Best .22 LR Ammo Review 2017 for Varmint Hunting/Range Training

Unlike most of my previous reviews which basically involves handgun ammo, the .22 lr (long rifle) is a .22 caliber rimfire ammunition. Before beginning, let’s walk down the memory lane on how this ammo developed initially. Firstly, it is manufactured by the J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company in the late 80s.

In addition to that, this cartridge is rather versatile as it is able to accommodate variety of rifles and pistols. So, coming to the main question wondered aloud, what makes this rifle unique? If you have noticed, the .22 LR is one of the most popular rimfire ammo because it is low in cost, has minimal recoil and produce low noise. Hence why, it is ideal for shooting, target training, game hunting as well as pest control, according to your preference.

Get a .22 lr riflescope to pair with your rifle and ammo.

By low cost, I mean really low cost as the average price of each round is priced between 6 to 10 cents. They are available in either the usual 50 or 100 rounds per box, or in bulks which contains 500 up to 5000 rounds. In my opinion, it is really worth it to buy the 5000 rounds bulk ammo for uses such as competitive shooting and range training.

Moving on to the performance, the best .22 lr projectile’s performance is influenced by its action type as well as barrel length. They perform effectively at 100 to 150 yards. For your information, the .22 lr loads are divided into 4 categories which include the subsonic, standard-velocity, hyper-velocity as well as high-velocity which is decided based on their nominal velocity.

If you prefer handgun ammo over rimfire ammo, check out some of the best ones below :

Top 10 Rated .22 LR Comparison Table

Name of ProductWeightMuzzle VelocityMuzzle EnergyRoundsPrice
Remington Thunderbolt 22 LR Ammo40 grain1255 fps140 ft lbs500$$
Norma Tac Ammunition40 grain1100 fps110 ft lbs500$$
Federal AutoMatch Target40 grain1200 fps128 ft lbs325$$
CCI Blazer Cartridges40 grain1235 fps135 ft lbs5000$$$
Aguila Colibri Round20 grain420 fps8 ft lbs500$$
Federal Champion Ammo40 grain1240 fps125 ft lbs5000$$$
Fiocchi CPRN 22 LR Ammunition40 grain1250 fps139 ft lbs500$$
CCI Sub-Sonic 22 Long Rifle Round40 grain1050 fps98 ft lbs100$
CCI Velocitor Projectile40 grain1435 fps183 ft lbs50$
CCI Stinger 22 LR Projectile32 grain1640 fps191 ft lbs50$$

Bullet Weight & Type

The bullet weight of the 22 lr ammunition is measured in the unit grains. The most common bullet weight for this rimfire ammo is 40 grains or below, but mostly 40 grains. Moving on to the type, the common type includes the Lead Round Nose (LRN) and Copper Plated Hollow Point (CPHP) type. The lead round nose basically is multipurpose, as it can be used for versatile applications.

However, there might be fouling in your barrel due to lead stripping, nevertheless the problem can be addressed by simple cleaning and proper maintenance. Also, lead metal is prohibited in some areas. For the CPHP type, the hollow point of the bullet is gilded with thin copper plating which comes in handy to reduce muzzle build-up and ensure that it retains its shape upon impact. Another plus point is that, it can be used in lead-prohibited areas.

Check out the guide to the various bullet types here.

Number of Rounds & Packaging

There are 2 options for the number of rounds; either you want to get the standard 50 or 100 rounds per box or buy them in bulk (500, 1000 or 5000 rounds). And since the 22 lr rounds are rather cheap, the overall price is rather low compared to other handgun ammo. That being said, the number of rounds solely depends on what you plan to utilize them for.

For example, you need to buy them in bulk if you’re using them for range training or target practice. However, if you plan on using them for self-defense or varmint hunting, it is best to go for moderate number of rounds.

Moving on to the packaging, they are arranged neatly and orderly in the box for easy handling and removal. The ones in bulks come in multiple boxes of 50 per round. For example, the product will 500 rounds comes in 10 boxes containing 50 rounds each.

Best Range Training Ammo :

1. Remington Thunderbolt 22 LR Ammo

Remington Thunderbolt 22 LR Ammo

Manufactured by Remington, this product comes with a total of 500 rounds altogether. These 500 rounds on the other hand are arranged neatly and in an orderly manner, in a box to ensure easy handling and removal of the ammo, for your added convenience. Not only that, the 500 rounds are classified as bulk ammo, hence it is suitable for activities such as competitive shooting as well as range training.

This is because you can fire them continuously at once without worrying about them getting finished. The bullet weighs 40 grains and it is of the lead round nose (LRN) type. All in all, the Thunderbolt round nose ensures an amazing shooting experience for rookie shooters as well as avid hunters.

