Thompson Center R55 a good rimfire?


September 22, 2007, 12:04 AM
I need another 22. Have a couple marlin's, a Henry, don't want a lever action, 2 of my current rim's are bolt, 1 semi. 2 scoped, 1 red dot.

I don't want a 10/22. Although I will admit the 10/22 heavy barrel seemed OK. But I don't want an out-of-the-box project gun, like it seems the 10/22's are...

In short, I just want to add some rings and a decent scope, and be able to be pretty much done for 100-150 yards for some small varmint hunting/pest control.

I was eyeballing a remington 597, but didn't like the synthetic stock, which then means monkeying with it to get it the way I want it...

The other option was a magnum research .22 with a leupold scope, but they wanted 900 bucks for it. Nice thumbhole stock and such, but a little too racy. The R55 (they had several models) was around 700 or so with scope.

Thanks in advance.

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September 22, 2007, 08:36 AM
I own an R55 and think it is a great rifle. Accurate, good trigger and sights and very reliable. I'm not sure what kind of scope is mounted to the rifle you are looking at but it sounds like $700 is a little high. My R55 was the factory replacement for 2 different Classics that had problems. The first started to double up and the second one lost a chunk of the chamber. Thompsons' customer service, at least before they were bought by Smith & Wesson, was first rate.

Odd Job
September 22, 2007, 09:07 AM
I also have an R55.


1) Very accurate straight out of the box.
2) Nice, solid rifle. Well made with a barrel that is screwed into the receiver.


1) Fussy with ammo. Mine tends to like the expensive stuff such as the Eley Tenex and Lapua Master M.
2) It is quite heavy for a short rifle. This isn't a rifle you take with you for a walk in the woods. It is a bench gun in my opinion.
3) Ten rounds maximum capacity. (There are also 5 round mags).

I have had problems with the reliability on mine, mainly failure to feed. I have never had a failure to extract. Most of the feed failures have been related to the round striking the 6 o'clock rim of the chamber mouth and staying fast. This has happened with five different magazines (98% of the time with rounds that aren't copper coated). Unfortunately the copper coated rounds like the CCI Minimags don't do the rifle justice in terms of accuracy.

I haven't come to a conclusion about these feed failures, because I need to make sure it isn't a cleaning or assembly issue. Within the next few weeks I'll be able to say something definitive. I have started using the rod and patch more than the boresnake and this might have some benefits. Also I need to fire a few hundred rounds of Lapua Master M with the wax taken off the rounds. They seem a bit 'sticky' and I reckon that promotes the kind of failure to feed I have experienced.

September 22, 2007, 09:53 AM
I have an R-55 all weather that has been very reliable with no issues. I've used mostly Remington Sub Sonics and Eley xtra plus rounds. Out of the box, I found to the trigger and safety smoothness to be less than desired. I had them worked over and they are very good now. The rifle is very accurate with the right ammo.

Odd Job
September 22, 2007, 10:18 AM
Ah, I neglected to say that mine is the R55 Benchmark, not the classic.

September 22, 2007, 10:26 AM
I'm surprised you are having problems with feeding. Do you have the new or the old style mags? If you have tried 5 different mags it sounds like maybe you need to contact T/C and see what they have to say. As far as weight goes, the R55 Sporter that I have is lighter and more suited to hunting.

Is your rifle new? It may just need some breaking in with high velocity rounds. Have you been over to RimfireCentral and taken a look at the T/C forum?

Odd Job
September 22, 2007, 10:31 AM
dm1333, I did not know that there were different styles of mags. Is it easy for me to check which ones I have or should I post pictures?

Odd Job
September 22, 2007, 12:20 PM
Here are the magazine shots...a mix of ten rounder and five rounder components:

September 22, 2007, 02:01 PM
Hmmm. This isn't as encouraging as I thought it would be, given the price of the TC...

September 22, 2007, 02:28 PM
the t/c is arguably the best semi auto made.volquartz will be the only thing else close. you should be able to get a t/c cheaper than that. i saw a couple of closeouts at Gander Mountains here in houston for about 325. No scope, though.

September 22, 2007, 02:38 PM

Don't be put off by one person having feeding problems. If you go to RimfireCentral and start reading on the T/C forum you'll find that the R55 is well regarded and has a reputation for accuracy. Personally I wouldn't trade mine for any of the other semi autos out there.

Odd Job,

It looks like you have the new style mags, which is good. When I bought my Classic I did a little reading on breaking it in and the consensus seemed to be that you should put about 500 high velocity rounds through the gun before as a break in. I did the same thing with my R55 and have had no problems. The only time I ever have any problems with feeding is if the gun is really dirty and before that even happens my 5 round mags will start to not drop free when I hit the mag release. I think, emphasize think, that the idea behind the break in with the high velocity rounds (I used Federal) was that it will smooth the mating between the receiver and the bolt.

When I clean my R55 I make sure to clean the inside of the receiver and the mag well, sometimes using a small plastic pick to scrape off the powder residue. Instead of oil I use Hoppes Dri Lube with one small drop of oil underneath the mag release mechanism. I'd also take a good look at the inside of the mags and make sure nothing is causing the follower to hang up. If it happens to all 5 mags it should be something with the rifle itself but you can never be too picky.

