As one of the most valuable rounds ever produced, the .22 Long Rifle attaches two opposite sides in the firearms world – the small youth rifle and high-quality match grade target weapons. To put it in layman’s terms, you may find on the market a .22 starter rifle for 1 C-note or one ostentatiously expensive for almost US$5000.
During the Cold war, the .22LR was one of the rarest calibers that have been almost as popular with both Soviets and Western sport shooters. The .22 Long Rifle has been a staple of American gun culture for well over a hundred years for three main reasons. First, at less than 4₵ a round magazine, it is considered really affordable. Secondly, it is effective, especially for varmint. Thirdly, it is quiet and almost recoilless for your general daily shooting.
If you have a preference for shooting disciplines, but you do not have an exceedingly huge budget, then you are left with a few options. You may buy a cheap but decent plinking .22LR rifle. If it is beyond your possibilities, then you can get an air rifle, or you could even go with a slingshot if you wish to. However, we will handle the firearm shooting choices in this review. If you are looking for a few more alternatives, click here.
The .22 Rifle and Its Accuracy
Before giving any opinions about .22 Long Rifles, you should be careful not only for your own safety reasons, but also for the rifle’s accuracy and power. Although the humble .22 rifle is often under-appreciated for its power and accuracy, let me inform you that .22 target rifles and pistols are entirely worthy of Olympic events or other leading levels of competition. With that being said, some best 22 rifles design serves as the essence of accuracy and consistency.
While the .22 LR is effective up to 150 yards (approximately 140 meters), the rimfire rifle range at competitions tends to be less. That means the official distance at the World Championships is 50 meters for rifles and 25 meters for pistols. Top-ranked rifles with high-quality ammunition are capable of unfailingly shooting five bullet groups inside 0.250 inches at 50 yards when shooting at an indoor range.
However, with an everyday .22LR rifle, decent ammo, proper sights, and a good trigger, an average plinker or hunter should have in the least 1/2 to 1 inch 5-shot group sizes. Keep in mind that affordable ammunition can be very unpredictable, so you may have some shots that are way off, turning your group into a shotgun configuration.
Of course, with plenty of practice and proper shooting technique, you should be looking for at least ½ inch at 50 yards as a goal. However, using a precision rifle and best .22 LR ammunition available, some rimfire fans can hit their targets consistently far more than the 150 yards. To be fair, there are some really impressive shooting events at 500 yards, wherewith minimal or no wind .22 caliber shooters can have the reliability to hit a target.
The Benefits – Why You Need a 22 LR Rifle
Although many shooters consider the .22 cartridge to be too underpowered, it has many other advantages and can be found in any current firearms type of operation ranging anywhere from simple single shot youth rifles to extremely expensive weapons. An additional advantage is its ammo cost and availability, making the target practice a lot more practical and affordable. However, a .22 firearm is also the least expensive to buy or get.
From cheap plinkers to the top-notch match .22LR rifles, the choice depend only on the question of what you want to use the LR rifle for. For shooting tin cans, hunting small game, target shooting, home defense purpose or just for survival purposes you will need different kinds of .22LR rifles.
Some people prefer semi automatic rimfire rifle because you use a mag with various abilities and a much greater degree of fire compared to bolt-action, pump-action, or lever action rifles. Other owners who are looking for acute accuracy will gravitate to a single shot or bolt gun over a semi automatic anyway.
As the A .22 rifle has no recoil, it is a perfect gun for training and learning safety skills. A .22 gun is also a treasured tool for hunting small game and for people who are learning to hunt. Although it should not be the first option on your list of protection calibers, the tiny .22 rifle with proper shot placement can efficiently stop any attack.
Best 22LR Rifles You Can Get Right Now
1. Marlin Model 60SN .22 LR 19 Inches Grove Rifle (with 4x20mm Scope)
Compared to the firearms with box fed magazines, the Marlin 60 Rifle with its tubular magazine (made of brass) is inclined to be less prone to any gridlock. While the Marlin Model 60 will cycle ammo from many diverse manufacturers, it is totally worth it to note that Model 60 is enhanced overtly for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge solely.
