The Best .22 LR Rifles of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We tested accurate and fun rimfires at our annual gun test

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If there’s a way to have more fun clothed while staying on the right side of the law than shooting .22 rimfire rifles, I’ve yet to hear about it.

The quantity of .22 LR rimfire sent downrange each year easily exceeds that of any other cartridge, so I’m not alone in this sentiment. This is hardly a surprise, since getting a .22 rimfire rifle is a rite of passage for aspiring young hunters and shooters and, like baby ducks, I think we imprint on that first shooting experience, which is why we remain so fond of 22 long guns throughout our lives. That’s my theory anyway.

Picking the best .22 rifle is a bit of a subjective task. It depends on your age, needs, and budget. And, of course, these rifles are like potato chips. It doesn’t make sense to have just one.

At this year’s gun test we rounded up a bunch of the best .22 rifles and put them through the paces. You’ll see many of them highlighted in the story below. But because we’ve tested and written up so many .22 rifles over the years, some of those are in the mix too, even though we didn’t put them through the same testing protocol.

What these rimfire rifles do have in common is that we believe in each and every one of them, no matter whether we’re talking about multi-thousand-dollar competition rifles, or the most basic plastic stocked plinker from your local big-box store.

How We Picked the Best .22 Rifles

Testers shot groups at 50 yards with a variety of ammo.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

When sorting through the many long guns to choose from, we focused on those we’ve personally used for years and newer models we’ve tested.

We grade them on the same nine categories we use in our other firearms test — these include accuracy, handling, workmanship, ergonomics, aesthetics, versatility, reliability, how well it meets its intended purpose, and value. These give us an overview of the rifle’s design, performance, and how much bang for the buck they deliver.

With the test guns we recorded five-shot groups at 50 yards with a variety of ammo. We also shot the most accurate rifles at 100 yards and gathered 5-shot group data with premium ammo at that distance. 

Accessorizing .22 Rimfire Rifles

The thing that separates mankind from the lesser creatures that crawl across the face of the earth is our ability to accessorize. 

I think we all appreciate adding custom touches to our firearms, and no platform is as welcoming to the pimp-my-plinker impulse as rimfire rifles.

One of the rifles in this round-up — the custom Shilen/Zermatt/Manners competition gun — is an over-the-top expression of this urge. But if you want to dip your toes in these waters yourself — whether you have a Ruger 10/22, Savage Mk II, Bergara, Henry, or Christensen — then Brownells is the first place to check out.

They have replacement barrels, upgraded triggers, stocks, 10/22 bolt assemblies, muzzle devices, and, of course, all-purpose tool kits.

The Best .22 Rifles: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Ruger 10/22

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Ruger 10/22 Specs

  • Action: Semi-auto      
  • Stock: Varies by model
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Barrel: 16.12 inches, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 36 inches
  • Price: $1,089

Key Features

  • Semi-automatic action
  • Excellent 10-round rotary magazine
  • Accuracy: At 100 yards groups with Lapua and SK ammunition averaged 1.191 inches. High quality ammo (Lapua SLR) at 50 yards averaged .453 inches, which is excellent. Remington Target ammo and CCI Green Tag averaged 1 inch at 50 yards.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Affordable
  • Customizable

Cons

  • Stock trigger often stiff and creepy

In the pantheon of great rimfire rifles, the Ruger 10/22 has a rightful claim to sit at the head of the table. This semi-auto has been going strong for more than half a century and is one of the greatest firearm designs of all time.

Its combination of versatility, affordability, reliability, and performance is unrivaled in the rimfire world. Perhaps its only peers in the entire gun kingdom are the Remington 700 and 870.

In stripped-down budget trim it is very attainable, but it can be customized to the nines. As a takedown rig it is highly portable. They can be very accurate and they are fun to hunt and plink with.

The standard 10/22 Carbine is an affordable and capable rimfire.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The Ruger 10/22 Custom we recently tested reaffirmed our admiration for the platform. At 50 yards it hammered with quality Lapua ammo, causing a collective shudder to run through North America’s squirrel population.

The laminated stock on our sample was handsome, though we’d love to see a more elegant cheek piece.

