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It’s been almost two years since I moved back to Washington from an 11-year hiatus in California. The instant 10% “raise” due to the lack of a state income tax was great, but the real moving present to myself was a suppressor. It took me a couple months to get everything squared away here, then another 10 to actually take possession of my new toy once I wrote that $200 check to the ATF. It’s no exaggeration to say that I then spent the last eight months looking for a .22 LR load that will reliably cycle the action of a semi-automatic rifle and remain subsonic. Despite the scarcity of .22LR these days, I was able to find and test a handful of loads…and none of them worked. They were either too weak to cycle the action, too non-standard to cycle the action, or powerful enough to cycle but therefore reliably supersonic. Enter American Eagle’s “Suppressor” ammo . . .

My LGS actually got a ridiculous amount of the .22 LR in and a handful of the other calibers as well. I snagged a brick of the .22, with fingers crossed that it would actually run (I’m also the proud owner of a full brick of Aguila SSS, Sniper Subsonic, that my bolt gun will have to enjoy all on its own), and a box of the 124 grain 9mm.

Before we get to the shooting results, let’s recap the selling points of this ammunition:

  • Subsonic. The crack made by a bullet breaking the sound barrier is actually really loud. When you have a good, silenced setup, it just ruins everything. I kid you not, it’s the difference between sounding like a staple gun and sending a loud sonic boom whip crack noise echoing along the bullet’s path as it flies downrange. This .22 LR is supposed to remain subsonic even out of a 16″ barrel. Basically any bulk .22 has been reliably subsonic from a pistol for me, but all of it was supersonic from a rifle.
  • Clean, fast-burning propellants. Less fouling in your silencer. Less blowback. Possibly less noise. Federal did say that all of these loadings are using unique propellant blends. (not Unique, just unique)
  • Total metal jacket (TMJ) bullets in centerfire and fully copper plated in rimfire. Less lead fouling, residue, and vapor.

A couple of weeks ago Jim Barrett reviewed the .45 ACP offering in this product line. I must agree that, in .45, it’s at least partially a marketing ploy as standard .45 is always subsonic anyway. The remaining question is how cleanly this stuff actually burns compared to other offerings, and how much you may be willing to pay for that.

9mm

It’s interesting to see a 124 grain bullet in a 9mm subsonic offering. Subsonic nine is usually the domain of 147 grain pills. In fact, American Eagle’s standard 124 gr loads run right around the speed of sound and would be reliably supersonic out of my CZ SP-01 (especially w/ the suppressor, which adds about 2% to the velocity). Despite a bit of worry that lighter powder charges here might lead to cycling issues, I experienced none. The ammo fed, fired, and ejected (with proper authority) every time. It was subsonic. It was quiet. No complaints.

That said, it runs a few bucks more per box than American Eagle’s standard (red box) 147 grain rounds which, as far as I can tell, is just as quiet and has worked great for me in the past. I’d have to shoot a whole lot of both to see if this Suppressor branded stuff is cleaner. I’m sorry to say I can’t really afford that these days. I also have no complaints about fouling with the normal AE, though. In the 9mm loading I’m also leaning towards Jim’s .45 ACP conclusion, which is shoot standard subsonic ammo without the additional marketing and save yourself some cash.

.22 LR 

But – and this is a really big but – I’m sold on the .22 LR. I have finally found a round that runs flawlessly in my semi-automatic rifle (and pistol) and remains subsonic. I’m pretty tame about it in the video above, but the truth is that I’m extremely excited about this. I’m also quite interested to see if the clean-burning claims are true. Especially in .22 LR, as it is normally so freakin’ dirty. I greatly prefer copper-plated bullets like these as well — I hate the lead smears on my fingers from loading your typical waxed lead rounds.

The overall quality of this Suppressor ammo also seems to be higher than most other Federal- and American Eagle-branded bulk .22 I’m used to. I have yet to find any wiggly bullets that will wobble in the case or spin around freely. These seem to be crimped or otherwise held in place very well. They all look externally consistent.

