Getting started with rifles


June 9, 2003, 08:55 PM
I have always been a pistol shooter. Never gave the rifles in the gun store a second look.

This weekend I picked up a copy of Cooper's "Art of the Rifle" at the gun show. This is a very cool book, and now I am curious about those long things behind the counter :p

I am thinking a couple of bricks of .22lr are in order. Along with a suitable rifle to learn with.

So which rifles should I be looking at to learn on? Any tips beyond what's in the book from those of you with experience?

If you enjoyed reading about "Getting started with rifles" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
June 9, 2003, 09:08 PM
I'd start with a 10/22. Cheap to buy, cheap to feed, unbelievably customizable / accurizable... fun as the day is long. Iron sights or glass....

...from there, I'd step up to a bolt action or semi auto in a centerfire chambering, perhaps a CMP Garand in .30-06... yours, shipped to your door, for a cool $500, direct from Uncle Sam (well, mostly direct).

Me, I started with an M1 Carbine and now I'm building an M1A - a 'real' battlerifle. If I lived outside CA, I'd already own an AR-15, but that's another story...


June 9, 2003, 09:22 PM
Sounds like you're headed the right direction with a .22 first. A 10/22 woould fill the bill nicely.

You can't get a glass without graduating from irons first!:D

Seriously, you should learn to use irons in case you ever drop your rifle on the scope or some other murphy incident happens to it. 10/22 factory sights suck. For about 50 bucks total incl installation, you can get the Williams peep sight setup. Rear screws right on, front must be pressed in. (Mdl WGRS IIRC).

That sight setup works so good for me that I never did buy a scope for my 10/22.

If you want to experiance extreme accuracy, buy a bolt gun next. (and spend as much on the glass as the rifle.)

June 9, 2003, 09:58 PM
Why not start with a bolt-action .22LR first?

June 9, 2003, 10:31 PM

CZ452 Lux. Bolt action. Nice wood. Great shooter right out of the box. Comes with the best iron sights in the business, and plenty of scope options. Under $300.

June 10, 2003, 12:07 AM
I second the CZ bolt rifles. I prefer the CZ 452 American because I prefer the look of a classic stock. All the CZ rimfire products are outstanding, and I believe the best value off the shelf available today. G

o to and scroll down to the CZ board. Lot's of good info.

If you decide to go the CZ route, be sure to look at Brookie's trigger kit. It's a steal at $9.00 and his service and quality are top notch. See his site at

While I prefer a scope, I think that a novice should learn to use irons first. The irons on the CZ rifles are good for this instruction. You can get comfortable with the open sights supplied with the rifle, upgrade to one of Brookie's aperture sights, get good with it, then move to a scope.

One major caveat on scopes. Don't scimp here. Even if you have to postpone the purchase to afford it, get a good optic. It will cost nearly as much or more than the rifle. The least I'd consider is a Weaver, either their fixed 4x or 2-7x Rimfire, or a Leupold. I prefer a field type scope with lower magnifaction, say no more than 9x at the top end of a variable, but that's a personal thing. If you plan to shoot mostly from the bench and love one hole groups, you'll want something with higher magnification. I'm a field shooter, only use the bench to zero, etc. so I prefer something with a bit more field of view, lower rings, lighter weight.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

June 10, 2003, 12:17 AM
I'd also go with the CZ with iron sights as your first .22 rifle. They are excellent value and pretty darn accurate. I wish CZ would make a model that would accept the Anschutz aperture sights.

June 10, 2003, 01:01 AM
Looks like the Rugers and the CZs are the strong contenders in this one, so it boils down to semi vs. bolt action.

Craigz, I like the looks of your setup.

Definitely, going with iron sights. I picked that up from Cooper's book already. Expensive add ons won't make you a better shot.

If I went centerfire later it would likely be a Bushmaster( cool factor) or a bolt action of some sort. There's a 30+ yr old Remington 700 in .243 Winchester sitting in the safe at the house I was raised in, along with a standing invite to come get it whenever I am ready.

June 10, 2003, 01:26 AM

Get a CZ bolt rifle and don't look back.
The iron sights are exczellent:)

I have a 452 Special and I have a Scout for my son. Both are dandy and accuarte. I like the Euro look of the 452 Special but that's just me.

"Expensive add ons won't make you a better shot."
Well, Coop was almost right.
When you get a bit of age, and the eyes start to do that middle age defocusing thing, you will find the expensive add on commonly know as a decent scope WILL make you a better shot than not having one.

Common sense will tell you peps don't put telescopic sights on rifles without good reason:)

Good luck and welcome to the Club.


June 10, 2003, 02:30 AM
I agree that Ruger makes a great .22, but maybe a semi-auto isn't the best first rifle. You get in the habbit of pulling the trigger a bit too fast ;)

I'd say get a Ruger model 96:

It has the same look and feel of the 10/22, but your ammo will last alot longer.

I also learned to shoot on an M1 Carbine, just as a previous poster. It's a great gun, might be a good one to buy after you've had some practice with the .22

I also agree that you should wait a while to buy a scope. Get used to the iron sights, then try the scope...

six 4 sure
June 10, 2003, 04:18 AM
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I too would suggest either a 10/22 or a CZ bolt action.

I have a CZ and actually traded in 10/22 to get it. They are both great rifles. I'd probably give the nod to the 10/22 because it a little more fun to shoot and the extra mags are a littly cheaper. Just be warned you going to go through a lot of ammo no matter which you choose.:D


June 10, 2003, 08:34 AM
Get a good bolt action .22, i.e. the CZ. Marlin makes some good shooting, inexpensive .22 rifles, though they're not nearly as pretty as the CZ line.

