Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rimfire Rifle Roundup...

Brad_in_MA had a great suggestion as a follow-up to my target rimfire bleg. His friend Alan - he of the awesome Smith & Wesson model 41 - is looking at .22LR rifles. Brad didn't state what the exact purpose was - training, plinking, or target shooting/varmint control - so we're try to cover just the basics. No high-end .22LR target guns or hunting bolties, just the middle-of-the-road stuff.

Now, the first question, of course, is action. Is Alan looking for a repeater, or a manually operated .22LR rifle? If a semi-auto is in the cards, does he want a tubular magazine or a removable box magazine? Since Alan is in MA, the tube mag has the advantage in that it is not limited to 10 rounds, but box magazines are much easier for reloading at the range.

Some possibilities for this group are:

Ruger 10/22

Remington 597

Marlin 60


Mossberg 702

Smith & Wesson M&P15-22

I prefer a box magazine for a .22LR rifle, for one simple reason: .22LR is inexpensive ammunition, and you're bound to get a couple of duds in a bulk box. If you have a dud in a semi-automatic with a box magazine, you simply drop the magazine, clear the dud, and reinsert the magazine. If you have a dud in a tube magazine, you have to empty out all of the rounds before you can clear the action.

My personal preference here is for the Ruger 10/22. The standard carbine model can be had for cheap money - under $300; the Takedown model for not a whole lot more than that; and a target model for a few dollars more. Of course, you can buy the plain jane model and then spend several times the cost of the rifle in aftermarket parts making it better - and that's part of the big appeal...

If Alan's looking for something with a manually-actuated action, there are three main types: bolt action, pump action, and lever action. The main advantage to a manual action on a rimfire rifle is that with bulk ammo, if a round fails to fire, it is quickly and easily removed and a fresh round inserted. This means that bulk ammunition can be much better utilized in a bolt- or lever gun.

Bolt action rifles:

Ruger 77/22

CZ 455

Marlin XT-22

Savage Mark II

Mossberg 802

Henry Accu-Bolt

Lever action:


Marlin 39A

Mossberg 464

Pump action:

Taurus 62

Remington 572


(As a side note to any of the above manufacturers, all of the above longarms are MA-compliant models and as such could be tested and reviewed by your humble host...)

For the bolt-action rifles, the jury's still out. I have a Remington Model 511 that I got for free many years ago, while I like it very much (especially because between the rifle, the scope, and the six magazines I have for it I think I'm out under a hundred bucks) I know there are nicer rifles out there. For the lever actions, I've shot the Henry as well as the Marlin 39A, and I am an unabashed fan of the 39. Pump action I've got a Remington 572 that is one of my very favoritest guns ever - it's just crazy stupid fun to load it up and hit everything you aim at...

So, what rifle do you recommend for an all-around .22LR longarm?

That is all.


AK™ said...

I vouch for the 10/22. Almost as many upgrades as the AR-15.
I'm throwing in a VQ hammer upgrade and a modified bolt release on mine. I did buy a tru-glo red dot..and I can mount my 3x-9x scope on it.

If he goes bolt action,the only thing I have fired is a Winchester Model 69 and Model 72.

I'm thinking about buying another 10/22 or a 77/22.

Lupis42 said...

For an all-rounder, the 10/22 with a Whistlepig ( barrel is both light and accurate, takes box mags, and can be configured to meet whatever other needs you have.

If you want a bolt gun, the CZ is probably the best choice going, though I'd be looking at this model:

Or, for 10/22 money, Savage does a variant of the Mark II that's already set up with a lighter barrel and a rail for a scope:

Mopar said...

If I could have only one rimfire it would be the 10/22. Pricewise, at least before the recent madness, they could be had at bigger gun stores or Walmart for $200 or less for the base model.

Brad_in_MA said...

Jay, Thanks for posting this. I know some but don't profess to know all the answers.

I know for certain that the rifle would have two purposes . . . (1) informal plinking at the range and (2) small game hunting, aka rabbit and possible rodent elimination.

I am certain that both could be satisfied with a 10/22.

- Brad

Dave H said...

I must be doing something wrong. When I get a dud in my 10/22 a yank on the charging handle ejects it and chambers a fresh round from the mag. I've never had to drop the magazine to clear it.

Of the rifles you suggest I own a 10/22 carbine and a low end Savage Mk II, without the Accutrigger. If getting a Savage, I recommend spending a little more for the better trigger.

Roger said...

The class act of boltie rimfires is definitely the CZ line. Well known for accuracy and quality. Not only that, but their walnut, after you remove the mud that CZ applies, is usually very nice.
For semi Autos, if you can find a Thompson Center R55 Benchmark, you'll have a semi that needs no modification for accuracy or upgrading. For leverguns, a real Winchester 9422, while a bit pricey is a class act. US made by Winchester. All steel and walnut. No plastic, zamac, aluminum, or zinc. Sadly long since discontinued, but avaiable used. Best buy in target rifles is the Kimber 82g from the CMP for $425.00, a steal of a deal.
Okay Okay, I know two of them are from times past, but they're all great rifles.

Lupis42 said...


One knock on the Thompson Center SA's: I've seen them on the line at Appleseeds, and they dislike dust, mud, water, and other features of the outside world. That doesn't knock them out of the running for all purposes, of course, but I would recommend the CZ bolt or a lightly improved 10/22 for the same money.

bluesun said...

Since I got my Henry lever action, I don't think I've shot my 10/22 once... it's just so great to load it up with load subsonic .22 shorts and shoot "all week" as the saying goes.

Jay G said...

For the money, I really don't see how Alan could go wrong with a 10/22.

I would be more than happy to bring both of mine to a shoot if he'd like. I can leave the old 10/22 in its ZOMG ASSAULT RIFLE config or drop it into the nice wood stock if he'd prefer...

