Best Small Caliber Rifle


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rgs1975
October 3, 2005, 12:06 AM
I'm going to be getting a small caliber rifle soon for hunting, mostly rabbit and squirrels. What do you guys recommend for the most accurate and reliable rifle for this purpose? I'm not looking for a tricked out tack driver and don't want anything very heavy as I will be using it primarily in the field. Would .22 even be the best caliber? I've heard some good things about .17 HMR but don't really know anything about it. The only readily available small caliber rifle I can think of off hand is the Ruger 10/22 but there has to be many out there. Semi Automatic is not a concern either...lever action would be just fine...basically anything except single shot.

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ScottsGT
October 3, 2005, 09:57 AM
First check your local hunting laws. Some states won't allow anything over a .22 LR, so the .22 Magnum is out. Check ballistics on the .17's. Somewhere I read that the velocitys are so high that it does a lot of damage to small game animals that makes a lot of the meat unusable, but please, don't trust me, I'm just an "armchair quarterback" on the subject.
My opinion, you cannot go wrong with a 10/22.

GunGoBoom
October 3, 2005, 10:39 AM
Marlin model 60.

http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/selfLoading22wTubularMag/index.htm

Vern Humphrey
October 3, 2005, 11:58 AM
In terms of ammunition costs, the .22 LR is the best choice -- you can get a carton of 550 rounds at Wal Mart for under $9.00, including tax.

In terms of effectiveness, the .22LR is probably the best choice -- the .22 Magnum and .17 HMR are over-powered for small game. The .17 HM2 might be good with a solid bullet, but it's current polymer-tips are too explosive.

The Marlin 60 has been recommended. The Marlin 39A -- a lever action rifle -- is also a very good choice. Both Savage and Remington make very good .22 rifles. The CZ 452 has an enviable reputation for accuracy and a very reasonable price.

For squirrels, I like a scope -- my Kimber M82 wears a 4X Burris miniscope, and my Ruger 77/22M wears a Burris 3X9 miniscope.

middy
October 3, 2005, 12:17 PM
Another vote for the model 60. Accurate, reliable, and cheap enough to keep a spare. The trigger could be better, but I've never heard complaints about anything else.

Jim Watson
October 3, 2005, 12:31 PM
CZ 452 bolt action is the class act in popularly priced .22s.

Essex County
October 3, 2005, 03:42 PM
Mine is more than I could ever expect.........Essex

TheEgg
October 3, 2005, 05:09 PM
Yup, go with the CZ. It is available in all the rimfire calibers.

I like the American model, especially if you are going to scope it.

.17 HMR (a 'better' .22 mag) is a hoot, but I might go with .17 Mach2 (a 'better .22lr') if you want to eat what you shoot.

rgs1975
October 3, 2005, 06:41 PM
I'm trying to stay away from the bolt actions. I'm actually leaning towards the Marlin 717M2 at the moment. Seems like a pretty solid rifle and caliber as well, expecially for my needs. Good price too. Anyone have one or heard anthing about it?

yorec
October 3, 2005, 06:56 PM
....for the most accurate and reliable rifle for this purpose? I'm not looking for a tricked out tack driver...
Oooo. K. Then I'll just limit my recomendation to .22 lr over anything else out there...

Sometimes ya just can't have it all. ;)

Sistema1927
October 3, 2005, 10:41 PM
If I could only have one .22 rifle, it would be a Marlin 39a.

CB900F
October 3, 2005, 10:49 PM
Rgs1975;

The only real problem with the CZ's is if you're left handed. If you're not, no problem. If you are, you'll be happier with either a good lever action or the 10/22 IMHO.

900F

kahr404life
October 3, 2005, 10:50 PM
Me Like CZ 452 good gun. Very sturdy, I miss my fault. Does anyone have it in .17 (mag. version) and if so how does it shoot.

chris in va
October 3, 2005, 10:55 PM
I had a Marlin 60 for a while. Fun gun with 14rd capacity, but it had some FTE issues that I just didn't bother to figure out. I'd probably rather have a lever action with the same capacity.

mustanger98
October 3, 2005, 11:04 PM
The only real problem with the CZ's is if you're left handed. If you're not, no problem. If you are, you'll be happier with either a good lever action or the 10/22 IMHO.

900F

http://cz-usa.com/images/products/1.jpg

.22 LR AND .17 HM2 NOW AVAILABLE IN LEFT HAND VERSION
The CZ 452 American features a more American appearance. The stock has a straight comb, the barrel is a 22 1/2 long, and is made without open sights. The top of the receiver is fitted with a 3/8 wide dovetail groove for mounting a scope. As with all CZ rifles the stock is Turkish walnut.

http://cz-usa.com/01.detail.php?id=1

Now, that said, I like Winchester's 9422's, but they just discontinued those. :cuss: 10/22's are good, but need a better trigger than they come with to be accurate and the better trigger costs as much as the gun did. Oh well...

