The Best 22 Semi Auto Rifle for Awesome, Cheap Shooting

A .22 semi auto rifle is the sort of gun that everyone should have. .22LR is cheap, easy to shoot, and capable enough for small game hunting or as a survival rifle.

Also, there are a lot of options to choose from. So you can get a 22 semi auto rifle for just about any type of shooting you might do.

Ruger 10 22

Our Best Choice

Ruger 10/22

  • Proven reliability.
  • Accepts 25 round magazines.
  • Tons of upgrade options.

SPOILER—all those options can be overwhelming. If you want to avoid that overwhelm, get the Ruger 10/22. It’s a legendary .22LR rifle that’s reliable. And it can be customized into almost anything you want.

If you’re not easily overwhelmed, keep reading. We’ll talk about all the best 22 semi auto rifles on the market. That way you can make the best choice.

The Best 22 Semi Auto Rifle: Affordable Reliability (like the Toyota of guns)

The best 22 semi auto rifle is first in line. All the rest are lined up in order of price. The most affordable 22 rifles are at the front of the line. The most expensive models are at the end of the line.

Let’s start plinking.

1. Ruger 10/22 - Overall Best 22 Semi Auto Rifle

The Ruger 10/22 is easily one of the most well known and revered .22 rifles ever. It’s been around for decades. And it’s built a reputation as a reliable and upgradeable rifle.

First, it’s a remarkably reliable rimfire rifle. Rimfire rifles often have issues with misfires and extraction, because the rimfire case isn’t well suited to semi-automatic actions. But this model features a receiver and action that’s been refined to the point that it’s as reliable as possible.

And it’s fed from a rotary magazine, which helps reduce feeding issues with .22LR rounds. Additionally, you can get 25 round magazines for this rifle. Ultimately, all this means is that you’ll spend more time shooting and less time messing with your rifle.

Also, the receiver is machined from aluminum. And the barrel is hammer-forged alloy steel. Both the action and the barrel are more than enough to hold up for years of use. This rifle has an impressively long lifespan.

If there’s one complaint about this rifle, it’s the magazine design. The stock magazine functions reliably. But it sits flush with the stock when it’s inserted. And there’s no last shot bolt hold open.

So it can be a bit tricky to reload this rifle quickly. It’s totally doable. It’s just a very un-tactical design.

Even with that one gripe, this is still easily the best 22 semi auto rifle in the world. And you’ll never regret buying one.

Pros

  • Proven reliability.
  • Accepts 25 round magazines.
  • Tons of upgrade options.
  • Incredibly long lifespan.

Cons

  • Stock magazine sits flush and can be tricky to remove during reloads.

2. Savage 64F Semi-Auto Rimfire Rifle - Budget 22 Semi Auto Rifle

Savage might be one of the most underrated rifle manufacturers on the market. They make excellent rifles. And their rifles are incredibly affordable. The Savage 64F Semi-Auto Rimfire Rifle is an excellent, affordable .22 rifle.

The durability of this rifle is top notch. Most .22 rifles have aluminum receivers. But this model features a carbon steel receiver and barrel. So this rifle will hold up for a ridiculously long time.

Additionally, the receiver is grooved to make it easier to mount optics. However, the included iron sights are adjustable. So you may not even need an optic.

Though, it should be noted that the sight adjustment system is rather rudimentary. So an optic is a good idea if you want exceptional precision.

Lastly, the action is fed from a detachable box magazine. The magazine is nice because reloading is quick and easy. However, a box magazine isn’t quite as reliable for 22LR as a rotary magazine.

This is still a very reliable rifle. But keep the action lubed to reduce failures to feed.

However, this is still one of the sturdiest .22 rifles around. And it’s remarkably affordable. It’s the sort of rifle that makes shooting affordable for everyone.

Pros

  • Incredibly durable carbon steel receiver means extra long lifespan.
  • Carbon steel barrel is the same steel Savage uses in their hunting and match rifles.
  • Grooved receiver makes it easier to mount optics.
  • Detachable magazine makes reloading quick and easy.

Cons

  • Requires some maintenance to ensure full reliability.

3. Marlin .22 LR Semiautomatic Rimfire Rifle - Value 22 Semi Auto Rifle

Marlin has a long history of making well-crafted rifles. And the Marlin .22 LR Semiautomatic Rimfire Rifle is remarkably affordable for what you get.

The receiver is aluminum. And the barrel is alloy steel. Nothing fancy. But the construction is durable and long lasting.