Best 22 LR Lever-Action: Henry Repeating Arms Small Game Rifle

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Specs

  • Action: Lever action
  • Stock: Walnut
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 12
  • Weight: 5.75 pounds
  • Barrel: 20-inch octagonal, 1:16 twist
  • Sights: Skinner Peep Sight
  • Length: 35 inches
  • Price: $609

Key Features

  • Lever action
  • Skinner Peep Sight
  • 12 round tubular magazine
  • Available in .22 Magnum as well
  • Accuracy: At 50 yards with SK ammo (both SK Rifle Match and SK Standard Plus) the Henry averaged 1.756-inch groups. With CCI Green Tag, it averaged 2.095 inches.

Pros

  • Smooth action
  • Great looks
  • Good value

Cons

  • Not meant to be a beater gun

Combining the .22 LR and a lever-action is a double-whammy of ballistic bliss, and no one currently makes a better rimfire lever gun than Henry Repeating Arms.

This gorgeous model comes with a 20-inch octagonal barrel, a buttery smooth action, and quality iron sights. With those sights on board it printed groups just over 2 inches at 50 yards with a variety of ammo, which is pretty respectable. Loaded with quality ammo from SK it did even better, averaging 1.75-inch groups.

Testers appreciated the Henry’s balance in field positions.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

You can put a scope on it too, which will augment its accuracy, though that would take away from its lovely lines. It has a 3/8-inch grooved dovetail to mount rings.

We like everything about this rifle, from its aesthetics to how well it balances and shoots. The use of a 1/4-cock safety in lieu of an unsightly crossbolt system warms our heart. For any hunter or shooter who prefers traditional gear this is a superlative choice.

Henry also makes this in a carbine version with a 17-inch barrel, and it can be had in .22 Magnum as well, giving a total of four configurations to pick from.

Best Bolt-Action: Proof Latitude

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Specs

  • Action: Zermat Arms RimX bolt action
  • Stock: Carbon fiber with adjustable length of pull
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Barrel: Carbon fiber, 18 inches, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 35 to 38 ¼ inches
  • Price: $4,399

Key Features

  • Control-round feed
  • Adjustable length of pull
  • Carbon fiber barrel and stock
  • Accuracy: At 100 yards the Proof Latitude averaged .961-inch groups, with the best groups coming from Lapua Center X (.716 inches). At 50 yards, SK Standard Plus ammunition averaged .459-inch groups.

Pros

  • Smooth action
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Very accurate

Cons

  • Costly

This rifle is accurate, light enough to carry, balanced, and nearly perfect — the only downside is that it is expensive. But if you’re going to splurge on a .22 LR and have the funds to do so, the Proof Latitude won’t disappoint.

The Proof Latitude uses a RimX action.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The Latitude is built on a Zermatt Arms RimX action and uses RimX magazines. This action is one of the finest repeaters for .22s out there. It has controlled-round feeding, and when set up correctly, it guides rounds into the chamber so the bullet never contacts the shoulder of the barrel. That little touch prevents soft .22 bullets from getting shaved or deformed as they go into battery and helps the rifle maintain excellent accuracy.

The adjustable length of pull.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

Along with the action, Proof adds their own carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, naturally. The stock is Proof’s design as well and you can get one that is fixed, or upgrade (which is what we did) to one that adjusts for length of pull.

The accuracy of the rifle is excellent. Under gusty field conditions it averaged under 1 MOA at 100 yards, outshooting many of the centerfire rifles in the test.

The ergonomics on the rifle are equally impressive. It feeds flawlessly, and handles beautifully. There isn’t a better bolt-action .22 rimfire you can buy.

Best for Hunting: Bergara BMR Carbon

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Specs

  • Action: Bolt
  • Stock: Black with gray splatter pattern, injection molded
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 5+1 or 10+1, detachable polymer box magazine
  • Weight: 5 pounds, 2 ounces (measured, with empty magazine)
  • Barrel: 18 inches, carbon, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28 with thread protector
  • Length: 36 inches
  • Price: $649

Key Features

  • Proportions mimic a regular centerfire rifle
  • Picatinny rail has 30 MOA declination
  • Uses dual extractors and fixed ejectors
  • Accuracy: At 50 yards it averaged .928 inches with 5-shot groups. A total of six types of ammunition and 39 groups went into that data set. The most accurate ammunition was some old Remington Eley Match, which averaged .577 inches based on six 5-shot groups.

