3 Bolt-Action Rimfire Rifles Tested

3 Bolt-Action Rimfire Rifles Tested
(L-R) Tikka T1x MTR, Savage B22 FVSS, Ruger Precision Rifle

We're jumping on board a rimfire time machine and taking three bolt-action rimfire rifles back in time to see which one would be picked by our younger selves.

Growing up in the 1970s with “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” gave me false hope about the future of firearms technology. I imagined a future where my Daisy Red Ryder lever-action BB gun would be an ancient relic and handheld laser weapons would be the norm.

Now in my 50s, my younger self would be saddened that I’m not exploring the galaxy armed with an array of lasers and phasers. Instead, I’m spending a lot of time with a bolt-action rifle, a product of the Industrial Age instead of the Space Age.

If I could go back in time, I’d show up with a bolt-action rimfire rifle. The young me may be disappointed that they’re powered by powder instead of nuclear energy, but he’d quickly realize why they are so popular in the future. Their simplicity and accuracy make them an excellent tool for pest control, hunting small game, competitive shooting or training on the cheap. I would take a Ruger Precision Rimfire, a Tikka T1x MTR and a Savage B22 FVSS. These rifles appeal to both the kid and adult in me.

Ruger Precision Rimfire

Ruger Precision Rimfire
The buttstock, handguard and chassis style take the Ruger Precision Rimfire into the Space Age.

Ruger has a long history of manufacturing rimfire rifles, and its most popular .22LR rifle, the 10/22, is often a shooter’s first rifle. The 10/22 was going to be my first choice to show the younger me, but in 2018, Ruger released the Ruger Precision Rimfire, a modern take on a classic bolt-action design. Some of its design borrows from the modern sporting rifle and would have been ground breaking for the 1970s and highly appealing for a youth looking for something new and exciting.


The Precision Rimfire is inspired by Ruger’s Precision Rifle. The features that it pulls from its precision rifle heritage are a chassis-style platform, heavy barrel, adjustable stock and comb height, 30-MOA Picatinny rail and a Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger. This rimfire is designed for accuracy and long distance.


The Precision Rimfire’s stock appears Space Age, too. It’s a synthetic chassis made of glass-filled nylon. Ruger killed two birds with one stone by molding the stock’s frame and receiver as a single unit. This rigid setup reduces the need for a buffer tube and the other components that typically go with an AR-style stock.


Ruger Precision Rimfire

The less-is-more design philosophy carries over into the simplicity of adjusting the stock’s comb and length of pull (LOP). A single quick-release lever frees the stock and comb to get a proper fit. The comb has a 1-inch rise, while the LOP can be adjusted from 12 to 15.5 inches. There is no vertical adjustment for the buttpad. The stock includes a quick-detach cup to attach a sling and a Picatinny rail on the underside of the stock to mount a monopod.

Fit is one of the many things Ruger got right with the Precision Rimfire. The Picatinny scope base has a 30-MOA cant built into it, which helps you shoot to 200 yards and beyond, even with a modestly priced scope with limited elevation like the Bushnell Engage scope I mounted on the rifle. Also, the bolt handle is full-size.

The feature that appeals to the adult and kid in me is that the bolt travel can be changed from 1.5 to 3 inches. These two features make it easy to transition from a rimfire to a centerfire bolt action without breeding short-stroke habits.


Rimfire Rifles
The author found each bolt design fit the role for each rifle.

Other welcomed additions are the Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger. Much like the Savage B22 FVSS, the Marksman trigger has a bladed trigger and is adjustable from 2.5 to 5 pounds. We also like the 18-inch bull barrel that’s threaded for a suppressor. Anticipating that there will be a healthy aftermarket of barrels, Ruger designed the barrel to be gunsmith friendly.

Ruger Precision Rimfire
Type: Bolt-action, repeater
Cartridge: .22LR
Capacity: 15+1
Barrel: 18 in.; 1:16-in. twist
Overall Length: 35.25 in.
Weight: 7 lbs.
Stock: Quick-Fit Precision Rimfire Adjustable
Finish: Black anodized
Trigger: 3 lbs., 5 oz.
Sights: None
Safety: Two position
MSRP: $529
Manufacturer: Ruger, ruger.com


Tikka T1x MTR

Tikka T1x MTR
Styled after their T3x rifle, Tikka has carried over many centerfire traits in their first .22LR.

