First Rifle, Last Rifle.


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Szymborska
March 9, 2011, 11:29 PM
Hey all, I'm a teacher in Indiana who is getting ready to move to either Mississippi or Arkansas. Recently, I've gotten into cultivating some old-time skills (woodworking, gardening, etc.)

I'd like to start hunting small game, but I've never owned (or even fired) a rifle before. Plinked around with a BB gun when I was a kid, but that's about it.

In the course of my research, I kept coming back to this site. You guys are awesome--knowledgeable, funny, and light on the BS.

My idea for the thread is (as the title suggests) First Rifle, Last Rifle. That is, if you only had ONE .22 to last the rest of your life, which make/model would you choose and why?

I'm considering the normal things like accuracy, durability, reliability, but ALSO things like *ease of maintenance*. If you had to be your own gunsmith, which of these .22 rifles would you trust to give you the fewest problems?

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Abel
March 9, 2011, 11:32 PM
A CZ bolt action 22 of some sort.

AlexanderA
March 9, 2011, 11:36 PM
If I only had one rifle, it would have to be something heavier than a .22 rimfire.

Domino
March 9, 2011, 11:36 PM
As far as ease of maintenance? 10/22 hands down. Not only is it very easy to build these rifles from the ground up, spare parts are cheap and super abundant. Reliablity is very high and depending on parts these guns can be as accurate as any other 22 LR.

Red State
March 9, 2011, 11:48 PM
The 10/22s are great, but if I could only have ONE durable .22 rifle, I would choose the CZ.

Szymborska
March 9, 2011, 11:48 PM
Whoops, AlexanderA, I should have clarified. I meant First Rifle, Last Rifle *for small game.*

If you have easy-to-maintain rifle recommendations for a larger caliber, than by all means, offer. Since I'm just getting into firearms, though, I thought it might make sense to start small, learn how to shoot, then go bigger if I choose to go after deer.

Szymborska
March 9, 2011, 11:53 PM
Any reason in particular, Red State?

memphisjim
March 9, 2011, 11:55 PM
Ruger 10/22

DM~
March 10, 2011, 12:03 AM
Many years ago, in the early 70's, i wanted the most accurate, high quality 22, and one that's lighter than a full size centerfire rifle that i could find. I wanted it to take to Alaska with me, and i knew i would have to depend on it for many years to come!

I ended up with an Anschutz, i still have it today and it's still just as reliable and accurate as the day i bought it! It's on my best buy ever list, as it's now worth a lot more than i paid for it all those years ago...

I couldn't even guess how many thousands of rounds i've fired through it putting huge amounts of meat on my table and in my freezer!

DM

AA080
March 10, 2011, 12:13 AM
I would honestly take a good look at a Handi-rifle. It doesn't get any simpler than a break action to clean, shoot and reliability. Not to mention most of their guns are very cost friendly and can be very accurate. They also make 2 barrel combos that you can change out with a Philips in 357/20g and 44/12g...

http://www.hr1871.com/default.asp

FC
March 10, 2011, 12:34 AM
Any Savage 22 equipped with an Accu-trigger.

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 12:48 AM
Geez....first all, if you truly want ease of maintenance, and who could blame you for that, that will necessitate the fewest possible moving parts. To my way of thinking, that eliminates ANY semi-auto (and I've owned the same Ruger 10/22 for about 35 years and love it), any fancy shmancy trigger, or for that matter, anything other than a single shot.
Remington, Winchester, and Mossberg among others made very nice, quality bolt action single shot .22 rimfires in the 40's, 50's and 60's. Not fancy mind you, just good solid, dependable, accurate rifles. No clips to misplace, no tubular magazines to get dented or damaged. These would likely be the type our grandparents and great-grandparents kept loaded on the back porch next to the screen door to keep crows out of the garden and hawks away from the free-range chickens.
These type rifles will fire .22 CB's, shorts, longs, or long-rifles and most any pawn or gun shop in the USA will likely have more than one of them because they're not "cool" anymore.

If you want to take it one step further, Savage/Stevens used to make combo guns, that'd be over/unders, with a .22 rimfire barrel on top, and a .410 barrel on bottom. Pretty much a quintessential small game rifle though a good marksman with a 22 long rifle can kill at further distances than can be done with a .410. Only problem with these rifles is they've become somewhat collectible so their prices are a bit high.

Good luck!
35W

FC
March 10, 2011, 12:59 AM
fancy shmancy trigger

Is that a comment on my advice of an Accu-trigger equipped gun? If so you ought to take one apart to find out just how simple that trigger really is, amazingly so and inherently safe regardless of adjustment.

Remo223
March 10, 2011, 01:03 AM
one of the easiest questions I've seen. I can answer it without even thinking

Glenfield model 60

I believe it is the all time world's best selling firearm. Something like that. maybe world's best selling rimfire, but I think its firearm period.

benzy2
March 10, 2011, 01:14 AM
If you can only have one, buy the best. Don't buy a 10-22. It is a great starter rifle, but hardly end all be all rifle. Buy Anschutz. Particularly one with a model 54 action. You won't regret it. It is expensive, but you buy once, cry once. They are hands down the nicest production rimfires built today.

Many people are suggesting these budget rifles that shoot ok and are fairly reliable. But why? You get one shot. A 10-22 or model 60 are fine enough rifles, but they are budget rifles built to a price. They are useful but rather crude. When you finish shooting one you never think "This satisfied my shooting desires, I have no interest in trying other rifles". After a few shots with an Anschutz you tend to see that thought pop into your head. The Anschutz is built to be passed down for generations. A 10-22 is built to make it out of the factory.

And don't get me wrong. I have had plenty of fun with a 10-22 and other budget rimfires. But none of them are the type of rifle I want to own as a once and for all rifle. If you don't plan to spend the cash an Anschutz requires, a good second line option is CZ. Their rifles are built on a similar mindset with long term quality in mind rather than absolute bottom price point. I suggest the 453 line with their adjustable set triggers as they are fantastic and make the experience all the more enjoyable though they do add around $100 to the price.

