One type of hunting that most hunters found enjoyable and relaxing is squirrel hunting. It is exactly the feeling of being in the autumn woods surrounded by squirrels on trees and in burrows. After a day of successful hunting, all other squirrel recipes will be served at dinnertime.
Hence, if you want to try squirrel hunting as well, the first thing you have to do is to choose a gun and the right ammo for your hunting gun. As choosing the right ammo can be crucial for beginners, we have provided you Five Best 22lr Ammo for Squirrel Hunting to ease your decision-making:
Top 5 Best .22 LR Ammunition
1. Winchester Subsonic 42 Max Rimfire Ammunition
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The Winchester Subsonic 42 Max Rimfire Ammo is known by shooting a unique hollow-point bullet that hits incredibly hard for just a .22 LR round. This subsonic round is compatible with suppressors, that makes it perfect for small hunting of squirrel, raccoon-sized farm, and other ranch pests. With that said, if you are looking for ammo for squirrel-hunting as well as nuisance pest control, this might work best for you.
Further, this ammo is quite heavier than the other ammo in the similar category as 42 lead hollow point bullet. This slight heavyweight of the Winchester Subsonic 42 Max Rimfire is seen as the reason why this ammunition is also known for its impressive target penetration.
The functioning of this squirrel ammo tested with a semi-automatic rifle was indeed flawless. The bullets’ hits resulted in devastating terminal ballistics in all clay targets. Beyond a large cavity, the bullet also traversed the full length of the clay target. In general, the Winchester Subsonic 42 Max Rimfire Ammo can be the best go-to squirrel ammo for hunters seeking for lethality, proven, and accurate performance.
Hollow point bullet.
Noteworthy terminal ballistics and subsonic velocities.
Has a reasonable price.
Reliable functions with semi-auto rifles.
Superior expansion compared to other rimfire bullets.
Produces loud sounds.
Heavier and more substantial than other 42 hollow point bullet.
2. ELEY .22 LR Subsonic Hollow Ammunition
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This ammo is another type of true premium grade subsonic hollow that is mainly used for hunting. It is designed with shooting accuracy and a reduced velocity to offer a softer and quieter target hit in comparison to other .22LR hunting cartridge. In fact, the ELEY also got one of the fastest recorded time when hitting a clay target.
Its hollow-nosed design provides a projectile motion that directly hits the target in the shortest penetration and outstanding stop power. Its ammo contains a non-greasy lubricant which provides smooth operation in different weather conditions especially in semi-automatic rifles.
When tested along with other subsonic ammunition, the ELEY .22 LR Subsonic Hollow Ammunition performs a flawless functioning as well as perfect accuracy. However, the downside of using this ammo is its loud noise as well as lacking terminal performance. It creates a devastating and fatal impact to small ranch pests and squirrels but may result differently to larger and stronger species. Meaning, it is only proven as effective in killing small animals, whereas large animals can easily run away from the bullet without causing them too much damage.
Provides clean hit to the target.
Performs flawless functioning.
Performs fast travel.
Produces fatal blow to small animals.
Contains non-greasy lubricant.
Impressive in different weather condition.
Excellent stopping power.
Produces loud sounds.
Lacking terminal performance.
Expensive for its performance.
Small wound channel.
3. RWS Subsonic HP Field Line Ammunition
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The RWS Subsonic HP is one of the special rimfire cartridges designed by RWS. Accordingly, this product creates high precision and excellent shooting ammunition for all purposes - may it be for training, hunting, or competition.
Although it cannot reach too far targets, it still provides extraordinary performance in close ranges. Further, the RWS ammunition, specifically the .22 LR, is designed with velocity below the sound barrier to prevent the production of sonic boom or sound. Due to its low-noise, this ammunition works best in squirrel guns with silencers especially when you are hunting in the neighborhood.
Apart from that, said ammo is noted as reliable and effective in pest controls as well as small game hunting. Although this ammunition lacks in functioning, it receives impressive regards to terminal performance. In fact, the RWS .22 LR produced the biggest wound channel among other .22 LR ammunition tested. Its accuracy is not too bad for close range, but it is said to be unreliable in far bullet travels.
Low-noise in a shooting.
