People have different views on what kind of ammo works best for a 10/22. There are a lot of options available in the market. But you must figure out which one works best for your rifle. Here we’ll learn about the desirable qualities which make one type of ammo preferable over others. You’ll also learn about the top ammo brands available on the market for your Ruger 10/22.
Comparison of the Best Ruger 10/22 Ammo
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What Makes Some Ammo Better Than Others?
There’s a lot of variation among different types of ammo available in the market. The primary differences include centerfire vs. rimfire ammo and steel vs. brass casings.
The Standard Ruger 10/22 uses .22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition. The primary difference between rimfire and centerfire ammo is their use and cost.
Rimfire ammo is used for plinking and building up skills. It can also be used for small game hunting and shooting competitions. Rimfire ammo is quite cheap, where you can buy a box of 500 rounds for $20. Your Ruger 10/22 is a rimfire rifle and it uses the same type of ammo.
Centerfire ammo, on the other hand, is more powerful and can be used for distant shooting. While a rimfire has an effective range of 100 yards, centerfire rifles do well beyond that. Centerfire ammo is quite expensive. You’ll have to shed $20 for just 50 rounds.
Don’t be distracted by a comparison of steel vs brass casing ammo. It’s not relevant for your 10/22 because their basis is reusability. Steel casings can’t be reloaded whereas brass casings can be. However, your 10/22 uses rimfire ammo, which is non-reloadable either way.
There are brands of ammunition available on the market which are also termed as dirty ammo. It’s not a term any brand is going to use for itself! Dirty ammo is a type of ammunition which oftens and leaves behind a lot of grime in your rifle. You’d have to clean your rifle after every 50 rounds or so. That’s where the name comes from.
Dirty ammo is pretty cheap, and people who love plinking usually don’t mind the fouling. If you clean your rifle after every shooting session anyway, it might be something you’re willing to put up with.
Ammo differs based upon its effective range (accuracy), fouling and the cycling of rounds. For example, the .22 short rifle ammo in some cases fails to cycle because it is a low-power, subsonic round which fails to provide enough blowback force for reloading.
On the other hand, high-velocity ammo has been reported to damage the action rifles by putting too much pressure on the bullet setback.
Frankly speaking, the type of ammo which works the best is different for every rifle. Yes, every single one of them. There’s no consensus on the best, and slight differences between your .22 might make it take one ammo better than another for that particular gun.
What’s the solution? Trial and error, mostly. You’ll have to buy different types of ammunition to try. Around 50 rounds each will help you figure out which works best for your individual 10/22.
It’s almost like the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Some fans of the .22 say that UMC ammo is junk, while some say it's the best. The same holds for most brands. Clearly, it depends upon your rifle and how you use it.
Types of 10/22 Ammo
The .22 LR comes in a few varieties. Bullet weight ranges from twenty to sixty grains and bullet velocities vary from about 575 ft/s to 1750 ft/s. Lower velocity .22 rounds are usually plain lead with a wax coating while higher velocity rounds are copper-plated to reduce barrel wear. There are four basic categories of .22 LR ammunition: subsonic, standard velocity, high-velocity, and hyper-velocity.
Subsonic rounds travel slower than 1080 ft/s. Unlike faster rounds, subsonic rounds are not overtaken by their own sonic shockwave as they fall below the speed of sound midflight. Therefore, subsonic rounds are more stable and accurate. Subsonic .22 ammunition with lighter bullets provide minimal damage on impact and are therefore best for target shooting. With heavier bullets, .22 subsonic ammunition can be used for hunting small game without excessive noise.
Standard velocity .22 LR ammunition flies at a velocity very close to the speed of sound when shot from a rifle barrel. Pistol barrels may be too short to burn up all the powder and reach maximum velocity. Most standard velocity ammunition uses 40-grain bullets. As the name implies, standard velocity ammo is a great all-around choice.
High-velocity .22 LR ammunition came into being with the invention of smokeless powder. Smokeless powder is more efficient than black powder, allowing an 8% increase in velocity, surpassing 1300 ft/s with a 40-grain bullet. High-velocity ammo is a good all-purpose choice, with slight performance improvements over standard velocity.
Hyper-velocity .22 LR ammo uses lighter bullets, around 30 grains, and slower burning powder. This means that high pressure is maintained behind lighter projectile as it passes down the barrel. Some manufacturers also add extra powder, pushing the bullet past 1400 ft/s.
Review of the Best 10/22 Ammo
Now let’s take a look at some of the types of ammo that generally work well with the Ruger 10/22.
