Tactical 22s: A New Class of Rifles

posted on November 19, 2010
201011199517-tactical_f.jpg

The term “tactical .22 rifle” is essentially an oxymoron. It’s unlikely that a single military or police force on Earth uses .22 Long Rifle arms for small-scale combat operations, at least as primary guns. Nevertheless, this burgeoning class of firearms has taken hold in recent years in the civilian market. With origins dating back to the ever-modular Ruger 10/22, perhaps the most accessorized gun on the planet, up through today’s AR-15 look-alikes, these guns have found a welcome place in the cabinets of varmint shooters, beginning marksmen, and of course those who like to shoot all day with inexpensive, readily available ammunition. And with a generous amount of features previously unseen on .22 Long Rifle semi-automatics, this new class of rifles is well-deserving of a closer look.

For brevity’s sake not every .22 rimfire conversion or .22 Long Rifle tactical-style gun could be covered. But a number of newer models that offer some unique options in a variety of packages were chosen, each with its strengths and weaknesses.

All of these are blowback-operated, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, dedicated .22 Long Rifle arms, and all incorporate varying degrees of polymer and light alloy components. It’s important to emphasize “dedicated .22,” since some .22 conversion kits do not include barrels suitable for .22 Long Rifle ammunition. Rather, they rely on use of the parent gun’s original barrel. The result can be excessive fouling and poor accuracy. Each manufacturer models its gun after a full-size, center-fire rifle or carbine. Picatinny rails abound, and most examples accept a variety of aftermarket stocks, grips and other accessories.

Conclusion
In general the guns performed well, despite some lower-end accuracy and the occasional failure to feed. Magazine design was also an issue, since plinking with .22s necessarily calls for continual loading that should be quick and simple. Manufacturing materials, shooting comfort, aftermarket options, reliability, accuracy, price points and personal preference vary considerably, so none of these guns can be called “the best.” And with the host of other .22 Long Rifle “tactical” guns out there, including an MP5-style from HK, and AR-styles from Kies, CMMG and Olympic Arms, among others, there are plenty to choose from for any .22 Long Rifle enthusiast—even if his adversaries are no more "tactical" than empty tin cans.

Latest

Vista Kinetic Logo
Vista Kinetic Logo

Vista Re-Files Notice To Committee On Foreign Investment Over CSG Sale

Vista Outdoor announced it had voluntarily withdrawn and re-filed its joint voluntary notice to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a move that allows committee members additional time to conduct due diligence on the proposed sale of The Kinetic Group to the Czechoslovak Group (CSG).

Rifleman Q&A: M1 Garand Plastic Stocks

Did the M1 Garand rifle ever use a plastic stock like the M14?

Preview: Hornady HIT Target Impact Indicator

When shooting at extended ranges, particularly with small-caliber rifles, seeing steel move or hearing the “ding!” of an impact can be difficult. Hornady is making it easier to spot good hits with its HIT Target Impact Indicator. 

I Have This Old Gun: Carcano TS Carbine

For almost 55 years, the Carcano served the Kingdom of Italy. When it was adopted in 1891 as the country’s first smokeless-powder firearm, it was a cutting-edge design that defined the modern service rifle.

The Armed Citizen® April 15, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Handloads: Getting A Carcano Into The Field

The accuracy of 6.5x52 mm Italian-chambered Carcano rifle is atrocious, and ammunition is scarce at best. However, for budget-minded shooters and collectors, they are still a popular option.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.