August 12, 2022
By Stan Trzoniec
Quite a few years back, Townsend Whelen said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” I’m thinking that if he were alive today, would that “only” be a touch too much, considering all the accurate rifles on the market today—especially when it comes to the more modern rimfire rifles being produced by a number of manufacturers.
One of these newer arrivals is the Savage A22 Precision Lite. Strong as a tank, sleek as a Corvette and accurate as all get out, this rimfire rifle might just be the firearm you need for hitting the competition circuit or even rugged outdoor hunting duties. Built on the famed A22 action, this model has been upgraded and lightened a bit from the A22 Precision (which is still in the catalog) with the addition of an 18-inch carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel with a threaded cap. While the gun is directed squarely at the competition shooter, I think it would also excel as a survival/living off-the-grid rifle or a small game/varmint rifle.
Chambered in .22 Long Rifle, the A22 Precision Lite is built on a one-piece chassis from Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) that is machined from billet aluminum. Near the rear of the stock is an adjustable cheek riser to position your head properly behind a scope. Twin adjustments on the side allow you to raise the cheek piece about 1.5 inches. I mounted a scope more appropriate to hunting than to competing—a Redfield 3-9x40mm—and found that the lowest position worked best with this optic, even with the 20-m.o.a. Picatinny optics rail up top. This rail should provide plenty of elevation for today’s modern .22 sports that push distances to 200 yards and even beyond.
The buttstock is adjustable for length of pull—in this case via spacers that are installed and removed with an Allen wrench. The range is 12.75 inches to 13.75 inches. The stock features a rubber buttpad, which is helpful in preventing the stock from slipping from your shoulder during a string. The hand-filling grip is also from MDT, and it is blended into the trigger guard and has an ambidextrous palm swell. The palm swell accommodates lefties, but it also works for right-handers when a stage requires shooting with the off hand. The fore-end free-floats the barrel and has a dozen M-Lok slots for mounting rail sections or M-Lok-ready bipods. A traditional sling swivel is also provided. Usable space is roughly two inches wide by 9.5 inches on five flats, with the tip finished in a gradual taper.
You won’t find this MDT chassis on that company’s website, as it’s a custom version MDT has built just for Savage. To put things into perspective, the least expensive chassis MDT offers for Savage rifles as aftermarket products starts at just over $400. That suggests the A22 Precision Lite’s price tag of $949 is offering a lot of value just from the chassis.
Adding to that value is the 18-inch barrel with a carbon-fiber wrap that gives it a heavy profile while being light in weight. In fact, the whole rig weighs only 6.7 pounds, and between this barrel setup and the aluminum chassis, the rifle achieves excellent balance. And here is where you find the big difference between the A22 Precision Lite and the standard A22 Precision. The Lite weighs about a pound less thanks to the carbon-fiber barrel, and it costs about $300 more.
Under the carbon fiber wrap is a 416 stainless steel barrel that’s button-rifled. Button-rifling has long been a hallmark of Savage rifles, and few companies do it better. The muzzle is threaded 1/2x28, which means it’s simple to install a suppressor or other muzzle device.
Like the A22 Precision, the Lite features an oversize, red charging handle. The rifle feeds from a rotary 10-round magazine that’s a combination of alloy and polymer. It is held in place via a spring-loaded lever on the front end, and pulling back on this integral lever drops the magazine into your hand. The rifle has a cross-bolt safety. Pushing it to the right locks the trigger, while pushing it to the to the left shows a red band for Fire. The bolt does not stay back when the magazine is empty, but there’s a bolt lock forward of the trigger guard to keep the bolt in the open position. Pulling back slightly on the charging handle releases the bolt.
The AccuTrigger is user adjustable. Mine broke at 4.5 pounds out of the box, with little creep, so I left it there for testing. If you want to adjust the trigger lower, there is an opening at the rear of the trigger guard for an Allen wrench to accomplish the task. My trial runs with the rifle proved it to be very accurate. Averages are shown in the accompanying table. The best single group came with Winchester Target: 0.395 inch.
To me, the Savage A22 Lite is a great, no-nonsense rifle made for the competitive shooter—and even perhaps the hiking hunter who wants the utmost in accuracy. It certainly deserves the word Precision. Mr. Whelen would be proud.
Savage A22 Precisiion Lite Specs
- Type: Blowback-operated, semiautomatic
- Caliber: .22LR
- Capacity: 10+1 rds.
- Barrel: 18 in., 416 stainless, carbon-fiber wrapped, threaded 1/2x28
- Overall Length: 37.25 in.
- Weight: 8.3 lbs.
- Chassis: Matte black MDT one-piece aluminum
- Trigger: AccuTrigger adjustable; 4.25 lbs (tested)
- Sights: 20-MOA Picatinny rail
- Manufacturer: Savage Arms