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7 Best .22 LR Rifles

pile of .22 LR ammo

.22 LR rifles are great for a number of uses, like small-game hunting, target shooting, training new shooters and plinking at the range.

.22 LR ammo is cheap and recoil is almost non-existent. Whatever your purpose, having a good .22 LR rifle is an asset.

However, with so many on the market, how do you know what .22 LR rifle is for you?

If you choose one of the firearms on this list, you’re sure to have a high quality and fun .22 LR rifle.

1. Ruger 10/22 Takedown

Any list of the best .22 LR rifles wouldn’t be complete without the beloved and ever-popular Ruger 10/22 in one of its various forms.

I’ve selected the 10/22 Takedown, but you can opt for the standard model as well.

The Takedown model can be quickly separated in half for easy transportation and storage.

All Ruger 10/22 variations are accurate and reliable semi-auto .22 LR rifles that are great for plinking and small-game hunting.

The 10/22 also offers a host of magazine options, from compact 10-rounders to 25-round sticks and 50-round drums.

Additionally, no other .22 LR rifle on this list has the same amount of aftermarket support for everything from replacement sights to stock chassis.

This allows you to truly customize your Ruger 10/22 and make it your own.

Personally, my favorite 10/22 Takedown upgrade is the Magpul Backpacker stock that allows the barrel to store attached to the stock.

Action: Semi-Automatic
MSRP: $439.00

Ruger 10/22 Takedown best .22 LR rifles

2. S&W M&P15-22 Sport

For shooters with more tactical tastes, the Smith and Wesson M&P15-22 Sport provides a great platform to fire .22 LR.

The M&P15-22 has the same features and battery of arms as a standard AR-15 rifle, so it makes a great training aid.

Practice your mag changes, malfunction clearance drills and trigger control on a platform that translates directly to your main AR-15.

It incorporates an M-Lok handguard to attach any standard AR-15 accessories and has a six-position stock to create that perfect fit.

Further, the receiver has a top rail for mounting optics and a threaded barrel to attach a suppressor or flash hider.

Constructed of lightweight polymer receivers, this .22 LR rifle is easy to tote around.

Action: Semi-Automatic
MSRP: $536.00

S&W M&P15-22 Sport best .22 LR rifles

3. Savage Mark II FV-SR

For target shooting and small-game hunting, the Savage Mark II FV-SR offers outstanding performance.

This bolt-action rifle utilizes a heavy threaded barrel to provide consistent shot placement round after round.

A heavy barrel is less susceptible to flex and takes longer to heat up, helping to keep your shots on target for longer.

Additionally, an optics rail makes mounting a scope or optic a breeze, whether you’re looking for a red dot or a magnified scope.

The rifle is fed through a detachable box magazine that holds five rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammunition.

The Mark II FV-SR also features a user-adjustable Savage AccuTrigger, allowing shooters to fine-tune their trigger pull for a crisp and clean break.

Action: Bolt-Action
MSRP: $279.00

Savage Mark II FV-SR

4. Christensen Arms Ranger 22

This next option is the most expensive on the list, but it provides exceptional performance and match-grade accuracy.

Built from the ground up as a precision bolt-action rifle platform, the Ranger 22 has it all and delivers the goods. 

The Christensen Arms Ranger 22 has a hand-lapped barrel with a match chamber, and the company guarantees it to shoot sub-MOA at 50 yards.

The carbon-fiber composite stock and carbon-fiber wrapped barrel is not only stylish, it makes this rifle lightweight and easy to carry.

The Ranger 22 is compatible with Ruger 10/22 magazines and utilizes a Trigger Tech Remington 700 trigger.

Further, dual ejectors and dual opposing locking lugs provide an extremely durable and reliable action.

This is an excellent .22 LR rifle and if you’re going to be doing some serious target shooting, this is the one for you.

Action: Bolt-Action
MSRP: $795.00

Christensen Arms Ranger 22

5. CZ USA 457 Scout

The CZ 457 is purpose-built for training new shooters and hunters. My favorite models are the Scout and Precision.

It includes an adapter to make the bolt-action rifle a single-shot, but can also be configured to use detachable CZ 455 box magazines.

