Winchester M-22 Subsonic Ammo

Winchester M-22

Winchester Ammunition introduced a new .22 LR round at the recent SHOT Show. The new M-22 Subsonic is built specifically for semi-automatic pistols and rifles. As the name suggests, the new rimfire load operates below the speed of sound from all barrel lengths.

Winchester Ammunition uses a 45 grain lead round nose bullet with a black plating. Using the slightly heavy for caliber bullet allowed the company to keep velocities down while still developing respectable energy levels. In fact, Winchester Ammunition states the new load produces a muzzle energy equivalent to their supersonic 36 grain bullet loads. Winchester did not provide a velocity measurement for the new load.

According to the company, the rounds work well in suppressed firearms. Additionally, the company states the load is just as reliable and is relatively quiet when shot from unsuppressed firearms. Winchester Ammunition states that when shot from an unsuppressed rifle, the M-22 Subsonic produces a sound pressure level of 129 dB. The company’s testing showed that supersonic loads produced 138 dB from the same rifle. With the addition of a suppressor (type not identified by Winchester,) the company states the sound pressure level drops to a much safer 116 dB.

The company already makes an M-22 .22 LR round, but the existing load is supersonic: 40 grain bullet at 1,255 fps.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Ben Rogers

    Winchester is to be commended!!!

    Note, that 116 decibels is STILL not safe for unprotected ears, and you should still wear plugs muffs even when shooting suppressed. I am not kidding.

    • David

      Incorrect. Its much higher than that. 135?

      • JumpIf NotZero

        140db for the duration of a typical gunshot.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      You might not be kidding, but you’re as wrong as could be.

      You’re about to pull some crap like “but OSHA says anything about 110db is damaging!” but the truth is:

      Damage = PRESSURE + EXPOSURE

      A the duration of a gun shot, the limit is around 140db. At one gun shot, anything under 140 ‘probably’ (these aren’t absolute numbers) won’t cause permenant damage.

      The 110 number is a constant exposure. If your in a room with a machine making 110 constantly, that will damage your hearing.

      As to the obvious question of when the duration is considered “reset” to the point where one gun shot at 139 is fine but two shots in quick succession, or an entire day of shooting “adds up” – that’s not something you can put a specific number on as it’s a per person factor.

      Either way, 116 is not only ABSOLUTELY FINE, it’s very quiet. Just not full auto all day out of a 22lr Gatling gun with your head next to the muzzle.

    • WFDT

      remember, the decibel is a logarithmic scale- 110 db is ten times louder than 100 db.

      • Paladin

        No, 110dB is not 10 times louder than 100dB, it’s twice as loud.

        • WFDT

          I’m sorry, but you are not correct. Go research it.

          • Paladin

            I have researched it. A 10dB increase in sound level corresponds to ten times greater amplitude, but perceived loudness does not scale linearly with amplitude, where amplitude increases by a factor of ten, perceived loudness doubles.

    • nobody

      >Note, that 116 decibels is STILL not safe for unprotected ears
      That’s wrong, up to 140 db is safe depending on how much you’re shooting. If I remember correctly it’s about 100 rounds at 140 db and goes up as the amplitude decreases.

  • Dave D

    Good to see a new offering. Just curious if they’ll be able to get a good quantity on the shelves so the scalpers don’t make this too pricey. I’ll try it.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    This is fantastic. 45gr for a little more oomph, but not so heavy that it runs the risk of not stabilizing out of common 1:12 or 1:14 .22lr barrels. Also will give the cartridge a little more “kick” for running a semi-auto more reliably.

    Thank you Winchester for actually giving us a new type of ammo that’s well thought-out and not full of hype and not a gimmick.

  • MrApple

    I wish anyone who buys this the best of luck. I picked up 1000 rounds of the M-22 40gr a couple of Summers ago and had nothing but dud after dud. The Winchester M-22 line is the one line of 22LR ammo that I simply refuse to purchase again. Hey, that means more for you.

    • Thirst_quencheR

      I seem to recall am m22 recall a couple of years ago. Maybe you got a bad batch?

      All mine worked just fine.

      • MrApple

        I know about the recall. I bought mine from a Walmart several months after the recall and the numbers on my boxes did not match the recalled batch. I won’t buy any more of that stuff. I’ll pick up the Winchester White Box for some fun shooting but not the M-22.

        • Thirst_quencheR

          Fair enough. I mostly stick to the CCI stuff these days anyway.

          • MrApple

            I’m a big fan of Federal myself.

