.22Lr: Target-match amo V. Hunting amo

Erik Hamburger

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Being new to the .22Lr scene I would welcome some advice. I will have to do some more vermin control after having taken on the (Game) shooting rights on a farm where my stalking partner and I already look after the deer control.

I have just purchased a Browning Buckmark Carbine, carbon custom barrel/fully integrated moderator. Looking into .22Lr amo, there seems to be a clear distinction between match/target amo and hunting amo. As well as of course the issue of subsonic or HV...
Most of the so-called 'match/target' .22Lr seems to be made out of lead, and are not FMJ such as one finds in center-fire target/match amo.

All the most accurate .22Lr amo appears to be match/target, with Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS; Lapua Midas Plus; and Eley Match showing top results in several reviews/tests.

1. Am I correct to make the assumption that a lead .22Lr target/match bullet will still expand on impact - and is therefore also suitable for small game/vermin? (OK, at a cost..)
2. Am I correct to feel that an accurately placed match/target round (on vermin) will be preferable above a not-so-accurate 'hunting' bullet?

I would appreciate some views, thank you!


Well-Known Member
They will expand but no where near as much with more pencilling through. If you shoot a rabbit or sonar sized animal in the head then it won't make much difference but you may find you lose some chest shot rabbits that make it to cover. This is my experience as the SK Magazine bulk target ammo is slightly more accurate than Winchester hollow points.


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All .22 rimfire ammunition is made of soft lead - you may see some with a copper plating but all just lead, and all, due to the heeled bullet design, have some type of exterior lube.

You really need to try several types of ammunition through your particular rifle. If the area you shoot is noise sensitive then any rounds that are not sub-sonic will crack, sub-sonic will be very quiet with your mod.

The ammunition needs to reliably cycle the action, it's painful having a really accurate round that fails to feed every third shot.

Eley tenex and other top quality ammunition is around three times the price of the usual sub-sonic HP rounds and you may find will give very little, if any improved accuracy in your rifle.

I think you would be hard pushed to beat a good HP sub-sonic round in your rifle. If you were using a really accurate bolt action rifle and trying to take rabbits at extended distances, the use of quality match ammunition may make a slight difference, however it's diminishing returns. A .22 match grade solid at 100 yards is down to around 880 fps (70ftlbs) and very little expansion will take place - anything but a headshot will result in a runner.

Using HV sounds nice in theory but often offers less accuracy.


Well-Known Member
Stick to a decent hollow point for live quarry, you will get a lot more wounded that will crawl away with target ammo.
target ammo will only be slightly more accurate than a decent hollow point and under field conditions your wobble, vagaries of wind and range estimation and movement of the animal will cause bigger errors than any perceived loss of accuracy of a hollow point. Buy a few different brands of hunting ammo and see what shoots best in your rifle

25 Sharps

Well-Known Member
I've just picked up a BSA Century to replace my annie 1450 bolt action, up until this point I've always used Subsonic or Win or CCI hollows for vermin, the buddy I bought the BSA off of suggested the use of Eley edge (so middle of the range target / practice ammo) due to its better accuracy. Essentially the hollows I had (win, cci, agilia) didn't feed too well and accuracy was just about ok at 62 yards 1-1.5", switch to the eley edge that came with the rifle and 5 shots into a fingernail size group at 62 yards.

First proper trip out on the rabbits last Friday yielded 13 for the pot but I can honestly say I was far from impressed by the stopping power of the solid bullets, I had a few rabbits that were hit chest or neck that didn't drop very convincingly. None made it very far but I'm convinced a good hollow would have been humane. Trip to the RFD the next morning to pick up some eley HP subs, they cycle well and fingers crossed they match the accuracy, or at least half way to the accuracy, of the solids as I really wasn't impressed with their terminal performance and don't really want to use them again!


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Some time ago I made a short video comparing 6 types of .22 ammunition (3 HP subs and 3 solid) in my rifle under fairly normal (breezy) field conditions at 65 yards.

Yes, I know there's a caravan behind the target - It's where I hide when it's raining and to have a brew.

The accuracy of the Eley Tenex was certainly the best but all thirty shots would have hit a golfball.

.22 ammunition field test - Six types compared. - YouTube


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Accuracy is acceptable to 50m or maybe a bit more with HP subs. At 100m you can have shots 10cm low since the MV variance, and the HP subs won't anyway expand at 100m.

Solids will not expand at all, or maybe slightly if hitting major bone (but then hitting the bone makes the difference, not expansion). RN design makes them zip through, terminal ballistics are very poor.

I suggest you start from Eley, RWS, Lapua/SK HP subs and see if your rifle likes them and if they're quiet enough. Tight chamber/bore makes subs transsonic, I guess you won't have problem since you have semiauto (likely to have generous chamber).

If you don't find suitable round try Winchester, and only after that other brands (CCI, Aguila etc.)


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I found Eley subs the most accurate but if taking chest shots you do get a few runners, the Winchester subs still accurate enough but not as tight groups as the Eley, but they expand and drop rabbits much better..


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There's several subsonic HP from Winchester, and at least 40gr (marketed as "Subsonic") and 42gr ( marketed as "Subsonic 42 Max") are available in UK.

Which one have you used?