When answering the question as to what rifle is the very best in a 22 Long Rife chambering, any writer is going to be taking a super sized bear by the tail, and with luck is expecting to win a major opinion fight. .When selecting the best of the best in rimfire rifles in my opinion the buck stops with a rifle from Anschutz in their 1827 F Model .
This rifle is a target rifle designed for Olympic competition shooting. The rifle retains a Fortner “ Straight Pull” Action, a Biathlon target stock, Biathlon sight 6865, and comes with five five round magazines. The only problem here is that the rifle are limited, not found everyplace, and if you need to ask the price you most likely can’t afford it. $3,995.00.
Now that I have played my little game of over the top high dollar items here lets get real.
Today the rimfire market is flowing wth good rifles at very reasonable prices. While not designed for Olympic target events the new offerings today will do the job in the field, plinking tin cans on weekends, or even addressing some of the very new long range rimfire events being developed at rifle ranges today.
As you can guess by now, selecting a 22 rimfire is mission sensitive. That is to say you have to ask yourself what is the use going to be as applied to the rifle? If you are searching for a good basic design in a well made rifle, taking a look at Ruger firearms models would not the worst idea you could have come up with.
Best Rifle for .22 On The market
1 Ruger American® Rimfire Long-Range Target
With the rapid advancement of long range shooting within the past decade in the USA, the game has spilled over into the rimfire rifle area as well as long range heavy caliber rifles. Today the 100, 200 and 300 yard events are being designed for the rimfire rifles and this has not gone unnoticed by rifle manufactures. As such Ruger has introduced the Ruger American in a special target stocked bolt action rifle that is designed to take on the long range target competition events.
The Ruger American Target is designed on a stock that is fully adjustable for length and comb hight. The wide forend is set up with M-Lok fittings for added bipods and rails, and the rifle makes use of Ruger patented “ Power Bedding”, which is integral with the stock and locks the action down but free floats the barrel for accuracy. In effect, the setup is just like the big rifles that are designed for the one mile shooting by way of heavy cartridges today.
Currently I shoot the Ruger Hawkeye chambered in 300 Win Mag using a stock system very much like the one used on the rimfire target model. The results have been very impressive and I push that system to almost one mile during production ammunition and handloed fodder reviews.
The rifle as offered by Ruger also retains a fully adjustable trigger, threaded 0.860 barrel with factory installed knurled thread protector, and is hammer forged which resutls in very good accuracy on those 200 yard targets.
The advantages of this rife are it ability to blend int the long range and paper target shooting world. Also the rifle is jam packed with features that are the pedigree of a good target rifle being long or close range shooting. Lacking a full detailed real time field test of the rifle, this observation is within the perimeters associated with this firearms introduction.
Rifle magazine capacity 10 rounds, color metal matte blue, and stock brown.
2 Ruger M-77 Rimfire Rifle
On to still another Ruger product and one I know very well indeed. I currently own the rifle in the 22 Long Rifle, 22 WMR, 17 HMR and 22 Hornet. Also the previous mentioned Ruger Hawkeye is based again on the M-77 action as id as 6.5 in Hawkeye that I also won. Do I like ruger poducts? You bet I do because they perform and I can afford them without needing to sell of the house. Therefore, there is little I don’t know about this turn bolt rifle and I am here to say for the money, it is right at the top of the food chain in terms of rifle design and performance.
The M 77 can be obtained in walnut or laminated in a soft green color. I own both and I tend to like each type for their own reasions. The M 77 is machined in a sold block of steel and is CNC fitted to perfection. The rifle uses a rotary magazine ( 10 rounds, ) a full size bolt handle and wood to metal fit is very good for a mass produced rifle.
The scope mounts on a Ruger M-77 are machined directly into the receiver and the Ruger proportary bases and rings are supplyed with the rifle. These rings and bases can be ordered in different highs so as to accommodate a variety of scope bell sizes.
Currently, you are going to find these rifles in pre-stocked gun shops and on net publication lie Huns International. This year 2020 Ruger is offering the 17 WSM, and 17 Hornet as a placement, but the rifle are around but a search is necessary and well worth the effort.
The positive thing about the Ruger M-77 22 LR is that it is a very well made and effective rifle. The negative element is as of now it is currently out of product, but rest assured it will return, and for now there are many on the open market for sale. Check with Cabela’s and Bass Pro for updated information on the very good 22 LR rifle.
Read also: Best 22 LR rifles for Home Defense
3 Ruger precision .22 LR
Here again is still another Ruger, and that is because this company is not sitting around wondering what to do next. With again the advancing development in long range rimfire target game becoming a major league shooting event Ruger has moved right into the chassis rifle ( all metal ) and build a free floated turn bolt set up for both targets and game if desired. I believe that has for at least some time to come moved the M-77 in the 22 rimfire over so as to allow this chassis rifle development the chance to stake a claim to a place in the development of accurate shooting rim fires.