The Scout model features a Beechwood stock and adjustable iron sights, and the Precision model features an AR-15 style adjustable stock.

Either option is equipped with a rock-solid receiver that is machined with an integral 11mm optics mount with a 60-degree bolt lift to give you a wide range of optic choices.

The CZ 457 has an adjustable trigger, so you can really dial the rifle in to your specific preferences.

This rifle is not only great for training new shooters, it is also a blast to use at the range or small-game hunting.

Action: Bolt-Action
MSRP: $475.00

CZ 457 Scout

6. Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle

The Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle is similar to the Ruger 10/22 Takedown, in that it can be separated into multiple parts for easy storage and transport.

However, the AR-7 is designed with a synthetic stock that provides storage for the barrel and action when disassembled.

The stock also has room to store additional eight-round magazines and .22 LR ammunition.

This is a great choice for a bug-out situation and it easily fits inside a backpack.

The rifle features a steel barrel with an ABS plastic cover and teflon coating.

There are also camouflage versions that are great for blending in to the environment.

Additionally, the AR-7 includes an adjustable peep rear sight and blade front sight.

Action: Semi-Automatic
MSRP: $319.00

Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle

7. Marlin Model 60

The Marlin Model 60 has been one of the most popular small-caliber rimfire rifles for over 50 years!

Great for beginners and experienced shooters alike, the Marlin Model 60 has many of the classic features you’d expect on a traditional rifle, like the walnut Monte Carlo stock and blued steel.

This American classic sports hair-splitting accuracy, rugged reliability and sleek lines.

The Model 60 incorporates a last-round bolt hold-open feature, as well as a 14-round tube magazine.

Additionally, the adjustable rear and ramp front sighting setup are easy to learn, and the cross-bolt manual safety is great for training new shooters or when transporting your rifle while out small-game hunting.

Action: Semi-Automatic
MSRP: $279.99

Marlin Model 60 best .22 LR rifles

How to Choose a .22 Rifle

Picking a .22 rifle will be largely dependent on your purpose for the rifle.

If you want a fun plinker for the range, a standard Ruger 10/22 or Marlin Model 60 are good options.

For more serious target shooting or small-game hunting, the Christensen Arms Ranger 22 or the Savage Mark II FV-SR are top choices.

If you’re looking for a good survival rifle for your bug-out bag, the 10/22 Takedown or Henry AR-7 are the clear winners.

Finally, the CZ 457 Scout and Keystone Crickett rifles are great for training new shooters and children on the fundamentals of shooting.

.22 LR caliber ammo and target

Why Buy a .22 LR Rifle?

Having a good .22 LR rifle can be useful for a number of reasons. Primarily, a .22 rifle is fun and inexpensive to shoot.

If you love firearms, then you likely love shooting, and having a good .22 allows you to shoot more for less.

The .22 Long Rifle is also useful for hunting small game and varmints, as well as critter and pest control around the property.

A .22 LR rifle will also do for self-defense in a pinch (though it is not optimal), especially if you cannot make accurate hits with a larger caliber.

Finally, another great reason for owning a .22 rifle is for teaching young or new shooters.

The .22 LR is not too loud and has little recoil, making it a great option to train marksmanship fundamentals.

Six old .22 caliber bullets on a blue bandana

Conclusion: Best .22 LR Rifles

.22 LR rifles are great for target shooting, training new shooters, small-game hunting and plinking at the range.

They’re lightweight, have little recoil and the ammunition is inexpensive.

Whatever your intended purpose, if you choose any of the firearms on this list, you are sure to have one of the best .22 LR rifles.

What do you think are the best .22 LR rifles? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a relatively young firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting consistently for around seven years. Though he is fairly new to the industry, he loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related.

Alex tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills. He also enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and to keep them properly cleaned and maintained. He installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn.

Additionally, he is very into buying, selling and trading guns to test different firearms and learn more about them. He is not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (31)

  1. SCOTT— The 17 HMR had the usual issues of any semi-automatic 17 HMR or 22 Magnum. Feeding issues due to the balancing act of designing a blowback semi automatic rifle. Bolt weight/spring pressure.
    I wouldn’t care if I had to single-shot it, a 17 HMR Ruger carbine would be cool.

