What Is The Best 22 Rifle? We Look At 5 Top .22 Rifle Options

What is the best 22 rifle? A lot of people tend to believe the bigger the caliber, the better! However there is a place for smaller calibers such as the .22 Long Rifle (LR) round.

The .22 LR rimfire cartridge is a long-established variety of ammunition, and in terms of units sold is still by far the most common in the world today. Low cost, minimal recoil, and relatively low noise make the .22 LR an ideal cartridge for recreational shooting, initial firearms training, small-game hunting and pest control. Used by Boy Scouts for the rifle shooting merit badge, the .22 LR is popular among novice shooters and experts alike. The low recoil of the cartridge makes it ideal for introductory firearms courses. Novice shooters can be surprised or frightened by the recoil of more powerful rounds. Beginners shooting firearms beyond their comfort level frequently develop a habit of flinching in an attempt to counter anticipated recoil. The resulting habit impedes correct posture and follow-through at the most critical phase of the shot and is difficult to correct. With high recoil eliminated, other errors in marksmanship technique are easier to identify and correct.

The main advantages of the .22 LR are low cost, low recoil, low noise and high accuracy-to-cost ratio. The main disadvantage is its low power – it is better suited for use on small game and other small animals. As a defensive cartridge it is considered inadequate, though the small size allows very lightweight, easily concealable handguns which can be carried in circumstances where anything larger would be impractical.

Rimfire vs Centerfire

With rimfire ammo, the firing pin of a gun strikes and crushes the base’s rim to ignite the primer. This is in contrast to the more common centerfire method, where the firing pin strikes the primer cap at the center of the base of the cartridge. The rim of the rimfire cartridge is essentially an extended and widened percussion cap which contains the priming compound, while the cartridge case itself contains the propellant powder and the projectile (bullet). Once the rim of the cartridge has been struck and the bullet discharged, the cartridge cannot be reloaded, because the head has been deformed by the firing pin impact. Rimfire cartridges are typically inexpensive, primarily due to the inherent cost-efficiency of the ability to make large production quantities (called “lots”).

5 Top 22 Rifles

Whenever we have a “the best” type of list, it tends to kick off a lot of debate. That is simply because everyone has their own likes, dislikes and requirements. So below we list 5 rifles that we believe deserve to be on the list of the best 22 rifle options, but realise that some folks might have differing opinions. If you do want to share your thoughts on what the best 22 rifle is, please do so! We appreciate any input from our readers. Simply comment in the comments section below and tell us which rifle you think is the best 22 rifle and why.

RifleBarrel Length (In)Weight (Lbs)MSRP
Ruger 10/22 Takedown18.54.67$439
Browning Semiauto .2219.255.2$630
Anschutz 1700 Series237.5$2195
Marlin Model 60195.5$180
CZ 452125.05$312

Ruger 10/22 Takedown

Ruger 10/22 TakedownThe Ruger 10/22 is a semi-automatic rimfire rifle. It has a removable 10-round rotary magazine which allows the magazine to fit flush with the bottom of the stock (Higher capacity magazines are also available).  In March 2012 Ruger introduced the 10/22 Takedown model. This model disassembles into barrel and action/buttstock components easily. It is shipped in a backpack style case that has room for the rifle, ammunition, and accessories. The standard Takedown model has a brushed aluminum receiver made to resemble stainless steel and 18.5″ barrel with a black synthetic stock. The MSRP of the Takedown is higher than the basic Ruger 10/22 carbine (~$439 for the Takedown vs ~$309 for the basic model).

The overall simple and rugged design of this rifle makes it reliable and versatile. As it is also a smaller rifle than the basic model and comes packed in a backpack style storage bag, it becomes an option as a survival type of weapon that you can keep stored away without it taking up too much space. The ability to remove the barrel  makes the Takedown very easy to clean and maintain.

What other have to say about it:Its combination of reliability, accuracy and light weight, as well as the limitless amount of accessories available on the market, are emblematic of why the 10/22 design enjoys such enduring popularity.” – John N. Raguso on PersonalDefenseWorld.com

Browning Semiauto .22

Browning-Semi-Auto-22The Browning 22 Semi-Auto rifle (a.k.a. SA-22) is a takedown rifle produced by FN Herstal based on a John Browning patent. The rifle is currently produced by Browning as the Semi-Auto 22. The SA-22 was the first production semi-automatic rifle chambered in .22 LR caliber and is regarded as a classic firearm. The SA-22 is a made from blued steel and walnut, and ejects spent cases downward. This feature was intended by the designer to keep the user’s face “protected from gasses and flying particles while firing”, at which it succeeds, but also allows the sizzling hot empty case to eject down one’s forward-arm shirt sleeve.

If you are looking for a rifle that you can mount a scope on and that is very precise, then this is probably not the best 22 rifle for you. It is a bit pricey and is more for folks that want a “classical” gun.

