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10 Best Rimfire Guns Right Now

by Joseph von Benedikt   |  July 15th, 2013 63

The best rimfire is about as debatable a topic as the best deer cartridge. Perhaps a bit lower key, and more easily proven on a bank of tin cans at the local gravel pit, but still, rimfire shooters are easily egged into arguing for their favorite.

Some of those shooters inherited Granddad’s Marlin Model 39A and consider any rimfire rifle built since to be inferior. Others have vast experience with Ruger’s indomitable 10/22 and know its virtues as fact. And then there are those rimfire shooters who like to stretch the reality of the .22 LR cartridge, like the guys who put specialized triggers into Smith & Wesson’s excellent M&P15-22, install a Slide Fire stock and rattle off the tiny cartridges at a firing rate of 400 to 600 rounds per minute.

Unquestionably, civilians fire more .22 LR ammo per year than all other calibers combined, so the argument has tremendous relevancy. We’re not here to end it; we’re here to fuel it. So here are some of the very best .22 rimfires available today—both old warhorses and cutting-edge new ones. If we left your favorite out, no apologies; we’re here to argue. So bring it on.

  • Steve Berley

    What about the Ruger Mk III. It’s a fantastic rimfire pistol.

    • Joseph

      Steve, I agree: The Ruger MkIII is fantastic. In fact, when I originally submitted this article I included 12 top rimfires, knowing that the editors would cut the list to 10. The MkIII is one that got cut. –JvB

      • SmithTech

        Your editor needs to be fired. ;-) The MKIII beats the Buckmark for one simple reason. In addition to being just as accurate and reliable, once its broken in it requires no tools to breakdown and clean. The Buckmark requires not 1 but 2 differnet size allen wrenches.

  • Matthew Wilson

    Yeah, and need I remind you that .22lr is not THE ONLY rimfire cartridge on the market. There are plenty of fantastic .17 rifles on the market. I own almost half of the firearms you mentioned in the article and can’t believe you completely skipped over the .17 genre.

    • Joseph

      Matthew, thanks for the input. Several of the guns included are actually available in .17 HMR or .17 Mach 2. I didn’t highlight that fact because I was assigned to write about rimfire gun models, not rimfire cartridges. –JvB

  • Sequoyah

    Ruger MkII & III, S&W 617, Marlin Glenfield 60, S&W M41 will out shoot all the handguns and most of the rifles.

    • Tygar

      ABSOLUTELY, I’ve won lots of money shooting my S&W 41 against .22 rifles.
      But nothing compares to my M12 or Anschutz rifles.

  • Roy Pineau

    I do have to put in my 2 cents and say that you left out the Henry H001, probably one of my favorite guns ever, especially for accuracy. And at an MSRP of $340, it’s half the price of the others. I have to be honest, I see little to no use for a .22lr revolver. Why have a full-size handgun if all it shoots is .22? Granted, more people have been killed with a .22 than any other caliber, but it just doesn’t have any stopping power unless you’re shooting at a squirrel. And then you should be using a rifle anyway.

    • BJC

      So you don’t like to just target shoot.

    • ZENPATRIOT

      A .22 revolver is an excellent training gun for new shooters, for all the obvious reasons, plus some women are intimidated by the recoiling slide of an auto. Also, the revolver is not ammo-sensative; it will shoot anything that fits the chambers. And, revolvers are just plain fun!

  • Mark Elliott

    I own three of the firearms mentioned in the article, however my vote goes to my Magnum Research .22lr with the Blackhawk Axiom stock. Based upon the Ruger 10/22 it is light, durable and as accurate as my CZ bolt action.

    • Joseph

      Mark, you’re right. The MRI is a great rifle. It is not nearly as available as a Ruger 10/22, and is more expensive. But a refined, accurate rifle. –JvB

  • txkevin

    No Buckmark experience but the Ruger Mark III is a very accurate and reliable pistol. A hassle to break down and re-assemble until you get the hang of it but a really nice pistol to shoot.

    • BJC

      Watch the video from the guy who make’s the pistol pal. His demo video of the pistol pal makes the Ruger Mk 1-11-111 all very easy to disassemble and reassemble.