Impressive terminal performance due to its large cavity.
Impressive accuracy in close range.
Biggest wound channel.
Great for hunting practices.
Well-suited for guns with silencers.
Not suitable for self-loader guns.
Do not cycle with semi-automatic rifles and other firearms.
Not reliable for far range.
Wax coating can get into your hands easily.
Average velocity performance.
4. CCI Quiet-22 Segmented HP Ammunition (40 Grain)
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The CCI ammunition contains low velocity that enables shooting to be as quiet as possible. It is done by producing powder charge to reduce noise whenever you hit a target. During penetration, the ammo splits into three (3) pieces on impact to make it more lethal to the target. This hits the target’s vital structures and organs to increase the damage. In that case, this ammo is said to work best when doing squirrel hunting in the woods.
Generally, the quiet and lethal effect of CCI Quiet-22 Segmented HP Ammunition is considered as its top features. During testing, the ammunition already produces a devastating impact to the clay target even before it splits into three (3). But, it produces a greater quiet impact once the bullet finally splits into three (3) ensuring that the target dies quickly.
Although this ammunition did not work in semi-automatic rifles, its accuracy has been tested acceptable. The reason for this is that the CCI ammunition is found more effective only in close ranges. When hitting a farther target, typically in 50 yards, the bullet produces a lower projectile motion which results to the failure of hitting the target. Hence, this ammunition’s accuracy is rated as fairly poor when it comes to far targets.
Remarkable terminal performance.
Reduced over penetration to target.
Bullet splits into three (3) to give a more lethal effect to the target.
Impressive accuracy in close range.
Shoots target very quietly.
Allows discreet pest control in the neighborhood.
Do not cycle with semi-automatic firearms.
Poor accuracy when hitting far targets.
Low projectile motion when hitting far targets.
FPS or velocity is too low.
5. CCI Suppressor .22 LR (45 Grain)
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The CCI Suppressor .22 LR is famous among hunters and shooters for delivering an outstanding performance both in plinking and hunting. It performs consistent velocity to directly hit your desired place in the target. Similarly, the controlled subsonic velocity of this ammunition aids in noise-reduction as well as its reliable terminal performance. The CCI Suppressor is also known best by cycling consistently through semi-automatic guns.
This ammo contains clean-burning powders that are rarely found in different ammunition. This powder is effective in minimizing blow-back and easing your dilemma in firearm cleaning. At the same time, every bullet is made with non-corrosive material that prevents any danger to the gun holder. Indeed, the CCI has been noted as one of the trusted brands for almost 50 years both in their excellency with accuracy and consistency.
This ammunition is also made with high-quality hollow point metal bullet with quiet response to targets. It creates an impressive impact to different targets by making it lethal and accurate even in varying distances. Whether it is used in target practice or squirrel hunting, giving out great results to your hunting experience is ensured with CCI Suppressor .22 LR ammunition.
Expands bullet in low velocities.
Maintains consistency in accuracy and velocity.
Accurate performance time.
Shoots target very quietly.
Reliable functioning with semi-automatic firearms.
Contains clean-burning powder.
Made with high-quality metal and non-corrosive material.
Excellent terminal performance.
There are cases that the ammo does not eject from a semi-automatic firearm.
There are cases that packaging is not desirable.
Less stopping power.
Things You Should Look for in Squirrel Hunting Ammunition
In choosing ammunition for your squirrel hunting, your first choice should always be based on the ammo’s accuracy. It should be excellent in reaching through your squirrel target. This is primarily because there is no point of choosing the best expanding and fastest ammunition if it does not connect with your target as you intend to.
When testing ammunition, look at the results objectively. If you really want ammunition that is fast-expanding, you should still balance its rate of lethality to the squirrel. You can choose the ammunition that produces a large wound channel but not the one that over-penetrates your target. This allows you to keep the meat of the squirrel without blowing up its entire structure.
For the preliminary checking, you can check on the exterior ballistics if it can produce great impact to your target. Usually, hollow point bullets help in slightly penetrating the squirrel’s body or head.
Base on Your Purpose
If you decided to go squirrel hunting, you should first identify the purpose why you will go hunting. Do you intend to provide meat for your family or do you want to do it for leisure? If your answer is the former, then you should choose the ammunition that provides you a wide coverage and the quick knock-down capabilities. If your answer is the latter, then you could be playful in shopping for ammunition and go for the most challenging instead.
