The all-new Savage A22 LR may change the way you think about semi-auto rimfire performance and reliability
by Mike Disario
There’s no question that rimfire rifles are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Credit many reasons for that, including the rediscovery of the fun rimfire hunting and target shooting offers by a generation who grew up carrying .22 rifles in the field, the prepper movement and the fact that the .22 may be the most practical firearm to have when things go south, and the continued expansion of quality ammunition that allows you to diversify your rimfire shooting applications.
A Technological Leap
In the last couple of years, Savage Arms cornered the market on rimfire rifle excitement when it introduced the first reliable .17HMR chambered in a semi-automatic platform. At last, here was a semi-auto rifle that could consistently and, most importantly, safely fire the hot .17HMR round. This leap came courtesy of Savage’s groundbreaking delayed blowback bolt design, which solved the problems that plagued factory .17HMR rifles. By effecting a momentarily delay in bolt cycling until gas pressure dropped to a safe level, Savage proved with the A17 that a firecracker load like the .17HMR could be reliably and safely fired in a semi-automatic action. That technological leap opened the door for another favorite round to enter Savage’s semi-auto lineup—the A22 Magnum chambered for the .22 WMR.
Smooth Performance…Wicked Accurate
Since both rifles hit the market (the A17 in early 2015 and the A22 Magnum in early 2016), the shooting press and rimfire enthusiasts alike have given their appreciative nods to the new Savage A-series rimfires. And why not? Not only does the delayed blowback bolt system allow these cartridges to confidently move into the semi-auto camp, the rifles share a platform that combines Savage’s expected accuracy (carbon steel, button-rifled barrel with a case-hardened billet steel receiver and precision headspacing) and shooter ergonomics. High on the latter category is the AccuTrigger, which delivers a fine-tune adjustability from 2.5 to 6 lbs.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about that most endearing of rimfire cartridges, the .22 long rifle? With greater availability, lower cost, diverse applications, and a deep bench of ammo manufacturers, the .22LR is a must-have chamber for any serious rimfire lineup.
Enter the Savage A22 LR.Filling in the Gap
As with its longer-chamber stablemates, the new A22 LR is built on the same basic platform as the A17 and A22 Magnum. However, it features a much simpler straight-blowback action, which is why it is offered at a lower price than its magnum siblings. It comes with a black synthetic stock and a black matte finish on the barrel and receiver. Weight is a pleasing 5.63 pounds, with an overall length of just over 40 inches. In all, it’s an ideal package for plinking, target shooting, or hunting. The detachable rotary magazine holds 10 rounds.
The A22 LR boasts the same accurizing features as the A17 and A22 Magnum, such as the case-hardened billet receiver, button-rifled barrel, and screw-in barrel with locking nut set to the exact minimum headspace.What we especially like, however, is the exquisitely tuned action assembly. If you’ve shot many semi-auto rimfires in .22LR, you know that some rifles can be finicky when it comes to ammunition. Sure, there are several variables that can prevent a gun from completing its cycle of operation, and ammo quality (read: consistency) is key among them. Nothing is more frustrating than to drop good coin on ammo, only to suffer a cycling problem. Thanks to its velvet-smooth hard-chromed bolt and precision tolerances, plus the aforementioned exact-minimum headspacing, the A22 LR runs ammo predictably right out of the box.
Oh, and the $281.00 MSRP…we like that, too!
To see just how the A22 LR gobbles up ammo without a hiccup, check out this Out-of-the-Box review by our friend Pat Kelly…
SAVAGE A22 LR Specifications
Caliber: .22 LR
Action: semi-automatic, blowback bolt
Stock: black synthetic
Trigger: Savage AccuTrigger
Weight: 5.63 pounds
Overall Length: 40.5 inches
Barrel: carbon steel, black matte finish
Barrel Length: 21 inches
Magazine: detachable rotary
Capacity: 10 rounds
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