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.