If more boys grew up with a 22 rifle, if more men spent their weekends with a 22 rifle, and if more mothers shared a 22 rifle with their daughters, maturity would thrive, and the world be a much more pleasant place. A rimfire rifle is the tool all shooters should be started on. They’re the most fun and affordable guns to shoot, and a house without one is as desolate as a Monday is long. Here are the ten best rimfire rifles of all time that are still in production.
Henry US Survival AR 7
Engineered by the man who designed the AR 15, this takedown rimfire rifle was conceptualized as a survival gun for Air Force pilots. They’re reliable, accurate, and the ideal behind-the-truck-seat rifle. The AR 7 is also offered in a survival kit for $550 with a bunch of good-day-gone-bad goodies including a Buck knife, food bars, and a space blanket.
Now more than 50 years old, this little semi-automatic rimfire has become the gold standard by which all 22 rifles are judged. A tremendous value for the dollar, the 10/22 is available in a multitude of configurations including takedown and target models. It is also one of the most customizable rimfire rifles ever created. Any boy with designs on becoming a real man should grow up with one, and every father should spend his money on one.
Ruger American Rimfire
These rifles might be the best example of modern American gun making. They are reliable, accurate, and affordable. They’re also available chambered in the 22 LR, 22 Magnum, and 17 HMR. And, you can choose between compact or standard length models, with or without sights, and with either a synthetic, wood, or laminated target style stock. The 22 LR rifle models feed from Ruger 10/22 magazines and the trigger is user adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds.
CZ 455 American
For the money you’ll not find a rimfire rifle that shoots with more precision. The 455 American features a Turkish walnut stock and bluing as deep as the iris of an Irish maiden. A match grade adjustable trigger is standard, and the 455 comes chambered in the three most popular rimfire cartridges: 22 LR, 22 Magnum, and 17 HMR. There’s even combo package that includes two barrels – one for the 22 LR and one for 17 HMR – that the end user can change on their own.
Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport
If fun is what you seek, look no further. Configured to mimic the feel and function of America’s most popular rifle – the AR 15 – the M&P 15-22 Sport is a rifle that will help transform your range into a shooting gallery. With 13 variants to choose from, you’re bound to find one everyone in the family will enjoy. And, at less than five pounds, this rifle is light enough everyone in the family can handle it.
Browning SA 22 Grade 1
Available in several grades priced from $700 to $1600, the Browning SA 22 might be the ultimate, up-scale, semi-automatic, rimfire rifle. Fitted with open sights, beautiful wood, and bluing that will make your knees weak; this lithe five-pound semi-auto rifle is as accurate as it is elegant. Just as at home on the range as it is in the field, it’ll turn heads, ventilate pop cans, and cap squirrels with regularity.
Remington 572 Fieldmaster
An iconic rimfire pump-action design, it calls back to a time when you could by rimfire ammunition by the single round, and when rimfire rifles were used to feed families. The tubular magazine will hold 15 rounds of 22 LR, and its one of the few rimfire rifles that will reliably feed and fire 22 Short, 22 Long, and 22 LR ammo with the smoothness of the inner thigh of a super model.
Steyr Zephyr II
The Zephyr II is a grown man’s rimfire rifle. Intended for the field, it shoots well enough to win a bench rest match. It comes standard with a European walnut stock fitted with a Bavarian cheek piece. It has a five-round detachable magazine, and elegantly simple but practical and beautiful fish-scale checkering. It is available in 22 LR, 22 Magnum, and 17 HMR. You’ll brag about its accuracy in the squirrel woods, and about its loveliness around the campfire.
New Ultra Light Arms Model 20RF
If you want to shoot the center out of a nickel at 100 yards with a 22, this is the single shot for you. Built by bolt-action rifle genius Melvin Forbes of West Virginia, it comes on a proprietary, hand-machined action with dual extractors. A Douglas barrel and a Timney trigger are standard, and it’s available in right and left hand, weighs less than six pounds, and comes with Talley one-piece scope mounts.
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Regarded by many as the premier rimfire rifle ever built, unfortunately they’re now only available through the Marlin Custom Shop. And, a new one in the Extra Fancy version that is offered will wear your wallet out. You can find used 39As in a variety of configurations for around $500. The real find – the one small game hunters pine for – is the TDS (take-down-special) version with a 16.25-inch barrel.