Remo223
March 10, 2011, 01:30 AM
sorry, nope. I don't think you've ever fired a model 60. 10/22 is pretty lame imo. I actually feel sorry for people who own them. They are built to sell accessories. they are for people who get their enjoyment more from accessorizing than from shooting thousands of rounds day after day. By far the funnest firearm I've ever shot is a model 60. There's no worry about marring the finish. There's no worry about breaking it. You don't ever have to clean it. Just lock open the bolt when it stops shooting and hose it out with WD40, then go back to shooting. It's extremely fast to shoot and reload and shoot some more. No detachable magazine fed rifle can keep up with it...I don't care how big your magazine is. At some point you have to stop and reload those annoying mags. Anschutz is a big clunky thing meant to be set on a rest. Boring.

Second place goes to the browning semi auto 22. I might even put them first if I could get one with a weather proof mar resistant finish. I don't know how well they handle shorts and longs though.

armoredman
March 10, 2011, 01:47 AM
CZ 455. Switchable to .17, too, with little effort.

Szymborska
March 10, 2011, 01:53 AM
First off, thanks for the advice, everyone!

Many years ago, in the early 70's, i wanted the most accurate, high quality 22, and one that's lighter than a full size centerfire rifle that i could find. I wanted it to take to Alaska with me, and i knew i would have to depend on it for many years to come!

I've gathered from the Anschutz owners that this seems to be the general consensus--wonderful quality, built to last. I know they are expensive, but when weighed against future purchases, the price seems more reasonable. What's a new Anschutz .22 cost, and how available are they in the US?

Geez....first all, if you truly want ease of maintenance, and who could blame you for that, that will necessitate the fewest possible moving parts. To my way of thinking, that eliminates ANY semi-auto (and I've owned the same Ruger 10/22 for about 35 years and love it), any fancy shmancy trigger, or for that matter, anything other than a single shot.
Remington, Winchester, and Mossberg among others made very nice, quality bolt action single shot .22 rimfires in the 40's, 50's and 60's. Not fancy mind you, just good solid, dependable, accurate rifles. No clips to misplace, no tubular magazines to get dented or damaged. These would likely be the type our grandparents and great-grandparents kept loaded on the back porch next to the screen door to keep crows out of the garden and hawks away from the free-range chickens.

Makes a whole lot of sense to me. I must say I'm intrigued by the notion of one shot--if you aren't accurate, you might not eat. That would be a damned good incentive to become a great shot.

benzy2
March 10, 2011, 01:58 AM
The 1710 and 1712 are great hunting rifles. Sure Anschutz makes a lot of target rifles, but their attention to detail and quality follows over spectacularly in their hunting rifles. I have shot a model 60 plenty. As I said, its a functional firearm. It is far from a rifle I would like to call my only rifle for the rest of my life. The model 60 may be the last rifle you'll ever need, but the 1712 on the other hand, is the last rifle you'll ever want. For me, this is about buying once and never turning back. A mass produced bottom dollar budget rifle isn't what I'm looking to make my one and only rifle. Ask 10 Anschutz owners if they would trade their rifle for a model 60(or 10 of them if you want to take the monetary side out) . See how many say yes. Ask 10 model 60 owners if they would trade their rifle for an Anschutz and see how many say yes. That is my point. The Anschutz is the last rifle you'll ever want.

If you have to have a semi auto, look at the old BRNO 511. One amazing rifle that will shoot as good as most bolt rifles and last lifetimes. A far cry above anything semiauto being made today.

EDIT:

Just saw your most recent post. If you are looking to get into an Anschutz, Champion Shooters Supply is a good starting point. They carry, or have access to the full line of Anschutz rifles. Their prices are good, but can be beat here and there so a little extra effort hunting around may provide a better price. They are good people though so that is worth a bit. Again, they are expensive, ranging from $800 or so to $2000 or so for hunting rifles depending on exact model. The used market is a great source for Anschutz rifles. Some of the older rifles with a generation or two old trigger can be had at great discount. The updates are more applicable to their target lines rather than their hunting lines, so even the older rifles are amazing rifles leaving nothing to be desired.

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 01:58 AM
Is that a comment on my advice of an Accu-trigger equipped gun?

Yes, but no offense intended.

If so you ought to take one apart to find out just how simple that trigger really is, amazingly so and inherently safe regardless of adjustment.

No need in that, because the OP specified: "but ALSO things like *ease of maintenance*."

To my way of thinking, as I already stated, that would mean as few moving parts as possible. The older, heck...maybe even some of the newer, bolt rifles had (have) triggers that are one piece...the trigger and sear are one.

I'd remind you that in the OP, Szym stated that he'd never fired or even owned a rifle before. So wouldn't a first time gun owner want to start out with something that's as foolproof and easy to operate as possible?

I think alot of times when people seek advice on a firearm for a certain task, people don't read the OP carefully...they jump in and suggest *their* favorite firearm rather than considering what the OP specified then giving an unbiased answer.
Ruger 10/22- Again, a fine rifle and I have 35 years of experience with it, but its internal workings are anything but simple and easy to maintain. The trigger group alone is quite complex.
Marlin Model 60- A fairly simple, VERY time proven .22, but again, it's a magazine fed semi-auto, so there are potential maintenance problems.
Anschutz- Seriously? They're fine, accurate rifles, but $500-$600 minimum for something with which to shoot small game within the normal ranges of under 50 yards? I love accurate rifles, but if you have a $500 budget for a .22, why not get a decent, reliable one for <$300 and spend the remainder on maybe a scope and for SURE a lifetime supply of ammunition?

Just my 2...don't anyone get their Fruit of the Looms twisted up....