Being a small-caliber long gun at an affordable price, the Model 60 rifle can easily be improved, except for a couple of parts. The rifle does not need too much customization to provide easy use and maximum results.
The Marlin Model 60 has a tube magazine located just under the barrel of the rifle and has a capacity of 14 round magazine. The Marlin 60 features and comes with a manual and an original automatic “last-shot” bolt hold-open. The autoloader action is based on a classic straight blow-back operation that comes with a right-side ejection, which makes it a right handed only gun.
The next great feature of a Model 60SN is a 19 inches Micro-Groove rifled barrel with the class crown excellence making the rifle inherently accurate. Many gun owners believe that it has better precision and superior out of the box performance than a stock Ruger 10/22. However, it does not have the “cool factor” or “wow effect” of a Ruger rifle.
Another high point is the manual bolt hold-open and an original automatic “last-shot” bolt hold-open expedient, which has an external lever on the front side of the trigger guard.
Finally, the tubular mag and project of this rifle are so full-bodied and straightforward that most of these 22 LR rifles will remain jam-free with nominal cleaning.
Since its introduction in 1960, the Marlin Glenfield Model 60 received the repute of being one of the best-suited rifles for daily hunters, small game hunting, and pest control usage, as well as entry-level competition shooting.
Marlin Model 60SN is a brilliant way to introduce young people to shooting for low-cost target practices.
On the other hand, due to the lesser bargain of aftermarket parts and accessories, Marlin Model 60 is the perfect rifle for persons with little interest in customization or modification (or any changes in general).
While the Model 60 is also quite basic, there are 2 downsides to the Model 60 that can be improved. As other sparingly priced rifles, Marlin’s receiver is fluted for scope mounts preventive optics choices and ease of mounting. The other drawback is the open sights that are quite old-fashioned. While the ramp front sight tends to disappear on target, the rear sight windage adjustment is almost non-existent, to be honest.
With over 11 million Marlin LR rifles sold for the last 60 years, the ever reliability of Marlin’s Model 60 provides an inspiring and pleasurable rimfire long gun that owes its fame to its sturdiness. This rifle simply does not have a high disappointment rate.
2. Ruger 10/22 Target 22LR Rimfire Rifles (16.1 Inches)
Although the target trigger pull is lighter in weight than your standard 10/22 carbines, you should expect better accuracy from a target rifle. With more than 2 MOA group sizes, it is precise enough for a semi automatic or semi auto .22. However, for the gun with a Target design, it is a decidedly regular performer.
Besides having said that, as with all Ruger 10/22 firearms on the market, Target model 21186 is not a fastidious eater when it comes to the .22 LR ammunition. As gun enthusiasts, you should avoid using .22 cartridges loaded with blunt-nosed bullets in the tighter Ruger 10/22 Target chambers.
The laminate stock with thumbhole enhances linear stability while keeping its classic hardwood stock touch. It is nicely completed and comes with two swivel studs at the front part.
The 16.1 inches precision-rifled, cold hammer-forged barrel with a .920 inches diameter tensioned aluminum sleeve is the most protuberant item of the Target Lite 10/22. It features a ½ inch to 28 threaded muzzles to accept muzzle expedients.
Being a target rifle, this Lite model ships without iron sights. However, you get a Weaver-style 3/8 inches aluminum scope base that can also put up a tip-off of the mount. The latest sub-variant of Ruger’s highly praised 10/22 line is particularly designed for rapid-fire accuracy target shooting. However, its uses are definitely not limited to just that.
With that being said, 10/22 Target Lite is mostly made for target shooting. However, if the price tag isn’t too high for you (or anyone else), this rifle is also perfect for training and guiding new shooters and as a beginners’ competition setup.
Weighing in at 7.5 pounds, the old Ruger 10/22 Target is considered too heavy to be handy. However, the new Lite model coming in at 5 pounds may fit even better in the roll of a trail-scouting rifle. The Ruger’s handlers usually refined a sear surface to get a huge improvement in its trigger feel. Some of the rifles also install an aftermarket polymer bolt stop, which will take the clack smack right out of the bolt cycling.
