Should your best rifle be a 22LR?


September 9, 2008, 12:26 PM
I have something of a poll to ask all of you. Should your best rifle/scope combination in terms of quality, accuracy, and precision be a 22LR? Supporting arguments :cuss: for and against are welcome!

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September 9, 2008, 12:32 PM
In my opinion, no.

You can attain the realistic maximum capabilities of the .22LR without buying the most expensive rifle and optics you can get your hands on.

September 9, 2008, 12:34 PM
Why not. Maybe your situation is different, but I get a lot more chances to shoot .22 than anything else, so why not have a .22 set up the way you like.

Edit to add, good point Emfuser, a .22 probably doesn't need top-notch-everything, but if you do upgrade the areas where it's lacking and put a decent scope on it and it comes out more expensive/nicer than everything else you own, I don't see a problem with that.

September 9, 2008, 01:56 PM
Mine is.

I have quite a few .22s and was looking at centerfires, but I just came to realize that I do not hunt, all of my shooting is limited to the range, and it did not make sense financially to own something more than .22.

If I ever get into benchrest or competition type stuff I suppose I will need to pony up but until then I'm good.

September 9, 2008, 02:07 PM
i think you should have a good quality rifle, it doesn't matter if it's a .22 or a .50bmg as long as it's the rifle you shoot the most, you dont need a $1000 .22 or a $1200 scope because the .22lr is not a long range round, in fact it drop like a stone at 250 yards, come the facts...

you want that .22 to just plink, or self defence? because if my life depent of a .22 i would get the best i can get my hands on.

September 9, 2008, 02:23 PM
That's like asking if your best rifle should be a .308 or a .223. I see no correlation to caliber. I do not at all consider the .22 lr a second-rate cartridge warranting second rate rifles.

September 9, 2008, 02:33 PM
Well, my prettiest rifle is certainly a .22 (Henry)....But I certainly don't put much $ into my .22s....

Rifleman 173
September 9, 2008, 02:35 PM
Not in my opinion. I think that your best rifle should be one that you can depend upon to defend your life. Something in a medium caliber, medium weight bullet if possible like a 7.62 NATO or 7.62 Warsaw in many cases. At the very minimum a 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC shooter. A .22 LR is a good gun for practice, hunting small game and doing utility work like close range but accurate sniping or for laying down suppressive fire using the fear of getting hit by one of its bullets but not for primary as a defensive firearm. Heck, even the bigger diameter .223/5.56 ammunition has never been up to the par that our soldiers and marines want so why risk your welfare or the welfare of your loved ones on a tiny, little bullet? If the .22 LR was effective, wouldn't our military have gone to it in some fashion other than as a practice/training round? Even the military has passed on making a .22 LR or .22 magnum a main line combat round which ought to tell you something.

September 9, 2008, 02:50 PM
So you're saying I need a $2300 combat rifle? That's what it would take to out-price my most expensive .22 LR. I don't see it. I shoot rimfires the most and don't really envision even needing a combat rifle. I suppose my used RRA .223 will have to do at 1/3 the cost if my shotguns won't get the job done during an urban conflict.


Coal Dragger
September 9, 2008, 02:56 PM
I don't think you should compromise on the overall quality of any firearm. You can only shoot one at a time so the one you happen to be shooting might as well be nice.

I like .22's and shoot them frequently when I can. I only own two though, my pistol is a Benelli MP95 E that I used when I shot for Missouri State University (made nationals in 2003). My rifle is a Kimber Model 82 target rifle purchased through the CMP, it is a single shot heavy barreled position target rifle with Anschutz style sights. I love both of them and I am now so spoiled by their accuracy it would be hard to own another .22 that was not as accurate.

Now I would like to get a .22 rifle that is not a single shot, and also something that doesn't weight 11-12lbs. Maybe another Kimber will be in the cards or the new Weatherby Mark XXII (made on an Anschutz barreled action), either one will end up wearing a Leupold 2.5-8X36 VX-III that I have laying around.

My advice is to get the best quality .22 rifle or pistol you can afford and shoot the snot out of it. Rimfire practice translates directly into proficiency with centerfire at least for basics like establishing a natural point of aim, sight alignment, trigger control, and follow through. So go out and get a good .22 and establish a training schedule with specific goals. Your shooting abilities will thank you!

September 9, 2008, 02:56 PM
you dont need a $2300 combat rifle, but a 400 AK or a 700 AR15 will outshoot the .22lr, now if you like the 22lr get one but get the one you like. (

September 9, 2008, 03:00 PM
i don't see why not. It all depends on what you want to do.

September 9, 2008, 03:05 PM
Needing a so called Combat or Battle rifle is a fantasy in the USA. Fun to shoot and so forth, but I doubt you need one here. Your mileage may vary which is what makes the world go around economically speaking.

