Best .22 Semi-Auto


Mad Jack McMad
January 27, 2013, 08:34 AM
I know, i know... It is probably a subject that has been hammered to smithereens and that the word "best" is a matter of opinion. Anyhow, i thought that a new thread once in a while is nice as firearms production changes overtime which might affect quality.

So my main requirements are: 22LR or 22WMR, semi-auto(obviously) and that it uses detachable magazines.

And as for best i mean most accurate and most reliable, preferably out of the box.

I have mostly been eyeing the Remington 597 and the Ruger 10/22 TD, but i have no experience with any auto-loading rifle so i don't really know what to choose.


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January 27, 2013, 08:52 AM
I have a Marlin model 60 and the Ruger 1022. I like the 60 over the 1022 even with the tube magazine. Reason being is it's a little more accurate then the Ruger and it's less expensive. The Model 60 is a fine rifle.
I have a Remington Field Master .22. It's a pump action, very accurate but it cost more than the Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60. It's a well built rifle.
The Ruger 10/22 WMR that I have seen go for top dollars. I don't think Ruger makes them anymore.
I have a Marlin 25MN WMR that shoots awesome but that's a bolt action.
CZ USA has a semi .22 WMR, but good luck finding one and they are expensive. From what I have been reading they are really good rifles.

January 27, 2013, 08:58 AM

I think many will agree that the Marlin 60 and Ruger 10/22 share that title. Since you want semi-auto, then the Marlin 795 can take the 60's place. Same thing, but detachable magazine vs. tube magazine. I personally like the Marlin better than any other semi-auto .22LR I've owned. It's lighter, a little more reliable, and more accurate than a stock the 10/22. Of course, the 10/22 dominates in aftermarket parts, so they can be heavily modified and be very accurate shooters. The Ruger comes in a .22LR and .22WMR version, where the Marlin is .22LR only.

Just my $0.02...

Aix sponsa
January 27, 2013, 09:02 AM
There's quite a few great .22s out there. I have a Remington 552 speedmaster and I have a field master pump. I really love my 552 for hunting. It's a tack driver, and I have a second shot without having to make noise or move to pump it. It's tube fed, you have 16 shots, and that's just right for squirrel hunting. I have one, and my dad has one. Our rifles both hold GREAT groups at 50 yards. With quality ammo, like CCI, 3 shot groups inside of a quarter at 50 yards is the norm. The gun is accurate, reliable, and 16 rounds is just right for squirrel hunting and plinking. It's a real tack driver.

Another gun that I like is the 10/22. I really like the fact that it can take 25+ round mags, and I really like its iron sites, too.

I'm not going to bad mouth a Remington 597, but I will say that I have heard others complain about its magazine reliability more than once.

There are many out there, but my first choice for hunting is the 552, and the 10/22 for having fun. As always, find the ammo that your particular gun really likes and stick with it.

January 27, 2013, 09:17 AM
Thompson Center R55 is worth a look

January 27, 2013, 09:52 AM
I used to have a Steyr M9 pistol. One of the first models and it shot very well. Problem was you could barely find any accessories for it. I hated that about that gun so I ended up getting a Glock and couldn't be happier. Any time I want to get something or try something with it, I can easily find an assortment of parts/accessories.

Ever since that lesson was learned, I make sure that not only is it a good gun, but that I can also get accessories for it, even if I don't want them right now. With that in mind, I would (and have) get the Ruger 10/22. It's a great rifle out of the box and should you ever decide to change anything about it, you will have a plethora of vendors to choose from.

January 27, 2013, 10:12 AM
I have a Marlin mod 60 from the early 80's. It is the most accurate gun i own. The mod 60 starts having feeding issues if it gets dirty. Otherwise the mod 60 is a reliable gun. I have owned a Marlin 795. I had 2 many 22's so i got rid of it. It was a reliable and accurate gun. A good deal for <$150.

I have a S&W15-22. The 15-22 is one of the best guns i own. It is always reliable and almost as accurate as the mod 60. This has become my favorit gun. I have started using it for squirrel hunting replacing the mod 60. Mainly because of reliability. The 15-22 has never failed to feed or fire.

January 27, 2013, 10:26 AM
Ruger 10/22 Target model with stainless steel bull barrel.

