Most people’s first time shooting is with a .22 LR firearm.
But what .22 LR ammo do you choose?
There are dozens, even hundreds, of brands and types, so what is the best one?
Is there a best one? As with any other type of ammo, what .22 LR you buy depends on what you want to do with it.
But don’t worry; I’ll walk through my favorite rounds for cheap plinking, hunting, accuracy, and even going subsonic.
Here are the current best options, with the most budget options coming in around 6 cents per round.
.22LR Ammo In Stock
Table of Contents
Best .22LR Ammo
1. Remington Thunderbolt
Usually, the cheapest rounds…but some guns don’t like them.
Mine have no complaints, but I read enough about them that I would test them out first before taking the plunge and stacking deep.
2. Federal Auto Match
With this one, you get 325 rounds of affordable .22 LR that’s mostly available nowadays. No complaints in my bolts or semi-autos.
3. Federal Champion
I’ve shot the most with Federal Champion (and most of my .22 LR ammo reserve is this brand).
For hunting, the name of the game is to get a quick/clean kill without making too much of the meat inedible.
Usually, this means going with a high-velocity, hollow-point (HP) bullet.
What do you think of Federal Champion? Be sure to rate it below!
4. CCI Stinger
CCI is the gold standard in small game hunting — fast, accurate, and deadly with its copper-plated 32-grain hollow point bullet.
Can’t go wrong with this one, and has enough oomph to cycle semi-autos.
5. CCI Standard Velocity
Again, CCI makes this list — this time in the form of the Standard Velocity.
To be honest, this is one of my favorite all-around loads in terms of price and reliability.
For Suppressed Shooting
6. CCI Subsonic HP
Are you seeing a pattern here? CCI hits our list again with the Subsonic HP variant. This one happens to be my favorite overall subsonic round.
You get the accuracy and reliability of CCI, and it’s not so slow (1,050 feet-per-second) that it can’t run on semi-autos.
7. Aguila Super Colibri
Powder? Who needs powder?
These rounds run off only the primer meaning they are super quiet and super slow (420 feet-per-second).
Downside is…they won’t run in your semi, though.
For Long Range Precision
8. Lapua Center-X
This is generally accepted as the gold standard for long-range .22 LR shooting. If you’re ready to spend some money and get the best, Lapua Center-X is the first you should try.
It won’t be the absolute best for every rifle — but odds are it’s at least in the top three for your rifle.
Center-X is exclusively what I shoot at matches of 100 yards or longer.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
9. SK Ammo — Standard Plus, Rifle Match, Long Range Match
Frankly, I have no idea what the difference is between these three. I’ve tested all three, and my results depend on the rifle. But all of my rifles love at least one of them.
SK Rifle Match and Long Range Match are both 1 MOA for me at 100 yards; Standard Plus opens up a little but has a better standard deviation normally.
Pick one or all three and give them a try!
10. Norma TAC-22
I like this one since it works well in my semi-auto guns, like the 10/22 and .22 LR AR clones.
If you’ve got a suppressor or want to be a little quieter…going subsonic is the way to go.
It sounds like a cap gun instead of having the *CLAP* of a faster-than-sound bullet.
Match Your Ammo To Your Use
From plinking to hunting to long-range, we have all of the recommendations.
Broadly speaking .22 LR fits into a few use cases:
- Long-Range Precision
Plinking is just what it sounds like. It’s learning how to shoot or teaching others. It’s keeping your skills sharp. Or maybe you just want to turn some money into noise and have a good time!
In any of those cases, you want reliable ammo strong enough to cycle semi-auto guns and hopefully cheap.
Hunting might be super- or sub-sonic for use with suppressors. Either way, you want reliable ammo and should be willing to pay a few more pennies for it.
Suppressed is its own category since the ammo is weaker than normal. Sometimes a little weaker, sometimes a lot. You can hunt with it if the critter is small enough and you’re close enough, or you can just have fun with it.
Long-Range Precision is gaining a lot of popularity with NRL22 and NRL22X! We’re going to assume that you want to shoot at least 100 yards with your .22 LR, but 400+ isn’t out of the question, either. You’ll want very consistent ammo that is reliable and sub-sonic. This…won’t come cheap (for .22 LR).
“But what about self-defense!” you might ask. Unfortunately, .22 LR cartridges can’t be relied upon to effectively stop a threat or go off every single time.
Modern .22 LR is decent, but we don’t consider it reliable enough for self-defense — not when other options like 9mm and .45 ACP are out there.
So there you have it…our roundup of the best .22 LR for plinking, hunting, accuracy, and even sub-sonic.
As with anything ammo-related, try a box out before you commit to a case or more, as some .22 LR guns are notoriously picky when it comes to ammo.
Did we miss any that you really think belongs here? Let us know! If you’re looking for a new .22 LR, take a look at the 7 Best .22 LR Rifles! And for more calibers, check out Best Places to Buy Ammo Online.