That being said, the LRN bullet type offers versatile uses (great for hunting, plinking and competition) and is cheaper as well as commonly available. For your information, the round nose is a traditional design commonly utilized by hunters to aim at game at short ranges. There is lead material on the nose which comes in handy to ensure positive expansion upon entering the target.

However, the lead material might cause barrel leading, hence why cleaning and maintaining them is very important. Furthermore, the projectile leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1255 feet per second (fps), with a muzzle energy of 140 ft lbs (foot pounds).

The theory is rather straightforward; the heavier the bullet, the higher the velocity and energy, and voila the more devastating the results (deep penetration). Also, the bullet fires well with the least probability of misfiring and getting jammed, for your added convenience.

Moving on to the ammo casing, it is of the rimfire-primed brass. Unlike the boxer primed brass for the handgun ammo, this primer cannot be removed and replaced. They are of the brass construction to prevent corrosion in the long run, when in contact with rain or the moisture from the surrounding.

Suitable for :

    • Lead round nose (LRN) cartridge
    • 40 grains weight
    • Rimfire-primed brass
    • 500 rounds per box
    • Versatile in use

2. Norma Tac Rimfire Ammunition

Norma Tac Rimfire Ammunition

Ever heard of the Norma Tac ammo? It is a rather popular brand for the .22 lr ammunition. Manufactured and precision made, the Norma TAC-22 offers excellent performance, with a great price of 10 cents per round. Generally, all .22 lr cartridges are rather cheap thereby making them one of the most popular rimfire ammo utilized. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get cheap loads with reliable performance?

Moreover, it weighs 40 grains altogether, in terms of bullet weight. If you have noticed, most of these type of rimfire cartridges weigh 40 grains and below to ensure the best shooting performance. Moving on to the bullet type, it is of the lead round nose (LRN). There is lead material at the nose which might cause barrel fouling because the lead will most probably strip off.

Nevertheless, this situation can be prevented by properly maintaining and cleaning the barrel of your rifle frequently. The round nose design on the other hand is rather suitable for hunting small games at shorter ranges. The lead material also allows for positive expansion of the bullet when going through moderate velocity.

All in all, the LRN cartridge is rather multipurpose as it offers accurate shots, ensure that they deform on impact, feeds well in almost any weapons (semi-automatic pistol mainly) as well as cheaper than other styles, which in my opinion, is a bonus because it not only is cheap, but also reliable and consistent.

Apart from that, it is equipped with a total of 500 rounds altogether. These 500 rounds are arranged neatly and in an organized manner, in a box so you can remove the cartridges with maximum ease. Also, the large number of rounds comes in handy for activities such as competitive shooting and target shooting as you can use up many ammo at once.

In terms of the bullet performance, it travels at a muzzle velocity of 1100 fps and a muzzle energy of 110 ft lbs. Just so you know, the higher muzzle velocity is directly proportional to the energy therefore resulting in deeper penetration. It is important to choose ammo with deeper penetration features, especially when you’re hunting larger games, to aim at the vital organs of your game.

Suitable for :

    • 500 rounds per box
    • Lead round nose (LRN) round
    • 40 grain bullet weight
    • Feeds well in all .22 lr actions

3. Federal AutoMatch Target

Federal AutoMatch Target

First things first, this product is manufactured by Federal Champion brand. That being said, the Federal AutoMatch target .22 lr ammunition makes a great option for your Ruger 10/22 rifle so if you possess the Ruger rifle, this cartridge is a must-have for you. So, why is this cartridge great?

To answer your query, it is an upgraded version from the traditional plinking ammo, and is designed for an improved shot. By improved shot, I mean that the shot yields higher consistency as well as smaller group sizes which will further contribute to the accuracy of your shot. If you’re looking for a great .22 lr projectile to cycle your semi-automatic pistols, look no further, because this product will make your life easier.

Moving on to the bullet specifications, it weighs 40 grains in total (usual bullet weight of most .22 lr rounds). The type on the other hand is the lead round nose (LRN) type where the nose is round in shape with a lead metal on it.

To be honest, the LRN type is great and multipurpose however, the lead metal might cause an issue sometimes. In other words, some shooting areas doesn’t permit the lead bullets as well as might cause fouling in your barrel due to lead stripping. However, this problem is nothing proper maintenance and frequent cleaning can’t fix!

In addition to that, it comes in 325 rounds altogether in which they are packed and arranged neatly in the box to ensure easy handling and removal of the rounds. The 325 rounds are counted as bulk ammo therefore suitable for purposes that require you to use up a lot of ammo at once, for instance range training. On side note, purchasing ammunition in bulks are way cheaper than buying them either multiple 50 or 100 rounds per box.