35W

benzy2
March 10, 2011, 02:29 AM
Anschutz- Seriously? They're fine, accurate rifles, but $500-$600 minimum for something with which to shoot small game within the normal ranges of under 50 yards? I love accurate rifles, but if you have a $500 budget for a .22, why not get a decent, reliable one for <$300 and spend the remainder on maybe a scope and for SURE a lifetime supply of ammunition?

Just my 2...don't anyone get their Fruit of the Looms twisted up....

35W

It's a simple choice for me. If I have one rifle to ever own, it won't be a beginner budget rifle. If I wanted a starter rifle, I'd be all for a starter rifle. This is a last rifle. The last rifle is something with amazing quality built to last forever. That is an Anschutz. If the question was posed to buy the cheapest rifle that will get the job done, I'd have a totally different tune. The question is one and final rifle. I couldn't think of a single rifle I'd rather call my only rifle than an Anschutz. Extremely well built, attention to detail at every corner. Nothing is skipped over on these rifles. A 10-22 out of the box is small game accurate inside 50 yards. That certainly doesn't mean I would look for it to be the only rifle I would ever buy.

It really comes down to how you view this purchase. I place a lot of value in quality. If I were picking a rifle to start on that I planned to grow out of or move on from, a lot of other rifles come to mind first. If I were choosing a midgrade rifle to grow out of the beginner level, a lot of other rifles come to mind first. Ask me what I want to use for the rest of my life, Anschutz is there first and foremost. Think of what you spend in ammo in a lifetime. Say you are a casual shooter. 1 box of $3 ammo per month. You plan to keep the rifle 50 years. That's $1800 in ammo. Say you get the bug and like shooting and want to shoot a bit more, maybe half a brick a month. That's $9,000 in ammo over the life of the rifle. If I'm planning on feeding a single rifle $9k worth of ammo, I'm going to be willing to spend an extra $500-$1000 in the rifle itself to make it the one I enjoy the most.

I know I look at this from the shooters point of view, but fine tools are something to appreciate. The Anschutz is a fine tool. One you should never need to replace. I personally shoot a brick or two of .22lr a month. Most of which is mid grade ammo in the $5~ a box range. At $50-$100 a month in .22lr ammo, I shoot enough that the difference between a budget rifle and a budgetless rifle is clear and often warranted. That isn't to say all or even most of my rifles were bought with budget not in mind. In fact, most of my rifles are of the budget variety. It's just to say I really appreciate what an Anschutz is and would pick it as my only rifle if I were to have to pick one and only one for the rest of my days.

FC
March 10, 2011, 02:38 AM
No need in that, because the OP specified: "but ALSO things like *ease of maintenance*."

To my way of thinking, as I already stated, that would mean as few moving parts as possible. The older, heck...maybe even some of the newer, bolt rifles had (have) triggers that are one piece...the trigger and sear are one.


No offense but you could have simplified your statement there into "I have never seen an Accu trigger"..lol Seriously they are really simple and trick, you should check them out and shoot one if you get the chance.

There is really two moving parts, the trigger safety and the trigger. The trigger safety is pretty much incapable of doing anything it wasn't designed to as is the trigger. I'm not sure what kind of maintenance you are thinking of there but I've never heard of a problem with an Accu-trigger and Savage is well known for accuracy.

I thought i stuck to the OP's question pretty well actually, those Accu trigger Savage 22's are accurate, reliable and dependable. Wipe off the outside and the bolt and give the bore a quick scrub every so often and it will probably last a few lifetimes.

FWIW the Anschutz rifles are very nice but a bit on the heavy and expensive side.

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 02:39 AM
If I wanted a starter rifle, I'd be all for a starter rifle.

Understood and respected. But re-read the OP. It's a rifle for him, a beginner....not you a man with lots of shooting experience.

I liken a new, inexperienced shooter spending several hundred dollars....or more...on a .22 LR to a buying a newly licensed, 16 year old driver a Lamborghini or a Mercedes. Someday, the 16 year old may be able to get the most out of one of these automobiles, but certainly not as a new driver.

Am I up to 3 worth?:D

35W

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 02:46 AM
No offense but you could have simplified your statement there into "I have never seen an Accu trigger"..lol Seriously they are really simple and trick, you should check them out and shoot one if you get the chance.

No offense taken, and I have seen the AccuTrigger many times as I have coached our local 4-H Smallbore team. We provide the rifles to most of the kids on the team and as such, we have a safe full of a variety of rifles. Everything from Crickets for the smallest shooters, to Savages, old school Remington target rifles, Mossberg target rifles, et al. Without hesitation, I'll say that we have the least trouble, and by that I mean the least failures to feed and extract, out of the older rifles. We've tested alot of different ammunition (we provide that too for a nominal fee)for accuracy and some rifles, again, seems to always be the later models, refuse to extract some ammo. Very frustrating.

35W

jcwit
March 10, 2011, 02:58 AM
One of the Savage Mark II series bolt action rifles. Decent price, reliable and accurate. No I don't own one, I tend to the higher priced single shot match rifles.

OKcarburetor
March 10, 2011, 03:07 AM
On a budget? CZ 452, 453, or the new 455. Not on a budget? Weatherby/Anschutz, Ruger 77/22 or maybe even a Cooper if it really is your only 22.(too spendy for me) Something like a 70's era Remington 541 T or Savage/Anschutz would be collectible and shoot well. The CZ is all anyone should ever need though.

Now that I've owned 2 Savage rifles(one centerfire one rimfire) with the Accu Trigger I can safely say that the trigger and barrel are the only parts of the gun that don't belong in the trash. Accurate guns, but I would never rely on it for anything but target shooting.

benzy2
March 10, 2011, 03:17 AM
Understood and respected. But re-read the OP. It's a rifle for him, a beginner....not you a man with lots of shooting experience.

I liken a new, inexperienced shooter spending several hundred dollars....or more...on a .22 LR to a buying a newly licensed, 16 year old driver a Lamborghini or a Mercedes. Someday, the 16 year old may be able to get the most out of one of these automobiles, but certainly not as a new driver.

