Best .22 LR Rifles of 2024: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

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Many gun owners started their firearms journey on a .22 LR rifle. Let’s face it; it’s a great starter gun!

Ammo is usually easy to find and fairly affordable, so it’s no surprise that these rifles have long been in the gun safes of many hunters, plinkers, and competitors.

Nearly every manufacturer has one in their inventory, and with so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming. But that’s why you came to us!

We’re going to run you through some of our favorite .22 LR rifles and break down why we think they deserve some love and attention.

If you’re in the market for a new .22 LR long gun, look no further and keep reading!

Updated with new guns: July 25, 2024.

THE QUICK LIST

Why You Should Trust Us

Input into this article came from the PPT editorial team, who has a combined shooting experience of 30+ years and includes instructors and competitors in multiple disciplines.

PPT Team Staff
PPT team at the range doing what we do best!

We’ve spent countless hours researching and analyzing guns and gear to determine which is the best when it comes to features, reliability, ergonomics, and bang for your buck.

We had to make some tough calls. If you don’t see your favorite rifle, it doesn’t mean we hate it, just that we couldn’t include it this time.

Without further ado and in no particular order…

Best .22 LR Rifles Under $500

1. Ruger 10/22

We had to start this list with one of the most iconic .22 LR rifles…the Ruger 10/22.

Fully Upgraded 10/22
Fully Upgraded 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is an icon for a reason – many shooters started learning on one of these. These firearms have a reputation for reliability, durability, and a huge aftermarket!

Seriously, these guns can literally grow with you as you evolve as a shooter due to the number of accessories specifically designed around the platform.

10/22 Triggers with FAB Defense Stock
10/22 Triggers with FAB Defense Stock

Not to mention, there are quite a few models to choose from. If you want a more traditional look, we recommend the 10/22 Sporter. It has a 10-round capacity, a longer 22-inch barrel, and an elegant wood stock for that classic feel.

If you want something small and compact that can break down and stow in a pack…we highly recommend the Takedown model.

Available in either an 18.5-inch or 16.12-inch barrel length, it would be great for hikers or campers needing small pest control.

Interested in a more modern vibe?

Check out the Charger, which offers a more pistol-like take on the 10/22 platform. It’s a fun choice for the range and easily stows in your range bag due to its compact size.

You can read our review on it or check out the video below.

The 10/22 gives shooters plenty of options with models and aftermarket support – all while keeping the price around $250-$350. If money is a little tight, then the 10/22 provides the most bang for your buck.

For more models or some history on the platform, check out our article dedicated to the Ruger 10/22.

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2. Savage Rascal

If you’re on the hunt for a youth gun to get your kiddo started, look no further than the Savage Rascal.

Savage Arms Rascal
Savage Rascal

This budget-friendly (we’re talking less than $200) .22 LR is the perfect size for youth shooters. The series comes in a variety of gun colors and even left-handed models that will get any kid excited about the range.

Barrel length is around 16 inches, and the gun opts for Savage’s adjustable AccuTrigger system. It sports a bolt-action style with a manual safety to keep things safe.

Savage does a great job of providing a lightweight and easy-to-maintain long gun that all adds up to a great experience for first-time, younger shooters.

I bought my son his very own red Rascal for Christmas a few years back, and he’s enjoyed plinking on it since.

3. Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport

For a more modern AR style, you might want to check out the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport.

This rifle stands out on our list because it ditches the traditional wood stock for a polymer build that resembles America’s favorite semi-auto rifle.

Pro shooter Jerry Miculek with the Smith & Wesson 15-22.
Pro shooter Jerry Miculek with the Smith & Wesson 15-22. (Photo: S&W via Facebook)

Though it looks like an AR-15, the M&P15-22 Sport’s polymer design shaves off some weight, bringing it to only 4.8 pounds. This makes it a great training rifle for the range.

It comes with a 25-round proprietary magazine, Magpul MBUS sights, and 6-position stock. Another bonus to the platform is the M-LOK equipped handguard and 2-inch rail up top for mounting additional accessories.

The price tag is also right, slipping in under $500.

We recommend this model if you want something lightweight and easy to train with at the range.

4. Henry Golden Boy (with honorable mention of the Henry AR-7)

We are big fans of Henry’s rifles around here, mainly because they work and work well.

Henry’s Golden Boy is no exception, as this lever action has gone through several hundred rounds with us at the range with no failures.

Henry Golden Boy
Henry Golden Boy

Weighing in at 6.75 pounds, it’s a little front-heavy but nothing that you can’t manage with a little time and practice.

While the lever-action is a cool and classic design, there are ways to bring it into a modern era…like with a rail adapter that allows you to mount your favorite optics.

Overall, the Henry Golden Boy is a fun rifle to take to the range and plink with. We’ve all had a blast with it over the years. You can read more about our experience in our Golden Boy review.

While we’re on the topic of Henry rifles we love, we gotta mention the AR-7 Survival Rifle.

Assembled Henry AR-7
Assembled Henry AR-7

Designed in 1959 by the U.S. Air Force, it’s one of our favorites because of its compact design. Lightweight, at only 3.5 pounds, the AR-7 is a reliable, compact rifle that easily breaks down.