With 22 rifles, I think you should buy what you can afford. It depends on what you expect in terms of accuracy as to what choices you make.

For me, I want something to plink with which is often a Ruger 10/22 or Marlin Model 60, AND something that I can shoot carefully at small targets and hit them whether it be hunting or paper targets. There is no real limit to what you can spend within reason with 22 rifles.

I believe you scope a rimfire based on what you need to use it for. I scoped my Ruger 10/22 with a 4x scope since I use it mostly for just plinking or fast small game hunting. I scope something to hunt with generally with a 2-7x or 3-9x range scope. Target stuff is 10x or higher magnification and many are leaning to scopes in the 24x magnification area at least on a variable. I buy 22 scopes for features not necessarily a particular brand though I have my favorites.

September 9, 2008, 03:44 PM
Best scope you own on a .22lr, is that the question?

Depends on your goals for the .22 I guess; if I owned one, it would be a gun that I never thought I would ever possibly use anywhere but the range and/or fair weather, and also the .22 doesn't dish out *anything* in terms of recoil punishment to the scope, so for me, a .22 would be exactly the time (and now the only time) when I would feel comfortable going super-cheap on a scope. YMMV of course. In point of fact I have a couple cheap scopes sitting around right now waiting for the day when I eventually get a 10/22. :)

Anything other than .22lr, and I will want an optic of at least mid-grade quality, depending on possible intended uses of the rifle.

September 9, 2008, 04:14 PM
" but a 400 AK or a 700 AR15 will outshoot the .22lr"

I don't think so. Are you suggesting that an AK or cheap bone stock AR, like mine, will shoot one MOA groups? Say a half-inch at 50 yards or one inch at 100. Well, maybe the AR with decent ammo, but I'm thinking mine is more like 2 or 3 inches.

I have a 2 or 3 .22 LR bolt actions that will shoot 1/4" to 1/2" groups at 50 yards. That's a half to one MOA.

"but get the one you like"

Okay, where's that old picture? Here's one of my 2 or 3 good ones, a Cooper.


September 9, 2008, 04:21 PM
a 22 does not have to be your best rifle. i have some pretty good .22lr the best part about them is that no matter what the other rifles will do i know that when all is said and done i can pick up my marlin 700 and shoot at what ever im pointing at

September 9, 2008, 04:30 PM
I don't think so. Your most EXPENSIVE rifle may be a .22lr, that's fine - of course, invest in what you shoot the most.

But I do like the idea of having an excellent - best reasonably available / affordabe - fighting rifle. You may spend more time shooting rimfire - I understand, I certainly do too - but a good centerfire FIGHTING rifle is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary for an armed, responsible American citizen to own.

The way I look at it, I own a handgun to defend my person.

I own a shotgun to defend my family.

I own a rifle to defend my Liberty.

There are certainly other factors at work here, but I wouldn't want to have to fight with a .22lr rifle. Get at least one major caliber rifle, learn to really shoot it, and be proud you are a Patriot.

September 9, 2008, 04:30 PM
I have begun investigating .22 rifles and I am down to looking at a Cooper and a Weatherby.

I do not intent to hunt with the rifle.

I am interested in competitive shooting.

Any input from people who have owned either rifle will be appreciated.

September 9, 2008, 05:19 PM
The Cooper and Weatherby are both fantastic rifles, but they're not really competition rifles. If you intend on competing with your rifle, you probably ought to go check out a match and ask some of the competitors what you should buy.

September 9, 2008, 05:24 PM
I also vote no. I feel very comfortable with my $400 .22... thats $400 total from tip to tail. It does the job as well as most. If I was going to spend a ton on a rifle, I would build my own .308 sniper on a Rem 700 action. Those super tricked out .22's are pretty gimmicky in my opinion.

The way I look at it, I own a handgun to defend my person.

I own a shotgun to defend my family.

I own a rifle to defend my Liberty.

I like this comment a lot.

September 9, 2008, 05:27 PM
but a 400 AK or a 700 AR15 will outshoot the .22lr
I'd say the opposite out to 75-100 yards.

I'm looking for a nice .22 at the moment, mostly because I love to hunt squirrels and I mostly shoot .22s anyway.


September 9, 2008, 05:31 PM
400 AK or a 700 AR15 will outshoot the .22lr

What? If you mean a long ranges maybe, but what AK does well at long ranges? .22's can be very accurate, and saying a gun design can out shoot a caliber doesn't make sense.

September 9, 2008, 05:41 PM
Simply depends upon what you want. Most expensive 22 rf I've seen is $18,000 custom BR. The owner shoots in competition all over the U.S. and this piece serves him well. Seen it shoot 249 and 250 over and over.

