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Old May 7, 2014, 12:11 AM   #1
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First 22 rifle, semi or bolt?

Trying to decide between a bolt or semi for my first 22 rifle. I'm leaning bolt because of not being as finicky about ammo and being easier to clean, but a semi would be quite a bit cheaper and leave me money for ammo. I'm looking at a Savage 64 ($150) for a semi and a Savage Mark II ($210) for bolt. I really want a Ruger American Rimfire in 22lr but $210 is about the peak of my budget (selling stuff on eBay to raise the money).

Main reason I'm looking at the above guns is they "feel" more like a full sized gun compared to the Marlin 795 I held.

Could also put all the money into shotshells and 9mm, but I really want a 22 and its alot easier to buy ammo here and there than it is to convince the wife we "need" another gun.

Last edited by BigBL87; May 7, 2014 at 01:06 AM.
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Old May 7, 2014, 02:14 AM   #2
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I agree that a bolt action is a good pick for a first rifle.

I own a Savage MkII, but if I was in your shoes, I'd go with a Ruger American Rimfire. They are really good little rifles, and everything I have seen about them impresses me. The best part about them, however, is that they use the same magazine as the 10/22, which means if/when you decide to add an autoloader to the mix (of which the 10/22 is one of the best for the money) you have two guns that use the same magazine.
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Old May 7, 2014, 04:47 AM   #3
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I'm a fan of a bolt action. I have two marlins and a remington. All three are dead on reliable. I don't mind the small feel of the stocks and bolts because they are lighter and you know they're 22's and not deer rifles.

Oddly enough I don't have any semi's but if I did my first choice would probably be a Marlin Model 60.

Also don't forget places like pawn shops and armslist if you want a cheaper used rifle.
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Old May 7, 2014, 07:19 AM   #4
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Hands down, a bolt action. There are some really nice ones that are great to learn the basics on. A CZ 452 trainer is almost the perfect rifle for new shooters. Good trigger and great iron sights and easy to put a scope on. Nothing to dislike about the rifle.

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Old May 7, 2014, 08:57 AM   #5
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I now have 6 22LR rifles - 4 bolt actions (Cooper 57M, Winchester 52C, Sako Quad, and a Kimber SVT) and two semis (Kidd and a Ruger 10-22 with a Butler Creek barrel and Volquartsen trigger).
I used to have 3 semis but I gave a Ruger 10-22 with a Match barrel and Volquartsen trigger to my grandson.

I am addicted to accuracy and shoot at 50 yards and 100 yards with good match ammo. The first two bolt actions listed are the most accurate followed by the Kidd.

That said, I generally take my Kidd and one of the two better bolt actions to the range when I shoot 22s. The other 3 just sit in the gun safe. The Kidd is a joy to shoot and it almost rivals the Cooper and the Win 52C for accuracy. It outshoots the other bolt actions and the Ruger conversions. I love the two great shooting bolt actions because they are so accurate, but the Kidd is more fun to shoot and is almost as accurate.

I have shot over 20,000 rounds of match ammo through my rifles and found that it I prefer to shoot rifles that consistently average under 0.4 inches at 50 yards with their favorite ammos.

If you just want to plink, a reasonably priced semi would be my choice. A 10-22 can be modified to shoot much more accurately than any of the stock versions. Some may be cheaper but they aren't as easy to improve. That is why I modified two Ruger 10-22s and greatly improved their accuracy. As the accuracy improved, it became addictive to see how many one hole groups I could shoot at 50 yards. The 10-22 I gave my grandson was the better of the two conversions and my favorite until I got my Kidd.

If you want accuracy and if you can afford it, get a really accurate bolt action - as a minimum I would recommend a CZ 452 or 453 or go big time and get an Anschutz. If you don't spend the money on a good rifle to start with, you eventually will spend a lot more and wind up with multiple rifles most of which you won't shoot. I bought 7 of them and modified two Rugers in my search and now rarely shoot some of the early purchases that are good rifles but not as accurate as the really accurate ones.