January 27, 2013, 12:57 PM
For detachable mag .22 autoloaders, the Remington 597 gets my vote.

January 27, 2013, 01:12 PM
Do some of the Ruger 10/22 models come with better triggers from the factory? I finally worked on my 10/22 trigger and it's bearable now. I don't recall my 1978 vintage 10/22 being so bad.

Most of my experience with 22s is on old Mossberg bolt guns that have fine triggers so I can't tell you about modern semis except for my personal Ruger. As shipped in ~ 1998 the trigger was garbage. Obviously the Ruger has exceptional aftermarket support, so with time and money, the sky is the limit.

January 27, 2013, 02:01 PM
I like my 795. Worked great out of the box, will do one ragged hole all day long at 25 yards. Only thing I did was add some tech sights and have a couple mags stuck on the butt.

January 27, 2013, 04:02 PM
Over the years I have owned 3 Marlin 60's 1 Ruger 10/22 and 1 Remington 597, I have also shot at least 2 more of each that belong to others. All of them are good, all of them put out a lemon now and then. With all that said I have keep my 597 longer than all others put together, it is just a little better than the others in every way. If I had never shot a 597 I might have been happy with a 10/22 but I will never know because I bought them at the same time in 1998.

January 27, 2013, 05:00 PM
For me this starts and ends with the Ruger 10/22

its been around forever

TONS of magazines and accessories available for it

you make it what you want, wood stock, rubber whatever you want

I am lusting hard over the new 10/22 breakdown model

All that being said my 10/22 doesn't make it to the range as often at my Marlin 795 but I cant find reliable mags over 10 rounds for that one.

January 27, 2013, 07:28 PM
Best .22 Semi-Auto

To me "best" rarely means a factory gun, so i'd have to check out the customs and buy what fits my needs best.

"Custom" will mean a much better trigger and much better accuracy too, and i like both of those features. To me, they are worth paying more to get them!


January 27, 2013, 07:41 PM
"Best" implies top dog......that would have to be a Volquartsen.

January 27, 2013, 07:59 PM
Marlin 795 since you want a box mag. There's a lot of bang for not much bucks in these rifles.

I prefer the M 60 and own two. I shoot them from a bench often and I'm always amazed at the accuracy (with ammo that it likes).

Going up in price is the Browning SA22. This is a John Browning design that's been made since about 1914. Many of the older ones were made in Belgium and are very desirable. I'm not sure how long they have been made in Japan. Do not discount the Japan made guns, they are very high quality with great blue and high gloss wood. If you look around you'll find some of the engraved models costing in the thousands. The only thing about the SA22 is it's small size, some might feel they are too small. A good used one might be $450-750.

Expect to have to work on the trigger on any semi auto under $250.

January 27, 2013, 08:59 PM
The first rifle I ever got was a Marlin 60 back in 1969. I put so many rounds through it that the feed ramp wore out and the barrel came loose. That was probably around 10,000 rounds. I had to take the scope off and use the iron sights because of the loose barrel. Then I had a gunsmith replace the feed ramp and re-peen the barrel. Shoots as good as ever. I have a three 10-22s in various states of modification, and the one with a match barrel is slightly more accurate, but it is not as reliable.

loose noose
January 27, 2013, 10:30 PM
Ruger 10-22 hands down as I've had all the others, and worked on some of the other ones mentioned. Very accurate and very dependable.

January 28, 2013, 10:19 PM
CZ511 for the 22LR and CZ611 (not the 611A) for the 22 mag. I have yet to see a CZ 512, but it is available in either caliber.

January 29, 2013, 10:43 AM
Kidd 10/22 will be right at the top when your talking top notch 10/22's

This is my Kidd that is a work in progress. Kidd barrel and bolt. PC adj trigger will be replaced with one of Kidds triggers.

Fred in Wisc
January 29, 2013, 10:53 AM
The old Weatherby Mark 22 is a sweet gun. But it's not common or cheap, a nice one will run you about $600-800 usually.

My favorite inexpensive new .22 is the Remington 597. Highly recommend the Volq target hammer, it improves the trigger tremendously for about $40.

January 29, 2013, 01:24 PM
10-22's are great, the Marlin 795s are cheaper I believe (got both of mine for $99 each). The best for me is the M&P15-22 though.

