Review: Rossi RS22


Among the most useful, versatile and functional rifles for anyone to own is a good .22 self-loader. If you can own only one rifle, it should be the .22. My grandfather taught me to shoot well, taught me safety and was a fine role model.

He never owned a centerfire rifle. I grew up shooting a single-shot rifle and then moved straight to the .22 caliber self-loader. I did not own the most expensive rifles, but I cannot recall a malfunction of any type as a young teen hunting.

I have taken quite a number of bedded rabbits with headshots and even a few running rabbits with through-the-shoulder shots. Squirrels were no more difficult. A few possums were taken. Funny, at one time I felt that I needed a bolt-action rifle to be more accurate.

I owned a heavy bolt action for several years and pulled off some amazing shots but went back to the self-loader a bit later. I never looked back.

Today, we’ll take a look at another self-loader: the Rossi RS22.

Rossi RS22 Locks Open
The Rossi RS22 locks open on the last shot, uncommon in economy rifles.

Rossi RS22 Design Features

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a decent .22. The .22 Long Rifle cartridge is a low-pressure number. It is almost a surprise we are able to convince a rimmed cartridge with a heel based bullet to feed in a modern self-loading action.

The Rossi RS22 is an affordable rifle that costs less than $130. Yet the rifle isn’t by any means a “cheap rifle.” The Rossi has features that were not available on expensive rifles when I was a youngster.

The rifle features a synthetic stock that is impervious to oil, solvent and weather. The 18-inch barrel is free-floated. The rifle isn’t an inspired new design; it is similar in most ways to the proven Marlin 60 rifle.

The front sight features a bright fiber optic for maximum visibility. The front sight is protected by a removable hood. My truck guns sometimes get thrown around more than they should and I like the protected hood.

Ross RS22 red front post
Even in dim light, the bright red front post of the RS22 is visible.

The rear sight is fully adjustable, and more importantly, easily adjustable. There are green fiber optics set on each side of the rear sight. This is a sight system that offers a very rapid bead on the target.

RS22 Rear Sight
The rear sight of the RS22 offers an excellent range of adjustment.

A marauding rodent in the garden or a dangerous reptile demand fast shooting. The Rossi RS22 system also offers real precision when properly lined up. By precision, I mean putting the 40-grain pill exactly where you want it at 25 yards or so.

If you need a .22 more accurate than that, then you may need a different rifle. For 90 percent of what rifles are used for, the Rossi RS22 is ideal. While the sights are easily adjusted without tools, it isn’t difficult to mount optics if desired.

Other Rossi RS22 Specs

The rifle is a simple blowback action. The bolt features an extended cocking lever. While normally an expensive aftermarket addition, the extended lever wasn’t hard to work into the design, I am certain.

The bolt holds open on the last shot—uncommon in an inexpensive .22 rifle. The only rifle I own in .22 rimfire that locks open on the last shot (other than this one) is a Thompson/Center T/CR22.

The magazine must be removed to release the bolt, and then a push is all that is needed. The rifle features a 10-round detachable box magazine. The magazine catch isn’t difficult to operate.

The trigger on the test rifle was 6.25 pounds when unboxed, but after a few hundred cartridges broke cleanly at 6.0 pounds. If you train young shooters, you do not want a light trigger, but a smooth and manageable trigger is good to have.

Rossi RS22 Targets
The Rossi RS22 performed well against a variety of targets, including this MGM steel reactive target.

RS22 Feel and Function

The Rossi RS22 has been a lot of fun to fire and use. Firing at small targets at known and unknown ranges builds marksmanship. Even firing at dirt clods at the 100-yard berm has been interesting.

At this point, I am nearing 900 total rounds without a malfunction and minimal cleaning, but regular lubrication. As for absolute accuracy, the Rossi has proven generally accurate.

At 25 yards, the Rossi is good for shoulder shots on game, and headshots (perhaps with optics). With the standard iron shots, the rifle has exhibited four-inch groups at 50 yards. Most of the ammunition has been bulk ammunition, such as the Winchester Wildcat.