          • Thirst_quencheR

            Been working through a box of Federal match stuff that my beretta 71 really loves. May have to buy more Federal then if they make pretty good .22 ammo.

          • MrApple

            I’m a giant fan of the Federal AutoMatch. It has worked well in my Ruger Mk II, Ruger Mk III 22/45, Ruger Mk III 22/45 LITE, Ruger 10/22 (an old one), S&W 15-22, and S&W 22 Compact.

          • iksnilol

            I like CCI standard (crappy name though: CCI STD)

            cheap, decent accuracy, not that dirty.

          • Budogunner

            CCI has the most reliable and accurate .22 offerings I’ve come across for my suppressed platforms (mk III 22/45, 10/22, Dedicated AR upper, Savage bolt gun). Your mileage may vary as different guns like different loads.

          • iksnilol

            It’s good, but it ain’t no Eley Match or that German stuff that the name of escapes me at the moment. It has a crosshair as a headstamp. It’s kewl stuff.

            Then again CCI is like literally half the price so for 80-90% of shooting you won’t notice a difference.

    • uisconfruzed

      I’ve got a few boxes, they run great in my suppressed 10/22 & KMIII

      • MrApple

        I wish I had your boxes instead of mine.

    • Treyh007

      They had a recall on some of this ammo, it’s probably some that you got. Lol. I bought a case after they fixed the problem and it works good in my 15-22 and 10/22.

  • Blake

    I wish I could still get my hands on another couple of bricks of Aguila SSS. It’s a long 60gr bullet loaded into a 22 short case, so the COAL is the same as a normal 22LR. The powder charge is pretty hot so it’s coming out of there at ~950fps in a rifle.

    Other than more traditional “maximum” 22LR loads like Velocitors this is the only round I’ve found that will usually knock over steel plates at our range, and since it’s a small amount of really fast burning powder it’s the only one that will do it from a pistol. It’s also quite consistent (& therefore accurate).

    I’ll try out some of this new Winchester stuff if I can get my hands on it…

    • Cymond

      Aguila SSS is the only ammo that runs reliably in my old Stoeger Luger.

      The downside is that tests have shown it’s less quiet than traditional subsonic 22lr ammo, and several suppressor manufacturers will not warranty their cans with SSS.

  • Tassiebush

    I just bought a brick of that stuff and hold high hopes for it. I reckon it’s an understated but very significant move. To explain the appeal from my perspective it’s about not having to choose between the functions of a .22lr and a .22mag (or any magnum rimfire) Between those cartridges I can cover a huge proportion of the small to medium game hunting I do so this load lets me do that with the same rifle.

  • Darren Hruska

    For 120 foot-pounds at the muzzle of a rifle, a 45-grain bullet will having to be traveling about 1,100 fps, which is practically the speed of sound. I’d imagine this cartridge is probably a bit “colder” than that. So, it may still in the safe zone of being subsonic in vastly varying conditions. If stabilization wouldn’t be much of an issue, I’d prefer seeing a 50-grain at 1,050 fps. Nonetheless, I’ll look into this product if the price is right. .22 LR is a joy to shoot and already relatively quiet. Subsonic ammo would be an absolute blast (in the figurative sense).

  • J.T.

    Shouldn’t they try to improve availability on their current products before offering new ones? I haven’t seen Winchester .22LR on shelves in years.

  • Steve Gwilt

    Great! Will this 22LR ammo be almost nonexistent too?
    I’m guessing it’ll be another 2 years before we can see quantities on the shelves.

  • Arch

    Squirrels that eat out of my wife’s bird feeders are out of the gene pool here. I use a Browning BL22 shooting CCI 22 shorts. Their muzzle velocity is about 750 fps. Slamming a screen door makes more noise.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Is this so you can shoot your neighbors or their animals and nobody hears it? Shooting varmints in the city is still a ticket-able offense.

    “Works well in a suppressed weapons” Well at $600 for the suppressor license you will only be able to afford the 22s anyway…
    I guess you are filling a need . . .

    • lbeacham

      I’m in a rural area and I find shooting suppressed much fun. Fun is still a legal reason to buy and use whatever the hell you can afford. Granted, the $200 tax stamp and waiting period decrease demand and increases cost.

      • Mike Lashewitz

        Yeah, something I cannot justify and still feed my habit at the range. Would love to live in a rural area these days. This disabled veteran would love to get the Heck out of the city.

        • lbeacham

          Godspeed to you.