22LR Ammo Buying Guide: Why It's Popular Among New Shooters?

Learn Why is 22LR ammo considered the best caliber for plinking, target shooting, and hunting small game.

Which caliber is best for new shooters? The simple answer is 22LR ammo.

22LR Ammo Buying Guide

Now the question is, "Why is 22LR ammo considered the best caliber for new shooters?

The .22 Long Rifle is one of North America's most popular rimfire cartridges. That's why a wide variety of .22LR ammo will work extremely well for target shooting, hunting small game & plinking.

In this article, we will cover why 22LR ammo is a good choice for new shooters, target shooting & hunting small game.

22LR Ammo Specifications

Type Rimfire cartridge
Place of origin United States
Designer J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company
Designed 1887
Produced 1887–present
Parent case .22 Long
Case type Rimmed, straight
Bullet diameter .223 in (5.7 mm) - .2255 in (5.73 mm)
Land diameter .212 in (5.4 mm)
Neck diameter .226 in (5.7 mm)
Base diameter .226 in (5.7 mm)
Rim diameter .278 in (7.1 mm)
Rim thickness .043 in (1.1 mm)
Case length .613 in (15.6 mm)
Overall length 1.000 in (25.4 mm)
Rifling twist 1:16"
Primer type Rimfire
Maximum pressure 24,000 psi (170 MPa)

The Variety of .22 LR Ammunition

When it comes to .22 bullet types, there are many options and these types are designed for different purposes. Here are some common types of .22LR ammo:

The Variety of .22 LR Ammunition
  • Subsonic: Subsonic .22LR ammunition is designed to produce lower velocities, typically below the speed of sound (around 1,125 fps at sea level). Subsonic rounds are quieter than standard or high velocity ammo, making them ideal for situations where noise reduction is desired, such as when shooting in residential areas or when trying to minimize noise disturbance while hunting small game.
  • Hollow Point: Hollow point .22LR ammunition is designed with a hollow cavity in the bullet tip. Upon impact, the hollow point expands, creating a larger wound channel and increasing stopping power. This expansion makes hollow point ammo effective for hunting small game or for self-defense in .22LR firearms, although larger caliber ammunition is generally recommended for self-defense purposes.
  • Match Grade: Match grade .22LR ammunition is specifically designed for precision shooting and target competitions. These rounds are manufactured with tight tolerances and consistency in weight, shape, and ballistic performance. Match grade ammo typically offers excellent accuracy and consistency, making it popular among competitive shooters.
  • Shotshell: .22LR shotshell, also known as ratshot or snake shot, is a unique type of ammunition that contains small lead shot instead of a single bullet. It is primarily used for close-range pest control, such as eliminating snakes or pests at short distances. The shotshell cartridges typically have a reduced effective range compared to standard .22LR rounds.
  • Standard Velocity: Standard velocity .22LR ammunition is the most common type and is suitable for a wide range of uses. It typically has a muzzle velocity of around 1,000 feet per second (fps) and is known for its reliability and accuracy. Standard velocity ammo is often used for target shooting, plinking, and small game hunting.
  • High Velocity: High velocity .22LR ammunition is loaded to achieve faster muzzle velocities than standard velocity rounds. It usually has a muzzle velocity between 1,200 and 1,400 fps. The higher velocity can provide flatter trajectory, improved penetration, and slightly more energy. High velocity ammo is often used for target shooting, plinking, and varmint hunting.

.22LR Ammo Uses

22LR ammo is used for different purposes. Below is the list of 22LR caliber uses.

.22LR Ammo Uses
  • Excellent caliber to introduce new shooters: 22LR is the perfect caliber to introduce with new shooters. It’s the most fun, simplest to shoot, and doesn’t intimidate some people like a larger rifle can. 22LR is the caliber you should start people out with. Its low recoil and ease of use allow beginners to gain confidence and develop safe firearm handling skills before progressing to larger calibers.
  • Target shooting and bullseye competition: The 22LR is awesome for target shooting and bullseye competition. It’s cheap, quiet, and a blast to shoot. With a precision rifle, 22LR can have hair-splitting accuracy and boast impressive groups on your target. And, 22LR guns tend to be cheaper than larger calibers.
  • Small game hunting: The 22LR is often a perfect tool for hunting animals 50 pounds and under. It doesn’t have much power or velocity, but given its options in ammo choices and bullet styles, it’s a capable small-game hunting cartridge.
  • Used for military training: The US military has used 22LR for marksmanship training for over 100 years. There are civilian rifleman programs that recommend 22LR for training. With the 22LR, you can work on all the aspects of proper rifle marksmanship.
  • Perfect choice against varmints and pests: The 22LR is an ideal choice against animals and pests. It will kill anything under 50 pounds out to 100 yards with ease. Many people use a 22 to kill problem opossums and raccoons in their yards or on the farm.
  • A good option for kids shooting: Because of its small size & weight, 22LR ammo is a good option for kids shooting. Because of the smallest frame, children can handle it.

