View Full Version : Lightest weight .22LR rifle you know of?
06-03-2006, 10:10 AM
I am switching my primary allegience from Ruffed Grouse hunting to squirrel hunting. This has mostly to do with opportunity: the grouse numbers are horrible on public lands available to me mainly because so little timber harvesting is being done in the National Forests here about. But this makes for mature forests which is good for squirrels. In true Kifaru style, however, I want to backpack far into the NF's wilderness areas for my hunting and so light is an essential value for me. I have searched for, and read, the threads on .22LRs available here but would like to develop the topic some more. I have a series of questions for you:
1. What is the lightest .22 rifle that you have encountered?
2. Do any of you have experience with either a Volquartsen or Magnum Research Magnumlite rifle?
3. Do you know anything about the .22 T-Bolt rifle being resurrected by Browning?
Any and all input will be appreciated.
PS: I guess I'll still have to hump out those squirrel quarters.
06-03-2006, 10:15 AM
For me it was an AR-7
Copper's correct to the best of my knowledge. It's a pretty primitive weapon tho... more a survial tool than a precision hunting rifle.
I'd get a SS Ruger 77/22, put a 2x7 Leupold on it and put it it in a Brown Precision Kevlar or MPI fiberglass stock... that'd be plenty light. A squirrel rifle has got to have something to it or it's tough to shoot well. I've had two stock 77/22's and both, with ammo they liked, would keep five shots at 50 yards 1/2" or under with HVHP's. Drop in a Timney aftermarket sear and adjust to 2lbs. Hey presto, backpack squirrel rifle. Plus, you can't beat crf for those angry, wounded charging bushy tails!
06-03-2006, 12:37 PM
Iíve been thinking about lightweight .22 rifles as well. Mostly because I like to shoot and .22LR is cheap and GREAT practice. I have tried .22 pistols, but have had to conclude that I canít hit a damn thing with a handgun in typical field conditions. I do know a few who can, but Iím not one of them Ė so Iím back to a good .22 rifle.
Truth is, I have a pretty good .22 rifle now. A Ruger 77/22 All Weather, with stainless metalwork and Ruger synthetic stock. Itís wonderfully accurate and fun to shoot (although the stock doesnít fit me well and Iíve considered restocking it with a standard Ruger wood stock Ė wish I could find one used and cheap). But this .22 rifle is far from light. With Ruger mounts and a Leupold compact 3-9 it weighs 6 pound 7 oz. Hell, my favorite .270 Winchester (Rifle Inc. Lightweight Strata) with 2.5-8 Leupold weighs a half pound less than that! So does my Kimber M84 in .243.
So, Iíve been casting about, researching lighter, handier .22 rifles that will still shoot accurately. The selection, Iíve found, is not extensive.
Remingtonís bolt action 504 feels good, but weighs right at 6 pounds before being scoped. So does Rugerís wood/blue 77/22. Both have 20 inch barrels.
The popular, autoloading Ruger 10/22 has an 18.5Ē barrel and the Ruger catalog says it weighs 5 pounds (before scope). Remingtonís autoloading 597 comes in at a reported 5.5 pounds (before scope).
Browning offers a host of fine .22s. The ultra-trim Browning SA-22 weighs 5.25 (before scope). The well-built BL-22, a really fine level-action .22, is right at 5 pounds (before scope) and handles especially well. I had one once and liked it. New is the reintroduced and improved T-Bolt. I havenít seen one yet, but the Browning catalog lists it a 4 pounds 14 ounces and thatís with a 22Ē barrel. It looks very interesting.
But the Browning .22rifle that has really caught my attention is the Buck Mark Field Target Gray Laminate Lite Rifle: http://www.browning.com/products/catalog...mp;type_id=034. (http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?value=004B&cat_id=021&type_id=034.)
Essentially itís a Browning Buck Mark .22 pistol with special 18Ē barrel and unique rifle stock. The special barrel is ďsleeved,Ē meaning it has a steel core that is sleeved with alloy (probably aluminum). The resulting contour looks like a bull barrel, but is lighter than even most standard barrels. The end result is that this .22 rifle weighs just 3 pounds 14 ounces!
I must admit that the first time I saw a Browning Buck Mark .22 Rifle, I thought that it was one of the strangest-looking .22 rifles Iíd seen. Then I pick it up and discovered that it was also one of the best-feeling .22 rifles Iíd ever handled. It felt great.
I should also mention that at one point, Browning offered this unique .22 rifle with a carbon-wrapped barrel, but for whatever reason, has switched in 2006 to the alloy-sleeved barrel. The carbon-wrapped barrel dropped about 4 more ounces from the rifle, and occasionally you can find one on GunsAmerica.com. I do wonder, though, about heating up of the core barrel with repeated shooting and ďmeltingĒ the bond with the carbon wrap.