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Great ergonomics
  • Good trigger
  • Smooth and reliable action
  • Suppressor ready

Cons

  • Could use a better, stiffer stock
  • Laser engraving can rust easily
  • Bottom metal is plastic

This rifle from Bergara caught the eye of Tyler Freel who did an in-depth review of it and deemed it just-the-thing for hunting small game and long-range plinking. This is a rifle geared toward adult shooters in terms of its size, but with a carbon-fiber barrel only tips the scales at 5 pounds, 2 ounces, making it extremely portable.

Bergara BMR action and trigger
The BMR features a user-adjustable trigger.

Tyler Freel

If you’re going to cover a lot of ground searching for squirrels and rabbits, it is an ideal companion.

Unlike some rimfires that use a Remington 700 footprint, this rifle is a cutdown version of Bergara’s B-14, which is one way it trims weight.

It has an excellent trigger, and really good ergonomics. The safety, magazine, bolt, bolt release, and other controls operate in the manner one would expect from a gun for grown-ups.

The rifle ships with two magazines, one 5- and one 10-rounder. In addition to being a good hunting companion, it is a solid all-arounder that could hold its own in rimfire competition without breaking the bank.

Most Accurate: MPA (Masterpiece Arms) Matrix Pro

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Specs

  • Action: Vudoo Three 60 3-lug bolt action
  • Stock: MPA Matrix Pro II Competition Chassis
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 13 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Barrel: 23 inches, 1:16 twist, includes ATS barrel tuner
  • Length: 43 ⅜ inches
  • Price: From $3,399

Key Features

  • Configured for PRS and NRL style rimfire competition
  • Fully adjustable chassis with competition-ready features
  • Purchaser has lots of custom options to choose from when making purchase
  • Accuracy: The 5-shot group average at 100 yards was .737 inches, with SK Standard Plus averaging .698-inch groups, Lapua Center X averaging .701-inch groups, and SK Rifle Match averaging .811 inches.

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Competition-ready
  • Eye-catching
  • Fun as hell

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Long lead time

It is nearly impossible to overstate how fun this rifle is to shoot. It is incredibly accurate, runs as smooth as butter sliding across a hot griddle, and makes you feel like a professional shooter no matter what your level of experience is when you get behind it.

Typical 50 yard groups from the MPA.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The finish and machining on the chassis of our sample made it look like a showroom hot rod, but beneath the glitz is a stock that is fully customizable to the shooter with respect to length of pull, comb height, grip style and other critical dimensions. The chassis includes an ARCA rail machined along the bottom the fore-end and a spigot-style Picatinny rail.

The action is well thought out, too. The Matrix Pro uses the Vudoo Three 60 repeater action and is known for its easy bolt lift and slick cycling. It feeds from a box magazine that holds 10 rounds. The magazine is easy to load and insert in the rifle and the whole combo ran flawlessly.

The trigger on our sample was exceptional, which was one more reason the rifle shot as well as it did.

The ATS barrel tuner.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

We are on the fence about barrel tuners. The MPA comes with one from ATS and at some point during our drills it fell off. Honestly, the rifle continued to shoot lights out, so we kept it off for the remainder of the evaluation.

We had other great-shooting 22s in the test, but this one turned in the best groups at 100 yards by a smidge. With SK Standard Plus ammo it averaged .698-inch 5-shot groups at 100 yards. That’s amazing performance under real-world conditions with variable winds, which will push those little 40-grain bullets around without a second thought. Lapua Center X ammunition was right behind it, averaging .701 inches at 100 yards.

When you order one of these rifles you get to pick among many options, so what we ran isn’t “standard” because MPA doesn’t make cookie-cutter firearms. The color, barrel length, twist rate, and grip style are among the choices you get to make.

Best Budget: Savage Mark II FV-SR

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Specs

  • Action: Bolt
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 5
  • Weight: 5 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Barrel: 16.5 inches, 1:16 twist, carbon steel, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 35 ¼ inches
  • Price: $309

Key Features

  • One-piece scope rail
  • Heavy barrel
  • Adjustable Accu-Trigger
  • Accuracy: At 100 yards it printed 5-shot groups averaging .747 inches with SK Long Range Match ammo.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Accurate
  • Durable

Cons

  • Sticky action
  • Ornery magazine

We immediately took a shine to this scrappy budget rimfire. We’ve shot Mark IIs in the past, so it wasn’t our first rodeo with the platform, but still we came away impressed by what it delivered.

