For many shooters, the .22 rifle brings back fond childhood memories. This popular rimfire rifle is probably the firearm that introduced them to shooting. In fact, the .22 is the ideal gun for first-time shooters, helping them learn the basics before moving on to a more aggressive caliber. The weapons are lightweight and produce minimal recoil. Plus, the ammunition is super cheap.
However, if you think the .22 rifle is only just a starter gun, you’re missing out. The .22 long rifle has plenty of practical uses beyond backyard plinking. This rifle has some major small game hunting prowess, and survival experts everywhere sing the praises of the .22 LR’s utility.
Best .22 rifles for the money
There’s no arguing that the .22 rifle is one of the most popular rifles ever made, and it continues to be one of the most-purchased weapons on the market. Due to its popularity, every major firearms manufacturer has their own version. Some even have several.
Here are the 6 best .22 rifles in production
With so many options available to the modern shooter, it can be difficult to decide which one to buy. That’s where we come in. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best .22 rifles on the market today. While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it should help you narrow down your options.
According to Ruger, their 10/22 model is the most popular .22 rifle to ever pop a can off a fence post. They’re probably right. The 10/22 has a reputation for being one of the most reliable rimfire rifles ever produced. It is also extremely durable, making it a great option for young shooters just starting out.
The Ruger 10/22 has been in production since 1964 and features a ton of aftermarket support and accessories. You can completely customize your 10/22 with tactical stocks, high-tech scopes, and an assortment of barrel options.
The modification possibilities make this one of the most versatile weapons on the market. You can set up the Ruger 10/22 for fast-paced, close-quarters rabbit wreckage, or you can create a long-distance precision shooting tool for shooting varmints out past 100 yards. The choice is yours.
This simple and inexpensive rimfire rifle has been in production for more than 60 years. Although it still bears the Marlin name, the Model 60 is now produced by firearm powerhouse Remington Arms.
The Model 60 is a semi-auto .22 fed from a 15-round tubular magazine located under the barrel. (If you can find a Model 60 manufactured prior to 1968, you get a robust 18-round capacity.)
Perhaps the Model-60’s best feature is its barrel. The 19-inch barrel features 16 grooves of micro rifling, which produces surprising pin-point accuracy our to at least 100 yards.
Henry US Survival AR-7
This weapon was originally designed by Armalite, the same company that brought you the ever-popular AR-15. Developed as a survival rifle for US Air Force pilots, the AR-7 is also great for civilian shooting applications.
It is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and features a take-down design that allows you stuff the stock, barrel, receiver and magazines into a backpack for easy transport. Speaking of magazines, the AR-7 has a paltry 8-round capacity. Thankfully, it comes with two, which at least partially makes up for it.
The AR-7 is also offered in a Henry US Survival kit which includes the rifle, emergency food rations, a water filtration straw, ESEE fire steel, folding knife, 100 feet of paracord, and a mylar blanket all packed inside a convenient nylon carry case. This kit is admittedly cool as well as functional, and is enough to make us forgive Henry for that 8-round magazine.
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Another long-running rifle design that retains its relevance is the Savage Mark II. This solidly-built bolt action uses a ten-round detachable box magazine. It features all the same basic parts as larger, more powerful rifles, which makes it a great introductory weapon for new shooters.
Our favorite feature is the patented AccuTrigger design. Right out of the box, you can easily adjust the trigger from 1 ½ pounds to 6 pounds. Once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
The Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport is definitely not your granddaddy’s .22 long rifle, but you can tell that just by looking at it. Configured to mimic the look, feel, and function of the modern sporting rifle (also known as the AR-15), this .22 is built with a 10-inch handguard that features Magpul’s patented M-LOK system. This basically means the M&P 15-22 Sport is compatible with most standard AR-15 accessories.
However, this rifle does more than look tactical and edgy. It is also compact, reliable, highly accurate, and is built to withstand rough use. Sure, it’s a great option for people who want to have fun with an AR but don’t want to pay for expensive 5.56 ammo. The M&P 15-22 Sport also does a serious job on squirrels, rabbits, varmints, and old soup cans.
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Remington 572 Fieldmaster
If you’re at all familiar with Remington’s legendary 870 shotgun, you know that Remington has mastered the pump-action like no other firearm manufacturer. They bring that same level of performance to their pump-action rimfire, the 572 Fieldmaster.
Remington’s firearms have been used to feed families for generations, and the 572 Fieldmaster continues the tradition. The tubular magazine holds 15 rounds, so you can pop enough squirrels or rabbits to make plenty of stew. This rifle is perfect for hunting small game. It reliably feeds (and fires) .22 Short, .22 Long, and .22 LR cartridges. In fact, it does it so smoothly you’ll think you’re talking to a slick politician.
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This list includes 6 of the best .22 rifles in current production. However, there are plenty of other tried and true models that we just don’t have space to mention, so this is really just a partial list. However, we think the ones we’ve mentioned here are each special in their own unique way. No matter which model you choose, the .22 rifle is a serious workhorse, so you should get plenty of use out of it.