The Winchester Wildcat is a popular .22 Long Rifle loading that has been around for quite a few years. The familiar white box is a common companion for many shooters around the country. Even though hyper velocity hollow point .22 loadings are most commonly used for hunting, the Winchester Wildcat has its fans. The Winchester Wildcat .22 LR ammo fires a conventional 40 grain round nose lead bullet.
According to information from Winchester’s website (www.winchester.com) the Wildcat fires its 40 grain bullet at 1255 feet per second. At one hundred yards it is moving along at 1017 feet per second. Compared against a popular hyper velocity load such as the CCI Stinger which reaches a muzzle velocity of 1640 with a 32 grain bullet, the Winchester Wildcat seems pretty tame. But the standard round nose lead bullet has taken a lot of rabbits and squirrels over the years and should not be dismissed as obsolete for rimfire hunting. Shot placement is always more important than bullet design or velocity when it comes to hunting effectiveness, if you can hit what you are shooting at with a round nose then use it. This is especially true given the current high cost and scarcity of hyper velocity ammunition compared against the standard or high velocity loads.
I recently went out to shoot a few boxes of Winchester Wildcat .22 LR and the results are as follows. The guns used to test the Winchester Wildcat were a Marlin autoloader and an old Mossberg bolt action. I also shot a few rounds through my revolver, but as I didn’t have too many Winchester Wildcats to shoot I saved the bulk of them for the rifles. Both rifles shot the Winchester Wildcat well, but not spectacularly. I should state that certainly accuracy was good enough for squirrel and rabbit hunting out to 50 yards or so. Given that 22’s are prone to shoot some ammunition well and others poorly, every .22 shooter or hunter needs to try a lot of different loadings to find what works best in their guns.
Given that the Winchester Wildcat is still available at a reasonable price (at least in my area when you can find them), hunters and shooters need to give it a look. Buy a box of 50 and give the Wildcat a test in your guns. If they shoot well go back and get some more. Though I assume (or perhaps hope) that the current scarcity of ammunition will pass, those who find a good shooting load for their guns should stock up on them while they can. Especially since rimfire ammunition can’t be reloaded you might as well have a supply of them on hand.