A .22 rimfire load that provides maximum performance with minimal noise—and will still run your semiauto rifle.

CCI Quiet-22 Semi-Auto Ammo

American citizens benefit from the protections guaranteed in the Second Amendment, but the sale of suppressors is more restrictive here than in many other countries. That means shooters and hunters who don’t have a stamp to purchase and own a suppressor have to deal with higher noise levels—damaging noise levels—than our counterparts in other parts of the world. Higher noise levels can not only damage your hearing but your relationship with neighbors, too.


CCI, the leading rimfire manufacturer in the world, has developed a solution to reduce noise without a suppressor. Their new Quiet-22 Semi-Auto .22 rimfire ammunition offers a low cost, low-velocity target and hunting load that, as the name implies, will also reliably run in .22 semiauto firearms.

CCI’s Quiet-22 Semi-Auto comes in 50-count boxes and fires 45-grain lead round nose bullets at a muzzle velocity of 835 feet per second. That’s well below the speed of sound (1125.3 feet per second), and the makes this ammunition subsonic. By reducing velocities to subsonic levels CCI’s Quiet-22 Semi-Auto ammunition avoids the sonic boom generated when an object travels faster than the speed of sound. Eliminating sonic boom greatly reduces noise and muzzle blast and offers a quiet alternative to traditional rimfire target ammunition.


I’m a fan of low-volume, low-recoil .22 training and target ammunition, but the problem with most low-power target loads is that they simply don’t generate enough pressure to reliably cycle a blowback .22 action. Blowback actions operate by harnessing the energy generated when a shot is fired: cartridge ignition creates a rapid gas expansion that pushes the cartridge case rearward, providing the energy required to cycle a semiautomatic rimfire action. But if the ammunition doesn’t provide adequate energy to perform the operation the bolt won’t be pushed rearward with enough force to reliably cycle the firearm, and that results in frustrating malfunctions. For years rimfire shooters have relied on low-energy, low-noise target and pest control loads when shooting bolt-action, single-shot, or lever-action rifles and revolvers, but these cartridges simply didn’t have the oomph to cycle a blowback semiauto rifle. CCI has changed that.


On the Range and In the Field

In 2014 the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation conducted a study to determine the volume generated by various firearms. Centerfire rifles produce about 160 decibels, and .22 LR rifles produce roughly 140 dB per shot. .22 handguns are even louder, producing upwards of 160 dB. When you consider that 85 dB is considered “damaging” noise by most health organizations it’s plain to see that even a single shot fired from most firearms can cause lasting damage to your hearing if you aren’t wearing some form of hearing protection.

By reducing the velocity of their Quiet-22 Semi-Auto ammo CCI has greatly reduced the noise levels generated by these rounds. Compared side-by-side with other rounds there is a noticeable reduction in perceived noise when wearing hearing protection, and that’s particularly attractive when teaching inexperienced shooters. We tend to think that flinches are a result of recoil alone, but the truth is that high noise levels and muzzle blast are also to blame for poor shooting habits. New shooters may be intimidated by the crack of a supersonic .22 LR round, even when wearing hearing protection, but CCI’s Quiet-22 Semi-Auto ammunition reduces noise levels so that they are more manageable and less frightening for novice shooters. This, in turn, allows them to become more comfortable and competent with a firearm more quickly, and it makes time at the range more enjoyable.


CCI’s Quiet-22 uses a bullet design that’s unlike anything else on the market. Using special tooling, CCI engineered the Quiet-22 bullet with a heel that obturates reliably at lower pressures, and that allows this bullet to reliably cycle at lower velocities than any competing .22. With that bullet and select powders the team at CCI has managed to accomplish something very difficult—making quiet .22 LR ammo run consistently in semiauto guns. With 45-grain lead round-nose .22 LR bullets Quiet-22 Semi-Auto ammo consistently averages around 835 feet per second, and that is enough to operate blowback .22 rifles. CCI’s Quiet-22 is designed for rimfire rifles with barrels from 16-24 inches, and I tested this ammo in two different semiauto guns—Savage’s A22 and Ruger’s Ruger’s 10/22. Both of these guns functioned with the CCI ammunition, and accuracy was quite good. With the 10/22 I managed five-shot groups under an inch at 50 yards and did so without failures or excessive noise. That makes this round ideal for new shooters, but it’s also great for small game hunting and pest control, especially in populated areas where your neighbors are apt to grouse about the crack of loud .22 ammo.

Making quiet .22 ammo that functions well in semiauto guns is a difficult proposition, but CCI has found the right recipe with their new Quiet-22 Semi-Auto. Now that squirrel season has arrived, it’s prime time to put this mild-shooting, accurate .22 ammo to the test in your own rifle, and with an MSRP of $5.95 it’s also a low-cost alternative to louder loads.

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