March 23, 2022
The late 1970s rise of hyper-velocity .22 Long Rifle loads and the later advent of various .17s threw a bit of shade on the .22 Magnum’s status as the muscle rimfire. But the fact remains that the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, introduced in 1960, is never a bad choice. A .22 Mag. rifle is capable of handling projectiles from 30 to 50 grains in weight and at velocities from 1,600 fps to nearly 2,300 fps. In a good scoped bolt-action specimen, you will have to step up to a centerfire .22 Hornet to beat it by much.
The .22 Magnum is, primarily, a hunting cartridge. As such, it outranges and outperforms the .22 Long Rifle on small game and varmints by a considerable margin. It is not really an optimum coyote load, but I have seen it do a respectable job on called-in coyotes out to 50 to 60 yards or so. And it tends to be an accurate cartridge. Over the years I have shot examples of modestly priced .22 Mag., and with loads they liked they would stay at an inch—often under—at 100 yards.
And speaking of hunting, in many areas rimfire hunters are close to civilization, and as such, suppressors are becoming ever more popular. Not only is it safer for the shooter’s hearing, suppressed gunshots are less likely to annoy landowners, livestock and neighbors. So today many .22 Mag. rifles are threaded for suppressors, and that is a great thing.
Let us look at some of the newest entries in the bolt action category. They are presented from least expensive to most expensive.
1. Rossi Rimfire
Rossi is best known for its lever actions, but the company also manufactures bolt guns, including a .22 Mag. The rifle comes with a stylish polymer stock, and the 21-inch matte black barrel is free-floated for accuracy. It is a nice, light 5.6 pounds, perfect for the hiking hunter, and a crossbolt safety is in the forward portion of the trigger guard. The rifle feeds from a five-round detachable box magazine. RossiUSA.com, $221
2. Citadel Trakr-22M
With its collapsible black synthetic stock, this tactical-looking .22 Mag. import is available through Legacy Sports International. Its threaded 21-inch barrel will squeeze out every bit of velocity from the .22 Mag. cartridge, and it features a 5-round detachable box magazine and a push-button safety as well as a cocking indicator that protrudes from the rear of the bolt when cocked. There are no iron sights, but Weaver scope bases come installed. Weight is 6.3 pounds. $249
3. Savage 93 Minimalist
The name may imply bare bones, but this little .22 Mag. rifle features a distinctive partially skeletonized wood laminate stock. Further, the 18-inch barrel is threaded for a suppressor, and it includes Savage’s user-adjustable AccuTrigger. The minimalist aspect really comes into play when you talk about weight, and the 93 Minimalist’s 5.5-pound weight should make it a dream to carry. It feeds from a 10-round detachable box magazine, and it comes with Weaver bases for scope mounting. It is available in green or brown versions. $359, SavageArms.com
4. CZ 457 American Synthetic Suppressor-Ready
The 457 is an expansive line from a company that really knows how to make a rimfire. The 457 American Synthetic Suppressor has all the features a hunter could want—starting with an all-weather American-style synthetic stock with twin sling swivels up front so you can mount a bipod and a sling simultaneously. The 20.5-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel is threaded 1/2x28, and the rifle features a fully adjustable trigger. In an update over older CZ models, the safety now pushes forward to Fire. The 60-degree bolt throw ensures it will clear today’s big-ocular scopes. No iron sights, but it has a grooved 11mm dovetail for scope mounting. Weight is 5.4 pounds. $519, cz-usa.com
5. Savage B22 Magnum BNS-SR
This new model features a good-looking, ergonomic stock with a higher comb for scope use and a vertical pistol grip for proper hand placement when shooting prone or from a rest. Its 18-inch carbon steel barrel is button-rifled and threaded for a suppressor. And Savage does not skimp on accuracy just because it is a rimfire. The BNS-SR uses the same thread-in, zero-tolerance headspacing for its barrel as centerfire rifles do, and the gun comes with Savage’s user-adjustable AccuTrigger. Weight is a Goldilocks-right 6.6 pounds—easy to carry and solid from shooting positions. Feeding is from a 10-round rotary magazine, and the gun comes with two-piece Weaver scope bases. $529, SavageArms.com
6. Ruger American
The Americans have been well-received by hunters and shooters because of their features and typically excellent accuracy. For the .22 Mag. fan looking for something a little different, the version with a Go Wild Camo Brush synthetic stock and Burnt Bronze Cerakote (model 8373) is a good-looking, hard hunting rifle. It comes with interchangeable modules that change length of pull and comb height, and these are easily changeable. The 18-inch barrel comes with a brake and is threaded 1/2x28 if you want to change to a suppressor. The barreled action is Ruger’s Power Bedding, with an integral block to locate the receiver and free-float the barrel, and the Marksman trigger is adjustable. It comes with a Picatinny rail attached to the receiver for easy scope mounting, and the 60-degree bolt throw will clear even big-ocular scopes. Feeds from a nine-round rotary magazine, and weight is a handy 5.9 pounds. $559, ruger.com
7. CZ 457 Lux
For the hunter who appreciates the finer things in life, the 457 Lux is served up with a European hogback-style stock in Turkish walnut. The design is just right for use with the adjustable iron sights that come on the rifle, and the receiver also sports a grooved 11mm dovetail for scope mounting. Its long, 24.8-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel provides an excellent sighting radius for the irons. Weight is a just-right 6.1 pounds, and like other 457s it now features a safety that pushes forward to Fire like Americans expect. The 60-degree bolt throw ensures it will clear today’s big-ocular scopes. $605, cz-usa.com
8. Browning T-Bolt Target
If it is traditional elegance you are looking for, plus the rapid-fire capability of a straight-pull bolt action, this .22 Magnum addition to the straight-pull T-Bolt stable features a 16.5-inch bull barrel with target crown that is threaded for a suppressor. The stock is satin finished Grade 1 black walnut. Overall length is 34.75 inches and the weight is 6 pounds, 2 ounces. The detachable box magazine holds 10 rounds, and it is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. $720, browning.com
9. Bergara B-14R Carbon
This respected Spanish company is now offering its full-size trainer in .22 Magnum. The barrel is 18-inch carbon fiber with a No. 6 taper and threaded muzzle/thread protector. It features the company’s HMR stock with a full-length mini-chassis, adjustable cheekpiece and length of pull. It is compatible with Remington M700 scope mounts, has a 38-inch overall length (with spacers) and an 8.1-pound weight. The rifle features a 10-round AICS-style magazine: There is also a steel-barrel version for about $100 less. $1,245, bergara.com
10. Anschutz Model 1761 AV Threaded Classic
Anschutz is one of the most respected brands in the world when it comes to competition rifles, but the company makes sporting guns, too, including models in .22 Mag. The 1761 AV Threaded has an 18-inch barrel with a heavy contour and is, like it says, threaded—1/2x28 in this case. The stock is wood, styled classic, and one of the big selling points for some people will be its two-stage trigger. Anschutz triggers are among the finest on the planet, and it contributes a lot to accuracy. The rifle feeds from a five-round magazine. Weight is 6.1 pounds. $1,850, AnschutzNorthAmerica.com