Chris in TX said...

I own both a 10/22 and a Henry Golden Boy. The Ruger has a good bit more utility, and can be customized as much as one's pocketbook allows, it can't touch the lever gun for entertainment value.

So again: for an all rounder, get the Ruger. for a "Fun Gun", get the Henry.

Yankeefried said...

Marlin 795 or 795SS.

Tam said...

"If you have a dud in a tube magazine, you have to empty out all of the rounds before you can clear the action. "

What DaveH said above.

No need to empty the tube mag; just run the bolt manually and drive on.

Jay G said...

Sorry, poor choice of words on my part. Not so much a misfire, but a jam or misfeed. Something that *won't* be cleared simply by running the bolt.

I'm thinking specifically of my Remington Nylon 66 here, which - when it is running right (which is most of the time) is an absolute joy to shoot and very rugged. However, owing to the complex nature of the Remington Nylon 66 assembly (three hands required), it's a PITA to take down for cleaning, and as such often goes too long in between cleanings.

Sometimes a round won't fire, and pulling the bolt back fails to extract the recalcitrant round - which now results in a second round attempting to occupy the space still held by the misfire...

It's a very limited case, I know, and there are plenty of other reasons to prefer a box magazine...

Brad_in_MA said...


Thanks for the good info. Whatever my bud Alan selects, he'll put a small scope atop it. Like me, he's approaching 50 and they eyes ain't what the used to be. I think he also greatly prefers mag fed to any other configuration, and he's more likely to select a semi-auto over any other action type. Still, it is good to have options.

Jay, Alan handled the 10/22 takedown in Cabelas and didn't like it. I'd wager your 10/22 with wood stock doesn't feel all that different from my Marlin 60.

I like the suggestion of the Marlin 795 -- same blowback action as the Marlin 60 but magazine fed rather than tube fed.

If Alan goes for a bolt gun, then he's likely to select a package from Savage or a CZ 452 or similar. I know that for the money, it is TOUGH to beat the complete packages from Savage. Add in the accu-trigger and that's a sweet shooting setup. But the CZ rimfire line is quality machinery and Alan is a sucker for solid engineering and design.

Again, thanks to all who responded. Lots of good info.

- Brad

Geodkyt said...

Semiauto (especially for Occupied America): 10/22 (For those in Free America, it's a tie between the Ruger and the Smith; I prefer the Ruger, but there's a lot to be said for the Smith.)

Bolt guns: CZ, followed at a distance by the Ruger

Lever action: never go wrong with a Marlin 39, although the Henry looks good

No idea on pumps.

Dave H said...

Jay: I get you now. I had a real problem with ejection failures in my 10/22 with Winchester nickel-plated ammo. (The bulk Remington Gold Bullets would extract all day. When they fired.) I put in a Volquartsen extractor and the problem with the Winchesters went away.

The Scribbler said...

I have a Savage, and I gotta say, it's a nice shooter. I've never gotten to play with a CZ, so I can't say how it compares, but I have been completely satisfied with my little Savage.

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of 10/22s, a Marlin
M39, and recently bought a Ruger 77/22.
Can't go wrong with any of them IMO.

AuricTech said...

I have both a Mossberg 702 and a Ruger 10/22 Takedown, and I like them both.

One advantage the Mossberg has over the Ruger is that the BabyUpLULA™ makes loading the Mossberg's magazines easy and fast. I don't know of any similar tool for loading the Ruger's 10-round rotary magazines.

OTOH, the Mossberg has "a dovetailed receiver to accept standard 3/8" rimfire scope mounts," while the Ruger has a more-versatile Weaver rail for mounting optics.

Anonymous said...

I have two Nylon 66s, a Glenfield 60 with a box mag (the Coast to Coast Hardware Marlin clone) and an old Remington model 12 pump. All have their good points.

The Nylons work great because there's no magazine to lose (just keep track of the loading tube). I found it to be most reliable if I load almost a full tube, jack a round up, and top it off. Rarely jams that way.

The Remington pump is older, and will be more expensive to buy, but mine shoots shorts, longs and LR .22s. Handy and fun, as well as accurate. Just make sure you tighten the takedown knob on the side of the receiver, else it can go into pieces as you're shooting (ask me how I know).

The Glenfield/Marlin 60 is my favorite. Little box mags that are thick upon the ground and under most arbitrary ban capacities. They will also fit a Papoose, if I can ever find one used. With a green sling, it looks like an M1 carbine someone left in the dryer too long, but shoots like a dream. Pop cans dance at 25 yards.

I also saw the more standard 60 with the tube magazine for sale today on my local board, used, for a hundred bucks. Can't beat that, and I still may buy it, just to have another in the stable.

St paul
twitter @1077idaho

Brad_in_MA said...


I quite like my Marlin 60. With a cheap 4x scope it shoots the eyes out of zombie sewer rat targets at 50 yards. At 100 I can hit steel almost 9 outa 10 shots. Shake the pop cans before shooting for a more reactive target. At 200 JayG was averaging 7 outa 10 on steel.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on.....!!!!!! This is not even a reasonable request! LOL!!!

Ruger 10/22, hands down.

They can be made incredibly accurate, they have incredible options for triggers, replacement bolts, etc.

I'm 50, and until last fall had never owned a .22 rifle. Now I wonder why! My 10/22 has been dressed up with all Kidd parts, (and the trigger has to be tried to be believed!), and a Tactical Solutions barrel, and it shoots itty bitty groups at 50 and 100 yards. Yes, with all the trimmings it cost more than a base model, but I shot a friends base model with only the trigger replaced, and he has about 95% of the goodness that my dolled up version has.

No...this ones easy....10/22!