Help me decide, a 22lr Christmas


November 7, 2003, 06:51 PM
Well, the wife hit me the other day with the "what do you want for Christmas?".
At our house that means "what gun are you going to get this year?.
I've been debating two choices for a long time and need help deciding.

I have an 11 year old boy and we have a great time shooting .22 pistols.
I only have one .22 rifle (Marlin 39a) and he's asked more than once why don't
we get a .22 autoloader that would shoot like the pistols. He's beyond the one
shot at a time, slow fire training stage and let's face it sometimes it's a lot more
fun to really make a tin can dance rapid fire. I've got a budget that allows more
than an inexpensive plain jane. I love project guns, and the choices are:

1. Start down the custom 10/22 road. I've looked at these and could probably
be happy after about $4-500 or so plus glass. Modestly high cool factor. High tinker
factor. The ones I've shot with heavy barrels are kind of heavy for a kid except
bench rest, which is how he shoots most of the time anyway.

2. AR-15 with DPMS or CZ 22 upper. Total kid cool factor. Good tinker factor.
Lighter weight. Could add a .223 upper later for another gun. I can't see how
I could get into this for less than $600 which is ok but is it crazy?

Any other pros/cons/choices?

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Mike Irwin
November 7, 2003, 10:03 PM
Take a look at the Marlin semi-autos.

I've been quite impressed with the ones I've shot.

November 7, 2003, 10:20 PM
Will do, thanks.
If they're even half as good as my 39a they'd be worth a look.


November 7, 2003, 10:23 PM
i have a Marlin M60 SSB thats a real tack driver

no honest man needs a new Ruger (

Mike Irwin
November 7, 2003, 10:41 PM
Come to think of it I THINK that Mal H may have a Marlin 60SSB, but I'm not sure...

November 7, 2003, 10:57 PM

I've gone down the 10/22 road & am perfectly happy with where I wound up. It's a lot of fun planning & building exactly what you want. As a suggestion, I went with a Volquartsen Tension-lite barrel. I've got excellent accuracy with bull barrel form, but less than stock barrel weight.


November 8, 2003, 12:47 AM
I traded in my 10/22 and bought a CZ-452, have never once regretted it...

November 8, 2003, 12:51 AM
Just re-read your post and you want an auto-loader specifically. Well, I do have a Marlin 60. It is a beater, but is accurate and reliable.

The T/C that is coming out looks pretty promising. Not the Classic, the new one with the bull barrel.

If I get another 10/22 (they go on sale here for $139 regularly) I would leave it stock and just plink with it.

The Browning Buckmark rifle is also interesting.

November 8, 2003, 05:25 AM
we had a target model Marlin (IIRC). Heavy barrel, laminated red/white/blue stock. Guy that bought it sez it's way accurate. Price seemed quite reasonable for what it is. It probably has the "cool" factor you're looking for to appeal to the younger crowd.

Never could get into the custom Ruger thing. Buy a gun and throw away the barrel, stock and trigger assembly. Seems kinda like buying a pick-up, taking off the wheels and tires, and throwing the rest away so you build a custom one.

November 8, 2003, 07:05 AM
Sir, if you're looking for a high-quality .22 autoloader, I think Thompson Center Arms ( may have just the ticket.

Their .22 Classic is made with walnut and steel. I've handled one and they're really nice. They sell for just under $300, I think.

They also have a Classic Benchmark ( model that has a laminated stock, 18" heavy barrel, and is pre-drilled for a scope. Don't know the price.

They are so nice I've been tempted to buy one, for no reason.....

November 8, 2003, 04:56 PM
Boy that Thompson Classic Benchmark sure does look nice. It's appears to be sub-$400
from what I saw on the auction sites. I'd love to be able to see one in person. Anyone
know a shop in Colorado (Front Range) that might carry these?


November 8, 2003, 10:27 PM
mines a 60SS
60SBs have the stainless with a walnut stock
60SSKs have stainless and a synthetic stock

its hard to loose a tube magazine


4v50 Gary
November 8, 2003, 11:48 PM
If I think Marlin, I think lever. Just my prejudice.