Am I up to 3 worth?

35W
But would you want to drive a 1985 honda civic the rest of your life since you are only planning to buy a single vehicle. Ignoring the fact that a high performance rifle is no more dangerous than a beginner rifle while a high performance vehicle holds much greater risk than a beginner vehicle, I would much rather have a Lamborghini that I can grow into and respect at a later date than be stuck driving a Civic that I soon wish was anything else. I see where buying an inexpensive, simple rifle holds merit to a non-shooter, but the part about wood working caught my attention. This to me equates to wanting a walmart bought coffee table or something handmade of beautiful, though expensive, hardwood. You can go either route, and both will probably hold a beverage as well as the other. Something popped out that the top tier quality, even at a large expense, is the way the OP was looking to go for his one and only rifle.

FC
March 10, 2011, 03:18 AM
Now that I've owned 2 Savage rifles(one centerfire one rimfire) with the Accu Trigger I can safely say that the trigger and barrel are the only parts of the gun that don't belong in the trash. Accurate guns, but I would never rely on it for anything but target shooting.

Wow, what happened? I own a centerfire and a rimfire Savage with Accu-trigger and they are both problem free. The only special care I've taken was to dry the 308 after hunting in the rain.

snake284
March 10, 2011, 06:38 AM
For a high quality bolt action 22 I like the Ruger 77/22, that is if they still make it. Not sure.

Also, I have a 10/22 and love it. If you buy one though be prepared to put a little more money in the deal, like about $60-$80 and buy a few after market parts that will upgrade it and make it more user friendly and more accurate. You won't buy a better 22 for that price even with the extra money.

One thing to do is at least put a target hammer in it. You can buy a whole trigger group for it for about $60-$90 or so. But I just bought the Target hammer and it did great for about $30.

Also, an aftermarket bolt release is almost mandatory and it cost about $13 if memory serves me right. The factory one sucks. It's hard to operate. With the aftermarket one I installed, all you have to do to release it is gently pull back on the bolt and let it go. With the original you had to push up on it and pull back on the bolt at the same time. It was tricky to say the least.

As for installing the target hammer, it's easy. Just remember to look carefully and see how the factory hammer is situated before you remove it so you know how to install the target hammer. You might want to take some digital pics first for reference. I took my Dremmel tool with a polishing wheel and some jewler's rouge and polished the sear and trigger surfaces where they mate up to a mirror finish. The factory trigger was about 6 or 7 pounds. When I got through polishing things and installing the target hammer my trigger breaks clean at about 2-2.5 pounds, quite an improvement and worth every bit of trouble and money.

I also, for about $5, put a buffer pin in the rear of the action replacing the factory bolt stop pin with this buffer pin, which lessens the noise of the bolt on retraction, but that's as easy as falling off a log.

I also installed a new extended magazine release, but I found after I did it that it wasn't necessary because the newer models have an extended one already. In fact I'm thinking of putting the factory one back in because it's even longer than the aftermarket one. This was a case of monkey see monkey do. People told me i needed it so I bought it and put it in without realizing the factory one was already extended. I understand the older models weren't and they were a pain to deal with.

Anyway, I paid right at $180 NIB for my 10/22 and invested about $80 more. So I now have about $260 in it not counting the scope. I had a Simmons 8 Point 3-9X40 laying around not doing anything and I bought Weaver style bases and rings and put that on for about $15. The scope is really clear for a cheapy and with a 22lr you don't have recoil to worry about wrecking your cheapo scope. I had that scope on a 22/250 and it did fine. It should outlast the rifle being it's on a 22.

Anyway, now I have a fine 22. It is fairly accurate, well as accurate as my 63 year old eyes can make it happen. And I didn't spend a ment on it.

snake284
March 10, 2011, 06:51 AM
Wow! FC, I guess everyone has a right to an opinion, but my Stevens Model 200 is as good as it gets especially for the money. I don't know, but maybe he got a lemon or two. Mine is accurate and good quality. It's no Weatherby Mark V, but I'd venture to say it's probably more accurate than rifle's costing 3 times as much.

Tentwing
March 10, 2011, 10:35 AM
Wow ?......... I can't believe it took 14 post for someone to mention the Marlin model 60...:uhoh:

Mine ( Glenfield ) came to me as a Christmas gift in 1974. It survived my teenage years, and the teenage years of two sons and my daughter. I has went through tens of thousands of rounds maybe more.

I eats whatever you feed it, and actually seems to group well with Federal bulk which makes my wallet happy;)

For the price it gets my bang for the buck vote very time. The Wally world close to me has a wood and blued one for $ 157 + tax and back ground check.

Now all of that being said my Ruger 10/22 is also a great rifle for the money. It is not as accurate out of the box as the model 60, but a great reliable gun that also chew through every type of round I have tried with it as well.

You might also want to consider the Henry. It is a light weight very handy little rifle. While not a semi-auto the lever action is buttery smooth, and lever actions are soooo addictive. :D It has beautiful wood, and is also a very accurate 22lr.

All three of the above are modestly priced and function great. I have also heard great things about the Savage as well, but since I don't own one I cant personally speak for it.

For a bigger piece of your budget I dont think you can go wrong with a CZ 452. It is built solid, very accurate and has beautiful wood.

For a little bit bigger piece of your budget :cool: you might also consider the Marlin 39a. It is the most accurate out of the box 22lr I have ever owned. It comes with beautiful walnut furniture. The action is very strong so much so the it took a few years for it to break in and get really smooth ( still not as smooth as the Henry's out of the box ), but I'm certain that it will out last my grand kids ;) :)

As you can see I have a 22lr problem :o,... and I didn't even mention my Marlin 795 which I dont think my wife is gonna give back:( come to think of it she still has my Henry too:rolleyes:

Point is there are many good options out there in a 22lr. I would try to fire a few to find out what you like then pick one that fits your frame and enjoy it.