The casing is rimfire-primed, which means that it is non-reloadable (unlike the boxer-primed brass). Also, they are of brass construction therefore ensuring that it is corrosion-free, which further contributes to its durability in the long run.

Suitable for :

    • 325 rounds per box
    • Rimfire-style primers
    • 40 grain LRN type
    • Great for Ruger 10/22
    • Great consistency and smaller group sizes

4. CCI Blazer Rimfire Cartridges

CCI Blazer rimfire Cartridges

The CCI Blazer brand is a rather popular cartridge for its amazing performance as well as affordable price. What I like most about this product is that, it comes with a total of 5000 rounds per case. Hence why, if you’re an avid and frequent shooter or gun rookie, this product is very suitable for you because you get to utilize it fully to the maximum for shooting.

In other words, you get to fire hundreds of rounds continuously without worrying about it finishing because hey, you have 5000 rounds! In my case, since I’m an avid shooter, I used it for 3 to 4 weeks. All in all, it is suitable to be used for range training. Not forgetting, buying them in bulks are a lot cheaper per rounds, not to mention, very well worth your investment because you’ll be killing two birds with a stone; getting enough ammo and saving cost.

Furthermore, it has a bullet weight of 40 grains. The type on the other hand is the common lead round nose where the nose is round with a large, rounded and exposed lead tip. The lead tip has both its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, it is great to provide positive expansion when in contact with the target but also might cause fouling in your gun’s barrel because of the probability of lead stripping.

But don’t fret, it is nothing proper maintenance and thorough cleaning can’t fix! Besides that, the projectile travels at a muzzle velocity of 1235 fps as well as muzzle energy measuring 135 ft lbs. Just so you know, higher muzzle energy and velocity will contribute to deeper penetration since in this case, the light bullet weight won’t really cause deep penetration. Deep penetration is important especially when hunting larger games.

Moving on to the casing, it is made of rimfire-primed brass. That being said, this type of construction ensures that it is non-corrosive but also non-reloadable. Not only that, this product is rather versatile as it can also be used for hunting and plinking, according to your preference.

Suitable for :

    • Economical and reliable
    • 5000 rounds per case
    • Rimfire-primed brass
    • 40 grain lead round nose
    • Non-corrosive and non-reloadable

5. Federal Champion Ammo

Federal Champion Ammo

Manufactured by the Federal Champion, this product comes with a total of 5000 rounds altogether, where they are divided into 10 boxes containing 50 rounds each for easy storage and transportation. In terms of arrangements, they are packed and arranged neatly in a tray so you can remove the bullets out with maximum ease.

Getting ammunition in bulk is extremely worth your investment because though it may be a large lump sum, the price per rounds are cheaper (a few cents cheaper) compared to you buying them in multiple 50 or 100 rounds per box. In addition to that, buying in bulks are extremely useful if you’re going for range training or shooting practice because you can fire hundreds of rounds continuously without worrying about the lack of projectiles.

This 22 lr ammo casing on the other hand is made of rimfire-primed brass. The rimfire primer brass construction ensures that it is non-corrosive, however non-reloadable. Moving on to the bullet specification, it measures 40 grain and is of the lead round nose (LRN) type. The lead round nose projectile is coated in a thin coat of wax for lubrication.

On side note, the lead tip might cause barrel fouling but this problem can be addressed by properly maintaining and cleaning your weapon’s barrel. These high velocity rounds leaves the muzzle and travels at a velocity of 1240 feet per second (fps), with a muzzle energy measuring 125 ft lbs. Not only that, it is ideal for reliably cycling in semi-automatic actions.

Fortunately, there are close to no misfires or jamming of the bullet, therefore providing you with a great and amazing shooting experience. The LRN type on the other hand ensures that it is multipurpose so it can be used for many applications, whether hunting, plinking or range training (mainly range training though). All in all, the Federal Champion line is great for its value priced target and range ammo.

Suitable for :

    • 500 rounds in total
    • 40 grain lead nose bullet
    • High velocity rounds (1240 fps)
    • Rimfire-style primers
    • Good lubrication

6. Fiocchi CPRN 22 LR Ammunition

Fiocchi CPRN 22 LR Ammunition

First and foremost, this ammunition is manufactured by Fiocchi. Fiocchi is rather popular in their pursuit of a great value 22 long rifle cartridge. A little bit back to its history, Fiocchi has a total of 130 years of experience in the shot shell market where they proudly involve their rich Italian heritage to produce high quality loads with excellent performance.

