Savage’s B22 Magnum G

This Wood-Stocked, Man-Sized Bolt-Action Will
Give You All The .22 Magnum Can Deliver

Upon its introduction in 1960, the .22 Magnum—more properly the .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum—created a splash among shooters on a par with the more recent introduction of Hornady’s .17 HMR in 2002.

I’ve shot .22 Magnums off and on, both in handguns and in rifles, since the mid-1960s. My first handgun so chambered was a Ruger Single-Six Convertible; my first rifle a Marlin 782 bolt action. I found the cartridge to be a superlative hunting round for small game and reasonably sized varmints, although it was sniffed at by target types as inferior in accuracy potential to the .22 Long Rifle. But whatever differences there were in average group measurements by caliper obsessives were more than compensated for by the .22 Mag’s extra 50–75 yards of effectiveness in the field. In fact, I’ve heard guys with questionable resumes refer to it as “the greatest poacher’s cartridge ever.” For whatever that’s worth.

It did horrify budget-conscious shooters with its increased cost. I recall a figure of 5 bucks or so per box of 50 in 1967. Initially it was offered in 40-grain trim (FMJ and HP) attaining a claimed 2,000 fps from a rifle and 1,500 fps from a 6-1/2-inch handgun. Since then it has expanded to include loadings featuring bullets weighing 30, 34, 40, 45 and 50 grains. Rifle velocities range from 1,700 to just under 2,300 fps. Accuracy—particularly in some of the loads featuring V-Max bullets—has improved considerably across the board. Generally speaking, it’s still relatively expensive, although sticker shock has been soothed somewhat by the overall price increases of rimfire ammo in general—occasioned by the Great .22 Shortage.

However, the good old .22 Magnum has survived and thrived despite decades and decades of competition from sizzling .17’s and hyper-velocity .22 LR loads. Gun companies keep offering neat platforms for it. And one of the most interesting recent examples is the Savage Model B22 Magnum G—one of the latest entries in the company’s “B-Series” of bolt-action rimfires. It’s hardwood-stocked, features a 21-inch sporter-weight barrel, Savage’s 10-round, flush-fitting rotary magazine, integral scope mounts and, last but by no means least—the company’s AccuTrigger. As issued, ours broke cleanly at a bit under 3 pounds.

Ergonomically, the Magnum G (like the rest of the B-Series) offers several departures from previous Savage rimfire bolt guns. It has a higher comb for scope use, although it’s a bit tougher to “get down on” should you wish to use the iron sights. The pistol grip has a more vertical configuration, which is a real improvement in terms of hand comfort. Finally, the safety has been moved to the top tang for quick accessibility. And for a final sensible touch, there’s a rubber recoil pad. No, a .22 Magnum isn’t going to kick you into insensibility but it’s nice to be able to stand the rifle in a corner without worrying about the butt slip-sliding away.

The Magnum G is kind of a unique blend of the futuristic and traditional in appearance. It’s got a stippled finger groove with diagonal “hash marks” beneath on the fore-end to match the stippling/hash mark theme on the pistol grip. Although unlikely to shock AR types, it may seem a bit discomfitting to any old school guys who consider the Winchester Model 52 Sporter to be the high-water mark of rimfire styling.

Although a bit much for a .22 Mag, it proved a stellar optical choice. This is no kid’s
starter rimfire. It’s a serious full-size item delivering .22 Mag performance to the limits
of the cartridge’s effective range.

Peak accuracy performance was courtesy of Hornady’s 30-grain V-Max load.
Thomas Mackie lines up with the B22 Magnum G. We topped our Savage Model B22
Magnum G with a Bushnell 3-9x40 Engage variable.

Scoping & Shooting

What we scoped our test rifle with was Bushnell’s 3-9×40 Engage featuring the Deploy reticle with 1 MOA hashmarks. It’s a very nice scope, although a bit much sizewise for a .22 Mag hunting rifle, it’d be fine for “fixed-position” ground squirrel shooting. Although the hashmarked reticle seems a bit busy, it could pay off for anyone trying to really stretch the limits of the cartridge on ground squirrels. The scope’s 12-ounce weight pushed the total poundage of the entire rig to just under 7-1/2 pounds. Its rather large 40mm objective, however, wouldn’t clear the rear sight. But this gave us a chance to appreciate another thing about the Magnum G. Because Savage evidently figured most folks are going to scope B-Series rifles, the iron sights—front and rear—are screwed on. There’s no pounding to drift them off and no slot blanks required.

We shot the Magnum G over sandbags at 90 yards. Why not 100? We couldn’t quite get the “Full Monty” at my club range that day. We fired 5-shot groups after acquainting ourselves with the Savage detachable rotary magazine—it was the first time we’d used one (although we’ve had decades of experience with the Other Rimfire Rotary). It’s stone simple to load, but there’s a trick to it. Just insert the cartridge rim into a small slot and roll it into the recess while pushing down with your thumb. We had no problems with feeding throughout as long as we didn’t baby the bolt stroke.

The loads we used spanned a pretty fair cross-section of what’s available: Hornady 30-grain V-Max and 45-grain Critical Defense FTX, CCI 30- and 40-grain Maxi-Mag JHP and Winchester Supreme 34-grain HP. All the loads exceeded factory velocity claims from the 21-inch barrel of the Savage (see chart). And the premier performer from an accuracy standpoint was Hornady’s hot 30-grain V-Max (2,282 fps) that furnished consistent 3/4-inch 5-shot clusters. Next were Hornady’s 45-grain FTX and CCI’s 40-grain JHP. Even the less impressive loads managed to put 4 out of 5 into at least an inch, sometimes less.

Altogether, the Savage B22 Magnum G would make a first-rate hunting rig. I’ve seen the .22 Magnum used on close-range coyotes a couple of times and it worked OK, although a centerfire would obviously be a better choice. A .22 Mag does have a higher “noise signature” than a .22 LR, but it’s still well below a .223. Although from a handgun, you could argue the advantages of a .22 Magnum may not be all that much superior to a hyper-velocity .22 LR to be worth it. But from a rifle, particularly with current offerings, it’s definitely still the rimfire champ, at least in my opinion. And the Magnum G should get the most out of it.

Model B22 Magnum G
Maker: Savage Arms
100 Springdale Rd., Westfield, MA 01085
(800) 370-0708

Type: Bolt-action repeater
Caliber: .22 Magnum
Capacity: 10+1
Barrel length: 21 inches
Overall length: 39 inches
Weight: 6-1/2 pounds
Stock: Hardwood
Finish: Matte black
Sights: Open adjustable rear, blade front, integral scope mount bases
Price: $459

Bushnell Outdoor Products
9200 Cody
Overland Park, KS 66214-1734
(800) 423-3537

CCI Ammunition
2299 Snake River Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501
(800) 379-1732

Hornady Manufacturing
3625 W. Old Potash Hwy., Grand Island, NE 68803

Winchester Ammunition
600 Powder Mill Rd., East Alton, IL 62024-1273
(800) 356-2666

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