FWIW.... If you told me that I had to give up all of my 22lr's but one . the Keeper would probably be the Marlin 39a..........Tentwing

Szymborska
March 10, 2011, 11:48 AM
Woke up this morning and saw all of these--great reads, all! Thanks again.

I must say that as a teacher, I *am* budget-conscious (especially with all these huge cuts being made to public education right now). Teachers who take their jobs seriously are having to spend more and more money out-of-pocket to help their students out, so saving for a $1k rifle is pretty difficult. I could do it, but it would take me no small amount of time (and I'd be tempted to spend it on stuff for the classroom along the way!)

That said, I also understand the quality argument--if I begin a family in the next few years, I intend to have an heirloom rifle or two that I eventually pass down.

From what I gather in your posts, CZ and Marlin seem to offer the best combination of budget, staying power, and quality. I'll be sure to shoot a wide variety of rifles, though--I recognize that feel is very important with something you're planning on holding on to for a long time.

EDIT: I also plan to look at the older single-shot Rems, Winchesters, etc. that 35W mentioned.

EDIT: Snake, you make a good case for some aftermarket work. As I plan to get into gunsmithing, I'll be sure to check out the 10/22 as well.

OKcarburetor
March 10, 2011, 11:52 AM
Wow, what happened? I own a centerfire and a rimfire Savage with Accu-trigger and they are both problem free. The only special care I've taken was to dry the 308 after hunting in the rain.
In my model 12 fvss .223 the extractor works maybe 10% of the time if I'm careful(started around the 150 round mark). I can just buy a new extractor, but I shouldn't have to. Now when the bolt is closed the sear will disengage 1/2 the time. If it didn't have the accu trigger that would translate into the rifle firing. It just started doing this and it's at 500 rounds. I'm not sure why, as I haven't worked on the trigger at all.(it feels great right out of the box) The stock is also awful, but they have changed that in newer models. It's too bad, because it's jaw droppingly accurate. It will shoot anything from 40 grain onup to 72 grain bullets without any complaint with the largest groups being 1/4" at 100 yds.

The 93 17hmr I had was just junk. The bottom metal was laughable and the way the action bolted to the stock was just bad design. That rifle did not shoot well either with any ammo. For a little more money, the CZ is just a better rifle in every way.

The funny thing is that the problems with the .223 wouldn't even bother me if Savage would just answer the phone.

ColtPythonElite
March 10, 2011, 11:55 AM
Used - Remington 541-S

New - CZ 455 American

68wj
March 10, 2011, 12:01 PM
.22's reproduce like the game they hunt. If I had to dump all mine but 1, I would keep the Ruger 77/22. Simple, accurate, easy to clean... I would think the CZ's would fit in this catagory too but don't have any personal experience with one.

10/22's are fine but I am not a fan of their disassebly for cleaning. Remington pumps are even worse.

Whiskey11
March 10, 2011, 12:09 PM
I will second the Savage Mark 2 Rifles. Our Boy Scout camp uses 10 of them to teach kids every summer. I spent 4 years on the ranges, and had those for 3 of them, never had ONE issue with the accutriggers (other than I didn't like how they felt) and I can guarantee that those rifles have seen more ammo in one year than most people shoot out of theirs in a lifetime. Our average round count per summer was around 70,000 rounds between 10 rifles. That average is 21,000 rounds over the three years I was there, and that doesn't include the 7000 each would have had put through them last year either. Nor does it take into account that 6 of those rifles are a year older than the other 4 on the line.

Let me explain the cleaning procedures for these rifles. Boresnake the bore, hit the bolt up with brake clean and then rem oil, wipe down the entire gun with a rag with rem oil, put in the gun safe, stored in a humid outdoor shack with no descant to take out the humidity. At the end of every season we'd take the action out of the stock, hit it up with rem oil, give the trigger a few squirts, let the excess oil drip off and wipe it all down, then put it back together and store it for the fall, winter, and spring, occasionally taking them out for special shooting events, and then next summer they were brought out, boresnaked and oiled up the outside then run hard all summer again.

Not ONE issue with the Accu-Trigger being unreliable in that environment. We ran Winchester White Box .22LR, PMC .22LR (Worst .22 ever), Remington Gold Bullet .22LR, and about 4 other manufacturers of ammo, the bulk of which was the very dirty and barely reliable PMC .22LR, and zero issues with the accu-trigger.

I second the Savage Mark 2, because I know the ones we had saw less care and more rounds in some of the crappiest storage conditions than any sane person would ever put their rifles through because we had no choice, and never had an issue with them. Accurate too boot as well, and the William's front and rear sights where also very nice. Our qualification rate went from about 60% to 95% or higher by switching from our old CMP H&R .22LR's and a few very nice Savage/Anschutz Model 12's, to these Mark 2s. I would trust a Mark 2 any day for hunting small game.

Hoppes Love Potion
March 10, 2011, 12:30 PM
Look also at the Henry Octagon Frontier and Golden Boy models. They are lever-action rifles built on a simple and reliable design, and the company has the best customer service in any industry. Send them an email and it will usually be answered within a few hours, by the company President.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2011, 12:39 PM
You don't need pin-point target accuracy to hit squirrels in the head, or hit running cottontails--and sitting cottontails are easy.

If a person has the self-discipline to avoid "spray and pray", a semi-auto is just fine. Probably easier for an adult to have self-control on that than a youngun.

I tend to like a .22 that's closer to a full-size than are many of them; I thus like choices like the old Remington 550 or the later 552. Nothing wrong with a Ruger 10/22, but they seem to be quite picky about what sort of ammo works best for group size. Granted, they're not alone in that.

Hunterdad
March 10, 2011, 12:42 PM
Remington Nylon 66 for ease of maintenance, reliability and accuracy. Just recently won a rifle league with my 1962 model.