Staff writer Tyler Freel, who is the budget-rifle whisperer, stretched the Mark II’s legs at 100 yards and turned in some stellar groups with the rifle despite its stiff trigger and rough action. Using SK Long Range Match ammo it averaged just under ¾-MOA (.747 inches) at 100 yards, rivaling the performance of the multi-thousand dollar rimfire rifles we also tested.

With more run-of-the-mill ammo it shot around 1.2 inches at 50 yards, so you don’t have to break the bank to plink away at cans or squirrels in the treetops.

As I mentioned, this rifle isn’t very refined. The bolt is a bit awkward to run, the magazine can be difficult to load (and wouldn’t accept Lapua ammunition), and the trigger wasn’t match-grade.

The Savage Mark II shoots sub-MOA groups at 100 yards.

But for the price it is a great deal. It has a one-piece Picatinny rail along the top making the mounting of an optic an easy task. The muzzle is threaded so you can add a suppressor. The basic stock is essentially indestructible, and the price is right. For a first gun for a young shooter, it is a heck of an option.

Best Budget (Runner Up): Winchester Wildcat Sporter SR

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Specs

  • Action: Striker-fired semi-auto
  • Stock: Grade I walnut, satin oil finish
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 4 pounds, 4 ounces
  • Barrel: 16.5 inches, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 34 ¾ inches
  • Price: $370

Key Features

  • Walnut stock with oil finish
  • 10-round rotary magazine
  • Removable lower receiver
  • Integral Picatinny rail

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Accepts after-market 10/22 pattern magazines
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Controls on some have been a little stiff

Winchester’s budget semi-auto rimfire has been another favorite of ours since it was introduced a few years back. The company has added different trim levels to the rifle, but they share the same action and magazine.

One recent addition is the Sporter SR (Suppressor Ready), which has a wood stock with a satin oil finish making it the most traditional of the Wildcats. It is also the most spendy of the clan at $370, but it includes the same integrated Picatinny rail on the receiver that’s common to the line, and a barrel threaded ½-28 for a suppressor, which not all Wildcats have.

As with other Wildcats, the lower receiver assembly is easy to remove and includes a storage for an on-board sight tool. The stock sights consist of an adjustable rear ghost ring sight that can be tuned for both windage and elevation and a front ramp.

If you want to save a little money, and trim some weight, consider the standard Wildcat SR. It comes with a lightweight polymer stock in OD green, still has a threaded barrel, includes an inset section of Pic rail on the fore-end, and weighs only 4 pounds, making it a great choice for a youngster. At $290, it’s one of the most affordable 22s on the market.

Best Custom: Shilen-Zermatt-Manners Precision 22

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Specs

  • Action: Zermat Rim-X
  • Stock: Manners MCS-T2A Gap
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 12 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Barrel: 26-inch Shilen Match barrel, 1:16 twist, threaded 5/8-24
  • Length: 45 inches
  • Price: From $3,500

Key Features

  • RimX control-round feed action
  • Shilen barrel, threaded 5/8-24
  • Manners MCS-T2AGap stock
  • TriggerTech Diamond trigger
  • Ingenuity Gunworks rail
  • Accuracy: Shooting three types of ammo at 100 yards, it turned in 5-shot groups that average .945 inches. It was remarkably consistent across that ammunition: Lapua Center X (.933 inches), SK Long Range Match (.936 inches), and SK Standard Plus (.968 inches). At 50 yards it averaged .375-inch groups with Lapua Long Range ammunition.

Pros

  • Very accurate
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Optimized for rimfire competition

Cons

  • Expensive

This rifle is one of my personal favorites. I spec-ed it out a couple years ago with Wade Hull, president and owner of Shilen Rifles. Shilen, if you’re not aware, makes the most accurate rimfire barrels in the world, dominating in the sport of rimfire benchrest — so it was natural to turn to him for this project.

I wanted a rifle that accomplished three goals. One, I wanted one that mimicked the rifles I shoot in long range sniper and PRS style competition to use as a trainer. Two, I wanted it to stand on its own for NRL rimfire competition. And, third, I wanted it to be the coolest .22 in the world — at least according to my tastes.