The rifle is a bolt action with a touch of almost Ar-15 style built into it. Using the AR pistol grip , and the fully adjustable butt stock, then tacking on a full shroud forend barrel inclosed heat shield, the rifle is very much a modern look at a bult action AR-15.
This rifle makes use of the “ quick fit precision stock, Magpul M-Lok Slot handguard, and a threaded 1/2” 28 barrel. The rifle has a length of pull measuring 12”15.50”, and retains an installed rail, but lacks sights. These are long range target models ,and as such they are design for scope mounted sight only.
The primary advantage to this rifle is accuracy, a floated barrel that is heat resistant, and fully adjustable stock so as to allow a good fit for any shooter. The disadvantages in owning this rifle are none.
4 Browning T-Bolt
This is again another bolt action of very high quality as offered by Browning Arms. Browning is a top of the line American gun builder and the Browning T Bolt has been around for ever. Why? Because it is just that good. I have owned severl of them and back in the day when I lived in a squirrel woods every chance I got my T Bolt was always in hand.
Offered in again 22 LR, the rifle makes use of a 10 round box rotary magazine. The barrel is free floated at 22 inches in length, and is match chambered carrying a target muzzle crown. If you're thinking accuracy you are correct. The carry weight less scope is 4.8 pounds, with a total length of 40.1 inches.
This rifle features a straight pull bolt system dating from back in Europe and used on several big game rifles over there. I like this system as it is very fast for a bolt action rifle, and simple to maintain as well.
Browning makes sure of the very best in milling and CNC machining, and the wood stocks in walnut are the very best product as well. The rifle come is composite material as well, but for my money stay with the Browning way of handling wood. Never have I seen a junky looking rifle on the dealers shelf, or in my rifle safe for that matter.
The selection in these rifles includes the Walnut Sporter, and a special target model as well. If you are getting into the new long range 22 LR game, consider the target model as it is better suited for that kind of work.
5 Anschutz 1416D Classic
Turning to still another rifle in the turn bolt design, one of my life long favorites, and a rifle I have come to know well over some 60 years or more of rimfire shooting is this German built rifle. The rifle is offered in both 22 LR and 22 WMR and I have see and used both in the field for small game hunting.
This rifle carries a magazine loaded to five rounds, (Sporting) and it mounts a barrel with a length of 22.5 inches. This rifle makes use of a hardwood stock with a walnut finish. The rifle is a working model not a show case special. You can hunt this rifle without worrying about possible nicks and dings.
When you buy Anschutz rifles, you are buying a gun crafted in quality in terms of materials and engineering as well. These rifles will shoot and bring home the game to the dinner table. The rifle mounts a Match 64 action and is as smooth as you will ever find in a well made rifle. The receiver is grooved for scope mounts but the rifle also carries a set of iron sights for field backup. Topped off with a very nice roll over cheek pice stock, this rifle comes up to the shoulder with good balance and the trigger is as smooth as warm butter on a hot summers day. While the custom model in this action type sells for over $2000.00 and change, this rifle is MSRP priced at a bit over $1000.00. Half the price and still a solid performing German Anschutz.
6 CZ 457 American
Offered at a bit lower price than some, but still carrying a strong pet agree in terms of quality, the CZ American in their 457 model is a solid rifle wrapped in a very nice European walnut stock. I shoot this rifle in a .223 Fireball, and I had written it as a sporting magazine project years ago and never sent it back. This rifle is balanced so well that you can off hand shoot to some extended nges where as other rifle yo had better be searching for a solid rest before touching off a round.
The rifles are machined from a sold block of steel, carry big rifle feel and looks even though the chamber is small, and the firing pin is rimfire by required design. The rifle make use of a five round detachable magazine which is an asset to a rabbit hunter at times, and the high butt stock comb is set up from a medium ring scope sight. This rifle comes dehorned, and requires mounts bases and ring for use with glass optics.
Because the basic content of this review was to take on some of the better grade rifles in rimfire designs. I have omitted anything in the way of autoloaders, and low grade bolt guns. There are some nice Henry 22 LR in Yellow-boy patterns available, and if you're searching for a lever rifle, taking a look down that road is not the worst idea you could come up with.
Browning also sells a great lever rifle in a rimfire, and tack on their little SA 22 Auto which has been built for almost ever, and is about the only autoloader I would put into this class of firearm, we have a wrap in the better grade 22 LR rimfire department.