      • txkevin

        True, After you do it a few times and learn the “tricks” its quite easy. However, before you learn the tricks… well, lets just say I resorted to YouTube for help the first time.

        • BJC

          Same here that’s where I found the pistol pal. Very good tool by the way you should check it out.

    • DJ

      I had the guys in the gun shot stumped with that one….easy to break down but to reassemble one has to remember to hold the trigger to unload the spring.

  • Fieldkorn

    Both Buckmarks owned by my wife and me are terrifically accurate shooters. That being said, they are temperamental when it comes to their diet. If it weren’t for CCI’s most caloric-rich fodder both pistols would starve. I also have a now-import-banned Norinco bull-barrel .22-caliber bolt-action rifle. How accurate? Try setting up lollypops at 50 yards and when you’re done splintering the sugary pads into crystal shards then start destroying their cardboard sticks. Yeah, my rifle is THAT accurate when I use Winchester hollow points. No fox squirrel is safe in the woodlot with that rifle. Have absolutely no interest, by the way, in owning a rifle that shoots hundreds of rounds of ammo a minute, especially given the cost nowadays of .22 -caliber rimfire ammo, let alone its availability.

  • Mr_Fastbucks

    No love for the .22 WMR. Whatever.

  • Robby777

    I agree – to a point. Left out way too many. to name a few: Weatherby XXIIs [bolt and semi-auto], Ruger .22 pistols,Remington 582 series, Marlin 783 series , and Winchester model 52, S&W Model 41. and a few others.

    • Joseph

      Robby777, narrowing this list down was one of the toughest (and funnest) assignments I’ve had. You’re right: There are a ton more great rimfires. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t all fit into “10 Best”… –JvB

      • Robby777

        Thanks for replying. Sort of surprised me. Does it always have to be a finite number? How long would that list be? Mere mention of the model and features would suffice. Gives readers more grist for the mill…

  • Tom Coyle

    Ever heard of the Winchester 9422?????

  • Robert W. Newton

    I must include the venerable Remington model 66 all nylon stock rifle. I have had this particular .22 for 45 years it is still as accurate today as the day it was bought. I remember waaaay back that some guy set a record with this .22 by shooting 200 4×4 inch wooden blocks tossed into the air without missing a single block.

    • Joseph

      Robert, I actually included the Nylon 66 in the “dozen best” that I submitted to the G&A online editors, knowing that they’d cut the number to “10 best.” The Nylon 66 was one of the two that got cut… If I recall correctly, the record you speak of was set by Tom Frye in 1959, who shot 100,004 out of 100,010 wood blocks 2.25 inches square, over a period of 13 days. Incredibly impressive, and a real testament to the little rifle.

      • Fieldkorn

        I gathered from the header that the list was to include the “best” of rimfires “right now.” Alas, the Nylon 66 is not right now. That being said the inclusion of a couple of AR-platform rifle shows how sadly far we as gun owners have fallen in admiring hardware. ARs? Yuck. Cold, impersonal, no character. Sad. Very sad.

        • ZENPATRIOT

          Still using that rotary dial phone, gramps?

      • Username__already__exists

        You’re going back that far and including a rifle that had a serious defect??? You do know a lot of them got hot in cars and warped, right? I’ve seen them with my own eyes. If you want to go back that far and not include the Remington 40X it’s just downright silly of you.

    • Nramem

      I have the model 77, same gun really. They are great and really lite.

  • commonwealth109

    Browning BL-22 lever action!
    Complete with Leupold Rimfire scope.

  • tanstaafl2

    How can you make a list of great .22 rimfires and NOT include the Marlin 60?!?

    • bill knight

      While I own and love my 10-22 I also own and love my Marlin 60! Load a full sleeve of lr’s and plink away.

  • Lin Edwards

    I have owned numerous .22s over the last 50 years and the best one ever is my current S&W M&P .22. It is hands down the most reliable .22 I have ever had. It NEVER misfires if the ammo is capable of being fired. The only misfires I have had, when I removed the bullet and powder turned out to have no priming compound in the case. Dead nuts reliable, never jams. And I have around 10,000 rounds thru it in the last 2 years. It has replaced my Ruger MK1 as my go-to .22 for competition, plinking and sub-caliber training.