These are some common uses of 22LR ammo. It may not be suitable for certain applications, such as long-range shooting or self-defense scenarios where larger calibers are generally preferred.

Why is 22LR ammo a good option for new shooters?

The .22LR ammo is often considered a good option for new shooters for several reasons:

  • Low Recoil: The .22LR cartridge generates minimal recoil compared to larger calibers. This low recoil allows new shooters to focus on proper shooting fundamentals, such as sight alignment, trigger control, and breath control, without being overwhelmed by excessive recoil forces. It helps build confidence and encourages better shooting techniques.
  • Affordability: .22LR ammunition is generally less expensive than other calibers, making it more accessible to new shooters, often on a limited budget. This affordability allows beginners to practice more frequently and gain experience without breaking the bank.
  • Availability: .22LR ammunition is widely available and can be found in various sporting goods stores and gun shops. Its popularity ensures that new shooters can easily find the ammo they need for their firearms without much difficulty.
  • Reduced Noise: While all firearms produce some noise level, the .22LR cartridge tends to have a relatively low report compared to larger calibers. This reduced noise level can benefit new shooters, as it reduces the potential for developing flinching or anticipation of recoil, which can negatively impact accuracy.
  • Versatility: The .22LR caliber can be used in various firearms, including rifles and handguns. This versatility allows new shooters to choose from multiple guns that suit their preferences and needs. It also enables them to transition from a .22LR gun to larger calibers more easily, as the fundamental shooting skills acquired with a .22LR can be applied to other calibers.
  • Skill Development: The .22LR cartridge's relatively low power requires shooters to focus on accuracy and shot placement to achieve consistent results. It rewards good marksmanship and helps develop fundamental shooting skills. New shooters can create a solid foundation in marksmanship, trigger control, and sight alignment by practicing with a .22LR firearm.

These are reasons to count 22LR ammo as a good option for new shooters.

22LR Ammo Ballistic Performance

The .22LR is not a high-powered cartridge but is known for its accuracy and low recoil. It generally has a muzzle velocity ranging from 800 to 1,600 feet per second (240 to 490 meters per second), depending on the .22LR uppers and rifles, load and barrel length. The muzzle energy typically ranges from 80 to 160-foot pounds (110 to 220 joules).

Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
40 gr (2.6 g) solid 1,200 ft/s (370 m/s) 131 ft⋅lbf (178 J)
38 gr (2.5 g) copper-plated HP 1,260 ft/s (380 m/s) 134 ft⋅lbf (182 J)
32 gr (2.1 g) copper-plated HP 1,430 ft/s (440 m/s) 141 ft⋅lbf (191 J)
31 gr (2.0 g) copper-plated RN 1,750 ft/s (530 m/s) 204 ft⋅lbf (277 J)
30 gr (1.9 g) copper-plated HP 1,640 ft/s (500 m/s) 191 ft⋅lbf (259 J)

Velocity and Energy Considerations

When it comes to counting the velocity of. 22 LR rounds, which vary between manufacturers.

Some standard velocity ammo may be slightly supersonic-around 1,125 ft/s (343 m/s), others such as CCI Standard Velocity. 22 LR ammunition is rated at 1,070 ft/s (330 m/s).

The 22 LR’s effective range at 150 yards, with a nearer practical range. Bullet drop becomes fairly pronounced after that point. A 40-grain bullet sinks about 33” at 200 yards and triple that at 300 yards. If you can hit an egg with a 22 LR at 100 yards, you’re doing all right for yourself.

Price and Availability Considerations

Price and Availability Considerations 22LR Ammo

22LR is one of the least expensive ammunition to shoot. It's the most demanding & widely available rimfire caliber in the USA.

Different types of 22 LR ammo exist: from subsonic rounds to high-velocity varmint hunting options to match-grade ammo. 22LR ammo is available from top industry manufacturers like; Winchester, CCI, Remington, Federal, Aquila, Norma, and many more popular manufacturers.

With its widespread popularity and low manufacturing cost, the 22 Long Rifle is extremely affordable and often available in bulk packages from top industry sellers.

22LR Ammo Pros & Cons

As with other ammo types, 22LR ammo has its pros & cons.