If you enjoy accuracy and also like plinking with a semi, look no further than at a Kidd. My range buddies now shoot Kidds also and I am amazed at how well they all shoot. They all shoot just about the same and 2 of the 7 were built from Kidd parts and 5 were assembled by Tony Kidd. You can't see the difference in their results which says something for the quality of the parts and the tolerances achieved in their manufacture.

Of course you could get both a really good bolt action and a Kidd. You'll take both to the range all the time and not look any further.
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Old May 7, 2014, 10:36 AM   #6
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It'll be primarily for plinking. I'd like it to be accurate but it doesn't NEED to be a tack driver.
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Old May 7, 2014, 11:27 AM   #7
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It depends on what you want to do with it.
For shooting small groups off the bench, or action type use.
Hunting small game or having range fun with the kids.
Eventually you will wind up with one of each, anyway, so it probably doesn't matter which one you get first.
How about getting the semi-auto first.
If you get lucky, and it's an accurate one, no need to look any further.
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Old May 7, 2014, 12:29 PM   #8
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For myself, it is pointless to practice marksmanship after fatigue has set in. When a shooter is fresh, he has good sight alignment, and good trigger control (as good as it is going to be on any given day). As he fires awhile, his muscles fatigue and his concentration fades. To continue practicing after the benefits of concentration and good technique are being reinforced, i.e., after one has become fatigued, is counter productive, and will over time erode a shooter's skills.

A semi auto rifle encourages rapid shooting which will hasten the onset of concentration lapse, and maximize the cumulative detrimental effects of declining technique, and in the long run may adversely affect ones skills, as muscle memory takes on a whole new degree of slop.

A bolt actioned rifle is good in the sense that one can tell almost immediately, when he is starting to fade, or flinch, or look away, or jerk a trigger, so one may set the rifle aside and stop shooting so as to prevent the muscle memory from absorbing a lesser standard of precision.

And you get a good workout with fewer rounds, thus saving money.

But blasting at tin cans as fast as you can with a Ruger 10-22 sure is fun!
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Old May 7, 2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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I suggest saving your money and getting the gun you want.

Both bolt and semi-auto .22s are very fun. It just depends on what you want to do. Bolt action is probably better for building basic marksmanship, as it forces you to slow down a little.
...not that you can't blast away with an accurate bolt action. I do enjoy doing the .22 version of the "Mad Minute."
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Old May 7, 2014, 02:16 PM   #10
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I do understand budgeting for a gun,,,

I do understand budgeting for a gun,,,
It wasn't that long ago that putting together $109.00 took some time.

I agree about getting a bolt-action rather than a semi-auto,,,
No worries about ammo compatibility with a bolt gun.

One you might also look at is the Mossberg 802 Plinkster,,,
Right now they are available from buds gun shop for $144.00.

Don't confuse this with their 702 Plinkster,,,
That's their semi-automatic .22 rifle,,,
It's a nice enough rifle for a semi,,,
Mine is accurate and reliable,,,
But I like bolt rifles better.

I purchased an 802 rifle for a friend as a graduation gift,,,
The little shooter is very accurate at 50 yards,,,
At 100 yards he can hit Coke cans easily.

There are a lot of other good rifles out there,,,
You can spend a ton of cash for a high quality .22 rifle.

My CZ-452 Special Military Trainer is an excellent quality rifle,,,
But at close to $400.00 it was an expensive purchase,,,
And even though I say it was worth every penny,,,
That was a lot for me to spend for a plinker.

If you are just wanting something reasonable,,,
You should be able to easily come in for under $200.00.



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Old May 7, 2014, 09:42 PM   #11
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aarondhgraham, what do you think of the stock on the 802? The stock just seemed odd to me which was the main reason I wasn't considering it. I'd probably pay the extra $10 for the stainless steel model since it has the longer barrel. I just like the feel of a longer barrel as far as balance and such goes. I also would like something with a drilled and tapped receiver, as if I scope it some day I feel like that would be more secure and less likely to "creep" than a dovetail, but that isn't an ABSOLUTE must have.