Marlin 39A sounds good to me. I'd put a Williams Foolproof w/target knobs on it as, IIRC, it is drilled and tapped for it. :D

cookekdjr
October 4, 2005, 10:44 AM
I like the Marlin 39a and the CZ 452.
For me, the ideal set-up is a 39a with a tang sight. Shoots everything form colibris and shorts up to hyper-velocity long rifles, and has after-market accessories galore.
There's a reason they've been made for > 100 years.
-David

rgs1975
October 4, 2005, 11:35 AM
and has after-market accessories galore.

Really? I was unaware of any aftermarket stuff for the 39A...what's out there?

Oktagon
October 4, 2005, 12:59 PM
For short to medium range smal game 22lr I don't think you can beat lever action gun. My personal favorite is Winchester 9422. some people put smal scopes on them (either on he reciver or forward mounted pistol scopes), but I prefer Williams sight. You don't need more then a 22short for a squarel and you can load 22 of them into the magazine of a winchester. The gun is relatively light, thinn, easy to carry and very accurate with 20" barrel. Is is a real joy to shoot.

lotus
October 4, 2005, 02:40 PM
I got a used Ruger 10/22 and added a Volquarsen Hammer, Green Mountain 16" fluted SS barrel, recoil buffer and a Hogue overmolded stock. Then I mounted a Weaver 2.5-7x scope on a VQ rail with Millet rings. Absolute tack driving, varmint smacking fun in a small, tough field rifle.

jacobtowne
October 4, 2005, 02:49 PM
Sometimes there are good used rifles out there. I have a Remington M512 that is more than 50 years old. Bought it used abut 25 years ago. Bore is about a quarter shot out, but I can still hit woodchucks at 100 yards with no trouble. Bolt action, I know, but being a dinosaur I don't like autos. ;)
JT

cookekdjr
October 4, 2005, 03:33 PM
Quote:
and has after-market accessories galore.

Really? I was unaware of any aftermarket stuff for the 39A...what's out there?

After-market sights is a biggie.
An example:
I have a Browning BL-22. Its a lovely gun, balances perfectly, very accurate, just a great gun overall. The stock iron sights are excellent, but my eyes aren't what they used to be, and they are hard to see now. I looked for after-market sights that were more user-friendly for older eyes.
No luck. At all.

Contrast that with the 39a. You can find:

1. Fire sights
2. Aperture receiver sights (fixed)
3. Aperture receiver sights (adjustable)
4. Dovetail aperture sights (fixed and adjustable)
5. Ghost ring sights (like apertue, but larger with faster-aquired sight picture).
6. Peep-tang sights (adjustable)
7. Peep-tang sights (fixed)

I seem to recall replacement stocks and other accessories were easy to find, too.
So, I'm saving my money for a 39a....

Sunray
October 4, 2005, 04:47 PM
The biggest downside to the .17 HMR is you may not be able to find it in a small store. And, at Cabela's, 500 rounds is $59.99. 500 .22LR's is $21.99.
Pop into your local gun shop and see what they have in .22LR. There are all kinds of 'em at all kinds of prices. I've always used a shotgun for rabbits and squirels though.

rgs1975
October 4, 2005, 04:52 PM
My main reason for going with the .17Hm2 is how incredibly straight the round seems to shoot out to 100 yards. It Pretty much cancels out the "kentucy windage" factor of aiming a certain amount of inches over or under a target at range to hit it that you have with the 22LR. Nothing wrong with the 22LR as I do like it, heck I learned on my dad's 39A and love it.

rgs1975
October 4, 2005, 06:30 PM
You're totally right Issac. Although I really like the 39A my dad has and hope to own his one day :) the rifle is just out of my price range for it's purpose. That's another reason I'm thinking of either the Marlin 717M2 or the Ruger 10/22, they are both much cheaper than the lever action Marlin.

mustanger98
October 4, 2005, 07:39 PM
issac:
If I was going to spend that much money, I'd get a $550 (parts-build) AR-15, a $150 .22lr unit, and have a helluva lot more gun.

:scrutiny: Any time somebody comes online hollering about how good a AR w/.22 upper is, I have this feeling I should ask if their's is canned. And do they own an assault wheelbarrow. :scrutiny:

Seriously, not all of us are into AR-15's and other black tacticool toys. Some of us, myself included, prefer a dedicated .22LR blue-steel-n-wood hunting rifle- a tool of substantial quality and a very eye-pleasing style. In that case, a 39A or 9422 (or any number of bolts and semis) is the way to go. :cool:

jefnvk
October 4, 2005, 07:45 PM
Love my CZ452.

I can't seem to figure out what 'that much money' is that Issac is talkiung about, but mine was $250. Add $150-200 for a decent scope, and I'll put it up against any $700 .22 AR.

rgs1975
October 4, 2005, 09:38 PM
Those 39A's aren't exactly cheap.