I have also fired the Winchester M-22, the Super-X hollow-point, and a wide variety of loads with good results.

Rossi RS22 Winchester Ammo
Winchester Super-X ammunition has provided excellent performance.

In the end, the rifle isn’t cheap but it is affordable. The Rossi RS22 is, overall, a solid performer.

What do you think of the Rossi RS22? Do you use self-loaders? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (21)

  1. Would not buy again. To many feed jams. I find it is hard to clean & put back together.
    I have tried CCI SV, CCI mini mags, Aguila HV, Aguila SE, & Blazer. Blazer seem to do the best.
    Fires well when feeding good. The best it has done is get through 4 magazines before feed jam.

  2. Just picked one up at Walmart for $69.00 plus tax. What a deal! Once the rain stops later this week I’ll take out to the range in my backyard. I have four Ruger 10/22s and this Rossi will make a great to my armory. Thanks for the neat review.

  3. I picked one of these up on sale at a big box store for $125. Have put about 1500 rounds through it and for the most part is very reliable. Not picky on ammo, and other than the occasional stovepipe have had good luck with mine. I added an inexpensive red dot and a sling, and I can group 2 MOA consistently at 25 yards with cheap bulk ammo. This is actually less picky than my $500 M&P 15-22. Lighter also. Highly suggest you add one to your collection, don’t let the name or low price scare you. My ONLY issue with this rifle is that I wish the factory sights sat a bit higher, or the stock was a hair lower.

  4. I just purchased a raw CRS 22 long rifle I’d like to know after the last shot is it okay to dry fire it to take the pressure off

  5. Picked one up for 100 dollars on sale an added a 30 dollar Barska scope.
    After 2,000 rounds, very reliable and will consistently group 1/2″ at 25 yards.
    Seems to like CCI Mini Mags, Norma TAC22, Aguila Super Extra, and Federal Automatch almost equally well
    Best group is .28″ with Norma TAC.
    Great cheap investment; lots of fun.

  6. I have been using my Rossi RS22 for 50 yard target shooting. Added a folding stock and 7-24x50mm Athlon scope. Average group at 50 yards is 1.1”. Over 30% are .75” or lower. Best group was .375” using a Caldwell rest. I have fired over 2,000 rounds with no problems from the rifle. Exceptional value and great fun to shoot.

  7. I would not recommend using the mosberg 702 plinkster 25 round mags. They aren’t reliable. They are hard to load and I’ve had lots of failure to discharge and jamming Loading the carriage in cylender. best to just get a bunch of rossi 10 round mags. Love the gun. I bent my recoil spring first time cleaning so that was a experience.

  8. I own this 22 Rossi rifle. I wanted something with a smaller caliber and inexpensive to shoot compared to my 5.56 MSR. I’m a regular size adult and didn’t like the small stock. To me, it felt like a kids gun so I switched the body out to a folding stock system and purchased two 25 round magazines for it. Everything is interchangeable with the Mossberg 702 plinkster 22 rifle. Whatever upgrades fit the Mossberg will fit the Rossi. Now my rifle is larger adult sized and can hold more rounds. Plus, I can now fold it And shoot it like a Large pistol. The Rossi cost me brand new $99 bucks online. The upgrade body w/ folding stock-$50 bucks online. The Mossberg 25 rd mags -$20 each online. This is a great rifle to own. No problems and very accurate right out of the box. I know this rifle will last for a very long time.

  9. My son’s grandfather gave him a Remington Nylon 66 when he was about 10 yrs old. Now at 46 yrs old he still has that rifle and his son is shooting it. Astounding how many thousands of rounds have been fired thru this little .22 over the years. I am quite sure you can count the number of jams on one hand. It is an amazing piece of workmanship.

