The first time I ever fired a “magnum” cartridge was when I acquired a Ruger Single-Six revolver. As a convertible gun, I inserted the second cylinder, loaded it with Winchester Magnum Rimfire cartridges, cocked the hammer, closed my eyes for what I thought was a cartridge that would knock me into the next county and pulled the trigger. To my surprise, while there was certainly an increase in power over common rimfire ammunition, that first shot led to a lifetime of friendship with this adaptable rimfire cartridge.
The .22 WMR was introduced by Winchester in 1959 and used initially in the Model 61 rifle the next year. Following that introduction, Smith & Wesson and Ruger chambered handguns for it, then Savage followed suit with a unique .22/.410 rifle called the Model 24.
Ever since that time, Savage has been a great supporter of this cartridge. Over the years, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Savage catalog that didn’t include at least one rifle chambered for the .22 WMR, and last year there were 10 in the lineup.
|Savage Model 93 BRJ|
|Caliber:||.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire|
|Capacity:||five-round detachable magazine|
|Overall length:||40 in.|
|Barrel:||21 in. heavy contour, spiral fluted; satin blue finish|
|Stock:||tri-color “jacaranda” laminate|
|Sights:||none; two-piece Weaver-style bases installed|
|Trigger:||AccuTrigger, 2 lb. 15 oz. as tested|
|Manufacturer:||Savage Arms, SavageArms.com, 413-568-7001|
The rifle I chose to test was the Model 93 BRJ, which sports a laminated stock with a racy rollover comb in what the company calls a “jacaranda” color combination. The stock, which features shades of red, gray and brown, has so-called “Buick” vents in the fore-end to aid in cooling, and since it’s intended as a hunting gun, it has twin sling swivel studs up front–one for a sling and one for a bipod. Cradled in the free-floating barrel channel is a 21-inch heavy, spiral-fluted barrel with a target crown and matte blue finish.
The buttstock follows a California school of thought, with a sharp (but not uncomfortably so) turn at the wrist, terminating in a rather hooked pistol grip. The rollover cheekpiece puts the eye in the proper position for a scope, and the classically styled buttpad has a black spacer.
The receiver itself is tubular in construction, has the barrel sleeved within it and has twin gas ports under the front bridge. It comes from the factory with two-piece, Weaver-style bases installed.
The bolt is typical for a rimfire rifle. It has a constant diameter from front to rear and comes with a bolt handle that is slightly curved to the rear. There is no checkering on the bolt knob, and on the bolt face you have the traditional dual rimfire extractors at three and nine o’clock with the firing pin top-dead-center.
To release the bolt from the action, remove the magazine, check to be sure there is no round in the chamber, then place the safety in the forward position. Draw the bolt back while at the same time pulling the trigger fully to the rear–being careful as not to ding the top of the cheekpiece as you remove the bolt from the receiver. Replacing the bolt requires you to pull the trigger back as you slide the bolt into the receiver.
The rifle is equipped with the fully adjustable AccuTrigger, and out of the box mine broke at two pounds, 15 ounces without a touch of slack before the sear released. I might add here that if you’ve never had the chance to use a gun with the AccuTrigger, you are really going to like the experience. I like to call it a two-stage affair, as first you pull the integral trigger lever back to its stop and then apply a bit more pressure to the trigger finger piece to fire the gun.
Forward of the matte-finished trigger guard is a magazine well that supports a five-round magazine. Made from stamped parts, the magazine is released via a lever located behind it. Pulling the lever to the rear allows the magazine to pop downward slightly and permits easy removal. To insert, I found it easier to install the forward part of the magazine in the well first, pulling the base slightly toward the trigger guard as you push it home.
I mounted a Burris 4X scope in lightweight Leupold rings and h
eaded out to the 50-yard line. Shooting from a rest, the gun never disappointed me, with groups that ran from a half-inch to a full inch. Even though they were the best in the accuracy department, I did experience some feeding problems with the Remington load because of the soft tip. Other than that, I can’t complain about the rifle at all.
Considering the .22 WMR retains the velocity at 100 yards that the .22 LR has at the muzzle, to me this cartridge really needs more credit than it receives, and the Savage 93 is a great platform for it.
|Savage Model 93
|.22 WMR||Bullet Weight (gr.)||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||Standard Deviation||Avg. Group Size (in.)|
|CCI Max-Mag JHP||40||1,816||46||0.75|
|<font color="#154110" size="1"WARNING: The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor InterMedia Outdoors, Inc. assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data. Notes: Accuracy results are averages of five five-shot groups at 50 yards off a sandbag rest. Velocities are averages of five shots measured on a Oehler Model 35P 10 chronograph set 10 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: FMJ, full metal jacket; JHP, jacketed hollowpoint; PSP, pointed softpoint.|