Rifleman Review: Performance Center T/CR22

posted on December 8, 2021

Typically known for its muzzleloading and bolt-action rifles, in 2018 Thompson/Center introduced the first semi-automatic rifle to be in its catalog for some time, the T/CR22 chambered in .22 LR. Originally, there was only one version of the T/CR22 offered, but since then the line has grown. Last year, American Rifleman staff examined the Performance Center T/CR22 version fitted with a Hogue overmold thumbhole stock.

The Performance Center T/CR22 with Hogue overmolded thumbhole stock.

First introduced in 2019, the Performance Center T/CR22 includes some features from Smith & Wesson's Performance Center, which is the parent company of Thompson/Center. While the initial version of the T/CR22 is geared as a general-purpose rimfire rifle, the features of the Performance Center T/CR22 make it more suitable for specialized uses, including competition and small-game hunting. The design of the T/CR22 will be readily familiar to enthusiasts of Ruger's 10/22 semi-automatic rimfire rifles, and for good reason.

A closer look at the Performance Center T/CR22's aluminum receiver, with an integrated Picatinny rail segment with 11 slots.

On the surface, both are blowback-operated, semi-automatic rifles chambered in .22 LR, but the similarities do not end there. The T/CR 22 follows many of the same design aspects, and is so similar to Ruger's 10/22 that it is compatible with many of the same aftermarket accessories and components. Even the Hogue stock that comes on the Performance Center T/CR22 was originally an aftermarket replacement for the 10/22.

The Performance Center T/CR22 includes an added hole at the back of the receiver to allow the use of leaning rods.

Thompson/Center also made some further alterations to the design of Performance Center T/CR22 over the original for ease of cleaning and use. The first is the addition of a hole to the rear of the receiver that is inline with the bore of the barrel. This allows cleaning rods to be pushed through the bore from the rear of the receiver once the barreled action is removed from the stock. Another change includes a modified 10-round magazine design, which, while similar in footprint to the original T/CR22 magazine, incorporates a "first round load-release lever." This lever must be pressed in order to load the magazine, and it also holds the action open after the last round is fired.

The modified Performance Center T/CR22 magazine with "first round load-release lever."

The receiver of the Performance Center T/CR22 is made from 6061 aluminum and comes with a bead-blasted satin finish. Integral to the top of the receiver is a 11-slot Picatinny rail segment for mounting optics. Other than this rail segment, there are no other sighting provisions that comes with the rifle. The 20" heavy-contour barrel, which includes six flutes cut in for weight savings and a 1/2x28 TPI threaded muzzle, is made from stainless steel and also comes in a bead-blasted satin finish.

A closer view of the comb and grip area of the Hogue overmolded thumbhole stock that comes with the Performance Center T/CR22.

The final unique feature of the Performance Center T/CR22 is the black Hogue thumbhole stock. Overmolded with a rubber texture that Hogue is known for, the stock is weather resistant and offers ample grip on all of its surfaces regardless of the conditions. The thumb hole of the stock is ambidextrous, as is the generous raised comb. At the front of the stock, the fore-end is intentionally made flat and broad for use with sandbags and rests. A undertook is also molded into the butt of the stock for the user's support hand. With all its features, the Performance Center T/CR22 weighs in at 6 lbs. 15 ozs. unloaded.

Firing the Performance Center T/CR22 on the range.

While the version of the Performance Center T/CR22 reviewed here with bead-based finish and Hogue thumbhole stock is no longer offered by Thompson/Center, a very similar version, the Performance Center T/CR22 with Altamont laminated thumbhole stock, is offered and shares several of the same features. For more information on it and other Thompson/Center rifles, visit tcarms.com.

To watch complete segments of past episodes of American Rifleman TV, go to americanrifleman.org/artv. For all-new episodes of ARTV, tune in Wednesday nights to Outdoor Channel 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST.

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