Let us know what happens in the future with this rifle. I'm curious about what is causing it to have feeding problems. My experience has been that the Classic was a little fussy about feeding and extracting but the R55 is a very accurate garbage gut. Mine will feed and extract anything and for a gun with a match chamber it sure seems to work pretty well even when way too dirty.


Odd Job
September 22, 2007, 04:33 PM
Thanks again to Rangerruck who originally gave me some very good pointers when I was originally looking for a .22 semi.

dm1333, I haven't used the Dry Lube before. I might try that.
The rifle has had more than enough rounds through it to 'break it in.' It has had more than 1500 rounds through it and I keep a log of all the types I have tried:

Ammo logbook for my R55 rifle:

Lapua Master M: 1190
Lapua Midas M: 250
Lapua Midas L: 10
Lapua Tin: 10
Lapua Super Club: 150
Lapua Standard Club: 50
Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS: 50
Eley Match EPS 100
Winchester Wildcat LRN: 5
CCI Mini-Mags: 500
Magtech: 250
Remington Golden Bullet 30
Remington Thunderbolt 10

I agree that it is unlikely to be the mags. Ironically, the only thing I am confident about at the moment is that the mags aren't the source of the problem. I strip them and pull a cloth through them and clean all the components after every visit to the range. The cloth has always come out with lead residue. I even clean the springs and then give the followers a light spray of Rem Oil. I have tried the mags completely dry and with the Rem Oil and it doesn't make a difference to the feed problems.

I also stripped the rifle and cleaned out the trigger group and receiver recesses because There was wood dust from the stock in the mechanism on the first few occasions I used the rifle. This has been cleared up now.
I had a few failures to feed that were clearly due to a filthy chamber (the round would enter the chamber but hold the bolt face back such that you could see half the brass of the case through the ejection port.

The next time I go to the range I will take my camera with me and I'll document everything from start to finish and post it here. There is currently a drought of .22LR ammo here and I may be restricted to whatever the club is selling. But we'll see what happens.

By the way, the worst ammo on my list for this R55 is the Magtech. I was getting 7" groups at 50 yards, sitting at the bench with a pad under the fore-end. It wasn't me, it was the ammo. I switched to Lapua Master M and got very tight groups. I haven't got any 50 yard targets to hand, but I have some 25m targets also shot from a bench with front support only. Eley was best but Lapua Master M was close enough (10 shot groups):

September 22, 2007, 05:16 PM
Hmm. Well, I was intending to shoot just the cheapo ammo. I'm not competing, and it works fine in my marlins and henry, so I don't want to have to baby the thing...

I'll hop over to RFC, see what's cooking...

September 22, 2007, 10:13 PM
Odd Job,

Man, those are some nice groups! Don't give up on that rifle.


The old T/C Classic chamber was designed around Federal ammo and it is a safe assumption that the R55 was too. Mine is pretty darn accurate with American Eagle 38 gr. and any of the Federal that I have put through it (Automatch, 510, 711). I wouldn't hesitate to hunt grouse or rabbit using the cheaper ammo in mine. I've done some bench rest and 3 position competition and I've seen T/Cs' do really well in competition.

September 23, 2007, 12:36 AM
yes that feddy made american eagle, is a flat base, and it really seems to be tailor made for 75 yards and in shooting, for accuracy. However, I have gotten some outstanding groups at 100 yds with it, though I think that is stretching it for an average speed 22 flatbase.

Sam C
June 8, 2009, 11:48 PM
According to the TC website, the R-55 Benchmark has a tighter match chamber and is a bit more selective about ammo, i.e., no CCI Stingers etc; the Classic should be immune from ammo problems.

July 11, 2010, 04:35 PM
I had what I thought were problems.

Using federal ammo at 1250fps it did had some problems with the 10 mag.

I found out if you steady the mag while shooting it will not jam. I simply rest my hand on the 10 mag using my hand and it never jams.

The 5 mags just make sure you put it in the rifle properly and they will not jam. I have shot 5000 rounds and it is far better than the 10/22. Improved accuracy and easy to care for.

February 11, 2011, 04:04 PM
I have a T/C R-55 in 17 mach II that has had less than 50 rounds fired through it. It jamed after about 35 rounds, then about 5 rounds later the bolt did not close all the way and it fired and blew out the back of the case and the bullit got to about 6 inches from the end of the barrell. I contacted T/C and they told me the problem could not be fixed and they would exchange it for another gun. Any comments.

February 11, 2011, 08:17 PM
Hi Hunt, welcome to THR.

I don't recall all of the details, but a year or 2 ago letters went out throughout the industry recommending that .17 not be shot in semis. Here is one from a quick google search where Remington did a recall:

Anyhow, that may be part of the issue. I shoot a ton of HM2 but it is all through a bolt gun so I never paid much attention to the semi .17 stuff. Sounds like your best bet is to exchange yours for another gun, possibly in .22

February 16, 2011, 01:15 PM
I understand all the recalls for the Remington semi 17 HMR's, but that was HMR's only.T/C never recalled the 17 mach II, Nor has there been any consumer warnings that I'm aware of.

September 7, 2011, 09:57 PM
Hi Hunt TD, I have a R55 all weather in 17hm2 also and I had a similar rim blowout although in my case the bullet cleared the barrel. I have found that keeping the chamber clean is the go. All the feed failures I had were incomplete chambering due to dirt, that is after I gave up on the 10 mag , which was designed for 22lr not17hm2. I have a bore swab with a bent handle that enables me to clean the chamber every 20 or so shots

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