The rimfire cartridge has been around for close to 175 years and is a staple in firearms and American history. In addition to .44 Henry rifles, .22 Long and .22 Short have played major roles in the development of this country. Between the Civil War, Westward Expansion, and hunting, these cartridges permeated American gun culture and is now seeing a rebirth in the market. There are now several major companies manufacturing new variants of the classic cartridge, including Hornady, Remington, and Winchester. That being said, we wanted to go through the best rimfire rifles currently on the market.

Rimfire vs Centerfire

Before we get into the rifles themselves, it’s important to understand the difference between rimfire and centerfire. Without getting too technical, the primary difference between these two is only a matter of where the primer is located. Unlike centerfire ignition systems which are struck in the middle of the cartridge, rimfires are hit on the outer rim.

Centerfire vs Rimfire
Centerfire vs Rimfire

Ruger 10 22

The Ruger 10 22 is one of the most popular rifles in America and it’s easy to see why. While Ruger is one of the most trusted names in the industry, the 10 22 stands out thanks to combining tradition and modernity in a beautiful fusion rifle. Shooters across the world love this rifle for plinking, small game hunting, and competition shooting, plus it’s got a great price tag too. There are a few variants of the best-selling firearm, many of which contain detachable rotary mags, alloy-steel barrels, contoured butt pads, and polymer trigger housings.

Model: 10/22 I-TAC 1296
Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 25+1
Barrel Length: 16.1”
Overall Length: 36”
Weight: 5 lbs.
Finish: Clear Satin Stainless Steel
MSRP: $389.99

Ruger 10 22 Rimfire
Ruger 10 22 Rimfire

M&P 15 Sport 2

The new and improved Smith and Wesson M&P 15 Sport II is one of the most popular affordable AR-15’s. While S&W has been an American favorite for well over a century thanks to their unparalleled handguns, their intro into the AR-platform was exceptional. Their top-rated MSR is ergonomic, user-friendly, reliable, and even pretty attractive. Its mid-range price may lead some to think it only offers mid-range performance, but the truth is that the M&P 15 Sport II is actually quite impressive. The American gunmaker threw in a 6-position telescopic stock, hardcoat anodized finish, chrome-line gas key, and ultra-durable 707T6 aluminum receiver.

Model: M&P 15 Sport II 10202
Caliber: .223 Remington / 5.56 NATO
Capacity: 30+1
Barrel Length: 16”
Overall Length: 32”-35”
Weight: 6.45 lbs.
Finish: Matte Black Hardcoat Anodized / Armornite
MSRP: $699.99

M&P Sport 2
M&P Sport 2

Mossberg 464 SPX

Mossberg is one of the premier riflemakers currently on the market and their 464 SPX lever-action rifle is no exception. Shooting a lever-action rimfire firearm is like taking a step into the past, though the 464 SPX is quite modern, both in terms of appearance and performance. In fact, Mossberg added one of the best stocks you’ll ever see on a lever-action plus a modern 3-dot sight system, a Picatinny rail, and a durable and simplistic precision-machined receiver.

Model: 464 SPX
Caliber: .22LR
Capacity: 14+1
Barrel Length: 18”
Overall Length: 35.5”
Weight: 6 lbs.
Finish: Matte Blued Metal
MSRP: $525

Mossberg 464 SPX
Mossberg 464 SPX

Ruger American Rimfire

There’s a good chance you already know about the Ruger American Rifle Series, but many tend to overlook the significance of their bolt-action rimfire model. Like its brothers, this American is available in a wide-variety of options, including standard and compact lengths. While the Marksman adjustable trigger unit is the standout feature, there’s no denying the quality and effectiveness of their one-piece three-lug bolt, dual cocking cams, and Power Bedding integral bedding-block system. I really appreciated how user-friendly these rifles are, even for folks unfamiliar with bolt-actions.

Model: American Rimfire Compact
Caliber: .22LR
Capacity: 10+1
Barrel Length: 18”
Overall Length: 35.75”
Weight: 5.3 lbs.
Finish: Matte Black Synthetic
MSRP: $319.99

Ruger American Rimfire
Ruger American Rimfire

Henry Survival Rifle

If you haven’t had the chance to try the Henry AR-7 Survival Rimfire Rifle, you’re definitely missing out. The reason this firearm is so special is because it is simply innovation at its finest. While simple, compact, and ultra-affordable, the Henry Survival Rifle is the culmination of decades of firearms research and development. The American rifles are particularly beloved thanks to their portability. Believe it or not, these .22’s can be field-stripped and packed into the stock in a matter of seconds without any tools. Use these for hunting, plinking, and on-the-go protection.

Model: U.S. Survival AR-7
Caliber: .22LR
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel Length: 18.5”
Overall Length: 16.5” – 35”
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Finish: Matte Black Synthetic
MSRP: $249.99

Henry Survival Rifle
Henry Survival Rifle with True Timber-Kanati Finish

Conclusion

Overall, the rimfire cartridge has seen generations of use but is simply not ready to be filed away to the annals of history. There are several gunmakers that are committed to keeping the legendary cartridge relevant and their efforts have been outstandingly successful. Thanks for reading with us here at Gunivore and let us know what rimfire rifles you love!

TOP RIMFIRE SCOPES FOR UNDER $200!

Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.

Let us know what you think in the comments section!

For suggestions, collaborations, or requests, contact sam@gunivore.com.

1 Comment

  1. Two additions respectfully submitted:

    1. CZ 452/455 bolt rimfire. Especially the Full Stock (Mannlicher) version. The 455 lets you switch out the .17, .22 LR/L/S, and .22WMR barrels and magazines for about $120-$150 each.

    2. Henry lever actions. Great plinkers, reasonably priced.

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