CCI Mini-Mags 36gr .22LR Ammo
The CCI Mini-Mig is probably the most renowned .22LR ammunition on the market. It features a 36-grain projectile, which is the best for shooting up to 75 yards. If you love plinking, this ammo is for you.
Priced at a reasonably low rate compared to its counterparts, the CCI Mini-Mag provides tight grouping at short distances. It has a copper-plated hollow point (CPHP) bullet which leaves the muzzle at 1260 fps. It’s great for varmint hunting, and you can burn hundreds of rounds without any considerable fouling. Available in a box of 100 rounds, the CCI Mini-Mag ammo is quite clean for the 10/22.
CCI Stinger 32gr .22LR Ammo
A high-velocity round from CCI, the Stinger is known for its speed. It is a 32-grain bullet which leaves the muzzle at 1640 fps.
Ruger suggests that these hypervelocity rounds should not be used too much with your 10/22. That’s because these rounds travel at high velocities. In turn, this generates a higher blowback stress on your action, resulting in wear and tear on your receiver. They also recommend not using the Stinger ammo at all with some of its models, such as the takedown version.
This ammo features a copper-plated hollow point bullet with a teardrop cavity for complete disruption. These rounds are perfect for hunting, especially for bigger varmints, because of the high velocity which offers deeper penetration. The CCI Stinger is quite inexpensive, and clean burning, keeping your action cleaner.
Best for the Money:
Hornady Varmint Express Ammo .22 Magnum (WMR) 30gr V-Max
Ruger used to produce a 10/22 Magnum capable of firing .22 WMR ammunition. Check the markings on your gun's receiver to see if yours is one of them. If it says .22 WMR, lucky you, but if it says .22 LR, do not attempt to load or fire this ammunition in your gun. These rounds offer far greater performance than the standard .22 LR.
The 30-grain projectile leaves the barrel at 2200 ft/s, about twice as fast as a standard .22 LR. Hornady's V-max bullets are designed to be accurate, have flat trajectories, and exhibit devastating expansion and fragmentation. These are top-quality, high-tech projectiles featuring a polymer tip and jacketed lead core. They are designed to have the best possible aerodynamics with devastating terminal ballistics specifically for varmints.
The great design and high power in a compact size arguably make these the ideal survival round. At about 125 yards, the effective range of these rounds is also greater than the .22 LR.
If you have or can find a Ruger 10/22 Magnum rifle, .22 WMR offers you a substantial increase in performance over standard .22 LR. Many shooters never go back. These Hornady V-max rounds take it a step further with their extremely well-designed and well-built bullets. The accuracy, flat trajectory, and show-stopping expansion will keep you coming back for more.
These rounds more than prove that rimfire isn't just for kids. You can rest easy in Hornady ammunition, which is made in the USA with a warranty against manufacturing defects. It's pretty hard to beat Hornady for factory-loaded ammunition.
4. Winchester 555 36gr .22LR Ammo
Winchester doesn’t need an introduction when it comes to firearms. These 36-grain .22LR rounds are a unique choice of ammo for multiple uses such as plinking, hunting and target shooting. The round is a copper-Plated hollow round(CPHP) bullet which claims to reduce fouling due to the copper plating. The bullet has a muzzle velocity of 1280 feet per second, placing it in the average range for .22 shots.
This ammunition is available in boxes of 333 and 555 rounds. Its price won’t do much damage to your wallet.
5. Aguila 22 LR Super Extra Standard Velocity
Aguila is known for offering great quality at a good price. It is also known for cutting-edge innovations such as the shotgun mini shell and the .22 Sniper Subsonic. Aguil's Super Extra standard velocity rounds bring exceptional reliability rather than innovation to America's most popular round.
These Super Extras are ideal for affordable plinking or target practice, although they perform admirably for small game hunting too. The accuracy does not disappoint and stats are standard as the name suggests. Aguila says these 40-grain bullets have a muzzle velocity on the high side of standard at 1130-feet per second.
They come in boxes of fifty or cases of five thousand. This ammo is known for its reliability and consistency. It is manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility in Mexico. Aguila uses only high-quality new materials and implements a rigorous quality control regimen. There are few countries where guns and ammo are taken as seriously as the USA, but Mexico is right up there. Few if any of Aguila's competitors can offer the same value for money as it can.
Whether plinking, target shooting, or hunting small game, these Aguila Super Extra Standard Velocity .22 rounds are very hard to beat. The quality and reliability for the price is the main selling point. The Aguilas are accurate and consistent and they might leave you surprised at what your firearm is capable of. Although they are not made in the USA, these are probably the best things made in Mexico since Salma Hayek.