January 29, 2013, 01:42 PM
if you want an accurate out of the box gun, the 10/22 isn't top of the list unless you buy the 10/22-T Target model. That said, its quite easy and affordable to mod a 10/22 to make it shoot tighter groups.

Roadking Rider
January 29, 2013, 01:42 PM
I don't know about best, but the Ruger 10/22 is loved by many and have been passed down from one generation to another. That's got to tell you something about there long term reliability and overall value.
Same exact thing could be said for Rugers 22 caliber MK series of pistols.

January 29, 2013, 02:43 PM
552 Speedmaster Great gun I had one also it is a real tack driver.

January 29, 2013, 03:00 PM
I have a lot of experience with various .22 mag-fed semi autos, being an Appleseed Shoot Boss, and having owned and shot quite a few myself. My vote would be for the 10/22. Preferably an older one. The older the better. The new ones are as reliable as ever, but the finish isn't very good quality (at least on the base model carbines) and the trigger pull is terrible. They have some upper scale models like the Deluxe and International that have better finish and come with rubber butt pads, sling swivels, etc., but the new factory triggers are universally atrocious.

My Dad bought a Marlin 795, and while it was cheaper than the Ruger, it took a lot of work to make it work as well. It had a bad stovepiping problem until I polished the feed ramp and inside of the receiver. From the many reports of similar feeding issues I have read, I am not the only one to experience this problem. Also the Ruger comes with a picatinny mount from the factory, while the Marlin just has a dovetail mount. We kept having trouble with scope rings sliding rearward on the Marlin after prolonged range sessions, so we had to shell out the bucks for a picatinny mount. Plus, there is just no mistaking that you are shooting a .22 when you are shooting the Marlin. It comes with a narrow, flimsy plastic stock, as compared to the more substantial wood stock that is standard on the Ruger. Another annoying feature about the Marlin is that it has a mag disconnect. This makes it hard to dry fire, which is something that is very important to building good fundamentals.

The Ruger may have a terrible factory trigger pull, but that is easily remedied by an inexpensive target sear from Volquartsen. At least they generally run reliably out of the box. As for accuracy, the base carbines are typically are capable of 2 MOA or so in factory configuration. If this isn't good enough for you, it can be improved by the many aftermarket barrels, stocks, trigger groups, and other parts that are made for the Ruger.

January 29, 2013, 06:33 PM
It's a SAD day when a rifle is called "best" and "recommended" because you can spend money on it, making it the way it SHOULD HAVE BEEN from the factory!!

"If" it can be "fixed" so easily and cheaply, then it should have come with those FIXES already in place!


Cee Zee
January 29, 2013, 06:58 PM
"Best" implies top dog......that would have to be a Volquartsen.

Bingo! A Marlin 60 is much better rifle than a 10/22 out of the box IMO. But a Ruger designed, custom rifle - including those built and sold as a different model but based on the 10/22 - can certainly be the best by far. It won't be cheap but it will be good, accurate and reliable.

My second choice would be a T/C model (Classic or R55) but of course they are out of production. There could still be new old stock out there somewhere.

January 29, 2013, 07:04 PM
I really like the Remington 597s - enough so that I have replaced two 10/22s with them. They feel heftier to me and I like the stock open sights much better than what most base .22s get. Only one of them came with the iffy 2nd generation magazines, Remington must have sold a whole bunch during those couple of years because it's still heard about. Out of the box they all shoot as well as my brother's modified 10/22. To be fair I did add a Volquartsen trigger and extractor to each of them, the last one was switched before I ever fired it. Great upgrade for both the 597 and the 10/22 BTW. Anyway that's my preference but you can't go wrong with a 10/22 or a Marlin either.

January 29, 2013, 08:07 PM
Gotta love 'em.
Relatively inexpensive
Well supported in the after-market/parts world
Not the least bit finnicky
Tack driving Micro-Groove barrel
Easily loaded/unloaded
Quiet operation (long barrel/low vel ammo)
Very easy to prettify for the hobbyist

January 29, 2013, 08:33 PM
My Marlin model 60 and my daughter's Marlin 795 are both very accurate. My most accurate .22 is a Browning SA22. It is also the prettiest of our bunch.

I consider the Browning to be my best .22 semiauto.