In 2018, Tikka introduced the T1x Multi-Task Rimfire (MTR) – its first rimfire rifle. Available in .22LR and .17 HMR, Tikka injects its legendary accuracy and deep knowledge of ergonomics to the rimfire platform. From buttstock to threaded muzzle, the aesthetics of the T1x MTR are a classic design with an elegant update. This would make a great hunting and pest-control rifle for young and old alike.


If it weren’t for the small ejection port and small magazine, the T1x could easily be confused for a centerfire rifle. This is not by accident, the rimfire’s stock is compatible with Tikka’s T3x rifle actions. The bedding footprint, receiver size and locking lug location are the same as the T3x. Technically, you can throw a T3x centerfire barreled action into the T1x MTR stock and it would fit nicely, assuming they share the same trigger assembly dimensions.

Rimfire Rifles
Whether chassis style or more conventional, stocks for .22s are predominately polymer, further keeping costs down.

Since the stock is the same as the T3x, you can bet that it’s more robust than it needs to be for the soft recoil of a rimfire. The injection-molded synthetic stock is made with 35 percent fiberglass. Fiberglass is more rigid than a standard synthetic stock and is less sensitive to temperature variation, which helps accuracy.

The stock is not only stiff, but it has one of the best rifle grip textures I’ve found on a rifle. The unique pattern is not a stippling or checkering pattern but more akin to small scales. Pushing your hand rearward against the grip causes the meat of your palm and fingers to solidly dig into the grip for a secure hold. The forend has a less aggressive texture, but its flat bottom and contoured top allows the hand to grip it firmly.

Tikka T1x MTR

Another component taken from the T3x line is the trigger. Unlike the Ruger or Savage, which use a bladed trigger safety to prevent the sear from releasing with a blow, the T1x is a traditional single-stage trigger. The trigger is adjustable from 2 to 4 pounds and came dialed in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces.

The safety is a two-position safety, and when the safety is engaged, the bolt is locked into position. I like this feature, especially when carrying a rifle while hunting. The bolt won’t open if it happens to snag on a limb or other object.

The bolt is stainless steel and travels smoothly and assuredly throughout its travel, making it very friendly to drive it hard and fast. The bolt throw is short for speedy resets.

Tikka T1x MTR
(Top: Ruger 15-round extended, Bottom: Tikka 10-round single stack, Right: Savage 10-round rotary) Of the three rifles, the author liked the capacity of Ruger’s 15-round magazine but didn’t find the single-stacked Tikka appealing.

The only weakness of the rifle is the 10-round, single-stack magazine. The magazine protrudes an inch below the bottom of the well and needs an aggressive push to seat properly.

Tikka T1x MTR
Type: Bolt-action, repeater
Cartridge: .22LR
Capacity: 10 rds.
Barrel: 20 in.; 1:16.5-in. twist
Overall Length: 37.75 in.
Weight: 5 lbs., 11 oz.
Stock: Synthetic/fiberglass mix
Finish: Blued
Trigger: 3 lbs., 9 oz.
Sights: None
Safety: Two-position rocker
MSRP: $499
Manufacturer: Tikka, tikka.fi


Savage B22 FVSS

Savage B22 FVSS
With its synthetic stock and stainless steel barrel and action, the Savage B22 FVSS is an all-weather performer.

The Savage B22 FVSS has so many good things going for it I could easily fill an article. This is a do-it-all .22LR rifle that I could teach my young self the fundamentals of shooting, use as a pest-control tool on a ranch or take squirrel hunting. The heavy, button-­rifled 21-inch barrel also makes this rifle a serious target shooter. The barrel is crowned to protect the rifling.

Made of stainless steel, the rifle is ready for good and bad weather — no need to worry about barrel or receiver rust. The B22 FVSS has no sights but includes two small rails on the receiver to mount an optic. Sitting behind the bolt is a tang safety that’s friendly to both right- and left-handed shooters.

Rimfire Rifles
The author found each bolt design fit the role for each rifle.

Savage knows a thing or two about designing smooth-cycling actions, and it clearly shows in the FVSS. Throughout its travel, the bolt is firmly engaged in the receiver.

