Hunting ground squirrels with a shotgun can be very productive, but it’s much more fun to use a .22.

Clay Scoggin, an avid small-game hunter and shooting enthusiast, always uses subsonic .22 long rifle ammunition. 

“I started shooting subsonics many years ago,” he said. “At my shooting range, some of the older guys shot subsonics, and I noticed a big difference in the sound of the rifle’s report.

“When you shoot a high-velocity .22, there’s a loud ‘kapow’ or crack because the bullet is breaking the sound barrier. You don’t get that with a subsonic.”

Several companies make subsonics, but Scoggin prefers CCI.

“CCI has a number of subsonic .22 long rifle cartridges,” he said. “Among them are a 40-grain hollow point that shoots at 1,050 feet per second, the 45-grain Suppressor hollow point at 970 fps and a 710-fps segmented bullet that fragments into three pieces on impact.”

“I tried several different brands in my Ruger 10/22 and found that the CCI ammo shot the best. It cycled real well when I bought the rifle in 1973, and it still does today.”

For squirrels, Scoggin uses the CCI Subsonic 40-grain hollow point. Its soft report allows the hunter to pick off one rutting squirrel after another without alarming nearby tree rats.

Scoggin conducted extensive tests with the subsonic and standard-velocity hollow points, and he discovered both rounds shoot equally well.

“I found that CCI’s standard-velocity and subsonic rounds have the same trajectory out to about 80 yards,” he said. “So I zero my Ruger in at 35 yards, and it will be good out to 50 yards.”

One of Scoggin’s squirrel hunts proved how subsonics can give the hunter an advantage. After taking four squirrels, he decided to use his FoxPro game call to lure in some crows he heard in the distance.

The crows responded, and Scoggin shot one after it landed on a nearby limb.

“He fell and got hung up in the tree, and the other crows went crazy and swarmed around him.” 

Scoggin methodically picked off 18 crows with his rifle.

“They were making such a racket and the subsonics are so quiet that I don’t think they even heard the rifle go off.”