  2. “Ruger actually did manufacture the 10-22 in 22 Magnum & 17 HMR. You can find them for sale online. I remember seeing them for sale at Walmart & I have since looked them up. They do exist, but get you billfold fattened up for the kill”
    I
    I guess they didn’t sell enough of them to make it worthwhile. I kind of like 17 HMR. It isn’t too expensive and usually is readily available. It also has a lot better range and trajectory than 22 LR. I have a CZ 455 in 22LR that I also got a 17 HMR barrel for but haven’t made the swap yet. I’m hoping to be able to do it without taking it to a gunsmith but that depends on the head spacing. CZ made it sound like an easy swap. What they didn’t tell you was that you had to buy the rifle with both barrels. When I got the 17 HMR barrel they had a note in the box saying it might need to be machined to get the head spacing correct.

  3. SCOTT—-Ruger actually did manufacture the 10-22 in 22 Magnum & 17 HMR. You can find them for sale online. I remember seeing them for sale at Walmart & I have since looked them up. They do exist, but get you billfold fattened up for the kill.

  4. I like 22 Magnum much better than 22 LR for several reasons. Mainly, if I can fire a 22 LR in an area, no reason I couldn’t be hunting with a 22 Magnum. I had my Ruger Wrangler rechambered in 22 Magnum & it actually improved the accuracy. Opposite of what I expected.

  5. I own a 22 magnum Henry silver boy love this rifle shoots so well and smooth I like it better than a 22 lr it’s got a little more power

  6. Thanks to Scott for answering my question! I have several .22 LR weapons in our survival kits. I just think .22 WMR would be better for self defense applications.

  7. “I always wondered why Ruger does not make a 10-22 in .22 WMR? Kel-Tec is profiting from multiple weapons in this caliber!”

    It’s probably because it would require a lot of re-engineering of the rotary magazine and possibly the receiver because of the longer round. It’s a lot easier with tube fed lever actions – you just have less rounds in the tube and need to change a few of the loading parts out.

  8. Ruger 10-22 Takedown and wood stock, Henry Ar-7 and Marlin 60, we have a nice assortment of .22 LR long guns. I also picked up a Ruger 22/45 and Sentinel revolver. I always wondered why Ruger does not make a 10-22 in .22 WMR? Kel-Tec is profiting from multiple weapons in this caliber!

  9. Any of the Henry 22’s are good as they shoot all three types of 22 ammo, long rifle, long and short plus they are accurate and easy to maintain.

  10. Any good bolt/ pump/ lever is a must as these will shoot anything in the .22LR family! A good revolver for the same reason.

    Auto loaders are great have several of different makes. It boils down to what you like, and need

  11. I would agree with everything said but would comment that next to a bolt action platform, a lever-action such as a Marlin 39 or 39A is the way to go. I own at least one of every rifle commented on. That said for a semi-auto platform a Ruger 10/22 is hard to beat, if you can justify the $$, a Magnum Research .22MRF is a more versatile platform, giving you the option of shooting 22 magnum. Have fun, be safe and shoot straight.

  12. Marlin 39A, got this back in the early 60’s and still a fun gun go shoot and really accurate.

  13. I have a Ruger 10/22 with a Polish style folding stock and a Henry AR-7. Both are great and give me tight groups.
    My wife has a Henry Level Action Model H001 that also should be on this list. It also delivers tight groups.
    I also have a Remington 597 that came with a scope. It also delivers tight groups, until you get the barrel hot from having too much fun shooting.

  14. WHAT AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE AND EVALUATION OF 22LR WEAPONS. NATURALLY I HAVE SHOT MANY MORE 22LR’s THAN I OWN. MY FAVORITE AFTER MANY YEARS CONTINUES TO BE THE MARLIN M60. THE RUGER 10/22 IS MY CLOSE SECOND FAVORITE. IF I HAD TO PICK ONE CALIBER ABOVE ALL OTHERS, IT WOULD BE THE 22LR. THANKS AGAIN FOR THE GREAT ARTICLE.

