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:
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:
Savage Mark II
(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.