The Lite’s stock is comfy, however, more checkering on the palm swell could have been valued. At a cursory glance, Ruger Precision Target Lite Rimfire rifles look like an idiosyncratic deflection from the classic carbine line-up.
As the Ruger 10/22 Target Lite is light in weight, handy and dependable, it is the idyllic learning and plinking gun. But since it is not really precise enough to be a target rifle, gun users who are genuinely interested in the accuracy of shooting will settle for the bolt rifles.
3. Ruger Precision Rimfire Rifle .22 LR Bolt Action Rifle
If you wish to buy the absolutely most accurate .22 rifle, then you are going to have to opt for the custom route or spend several thousands of dollars on an Anschutz rifle. For most of the gun owners, there is the choice of the Ruger Precision Rimfire Bolt Action Rifle, which is considered as one of the most accurate .22 rifle people have tried out. It has an 18 inch (1:16 twist rate) cold hammer-forged barrel made from 1137 alloy steel. This barrel is quite likely more accurate than most other guns on the market, so to speak.
The molded 1-piece chassis and adjustable stock are created from glass-filled nylon. The stock lets you to easily adjust the length of pull and comb height, while also including a flat Picatinny bag rider for optionally ascribing a monopod.
For an “out of the box” rifle, its trigger is said to be extraordinary. It can be externally adjusted for a pull weight from 2.25 pounds to 5 pounds. This Ruger Marksman trigger is amazingly crisp and easy to shoot. The Precision Rimfire has a Picatinny rail scope base with 30 MOA boost modification capabilities and a 15 inches free-float aluminum handguard with M LOK slots.
Another great thing about this rifle is that when compared to some other super accurate and best 22 rifles, it is compatible with readily available Ruger 10/22 magazines. Although perhaps it is not the most accurate .22 LR rifles in the world, the Ruger Precision Rimfire is more than adequate enough for most gun owners’ hunting activities, plinking, and even competitive shooting needs.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire bolt action rifle comes with an adjustable stock and trigger, M-LOK handguard, and an 18 inches cold-hammer-forged barrel. It can use any Ruger 10/22 magazine and comes with 2 ten round magazine. The rifle weighs 6.8 pounds and is about 35.13 inches to 38.63 inches long.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire is the most precise .22 LR rifle at a comparatively affordable price point. It features a crisp Ruger Marksman trigger that can be accustomed to pull weights between 2.25 pounds and 5 pounds. The stock, which is one molded piece with the framework, can be adjusted for both length of pull (LOP) and comb height. This rifle is perfect for plinking, varmint hunting, and even your regular competitive shooting activities.
The Ruger 10/22 bolt rifle is a wildly popular semi-automatic option with plenty of aftermarket support. The gun owners who prefer the AR platform may want to go with the regular favorite – the M&P 15/22 Sport. If compactness for transport is of utmost importance to you, the Henry AR-7 survival rifle is your best choice.
Those of you who are looking for an affordable bolt action 22 rifle should check out the Savage Arms MARK II line, although we would recommend the Ruger Precision Rimfire Rifles if you are willing to spend an extra bit of more money for better and improved accuracy and quality.
4. Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport Rifle (.22LR Rifle)
This semi auto rimfire is said to be not very accurate. However, it is probably never intended to be by its producers. Hence, if you are looking for a tack driver you should pick a bolt action rifle instead.
The magazine with 25 round capacity is a brilliant option for both casual shooting and hunting, however, it needs paying attention to when loading. On the other hand, a lot of other gun handlers recommend feeding them with 20 rounds instead of 25 rounds to lower the risk of jams and miss-feeds.
There are plenty of other .22LR style AR rifles, however the Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22 Sport is packed with few pros that stands out to a lot of gun handlers.
When compared to a lot of child-sized rimfires and having a more or less classic look, the Wesson and Smith M&P 15-22 is eye-catching from the rest because of its AR styling and 25 round magazine capacity.
Besides its AR15 looks, the M&P 15/22 Sport features some Magpul MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) furniture such as a ten inches handguard that is compatible with the M-Lok system accessories. It can even fit a Picatinny-style rail sections, and Magpul MBUS folding iron sights.