ColtPythonElite
March 10, 2011, 12:44 PM
Ain't nothing wrong with a Remington 550....They are my favorite old timer .22 semi's. They are made out of quality materials.

ForumSurfer
March 10, 2011, 12:49 PM
Marlin Model 60. It was my first rifle and I still have it. It was given to me somewhere in the single digit age and I am now 34. I've never had to do anything more than field strip it. They can still be had for under $150 new. You can mount a scope, buy some tech sights or some williams fire sights fiber optic sights or several different manufacturers offer a rear peep.

It is tube fed...but that tube isn't any slower to reload than a rifle that only has one or two magazines. Sooner or later, you've got to put the rifle down and reload those magazines.

The trigger guard IS plastic and popular internet lore suggests they break often...though neither of mine have in 25+ years. If it does, an aftermarket aluminum replacement exists.

Who knows how many 10's of 1000's of bulk rounds and it still shoots good enough to take squirrel. I remember shooting mice and rats out of fields with it as a yougun'...can't imagine shooting anything smaller.

Will a 10/22 with a quality aftermarket barrel or a more expensive rifle be more accurate? Yes...but you aren't shooting for groups so the most you'll need is minute of squirrel.

Just my 2 cents. Of course...there isn't anything wrong with a 10/22, either.

Wylie1
March 10, 2011, 01:03 PM
Although it is a mag 22 (MORE EXPENSIVE TO SHOOT) I'd go with the Marlin 883SS. It will reach out a little beyond 100yds. with good accuracy barring windy days and can be lobbed to 200 yards with fair accuracy. I've owned one and I'm likely to own another. If you end up with one of these get into Federal Red box for it and stick with them. They are the most accurate/consistent/cost effective round I found for the gun. From one cartridge manufacturer to another you'll see a slight difference in Point of Impact so stick with one that is consistent like the Federal Red Box.
http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg255/Wylie_Rods/P2170202.jpg

BrocLuno
March 10, 2011, 01:05 PM
I agree with a lot that Art Eatman and 35 Whelan said. But, I've been down the same road - you gotta start somewhere and that first one is the hardest. 35 Whelan talks about the old JC Higgen 22 single shot by the screened door - absolutely right on :) We had one in each cabin and every kid in my dads family got one at 10 years old (he's now 91 and still has it, and still shoots vermin). They were sold under Montgomery Wards Western Field brand, Sears had them, all big hardware stores had them and they are in every good sized pawn shop now. Remington, Winchester, Savage, the list is long - about as common at one time as claw hammers.

I definitely concur with starting with a single shot 22 (used) that feels good and comes to shoulder well. You'll get one in very nice shape for $150 and it will last until your children are dead and gone. Simple is the word of the day.

But they can be tweaked as in the barrel may have a pressure point or the firing pin might be worn a bit. You may add sling swivels and a sling? Take it to a competent gunsmith and have them look it over and tell you about it. What's good and what needs a bit of service - that's learning at the hands of a master.

Take it down to its basic parts and clean it well. Lube it up correctly and oil the steel. Go out and shoot every different kind of ammo that is available in your local stores. The rifle will tell you what it likes the best. Do some target practice at known ranges so you get a feel for bullet drop and then go hunting :)

Only caveat I'd make, is to look for one with 3/8 dove tail grooves in the top of the receiver. That way you can easily mount a scope if you want to. Most of these old ones will not have groove, so look around carefully. It will be a gun you will have for decades.

Once you get settled and find out you like small game hunting and eating pot meat, you can move up to another like maybe a 22WRM or a small shotgun, or whatever. You'll know if the bug bites you. But, if it doesn't - you'll still have old reliable and it will do it's job for ever :)

OBTW - hunting small game is the best research for the local ecosystem there is. You will learn more about the food chain faster than any other way. All that will translate into knowledge you can pass along in the classroom. Go teach - go :)

GCBurner
March 10, 2011, 01:09 PM
My first brand new rifle was a Mossberg Model 340K .22 that I got when I was about 14 years old, and had scraped up the $40 or so it cost by mowing lawns. I still have it, and it still shoots great. I finally replaced the old 4x Weaver tip-off scope with a larger, brighter 1" scope with a 40mm objective lens, which is easier for my older eyes to see. Its 24" barrel is still very accurate, and the magazine is adjustable to feed .22 Shorts or Long Rifle ammo. I like the full-size walnut stock, which gives it the feel of a center fire rifle. If I could only keep one rifle around, this would be the one I'd choose. It's accounted for a lot of small game and small targets over the last 40 years or so, and I'm confident that I can hit what I'm aiming at with it.

DM~
March 10, 2011, 01:31 PM
Savage/Stevens used to make combo guns, that'd be over/unders, with a .22 rimfire barrel on top, and a .410 barrel on bottom. Pretty much a quintessential small game rifle though a good marksman with a 22 long rifle can kill at further distances than can be done with a .410. Only problem with these rifles is they've become somewhat collectible so their prices are a bit high.


The REAL problem with them is, they rarely have both bbls regulated to the same sight setting. I just can't stand any firearm that i have to aim over here, to hit over there!

The problem with the older Remingtons, like the 541-S is, what do you do when the nylon clip wears out? (and they DO) Have you tried to find a 5 shot replacement lately? The 10 shots are junk, and Rem. isn't making the 5 shot magazines any longer! Good rifle, but without a clip, it's just a single shot!

DM

SwampWolf
March 10, 2011, 02:54 PM
My recommendation is for the classic Marlin Model 39. It's a well-made, sturdy, lever-action repeater that holds a lot of shells, is plenty accurate, sturdy and easy to maintain. It's a rifle that will hold its value and one that your heir would be proud to own.
Personally, I prefer a good receiver (peep) sight on this rifle but it can be scoped if you insist.