  • BJC

    The buckmark is OK but I prefer the Ruger Mk 1, 11 or 111, just as ergonomic and accurate and much more customizable. This list is fouled.

  • BJC

    The headline for this article is 10 best rimfire guns but there is no mention of Anschutz or Volquartsen. This list suck’s

    • Joseph

      Anschutz, Volquartsen, S&W Model 41, Lamborghini, Ferarri, Porsche… BJC, you inspire me. This “top 10″ focused on rimfires for all-around, everyday, affordable use, and the super-quality rifles you mention are out of financial reach for many folks. But maybe we need another list focused purely on the best of the best engineering and quality, regardless of price! –JvB

      • BJC

        Thanks for the reply Joseph. I agree with you that’s why I believe your headline for this list could use some fine tuning, something like – 10 best rimfire guns for everyday and every pocket.

        Just like food everyone has their own personal preferences so putting together a list of only 10 item’s in a one category is tough.

      • Username__already__exists

        If you were talking about the best you left out the Marlin 60 and the Ruger MkII. Both are better than some of the guns you picked like the 10/22 and the 77/22. But any list without a CZ on it is a joke if you’re talking about affordable rifles. Besides all that you said “best” not best for the buck.

  • Robert Johnston

    How could you forget the AR-7, be it ones made by Armalite, Charter Arms, or Henry Firearms?
    Fun to shoot, inexpensive, and can be broken down and put into it’s stock.
    Oh, they float as well!
    –RKJ

  • DJ

    I got a Mauser training 22 from a box store for $69…..accurate as anything I ever shot (Rem, Win, Ruger, Savage). II had to redo the loading ramp as they must have used some kind of really hard material on dummy rounds in dry fire. That same store had some single shot bull barrel 22′s for about $30….also very accurate, and excellent for the grandkids.

    • Nramem

      I have two of those and I was lucky enough to get them for under $50 each (before shipping). I refinished the stocks and put a scope on one. They are accurate and look great too.

  • ER12696490

    Personally I think you left many good .22s out. So lets argue, first the CZ model 52, and Winchester model 9422, S&W model 42 and my favorite the in hand guns is the Victor High Standard Military in 22 LR. and many more.

    • Joseph

      Without a doubt, I left out many very good .22s. Unfortunately, that has to happen when the list is limited to 10…

  • Bob Pena

    How about the Kimber 22.HS or SVT real shooters out of the box if you can find one.

  • Billy M. Rhodes

    I have not seen the Savage Mark III bolt action rifle mentioned. I bought one, fitted a scope and a Boyds monte carlo stock, great rifle

  • Doug Blessin

    I think you all have taken leave of your senses. The best rimfire rifle is without a doubt the Walther KK300. Period!

  • Jay Cottrell

    Good call on picking the Buckmark over the Ruger 22s. I have one that has stayed between the drivers seat and console of my truck since the day I got my licence for eradicating groundhogs who’s dens damage our barns. It also saved my collies life when she was cornered by a coyote.

    But to prove I’m not Browning biased I think the Henry lever action is more iconic and deserving than the bl-22. Load up on Sunday shoot all week long. The other gun in my truck is a Henry 22 lever action under a Bushnell rimfire 3-9 x 40 that rides behind the seat.

  • Robert

    I personally would swap the Ruger 77/22 out for the Browning T-Bolt. The quality and finish of the rifle is far beyond that of the Ruger. The high quality quickly makes it a prized possession. The very short, straight bolt pull lets you cycle the rifle very quickly. Mine will shoot lights out with ANY ammo I’ve fed it so far. It’s also available for us lefties, a segment of the market which other manufacturers continue to ignore in their bolt-action rifles.