6. Aguila 22 LR Super Extra High-Velocity
These Aguilas are a step above the ones mentioned in our other recommended offerings. The .22 LR caliber is a lot more capable than many people give it credit for, with recorded kills on everything up to a world-record grizzly bear. Standard .22 LR ammo will generally serve you perfectly well, especially for plinking, target shooting, and most small game.
Sometimes, however, it is nice to have a little extra power at your fingertips. Aguila gives these 40-grain bullets a muzzle velocity of 1255 ft/s. Depending on the local conditions, they should remain supersonic until just shy of reaching 100 yards, which is more or less their maximum effective range.
As with all Aguila products, these rounds are constructed of top-quality materials and undergo rigorous quality control. The solid-point bullets are copper-plated to improve performance and reduce barrel fouling. These rounds are specifically designed to cycle well in semi-auto weapons such as the 10/22.
Aguila ammunition is proudly manufactured just south of the border in Mexico. This helps keep the ammunition affordable without hindering quality. Thanks to their consistent quality and accuracy, these rounds will have you saying 'muy preciso' in no time.
Aguila's consistent build quality results in a reliable, accurate round. With a couple hundred more feet per second of muzzle velocity over standard ammunition, if you want to be sure that prairie dog stays dead but don't want to break the bank, this ammo is a perfect choice. Aguila is a giant in the global ammunition business for a reason. Most users are surprised by how tight their groups are with this ammo.
7. Federal Gold Metal Ultra Match 40gr .22LR Ammo
This is a nice addition to the Gold Medal product line of Federal Ammunition. These 40-grain rimfire rounds feature lead bullets. These rounds are optimum for target practice and competitions. As a matter of fact, the Gold Medal line of ammo from Federal Ammunition is renowned for target and competition shooting.
At 40 grains, these bullets are subsonic and highly accurate. They providing tight groupings, especially beyond 100 yards. If you’re into competitive shooting or target practice, this is the best type of ammo for your 10/22. The 50 round box has been priced a bit higher than other brands, but the desired use of the ammo justifies it.
8. Sellier and Bellot High Velocity 38gr .22LR Ammo
Lead hollow-point bullets have been around for more than a century now. These are among the most-loved and widely-used rounds for the 10/22. The Sellier & Belliot High Velocity ammo features a hollow point lead bullet weighing 38 grains. The round has a muzzle velocity of 1230 fps.
These rounds are perfect for hunting and plinking. The ammo comes packed in a box of 50 rounds. The price is pretty comfortable when compared to its counterparts.
The only drawback of using this LHP ammo is the fouling. Lead rounds are known to cause heavy amounts of fouling in rifles. Apart from that, hollow point and lead bullets are also banned in some places. So be sure to check local regulations if you’d like to use these rounds for hunting.
Is It Good To Stick With One Type Of Ammo?
Maybe or maybe not. Regrettably, there’s no clear answer for this one, either. As mentioned above, every rifle seems to have its own “preference” regarding type of ammo. It depends upon what use you are putting your rifle into.
The best way to check is to purchase different types of ammo and burn through 50 rounds of each. You should then measure the accuracy, recoil and fouling to decide which one is the best. Your own preferences then come into play. For instance, you might not consider fouling a huge factor, because you’re going to be cleaning the rifle anyway.
The primary factor you should test with your rifle is the grain of your ammo. Grain refers to the weight of the projectile. The mass of bullets is measured in grains. Seven thousand grains equals one pound. Bullets can range anywhere between 15 grains such as the 17HMR to 750 grains for the .50 Cal BMG.
Ammo with a heavier grain is slower (generally subsonic). Bullets with lower grains - lighter, in other words - have a higher velocity for the same caliber.
For instance, the CGI Mini-Mag 36 grain works best for shooting up to 75 yards, and the Winchester wildcat 40 grain is good for shooting beyond 100 yards.
If you want to use your rifle for plinking, the grain of the ammo is not going to matter. However, if you plan to use your 10/22 for competitions or hunting, you need to consider checking different grains of ammo. That’s because the weight of the projectile is going to factor in alongside wind, velocity, penetration and a ton of other things.
No brand of ammunition is a perfect fit for all Ruger 10/22 rifles. To check out what works best for your rifle, you ought to buy some rounds of each type of ammo and test them on the range.
This is the best way to find out what ammunition your rifle likes the best. The performance of each type of ammo differs according to the conditions and desired usage. So it’s best to check what works best for you.