This custom build is a hammer.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

This rifle hits all three marks. The TriggerTech Diamond trigger gives a clean, consistent 1 pound, 4 ounce break. The Manners stock is stiff and comfortable and has excellent ergonomics. The controlled-round feed action by RimX is the best 22 repeater action you can get. And the Shilen barrel is second-to-none.

I added an Ingenuity Gunworks Adapta Rail underneath the fore-end, that allows me to run quick-detach Pic rail and Arca rail segments. For glass, I opted for a Nightforce 7-35×56 ATACR with the Mil-XT reticle. Not only is that what I run on my other main competition rifles for ELR and partner sniper matches, but because it can focus so closely (30 feet) it is one of the top options for rimfire competition too.

You can purchase all the components and assemble one yourself, or talk to Wade Hull about properly bedding the action and tuning the rifle if you’re interested in one yourself.

Best for Beginners: Savage Rascal Target XP

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Specs

  • Action: Bolt
  • Stock: Hardwood, painted black
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 1
  • Weight: 5.95 pounds
  • Barrel: 16 1/8-inches, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 30.6 inches
  • Price: $319

Key Features

  • Single-shot bolt action
  • Factory mounted 4x32mm scope
  • Comes with bipod

Pros

  • Simple to learn
  • Adjustable AccuTrigger
  • Precision rifle feel
  • Comes with scope and bipod
  • Suppressor ready

Cons

  • Small for adult shooters
  • Extraction can be sticky when dirty

There are a bunch of Rascals to choose from, and all share the same basic design and are built on a single-shot action that prioritizes safety and is ideal for young shooters starting their journey to marksmanship mastery.

One of our favorites is the Target XP model, which is a bit heavier than others in the lineup because of its beefer stock that has precision rifle ergonomics and heavier barrel.

The Savage Rascal Target action needs to be cleaned frequently or it doesn’t want to eject. Tyler Freel

The Target XP comes ready to roll out of the box, with a bore-sighted 4-power scope on board and an included bipod. The 16 1/8-inch barrel is threaded for a suppressor, though the rifle does come with foam ear plugs too.

It has a two-position safety, adjustable trigger, and — as a single-shot — doesn’t have a magazine to worry about. It’s as basic and straightforward as 22s come.

Best for Preppers: Henry AR 7 U.S. Survival

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Specs

  • Action: Semi-automatic
  • Stock: ABS Plastic
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 8
  • Weight: 3 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Barrel: 16 1/8 inches, 1:16 twist
  • Length: 35 inches
  • Price: $350

Key Features

  • Reliable semi-automatic action
  • Barrel and action break down to be stored in stock
  • Has basic peep sights and a 3/8-inch rail to mount an optic

Pros

  • Compact and easily stowed
  • Weatherproof and impact resistant
  • Great survival/backup rifle

Cons

  • Not great ergonomics

This is a rifle with a great origin story, it’s a cool piece of firearms history, and it could potentially save your hide when the asteroid strikes.

The Henry AR-7 U.S. Survival Rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner, the man who gave us the AR-15. Stoner’s intended audience for the rifle was Airforce pilots, who could stash this lightweight and weatherproof .22 in their cockpit and use it to pot game and defend themselves should they crash in some inhospitable place.

Those qualities also make it a good option to stash under your truck seat or in the console of your fishing boat as an emergency safety item. It’ll also easily ride in a pack.

I have to admit that as a shooter it isn’t anything to get too excited about. It isn’t especially ergonomic, but it is reliable, which is the main point of the thing after all.

The peep sights on it are functional, and the receiver has a 3/8-inch groove machined in it to accept scope rings or another type of optic.

Best Vintage 22 LR: Marlin 39A

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Specs

  • Action: Lever action
  • Stock: Walnut
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: Tubular magazine can take 21 .22 LR rounds
  • Weight: 6 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Barrel: 24 inches
  • Length: 40 inches
  • Price: Varies

Key Features

  • Lever action with tubular magazine
  • Micro-groove rifling
  • Shoots .22 LR, .22 Long, and .22 Short
  • Takedown mechanism for easy cleaning

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy takedown for breech-to-muzzle cleaning
  • Precise-fitting parts and smooth action
  • Regarded as one of the best lever-action .22 rifles ever

Cons

  • No longer in production

The seasoned .22 rifle shooter needs no introduction to the Marlin 39A. It was one of the earliest and longest-running .22 rifles ever produced; Annie Oakley even shot its predecessor the Model 1891. This lever-action .22 rifle is touted as one of the best ever produced, and if you’re into .22 lever guns, it’s worth hunting one down.