  15. I have a Ruger takedown and a Henry Survival . Both are excellent rifles for the price. The Henry is my favorite of the two because I can carry it in my truck, put it together, and shoot armadillos at my farm. It takes any type of .22 ammo without fail.

  16. Had a Ruger 10-22 years ago… not bad but stock a bit wide. Too bad my GF’s (at the time) brother decided he needed it more than I did. 25 years later and neither he nor that rifle have been seen or heard from since. Oh well.

    So 20 years ago I purchased an Savage 64F, added a BSA 3×9-40 optic. $109 for the rifle back then and still about the same price now. Somewhere in the neighborhood of around 10k rounds later and it’s still performing quite well. Never had any trouble with the magazine like the new versions are apparently having. A bit surprised that it wasn’t on the list, especially considering the price and out of the box accuracy.

    One that should never be on any “good” list is the Mossberg 702 Plinkster… wife and I picked one up about 10 years ago. She didn’t like my Savage but for some reason she liked the Mossberg… her birthday so I purchased it despite my objections.
    Did it function? Yeah… and that’s about it. It wasn’t all that accurate… and felt CHEAP AS S***. Super flimsy feeling plastic, fit and finish left a lot to be desired… it really felt like a cheap toy.

    Pop and one of my brothers have the Marlin model 60… those are pretty dang good, not surprised to see them on the list at all. Too bad the price has gone up by a pretty good amount.

  17. I still have my old Marlin Glenfield model 60 I received for my ,16th Birthday it finally stopped feeding properly a few years back, but was always a good shooter.
    But without a doubt the Ruger 10/22 can’t be beat, there’s a wide variety of options and accessories available, the best thing being of modular design ! As far as accessories go Ruger even produces their own light target trigger, or if one prefers Timney sells an awesome trigger, there’s also a wide variety of custom barrels and stocks, but I prefer sticking to stock Sturm Ruger Magazines available in 10, 15 & 25 round capacities !
    My other favorite 22 is an old single shot bolt action, I can feed that thing shorts, longs, long rifle and even shot shells, being a single shot makes it the best for teaching the kids how to shoot, patients one shot, one kill, discipline !

  18. It won’t happen,but I wish Remington would bring back the Nylon series 66,77,76,11[even though that isn’t lefthanded].Good sight,tang safety,good trigger.Disassembly was a pain but essentially you didn’t need to!Out shot the 10/22.For a time there was a Brazilian copy.

  19. Winchester Model 141 bolt action, tubular magazine in the buttstock, S/L/LR, & a little Tasco 3X-9X20mm scope. Cheaply made with a cigarette-sized bolt, but same-hole accuracy with any ammunition, from CB Caps to CCI STINGER. The Winchester Mansion should be over-ran with spirit gophers & snakes just from this 1 rifle alone.

  20. The CZ 22’s always seemed to shoot well, I’ve had 5 or 6 over the years. Recently acquired a Tikka 22lr that shoots 10 shot groups at 50 yds in the .25 to .375 inch range. My CZ 455 doesn’t do that at 25 yds. The Tikka shoots groups, the CZ shoots patterns…

  21. As for Leftys and lever actions, it is hard to beat the Browning BL-22, nice for new shooters because the trigger goes with the lever (no pinched fingers), and the lever only strokes about 30degrees, making it easier for both young and old. It is also about as accurate as a fine tuned laser.

    Another for Leftys is: The “frame” style bolt actions, like the Ruger Precision, where a Lefty can work the bolt with the weak hand, AND not remove the thumb knuckle of the control hand, like on a standard right hand bolt action, although best done using a bipod. The length of pull, and drop of comb is VERY adjustable, AND simple to do, instead of a kid having to “fit” to an adult size firearm (even though it does that too). The “frame” styles are almost as easy to “personalize” as an AR, and has the benefits of “teaching” GOOD habits of aim and control FIRST, instead of just dumping magazine, like in the movies. One company even offers LEFT-HAND vertical grips, with left side thumb rest. Ambidextrous AR Safeties can be swapped out. Bushnell made, and I don’t know why they stopped, a Ballistic Compensating Dial (BCD) scope for the .22LR.