Besides the threaded barrel, bolt group, and trigger group that is made of metal, the rifle is almost entirely made of polymers (including a polymer stock) including its upper and lower receivers.
The M&P15/22 Sport comes standard packed with a medium profile 16 inches carbon steel barrel coated in classic Armornite finish.
Similar to its 5.56 relatives, the M&P15/22 Sport’s owners have the choice of using a si6 position CAR15/M4 style magnifying stock. Since it duplicates a standard AR 15, the Smith Wesson M P15/22 signifies an ideal weapon either for an AR 15 owner, law enforcement personnel and civilian, or just for training those shooters who are new to the AR atmosphere.
While it is easily being used by casual shooters or beginners with its wow factor, the M&P15/22 will, at the same time, give officers more time on the range for training on an AR 15 style rifle without having to spend the money on more posh centerfire ammo.
Although the Smith Wesson M P 15/22 Sport shares many features of more expensive ARs, there are some room for enhancements. With occasional flops in production control, the Smith Wesson M P 15/22 owners often choose to change a standard AR 15 stock and A2 style pistol grip.
Another inadequacy of the Smith Wesson M P 15/22 Sport rifle is the lack of a front sling attachment to pair with that on the back end. This is quite a successful combination of one earliest round and modern firearms design.
The bottom line is that as an AR 15-inspired semi auto .22 rimfire rifles, the M&P 15/22 Sport is great for training shooters who are already possessing an AR 15 rifle or those who want an alternatively styled or accessory friendly .22 bolt rifle.
5. Ruger American Bolt Action .22LR 8301
A well-made and well-produced 60 degrees bolt provides ample and plenty of scope clearance. However, it feels stiff to work with as the action is very skin-tight.
Another small problem rifle handlers report with the rifle is the comb on its stock, which does not provide a natural position for the head when they are using the scope.
A selling point of the Ruger American Rimfire (RAR) is the addition of the inter-changeable stock modules that provide different cheek comb heights as well as different lengths of pull (LOP).
Unlike a lot of less expensive rifles, the RAR comes with the free-floating and hammer-forged threaded barrel. The barrel comes with a target crown and is offered in standard 22-inch length, and also a compact 18-inch variety. Along with flush-mounted 10/22 BX-1 10 round rotary magazine, RAR receives all 10/22 magazines.
Ruger’s 8301 American Rimfire rifle is a welcome addition to the myriad of budget and affordable hunting rifles that are said to be perfect for hunters who use bolt action rifles. Its modularity is also an outstanding feature for young rifle enthusiasts who are just learning to shoot or those who are eager to expand their shooting methods.
The stock is made from a very smooth and yet rigid polymer (synthetic stock), which can easily slip-up right out of your hands. Ruger should really look into it and recompense it with some of the more aggressive texture to add more grip-steadiness to the stock.
The position of 4 appointed holes in the receiver did not match up with the adapter, hence the aftermarket rails cannot be used on this particular American rifle.
The Ruger American Rimfire is chambered in .17 HMR, .22 LR and .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum, 2 barrel formations and high or low comb accessory for the stock. With such adaptability, the RAR delivers some really good and solid flexibility that are not available on most of the other rimfires at this price point.
6. CZ 455 American Varmint Tacticool 22 LR Rifle
The new CZ 455 American Tacticool Suppressor-Ready 455 line-up claims 13 different alternatives with different stocks and barrel configurations. However, the 2159 model features a Boyds Pro Varmint stock, with a Monte Carlo comb designed especially and particularly for use with scopes via an 11mm dovetail rail designed and merged into the top of the receiver.
While this mounting solution restricts scope ring options for a bit, many CZ 455 American rifle hundlers install a 30MOA rail to expand the scope elevation range. Instead of traditional wood stocks, this model sports a black laminate stock. The black laminate stock feels stiffer and more solid to the touch than a typical synthetic stock. The stock has a pebble-texture paint finish that delivers a police sniper rifle tactical stock appearance and texture.
On top of all of that, in the majority of board discussions, CZ 455 American rifle owners agree that the CZ 455 models should pass quality control checks at a higher level than most times.