BrocLuno
March 10, 2011, 03:40 PM
The Marlin 39 is the only rifle that fits as a lever action. It's a take down so cleaning and service are doable - good suggestion Swampwolf - that one slipped my mind. Ain't a single shot 22, but still a good investment and a good field gun :)

Skyshot
March 10, 2011, 05:59 PM
You said "one" .22 to last the rest of your life. That would be 1-Kimber 2-Anschutz 3-CZ in that order.

jeepguy
March 10, 2011, 07:07 PM
i would go ruger 10/22 plus if you like to tinker their are a lot of accessories & mods for it. if you want a bolt action their are several good options already mentioned here. you may end up with one of each and why not their fun and cheap to shoot.

Dr.Rob
March 10, 2011, 07:19 PM
Marlin 39A. Hands down.

RSVP2RIP
March 10, 2011, 07:32 PM
Cooper 57M in 22lr. The best $1200 you will ever spend, and the last time you will ever have to buy a 22lr. For $1200 you are guarenteed an acurate rifle, not hit or miss with a CZ or something else. Anshutz are good also. I have both and still would take the Cooper any day. It also comes with a whole bunch of pride of ownership knowing it is built to last, nothing can go wrong with it, looks good, easy to take apart/clean and it is made in the USA.

DDawg
March 10, 2011, 07:38 PM
Ruger 10/22 then attend an appleseed event..

Note: for small game hunting check with your state's DNR regarding hunting small game with a semi automatic Rifle.. I could be wrong, but i thought i read something about that (in ga).

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 07:43 PM
The REAL problem with them is, they rarely have both bbls regulated to the same sight setting. I just can't stand any firearm that i have to aim over here, to hit over there!

When I was a pup on our 4-H trap shooting team, our coach taught us that shotguns are pointed, not aimed. In the ensuing 30+ years, I've found that to be very true whether shooting a covey rise, a passing dove, a hard right on the #5 trap station, or skeet. I own a Savage 24 in 22LR over .410, and I've yet to use the sights when shooting the shotgun.

Case in point: After one particularly successful quail hunt, on the way back to the truck, I noticed that the bead was missing off my SxS 20ga. I hadn't even noticed it while shooting at birds and judging from the quail in my game bag, it didn't make a bit of difference.
35W

Dr T
March 10, 2011, 07:48 PM
OP: Given the direction you are going, I suggest a CZ with really good iron sights and a traditional look. You are an adult that has an appreciation of traditional workmanship and quality and would like something that will last a long, long time. Specifically, a CZ452 FS.

See http://www.cz-usa.com/products/view/cz-452-fs/

It is a bit high for a .22, but you get what you pay for.

chrome_austex
March 10, 2011, 08:21 PM
The cost of an Anschutz is well justified for a lifetime investment. I shot one in high school competition and they're the real deal. Their sporter style rifles are a good weight (not too heavy, not too light). A good choice. I don't think they're all $1k+

Next in line (for me) would be a CZ 452, for their fit and finish and reputation. Actually I'm going to try to pick up a CZ this weekend.

The Savages I've shot were good shooters, but I'd rather own a CZ if price isn't a huge factor.

10/22s are a solid semi-auto choice because of the aftermarket options, but they're not heirloom quality, not as accurate as an Anschutz, CZ, nor Savage.

Frankly I think a bolt action suits your purposes and experience better than a stock semi-auto 10/22 will. Get something in the 7-10lbs range. Sub 6lbs guns are too light for most people to shoot very well. You need some mass to stabilize the thing.

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 08:51 PM
I must say that as a teacher, I *am* budget-conscious <snip>

Now that he's made this clear, perhaps we can move away from the subject of $1000-$1200 .22's!

35W

Hoth206
March 10, 2011, 09:15 PM
Put me in for a vote for the Marlin 39.

I don't even have one, but if you're talking about "do everything" small game rifles, you should probably have something that'll shoot .22 shorts as well as .22 Long Rifle cartridges.

Add to that the wood/fit/finish of your typical marlin 39a is much better than the 10/22, M60, Savage MkII, etc. and it seems like an easy choice.

(btw, this is coming from someone who loves his Savage MkII.)

Sistema1927
March 10, 2011, 09:18 PM
Another vote for the Marlin 39A.

I have 8 or 9 different .22 rifles in the gun safe, but if I could only have one it would be the 39A.

benzy2
March 11, 2011, 12:28 AM
That said, I also understand the quality argument--if I begin a family in the next few years, I intend to have an heirloom rifle or two that I eventually pass down.
With that in mind, my list in order would be Anschutz, Cooper, Kimber, CZ in that order. You go below the quality of a CZ and I strongly feel you lose the heirloom in a rifle. Though a Marlin 39 would be a different type of rifle that would be another great choice.

Rmiller31
March 11, 2011, 03:09 AM
Ruger 10/22 for me

There are tons of aftermarket parts and stuff if you ever want to add/repair anything it won't be hard to find. I've had a 10/22 with a stainless barrel for about 12 years now that I have just shot the crap out of and its still as accurate as it was when I bought it. I also honestly can't even remember the last time I cleaned it.

P-32
March 11, 2011, 03:25 AM
I would be happy with a Remington 552 Speed Master. It is a much better rifle than a Marlin 60 which I also own. MY ex son in law has a 10/22 he spent alot of money on to fix it up with a heavy barrel, etc. He was not happy when the 552 almost beat his groups.

I just added a Pre war Winchester Model 61 to my brace of 22's but these are getting to be a little spendy.

toivo
March 11, 2011, 04:04 AM
$$$ Anschutz

$$ CZ

$ Savage

IMO, the "one rimfire rifle for life" scenario cries out for a bolt action repeater. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to shoot shorts, you can always single-load them. And I would get something with iron sights on it: keep your options open.

