A quick look at “Tactical .22” rifles.

For some reason, this segment of the shooting community has exploded. Because evidently classic .22 shooting just isn’t cool enough anymore. You have guns like the Ruger 10/22, the Marlin Model 60, the Marlin 39A Lever Action, or something simple like one of the excellent CZ bolt actions…. but no… they are not “TACTICAL”. Let me tell you, the Lever Action was Tactical before the word was invented. Because if “Black with Rails” means Tactical then I guess it’s not. If Tactical means it can be applied with tactics, or if it’s user friendly and provides actual utility in different situations, then absolutely. Well, some folks think it’s all about the AmTracks… so we have to roll with as many rails as possible to be even more tactical. I mean, hell, we have Rails for our Rails because no one is making a gun with enough rails so we have to add more. Anyways, the rifles. Let’s take a quick look.

S&W M&P15-22

This is without a doubt, the best of the type here. It runs just like an AR, with a functional bolt release. If you want a cheap training analog for your M4 type rifle, this is it.

Look at that, a real bolt release.

You can modify it to match you regular rifle, yet shoot cheap .22LR loads and within 1 season the S&W has paid for its self. Money Saved is Money Earned, so it wont be long before your making money with this. Okay, that’s a stretch of logic, but the gun is especially sweet and they’ve proven to be great shooters. If there is any drawback to the S&W, is that it’s lighter than a regular AR due to the polymer construction.

HK's 416-22

The HK 416-22 is a great rifle that looks right, feels right, and I want to like it. The heft and balance is exactly like a regular AR type rifle. This also means its the heaviest of these rifles, and probably one of the better ones, but I have to take a pass on it. Why?

The bolt release is not functional.

The problem that has, is that you can not practice your weapon manipulation because this gun works different than your regular gun. Between these two, I’m buying (for less money) the S&W M&P15-22 because while it’s lighter, it runs the same. Even uses some of the same parts in the trigger mechanism. The HK, like most other HK’s, has a really poor trigger. This is going to hamstring any hope for accuracy.

The SIG 522

The SIG 522 is a look a like for the SIG 566 rifle. It does everything well, and has perhaps the best constructed magazine out of all of them. They are accurate, and as reliable as a .22 rifle can be. The only problem is that it sells poorly compared to the others… because it doesn’t have enough rails. I don’t understand this… but people will happily pay more money rails they never use, then even more money for covers for the rails so they can hold on to it. Look, I’m not against rails. They offer some utility. But I’d rather have rails where I need them and not just all over everything.

Mossberg's uh... thing...

So Mossberg wants to play the Tactical .22 game so they break out a rifle that from a distance – a far distance, it looks like an AR15 from the 80’s that someone put railed handguards on and a scope rail on the fixed carry handle. I actually had an AR like this. I remember back in 91 I sold it… primarily because the 80’s were over. Now, Mossberg took that idea, and made it cheaper than Cindy Lauper’s Newspaper Dress.  So this thing up close doesnt really look like an AR and it doesn’t work like an AR.  Safety where the mag release is, nothing where the safety should be and the mag release where it shouldn’t be.  And then when you get the magazine out… you wish you hadn’t.

We've seen big magazine floorplates before...

What the Mossberg unit is, is a Plinkster rifle, which is a decent enough gun on its own, wrapped up in a lot of plastic.  Kind of reminds me of something.   I think Mossberg has invented a whole new term to define a phenomenon… the Tactical Ricer.  And here we thought that this was the domain of Ruger 10-22 kits and an Air Soft catalog.  This is the cheapest of the .22’s here, and quite rightly the worst of the lot.  I’m left wondering who is going to buy this one?  No one for themselves.  I think this is the perfect gift for those guys that have an annoying nephew that they don’t really like but have to buy them a birthday present for anyway.


11 thoughts on “A quick look at “Tactical .22” rifles.”

  1. I bought a Blackhawk!!! Axiom rifle stock for my 10/22 so I could adjust the LOP for my kids. The stock looks “cool” but I don’t like it. Even at full extension the stock is too small for me.

    My favorite “tactical .22” ad is the Archangel stock for the 10/22. It even has a bayonet lug for those suicide charges.

  2. CMMG has a real nice rimfire AR (and also just the upper) that noe features a functional bolt catch and an upgrade for the older uppers to use the new bolt catch. I can’t believe you brought up the Mossberg…not cool.

    1. I love the 10/22 tactical. It has all you need. A short, threaded barrel, an optics rail, and a lightweight stock without a lot of random crap hanging off of it. It is perfect for a suppressor.

  3. I’m running almost $1000 worth of optics on my AR 15, plus a drop in trigger. There is no way in hell i’m going to buy a .22 and drop a grand on matching optics for it, and wind up with a different trigger pull, too. Maybe if I was running iron sights only or a lesse expensive set up…But the way I think about it, if you want to seriously train, you need 100% compatability. Same sight picture, same trigger pull, same eguronomics.

    Thats why I bought a CMMG conversion kit and some S&W MP 15 mags for it. (Which are very nice, by the way.). Total, it cost less than a S&W MP15, but more than it would have cost to get an ugly stock for my Ruger 10/22.

  4. Well when I read tactical .22’s I first thought of stuff like the Russian silenced Ismash SV-99, manual toggle action with about a 14 inch barrel. Then I thought about a Ruger 10-22 with a the new BX-25 25 round magazine and some CCI 40 grain subsonics….Mabybe I have this unreasonable hatred for urban squirrels.

  5. The sig 522 does take blackdog magazines (just like the AR conversions like CMMG).

    I absolutely love my Sig 522…and mine has the Samson rail from Brownells and also a modification that adds a pressure switch activated laser where the fake gas tube is. I really love it for a $450 gun…took 3 rabbits the first night I shot it.

  6. I’m thinking about getting a couple new .22 rifles for my kids. They each want tactical rifles and i want to get them something they will be able to pass down to there kids without paying a crazy amount of money. Any recomendations?

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