  • Takis Bouloukos

    what about the less known .22 LRs like the old Mosseberg’s self loading with the port for the ammo at the stock? (never been in your catalogs the last 20-30 years) ; but of course it is not capable of being between the 10 best selling(!?) rimfires. No less that there are guns for target shoting (-non of them is a US product) that are hi -ends of technology at a cost of thousands of dollars or euro’s, and these guns are the only choice if you want to put ten or more bullets in the same hole at 50 meters ! To complete your Ferrari-Lambo list, in your answer to BJC’s remarks, I must refer to Hammerli (pistols) and Walter (rifles and pistols) Since I use one of them for almost 20 years, I think that is a great value for money..

  • Victor

    There is no way to define the best, but for my money the Buck Mark gets my vote!

    I think it’s the ergonomics of the firearm that does it for me. Like an old dog, well worn boots, or an old Ford truck, it just feels right.

    Yet there are so many other guns that can make this list, I have instructed my family to bury me with the Buckmark and a bulk pack of cheap Federal .22s and a roll of Copenhagen. Regardless of heaven or hell, all will be OK!

  • mopareddie

    Couldn’t make my 572 hit the broad side of barn with ant type of ammo…Sold it and bought a CZ 452 American…. sub one inch groups at 50 and 100 yds. all day long. Also sold my Buckmark …too many jams and stovepipes

  • mopareddie

    Forgot to mention 2 revolvers….a Colt trooper 22 and a S&W K 22 two of the all time best

  • Chimookman

    All nice choices. For me, and for automatics, I find the primary issue is poor quality ammo. All of my .22 self loaders have problems with FTF with typical Remington bulk ammo. No issues whatever with CCI mini-mags, which I think is the best .22 out there. I never used to have that problem.

  • fromycoldeadhands

    The Colt “Woodsman Match” of early 70′s vintage should have been in the top 5, buttery smooth, nice trigger, and a tack driver for a pistol with a 5″ barrel.

  • Nramem

    I cannot believe the Ruger pistol (Mark I, Mark II, 22/45 etc.) was not on the list. Price as well as accuracy & quality puts above the rest!

    • erichwalker

      Yeah, never mind the Ruger Standard Pistol, the gun that single-handedly put Ruger on the map of American gunmakers. The buckmark is nice, but the Mark II is like the 1911 of 22 pistols.

  • Hisham Hammad

    These are way expensive true great weapons but I have used a $100 rim fire rifle that has shot 1000s of rounds throught it and works like a charm.Old guns have character :)

  • Rob

    I kept waiting for it, but it never came… I’ll take my old Browning Sa-22 over anything on that list.

  • john

    henry?????

  • Craig Mack

    I swear both of my grandfather’s had Ruger 10/22′s that they bought in the sixties, my father had one when he was a kid in the sixties, that he swears he shot nearly everyday of his life, and has now bought the new takedown version. I have a 10/22 synthetic so I can get it wet and not worry (for some reason I don’t trust the takedown and think that the ends will warp and not come together right after awhile, causing strange misfires, but I am paranoid I just don’t want a gun that twists in half). So now I am getting handed down my dad’s first Ruger and my grandfathers’ so now I am going to have 4 of them, and I have to say both my grandfather’s shot everything they ate, including small game, and they fired the hell out of these rifles. The three that were purchased in the sixties shoot almost exactly the same as mine, that is a year old, and mine is lighter. Has anyone ever had a bad 10/22 or are they that solid?

  • George

    I’m a big fan of High Standard have a sharp shooter simple to tear down for cleaning with one button and a tack driver. How could the Winchester model 61 not be included love mine thousands of rounds through it and it can’t jam period. Remington model 241 a full size version of the old browning gallery gun (Semi-Auto) as its known now. All classic guns with real quality and style.

  • Mark

    Marlin xt22 is very accurate and well worth the money! i dont have much experience with 22lr rifles but i do own a cz452 17hmr! its dead on. my favourite gun for plinking and wabbit huntin’ xD

  • Doyle Andrews

    I have an idea for a great article. The “Top Ten Most Accurate Stock Sporting Rimfires.” Criteria could consist of unmodified rifles, all use the same high quality scope, solid bench, same rest, same day conditions, accomplished American Rimfire Association competitor. Do not forget to include Anschutz 54s and 64s.

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