Furthermore, it is equipped with 500 rounds altogether. These 500 rounds are arranged in 50 rounds per box and 10 boxes per brick. That being said, they are packed and organized neatly in a tray for easy transportation and handling.

In addition to that, these 500 rounds are classified as ammunition in bulk. In my opinion, they are extremely well worth the investment especially if you’re utilizing them for range training purposes because you get to fire multiple rounds at once, without worrying about them getting used up. Also, getting 22 lr ammo in bulks are a lot cheaper, in terms of price per round.

The bullet casing on the other hand is rimfire-primed brass. Its brass construction ensures that it is corrosion-free when in contact with moisture or rain, therefore contributing to its durability. In other words, the ammo is of new production, non-reloadable as well as non-corrosive.

Weighing 40 grains in total, it is of the copper plated round nose (CPRN) type. The copper plating comes in handy as you’re able to shoot them in areas where lead is prohibited, such as public lands, and you won’t face issues as the lead stripping that will result in barrel fouling. That being said, you can utilize them for shooting small games but it is best used for target training or range practice since it comes with a good balance of power and accuracy.

Furthermore, it is a really quiet round compared to other ammunition. This high velocity cartridge are made from top notch materials, therefore promising you a reliable and accurate performance. For your information, the bullet leaves the muzzle and moves at a velocity of 1250 fps (muzzle velocity), with a muzzle energy measuring 139 ft lbs.

Suitable for :

  • Brass rimfire-primers
  • 500 rounds
  • 40 grain copper plated round nose
  • Non-reloadable and non-corrosive

Best Varmint Hunting Ammo :

1. Aguila Colibri Round

Aguila Colibri Round

The Aguila Colibri cartridges are classified as subsonic rounds. What does the term ‘subsonic’ mean? To answer your doubt, subsonic ammunition are designed to function at the speed lesser than the speed of sound. Hence, they will have extremely low muzzle energy and muzzle velocity. To back this statement up, if you see in the table above, the rated muzzle energy is 8 ft lbs whereas the muzzle velocity measures 420 fps.

In other words, the bullet will leave the muzzle and travel at a slower speed. Not forgetting, the velocity at 100 yards measures 376 fps meanwhile the energy at 100 yards measures 6 ft lbs. To conclude, their specialized powderless configuration provides a quiet shot as well as eliminates the trouble of getting a suppressor.

Moreover, they use no powder and only relies on the primer which functions to propel the bullet down the bore. Therefore, it produces an extremely quiet rimfire round (as mentioned above) and is extremely useful for quiet plinking and pest control at short ranges.

Since they are powered by the rimfire primer, they can only be used in handguns, instead of rifles. That being said, if you use them for rifles, they may jam up in the barrel.

In addition to that, this product is suitable for shooting and hunting games at shorter ranges. It is especially great for gun rookie because of its lesser recoil. Another factor contributing to its lesser recoil is the low bullet weight. In other words, the bullet measures 20 grains altogether, unlike most of the products which are 40 grains.

Moving on to the number of rounds, it has a total of 500 rounds in which these rounds are divided into 10 boxes of 50 rounds each. They are arranged neatly in order for easy handling and removal. The bullet type is lead round nose where round nose offers more penetration than the flat nose, which comes in handy for hunting and plinking.

However, the lead construction might cause fouling in the barrel due to the lead stripping, hence why, it is essential that you properly maintain and clean the barrel of your weapon. The LRN bullets are versatile and more economical, in terms of price and availability.

Suitable for :

    • 20 grains subsonic round
    • Low muzzle velocity and energy
    • 500 rounds altogether
    • Quiet rimfire round
    • No need for a suppressor

2. CCI Sub-Sonic 22 Long Rifle Round

CCI Sub-Sonic .22 Long Rifle Round

Just so you know, CCI is one of the most popular brand to manufacture subsonic ammunition. That being said, the subsonic rounds are designed to function at speeds below the speed of sound. It is particularly used for suppressed firearms, which in return will influence the loudness of the shot fired. They usually have lower muzzle energy and velocity.

But in this product’s case, it has a high muzzle velocity measuring 1050 fps and a low muzzle energy measuring 98 ft lbs. If you’re wondering, the reason behind its high muzzle velocity is because it is equipped with a special 40 grain (bullet weight) lead hollow point nose. Compared to the round nose, the hollow point projectile travels at a higher speed due to its thin, aerodynamic shape.

Moreover, the trajectory matches most target loads up to 50 yards. In other words, you will most probably get a great shot, with tighter groups and high consistency at about 50 yards. It is best used with smaller games, at shorter range. In addition to that, they are equipped with a large HP cavity which comes in handy to provide reliable expansion at sub-sonic velocity, without causing fragmentation.

