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Winchester 22 sub-sonic

Winchester 22 sub-sonic

As a hunter I would have to say that the most fun, if not the most excitement is to be had from rabbit and hare shooting. These days I tend to use my 17HMR more and more for both species, but sometimes and with very twitchy rabbits; it has to be 22 sub-sonics! 

Just recently I have been shooting more rabbits again with my Ruger M77/22 and had some disappointing results with a brand of subs I was using. No problem hitting them, but the terminal effect was less than swift, unless it was in the head!


As I was casting around for another brand of subs I decided to see what Winchester had to offer. Made in Australia, the first and most noticeable aspects of the ammo was its 40-grain hollow point bullet and the fact the nose looked like a bucket.

Pulling a random selection showed an average bullet weight of 39.7-grains and a powder charge of 0.95-grains. What I really liked was the long bearing surface on the projectile, the near truncated cone ogive (nose) and the wide and deep hollow point cavity.

With that done it was time for the chrono – a Tim Hannam ProChrono, the test rifle is my 20” barrel, wood-stocked Ruger M77/22. The only change is that I fitted a Rifle Basix’s trigger, which does make a difference. For a moderator I use a Wildcat Growler, this reflex-type makes the overall package just that bit shorter when compared to muzzle-mounted.

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I fired a five round string, which gave the following figures:

High – 1042
Low – 1009
Average – 1026
Extreme Spread – 33 fps

Shot at 50 yards prone/supported my Ruger as keeping it around the ½-3/4”, which is not bad for a field rifle. Speaking of that; the Winchesters did appear to hit rabbits with a rather more pleasing ‘thwack’ and chest shot rabbits rolled over and died a lot quicker with a lot less thrashing about than brand X.

Out of interest I ran the figures over my new Sierra Infinity 6, which now carries common rimfire data and includes all the calibres. Ranged out to 100 yards and in 10 yard increments I also factored in a 10 mph cross wind; here’s how it shoots:

Range | yards | Velocity fps | Energy ft/lbs | Drop " | Wind"
00 | 1026 | 93.5 | 1.67 | 00
10 | 1008.1 | 90.2 | -0.63 | 0.05

20 | 991.4 |  87.3   |  +0.07 | 0.18
30 | 975.7 |  84.5   |  +0.42 | 0.4
40 | 961.0 |  82.0   |  +0.4   | 0.71
50 zero   | 947.0 |  79.6 | 0.0 | 1.1
60 | 933.7 |  77.4   |  -0.78 | 1.57
70 | 921.1 |  75.3   |  -1.96 | 2.12
80 | 909.0 |  73.4   |  -3.56 | 2.74
90 | 897.3 |  71.5   |  -5.57 | 3.44
100 | 886.1 |  69.7   |  -8.01 | 4.22

Overall and with the occasional popper and cracker aside, which is unavoidable with 22 LRs, the Winchester SUBSONIC proved to be a good one

PRICE: £6.80 per 100

  • Winchester 22 sub-sonic - image {image:count}

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  • Winchester 22 sub-sonic - image {image:count}

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    Default profile image
    03 May 2022 at 08:46 PM
  • I agree, Pete. I think my Eley woes started way back with my first .22 semi- the 10-22 in stainless/ synthetic off the shelf- what a pig that turned out to be! I tried cci in their handy 100 round bricks but found nothing that shot through it- cci, s+b, eley- all types, lapua- even with the band off the barrel and a hogue stock- she was just a wrong-un! I found the Eleys very 'waxy' - ok in the summer but in the winter cold it just got to be a pain. To be honest, I tried the Winchester and stuck with it when I took the 'pig' back and paid the extra cash for the sako. I've added a few rifles since those days and the winnies shoot well through everything- Inc my Walther gsp ( except past 50yds, which this rifle seems to freeze and throw everything, everywhere!) the only complaint I've heard is cycling through semi's where that truncated head can stick on the guide and being lead, the bullet deforms. They do seem to hit with a fair whack as well- I think I'm right in thinking the eley subs are a tad lower in real mv terms as well. The other Eleys- club, match, standard, tenex etc are all mustard on paper- the club and standard in particular seem to shoot very well through the gsp for gallery, Phoenix and t+p, whilst being pretty reasonable for the quality.

    Default profile image
    14 Dec 2011 at 08:51 PM
  • Yes that bucket-nosed design does the business, though I have to say that I have never had a problem with Eley subs either. I use the winnies in my S&W M&P 15-22, with its 16" barrel I have no problems reaching out to 100-yards on both hares and rabbits. My set zero is 60-yards and on the longer shots where there is more time I tend to dial in the drop on my S&B 1.5-6x42 Zenith scope.

    But as you say it's never all about pure power, as the right bullet in the right place will drop your quarry every time...


    Default profile image
    pete moore
    14 Dec 2011 at 10:06 AM
  • I find them a very good subsonic round. They work well in my venom finfire varmint, which has a barely legal barrel- this reduces the crackers but not the poppers due to the reduced velocity, but as always, it's placement and knowing your kit that puts the critters down, not out and out power. I find they work very well with the digisight set up- it shoots flat enough to within an inch to 80yds ( courtesy of the high line of sight above the barrel) and 100 ( the ceiling for the round and sight) requires minimal hold-over. I'm not struck on the eley- I use them in various guises on paper- club, match, tenex etc, but the hollow subs never worked as well on fur and feather as the winnies. As always, try a box of whatever you can get ( and continue to get) and see what suits your rig. For me though, the ozzy rules!

    Default profile image
    Steve champion
    12 Dec 2011 at 11:40 PM
  • I have used Winchester Subsonic for about the last ten years. I have tried others, but keep coming back. For the last five years, I haven't even bothered with other ammunition. I use a CZ (BRNO) bolt action with a Parker Hale moderator. The combination works well for me. To reduce the cost, a little bit, I buy 500 rnds. at a time.

    Default profile image
    Lance Dale
    03 Aug 2010 at 12:26 PM
  • I just bought 200 of these £4.50 per 50

    Default profile image
    Ray Hearn
    04 Apr 2010 at 04:57 PM