I think most of us began shooting with a rimfire rifle in hand — the mild report, the virtually non-existent recoil and affordability of ammunition all play a role in what I consider the most effective teaching tool to marksman of all ages and skill levels.
And, not unlike Jello, there’s always room for another rimfire rifle.
Here’s a look at eight new rimfire rifles for 2018:
Building on the successes of the Ruger Precision, a rimfire version makes all the sense in the world. No recoil, dirt cheap ammunition (now that it’s available again), and requiring the same mechanics as a centerfire, the Ruger Precision Rimfire is guaranteed to be a big seller. Not to mention the fact that a full-blown bolt-action chassis gun in .22 LR is simply awesome. Choice of 10- or 15-round capacity magazine, with a 30-MOA Pic rail gives you a true long-range rimfire. It even accepts 10/22 magazines! An anodized aluminum handguard, adjustable stock, and 18-inch barrel makes for one slick rig. MSRP $529.
The Savage B series of rimfire rifles have made an impact in the shooting community; they’re accurate, they’re affordable, and they’re reliable. The B22 G is a solid bolt-action rifle, in a respectable hardwood stock, that has all the features any shooter can appreciate. Hardwood stock, iron sights, 10-shot rotary magazine, sweet trigger; it’s a rifle that a kid would be proud to call his first, and that a grownup could take full advantage of. The AccuTrigger is there to help teach (or learn) trigger control, and the rifle comes drilled and tapped for a scope. Available in .22 Long Rifle; MSRP $439.
Tikka will make a leap into the rimfire world with its polymer-stocked T1X this year. Available in .22 LR and .17 HMR, the T1X is a bolt-action rimfire with an adjustable length of pull (via spacers), semi-bull barrel (threaded for suppressor) and an adjustable trigger. One can only imagine, based on the accuracy of the centerfire T3 series, that the T1X will be wonderfully accurate. MSRP ~$499.
Browning has a neat rimfire rifle for 2018 in their T-Bolt line, built to mimic the feel of a big-game rifle. Housed in a gray laminate stock, replete with checkering and Monte Carlo comb, the T-Bolt has a heavy barrel already threaded for a suppressor. A 10-round magazine and a straight-pull bolt allows for rapid firing, and a target crown on the stainless barrel will help place all your shots accurately. And, the famous Browning gold trigger is there for the full experience. MSRP $939.99 in .22 LR; $979.99 in .22WMR and .17 HMR.
The Ruger American centerfire rifles represent a great value for the hunter on a budget, and the Ruger American Stainless offers a great counterpart to the centerfire rifle. It features an adjustable synthetic stock, the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger, a 10-round magazine in .22 LR, 9-round in .22 WMR and .17 HMR, and the 18-inch barrel even comes threaded. Drilled and tapped for a scope, the American Rimfire Stainless uses a 60-degree bolt throw for a quick handling package. Available in .22LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR; MSRP $420.
The A22 rifle from Savage was a major player in the auto-loading rimfire world, and for 2018 it receives a facelift. Using a gray laminate thumbhole stock with a satin finish, and a heavy, fluted 22-inch barrel, the A22 Target Thumbhole Stock will give fantastic accuracy – I’ve used the A22 rifles to kill prairie dogs out past 250 yards – and a target setup that will allow for inexpensive practice for any target shooter. The AccuTrigger is on board, and the rifle is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. A second sling stud is included for use with a bipod. Available in .22 LR; MSRP $579.
Possibly the most famous rimfire of all time, the Ruger 10/22 is now available in a carbine with a funky thumbhole laminate stock that adjusts for length of pull. With a heavy profile barrel of just over 16 inches – threaded for a suppressor, and supplied with a thread cap – the 10/22 Target Lite features the improved BX trigger for a light pull and minimal overtravel. All of the familiar 10/22 features are there: 10-round magazine, the push-button crossbolt safety located ahead of the trigger, the reliable auto-loading action. But, this design is for those who like something different, and while it’s a departure for the usual look I enjoy, I can see myself having fun with this little rifle. MSRP $649
I left the last slot in this piece for a very special rifle, though only one of us will end up its owner. The 1,000,000th .22LR lever-action is a fancy affair, designed as the 2018 SHOT Show rifle. The stock is grade AAA, and the silver receiver is ornately engraved with not only the company logo, but iconic images associated with the Henry Company. Should you have a desire to be the owner of such a fine rifle, you may place a bid on Gunbroker.com.