The selling point of the CZ 455 series is the ability to interchange barrels by operating twin setscrews to fix the barrel in the receiver. And as part of an interchangeable barrel system, it lets you shoot either .22LR or .17HMR.
Although it is not really a competition rifle, the CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool is said to be the most precise guns on any lists due to the minimal forbearances in machining and a hammer-forged steel barrel. The new Tacticool Suppressor-Ready rifle comes with a 16.25 inch (413 mm) varmint barrel with 1/2×28 threads for gun handlers who are looking for a quieter shot.
This bolt-action rifle comes with an adjustable trigger (between 2.0lbs – 4.0lbs), which makes it one of the best .22LR rifles for long-distance shooting.
As an alternative of the CZ 455 Varmint, the Tacticool “Suppressor-Ready” version is manufactured for use with optics and it is primarily intended for target shooting. Except when in target and competition settings, this “Suppressor-Ready” rimfire will be an excellent option for both hunters in sub-urban areas and casual shooters.
Though the CZ 455 is an excellent rimfire rifle built with Old World panache and craftsmanship, the owners usually improve this gun with a 30MOA scope base, cheek riser, trigger kit, and pillars kit.
The stock stiff bolt handle is a compulsory upgrade, and many gun handlers choose an aftermarket bolt handle for more authorization from the scope and a more positive feel on the bolt knob.
Since the factory steel trigger is adjusted at about 4 pounds, for some reason it felt a lot heavier than that. However, changing the trigger spring or installing a complete exchanging kit will decrease the trigger pull weight down to a more satisfactory and passable amount for a rimfire.
No matter if you are a well-seasoned and well-trained marksman or just simply learning to use a long-barreled guns, this rifle will offer better accuracy and feel than mass-produced rimfire rifles. The CZ USA 455 Varmint Tacticool is a typical example of the old school rifles with the capability to change out the barrels and actions between any CZ 455 stocks for a greater adaptability and flexibility.
7. Tikka T1x MTR
The Tikka T1x MTR (Multi-Task Rimfire) is an outstanding rifle on the basis of its quality and accuracy sector, just like Tikka have accustomed its handlers with their enormously popular Tikka T3x centerfire line. The Tikka T1x MTR is the Finnish gun maker’s first rimfire .22 LR rifle. However, due to a contented mix of Tikka centerfires’ best features and a good amount of changeability and user-friendliness, the Tikka T1x is an instant hit with a lot of gun handlers.
The manufacturer has engaged very heavy importance on the precision with this hunting rimfire rifle and it has hired heavily from its T3x line when it created this splendor. The T1x MTR and most T3x centerfires share the high-performance bedding footing, the single-stage trigger device, the artificial stock, and trigger plates.
If you have ever gotten to test the T1x MTR, you will be amazed by how lightweight and yet accurate this modular rimfire rifle is. Even though a .22LR does not have the recoil or heat emission of a classic centerfire, Tikka T1x’s semi-heavy barrel was made to keep everything cooler and firmer than a thin barrel. A barrel that can only add bonus points to the precision part.
Another well-thought component of design that backs to the T1x MTR’s unresolved accuracy is its bedding footprint, which was also borrowed from Tikka’s centerfires and that can withstand nearly the same recoil forces of a centerfire. What’s more, the T1x MTR’s artificial stock (with around 1/3 being made of fiberglass) shows amplified resistance to temperature differences, which also adds to the rifle’s accuracy.
Everything about the Tikka T1x MTR reflects quality and attention to detail. That is why a lot of rifle handlers believe this rimfire can easily rival many American classics in its class.
8. Remington Nylon 66
When you think about what may be the 1st rifle with a synthetic stock, you may not picture a .22 rifle from the late 1950s. Although that is exactly the case. And not only has that, on top of having a synthetic stock, the rifle also had a synthetic receiver.
In 1959, Remington Arms introduced one of the earliest bulk-produced rifles featuring a stock made from something else other than wood: the Remington Nylon 66.
It was a risky game for the gun manufacturer, which is obvious from the color and prominent diamond accent on the nylon stock, its features are meant to evoke the look of old-fashioned wood stocks.
