January 19, 2022
By Brad Fitzpartick
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 the annual SHOT Show is underway in Las Vegas this week, and among the hundreds of new products released this year there are several new rimfire rifles, handguns, and loads. Whether you’re a small game or varmint hunter, a competition shooter, a backyard plinker or some combination of all these there’s something on this list for you. Want a field gun that doubles as a competition gun? You’ll find that here. With the ammo shortage seemingly starting to wind down isn’t it high time we had a little fun? And there’s absolutely nothing that’s more fun to shoot than rimfires. Here’s a look at the best new rimfire products from SHOT 2022.
One of the biggest releases from SHOT Show 22 was Winchester’s new Xpert-22 bolt-action rifle. This .22 LR rifle comes with a detachable box magazine and it accepts Ruger 10/22 mags. The magazine release is ambidextrous and these rifles come with a semi-match Bentz chamber so you can expect superb accuracy. Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of Winchester’s MOA trigger system (the same found on their Model 70 and XPR rifles) which uses a three-lever design and produces no creep, take-up or overtravel for maximum accuracy. Adjustable sights come standard but the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounting. The precision button-rifled barrel measures 18 inches long and has a recessed target crown, and the overall length of the rifle is just 36.25-inches, which makes it very handy. The durable grey polymer stock keeps weight to an absolute minimum—just 4.5 pounds—so this is an ideal rifle for long afternoons spent stalking through the squirrel woods.
Fiocchi Field Dynamics Bulk Packs
Fiocchi’s Field Dynamics ammo is a favorite of small game hunters, and now you can purchase bulk boxes in either .22 LR or .22 WMR. The .22 LR ammo is available in 40 grains (copper-plated hollow point or copper-plated round nose) and 38-grains (copper-plated hollow point). There’s also a subsonic load available that keeps noise to an absolute minimum, especially when used in conjunction with a suppressor. Also new are bulk pack .22 WMR loads in your choice of 40-grain jacketed hollow point or jacketed soft point configurations, both of which are traveling at about 1,910 feet per second—the perfect load when you need more power or reach than is offered by the .22 LR. Regardless of which you choose, reliable Fiocchi ammo is always a great option for hunters and target shooters.
Browning Semi-Auto 22 Challenge
Competitive 22 rimfire competitions are becoming more and more popular, especially in areas where shooting long-range or centerfire isn’t practical or possible. If you’re interested in shooting rimfire competition, but don’t want a gun that’s so ostentatious you can’t take it hunting, then be certain to check out the new Semi-Auto 22 Challenge from Browning. At its heart is the same trim semiauto blowback action that has made the SA-22 popular with generations of small game hunters. The Challenge model comes with a grade 1 American walnut stock with a raised comb for perfect eye alignment. The included Picatinny scope base makes it easy to secure your favorite optic to this rifle in no time at all. The receiver and 16.25-inch bull barrel feature a low-visibility matte blue finish and the threaded barrel comes with a brake included. The threaded barrel also makes it easy to attach a suppressor to the rifle, and that makes the new Challenge an even more appealing hunting rifle.
CCI Clean-22 Realtree
CCI’s Clean-22 is a favorite choice among rimfire shooters because it reduces fouling and protects the firearm while simultaneously reducing maintenance requirements. The tan, green and black polymer-coated bullets don’t leave residue in the barrel and reduce lead fouling in suppressors by 60 to 80 percent. In addition to this reduction in fouling, Clean-22 ammo is very accurate and a deadly small game round. These round-nose bullets have an optimized ogive shape for improved accuracy. With a muzzle velocity of 1,235 feet per second, these bullets push .22 performance to the maximum. Clean-22 Realtree ammo comes in convenient plastic bottles with a screw-on lid so they’re easy to transport to and from the field.
CZ 457 VPT MTR
The 457 is CZ’s latest iteration of their storied bolt-action rimfire rifle lines which have always been known for their superb accuracy and reliability. The VPT MTR (Varmint Precision Trainer Match Target Rifle) shares the same competition bull barrel as the standard 457 MTR rifle, which means it is designed for precision accuracy. At 16.2-inches the cold hammer forged barrel is short enough that adding a suppressor doesn’t make the rifle unwieldy and you can easily mount your favorite suppressor on this gun. CZ rimfires used to feature safeties that were rotated back to shoot (the opposite of most American rimfires), but the 457s have more traditional push-to-fire safeties and a crisp, clean single-stage adjustable trigger. The composite Manners stock is designed for high-level competition and features a rear bag cutout and Arca rails. Though this rifle’s stated purpose is competition, it’s an excellent hunting rifle or trainer, and while it isn’t cheap you can count on gilt-edge accuracy from this .22 LR.
Savage 64 Precision FDE
Savage’s Model 64 line of semiautos have been popular for years because they are lightweight, accurate and affordable. The new 64 Precision FDE comes with a synthetic chassis with M-Lok slots for quickly mounting (and removing) accessories like sling studs, rails, and bipods. As with the Browning Challenge and CZ 457 VPT MTR, this rimfire is designed with competitive shooting in mind. However, that competition-minded design makes it one of the best hunting rimfires to come along this year. It comes with a heavy profile carbon steel 16.5-inch barrel that is threaded, yet it weighs about five-and-a-half pounds and measures under three feet long. A top rail for mounting optics and an oversized bolt handle comes standard. You can choose either a 10 or 20 round magazine. This is an ideal small game hunting rifle with the added convenience of competition features.
CCI Maxi-Mag Segmenting HP .22 WMR
Many varmint and small game hunters prefer the added energy and range afforded by the .22 WMR round, but choosing the right hunting bullet is essential. CCI has made that choice simpler with the introduction of the Maxi-Mag .22 WMR Segmenting Hollow Point. Upon impact, the bullet separates into three equal-sized pieces for maximum energy transfer with reduced meat and pelt damage. The bullet’s design also reduces the risk of penetration through and beyond the target as compared with other .22 WMR bullets. An exclusive polymer coating reduces fouling in the barrel and these rounds operate well in a wide range of rifles including semiautos. This is a versatile all-around rimfire for hunting a full range of small game and varmints.