Like many of you I fired my first shots with a .22 rifle. It was some time before my grandfather allowed me to graduate from a single shot .22 to a self-loading rifle. The .22 self-loader is a great, all-around plinking, small game hunting, and training rifle. In many rural areas the .22 rifle is the first line of defense against predators both bipedal and quadraped.
The Rossi RS22 is among the most affordable. Despite a retail of less than $140, the rifle not only performs well it is more attractive than the price tag would indicate. The Springfield and Stevens rifles I grew up with were the product of my grandfather’s generosity, and well-worn and older than I. I did not feel disadvantaged and took game and helped feed the family.
The Rossi RS22 has options that were not available for any price in those days. As an example, the rifle features an all-weather synthetic stock. The target crowned 18-inch barrel is free floated for accuracy. The receiver is well machined and bears a close resemblance to the Marlin 60.
The front sight features a bold fiber optic insert protected by a generous size hood. The hood doesn’t crowd the sight picture. Since these rifles get beat up in the field when used hard, a hood is a good choice. The rear sight is a bonus in such an affordable rifle. The sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The rear sight features dual green fiber optic inserts to contrast the red front insert. This is an instant sight picture if you are in a hurry, but precise if you need accuracy.
A lot of .22 rifle shooting and small game hunting occurs around 25 yards. The rifle is properly regulated for this range. You do not need a tool to adjust the sights. If you prefer to mount a red dot sight or a rimfire-type rifle scope the iron sights are easily removed.
The Rossi RS22 is a standard blowback action like so many millions of others. The action is proven. The bolt features an extended cocking lever, an excellent option. The bolt locks open on the last shot. It requires only a push to the rear to release the bolt.
The rifle features a 10-round detachable box magazine. The magazine catch is positive in operation. While I began with tubular feed rifles and still use them, the detachable magazine is neat, reliable, and makes for a cleaner package.
Remember the free-floating barrel? The safety is positive in operation, located in the plastic trigger guard. The impressed checkering in the stock feels good in the hand. Checking trigger compression on the Lyman Electronic trigger gauge the trigger broke at a clean 6.25 pounds. This is a reasonable weight for a standard rimfire rifle. It is possible to do good work with this trigger and it is at a good weight for training young people.
I really like this rifle. A good .22 is perhaps the most underrated of all rifles. The .22 kills game out of proportion to its size. The cartridge is affordable, accurate, and with the proper bullet, well suited to many chores. If there is such a thing as a one-gun man—and I have known a few who owned but one rifle—the rifle is usually a .22 and the owner knows how to use it.
.22 Long Rifle high velocity ammunition these days is much better than the loads I used as a preteen hunting rabbit and squirrel—and ridding uncle Jimmy’s barn of destructive starlings. As an example, the CCI Mini Mag HP breaks 1,250 fps in the Rossi. But the CCI Velocitor was even faster at a hot 1,340 fps. Function was excellent with each load. The CCI Stinger with its light 32-grain bullet was just over 1,500 fps. This is serious smash for a rimfire.
I have fired a tad over 1,200 cartridges in the Rossi, not a big deal for the time and small expensive involved. There have been no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. This is unusual in my experience. A few years ago, if you fired 1,000 rounds of .22 LR, four or five or more would be misfires and fail to ignite. Rimfire quality is much better these days. The rifle is more than accurate enough for most chores. At 25 yards 2-inch five-shot groups are easy to come by.
After the initial familiarization with the rifle, I took a solid firing position and carefully fired ten rounds at a long 50 yards. The rifle put all 10 into about 4 inches. With quality optics the rifle should be a solid two-inch gun at 40 yards. The Rossi RS22 is among the best buys in modern .22s and a solid performer well worth its modest price.
Note: The Rossi RS22 is very similar to its stablemate the Mossberg Plinkster, which is also made in Brazil. 25-yard magazines intended for the Plinkster will fit the Rossi. This makes the rifle even more fun.
Have you fired the Rossi RS22? How did your accuracy compare? Which rimfire rifle is your favorite plinker? Share your answers in the comment section.
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