blazer ammo, give the Federal AutoMatch target ammo a good look.

Yes, you’ll have to pay a slightly higher price for this ammunition, but you’ll get what you pay for since this ammo is designed to function more reliably and accurately out of .22 caliber handguns and rifles alike.

How exactly is the Federal AutoMatch an updated version of your typical plinking ammo? The answer is that the Federal designed this ammunition to be consistent both in terms of cycling the action of your firearm and in traveling accurately down the barrel of your weapon.

Blazer Bulk

While CCI Blazer is excellent bulk-pack ammo, as we discussed, it’s designed to be plinking ammo and not much else (and furthermore can foul up the action of your firearms after repeated use). The Federal AutoMatch Target ammo is an upgrade above that.

The bullet weight of this ammunition is forty grains with a round nose bullet shape. It is commonly sold in three hundred and twenty-five round bulk packs. Or in fifty or one hundred round cartons.

Last and Least…

The Dirt Cheap 22LR Ammo Option – LG Mixed Manufacturer

For a cheap 22LR option try LG Mixed Manufacturer 22LR ammo

image of a button check this price

We feel bad adding this to the list of the best 22lr ammo. But if you are looking for rounds that are under 10 cents a piece you might try it.

Basically when LuckyGunner gets inventory sometimes the boxes are damaged.  So they take the ammo and put it in these bags. Could be 22lr ammo from Federal, Winchester, or Remington. Various bullet types also. FMJ, JHP, etc.

Best 22LR Ammo – Conclusion

Do you not yet have a .22 in your gun collection? Or do you have a .22 firearm but have not yet realized its true versatility of it?

If either of these is true for you, spending more time with any .22 firearm in the range is definitely something you will want to do.

Why is .22LR Ammo so Popular?

Not only are .22 handguns and rifles enormously fun to shoot, but more importantly, but they are also among the most versatile calibers on the entire planet and can be used for each of the following purposes:

  • Casual target shooting
  • Tactical training
  • Teaching new people to shoot
  • Pest control
  • Small game hunting
  • General homestead use
  • SHTF survival use
  • Zombie defense (seriously, what better weapon to defend yourself against a zombie horde than a semi-automatic Ruger 10/22 with multiple 25-round banana magazines?)

In fact, having both a .22 semi-automatic rifle and a .22 pistol or revolver of some sort in your arsenal would both definitely be wise additions. Since .22 ammo is so economical (and has been becoming more available since the .22 shortage that began in 2013), you may end up shooting your .22s more than any other firearm.

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Chris Browning

Hey everyone I'm Chris. Founder and editor at Gun News Daily. This site was originally started by my father who passed it on to me. Gun News Daily has been reporting on gun news and conservative politics since 2001. We are the original gun news source. Life-long Second Amendment Supporter.

10 thoughts on “Top 10 Ammo For Your 22LR [In-Depth Review]

  1. Seriously? That’s a minute of my life I won’t get back. Maybe hire a 16 year old to write these articles.

  2. I bought a box of 325 rounds of Federal Automatch. We used it in 2 Marlin 60s, a new Ruger mk iv and a Hi-standard HD MIlitary. It jammed up EACH of the guns. Not always but often enough to cause a lot of grief and in one Marlin, it jammed almost every time. We switched to CCI Stingers and Velocitors and had absolutely no problems.

  3. i purchased a ruger 10/22 a couple years ago man’s best friend edition. the first ammo ibougt was aguila super extra 40 grain solid round nose plated, shot 3 bricks of that and 1 brick of the aguila subsonic 40 grain solid round nose non plated. they shot pretty dang good and reliable. found some federal automatch 40 grain solid round nose right before the pandemic at walmart, they run very good in my 10/22, a sw mp 15-22 also. nice accuracy too. at fifty three yards usualy no more than 1.5 inch groups sometimes alot tighter. moved back to a hundred yards hit 12×12 steal 10 times out of 10,and a 6×8 steal with a scope and the peep or rear apeterre sight, moved back to 150 yards and still rang the 12×12 steal with high hold over. no expert, but the auto match is my go ammo, if can find it

  4. Your choices surprised me, I would consider those to be some of the least desireable choices out there. I’m not sure what you based your choices on butI suspect very few people would agree with you.

  5. Why is this list called Top 10 and there are actually only three listed, which are not really the top anything?

    I’ll give you a Top 4:
    CCI MiniMags or CCI Velocitors for reliability. Eley Tenex or Lapua Centerex for accuracy.

    Reliability and accuracy are the whole game. Everything else is second rate or an insignificant niche.

  6. Umm, we beg to differ…no problem with the blazers, it is decent ammuntion…the federal automatch is inferior to some other bulk .22lr, including aguila and remington, although I would rate it above winchester…if I had to settle on one round only, it would the 36gr cci mini-mags, but fortunately there are other .22lr rounds that do great work, especially if one really takes the time to test…cci sv and norma tac are plenty accurate…the above mentioned bulk are just fine for plinking…for hunting stingers are hard to beat…also, .22lr is plenty loud -my ears were ringing after I inadvertently forget to put protection back on after going ‘cold’ a few days ago…do agree on a bottom line: everyone should own at least one .22…

  7. The so called top 10 only listed 4 and they are far below the best 22lr ammo. Closer to the bottom 4. If you are looking for top competition ammo look at Eley, S&K, Lapua. If you cannot put 10 rounds in a 2 inch target at 100 yards you need to up your game. The 3 I listed with a good match grade rifle will put all 10 rounds in under 1 inch. If you want to hit a soda can at 20 yards any ammo and any brand rifle can do that.

  8. Appreciate the article. If you’ve never tried Aguila Super Extra (40 grain copper round nosed), don’t hesitate. It’s similar to CCI Minimag ammo, but this Aguila is the only thing I’ve found (from all sorts of .22 LR) that runs well in my jam-0-matic TacSol factory SBR.

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