22 LR ammunition can wear many hats. Some cartridges are designed for casual plinking. Others are designed for popping critters. A few 22 LR rounds are even designed for personal protection, putting as much of their admittedly little energy to work as best as they can.

For a cartridge as versatile as the 22 LR, naturally there are many types of match ammo as well. Match 22 LR rounds cannot be used to light cigars. They are extremely accurate – or, that is to say, as accurate as so relatively anemic a cartridge can be.

What Is Match 22 LR?

Shooting Eley 22LR at the range

Match 22 LR is what you want when you’re trying to see just how good a marksman you really are. It’s also what you want when you’re trying to prove how good a marksman you are to competition judges. And because loading 22 LR is so impractical without specialized machinery, competitive 22 LR marksmen typically turn to store-bought ammo. (Which you can easily do, see our in-stock 22LR ammo selection here.)

There are limitations to just how accurate a 22 LR round’s performance can be. The 22 LR is a rimfire-primed cartridge, which means its case brass must be thin enough for a firing pin to indent. A thin case isn’t strong enough to endure very much chamber pressure, which in turn restricts how fast a 22 LR bullet can travel. A high muzzle velocity is not the sole contributor to good accuracy, but a faster-moving bullet’s flatter trajectory does generally make aiming easier.

Can High Velocity Hurt Accuracy?

But high muzzle velocities come with their own disadvantage as far as accuracy is concerned. In fact, manufacturers often load match 22 LR ammo to subsonic muzzle velocities (i.e. slower than 1,125 fps). This is because a bullet can destabilize while its in-flight velocity transfers from supersonic to subsonic. A bullet that never becomes supersonic in the first place doesn’t risk undergoing that ballistic phenomenon, thus ensuring its superior stability throughout its entire trajectory!

While the 22 LR does have an integral feature which limits its muzzle velocity, it is still perfectly possible to load a very accurate match round. It begins with a simple lead round nose (LRN) bullet. Match grade 22 LR LRN bullets are produced according to exacting standards for weight and dimensions. An LRN’s lack of copper plating (which could conceivably possess a significant flaw in concentricity) does tend to give the LRN better in-flight rotational stability. A match LRN’s round nose profile is the most ballistically efficient profile a 22 LR bullet can have (more so than a hollow point bullet’s nose profile, that is).

Like its bullets, match 22 LR ammo also has highly consistent cases. These possess uniform dimensions, and they manufactures fill them with carefully standardized charges of expertly formulated propellant. A match 22 LR bullet’s seating depth is also standardized more carefully than usual. Once all these high-quality features and loading practices come together, the result is one exceedingly accurate 22 LR round!

Best 22LR Match Ammo

We’re going to provide a few examples of good match 22 LR ammunition. To be certain, there are other perfectly viable alternatives to these rounds. Norma, SK, Wolf and several other companies make great match 22 LR ammo as well. We’re just showcasing some of our favorite 22 LR match cartridges to give you a better sense of which features you should be on the lookout for!

Eley Match 40gr LRN 22 LR

Eley match bencrest precision 22lr ammo

Muzzle Velocity: 1,085 fps
Muzzle Energy: 105 ft lbs

Eley of Great Britain is one of the most prestigious 22 LR manufacturers in the world. Their case mouths are precision cut to promote optimal seating of the bullet, and their LRN’s distinctive beeswax lubricant facilitates very smooth chambering.

Pick up a box of this Eley 22LR match ammo here.

CCI Green Tag 40gr LRN 22 LR

CCI Green tag 22lr match ammo

Muzzle Velocity: 1,070 fps
Muzzle Energy: 102 ft lbs

CCI is America’s most reputable rimfire-primed ammo manufacturer. The Idahoan company did not reinvent the wheel while developing their Green Tag match 22 LR – they just do an extremely good job producing and loading its premium components.

When in-stock, buy CCI Green Tag 22LR ammo here.

Federal Gold Medal 40gr LRN 22 LR

Federal Gold Medal Match 22LR

Muzzle Velocity: 1,200 fps
Muzzle Energy: 128 ft lbs

Federal makes another load that’s a good example of 22 LR ammo loaded to ultra-tight tolerances. Federal Gold Medal ammo is one of many exceptions to the rule that match 22 LR is loaded to a subsonic muzzle velocity. Although this ammo’s bullets may lose stability while becoming subsonic, their flatter trajectories do facilitate aiming over long distances. (This round’s fast-moving bullet will also accordingly hit a small game animal harder – a big plus if you want to put match ammo’s superior accuracy to good use out in the field.)

Grab a 500 round brick of Federal’s Gold Medal 22LR here.

Federal AutoMatch Target 40gr LRN 22 LR

Federal auto match 22lr ammunition

Muzzle Velocity: 1,200 fps
Muzzle Energy: 128 ft lbs

This 22 LR ammo isn’t necessarily the most accurate on the market, but it does illustrate an important point: Subsonic 22 LR frequently fails to cycle a semi-automatic firearm, as it generates inadequate chamber pressure to support full functionality. Federal quite rightly touts this ammo’s supersonic 1,200 fps muzzle velocity as sufficient to cycle a semi-auto pistol or rifle.

Buy Federal’s AutoMatch 22LR ammo here.

Aguila Match 40gr LRN 22 LR

Aguila 22lr match ammo for competition shooters
Muzzle Velocity: 1,080 fps
Muzzle Energy: 100 ft lbs

Aguila is Mexico’s preeminent rimfire ammo manufacturer. American competitors frequently put their Match label ammo to good use as well.

Buy a box of this Aguila 22LR match ammo here.

With all ammo, we recommend you start with a box or two. If you get good performance at the range, stack it deep! Good luck if you’re competing, we’re cheering for you!