The only gripe I have is that removing and reinserting the bolt for cleaning is not intuitive. There are no external latches or buttons to press as there are on many other rifles. On the B22 FVSS, you must pull the trigger to release the bolt from the receiver or seat it back in. Also, to fully seat the bolt, you must align the top engraved line on the fixed part of the bolt with the long line on the rotating end of the bolt and pull the trigger. Some would say this can be a safety concern, but if you’re diligent about following the safety rules (and you should be), this is not an issue.

The overall fit of the B22 FVSS is just right. The LOP is adult-like but not too big, and the synthetic stock is a great blend of classic design with nice, modern ergonomic touches. Those touches include a high comb, deeper flutes behind the rifle grip, a more vertical grip and channels sculpted into the top of the forend, which make for a better grip with the thumb and finger pads. The higher comb is a nice asset for smaller faces.

The B22 FVSS uses Savage’s adjustable AccuTrigger. The trigger can be adjusted from 2 to 7 pounds and has a blade bisecting the traditional trigger. The blade is an extra safety measure to prevent the rifle from firing if it’s dropped or receives a harsh bump. This extra safety also allows the rifle to use a low trigger pull weight and not worry that an accidental bump may dislodge the sear from the trigger. A low trigger weight aids accuracy and makes it easier for kids to pull.

Savage B22 FVSS
Type: Bolt-action, repeater
Cartridge: .22LR
Capacity: 10 rds.
Barrel: 21 in.; 1:16-in. twist
Overall Length: 39 in.
Weight: 6 lbs., 2 oz.
Stock: Synthetic
Finish: Stainless steel
Trigger: 2 lbs., 9 oz.
Sights: None
Safety: Two position
MSRP: $369
Manufacturer: Savage Arms, savagearms.com


How They Stack Up

When it comes to fit, the Precision Rimfire will fit both small and large body types. With its LOP adjustment from 12 to 15.5 inches and the adjustable comb, it definitely comes out ahead of the other two rifles. That’s not to say that the Tikka and Savage are not excellent choices. The extra comb height of the Savage stock gives it a tiny edge when it comes to fit over the Tikka. But the Tikka’s stock shines in its refined look, nonslip textures and stiffness.

An adjustable trigger is a great asset to teach kids how to shoot, and all three of these rifles have them. To teach the younger me to shoot, I’d set the trigger to 2 pounds so I wouldn’t struggle with a heavy pull weight and could place more attention on shooting fundamentals.

Savage B22 FVSS
Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups at 50 yards from a rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by an Oehler 35P chronograph.

To distinguish which trigger is better, I set the pull weights to 2 pounds. All performed well and predictably, but there were differences between the triggers. The Ruger Precision Rimfire had a little creep but broke softly; the Tikka T1x had no creep and broke crisply; and the Savage B22 fell in between. The nuance between the triggers was noticeable because I was looking for them, but none of the differences would make a practical difference down range.

Since the Tikka T1x doesn’t have a safety blade, I tested it to see if slamming the butt of the stock (the rifle had dummy rounds) to the ground several times would disengage the trigger. It didn’t. Considering that Tikka has been building rifles for almost a century, it didn’t surprise me that the Tikka was sound.

Tikka T1x MTR
Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups at 50 yards from a rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by an Oehler 35P chronograph.

For accuracy testing, I selected five different types of ammunition and shot five, five-shot groups at 50 yards with each load. I then measured the five groups and derived an average group size. To determine which rifle had the best overall accuracy, I averaged the group size of all 25 groups shot through each rifle. The Tikka had the smallest total group average of .59 inch followed by the Savage’s average of .81 inch. Ruger was close to catching the Savage with an average of .89 inch.

Running the bolt on each of the rifles is effortless, but the full-size bolt handle and ability to switch from a 1.5- to a 3-inch travel gives the Ruger Precision Rimfire the edge.

Ruger Precision Rimfire
Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups at 50 yards from a rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by an Oehler 35P chronograph.

All of these rifles shoot great, offer a solid stock, are easy to load and have great triggers. To choose one over the other is based on personal preferences or tasks. The younger me would appreciate Tikka’s elegant hunting style and splendid accuracy. The Savage offers excellent accuracy, a weather-resistant barrel and a tempting price point. But I think he would want to keep the Ruger Precision Rimfire. It looks the most futuristic of the three, has adult-sized controls, offers the better fit and the most flexibility to have a ton of fun either hunting or shooting in rifle competitions. The present me agrees — it’s a great fit for young and old.



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