Skip to main content

5 Best Subsonic .22 LR Ammo Options

TESTED: Here's a look at five of the best subsonic .22 LR ammo loads for both the field and range.

5 Best Subsonic .22 LR Ammo Options

As red-blooded Americans, we’ve long ago come to embrace our ancestral need for speed. From muscle cars to overbore rifle cartridges that burn barrels and launch bullets downrange at well beyond 3,000 feet per second (fps), we operate on the assumption that faster is better. 

The drawback, however, is the noise pollution that accompanies our fixation with speed. Just stand next to a muzzlebraked magnum or a straight-piped hot rod to get the picture. Not only is all that velocity-crazed volume hard on the eardrums, it’s also unfriendly to the pocket book, as anyone who has recently bought a box of ammunition for one of the newest long-range super cartridges can tell you.

The truth is, there’s a time to slow things down and keep it quiet, which is why subsonic ammo exists. Since the crack of a bullet breaking the sound barrier greatly increases noise, subsonic ammo is designed to leave the muzzle at less than the speed of sound, which is roughly 1,125 fps at sea level. The tradeoff is less energy on target, which makes going subsonic less desirable with many large hunting calibers. Despite what you might think, much of the noise comes from the gas escaping the barrel, so subsonic rounds aren’t exactly whisper quiet, which is why many add a suppressor to the mix.

Where subsonic ammo excels, however, is with the .22LR. Take CCI’s Mini-Mag 40-grain round-nose load, for example, which produces 1,235 fps and 135 foot-pounds (ft-lbs.) of energy, and compare it to CCI’s Quiet-22, which slows to 710 fps and 45 ft-lbs. of energy with the same bullet weight. The Quiet-22 is still plenty lethal to stop a ravenous squirrel at 20 yards and produces roughly half the noise. Also, as many a competition shooter can tell you, subsonic .22LR cartridges are typically more accurate than their high-speed counterparts.


So whether you’re looking to thin the herd of lawn-destroying gophers without alarming your neighbors, or if you simply need a low-noise alternative that helps protect your hearing while shooting, here’s a look at five of the best subsonic .22 LR ammo loads.


Subsonic .22 LR Square-Off

We tested each load at 30 yards from a bench, firing five, five-shot groups per load and measuring groups with a digital caliper. Testing was conducted with a Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle and a Simmons 3-9x32mm scope. Velocity was measured at 10 yards with a Competition Electronics chronograph. None of the loads had any feeding or functionality issues in the semiauto platform. Each load was also fired without any malfunctions through a High Standard Sport King semiauto pistol to measure functionality


American Eagle Suppressor

American Eagle Suppressor .22 LR

Federal Premium’s American Eagle Rimfire Suppressor load features clean-burning propellants that won’t unduly dirty the baffles in a suppressor. The Suppressor load features a 45-grain copper-plated round-nose bullet that carries a muzzle velocity of 934 fps. Reliable, accurate and cost effective, it’s also designed to run in semiauto platforms.

American Eagle Suppressor
Weight: 45 gr.
Average Velocity (fps): 934
SD: 23
ES: 47
Best Group (in.): .72
Average Group (in.): .92
MSRP: $5/box (50 rds.)
Manufacturer: Federal Premium, federalpremium.com 

CCI Subsonic

CCI Subsonic .22 LR

A great round for hunting that offers supreme accuracy, the CCI Subsonic .22 LR features a 40-grain hollow­point bullet that’s extremely lethal on small game. Carrying 98 ft-lbs. at the muzzle, Subsonic .22 LR has plenty of punch for small- to medium-­sized game.

Because it offers quick penetration on small-size targets, it’s become a staple among varmint hunters. Loaded with precision and consistency from the factory, it’s not surprising that CCI’s Subsonic posted a standard deviation (SD) of just 17 and a best group of .52 inch at 30 yards.


Subsonic is designed to function in any firearm that can handle the standard-­velocity .22 ammo. As testing proved, Subsonic runs well in both a semiauto handgun and rifle.

CCI Subsonic
Weight: 40 gr.
Average Velocity (fps): 1,039
SD: 17
ES: 41
Best Group (in.): .52
Average Group (in.): .82
MSRP: $7/box (50 rds.)
Manufacturer: CCI, cci-ammunition.com

Eley Subsonic Hollow

Eley Subsonic Hollow .22 LR

Known for its competition pedigree and precision loading, Eley has long been a top performer and producer of .22 ammunition. Let’s just say the company knows its way to the top of the podium.

Its Subsonic Hollow .22 LR load features a 38-grain hollowpoint bullet that’s designed to expand at a lower velocity of 1,037 fps. The 96.2 ft-lbs. of energy still ensures lethal expansion and penetration on varmint-­sized critters while a nongreasy lubricant coating provides flawless operation in semiauto platforms and varied weather conditions.