Given the growing population in the suburbans, .22 LR ammunition should be your top priority. This is because this type of ammunition contains sound suppressors that reduce noise production. So, you will not be giving any disturbance to other people in your neighborhood.
At the same time, the quiet sound from each blow prevents other squirrels and pests to be frightened. Loud sounds might make them run away from your place of target. Hence, noise suppressors give you the chance to hit multiple targets in one place.
The subsonic ammunition is the most in-demand feature of squirrel ammunition. This is because its velocity balancer helps you to achieve the highest accuracy and consistency in hitting your target.
In order to be qualified as subsonic, there is a certain criterion that the ammunition needs to comply to. This is by maintaining a projectile that does not break the speed of the sound or slower than the speed of the sound. It usually ranges between 1087 fps to 1129 fps. Meaning, the ammo should not produce the crack in whatever location or weather you are in.
If you are using .22 rifle in squirrel hunting, choose the hollow-point cartridges to provide better shot results. The wound that will be resulting from these bullets are always fatal, providing you a quick kill for the squirrel. However, you have to be careful in choosing low velocity ammo as well. As the bullet can be lighter than the typical, cycling with semi-automatic rifles can be a problem.
Greatest Debate: Shotgun Shells VS .22 Ammunition
The long-running debate between shotgun shells and .22 ammunition is still alive up to this day. The shotgun shells are used in classic shotguns, while the newly improved .22 ammunition is used in different .22 firearms. With that said, here’s the comprehensive comparison of the two:
Shotgun shells will work best for you if you want to kill multiple squirrels in the shortest possible time. You can just hit through different squirrels and gather all the ones that you have killed. Further, the shotgun shells is effective in going through obstructions like the early season foliage.
On the other hand, the downside of using the shotgun shells is its limit in range to at most 40 yards. It also causes louder sounds than the .22 ammunition that might spook all other surrounding squirrels in the area. Also, hitting a squirrel at a close range can also ruin the entire meat of the squirrel.
When you are up for a big hunting experience, .22 ammunition can be your best bet. It is way cheaper and more capable of taking longer range than the shotgun shells. Apart from this, the .22 ammunition produces quiet sounds in the hunting area which prevents disturbance to other squirrels.
With the use of this ammo, you can directly go through a squirrel’s headshot and yield the rest of the body’s meat. Typically, this ammunition can travel up to one and a half miles. But, shooting squirrels in a far distance can also be challenging as it also contains safety risks.
The question here is, “Which one should you choose when you are up for squirrel hunting?” The answer here varies on where you intend it to use and the time of the season. If you are going for a hunt in a warm-up season of deer in late October, then a .22 ammunition can be the best option. But, if your goal is to go hunting in the lush and warm season, shotgun shells can be an advantage.
Tips on Squirrel Hunting
We want to help you gain extra knowledge about squirrel hunting in your first hunting experience. Hence, we have provided the video below to guide you on the techniques, do’s and don'ts, as well as other needed information before you go out of the woods:
In our personal choice, the Winchester Subsonic 42 Max Rimfire Ammunition ranks top in all features. It expanded quickly and contains impressive velocity and energy figures. The functioning of this squirrel ammo tested with a semi-automatic rifle was indeed flawless. The bullets’ hits resulted in devastating terminal ballistics in all clay targets.
Beyond a large cavity, the bullet also traversed the full length of the clay target. At the same time, its bullet is quite heavy which is safer to be used in far targets than the lightweight ammo. Generally, the Winchester Subsonic 42 Max Rimfire Ammo can be the best go-to squirrel ammo for hunters seeking for lethality, proven, and accurate performance.
However, the ELEY and RWS can also be on the top of the list especially if you are planning to obtain squirrel ammunition that has good exterior ballistic characteristics. At the same time, ammo that can cause a large wound channel without over-penetrating the target squirrel.
The bottom line: the different ammunition also vary in their specifications. That is why, when choosing the right ammunition for your squirrel hunting, make sure that you have objectively match the features of the ammo to the purpose of your hunting.