A friend recently asked for advice about the best 22 rifles for youth. His children are ready for their first guns, and he is doing his research for Christmas shopping. I thought I would share some of the thoughts I am sharing with him with you! Remember that 22 rifles can be almost as dangerous as a car or chainsaw! Be sure that your children receive quality safety training and are always supervised!
Safety is of course the primary concern, so when I consider the various action types, having watched thousands of people shoot their first shots with these action types, I have found that the safest is the bolt action. Next would be the break action or semi-automatic. The pump action and lever action styles require one hand to hold the gun while the other makes a dramatic motion. The same is also true of the bolt action, however because of the nature of the action, I find that it is easier to keep the rifle pointed in a safe direction than with a lever action or pump-action.
An important consideration is the shooting position that will most commonly be used. If most of the shooting will be done standing up without support in the back fields of the farm or in the woods, a lighter-weight gun that is easier for a standing position is a good idea. On the other hand, if most of the shooting will be done at a developed range with shooting benches available, a heavier gun can be a good choice.
My top three choices for the Best 22 Rifles for Youth, in no particular order:
- The Savage Mark II is an excellent bolt action rifle that will fire 10’s of thousands of shots. The action is easy to lock and the versions that come with a picatinny rail are best. I suggest mounting an inexpensive scope, perhaps a Simmons and buying an extra couple 5 or 10 round magazines. This rifle can be found for less than $200.
- The Ruger 10/22 is an excellent semi-auto rifle. I loves it’s reliability and when a picatinny rail is mounted, it can also be outfitted with magnified scopes or red dot sights or both. Most versions come with open iron sights. You can find this rifle for less than $300.
- The Rossi hinge action is an affordable little workhorse. It is very simple to operate, and if it is not dry-fired will last a long time. Most packages come with a second barrel that can be easily and quickly interchanged to .410 or 20g shotgun. For as little as $350 one can find a 22LR barrel, a .243 rifle barrel and a 20 gauge shotgun barrel Trifecta version.
Rifles don’t “need” scopes, however many shooters enjoy using them. I suggest this budget scope as a great one for your 22 rimfire rifle. http://amzn.to/2zJyMY0 If you have a Picatinny rail, you will also want these (or similar) rings. http://amzn.to/2yNnVZC
If you want a red dot sight, THIS is a good option for a 22 rimfire. My article about this sight HERE. You could even mount it at 45 degrees for 3-Gun Style configuration with one of these: http://amzn.to/2AUgdyg
I have tried many brands over the years, and while precision benchrest shooting requires specialty ammunition, I currently use CCI Mini-Mag exclusively. I am not affiliated with CCI, it is simply what I have learned to appreciate through experience.
Where to buy?
If you prefer to “shop locally” check Google for local gun stores. If you prefer to get the best price, Gunbroker and Gunsamerica are good options. The gun will have to be shipped to a local FFL dealer (shipping cost) and that dealer will charge you an FFL transfer fee. Investigate these costs, and you might find that “shopping local” is not only a better price. It is also not a bad idea to develop a relationship with a local gun store, especially if they offer gun-smithing services.
Used or New?
Buying new is always the safest option, however “most” used guns have not been fired much and are in good condition. An exception is a shooting school like ours in which we heavily use a gun before disposing of it. We always inform the buyer that our guns are heavily used, however they might later sell the gun to someone else without full disclosure. Your chances of winding up with a “shooting school” gun is low but possible.
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