EDIT TO ADD: If you want to do a little investigative shopping, you could look for an older Mossberg. Some of the target and trainer models are getting "collectible" and expensive, but others, like the 340 series rifles, can still be found at reasonable prices:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=219089249
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=219167034

DukeNukem
March 11, 2011, 05:32 AM
If I could only keep one of my .22 rifles, the decision making process would probably go something like this:

Ruger 10/22 would be eliminated first because I don't have any interest in spending money to make it as accurate as my other .22 rifles.
Marlin 795 would go next because although it shoots better than the 10/22, it feels a little toy-ish.
CZ 452 American gets eliminated because if I keep a CZ452, I want it to be one that I can use with open sights and scope.
CZ 452 Special gets eliminated because it lacks the "cool factor" of the Ultra Lux and has a shorter sight radius. (My wife might have something to say about that because the Special is the rifle she likes to shoot most. ha!)

So for me it comes down to a choice between the CZ 452 Ultra Lux and Marlin 39A. That would be a very difficult decision for me to make. I think I'd keep the 39A because it's probably the only lever-gun I'll own. I like the peep sight I have on the 39A--I doubt that I'll ever scope it, but I could if I wanted to. It's a take-down rifle which is cool although that's a feature I don't use much. Not enough accuracy difference for it to matter to me between the 39A and CZ's.

You said, "I'm considering the normal things like accuracy, durability, reliability, but ALSO things like *ease of maintenance*. If you had to be your own gunsmith, which of these .22 rifles would you trust to give you the fewest problems?" which might shift things in favor of the CZ since I'd wager the CZ less likely to have something go wrong with it and it's easier to mess with. And the CZ's are slightly more accurate. If you're going to be using it somewhere that the ultra-long barrel of the Ultra Lux could be a hindrance, the Special(or Lux which is the same thing as the Special but with a walnut stock rather than one of beechwood) might be a better choice than the Ultra Lux. Honestly, I could be content with the Marlin 39A or either of the CZ 452 rifles with sights that I own.

wsm
March 11, 2011, 07:36 AM
For me it is the Browning BL22. Tack driver. Easily taken down for thorough cleaning. Fantastic action. AND, it handles shorts, longs, and long rifles, All at the same time if you want. Can't be beat IMHO!:D:D:D

ADKWOODSMAN
March 11, 2011, 09:14 AM
Of the guns recommended I agree with the Ruger 10-22 and the Marlin 39.

It took me many years to find a good used Remington Model 511 which is a clip fed bolt rifle. My neighbor had one when we were kids and when you aimed at it you killed it!

vaupet
March 11, 2011, 09:39 AM
I selected 3 .22 for myself:
an anschutz 64, 1974 model, bought used, excellent rifle
a marlin 39a : very nice plinker
a browning sa22: timeless Browning design, accurate, light and reliable

I don't own one but have nice experiences with a CZ: great bang for the buck

DM~
March 11, 2011, 11:40 AM
I hope you guys recommending the Marlin 39's, aren't recommending the NEW ones? They don't make a pimple on a dogs behind, compared to the older ones!


I own a Savage 24 in 22LR over .410, and I've yet to use the sights when shooting the shotgun.


Ever shoot any slugs through it? A gun for a "lifetime", SHOULD be ready for anything. I've owned several 24's over the years, not one of them shot both bbls to the sights. One put the shot pattern 12" off! A .410 is a poor choise to straddle a new shooter with!

BTW, when i was a kid i started out with a Savage 22/410 with the selector button on the side.

To the origional poster: The new bolt action Weatherby 22's are all Anschutz, except the stocks. A lifetime 22 is worth the $$ to pay the Anschutz or Wby. price! Like i said before, mines worth more now than when i bought it in the early 70's, and i'm sure it will still be going strong when i take my eternal dirt nap!

DM

Hoppes Love Potion
March 11, 2011, 12:20 PM
I was going to say, the new Marlins have quality control problems. There is much gnashing of teeth on the Marlin forums.

The Browning BL22 is a good choice. Also look at the Henrys. I think a tube-fed lever-action is a great choice for a lifetime .22. A single-shot is fine but has obvious limits. A lever-action hits the sweet spot for high capacity and quick follow-up shots. Plus, working the lever is just plain fun.

Picher
March 11, 2011, 12:22 PM
I've had two Marlin 39A's and think they are the epitome of the hunting .22LR. They are very accurate, much more so than any over-the-counter semi-auto and they're very easy to clean. They also don't get gunked-up like semi-autos and the tubular magazine works better than Ruger magazines in the long run.

Unfortunately, they can be expensive. I got my latest one at a "bargain" price, but it's not as well put-together as the older ones. I've had issues that I managed to correct, for the most part, but still am not happy with quality control on the newer 39A's.

Winchester 9422s are also very nice, though are getting even more expensive.

Henry levers don't seem to be as rugged and stable, especially for scope use.

Browning levers are nice, but a bit light for me.

CZ bolt guns are pretty nice and so are some of the new Savages, but I prefer a lever-action for follow-up shots on game, as necessary. Though not necessary with a rebounding hammer, it's nice to carry a lever rifle with an empty chamber in some circumstances, but quick to cycle the action as needed to both chamber and cock in one easy motion.

Geckgo
March 11, 2011, 12:47 PM
Go to the gunshop, handle some 22 BOLT actions. See which one you like. Bolts are easy to maintain, fun to shoot, great to learn on, and great for small game. My old man has a Ruger bolt action that he bought about 20 years ago, and NEVER cleaned (I get on him about cleaning his rifles all of the time). It still shoots perfect, and he's fed all kinds of crap ammo through it, I have too.

I was going to suggest a 20ga break action when I started reading your post, but you seem set on the 22LR, which is a great choice. Cheap, easy, efficient. Personally I own a 10/22 and love it, but I would not suggest an automatic action for a "forever" type of gun.

Also, get one with a wood stock that looks beautiful, so that it will be cherished and maintained. My 10/22 is a little cheezy looking but for the reasons I have it, it's fine. Your reasons seem to differ from mine, and I would suggest a beautiful gun. Any bolt action on the market should be great as far as workability and maintenence.

Just my two coppers

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