The question of what is the best .22 rifle is one of the most popular and well contest discussion in the firearms community in Australia. Whilst the .22 rifle might be seen as ‘beneath’ the larger calibre rifles on the market, it still remains the most commonly used ammunition type used in Australia.
The .22 rifle has remained the most cost effective and versatile round for the everyday shooter, from target practice to hunting small game and pests.
This versatility of .22 rifles also makes it difficult to make a definitive list of the ‘best’ .22 rifles due to the varied budget and requirements of each type of use. Because of this, we’re going to take a look at some of the best .22 rifles for just about everybody. Whether you’re target shooting, hunting or just looking for a reasonably priced rimfire rifle, this guide is for you.
To compare each rifle, we’ve focused on the price, ease of use, reliability and ergonomics to give you the best perspective on what each model provides.
An update of the classic Brno no.2 design (and the 455 being an update of the 452), the CZ452 and updated CZ455 offers an affordable entry level price range to an accurate .22 rifle with good quality machining and overall finish. The rifle features a completely machined receiver and crisp adjustable trigger, with a standard 5 round detachable magazine.
Stock and barrels can vary from synthetic with stainless barrels, to walnut and blued barrel options.
The updated CZ455 features the new interchangeable barrel system so you can easily change barrels to different calibres with only two screws
Recommended retail pricing varies significantly on the many variations on the market, but entry level CZ455’s will generally start from $785 onwards.
Ruger is well known for its rugged, reliable firearms and the Ruger 77/22 does this justice. With design, features and quality of larger rifles scaled down to a rimfire rifle, the Ruger 77/22 is a worthy consideration for filling your .22 rifle requirements.
The Ruger 77/22 design has stood the test of time for several decades, showing consistent long term reliability when proper maintenance is preserved. This rimfire uses Ruger’s standard box 10 round magazines which are interchangeable across a number of Ruger’s products including the 10/22 – making parts available very easy and affordable.
Accuracy remains consistent with this rifle, providing a good all round package for those looking for a well-known reliable brand, quality finishings and reliable accuracy over long term use.
Recommended retail pricing varies significantly on the many variations on the market, but entry level Ruger 77/22 will generally start from $1585 onwards putting it towards the higher end of the market.
The unassuming Savage MKII might be overlooked by the uninitiated, but you’d be missing out if you don’t consider this entry level rifle. Cost effective and a huge range of variations, this rimfire rifle can be fully fitted out with optics and enough ammunition to keep you busy compared to the base price of some of the other rifles in this review. The Savage MKII has been used successfully in competition including the NRL22.
The current models of MKII’s use the new AccuTrigger, which is great quality for such a low cost entry rifle.
The most cost effective of the rifles in this review, the Savage MKII retails from $445 with the synthetic stock models – which is impressive when it can keep up with rifles several times its price.
Tikka T1x MTR
Tikka is well known for it’s mix of material quality and precision engineering at prices lower than you would expect; and the Tikka t1x MTR continues this legacy. The MTR (multi-task-rifle) is designed to handle a range of shooting tasks – so a strong contender for all firearms owners. One of the particularly useful features comes from it’s barrels cross-over profile, which gives the benefits of a heavy barrel without a noticeable increase in overall rifle weight. The attention to detail and craftsmanship across the rifle make this not only a well built rifle, but aesthetically an appealing rifle.
The Tikka T1x MTR features a synthetic stock and stainless steel bolt, making it ideal for outdoor use with it’s superior weather resistance. The synthetic stock in particular helps in providing a lighter rifle – and is reported to stand well to frequently to expected wear and tear of workhorse rimfire rifle.
The rifle includes a 10 round detachable box magazine putting it ahead some of the stock options provided by alternatives like CZ. The magazine profile does extrude from the stock which has mixed reviews from users but this is largely based on aesthetic views than function or reliability.
You can expect to pay from $890 for the Tikka T1x MTR in Australia at this time.
Ruger Precision Rimfire
If you’re looking for a tactical .22 that doesn’t break the bank, Ruger’s .22 little brother to the full sized popular RPR is for you.
Generally accepted as an exceptional centrefire trainer with an adjustable bolt throw (1.5inch to 3inch throw adjustable), you can simulate the movement required when shooting larger rifles.
Out of the box the Ruger Precision Rimfire includes a 20MOA scope rail, uses the well-known Ruger box magazines and the handguard is M-LOK compatible. The trigger is acceptable for the price range, however some owners will note to maximise performance its worth considering swapping this out.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire is currently selling from $815, with variations and custom options going upwards of twice this base price. Selling at a slight premium for the tactical styling compared to other Ruger lines such as the Ruger American, it still presents a good all-rounder for those who are looking for that particular style.
The Australian representative in this list, the LA101 is a beast of a rifle which is designed to be a crossover rifle – successful both hunting in the bush and shooting at the range.
With a buttery smooth action, high quality synthetic stock and quality stainless barrel, you can take this rifle in the worst of conditions and still see it perform to expectations.
The trigger is perfectly acceptable, but much like other rifles in this review can be swapped out to really help this rifle shine.
The Lithgow LA101 is able to use CZ style magazines including Norinco aftermarket CZ style magazines, however with the quality of this rifle you’d be best keeping to the best quality you can in this department.
Not the cheapest rifle, this rifle does keep to the saying that “you get what you pay for”. If you’re looking for a rifle which will stand the test of time during hunting and at the range whilst supporting an iconic Australian firearms brand, the Lithgow LA101 is for you.
The Lithgow LA101 retails from $1,080 and widely available across dealers in Australia.
Every .22 rifle listed in this review is a worthy candidate for the shooter and hunter looking for his next rimfire purchase. To summarise the key benefits of each:
CZ452/455 – Affordable, time-tested design punching above it’s weight for price – especially with the ability to change calibre with their new simple barrel interchanging system
Ruger 77/22 – Good all-rounder for performance with a track record measuring into the decades – but not as price competitive as some of the latest options in the market
Savage MKII – Exceptional price without sacrificing on functionality – our pick for the entry level shooter on a budget
Ruger Precision Rimfire – tactical design without sacrificing on performance
Lithgow LA101 – Australian contender which does itself proud making no compromise on quality and performance at its price range
Well that’s it for today. If you think there’s other .22 rifles you think should make the list, let the GunHub team know.
Looking for a rimfire rifle? Check out the Rimfire Rifles section.