When Rimfire Went Clean

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CCI ammo cartridges being picked up from a table outside

Being in the ammunition business requires the deft touch of a high-wire acrobat. Manufacturers need to churn out millions of rounds of ammunition per year to satisfy demand from shooters while at the same time spotting emerging trends that require investment to develop new products. This ability is what’s made CCI The Leader In Rimfire Ammunition. Clean-22 is just one example.

“We developed Clean-22 partly to build 22 LR ammunition without the traditional wax coating,” says product line director Jason Slinkard. “Instead, it uses a proprietary polymer coating. The development was also a direct result of listening to shooters who wanted cleaner-shooting ammo, and this polymer coating was created to handle the friction and heat associated with the velocities of rimfire ammunition. Because of this, it’s the cleanest shooting lead 22 LR ammunition we offer.”

Clean-22 ammo features a lead bullet completely encapsulated in a protective polymer coating. The polymer replaces wax traditionally applied to 22 LR ammunition to protect the barrel from the buildup of lead or copper residue. But the new polymer coating does a far better job, and that means the user will not have to break down and clean the gun as often. In general, Clean-22 ammo also cuts lead buildup in suppressors 60 to 80 percent and reliably functions in semi-automatic firearms. All products are built with dependable CCI priming and consistent propellant with bullets optimized for accuracy.

A Growing Family

Clean-22 launched in 2019 with two options: Sub-Sonic and High Velocity. Both loads feature a 40-grain round-nose lead bullet colored in a way to signify their differences, which helps shooters quickly identify exactly what they are looking for when browsing ammo on a store shelf.

CCI Clean-22 Sub-Sonic 22LR box next to a rifle laying on a table

Red (High Velocity) boasts a muzzle velocity of 1,235 fps; Blue (Sub-Sonic) offers a muzzle velocity of 1,070 fps. Both options are sold in 100-count, clear-sided, durable boxes.

Later, CCI released a few other High-Velocity loads in other purpose-driven colors. Clean-22 Pink helps support efforts to find a cure for breast cancer (a portion of the proceeds from every box sold goes directly to support this cause.) Clean-22 Realtree has bullets colored tan, green and black which are attractive to hunters. All of these options are set to the same high muzzle velocity of 1,235 fps and come in 400-round bulk bottles perfect for long days at the range.

In 2020, CCI introduced Suppressor 22 LR (black bullets) in unique 200-count “pour pack” cartons, and Maxi-Mag Segmented Hollow Point (SHP) 22 WMR.

CCI ammunition cartridges laying on a table

“Clean-22’s advanced polymer bullet coating reduces lead fouling inside a suppressor by up to 60 percent,” Slinkard says. “This feature allows much easier suppressor cleaning and maintenance. For that reason, our Clean-22 Sub-Sonic was initially popular with suppressor users. However, Clean-22 Suppressor shoots even better due to its heavier 45-grain bullet set to a muzzle velocity of 1,000 fps. This ultimately gives suppressor fans more options.”

Clean-22 Maxi-Mag SHP is the industry’s only segmenting 22 WMR hollow-point bullet. The load’s 46-grain segmented hollow point splits into three equal-size pieces on impact, tripling the number of wound channels. The polymer bullet coating allows this separation at much lower velocities and longer distances than a conventional copper jacket. The load features an olive-drab green bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1,850 fps and is available in 50-count boxes.

Shooters who like the fast and popular Stinger or Velocitor loads will love Clean-22 Hyper Velocity. Its 31-grain, round-nose bullets are colored purple and its muzzle velocity is set to 1,550 fps.

shooter aiming a handgun at an outdoor range

“It delivers lots of energy with less lead fouling in the firearm or their suppressor,” Slinkard says.

By with Clean-22 Hyper Velocity, the Clean-22 lineup now has a 22 LR load in four muzzle-velocity windows: 1,000, 1,070, 1,235 and 1,500 fps.

“Shooters are always looking for variety, and CCI has always delivered,” says Slinkard. “Now they can find a full variety of color, cartridge, velocity, packaging and bullet options with our exclusive Clean-22 coating.”