Since that initial outing proved this ammunition runs for me, a trek to the woods was in order to put it over the chronograph and up the round count a bit:

Okay, wow. This is some of the more consistent .22 LR I’ve shot. The box claims 970 fps and my 15-shot average was 971.1. Standard deviation of only 10.6 fps. It runs reliably, it’s safely subsonic, and it seems to be loaded with some degree of care. Somehow I forgot to put the rifle in a rest and verify the accuracy, though. My offhand plinking all went according to aim, but I’ll have to add an update to this later with a couple of 5-shot group tests.

To hedge the above praise just a bit, there was one failure — a dud primer. I shot 100 rounds the first time out and found one round with no primer. It got two solid strikes with deep dents in different places on the rim, but was a no go. This is definitely far from abnormal in the .22 LR world, but it still isn’t ideal. Now I’m 250 rounds in and it’s still one dud primer. I’ll keep a mental tally running, and I certainly do have more of this stuff to play with now!

MidwayUSA’s price on a brick (that’s 500 rnds) of American Eagle Suppressor .22 LR is $28.49. More than we were paying two years ago, but in-line with today’s prices. I feel like it’s hovering somewhere between “bulk” and “premium” (e.g. CCI Mini-Mag) in quality and that the pricing is fair for this offering in this market.

Conclusion:

.22 LR: Strong “buy” rating. If it ran my extremely dirty and gunked up Remington 597 reliably, I will assume (no promises!) that it’s going to run your 10/22, S&W M&P 15-22, Mossberg, Savage, etc. also.

9×19: Meh. Perfectly good stuff, but costs more than other perfectly good stuff.

Last weekend, for a TTAG exclusive that will run this week, I tested out a brand new cleaning product to the market ahead of the company’s press release. Thankfully I have a dirty can and a few very dirty firearms to test it on. Now that I have a sparkly clean can I can run a couple hundred rounds of this Suppressor .22 LR through it and make an educated assessment of just how clean it actually is compared to your standard bulk stuff, of which I’ve shot enough to have a mental baseline of what to expect. That’ll have to come in an update later, along with the accuracy testing.

Stats:

Typical dealer prices are more like $35 (brick of .22), $18 (9mm), $30 (.45), $25 (.300 BLK, 20 rnds).

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35 Responses to Ammo Review: American Eagle Suppressor .22 LR & 9mm

  1. I’ve been considering the move to WA for a while. But doesn’t the state government make up that 10% in other taxes? I was up in Washington for a couple days two weeks ago. It seemed like there was a tax on everything…

    • Everything is taxed except food , But no State income tax …typical blue State on the West side.. More conservative on the East side

    • In King County, I pay 9.5% sales tax. My suppressor is waiting down at my FLGS for BATFE to do whatever they do. For the most part, the fuzzy-wuzzies/bleeding-hearts seem to be mostly located here in King as well as Pierce County. Kitsap (home to NavSubase Bangor and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard) and Mason Counties are quite gun-friendly.

    • The most taxing element, however, is the gentrification that these Californians bring when they come to WA state and expect all sorts of things for free or cheap.

      Californians ran up the price of houses–and concomitant real estate taxes–by 50% in our modest neighborhood. And of course they sniff at those of us who don’t have hot tubs or Wine Rooms.

      So yeah, there’s no state income tax, but so long as Californians keep seething up here, like ants abandoning the carcass of something they stung to death, it’s going to be an increasingly hostile economy for working people.

      And since most of them are anti-gun…well, that has its own math. 🙁

    • On the east side state tax is 8.7%. If you itemize your 1040, you get vehicle licensing back, federal allowances for state taxes and the weather’s nice (both politically and environmentally).

    • Washington is mostly blue in the three central Puget Sound counties (King, Pierce, and Snohomish) and mostly in the cities in those counties. Other parts of the state, even on the west side, range from moderate to very conservative.

      Washington’s status as a blue state comes from the population concentration in those blue area. This represents an opportunity for conservative minded people. Move to Washington. You don’t have to live in one of the blue areas. Most of the state will feel quite comfortable. Vote the way you like. Obama had a large margin of victory here but we’ve had gubernatorial and senatorial elections come down to a few hundred or few thousand votes before. Ballot measures have been very close.