January 30, 2013, 01:18 AM
As an owner and "parent" of a 10/22 project, a 10/22 should be bought because you want the experience of developing it yourself. If you simply want the "best" in a single purchase, look elsewhere. Besides, you'll end up spending at least as much improving the 10/22 up to the standards of other's as paying for the higher end up front.

January 30, 2013, 03:29 PM
Search for best and you will never find it. Search a good or very good choice and there are options. A Ruger 10-22 won't disappoint. Most are capable of 1" groups at 25 yards. Most can't do that with iron sights.

January 30, 2013, 03:54 PM
I would suggest a S&W M&P 15-22. It was the first .22 rifle I owned and I traded it for an AR15 almost a year ago because it was too good of a deal to pass by. I did always regret getting rid of it just because it was so fun to shoot. On a whim one day I decided to pick up a Ruger 10/22 from Walmart when they were on sale for like $180 bux. I figured why not since I still had a bunch of bricks left over from when I traded my 15-22. While I have nothing bad to say about the Ruger since they hold up to their reputation and building a great firearm, it was just not as fun to shoot. The 15-22 is just as accurate as the Ruger and functions just the same. I like the 15-22 because out of the box, you already have the ability to accessorize and customize it, it is easier to clean, already comes with a high capacity magazine, and it feels more like a rifle while the 10/22 felt really small in my hands. I traded the 10/22 and a few bux for another 15-22 and I havent looked back. I have put easily 5000 rounds through it and not a jam yet :).

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Big JJ
January 30, 2013, 10:34 PM
Marlin model 60 and Marlin model 795.
I own both and they both shoot great.
I have shot a lot of Ruger 10/22 guns. You can’t go wrong with it either.
I prefer the Marlin 795 for carrying in the woods because it is light as a feather.
Now mind you there are more accurate 22LR’s out there however you can pay well over 10 times more for some of them.
It kind of just depends on what you want the gun for.

January 31, 2013, 07:39 PM
My Ruger 10/22 outshoots my Marlin 795 by a good margin. Some others mentioned are good shooters. The Remington 597 have had issues but I hear they are very accurate. I have not shot one.

Cee Zee
January 31, 2013, 09:51 PM
My Ruger 10/22 outshoots my Marlin 795 by a good margin.

Every rifle is an individual and we should never forget that. Just because my Marlins shoot better than any unmodified Ruger I've ever seen it doesn't mean they will all do that. I've seen Rugers that shoot very well without modifications and I've seen Marlins that didn't shoot well at all. But for the most part between a Marlin and a Ruger semi-auto my experience is the Marlins shoot better a big majority of the time.

Mad Jack McMad
February 1, 2013, 01:31 PM
Bought the Ruger 10/22 Takedown, it felt kind of nice and seems easy to clean:rolleyes:

February 1, 2013, 02:19 PM
I'm a Marlin 60 guy too. The gun was accurate out of the box. The action is reliable and can go quite a few hundred rounds without a thorough cleaning. It may not be as customizable as a 10/22 but I did decide it might be fun to upgrade anyway. I threw in an aftermarket spring kit that really did wonders for the trigger pull (and there are other kits that can really lighten things up). I added a Boyd's RVT stock, and a Sweet 22 scope on one piece UTG rings (that are rock solid) and the gun is now even better. I just hope my new CZ is as accurate (if temps ever get above freezing and these winds die down I will find out.)

Odd Job
February 1, 2013, 02:30 PM
Thompson Center R55 is worth a look

In principle I agree: out of the box the R55 Benchmark is great. I have two of them, one is factory spec and the other has a slightly smoothed trigger, Harris bipod and a suppressor. This one here has more than 16k rounds through it and is 6 years old:

The problem is, Smith and Wesson bought T/C and they don't sell spares for the R55 Benchmark. If you happen to send your R55 in for repairs and they can't cannibalize the necessary parts from another second hand returned rifle, you are going to be out of luck.

They will honour the T/C lifetime warranty by sending you a brand new S&W M&P 15/22 instead.

The R55 is a great rifle (I've researched it a lot and I think you are going to have the best reliability from the Benchmark version) but you need to know you will be buying it second hand in all probability and you will have much less support from the manufacturer than a rifle in current production.

February 1, 2013, 02:58 PM
I have a couple Marlin 60, a couple Marlin 795s, a Remington 597, a bunch of other Remingtons and several Ruger 10/22s. The most versatile and my favorite is the 10/22.