However, Marlin has developed a rifling technique called Micro-Groove rifling. And it’s specifically designed to improve the precision of the .22LR round. So this rifle produces impressively tight groups even at maximum range.

Additionally, this rifle features a last shot bolt hold open and a detachable box magazine. That means faster reloads.

Lastly, all the standard features are in place:

The receiver is grooved and ready to accept optics. And the iron sights are adjustable. So you can get excellent precision, with or without a scope.

The only gripe about this rifle is the trigger. It does the job. But there’s a tad bit of wobble in the trigger shoe. It’s not the sort of precision trigger you would expect to be paired with a precision barrel.

Even so, for the money, this is an excellent .22 rifle that delivers really impressive precision.

Pros

  • Proprietary rifling produces exceptional precision.
  • Bolt hold open makes reloads faster.
  • Grooved, optics-ready receiver.
  • Adjustable iron sights.

Cons

  • Trigger is a bit sloppy.

4. Henry US Survival AR-7 Semi-Auto Rimfire Rifle - Survival 22 Semi Auto Rifle

A .22 rifle is a great option as a survival rifle. They’re powerful enough to kill small game. And a .22 is simple and easy to carry. The Henry US Survival AR-7 Semi-Auto Rimfire Rifle doubles down on the simple and easy to carry aspects.

This model is designed for survival use. So the receiver is aluminum and the barrel is steel. It’s standard construction that’s designed to hold up to lots of abuse. And there’s a last shot bolt hold open to help you reload faster.

Also, the included sights are very easy to use quickly. The rear sight is an aperture peep sight. And the front sight is blaze orange. The sights are great for fast front sight acquisition in reflex shooting situations, like small game hunting.

Unfortunately, the sights are not adjustable. But they do the job at most distances.

However, the big deal about this gun is that the whole thing can be broken down and stowed inside the stock. It gets small enough to fit in almost any backpack, which makes it a great gun for a bug out bag.

Unfortunately, some buyers have found reliability issues with this rifle. The rate of complaints is low, which suggests that it’s simply a case of occasional quality control issues. But it’s possible that you may have to warranty your rifle or have a gunsmith do a little work to get it into shape.

This happens with a very small number of rifles, though. So this is still an excellent option for anyone who needs a survival gun or just wants a gun that stores incredibly easily.

Pros

  • Accurate and easy to use rear aperture sight with a bright orange front sight.
  • Last shot bolt hold open.
  • Whole gun breaks down and stows in the stock.

Cons

  • Non adjustable sights.
  • Occasional quality control issues.

5. Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport - Tactical 22 Semi Auto Rifle

.22LR isn’t considered to be a very “tactical” round. But the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 makes .22 tactical again! It’s basically their M&P AR-15 rifle chambered in .22LR.

The most notable thing about this rifle is the AR-15 form factor. It accepts AR-15 furniture, which means it’s easy to upgrade. And the forend has lots of M-LOK attachment points. So you can add all the cool accessories that you want.

The barrel is carbon steel and threaded to accept any muzzle devices you need. And this rifle accepts 10 or 25 round magazines.

It’s also very lightweight. The upper and lower receiver are constructed from steel lined polymer.

Now the polymer construction is durable enough. But, it may not last as long as a full aluminum receiver set.

However, some shooters have been plinking with these rifles for a very long time. So maybe the polymer construction is just as good as aluminum.

Either way, this model also comes with MagPul folding sights. And it can be ordered with a six position telescoping stock for maximum adjustability and tactical-ness.

If you want a .22 rifle that can be used as an AR-15 training platform, or if you just want to have the coolest .22 rifle on the market, this is the rifle for you.

Pros

  • Accepts AR-15 furniture and accessories.
  • M-LOK and Picatinny rail sections for accessories and optics.
  • Takes 10 or 25 round magazines.
  • Matches the AR-15 ergonomics for use as a training rifle.

Cons

  • Steel-lined polymer receiver set may not be as durable as an aluminum chassis

Taking Cheap Shots

No matter what type of shooter you are, a 22 semi auto rifle is a great gun to have in your collection. There’s just no other rifle that offers the same blend of affordability and versatility. If you don’t have a 22 rifle, you’re missing out on a lot of shooting fun.

If you want to add a 22 semi auto rifle to your collection, get the Ruger 10/22. There’s simply no other .22 rifle around that matches the 10/22 in affordability, customizability, and reliability. It’s a legendary .22LR rifle for a reason.

Now that you’ve seen all the options, you can’t unsee them. It’s time to get a .22 semi auto rifle and start shooting more affordably.