      Of course, if enough people move here, the state could become a swing state, or even a red state. And in the meantime, you can enjoy some very good firearms laws.

    • Yes, WA has a high overall tax rate. In my situation, not being a property owner now (if I was going to buy a home I may have gone a few minutes East and done that in Idaho instead), I’m still coming out way ahead vs. CA. We do have a decently high sales tax here but it’s lower than I was paying in CA. There’s plenty of gas tax but less than in CA and I fill up in Idaho a lot ($0.25 less per gallon on the other side of the border). Electricity and natural gas are a lot less expensive. Booze got expensive here but drinks are still less when you’re out than they are in large CA cities. Overall it’s a win for my purposes. …certainly, firearms are both significantly less expensive and significantly more available…

    • Some people pull a trick by living in Vancouver (the one on the south border of WA), and doing their shopping across the river in Portland – Oregon doesn’t have any sales tax, and Washington doesn’t have state income tax…

  2. Did you not have any success with CCI Standard Velocity (1070fps)? That is what I run in all my semi-auto .22LR’s and found it works reliably in all my pistols and Nordic Components NC-22 while remaining sub-sonic through my Silencerco Sparrow.

      • I’m SURE there are other types that will do the trick. I’ll keep trying others as I come across them. Obviously .22 selection has been tight the past year. I know I’ve shot cci mini mag and stinger, but I’m not sure if I have seen standard in stock in a long time. I’ll keep my eye out and update the post above if something else pops up. Regardless, this AE stuff did well. I did NOT mean to imply it’s the only one on the market or anything, as I’m totally sure it isn’t. Just in five brands of bulk box standard stuff and three or four brands of nicer stuff, none has yet worked properly until this. If there’s something else that’s less expensive and does the trick, I’d almost certainly get that instead 🙂

        • @ilkhan: CCI Standard is available in 500 round bricks. Wal-Mart most commonly carries it the 100 round sleeves,and it is not listed on CCI’s website, but it does exist. Embrace your inner your Google-Fu with “CCI Standard Velocity 22LR brick”.

          @Jeremy S: The last time I was able to find a brick of CCI Std it was around the $28-$30 range. So both of these offerings are comparable.

        • I’ve purchased plenty of brands in 50- and 100-round boxes. I only bought bricks of this AE Suppressor stuff because it worked and I knew I would use it. The Aguila SSS was for sale only in brick form on Midway for a very good price so I bought it. I would have preferred buying only a box of 50 since I hadn’t tested it out and, especially now that it won’t run in any semi-auto I’ve tried it in, I’m not super thrilled to have hundreds of rounds of it. Some guns won’t even stabilize the 60-grain slug and most suppressor manufacturers tell you not to use it for that reason. Oh well. It works fine from my bolt gun.

          Anyway, the moment I see CCI Standard velocity I’ll grab it. If anyone wants to part with a box (50 or 100) let me know and I’ll PayPal you $$$ to mail it up to me.

  3. You should have waited till you received your suppressor before you started testing. The added back pressure from the can will help those semi autos cycle that would not cycle without the can using subsonic ammo.

    • I did. The only reason I cared about finding subsonic stuff was because I had the suppressor. All of that testing was done with it. And you’re right, the bit of added backpressure has made a difference for me before on a pistol (the Walther PPK/S .22 that I reviewed had a stiff hammer spring and wouldn’t cycle weak bulk ammo with full reliability, but with the can on it ran absolutely 100%). I don’t think it does as much on a blowback .22 rifle though. The extra barrel length provides its own increase in pressure and time under pressure that’s forcing the case out with more oomph than in a pistol.

  4. I tried a box of the .22 in a 60 year old Marlin 81 that normally runs about anything I put in it. Wound up individually hand loading the entire box. Mostly shot steel targets at 40 to 50 yds with open sights and was pleased with the accuracy. Even managed to rainbow a few shots out to 220 yds with an occasional light cross breeze. Cannot comment on how clean they are because I went back to CCI’s the rest of the morning. Looking forward to trying the other box in Ruger pistol.

    • Single shot or bolt rifle in .300 Blackout is even quieter. My .30cal suppressor’s tax stamp arrived last week…giggity!