Like many lever-action .22 rifles, the Model 39A uses a tubular magazine, a lever for cocking, and ejects spent cases to the side. It’s made in a classic western style with wood furniture and iron sights—although scope mounting options are available. The most unique feature of the 39A is its large-knob takedown screw that allows the receiver to be pulled apart for quick and easy cleaning. Rumors are that Marlin, under Ruger, will bring the model 39A back eventually. We will see if that comes to pass, but we hope it does.

Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rimfire

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Specs

  • Action: Bolt action
  • Stock: Carbon-fiber composite
  • Cartridge: 22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Barrel:  16 inches, carbon-fiber, 1:16 twist, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 35 ½ inches
  • Price: $850

Key Features

  • 10-round Ruger-pattern rotary magazine
  • Triggertech Trigger
  • Dual extractors
  • Pilar bedded
  • Accuracy: Running three types of SK ammunition, the Ranger turned in 5-shot groups that averaged .531 inches at 50 yards. With CCI Green Tag the average groups were .791 inches.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Ambidextrous stock
  • Also available in .17 HMR and .22 WMR

Cons

  • Action got sticky after hard use
The action was sluggish, and not as smooth as competitors.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The two hallmarks of the Modern Precision Rimfire is that it is lightweight and built along the lines of bigger precision rifles. Christensen Arms used a lot of carbon fiber in its construction. The stock is a carbon-fiber composite and the barrel uses carbon fiber too. Though unlike a barrel that’s been wrapped with resin-impregnated strands of carbon fiber, the Ranger uses a tensioning system where the steel barrel is suspended within a carbon-fiber tube.

I’ve shot a couple MPRs over the years and we added one to this year’s rimfire rifle test. We love the looks of the rifle, and the configuration of the stock. The stock is ergonomic with a flat fore-end, nearly vertical pistol grip with palm swells, elevated flat comb, and undercut butt stock with a small sniper hook for extra control.

The Triggertech trigger on it is fabulous, and the rifle comes with a full-length Pic rail on the receiver.

The action on ours got a bit sluggish after we put a bunch of rounds through it, so we made a point to keep hitting it with gun solvent to keep it running as smooth as possible, though it didn’t exhibit the slick consistency of other high-dollar rifles in the eval.

The accuracy of the rifle was quite good. As with other firearms in the test, it shined with the premium ammo from SK.

Springfield 2020 Rimfire

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Specs

  • Action: Two-lug bolt
  • Stock: Synthetic (tested)
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Weight: 7 pounds, 12 ounces (measured)
  • Barrel: 20-inch heavy profile, 1:16 twist, matte blued, threaded ½-28
  • Length: 43.6 inches
  • Price: $499

Key Features

  • Uses Ruger 10/22 style magazines
  • Adjustable trigger
  • Dual extractors
  • Picatinny rail
  • Accuracy: .858-inch average of 5-shot groups at 50 yards with four different types of ammunition.

Pros

  • Feature set for price makes it a great value
  • Good accuracy
  • Reliable action

Cons

  • Trigger only adjusts down to 4 pounds, 3 ounces

The Outdoor Life test team is a big fan of the Springfield 2020 Rimfire, which the company trotted out in 2023. You can get it in a couple different synthetic versions or stocked with varying grades of wood that cover the spectrum from nice to drop-dead gorgeous.

I wrote a detailed review of the 2020 Rimfire after it debuted, and because of our positive impressions we included it in this year’s best rimfire rifle test.

Testing the 2020 at 50 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

Put simply, this is a solid choice for anyone looking for a good 22 to hunt with or plink. It is reliable and will digest anything you put through it, and it exhibits good accuracy across a broad selection of ammo.

The dual extractors yank empties from the chamber without a fuss, and the hard chrome bolt runs smoothly in the action and provides the additional benefit of being corrosion resistant.

