The bolt actions are listed first because they tend to be
more accurate then semi automatics. Our votes for the best low
caliber target rifles are:
Enfield model 1917 - And oldie bit a goodie ($300)
- CS 452 Lux - Best in class for a new bolt action
22 rifle (400-$500) - AnschuntzModel 64 - Pricey ($,300), but great!
- Ruger 10/22 - Super good 22 semi-automatic ($400)
- Savage Model 64 - A joy with a scope at 100
yards, bullet over bullet.
1 - 1917 Enfield 22
caliber training rifle (circa 1954) - This rifle can shoot
bullet-over bullet at 100 yards using the iron sites (2010 price
2 - The CZ 452 Lux - The best new rifle on the
market, super accurate at too yards. Plus, a gorgeous walnut
3 - Anschutz Model 64:
Ruger 10/22 - The world's most popular 22
semiautomatic target rifle, easily customized and great fun to
- Savage Mark 2/Model 64 - Deadly accurate with a
scope at 100 yards, a joy to shoot:
Janet and I love to target shoot with rifles, but we detest kill animals
for fun and we limit our shooting targets are various local gun
clubs and our own target range. (See here on how to build your own
home shooting range).
First, your choice of target rifle is
largely a choice of the distance you want, your years of practice,
and the cost of the ammo:
Low Caliber: This starts with
the .22 rim-fire bullet that costs only two cents each and is
accurate up to 150 yards. The higher .223 is a souped-up .22
with a large cartridge that costs only 30 cents per round and is accurate to 600 yard, perfect for any
target shooting except snipers.
High powered, low caliber: This
includes the .223 (AR-15 assault rifles) This is just as much
fun as the 30-06, the 30-30, as well as the new 50 caliber sniper
rifles that can penetrate 36 inches of concrete at over a quarter
- different range: .22 vs .223 (actual size)
Choosing the best target rifle for you
Some indoor target rifle competitions required specialized target
rifles which are not suitable for outdoor use. Once clamped into a
vise and adjusted, there is not much skill in pressing the trigger on a
pre-aimed rifle in a jig:
A competition .22 target rifle and a
I wanted a new rifle, but I wanted a versatile gun with these
Switch to cheap ammo: The colt
AR-15 Match Target AR15 rifle offers .223 caliber
for long range with a .22 conversion kit (About $230) for cheaper
ammo. For a .22, you cannot beat the Federal .22 40 grain
target ammo which costs under 5 cents per round and packs a
Fast switch between manual sight and scope: Good
manual sight up top 500 yards with a way to change sights from
manual sight to a high-powered scope without loss of zero.
Smooth trigger: a good target rifle must
never have a sticky or hard to release target, and it's important to
choose rifle that allows you to swap-in a target trigger.
Bolt Action: Experts say that the bullet
has not yet exited the barrel when a semi-automatic mechanism
kicks-in, and hence, a bolt-action rifle will always be more
accurate than a semi-automatic for long-distance sniping. They
are also a safe buy used because there is no risk of buying a
jamming gun, and the only issue is the trigger pull weight.
Floating barrel: a good target rifle has
a thick "bull barrel", and it "floated" to improve the harmonics.
You can tell if a target rifle has a floated barrel buy slipping a
dollar bill under the barrel:
Any popular semi-automatic (Savage, Ruger 10/20) can be
tricked out as a target rifle by changing it, lock, stock and
barrel. Basically to toss away the stock, trigger and
barrel, and make your own custom target rifle, all for under
A customized .22 semi-automatic with new
stock, barrel, trigger & scope
a book and this article on how to get and inexpensive and super-reliable Ruger 10/20
semi-automatic plinking rifle and customize it to be a deadly accurate target rifle.
The best .22 target rifles
There are many super accurate .22 target rifles, most of
which are customized with a trigger, bull barrel and target
stock, handsome guns. In the .22, bolt actions are far
more accurate then semi-automatics.
CZ-452 - The best simple gun
Savage Mark 2 .22 Rifle
Savage Arms MARK-II Mako Shark Tactical 22 - $1,000
Anschutz Model 64 R Sporter Target 22 LR -
Use an AR-15 with a 22 caliber bolt
You can buy a $130 22 caliber bolt kit for
an AR-15 and make a great 22 caliber rifle from an AR-15.
See my notes on the best
AR target rifle.
This video shows how easy it
is to change out a Colt A-15 .223 bolt with a .22 Long rifle
This gives you 10x the range time for the same
money (40 cents for a .223 bullet vs. 6 cents for a 22. bullet),
and you can have great fun with the manual sights on the AR-15
at 100 yards.
opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson
and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its
We are always
seeking new tips for the professional at leisure, and any suggestions would
be most welcome. If you find an error
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Copyright � 1996 -
2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.