At around the same time, the .22/.410 Stevens Combo rifle was released with a Tenite stock. However, it did not achieve nearly the same accomplishment as the Nylon 66.
At that particular time, Remington was looking to fill a gap in its catalogue by making a mid-priced, semi-auto .22 rifle. Unable to find a way to cut costs on barrels, they have decidedly focus on stocks and receivers, asking the engineers at DuPont (which had control of Remington since 1933) to create with a plastic to substitute both.
The material has to be proficient enough in forming any desired shape, has to have a high tensile-impact and flexural forte, high abrasion opposition, high resistance to heat alteration as well as cold, must not continue to burn after being visible to flame, must be impermeable to solvents, oils, mild acids, alkalis, fungus, rodents, and insects, and whatnot. Furthermore, it has to be lightweight, hold colors well, and have a finish that is easy to repair.
After 4 months, DuPont delivered Zytel Nylon 101, a member of the Nylon 66 family of plastics. It is the same polymer that was originally used to make women’s stockings.
Production-model Nylon 66 rifles were injection-molded in 2 halves, the buttstock and the fore end that comes with tongue and groove connections. They are then bonded together with the receiver in the center.
The magazine was located in the buttstock and it is loaded through the buttplate, holding 14 .22 LR cartridges. The steel striker and bolt ran in grooves in the self-oiling nylon receiver. Other parts, such as the trigger and trigger guard, are made of stainless steel or steel stampings.
The rifle needs little to no hand-fitting, which kept production costs low. It weighs only 4 pounds 8 ounces due to the polymer components, with a 19-1/2-inch barrel.
About 4450 production Nylon 66s were made in late 1958 for retail sale at US$49.95 each and billed as “The Gun of Tomorrow” in a huge media blitz at that time. Touting its dependability, imperviousness to antagonistic conditions, and lightweight as prime selling points.
The rifle was originally offered in two color choices, Mohawk Brown and Seneca Green. Later, Apache Black was added to the color choices.
In a well-known display of the rifle’s toughness, in 1959, Tom Frye, a Remington field representative, set out to beat exhibition shooter Ad Topperwein’s world record set in 1907 of shooting 72,000 21/2 wooden blocks as they are tossed into the air, while only missing nine. Frye used three Nylon 66 rifles and kept up an average pace of 1000 shots per hour for 13 successive 8-hour days. When it was all over, he had shot at 100,010 blocks and hit 100,004, missing only six. The rifles were cleaned only five times during the trial.
The Nylon 66 became the most efficacious .22 caliber rifle Remington has ever created, with a total production of more than 1,000,000 by 1991 when it was superseded.
The verdict is that there are a lot of 22 LR rimfire rifle that are available on the market. You just have to find the ones that best fit your needs. If you feel that you’re looking in the wrong places, always feel free to look in other places for a high quality and best 22 rifle (with round magazine, box magazine, drum magazines, and other magazine options).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here is one frequently asked question (FAQ) some rifle handlers may have.
How powerful is a .22 LR Rifle?
Generally speaking, the 22LR caliber is not worth ignoring or overlooking, especially with the right shot placement. A 32 grain CCI Stinger .22LR bullet has a barrel energy of 191 ft/lbs which drops down to 81ft/lbs at 100 yards. Whereas a 5.56 bullet has a barrel energy of about 1200 ft/lbs.
What do you normally use a .22 Long Rifle for?
The most common uses of .22 lr rifles are for hunting small animals but they can also be used for bigger bucks like deer and elk. This is probably why they are also commonly referred as the .22 lr hunting rifles. Some other use may include pest control, target practice and even self defense.
Is .22 LR effective in self defense?
The .22 LR has a lower firepower overall which makes it a weaker weapon when compared to other firearms such as the 300 Blackout and AR 15 rifles. That said, it is much lighter and has lesser recoil which makes shooting accurately much easier. For a beginner, the .22 LR rifle is probably a good enough defensive weapon.
Hello there, it’s Michael here. A gun lover since young, served the country for the last 20 years. I started the blog to share my experience and gun-related knowledge accumulated throughout the years. Hopefully, you will find something useful over here or just have fun! You can learn more about me here.