The one thing we didn’t care for is the adjustable trigger which we could only turn down to 4.25 pounds. But because it is a Remington 700 pattern trigger, you could easily replace it yourself with something better.

The Pic rail is contoured in the middle for better access to the action, which is a thoughtful touch. The flat-bottomed fore-end rides nicely on support bags, making it accurate from field positions, such as when shooting off a cattle gate.

Springfield’s been on a roll with their product introductions for a while now, and the 2020 Rimfire continues the company’s winning streak.

FAQ

Q: How much does a .22 LR rifle cost?

A: The cost of a .22 rifle can vary greatly. Many .22 rifles are priced in the $250-$350 range, but high-end rifles can cost thousands of dollars. A wide variety of .22 rifles are available for under $500 that will fit most shooters’ needs, but there’s a strong market for specialized .22 rifles as well. Top-notch precision .22 rifles don’t come cheap, nor do fancy custom-built .22’s. If you’re shopping for your first .22 rifle, you don’t need one of these.

Q: What is a .22 LR rifle best used for?

A .22 rifle is best used for many things, and that’s why it’s so popular. Its most popular uses are for target shooting and plinking, as well as small game hunting. The .22 LR cartridge has historically been relatively inexpensive to shoot, with plentiful ammo. It’s a great option for teaching new shooters, practicing shooting fundamentals, or simply shooting for fun. It’s also ideal for hunting small game like rabbits and varmints like prairie dogs and has served that purpose for generations.

Q: Are .22 LR rifles good for home defense?

A .22 rifle can be good for home defense, but how good depends on certain circumstances. There are generally some better cartridges for home defense, but what you have is better than what you don’t have. If the .22 rifle is your only option, use the best ammunition you can get. The .22 LR cartridge isn’t very powerful, so something like Federal Premium Punch, or CCI Stingers are your best bet.

Q: Is a .22 LR rifle good for beginners?

A .22 rifle is great for beginner shooters. It has basically no recoil or muzzle blast and is easy to shoot. Pretty much any rifle or handgun range will allow .22 rifles to be used, and they are great for familiarizing yourself with different types of firearms. There are representatives of just about every type of action and style of firearm chambered in .22 LR, and it’s a great introductory cartridge.

Q: How to clean a .22 LR rifle?

Each .22 rifle will need to be cleaned according to its manufacturer’s recommendations, but basically, you’ll want to clean the powder and lead fouling from the bore, and powder fouling from the action. The .22 LR cartridge tends to be dirty, and many bullets are coated in wax, which accumulates in the gun. Any basic rifle cleaning kit will have what you need to clean the bore and action, and keep you up and running.

Final Thoughts on .22 LR Rifles

Quality ammo brought out the accuracy potential of this year’s test group.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The hardest thing about pulling together an article on the best rimfire .22 LR rifles is knowing when to stop. There is a pile of great guns out there at every imaginable price point, but we had to set the boundaries somewhere and the result is this roundup.

All the rifles here are ones we really like. Some we’ve awarded with special recognition for their accuracy, great value, overall utility, or suitability for new shooters. But all of them have their virtues, and most of them are quite versatile.

Whether you have the budget of a pauper or a prince, there are many possibilities to choose from. Stick to this list and you won’t go wrong.

About Gunsite

This year’s test of the best rifles was once again graciously hosted by Gunsite Academy in Paulden, AZ. As the home of the legendary Jeff Cooper and one of the first firearm training facilities that offered classes to the general public, Gunsite became one of the premier gun training destinations in the country.

At Gunsite we got to work with top-line instructors, and use their excellent ranges and facilities. The genuinely friendly, helpful, and overly-accommodating staff at Gunsite allowed us to conduct our most ambitious gun test to date. You can experience the magic of Gunsite, and improve your skills, by signing up for a class.

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John B. Snow

Shooting Editor

John B. Snow is Shooting Editor of Outdoor Life, where he oversees the publication’s firearms and shooting coverage. This includes gear reviews, features on technical innovations, stories on shooting techniques and general hunting coverage with the occasional fishing story thrown into the mix. Originally from Seattle, he has lived all over the country, crisscrossing it by car and truck no fewer than 10 times as he’s moved from one location to the next. Since 2010 he has lived in Bozeman, Montana where he currently resides with his bird dog, Roo.

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