I'll admit I've never put much thought into .22 LR ammunition. Usually I just grab a box of hollow-point loads, and as long as they hit where I aim, I'm happy. After talking to a friend and fellow hunter this week, however, I realize I've been missing out.
My buddy raises chickens, and this winter he's had a skunk problem. Seems skunks have a healthy appetite for chicken eggs. This is an issue because he uses the eggs to feed his family. Plus, he's concerned about the skunks carrying rabies. His solution: a Ruger 10/22 and the CCI Segmented Hollow Point load.
The load produces a muzzle velocity of only about 1050 fps, which means it's subsonic and quiet. But its 40-grain bullet is deadly on skunks. The copper-plated hollow-point is pre-fractured along its length, and when it impacts, the bullet breaks into three pieces. Such violent upset does two things: It limits penetration while creating additional wound channels for a quick kill.
Little noise and limited penetration are ideal for my friend's skunk patrol because he has neighbors living nearby. But he also tells me it's his favorite load for hunting squirrels, mainly due to the bullet's affect on game and its accuracy. He says his 10/22 will put five of the Segmented Hollow Points into groups of a quarter to a half an inch at 25 yards. Plus, he doesn't need to worry about his boys' ears when he takes them squirrel hunting, thanks to the load's light report. CCI makes an even quieter Segmented Hollow Point load in the aptly named Quiet-22 line.
Like most subsonic .22 LR loads, the Segmented Hollow Point will not reliably cycle the Ruger 10/22 and other semi-automatic rimfires. However, my buddy says he rarely needs more than one shot with this load to do the job--whether on skunks or squirrels.