Cee Zee
February 2, 2013, 09:21 AM
The problem is, Smith and Wesson bought T/C...

Yeah they bummed me out buying T/C. I came very, very close to getting a T/C right before that all happened and I'm glad I didn't now even though I really wanted one. I wouldn't want to count on the second hand support situation they have now.

ole farmerbuck
February 2, 2013, 09:46 AM
I have a couple of Marlin 60's, a couple of 10-22's and others but the Magnum Research I just got will (and should) out shoot them all. Of course I could buy 2.5 10-22's for what the Mag Research cost.

February 2, 2013, 10:46 AM
Anyone have experience with the Browning 22 semi-auto? They seem to be high quality rifles.

February 2, 2013, 10:58 AM
Best? Holy buckets, there's a big question there!

Lots and lots of good info here already. It really comes down to what you want to do and how much you want to spend. My advice would be set the budget after some minimal research (i.e. can you afford this hobby at all), and then stick to it. Pretty much all of them shoot well, at least for some people, and the highest performing rimfires costs are in line with a post-panic AR. :what:

1. 10/22 - the Barbie Doll of the rimfire world. Zillions out there, and more after market custom widgets than you can shake a stick all.
2. Marlin/Stevens Mod 60 - classic buy it and shoot it. Accurate, fun, reliable, and low cost.
3. Remington models - see #'s 1 and 2 above. Tons of options for the 597, plus other models.
4. CZ - what's not to like? Fantastic guns, right from the factory.

I could on (and on and on and on), but you get the point. There are a lot of them, and they are all good. Maybe start with the budget, then try to find a few and handle them. Try the feel of the stock, cheek weld, trigger pull (don't from anywhere that won't let you dry fire), sight picture, etc.

February 2, 2013, 11:26 PM
Ruger 10/22 heavy/target barrel

February 2, 2013, 11:29 PM
Model 60 or a 500 series Remington.

February 3, 2013, 11:00 AM
Best one I've owned is a Remington 552 Speedmaster - good capacity, excellent accuracy and great reliability, as long as you don't feed it Remington ammo.

February 3, 2013, 11:04 AM
You asked for the best and those that told you Volquartsen told you the truth! The rest have never shot one or owned one. I have owned and shot the REm. 597 and still own a Ruger 10/22 and both will get the job done but neither are the quality of the Volquartsen because it's a custom built rifle. I have killed thousands of Nutria,Ground Hogs, Foxes,and other varmints with Volquartsen 22mag & 22LR rifles which are exteremly accurate and well built. By the time you get a Ruger 10/22 and customize it you will find that you should of just saved a gotten the Volquartsen anyway,just my .02 from experiance.:banghead:

February 3, 2013, 11:15 AM
You can buy a complete rifle from Kidd or from Volquartsen. Having parts from both, the VC stuff seems more mass produced whereas the Kidd seems more Swiss watch maker-like quality. Both are known to shoot as good as one can expect from a semi-auto rimfire (i.e. better than most shooters).

February 3, 2013, 11:38 AM
I personally keep going back to the Marlins, but I concede that the 10/22 is hard to beat in terms of value, reliability, and parts availability.

ole farmerbuck
February 3, 2013, 11:47 AM
I bought a new Marlin 60 stainless the other day but it wont cycle with Wolf ammo. No problems with the 10-22's.

February 3, 2013, 11:54 AM
It's a SAD day when a rifle is called "best" and "recommended" because you can spend money on it, making it the way it SHOULD HAVE BEEN from the factory!!

I own both a Ruger 10/22 and a Marlin bolt action 22 mag. Both are excelent shooters and both very accurate.

Which is "better" is hard to say, but with Marlin being sold to the Remington group, I would not trust them for customer service on anything. So I just need to keep my Marlin in tip top shape, and no I would not buy another Marlin today (I have two).

I would go with the Ruger, their support is 1,000 percent better, as well as quality on todays guns. There are over 5,000,000 10/22's sold, they must be doing something right.


February 3, 2013, 12:10 PM
Why the Ruger 10/22 of course! For the money it is a hard rifle to beat. Mine went nearly 20 years without a "proper" cleaning and worked like a charm that entire time.

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