In any case, the new Browning Buck Mark Field Target Gray Laminate Lite Rifle bears looking at. In my hands, the Buck Mark .22 Rifles feel amazingly good. I have not yet shot one.
I've been very pleased with my Marlin Papoose (3.25 pounds without scope). It shoots remarkably well and takes down to fit in a medium size pack. Having the conventional stock in the rear gives something to hang onto for stability. I've got one of the old, compact Beeman SS4 scopes and believe the combo is capable of accuracy approaching MOA.
06-03-2006, 03:55 PM
For weight and accuracy it's hard to beat the AR-7 (Henry Survival Rifle). 2-1/2 lbs and MOA accuracy. The bulky stock takes some getting used to. For scope mounting you can get a tubular stock with an AR-15 pistol grip for about $50. This adds about 6oz. or so. If you need the scope, the Marlin may be the way to go. There is a thread on this from a couple of years ago that goes into considerable detail.
06-05-2006, 03:44 PM
Timberline, my dealer has two of the gray laminate lite rifles on order. He says we might see them in August. He will hold one for me. I'll give a report if and when I get my hands on it. Thanks guys.
06-05-2006, 04:07 PM
Hereís my current best .22 rifle, as mentioned above Ė Ruger 77/22 All Weather.
I have, however, thought of selling it in order to try something new (the curse of all gun nuts), maybe a Kimber .22 or the Browning Buck Mark Lite Rifle or who knows. Anyone interested in a tough, accurate, killer of a .22 with scope?
Bonasus - Be sure to let us know how that Buck Mark Lite Rifle handles and performs. Fascinating .22! Do you know if Browning has shipped any of that particular model yet? I haven't seen one anywhere. And, I can't resist adding, while not an ultra-light, this Ruger All Weather would be a superb rough-and-tumble backpack companion perfect for precise head shot on busytails!
06-05-2006, 06:23 PM
Timberline, I cannot say with certainty but I do not think Browning has shipped them yet. My dealer, a major vendor for Browning with a large Browning-only display, called for me today. He had two of the carbon barrell models on order. The lady at Browning told him that they would not be sending the carbon barrel Buckmark rifle, but would be sending the new laminate lite model instead. Since he had two on order, she told him it would be August before they arrived. She also told him that if he were to order today, it would be November. His original order went in last November. If they are delayed, I guess I'll be packing my Dad's old High Standard HB pistol.
the lightest and most accurate rifle by far is a NULA .22 bolt. and if you want he will make your big game rifle the same weight, size and fit. cool.
11-06-2006, 03:39 PM
I have thought about this a lot and convinced a buddy of mine to create what I dreamed up.(I will say that if you can find a friend to build what you dream up and then let you test it out is one heck of a deal.) Anyway, we, I mean he, started with a 10-22 action, put a 16" 12 or 14 oz carbon fiber barrel on it, used some Weaver One piece bases and rings, mounted a 4x Burris scope, bedded it all in a carbon fiber stock, and then put a good trigger in it. I think it came to about 4 lbs lbs and shoots aspirin size groups at 50-75yds. It handled great, and did not seem that hard to shoot. Most times when you are hunting bushytails you are sitting down when you shoot, or if standing you can use a tree to brace yourself. It wasn't all that cheap, but it is for sure on my want list.
11-07-2006, 11:08 AM
Laugh if you want but the lightest I have found is a Chipmunk (http://www.roguerifle.com/Rifles.htm#Bull%20Walnut) .
11-07-2006, 04:57 PM
A chipmunk is ridiculously light, if you can get the length of pull up to something you can use.
You can make a 10/22 into a superlight tack driver, but it will cost you more than a decent deer rifle.
The AR-7 is surprisingly functional, and made to backpack. I like the oversized stock.
It would help if we new how much you want to spend.
11-07-2006, 05:26 PM
My first gunsmithing project was reconditioning a .22LR boy's rolling block single shot with an octagonal barrel. I installed a barrel liner (the barrel was in really bad condition), shortened the barrel to 16.5", stripped and refinished the stock, added a sling and made a canvas case. It was 50 years ago but as I recall this rifle was about 2 lbs. and shot minute of angle with the original open sights. The barrel removed with a sliding cone fixture that was simple and effective. This was my backpack rifle for a good many years.
This was one of those rifles that used to be advertised in the back pages of Boy's Life, not a Remington, probably a Hamilton or similar.
This type of rifle is still around and makes an interesting project. You can knock off a bit more weight by skeletonizing or hollowing the stock.
Today I would likely mount a light scope or an aperture sight with a fiber-optic front sight.
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