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Review: Savage A22 Semi-Auto .22 Long Rifle

Review: Savage A22 Semi-Auto .22 Long Rifle
Savage A22 Semi-Auto .22 Long Rifle

On the heels of the recent introductions of the A17 and A22 Magnum rifles, it was inevitable Savage would chamber this semiauto design in .22 Long Rifle. The new A22 has a list price of less than $300, and it's surely going to please a lot of folks, especially at a time when .22 ammo is once again widely available.

The rifle features a rugged synthetic stock that will maintain barreled action-to-stock fit in any weather. The fore-end measures almost two inches across and is flat on the bottom, which is a good design for shooting from offhand, a sandbag or a field rest. The stock widens out a bit where the 10-round magazine is inserted then back to its original taper at it nears the trigger guard assembly.

The pistol grip is thinner, and I think any shooter (male, female, beginner or veteran) will find it comfortable.

The A22's fore-end is relatively wide and flat, making it stable from a rest but still comfortable for offhand.
The A22's fore-end is relatively wide and flat, making it stable from a rest but still comfortable for offhand.

The buttstock is full and executed in a classic profile. Length of pull is 13.5 inches. Like so many guns of this ilk, the stock's "checkering" is composed of blocks of impressed stippling.

The buttstock's pistol grip cap boasts the historic Savage logo, but there's no rubber recoil or butt pad, which I think would be a good idea to keep it from slipping from your shoulder or when propped.

The action is straight blowback. The all-steel action opens smoothly, and the bolt is held open via a bolt lock situated on the bottom of the stock, within the trigger guard assembly. The gun loads from a rotary magazine, and after inserting a loaded mag a simple tug on the bolt handle will send the bolt forward and chamber a round.

The rifle features Savage's excellent AccuTrigger, which is easy for users to adjust, and feeds from rotary 10-round magazines.
The rifle features Savage's excellent AccuTrigger, which is easy for users to adjust, and feeds from rotary 10-round magazines.

Like many other guns in the Savage line, this one also has the AccuTrigger as standard equipment. Adjustment can be made by simply inserting the supplied Allen wrench through the small hole at the rear of the trigger guard. From here, it is just a matter of turning the tool to reach the desired trigger pull weight. Mine came from the factory at four pounds, and it was so easy to shoot I left it there for my testing.

At the top of the trigger guard is the crossbolt safety. Moving it to the right engages the safety; moving it to the left (with the red ring showing) allows the gun to fire.

The A22 comes with a 21-inch button-rifled carbon-steel barrel, and it's more than enough length for the power of the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Making it 24 inches long does little or nothing for the round's ballistics, and to me, 20 inches is a good length for portability in the field. With this 21-inch length, Savage has hit a good compromise for both ballistics and accuracy.

The barrel is headspaced much like the company's centerfire rifles via a barrel nut, giving it a good start on accuracy right there at the factory. Both the barrel and the receiver are finished matte black.

Since most rimfire shooters engage their targets at short distances, open sights are provided. The front sight is ramped, although if the gun were mine I'd add a drop of bright-colored paint for shooting in low light or at moving targets in the field. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation via a ramp assembly and windage by drifting it.

Since I like optical sights, I used a pair of No. 46 Weaver bases and rings to match. For a scope, Bushnell sent one of its high tech Rimfire scopes, which come complete with turrets to match the trajectory of the both the .17 HMR and .22 LR cartridges. The scope's tube is a full one inch in diameter, has multi-coated lenses and is water- and fogproof.

While some may think a 3-9x40mm configuration with a fast focus eyepiece and a side parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity is a bit of overkill on a rimfire rifle, to me it's a perfect match.


At the range, I used an assortment of CCI, Federal Target Grade and Federal Champion ammunition at 50 yards, and the rifle acquitted itself well. The gun was accurate out to 50 yards, and I'm sure it will do just as good at 75 yards depending on the wind, temperature and rest. The rotary magazine fed the rifle with aplomb.

I've grown up using a .22 rimfire and some 50 plus years later, it still is the best way to spend a few hours. In fact, one of my favorite pastimes is plinking with a semiautomatic rifle. No thinking, no working the bolt, just plain fun.

And the Savage A22 was indeed fun to shoot, and at a retail price under $300 (and that's suggested retail, not street price, which will be lower) this made-in-the-USA rifle is worth a look.

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