22LR Ammo Pros & Cons


  • Image Low Recoil: Low recoil means easy to shoot. 22LR ammo low recoil is one of the most significant advantages of these calibers. This makes it an ideal cartridge for beginners, children, and individuals sensitive to recoil.
  • Image Lowest price: Low cost is another advantage of the .22 LR. It is known as one of the most affordable cartridges on the market. The affordable price makes it ideal for shooters who want to shoot frequently without breaking the bank.
  • Image Versatility: The .22 LR is one of the most versatile cartridges available. It can be used for various shooting activities, including target shooting, plinking, small game hunting, and pest control & to improve their shooting skills.
  • Image Availability: The .22 LR is widely available, which means it is easy to find online & in stores easily.


  • Image Limited Power: One of the biggest drawbacks of the .22 LR is its little power. It is not powerful enough for larger game animals or self-defense situations.
  • Image Barrel Fouling: Because of the soft lead bullets used in .22 LR ammunition, it is more prone to causing barrel fouling than other cartridges. This can lead to reduced accuracy over time and require more frequent cleaning.
  • Image Inconsistent Performance: Due to variations in manufacturing tolerances and quality control, .22 LR ammunition can be incompatible regarding accuracy and performance.

These are some basic pros & cons of 22LR ammo. Before making a purchase make sure to check the pros & cons carefully.

Top 5, 22LR Ammo Picks For 2023

CCI Standard Velocity 22 LR - 40 Grain LRN - CCI Standard Velocity - 50 Rounds
  • Caliber : 22 LR,
  • Grain Weight : 40,
  • Muzzle Velocity : 1070,
  • Bullet Style : Lead Round Nose,
  • Ballistic Coefficient : .120,
  • Package Quantity : 50,
  • Usage : Target Shooting
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CCI Mini-Mag 22 LR - 40 gr LHP - Subsonic - CCI Mini-Mag - 100 Rounds
  • Bullet Weight : 40 Grain,
  • Bullet Type : Lead Hollow Point (LHP),
  • Ammo Casing : Brass,
  • Quantity : 100,
  • Ammo Caliber : .22 Long Rifle (LR),
  • Manufacturer SKU : 56,
  • Primer Type : Rimfire,
  • Muzzle Velocity (fps): 1050,
  • Muzzle Energy (ft lbs): 98
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Federal Champion 22 LR - 40 Grain Solid - Federal Champion - 500 Rounds
  • Bullet Type : 40gr LRN,
  • Quantity : 500 Rounds,
  • Manufacturer : Federal Champion,
  • Origin : Anoka, Minnesota,
  • Casing : Rimfire-primed brass,
  • Caliber : 22 LR,
  • Bullet Type : Lead Nose,
  • Case Type : Brass,
  • Velocity Rating : High Velocity
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Eley Tenex Biathlon Eley Tenex Biathlon .22 LR Ammunition 50 Rounds LFN 40 Grain
  • Caliber : .22 Long Rifle,
  • Condition : New,
  • Manufacturer : Eley,
  • Bullet Weight : 40gr,
  • Bullet Type : FN,
  • Ammo Casing : Brass,
  • Quantity : 50,
  • Muzzle Velocity (fps) : 1160,
  • Muzzle Energy (ft lbs) : 119
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Federal Punch 22 LR - 29 Grain FN - Federal Punch - 50 Rounds
  • Manufacturer : Federal Premium,
  • Cartridge : .22 Long Rifle,
  • Number of Rounds : 50,
  • Bullet Type : Solid Flat Nose (SFN),
  • Bullet Weight : 29 grain,
  • Cartridge Case Material : Nickel Plated Brass,
  • Muzzle Velocity : 1070 ft/s,
  • Application : Personal Defense,
  • Package Type : Box,
  • Primer Style : Rimfire
Check Price

These are our top 5 picks of 22LR ammo you must try in 2023. There are many other popular 22LR calibers you can choose according to your need & requirements.

Final Words

By utilizing the information from this guide and considering the specific factors discussed, you can confidently select .22LR ammunition that aligns with your shooting goals and preferences.

Enjoy your shooting experience with the versatility, affordability, and accessibility that .22LR ammo provides!

Lisa Earnest

Lisa Earnest

May, 18, 2023

Lisa Earnest has been a part of the Bulk Cheap Ammo team since 2018 and serves as the editor of Bulk Cheap Ammo content.

With a flair for language and an unwavering dedication to shooting sports, Lisa's diverse expertise combines to create an unforgettable experience for our audience.

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