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Best .22 Rifles for First Time Owners

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Nothing quite announces a day of rifle range fun like a .22 rifle. You’ll almost always find one in every firearm enthusiast’s safe, and they are the perfect training tool for beginners. However, the ability to use high-capacity magazines and the precision accuracy of a .22 rifle make them favorites with expert shooters as well. If you’re in the market for a new .22 rifle, we’re going to cover five rifles that are a perfect fit for your first .22 rifle.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown

The first and most obvious choice is the enormously popular Ruger 10/22. This rifle has led the .22 rifle market for over 50 years, and it is just as popular as ever. There are currently seven different variations of the Ruger 10/22 available today, and from the Carbine to the Tactical to the Sporter, we encourage you to browse the different variations to find a rifle suited to your needs.

Today we’re going to focus on an excellent version of the 10/22, the Takedown. The Ruger 10/22 Takedown is specially designed for easy barrel and stock separation, and all you have to do is push a recessed lever and twist the barrel and the stock apart for easy storage. You can get the Takedown in a variety of finishes and barrel lengths (anywhere from 16.10″ to 18.50″), and you can choose either the standard 10 round rotary magazine or the larger 25 round magazine standard in select models. Ruger Takedown models also have a scope base mount ready to accept a wide variety of optics. If you need further convincing that the Ruger 10/22 is a worthy investment, check out Gritr Sports contributor Trampas Swanson’s article on the subject: Why I Shoot The Ruger 10/22.


Ruger 10/22 Takedown MSRP:

  • Starter models at $439
  • Advanced models at $629 and up

Mossberg Blaze

Mossberg is another popular choice among .22 rifle enthusiasts, and they too have a variety of unique models both lever action and semi-automatic. Today we’ll focus on the Mossberg Blaze, a stylish auto-loading rifle that comes in a lot of styles and finishes just like the Ruger 10/22. You can choose between the optional 10 or 25 round magazine, but Blaze barrel lengths are all uniform at 16.5″ regardless of the model. You can also get a barrel mounted Picatinny rail standard in certain Blaze models, or you can add it later as an accessory compatible with all versions of the Mossberg Blaze. As a bonus, you can get a Dead Ringer Green Dot Sight and the Picatinny rail included with Blaze Green Dot Combo models. All in all, the Mossberg Blaze is a great option for those loyal to the Mossberg brand or those who want to try something different than the 10/22.


Mossberg Blaze MSRP:

  • Starter models at $196
  • Green Dot Combos at $265

Remington 597

Matching the Ruger 10/22 and Mossberg Blaze shot for shot is the reliable Remington Model 597 rimfire rifle. Remington has paid special attention to the action of this auto-loading rifle, and twin tool-steel guide rails and a nickle-Teflon bolt, hammer and sear ensure continuous operation and a long life in this signature Remington rifle. Right now you can get the Rem 597 in three unique models, the Model 957 Synthetic, the Model 957 HB, and the Model 957 Pink Camo. The Synthetic and Pink Camo models sport 20″ barrels while the 957 HB has a shorter 16.5″ barrel. All three variants come with Remington’s unique 10 round magazine standard. Remington’s last shot bolt hold-open feature is also a nice addition, especially for beginners learning firearm safety.


Remington 597 MSRP:

  • Model 957 Synthetic – $213
  • Model 957 HB – $254
  • Model 957 Pink Camo – $306

S&W M&P 15-22 Rifle

The S&W M&P 15-22 Rifle offers a little something different when compared to the previous three rifles. This rifle is based upon the successful M&P 15 line, but it is chambered in .22LR. This means you can get the superior performance and look of Smith & Wesson’s AR-15 line in a lighter package designed specifically for the .22LR cartridge. Some of the benefits included in this platform are a 6-position collapsible stock, adjustable rear and front sights (Magpul MBUS sights in some models), the ability to take polymer AR-style magazines, and MLOK Quad rails for easy accessory attachment. The M&P 15-22 comes standard with either 25 round or 10 round magazines, and barrel lengths range from 16″ to 18.” This rifle is perfect for anyone who loves the AR platform and wants to try it out chambered in .22LR.


S&W M&P 15-22 MSRP:

  • Models start at $499
  • Higher end models at $559 to $609

Rock Island Armory M1600 .22LR

As an alternative to the M&P 15-22, the Rock Island Armory M1600 .22LR is a less expensive but similar option. Built in the style of an M-16 rifle, the M1600 has an A2 style front sight and a rear peep sight. The M1600 only comes with an 18.25″ barrel and a standard 10 round magazine, but larger magazines can be added if state regulations allow. You’re also not going to get any rail options like you would in the M&P 15-22, but those looking for a similar rifle at a more affordable price might want to check the M1600 out.


Rock Island Armory M1600 .22LR MSRP:

  • Rifle is available at $193

Trampas Swanson

Born and raised in eastern NC, started shooting firearms at age 6, and life long hunter. Retired Deputy Sheriff serving as a supervisor and SWAT sniper unit with a background in narcotics and crime scene investigations task forces. Now living in Florida as a husband, new father, local gunsmith, firearms instructor and freelance writer for various firearms publications.

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