It’s Rimfire Time Again

Practice With A .22 LR Will Help Keep Your Eye Sharp.

When I see 20-round boxes of the most popular centerfire cartridges selling for $40, $50 or more, the simple cost of shooting centerfires for fun and practice is outrageous. It’s bound to have a long-term deleterious effect on the shooting sports from the standpoint of bringing new and younger shooters into the game as well as keeping existing shooters from heading to the exits. But wait, it needn’t be that way. It’s rimfire time again. That little cartridge celebrating its 156th birthday this year may just be the game changer we’ve been needing at this juncture in time.

Let’s look at the unique virtues of the little rimfire. It’s the first type of cartridge returning to dealers’ shelves in any quantity, and nothing can, or will ever, touch it in terms of cost-per-round fired. More importantly, the .22 rimfire and the rifles and handguns chambered for it can pretty well replace centerfires 100 percent for target shooting from 5 to 100 yards. That’s a bold statement, but it’s true.

I used to chuckle when all the centerfire shooters on the line were chasing that magical 1 minute-of-angle at 100 yards, and I could simply uncase a M1922M1 Springfield .22 with a No. 48C Lyman receiver sight, load it with an old lot of Winchester/Western standard-velocity ammunition and rap out a 5-shot, 1-inch group almost consistently. The point is the rimfire round is the most refined cartridge we have. It should be. We’ve been making it for 156 years and produce billions of rounds each year, plus the rimfire firearms today, in general, are the best we’ve ever had.

Just consider some of the outstanding rimfire clones that have been produced in the last few years that can serve you as a 1:1 substitute within a range of 100 yards for some of the most popular contemporary firearms seen on the target ranges.

A Model 52 Winchester Sporter is a great rimfire understudy for a big-game rifle.

The Walther Arms rimfire clone of a Colt M4 carbine (above) is remarkably
accurate in all details. Chiappa’s M1 Carbine (below, bottom gun) looks,
feels and functions just like an original..

Can’t find inexpensive .223 or .308 ammunition for your ARs? Check out the outstanding rimfire AR clones offered by Walther Arms, Ruger, Mossberg, Smith & Wesson, Legacy Sports and others. The Colt M4 carbine, UZI, Colt 1911A1, 1911A1 Rail gun, 1911 Gold Cup, HK MP5 and HK 416 rifle clones by Walther Arms, Inc. are such exacting copies of the centerfire versions that you wouldn’t know by looking at them or handling them that they’re rimfires until you’d examined what’s loaded in their magazines. ISSC’s rendition of the FN SCAR, Chiappa’s sensational rimfire version of the M1 Carbine, Sig Sauer’s P229 and ATI-GSG’s Colt are equally remarkable in their exacting detail to the originals.

Typically in these advanced rimfire models, all the controls duplicate those of their centerfire counterparts so their operation is familiar and instinctive to a shooter. The rimfire models also tend to share the same weight and balance of their centerfire brethren. In fact, because a shooter will fire many hundreds of rounds of rimfire to every single centerfire round fired, the use of a rimfire clone is a terrific training tool to totally familiarize a shooter with a specific firearm design and its operation.

Another advantage of the rimfire clone is its lack of muzzle blast and recoil which enables and encourages a shooter to focus on their sight picture and trigger release. I spend a lot of time on public ranges, and the predominant firearm seen on the rifle line today is some model of an AR, or “modern sporting rifle.” Short barrels and flash hiders generate an intense level of noise, particularly if the shooting benches have a roof overhead. It’s a real distraction for concentrating on the fundamentals of good shooting technique.

Walther’s HK MP5 rimfire copy is about as close to the real thing as you can come.

I’ve made it a point of observing fellow AR shooters—where they post their targets, how they operate their guns and how they group their shots on target. AR targets are typically posted at 50, rather than 100 yards. I see a lot of trigger jerking and flinching going on, and the typical groups at 50 yards don’t carry any bragging rights with them. It’s a shame. Most shooters would be better off if they took a rimfire clone out to the country and did some casual plinking with it, without being rooted to a bench and without being hammered by the muzzle blast of an adjacent gun.

There are enough rimfire models available today to serve as inexpensive, training tools for any centerfire handgun or rifle. I shoot a Model 52 Sporter as a big game rifle clone, a Walther Colt M4 as an AR clone, an ATI German Sport Guns .22 caliber Model 1911, Legacy Sports M22 as an understudy to the Glock line and their Mk22 (FN SCAR clone) and a Smith & Wesson Kit Gun as a J-frame, .38 Special clone. The only clone I regret not buying when it presented itself in a local gun shop was a genuine Model 1873 Winchester in .22 rimfire.

So, if you haven’t been following the clone market recently, you’ve been missing out on a lot of inexpensive, rimfire fun and a ready and reliable way to hone your skill sets. Most importantly, the rimfires will keep us shooting when the centerfire crowd stays home. It’s rimfire time again!
By Holt Bodinson

ATI’s GSG Model 1911 (above, top gun) replicates models like Remington’s “Enhanced”
1911 .45. Legacy Sports’ M22 (below) is an ideal rimfire trainer for the centerfire Glock models.

American Tactical Imports
(German Sport Guns)
100 Airpark Dr., Rochester, NY 14624
(800) 290-0065

Chiappa Firearms Ltd. (M1 Carbine)
6785 W 3rd St., Dayton, OH 45417
(937) 835-4055

Legacy Sports International (M22 & Mk22)
4750 Longley Ln., Ste. 208, Reno, NV 89502
(800) 553-4229

Mitchell’s Mausers
P.O. Box 9295
Fountain Valley, CA 92728
(800) 274-4124

O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.
7 Grasso Ave., North Haven, CT 06473
(203) 230-5300

18 Industrial Dr.
Exeter, NH 03833
(603) 772-2302

Smith & Wesson
2100 Roosevelt Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
(800) 331-0852

Sturm, Ruger & Co.
411 Sunapee St., Newport, NH 03773
(603) 865-2442

Walther Arms, Inc.
7700 Chad Colley Blvd., Fort Smith, AR 72916
(479) 242-8500

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