      • Yeah I’ve been debating one of those Handi Rifles in .300 blk. Seems like fun.

        It’s always going to be quietest in something subsonic with no action cycling, like Bunsen said. Then quieter as you get into lighter loads with less powder and less pressure. 9mm in the same barrel length and same action type will almost certainly be quieter than .300 blk for that reason, and .22 lr quieter still.

        The quietest gun I own would be the bolt action .22 rifle with the can on it. Next up is the CZ SP-01 with subsonic 9mm. It has a good lockup time and pressure has dropped before the case comes out of the chamber and it is extremely quiet. I don’t think it’s much louder at all vs. dry firing and racking the slide manually. Then the .22 lr semi-autos, which are also stupid quiet. They’re only the tiniest bit louder than the 9mm because they’re blowback and some noise makes it out of the breech/ejection port. I have a 9mm AR-15 pistol (3.5″ barrel and ammo stays subsonic) and it’s significantly louder than my CZ because it’s straight blowback and lots of noise escapes out the ejection port. Still quiet, but a delay to the action makes a huge difference. Then having no action at all gets rid of all of that noise.

    • I’m kicking myself for not including it in the video, but I fired some rounds through the 597 without the can and it ran fine. Next week I’m giving a couple boxes of this AE Suppressor stuff to a friend who has a few 10/22s (two rifles, one Charger pistol), but no suppressor, and I’ll definitely update when he lets me know if they run for him.

  5. Has anybody run both this stuff and CCI’s “Quiet-22” ammo? If so, I would love to hear a comparison between them.

  6. I run a TBAC SL1 on a Ruger clone 10/22 (the only thing by Ruger is the magazine) with a 1 in 9 twist barrel for the Aquilla SSS 60 grain. It is generally reliable but quite dirty, It stays subsonic. It is also deadly out to 100 yards on criiters. I have not found a standard round that will shoot subsonic in the rifle. I have tried Remington sub-sonic and they don’t cycle. I just bought some Norma Tac22 subsonic with 40 grain slugs. We’ll see how they do in the rifle. I also use the TBAC on a ruger 22/45; it runs standard velocity Federal 36 grain subsonic and it shoots the Norma T22 subsonic quite well. It does not function with the Remington subsonic. It does not shoot the Aqulla SSS 60 grain accurately as you should expect nor does it function the bolt reliably.

    • It seems like most of my issues in various guns with the SSS have been ejection problems. They don’t like getting rid of that short brass and it gets hung up in the action or otherwise doesn’t make out. Some of the issues are certainly just low power and not cycling hard enough to cock the hammer and such, but the guns that are cool with the power level still don’t eject the brass right.

      Be careful with the SSS to make sure your guns stabilize it properly! Shoot targets at various distances to check for round holes. It’ll tumble from some barrels and baffle strikes are a real concern. A few silencer manufacturers specifically say not to even use it and they won’t warranty baffle strikes if they hear you were shooting SSS. Sounds like your rifle is squared away, but before you shoot it through any other guns I’d try it without the can on to verify you’re getting clean, round holes in your targets.

      I’d bet anything this American Eagle Suppressor stuff runs reliably in your semi-autos and stays subsonic. You want a box of 50 to test out? E-mail me at GunsAndGearEJ20 [ at ] gmail and I’d be happy to sell you a box cheap to hear how it works out for you.

  7. For anyone using a 10/22 I have a tip that you may find helpful. KIDD sells aftermarket charging handle & spring kits that comes with 3 weights of springs. You can use one of the weaker springs made for subsonic loads to tune your rifle to work with the light ammo.

  8. every round I have used from 1600fps to 950 work in my semi fine…never had one issue?? Not sure whats wrong with your semis???
    I use an M4 22LR by Colt and right out of the box every round has fired and never one had issue…..not one!!!!
    Have yet tried the 750 fps ones yet. Don’t think they will work..only use them in my break open rossi. Shes a deadly ground h killer…..killed many last year with that round.

  9. Is there any problem shooting this ammo through a .223 can…I’m still waiting for the paperwork for my .22 can…

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