September 9, 2008, 06:04 PM
I would say the .22 should be a rifle or rifle/scope set-up of excellent quality. If that can be accomplished for a few hundred dollars - that's fine.
More importantly, I think, is to NOT use a .22 that is some bargain-basement junker just because "it's only a .22".

Many of us shoot .22s many times more than our centerfires - so it makes sense to have a nice one.


September 9, 2008, 06:44 PM
It all depends on you use.

I know someone who have a 10/22 with a tactical solutions barrel, suppressed, with an eotech and some folding stock ( not the $59 ati folding stock, a much higher quality stock).

When I asked him why he said "Do you know what the difference is between an subsonic .223 and a subsonic .22 is?"

When I said no, he said " O about $.40 a round"

September 9, 2008, 07:05 PM
My best 22 rifle.. Marlin Golden 39A lever, my next best.. Marlin 60. No real "lefty" issues but neither are high end competative shooters

But I've only got those 2 and a little Sears Ted Williams single shot I got as a 9 year old. In fact that's probably my "best".

September 9, 2008, 07:45 PM
I guess it would depend on your definition of "best." My Model 70 243 is the prettiest of my rifles but both of my 22lr's will out shoot it. They're both Win 52's, one is 88 years old and I've spent $700 buying,customizing and scoping it, and it shoots 3/8" groups at 100yds. The second is my 49year old 52C Match rifle (18.5 lbs) I bought for $150 30 years ago, that shoots 1/4" groups at 100yds. (of course, I wouldn't sell it for thousands of dollars) The M70 only shoots 3/4" groups..... I love to shoot competition with my 52C, I love to shoot deer and targets and handload with the 243, and the old one is just plain fun to shoot. I love the Winchester 52 rifle and think it oughta be made again, easily one of the BEST rifles ever. Since I'm an accuracy nut, I've just never been happy with a 22 that won't pop turtle heads out of a stock pond out to a hundred yards.

September 9, 2008, 07:52 PM
I have a tweaked out Savage .308 bolt gun, and I'm in the process right now of building an evil little twin in .22LR for practice. I will be going with a Savage (with Accu-trigger) to match the .308, and I'm even going with a similar scope, stock and bipod for it. I'll end up with quite a bit in it, but I want it to match as closely to the big bolt gun as possible. My reasoning is that trigger time on the .22 should translate directly to the bigger gun.

My local range goes out to 300 yards at most, so I don't get to stretch the .308 out that often. But, shooting a .22LR at 200 yards is a LOT like shooting a .308 at 800+ so in addition to cheap trigger time, I also get good opportunities to learn to dope the wind and drop.

Kind of Blued
September 9, 2008, 09:27 PM
In my opinion, no.

You can attain the realistic maximum capabilities of the .22LR without buying the most expensive rifle and optics you can get your hands on.

You are equating "best" with "most expensive" which, happily, in the world of .22LR rifles, is almost impossible to make true.

September 10, 2008, 01:07 AM
If you shoot it more than anything else, or in matches, why not. Why should your most shot firearm be you cheapest.

Take pride in a nice 22 and scope.

September 10, 2008, 01:16 AM
One of the really nice things about 22's is that you can get a really nice one for $500 and you don't have to worry about whether your scope is tough enough.

September 10, 2008, 01:45 AM
Not necessecarily.
I like my 10/22 but it's not really the epitome of fine fitting. It even had problems out of the box that I had to fix. All in all, it's become one of my most used and favorite shooters, but it's not the highest quality.
I'd say that your .22 rifle should be of reasonable quality though. There are any number of manufacturers who can supply a pretty good .22 LR rifle for $150-$300. Makes sense to spend "enough" go get a relatively accurate and reliable gun because it isn't any fun to shoot a gun that doesn't work right.

September 10, 2008, 07:31 AM
well, since it will probably be your primary practice rifle, IMO, it should be of similar quality and feel of your hunting rifles. since you will will use this to keep up on skills, it should have similar handleing characteristics and trigger feel of your hunting rifles. that way, when you shoot those, you will be "in synch" with them. if your 22 trigger is way different, when you go to fire your hunting rifle, you will be way off, and possibly blow the shot.

Zach S
September 10, 2008, 07:39 AM
Depends on the use.

In my situation, no. My 10-22s are rarely out of the safe. The .22 rifle I that I actually shoot is an AR15 that I built. I prefer that it doesn't run 100% so I can practice clearing "real" malfunctions, and not a snap cap loaded in the magazine.

My most reliable rifles are my 5.56 AR and my 9mm AR. They both run 100%. If I need a HD gun, I'll be grabbing one of them (whichever is out), therefore they have to be the best rifles I own.

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