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Early .22 rimfire rifles - history

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by woof, May 20, 2009.

  1. woof

    woof Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2007
    central Ohio
    I'm looking for what were the first .22 rifles made, by whom, their operation, magazines etc. Anyone got a link for anything like that?
  2. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Senior Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    The first 22 rimfire firearms appeared from Smith & Wesson around 1858. All were simple handguns. Things really started taking off with the introduction of the 22 Long Rifle round, 1887 I think. Most development happened after the patents expired is my guess.

    Winchester made the Model 1873 in 22 rimfire (short I believe). It was in fact the first American made 22 repeating rifle.

    The first modern 22 rifles seemed to appear around 1890 (Winchester, Colt, Marlin, Browing etc.). There were several. Prior to that most rifles were single shots or non-repeating guns in 22.

    The bolt action design didn't happen unitl around 1883. There was probably a Mauser design by that time as well. The book by Wayne Van Zwoll, The Complete Book of the .22 is a good book reference.
  3. moewadle

    moewadle Member

    Mar 16, 2006
    At risk of repeating information

    Smith and Wesson developed, or at least invented, the .22 caliber rimfire around 1856. And the Stevens Company invented the .22 Long Rifle cartridge in about 1887. And, yes, some Winchester 73s were made in .22 caliber. The OP specified .22 but just for a comment...there were bigger caliber rimfires also. The Henry Rifle was powered by .44 rimfire I believe but then the Winchester Company, or someone, quickly developed a centerfire cartridge. I forget who came out with the .22 Long which is not a good cartridge and rarely, if ever, seen anymore. If you search you will find books on the .22 rimfire firearms as I have a couple of them downstairs in my gun books.
  4. Smith357

    Smith357 Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    Columbus, Ohio
    Depends on the ammo but $80 a brick for Eley Tenex or RWS R50 would be considered and outright a steal. High end target ammo often costs $150+ a brick.
  5. Onmilo

    Onmilo Senior Member

    Jul 26, 2004
    Stevens, Maynard, and Flobert are the earliest .22 rilfes I can think of right off the bat.
    All were initially chambered in .22 short, the Flobert introduced the breech ball loaded or "BB Cap" as we know it today.
    Maynard came up with the .22 long and extra long rimfire cartridges and Stevens perfected and popularized the .22 Long Rifle cartridge which utilized the heavier 40 grain bullet of the .22 extra long in the .22 Long cartridge by improving the powder composition to achieve even better ballistics than the .22 extra long maynard cartridge.
    Instant popularity and a cartridge that shooters were dependent on the ammo makers to provide!

    Saavy shooters kept to the .22 Winchester centerfire and .25/20 Winchester centerfire long after the rimfires began to dominate.

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