Firearms

Review: Savage A22

Savage A22 - side view

Savage Arms has been using rotary magazines since 1895. Almost 125 years of institutional knowledge were applied to the recent A22 rimfire rifle design. At first glance, this rifle resembles its Ruger competitor, but it performed significantly better.

Priced similarly to the baseline 10/22, the Savage design features a robust magazine with more consistent alignment within the receiver, an Accu-Trigger adjustable from 8 lbs. down to 2.5 lbs and a better-quality barrel. The result is a rifle that shoots way out of its class.

Savage A22 - top view

A22 Accuracy

The sporter-weight tapered barrel makes handheld shooting practical, it but retains mechanical accuracy. Here were the results for the loads I tested:

Load Group
Aguila Subsonic 40gr 0.59″
CCI Green Tag 40gr 0.38″
Prime Semi-Auto 40gr 0.35″
Aguila Super Extra 40gr 0.31″
Wolf Match 40gr 0.21″
CCI Select 40gr 0.2″
Eley Tenex 40gr 0.148″

Even the largest five-shot group is passable, while the smallest equals to 0.5 MOA fired from a lightweight sporter! These groups were consistent and repeatable.

A22 Testing 1
 

Savage A22 target results
 

A22 Testing 2

These 30-yard prone groups were made before I got the trigger weight reduced from the default maximum, so the gun is actually capable of even better results.

Not a single one of the loads tested malfunctioned, though we can see that standard and high-velocity ammunition produced better groups. This isn’t too surprising, considering that A22 evolved from the high-velocity A17 (.17 HMR).

Although fitted with a longer-than-usual 22″ barrel, the A22 balances like a sporter. The extra sight radius compared to most rimfire rifles makes the best out of the extensively adjustable notch and post iron sights. The accuracy potential, however, merits a good optic.

In recognition of that, newer A22s are usually shipped without iron sights at all. The stock comb height is also optimized for an optic. A two-piece Weaver rail is included in the box. The polymer stock feels rigid enough and the Schnabel forend is well shaped for off-hand shooting.

Front and rear sling swivel studs are standard, yet another plus over the baseline 10/22. Only a quarter-pound heavier than a 10/22, despite the longer barrel, the A22 handles as well in the field as it does at the range.

Savage A22 scope

A22 Performance

At present, my rifle has had well over 1,000 rounds through it without cleaning and hasn’t malfunctioned yet. The magazine has a pretty stout spring.

But I found it easier to load than the 10/22 equivalent because I could press on the individual “arms” of the shell spacer with my fingers, rather than use the cartridge to depress it. This rifle comes with two 10-round magazines.

Butler Creek offers a longer 25-round model that works well. Like the 10/22, the Savage A22 doesn’t have an automatic hold-open on the last round. It does have a rather more convenient manual hold-open lever located in front of the trigger guard.

Closing the bolt is simpler, with the conventional pull-and-release of the bolt handle.

Take-down is simple, with two bolts holding the action to the polymer stock. The rear screw is normally covered by a plastic cowling, so the instruction manual came in handy. The mechanism can be reached with just a punch to remove that plastic cover.

The trigger weight is adjusted with a provided wire wrench which fits an opening at the back of the trigger guard.

Savage A22 magazine

Conclusion

This model is an accuracy sleeper the way the old CZ 452 was before that brand got discovered by enthusiast markmen. Highly recommended! Reliable and accurate, the A22 would also make a great gift.

What do you think of the A22? Let us know in the comments below.

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 (8)

  1. I’ve used my A22 in the Appleseed competition. Shoots way better than the Marlin or Ruger I’d qualified with. It’s a pleasure to shoot. Consistent trigger and reset. Decent heft. Looks awesome. The best rifles shooting rifles I own are Savages.

  2. I bought the a.22 expecting just another high
    quality reliable long-lasting 22 semi-automatic
    but I soon discovered that it was a sleeper! It
    Is even more accurate than Savage claims…
    Just another Savage laser! I love it!

  3. My A22 jams constantly. tried several different brands of ammo, some seem to work better than others, I attributed it to lack of break-in, I hope it gets better.
    Additional;y Savage screwed me out of the $50 rebate, said the pictures I took with my Canon camera were not clear enough.

  4. be nice when they start selling different stocks and components designed for it… pistol grip stock like the ba110 model etc…

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