  22. I have several .22 LR’s in my arsenal. My go to is the Ruger 10/22 with a Composite stock and a 3-9x scope; real nice little tack driver and fun to shoot. It is death on raccoons and other varmints that interfere with life out in the woods. For those who have never had the experience, raccoon makes a really good pulled meat in the crockpot with the right seasonings and barbecue sauce. I cannot complain about armadillo either, but, IMO, there is no way to get possum to be palatable. If you shoot a skunk, (they are not bad either) make sure it is a head shot to the base of the skull. Anywhere else, and you will not want to get close enough to skin and dress it out. Just wear gloves when dressing all of these critters out, they can all carry diseases that you don’t want and cooking will kill all of them.

    I also have a couple of single shot bolt actions, one I got when my dad died and it is not in good shape, I want to say it is a JCHiggins that my dad got from either a Sears or Wards catalog back in ’61, I believe it was, that was when you could still buy them from the catalogs without all the paperwork. It is not a tack driver and never really was. The other single shot .22 is a Daisy that I bought to teach my kids and more than one friends’ kids to shoot. Very good starter rifle.

    I also have a Stevens .22 semi auto that has a broken handle that my dad never bothered to fix. It has been broken for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid and he would take us out shooting, he would use a stubby Phillips screwdriver to charge it. I don’t really shoot that one, either.

    Some years ago, I bought a CMMG AR Conversion kit and I have been known to take it out in the woods with me on occasion, and it has been used to dispatch raccoons that are getting into our deer feeders and put meat in the crockpot. That is another gun that is fun to shoot as it is an AR that uses .22 LR shells, a whole lot cheaper to shoot than using .223 or 5.56 ammo.

  23. I have or had several from this list. I have 2 10/22s Takedowns – one pretty much stock and one where the only original part is the receiver. I also have a CZ 455. I had a S&W M&P 15-22 but It fairly got through a magazine without jamming so i sold that one. What is missing here is the Henry Goldenboy – probably the most fun shooting .22 out there and quite accurate too.

  24. I have a S&W M&P 15-22 and it’s the best .22 rifle I’ve ever owned. It feeds every type of ammo I feed it and never jams. I also own a Ruger 10-22 carbine. It’s a great rifle when used wit the 10 round magazine. I have several Ruger BX-25 magazines and they are the worst magazine I’ve ever used. I have yet to fire 25 rounds with them without getting a FTF or FTE. I’ve also used the BX-25 magazines in my Ruger American Rimfire and never had a problem with any feeding or extraction mainly because it’s a bolt action rifle.

  25. The most popular.22s used at the National Matches at Camp Perry are the Ruger 10/22 and the CZ bolt guns.

  26. Nice article, but it’s clear that the author heavily favors semi-auto and bolt action .22’s. Not even a mention of pump or lever actions?
    My son and daughter learned to shoot when they were under 10, with my old Winchester model 62A pump. After just a few minutes, they were consistently striking a softball-sized target at 30 yards.
    I now have a Henry Golden Boy lever action that’s as fun and accurate to shoot, as it is pretty to look at.

  27. Great post! I own a marlin model 60 and didn’t even know it was a good gun. I thought I had a old junker till I read this. It is accurate! Thanks for a great post!

  28. At 22 to 35 cents a round (CTD’s price today) .22s are not as cheap as they were 2 years ago.
    Maybe next year the laws of gravity or supply & demand will make shooting more affordable again.

  29. Best rifle l have ever had in a 22 LR is a Glenfield Model 60 and l have had it since 1963 and still the straightest shooter l have ever shot!

  30. Obviously you didn’t list any lefthanders.The Savage Mark !! bolt action[made in Canada] had been available in lefthand and was/is inexpensive.Tricked up with a receiver sight,one has a very versatile rifle.SN:the AR-7only feeds solid nosed ammo,needs a bigger opening in its rear sight[easily accomplished,CZ and Anschutz[as well as Savage] make southpaws.It’s too bad Ruger hasn’t abandoned those asinine smooth curved butt plates/hasn’t put on a usable fully adjustable rear iron sight.I’d like to get the Marlin stainless model 60

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