Incredibly quiet and lethal, Eley’s Subsonic Hollow load delivers hunting performance with match-grade accuracy. Not surprisingly, Eley’s 38-grain load posted a best group of .57 inch and showed very little deviation in velocity.

Eley Subsonic Hollow
Weight: 38 gr.
Average Velocity (fps): 1,037
SD: 11
ES: 22
Best Group (in.): .57
Average Group (in.): .72
MSRP: $7/box (50 rds.)
Manufacturer: Eley, eleyammunition.com

Remington 22 Subsonic

Remington 22 Subsonic

Big Green has been making reliable rimfire rounds for decades with a long lineage of dependability to show for it. The company’s 22 Subsonic line is no different, offering shooters consistent performance for small-game hunting and plinking alike.

Featuring a 38-grain projectile that leaves the muzzle at 1,041 fps, Subsonic is also fast enough to allow it to run in a semiauto without issue. With an energy of 93 ft-lbs. combined with a lead hollowpoint, it’s ideal for high-volume shooting on small game.

Subsonic is also effective with a suppressor, so whether you’re shooting soda cans or prairie dogs, there’s no need to give yourself a headache. Best of all, Remington offers its Subsonic loads for just 7 cents a round.

Remington 22 Subsonic
Weight: 38 gr.
Average Velocity (fps): 1,041
SD: 21
ES: 57
Best Group (in.): .61
Average Group (in.): .91
MSRP: $7/box (100 rds.)
Manufacturer: Remington, remington.com

Winchester Super Suppressed

Winchester Super Suppressed .22 LR

Another option for the suppressor crowd, Winchester’s Super Suppressed load incorporates a 45-grain, black-copper-plated round-nose bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1,051 fps and roughly 119 ft-lbs. of energy. The black copper plating helps reduce fouling of the can, while the round-nose design ensures ideal accuracy. As testing revealed, Super Suppressed lives up to the company’s claim with an average group of .96 inch and a best group of .71 inch. 

Winchester designed the cartridge with clean powders and functionality for all semiautos. If you’re not worried about using a suppressor or are simply looking for a high-volume load that functions well in a semiauto, Winchester offers 500-count bricks for $30.

Winchester Super Suppressed
Weight: 45 gr.
Average Velocity (fps): 1,051
SD: 18
ES: 39
Best Group (in.): .71
Average Group (in.): .96
MSRP: $10/box (100 rds.)
Manufacturer: Winchester, winchester.com
Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

Which Sight Is Faster - XS Sight Test

Which Sight Is Faster - XS Sight Test

Jeremy Stafford traveled to Gunsite Academy to compare the speed of stock sights against express, three-dot, suppressor-height and red dot sights.

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

It is unlike any other rifle on the market because it offers features no one else does; those looking for a rifle that fits like a custom-made firearm should look no further than the Benelli Lupo.

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review Reviews

Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review

Eric Poole - May 23, 2019

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by examining the requirement around which Hornady designed the .300 PRC; the requirement came from the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). .300 PRC Review Rifle

.300 PRC Review

Tom Beckstrand - March 12, 2019

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by...

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best production-grade precision hunting rifle available.Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review Rifles

Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review

Joseph von Benedikt - March 25, 2019

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best...

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a zeroed rifle scope. Here's how to sight in your rifle scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps.How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps How-To

How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifle

For this shoot, Pro Tom Beckstrand, former U.S. Army Special Operations officer and sniper team leader, faces off against Guns & Ammo TV cameraman Ben LaLonde in a challenge that highlights the differences between the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .375 H&H.Guns & Ammo TV: 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .375 H&H Rifle

Guns & Ammo TV: 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .375 H&H

Guns & Ammo Staff - June 17, 2020

For this shoot, Pro Tom Beckstrand, former U.S. Army Special Operations officer and sniper...

Speer is now offering the performance of its Gold Dot Handgun ammunition for self-defense rifle applications with new Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Rifle ammunition.Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Rifle Ammunition Rifle

Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Rifle Ammunition

Guns & Ammo Staff - May 20, 2020

Speer is now offering the performance of its Gold Dot Handgun ammunition for self-defense...

Eric Poole takes a first look at Hornady's 6mm ARC, which has already been adopted by the U.S. military.Hornady 6mm ARC – First Look Rifle

Hornady 6mm ARC – First Look

Eric R. Poole - October 01, 2020

Eric Poole takes a first look at Hornady's 6mm ARC, which has already been adopted by the U.S....

Guns & Ammo's Tom Beckstrand sits down with Hornady Vice President Jason Hornady to discuss what .223 Remington Frontier line has to offer. Guns & Ammo TV: Hornady Frontier Ammo Rifle

Guns & Ammo TV: Hornady Frontier Ammo

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 10, 2020

Guns & Ammo's Tom Beckstrand sits down with Hornady Vice President Jason Hornady to discuss...

See More Rifle

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now