I could get a Savage Mark II in the $160 range, but it would be the non-Accutrigger model. I figured if I was going to get a bolt I might as well pay the extra $40 for the Accutrigger.
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Old May 7, 2014, 11:10 PM   #12
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And, FWIW, I am trying to find more to sell because I've fallen in love with the Ruger American.
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Old May 8, 2014, 03:00 AM   #13
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For an inexpensive bolt .22 i really like the Marlin Xt-22. They have an adjustable trigger and can be had with a nice wood stock. My stock was ugly soI stripped the finish and re did it. Looks like a 400 dollar .22, shoots like one to!

Last edited by upstate81; May 8, 2014 at 03:05 AM.
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Old May 8, 2014, 08:32 PM   #14
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Bolt is generally better for learning as it is easier to develop bad habits with a semi.but for the most part if you shoot it we'll and like it either would be a good pick
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Old May 9, 2014, 03:51 PM   #15
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start with a bolt. You will save ammo and be more accurate in the end.
I'm right about the metric system 3/4 of the time.
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Old May 11, 2014, 05:24 PM   #16
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For .22 straight blow back action is more than adequate. Compared to bolt action, direct blow back is much easier to make, and it's self correcting for excessive headspace. So as a rule you get more gun for your buck buying an auto loader.

So I said, I only have bolt and lever rifles in my safe. What a hypocrite I am!

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Old May 11, 2014, 05:28 PM   #17
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10-22 is hard to beat as a first rifle

Easy enough to change things on it or upgrade the platform.

There are millions of them out there.
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Old May 11, 2014, 06:47 PM   #18
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My first 22 was a Stevens M416. Very accurate and all that. But, the next one was a Ruger 10/22. Lots more fun. The 10/22 has been made since the 60's, is an extremely robust design, most due to the outstanding magazine design. Parts should be around forever, the aftermarket part market for these things is unbelievable. Since I bought mine, back in the 80's, I have murdered a pickup truck bed full of squirrels with the thing. That's the 22 LR I recommend.
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
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Old May 14, 2014, 02:20 PM   #19
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Definitely bolt, pump, lever, or single shot. Don't see a use for semi .22s, ever, so why give up the reliability of a manual repeater?
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Old May 17, 2014, 01:02 PM   #20
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Old May 17, 2014, 02:33 PM   #21
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IMO, a bolt is a better 22 lr. It's accuracy potential is much higher and it falls in line with future rifle purchases and skills better, IMHO.

The main thing a bolt will not do is emphasize semi-auto handling skillls which are just a bit different and need to be ingrained to enjoy other semi auto rifles in the future.

That is how I feel the choice should be made.
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Old May 17, 2014, 09:18 PM   #22
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Yep, only thing better than a bolt action repeater .22lr is a bolt action single shot .22lr. No mag to lose and it will feed *anything*, including colibris, flobert type rounds etc.
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Old May 18, 2014, 08:25 AM   #23
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Yep, only thing better than a bolt action repeater .22lr is a bolt action single shot .22lr. No mag to lose and it will feed *anything*, including colibris, flobert type rounds etc.
I've been looking for a full sized 22 single shot for my grandson. All of the new single shot bolt actions I can find are youth models. The used ones I have found are rough and/or very overpriced. A well used single shot should not be priced more than a new semi-automatic like my Marlin model 60.
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Old May 18, 2014, 12:34 PM   #24
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A well used single shot should not be priced more than a new semi-automatic like my Marlin model 60.
Why should a bolt action be cheaper? A blow back semi-auto is one of the simplest rifle actions in existance, the only thing simpler would be a full auto blowback action that fires from an open bolt.
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Old May 18, 2014, 01:10 PM   #25
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up until the introduction of some cheaper rifles like the ruger american rimfire, the semi was the cheapest way to go. people often opt for a bolt because they have the same mindset that led military arms analysts to add magazine cutoffs to military rifles like the springfield: they think that all new marksmen are inherently undisciplined and that unless you give them limitations they'll burn through every round they have without limitations being imposed on them. people seem to think that if you have to work a bolt between every shot, you'll concentrate more and be less likely to take bad shots whereas a semi auto would encourage a shooter to take less time and shoot more, faster, with less mind paid to good shot placement. although there is some truth to this, if you are truly serious about becoming a better marksman then a semi would be just as effective as a bolt action.
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