What others have to say about it: “The compact weight and size of the SA22 endear it to me no end as it’s sweet and handy, and its integral tube magazine feeds reliably and in truth is good enough for a rabbit gun, plus it’s hard to lose! However there’s no automatic last round or manual hold open facility, nor sling swivels and you need a dedicated scope mount.” – Peter Moore on GunMart.com

Anschutz 1700 Series

Anschutz-1710The Germans know how to make solid pieces of engineering wonder, and the Anschutz rifles are no exception. The 1700 series sporting rifles are built on the Anschutz Model 54 Match Action. This action is the heart of the famous Anschutz target rifles that have been used to capture more of the world’s shooting competitions than all other brands combined. To quote from the Anschutz brochure, “Each 1700 series Sporter is engineered and built with the same attention to workmanship, accuracy, and quality as its Olympic target rifle. brethren.”

This is a top quality rifle, that comes with a price tag to match it. You probably will need to fork over approximately $1300 or more! In fact, at the time of this article being written, Anschutz 1710 rifles were being listed on GunBroker.com for well over $2000! So if you just want a .22 rifle for general shooting and a bit of small game hunting, then this is perhaps not the best 22 rifle option for your needs. However if you want a top of the line rifle that is well made and extremely accurate, then you should have a look into this rifle.

You can check out an in depth review of the Anschutz 171o here:

Marlin Model 60

Marlin Model 60The Marlin Model 60, also known as the Marlin Glenfield Model 60, is produced by Remington Arms in Mayfield, Kentuck. It has been in continuous production since 1960 and the company says it is the most popular rifle of its kind in the world. Major features include a micro-groove barrel, a cross-bolt safety, hardwood stock with Monte Carlo comb, and brass inner magazine tube.

The action design is a self-loading, straight blowback operation, with right-side ejection. Marlin uses their proprietary Micro-Groove rifling in the Model 60 with a twist rate of 1:16 inches, right-hand. This increases the accuracy of the rifle by lessening deformation of fired bullets traveling down the barrel. Although the Model 60 is one of the least expensive .22 semi-automatic rifles sold, it has the reputation of being one of the most accurate rifles out of the box, with no modifications necessary.

The Model 60 was selling at $179.99 on BassPro.com at the time of this article being written, making it one of the most affordable rifless on our list of the best 22 rifle options.

What others have to say about it: “This is one of the cheapest .22 rifles on the market, but it’s the good kind of cheap. It’s reliable and accurate. A delightful little plinker. A quick-handling varmint killer. A perfect gun for the cost-conscious (i.e., poor) shooter who needs the best possible fun-to-money ratio. A low-risk, high-reward starter gun for beginning shooters. In terms of bang for your buck, it’s pretty hard to beat a Marlin Model 60.” – Dan Zimmerman on TheTruthAboutGuns.com

CZ 452

cz-452The CZ 452 is a repeating bolt-action, hand fed, rimfire rifle manufactured by the Czech firearms manufacturer Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod. The 452 model was discontinued in 2011. The rifle is available in several versions (American, Varmint, Lux, Scout, Silhouette, Style, and FS) and calibers (.22 Long Rifle, .22 WMR, .17 HMR, and .17 HM2). All 452s have hammer forged barrels and a trigger that is adjustable for weight of pull.

The CZ 452 Scout rifle iss a compact rimfire rifle with a 12″ length of pull for young shooters. Its shortened dimensions, reduced weight and single round loading device make it a perfect first rifle for any boy or girl. The single round loading device helps teach ammo conservation and marksmanship. The rifle features adjustable open sights and an 11mm dovetail groove for mounting optics.

With a MSRP of $312, the Scout is not the cheapest rifle on our list of the best 22 rifle options, but it is not the most expensive either. It strikes a balance between being a solid quality rifle while also being reasonably affordable.

What others have to say about it: “In conclusion, the CZ 452 is a well-made, high quality .22 rifle. I suggest that anyone shopping for a medium priced .22 hunting rifle should take a close look at the CZ line” – Chuck Hawks on ChuckHawks.com

Wrapping Up

Clearly picking one rifle as the BEST 22 rifle out there is not that simple. There are different folks with different requirements and preferences when it comes to a 22 rifle. If you want a really affordable rifle for starting out then the Marlin Model 60 might be the best 22 rifle for you. However if you are looking for something more elite that is well made and extremely accurate, then the Anschutz is the option you will probably be drawn to. For the folks that wants something in between that is affordable but still well made and accurate, the Ruger and the CZ is probably two great contenders to be called the best 22 rifle.

What Do You  Think – What Is The Best 22 Rifle?

Above we looked at 5 great .22 rifle options. However there are more rifles out there that are solid rifles and that other folks would be able to argue should be considered as the best 22 rifle. So if you have some thoughts on the subject, please feel free to post it in the comments section below.

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