R.H. Lee
October 4, 2005, 09:42 PM
10/22's are good, but need a better trigger than they come with to be accurate and the better trigger costs as much as the gun did. Nope. The Volquartsen hammer is a drop in part and improves the trigger considerably. I pop golfballs @ 100yds with mine. :)

MachIVshooter
October 4, 2005, 09:50 PM
I like the Marlin 39a and the CZ 452.
For me, the ideal set-up is a 39a with a tang sight. Shoots everything form colibris and shorts up to hyper-velocity long rifles, and has after-market accessories galore.
There's a reason they've been made for > 100 years.

+1 for the 39A. The ammunition flexibility is wonderful, and they are tack drivers to boot. A little pricy as .22's go, but well worth it. I have over a dozen .22 rimfires, and my Marlin 81G is my favorite .22 rifle. (the 81 is a bolt action but has the same ammo flexibility; it was discontinued). Other rifles that wil shoot short, long and LR are the Marlin 1897T and 81TS, Browning BL-22, Remington 572 and any single shot.

As for the .17's, I have an M2 in a Marlin and it is too destructive for small game at ranges shorter than 70 or 80 yards. At 100 yards or more, the bullets have slowed down enough that they do not fragment. For this reason, I would not recommend the .17's for hunting until they are loaded with soft point or FMJ bullets.

rgs1975
October 4, 2005, 10:01 PM
What do you guys think of the Remington Model 597? Would love to hear your opinion of it..also does it come ready for a scope from the factory?

f4t9r
October 4, 2005, 10:08 PM
17HMR Marlin or henry is a good choice for the money

Vern Humphrey
October 4, 2005, 11:24 PM
Those 39A's aren't exactly cheap.


From www.gunsamerica.com

Marlin 39A
GA# 976639779
$250.00
Marlin golden 39A lever action, 22 rimfire-- S, L, LR, 24 inch micro groove barrel, blueing 99%, wood 95%, original finish, adjustable rear sight, bead front sight, weaver base, Bushnell 3X7 scope. $250 plus shipping.
Seller: HGS
FFL Dealer: No Area Code: 814

If I was looking for a 39A, I'd jump on this one.

rbernie
October 4, 2005, 11:31 PM
My FLD has a 39A on the wall - a cool $395. Ouch....

rgs1975 - the three folks that I know that have bought a Rem597 have all uniformly considered it one of the worst purchases of their life. Each had their own tale of woe, but it all added it up a big pile of 'just say no'....

rbernie
October 5, 2005, 12:08 AM
Just out of curiosity - what does that have to do with hunting rabbit and squirrel (stated to be the intended use of the rifle)?

mustanger98
October 5, 2005, 01:27 AM
Would you perhaps like to try betting on a lever

vs an autoloading rifle in any sort of a timed shooting event? The Atchission .22 unit for the AR (now imported-made?) by Ciener has sold many,many thousands of copies in the 30 years of its existence. That would not be true if it were not a good performing piece of gear. Ditto the millions of AR-15's, ditto the 223 cartridge. These guns are high dollar, and they are not given away to any 3rd worlder who asks for one (as the AK's have always been).

You sure seem to like to ride this "timed shooting event" thing. Not all of us are into that any more than some of us who aren't into AR's. But the other side of your question is "would you like to try betting against a guy who knows, likes, and uses leverguns frequently in any other scenario? Fire and manuever tactics are fine if you're working as a unit with infinite ammo. Otherwise, the individual is better off to use whatever suits him/her best and that could include any and all types including levers and bolts. Get over yourself.

If a small game rifle is all you want, why pay more than $70 for a used, scoped Marlin Glenfield autoloader, hmm?

Goes back to personal preference. Again, not all of us like AR's and not all of us are going to go with the cheapest autoloader just because it's an autoloader.

rbernie:
Just out of curiosity - what does that have to do with hunting rabbit and squirrel (stated to be the intended use of the rifle)?

That's what I've been wondering. Personally, I don't consider an AR any more useful than anything else and less useful than many.

rgs1975
October 5, 2005, 01:35 AM
Yeah an AR is totally out of the question and solely for the reason that I don't like/want one. The fact that I can't legally buy one here doesn't even matter...I wouldn't if I could. Basically I'm down to the 10/22 or the 597.

mustanger98
October 5, 2005, 01:41 AM
Basically I'm down to the 10/22 or the 597.

:) Take the 10/22 and don't look back. I know what I've said about the stock trigger in mine being heavy and it effected my hits on the small bore sillouette course, but it's still plenty accurate for the average hunter/plinker. :cool: If you want to scope it, I'd suggest a fixed 4X Simmons as it works fine for me. :cool:

I wouldn't pay too much attention to the nuts that'll tell you how to turn it into a "1000yd fully automatic sniper assault rifle" either. :barf:

rgs1975
October 5, 2005, 12:04 PM
Yeah I've decided that's what I'm going to do Mustang. I'm going to put a fluted barrel on it and a Hogue stock but that's about it for mods. I've got a 3x9x32 Simmons scope that I'll be using which I think should work out just fine. :)

mustanger98
October 5, 2005, 04:51 PM
I've got a 3x9x32 Simmons scope that I'll be using which I think should work out just fine.

Those 3-9x32's are good scopes. :cool:

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