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Its parts can be stored in the stock, making it a great option for campers. No tools are required for reassembly either. It’s all pretty easy to put back together.

AR-7 Innards

It comes with two 8-round magazines, and while that’s a slight disadvantage capacity-wise, its ability to easily break down and stow and go makes it worth mentioning.

You can read more about it in our full review.

Best .22 LR Rifles Over $500

5. Tikka T1x MTR

The Tikka T1x series is a nice mid-tier option for those that still want performance but have a little extra to spend.

Tikka T1x Build for NRL22 Base Class
Tikka T1x Build for NRL22 Base Class.

Available with either a 16-inch or 20-inch barrel, the T1x MTR also comes in either right-handed or left-handed configurations. We know our Southpaw friends will be happy with that.

Weight sits between 5.7 pounds and 6.2 pounds, depending on the model, with all offering a capacity of 10+1.

The T1x is based on the T3x centerfire design, so if you’ve shot one of those, this will feel very similar. It’s worth mentioning that Tikka went with a stainless-steel bolt, so this gun should hold up well in various environments and weather conditions.

Its barrel is also a pro to this platform with some added bulk and weight, though they can sometimes be tough to source, so keep that in mind.

Overall, the T1x MTR is a solid .22 LR rifle at a nice mid-tier price point that will leave most serious .22 LR shooters happy.

What do you think of the Tikka? Rate it below!

6. Browning BL-22 FLD, Grade I

Bringing another lever action to the mid-range price point is Browning with the BL-22.

The BL-22 has been around the block, introduced in 1969. Overall, the platform has stayed the same, aside from a few minor changes here and there.

Browning BL-22
(Photo: Browning)

The Grade I model offers a traditional walnut stock with an elegant nickel finish. If you like that more classic look, this definitely has it.

It keeps things simple, though, with no fancy checkering or engraving. If you want all that (and a golden trigger), then step up the Grade II – but keep in mind the price jumps from $879 to over $1,000.

The action is short and smooth, and the trigger adopts an interesting design of moving with the lever instead of staying in place.

While this isn’t the most modern take on lever actions, it does pair nostalgia with a smooth shooting experience which we can appreciate.

The BL-22 would make a really nice addition to any gun safe or cabinet and a fun little plinker at the range.

Best .22 LR Rifles Over $1,000

7. Bergara B-14R

We’re moving up in price, but with that elevation in cost, you continue to get nice features. Our next stop is the Bergara B-14R.

Bergara B14R

The B14-R isn’t the cheapest option on the table, but its features, paired with its performance, will not leave you disappointed. If you have the money to spare, we highly recommend this model.

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Not only does the B14 chassis feel great while shooting, but the stock/chassis allows for length of pull adjustments as well as cheek rest adjustment – that’s handy to ensure you get the best fit. The trigger is also user-adjustable.

Another bonus is that the stock/chassis is a standard Remington 700 chassis, opening the door to even more aftermarket products.

Let’s talk performance. We put nearly 2,000 rounds through it and didn’t have a single problem. Accuracy-wise, it is phenomenal.

Bergara Sig Match 0.71 MOA
Bergara Sig Match 0.71 MOA

Though we tested it with a bunch of ammo, we found that Lapua Center-X and SK Rifle Match performed the best, easily managing sub-MOA.

We have a review on the B-14R if you want to learn more!

8. Anschutz 1710

If you plan to compete in NRL or PRS style matches or just one of the best .22 LR rifles on the market, then Anschutz is worth a look.

The 1710 Competition series platform is geared towards the serious shooter with serious cash…seriously, it starts at $2,995.

Anschutz Competition Series
Anschutz Competition Series (Photo: Anschutz)

There are a handful of models to choose from, including the 1710 Competition Classic, which brings a traditional Walnut stock and bolt-action design, topped off with a 20-inch stainless steel heavy barrel.

Other notable features include a 5119 Two Stage Trigger, an optimized match chamber, and a weight of just over 7 pounds. This is the less expensive of the Competition series at $2,995.

But if you need your rifle to do some serious heavy lifting, check out the 1710 Competition MDT ACC Chassis. This newer model comes in four colors: Flat Dark Earth, Carbon Gray, and O.D. Green, and Crimson Red.

Anschutz Competition 1710 MDT

The gun weighs slightly over 10 pounds with a 20-inch stainless steel heavy barrel and blued receiver. It, too, sports the 5119 Two-Stage Trigger.

What’s neat about this model is that it’s designed to be modular and allow the user to balance its mass the way they want to ensure the best performance in competition.

This one is best for those seriously into NRL and PRS shooting. At $3,995, it may be a tough pill to swallow for some, but if you want the best and can pay for it, we’d suggest this one.

Final Thoughts

.22 LR is a fun caliber with a lot of support in the gun industry.

.22LR Round
.22LR Round

Whether you’re looking for a budget .22 LR to start your kid on or a competition rifle to take you to the next level, we hope our list has given you a good starting point.

What’s your favorite .22 LR rifle? Let us know in the comments below. If precision shooting is more your style, we have more recommendations in the Best .22 LR Precision Rifles, and if you need to stock some rounds check out some of our Favorite .22 LR Ammo.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>