It is quieter than most high-speed 22 lr hollow point load, for your added convenience. The clean burning propellants comes in handy to keep the action cleaner, especially when the shot is fired. In other words, the barrel will least likely undergo fouling, however don’t use this as an excuse to not maintain and clean your weapon’s barrel.

Apart from that, this product is equipped with the Sure-fire CCI priming system. Its tough bullet construction are useful to ensure deep penetration. Moving on to the number rounds, it comes with 100 rounds altogether which are packed into a reusable plastic box that has a dispenser lid.

The 100 rounds are mainly used for varmint hunting for small games as well as pest control. Also, it successfully keeps meat damage to a minimum, so you can still clean them and bring back a meal for dinner.

Suitable for :

    • 40 grain lead hollow point nose
    • Subsonic ammo
    • Large HP cavity for reliable expansion
    • Quiet shots
    • Sure-fire CCI priming

3. CCI Velocitor Projectile

CCI Velocitor Projectile

Have you heard of the famous CCI Stinger? Well if you have, you should know that the CCI Velocitor is its cousin but with a slightly heavier cartridge that is designed for improved long-range ballistics performance. That being said, the CCI Velocitor is known to be one of CCI’s top performing rounds, where it is loaded to match your shooting skills with maximum knockdown power.

Weighing 40 grains, this product is of the copper-plated hollow point (CPHP) type. In other words, each lead hollow-point bullet is gilded/coated with thin copper plating which functions to decrease muzzle build-up as well as help the cartridge to retain its shape during feeding, flight and impact. The copper-plated bullet also can be used at the areas where leads one are prohibited.

Furthermore, it has 50 rounds altogether, where this 50 rounds are arranged and packed in a plastic box in an orderly manner. The neat arrangement allows for easy removal and handling, for your added convenience. Not only that, these 22 lr rounds are mainly used for varmint hunting, targeting especially smaller games.

The ammunition casing on the other hand is rimfire-primed. Unlike the boxer-primed style, it cannot be reloadable as the primers cannot be replaced. Not only that, the casing has brass construction which comes in handy to prevent corrosion when in contact with moisture or rain, in the long run. All in all, it is non-corrosive, but also non-reloadable.

Besides that, the projectile travels at a velocity of 1435 fps upon leaving the muzzle, together with 183 foot pounds of muzzle energy. The theory is rather simple where the higher the velocity and energy, the deeper the penetration and voila, the more devastating the damage inflicted.

Suitable for :

    • 50 rounds per box
    • 40 grain copper plated hollow point
    • Rimfire-primed brass
    • Maximum knockdown power

4. CCI Stinger 22 LR Projectile

CCI Stinger 22 LR Projectile

The CCI’s Stinger is one of the most popular loads for varmint hunting in the market. So, what makes it unique? First and foremost, it is loaded with quick, hypervelocity 32 grain hollow point projectile. This type of projectile on the other hand is designed to expand upon impact, thereby creating a large wound channel.

Speaking about its velocity, the muzzle velocity is rather high, the highest among the other 9 top rated 22 lr ammunition above, so that counts for something. The muzzle velocity which is the velocity of the bullet upon leaving the muzzle measures 1640 fps meanwhile the muzzle energy measures 191 foot pounds.

Furthermore, it is equipped with 50 rounds altogether where these 50 rounds are packed and organized neatly in trays, in a box for convenient handling. These rounds are mainly used for varmint hunting, as mentioned above. Not only that, it is of the copper plated hollow point type.

In other words, the lead hollow point ammo is gilded with thin copper plating which comes in handy to reduce muzzle build-up and ensures that it retains its shape during impact, flight and feeding. The casing in which the ammo is loaded into is made from nickel-plated brass construction which ensures smoother feeding because the nickel-plating lowers the friction coefficient compared to that of the standard brass case.

In addition to that, the casing construction is corrosion-free therefore contributing to its durability in the long run. The CCI’s Sure-fire priming technology on the other hand produces a higher degree of consistency in shots, compared to that of the standard plinking loads.

Suitable for :

    • Hypervelocity 32 grain projectile
    • Nickel-plated brass casing
    • Sure-fire priming technology
    • 50 rounds per box
    • Copper plated hollow point bullet

Conclusion

All in all, the .22 lr ammo is famous due to its excellent performance as well as cheap price. It is available either in the usual 50 or 100 rounds per box or in bulks which you can choose depending on the activity you plan to use it for or according to your personal preference. I hope my review assists you in making the right decision.

Here is a guide on the best places to buy ammo online.

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