  10. I’ve owned this little wonder for about a year and have close to 1,000 rounds put through the barrel with zero, yes zero malfunctions! And I spent less than $100 including shipping and FFL fees (caught it on sale at Cab…)!! I have yet had to adjust the sights as they do head shots on squirrels – love the hood and dinner optics)! I originally bought this to modify/ cut an inch or so off the butt for shorter LOP for my grandkids. The stock is hollow and can easily be cut (assume it will float too). I didn’t get to the mod as hunting season started and after shooting and carrying this rifle thru the woods it became my go-to .22 (and I have 3 other name brands). This rifle is so light, you barely know your carrying it. It also comes with sling attachments! To top this gun off, you can buy magazines that are identical as in made by same mother Taurus plant for the Mossburg 702 Plinkster at much cheaper prices. I own the Plinkster (and iconic Ruger 10/22) and I have proven to myself that the Rossi is better than all of them for accuracy, low weight and cost!! Do yourself a favor and add one of these to your .22 arsenal!!!

  11. Thanks for the review. I have been eyeing this little gem for awhile and I will undoubtedly purchase now.

  12. I picked one up back when they were selling it and a Taurus G2C for $260 for both. A surprisingly decent and fun rifle to shoot. The stock is a bit short, which makes it ideal for a youth rifle, but a bit awkward for someone my size. I stuck an old shotgun recoil pad on it, and now it’s perfect. I feel a bit silly shooting a .22 with such a thick rubber recoil pad, but it works. In daylight, the sights are nice and bright even for my aging eyes. It is dovetailed for standard rimfire score rings. I tried putting a scope on it, and had no trouble getting it zeroed at 75 yds. Shooting cheap bulk ammo, my groups were all between 3-4 MOA. I’m sure using match grade could shave at least another minute off of that. That might seem high to folks who’ve grown up shooting sub-MOA centerfires, but it’s enough to reliably take a groundhog at 100 yrs.

    The G2C’s a pretty good little gun too. The best striker fired pistol for dryfire practice I’ve ever come across.

  13. Great price. Really accurate when it does not jam… which is often. First time out shooting the magazine follower broke. Rossi Int. sent me a new one no charge. fired MANY different type of ammo through it. Jams a LOT. If it was not for that it would be awesome.

  14. I have several .22 rifles and enjoy shooting all of them. But, the Rossi RS22 is fast becoming my favorite. It’s very light, consistently accurate and lines up very naturally on your shoulder. I usually scope my rifles, but the fiber optic sights on the RS22 are so good I felt there was no need to do so. The hooded front sight paired with the adjustable rear sight makes target acquisition a breeze.

  15. Like a previous poster, JMDAWSEY, stated on the venerable Ruger 10/22:
    There is so much out there that is built specifically for the 10/22 that the extra bucks are worth it.
    I bought a Cricket single shot called My First Rifle for my grandson to train on and that was a perfect little, child-sized trainer.
    I own a few Rossi handguns that are very well made so I’m considering picking up one of these. 22 rifles to add to the collection.

  16. These are great rifles, 2nd to none for the price.brought one from psa for 99.00, but have it to my wife, so i will be purchasing another.

  17. I really like Rossi rifles. I own two. A stainless .357 and an M49 .22 mag pump. The pump is a little slower than a semi auto but has proven to just as accurate as any of my other semis at 25 yds and beyond with more knockdown power. I think Rossi has a great idea in this little .22 l/r. Great review.

  18. Yes I have a 22 self loader it is a marlin 60. I really like the marlin because it is a dependable rifle and fun to shoot. have shot many rounds through it over the years and not one issue with it.

  19. One of things things I look at is longevity. In 15yrs will my grandkids still be able to buy magazines for it?
    You dint talk about stripping it down and cleans it but do compare it to the marlin which is very complicated.
    The standard is Ruger 10-22. Compare it

  20. I believe the Rossi is a good little .22 but… because of all of the after market parts available there is a reason to spend less than $100 more and the Ruger 10/22.

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