Go for the AR 22 dedicated upper. I've got a Kuehl dedicated upper and it's cool. :cool: Happen to have some Ciener 30 rounders which I should modify to have a .223 body around and increase the :cool: factor.

six 4 sure
November 9, 2003, 02:51 AM
If you're looking for an autoloader I'd go with the TC with the bull barrel. A good friend of mine has one and it's a tack driver. It almost shoots as well as my CZ 452 varmint.

If you're looking for a bolt gun I'd pick the CZ 452.


November 9, 2003, 07:30 AM
Sir, TCA has a dealer listing for CO (

Guess I should add I have no connection with them, just saw one and thought it to be a nice rifle.

November 9, 2003, 12:15 PM
Go with the ruger 10/22 and build it up to awesome :) Always had great luck with them.

November 10, 2003, 12:00 AM
Is the rifle for you or the 11 year old? If it's for the kid, get him a 10-round 10/22 for sub-$200 and he'll love it. Even if he get serious later about benchrest or the like, he'll always treasure that first basic rifle.

If it's for you, still get the kid a 10/22 and buy yourself another 10/22 or whatever it is you want to hop up. An 11 year old is likely more interested in fun plinking than achieving tiny groups. That'll come later.

Mal H
November 10, 2003, 10:18 AM
Mike Irwin: Come to think of it I THINK that Mal H may have a Marlin 60SSB, but I'm not sure...

I do, indeed, and it is usually the one I reach for when I head out back for those pesky squirrels. I have a Marlin 39AS and a 10/22T and like both of them very much. The reason for picking the 60 most often is its weight to accuracy ratio. It is very light and yet it is as accurate, or more so, as a stock 10/22. My 60 came with a small aperature cheap scope and rings. It was a Wal-Mart special. As soon as I saw the scope, I said to myself that this POS will have to go immediately. Well, I still have the scope on it. It has proven to be sufficient for the intended use of the rifle and hasn't lost zero yet.

November 10, 2003, 10:49 AM
I have a marlin Model 60 FS. Its a pretty rare one. I believe it was only sold through some of the chain stores. Its Blued w/synthetic stock but had Williams Fire Sights from the factory. Its a sweet shooter.

If I was going to spend on a .22 I'd be tempted to go with the STI 10-22. Its a bit pricey but I've seen folks spend more building one piece-at-a-time.

You can see one at

I've looked at the Browning buckmark rifle and while its ugly, it shoulders verry nice. I'd like to have one despite the look.


November 10, 2003, 02:16 PM
It almost shoots as well as my CZ 452 varmint.

Could you post more details? How accurate is your CZ? Are we talking 1/2 inch groups here, or sub .3?


November 10, 2003, 05:09 PM
I love my Rem 552 Speedmaster. Very accurate and will help develop good habits when the kid moves up to bigger rifles.

November 10, 2003, 05:20 PM
Could you post more details? How accurate is your CZ? Are we talking 1/2 inch groups here, or sub .3?

Bolt action. Nice rifle, though.

November 10, 2003, 07:52 PM
Thanks for all the input. I discovered a few guns I hadn't looked at.
I probably wasn't clear if this was for my son or me. I was really
looking for myself, but he shoots everything I have so I didn't want
something that would be really bad for a kid. In looking at all the
nice target style .22 autos it occured to me that the high cheek piece
on the target stocks would be a real problem since I'm right handed
and he shoots lefty. I recently found some better online prices on the
AR option so I'm geting close to going that way. Should be a kick for
a kid too.

Thanks again,

November 10, 2003, 08:22 PM
How about

November 10, 2003, 08:56 PM
I have a 10/22 great gun but needs a stock longer for me. I put my
vote on remington 597 fits me alot better!

November 10, 2003, 09:05 PM
Browning BL-22 Lever

It's almost as fast an an auto and a heck of a lot prettier :)

Good Luck.....


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