Al Thompson
June 10, 2003, 08:52 AM
I have a 452 basic. It goes to the range while my 10/22 stays home..

Very flexible, well proportioned, quite accurate and inexpensive.

June 10, 2003, 11:00 AM
All this support for the CZ's make me want to go check em out. One can never have too many .22's:p

June 10, 2003, 11:07 AM
Yet another vote for the CZ 452. I prefer the American or Varmint models.

June 10, 2003, 11:38 AM
I would vote CZ over 10/22. The reason being that in my experience they come with better triggers than 10/22s do. Learning to shoot a rifle well is probably 85% easier with a good trigger, and a good factory trigger on a ruger is almmost unheard of.

June 10, 2003, 12:47 PM
Let me add my voice to the CZ452 chorus here. I prefer the Lux version, as it has extremely good iron sights (and I'm just not a scope guy) and looks good.

My wife, who had never shot a rifle before went through almost 200 rounds right after getting the CZ, and was hitting spent shotshells at 25 and 50 yards without much problem.

June 10, 2003, 01:12 PM
Well after Craigz's picture, and all this talk of Camp Perry type accuracy out of them, I'm thinking the nod will go to CZ. The prices are great on them too. :D

OK, another question. I am a total baby when it comes to barrel cleaning. I absolutely hate "getting the lead out". I only buy FMJ or JHP for my pistols and never shoot lead reloads.

All the .22 ammo I remember from when I was little they were little lead bullets. Is there such a thing as jacketed or plated 22lr and if so what are some good ones to look for?

June 10, 2003, 01:44 PM
First, let me state that I am particularly anal about cleaning weapons of any sort. If I shoot it, it gets cleaned. Sometimes, even if I don't shoot it I clean it (usually in those cold winter months when I haven't gotten to the range recently).

That being said, I am far more lax with .22s. My usualy routine with those is to clean everything EXCEPT the barrel. I'll only mess with the barrel if I notice that accuracy begins to deteriorate.

In fact, I've noticed that my .22s seem to tighten up their groups after going through a box or so.

As far as lead bullets, I wouldn't sweat it at all. Shoot a bunch of different types and see what your particular gun likes.

June 10, 2003, 04:11 PM
I don't get too fired up over detail cleaning my 22s. I think less is better. I use a pull thorugh made of 200 pound saltwater fishing line. I also use a knock-off of the Original Bore Snake.
Rather than having a brush intwined in the rope it came with some short lengths of twisted bronze wool and a tiny bronze or brass bore brush on its own separate pull-though.

I took the twisted bronze wire out of it and just use the brush and the rope. Works great when I use it at all.

I don't use rods on my 22s, haven't in years.


June 10, 2003, 04:43 PM
Low maintenance

I'm liking this better all the time.:D

June 10, 2003, 04:57 PM
For cleaning, try a boresnake... fast, effective, and easy, can't beat that...

June 10, 2003, 07:57 PM
I use the patchworm from 20/20 Concepts for cleaning my .22 pistols and rifles. It's quick, easy, and portable.

Al Thompson
June 11, 2003, 08:49 AM
FWIW, an article in Precision Shooting a couple of years back stated that the folks at Eley never clean the bores of their .22s used for testing ammo. Taurus is against cleaning the bore in their .22 rifles. Here in Carolina, I run a oily patch down the bores every now and again to prevent rust. Say every couple of months...

June 11, 2003, 10:16 AM
We shoot 3 position smallbore at the clubs that I belong to, with lead match ammo exclusively, and only clean the bores when accuracy deteriorates. Then, it usually takes some amount of shooting after cleaning for the accuracy to come back where it should be.


Steve Smith
June 11, 2003, 11:06 AM
Multi-time and event champion Lones Wigger told me to clean a smallbore rifle's bore every time it is shot. I know this flies in the face of most folk's "don't clean a .22" advice, but Lones knows his rimfires.

June 11, 2003, 11:44 AM
What is the reasoning behind the "don't clean a .22 bore" idea? I clean mine like I do the rest of my rifles.....after every range session. Never had a problem. :confused:

Al Thompson
June 11, 2003, 12:06 PM
And it depends on the crowd too. As Steve so aptly points out, someone like Col. Wigger cleans, numerous benchresters and 50/50ers don't.

IMHO, the don't clean idea started when the benchrest crowd started playing with .22s. They found that it's not unusual to have to shoot a box to get the accuracy back up to par. So the idea is to either very rarely clean the barrel or clean it when the accuracy goes south.

Another big issue is incorrectly cleaning the barrel. Pretty easy to damage the crown which erodes accuracy. It's been said that factory .22 barrels are softer than centerfire barrels. Don't have a clue if that's the case, but Taurus's warning makes me think so.

Something to think about too - lead bullets at low velocity really don't leave much residue in the barrel.

I don't have a .22 with a scope, so I drag a patch through mine every now and then.

June 11, 2003, 01:43 PM
Good points Mr. Thompson, let me add that

1) bad cleaning, especially from the muzzle end, is worse than no cleaning.

2) when I say don't clean, I don't mean running a patch down the barrel, I mean solvent and the works.

Also, on a plinker, if you're going to mix-n-match plated bullets and lead bullets (abox here, a box there), then I would definitely think cleaning was in order. There mey not be much left behind, but mixing streaks of copper and lead can't be good.

If you enjoyed reading about "Getting started with rifles" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!