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Smallbore rifle -- choosing which rifle to buy

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WesG
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Post by CO1Mtn 5/6/2022, 2:41 am

I found out that there are monthly smallbore .22 matches an hour away from where I live. Does anyone have a recommendation for a .22 rifle please? Maybe one that comes with a threaded barrel. But most serious smallbore rifles probably don't come with one. I don't have one at all. I'm planning on putting a scope on it, since I have a target scope already.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions you can give.

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Post by JKR 5/6/2022, 3:36 am

Would need to know what type of matches before a recommendation could be made.

JKR

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Post by CO1Mtn 5/6/2022, 3:39 am

Thanks sir. Here is what the bulletin says:


The Rimfire Sporter Match is for smallbore rifles that weigh 7 1/2 pounds or less with sights. O-Class rifles have open sights; T-Class rifles have telescopes (max. 6X) or receiver sights. Firing is done at 50 and 25 yards in prone, sitting and standing positions, in slow and rapid fire modes.


I have a fixed 4x target scope already. So I want to shoot T-class.


It would be great to get a .22 that has a threaded barrel so I can hunt small game with my suppressor. But it's not a total deal breaker if it didn't have that.

Oh by the way, are we allowed to use .22 magnum rifles, or just .22 LR, for smallbore?

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Post by JKR 5/6/2022, 3:57 am

The choices are many. Any rimfire sporter that suits you will get you in the game. I can only tell you my favorite which is a CZ 452 American. I have an old Weaver T6 target scope on it. It’s superbly accurate with good ammunition. 
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Post by TonyH 5/6/2022, 4:07 am

If the above is referring to the Rimfire Sporter Match run by the CMP, you will find all the information needed at this link (including the type of rifle you can use):
https://thecmp.org/competitions/matches/rimfire-sporter-2/
It may be best to attend one of the matches and talk to the folks there about what equipment is favored by most...
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Post by Foundryratjim 5/6/2022, 4:25 am

One of the gun ranges I am a member of is doing something similar. I bought a Ruger Precision Rim fire in .22. I also thought my grandsons will enjoy it. I am very pleased with its accuracy.

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Post by tovaert 5/6/2022, 5:20 am

I shoot Rimfire Shorter (O and T Class). I'm selling a Magnum Research Magnumlite model MLR22TB w/adjustable stock. Uses Ruger 10/22 mags. Excellent condition, very little use. I bought this for my wife to shoot CMP Rimfire Shorter, but that never materialized. Hornet Products trigger installed (~3.25# pull weight) making it legal for CMP RS (in the Tactical Class). Graphite wrapped barrel. It has a rail machined into the receiver so it's really easy to mount a scope. PM me if interested.   

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Post by shooterer 5/6/2022, 6:04 am

I second the CZ452, they are very accurate rifles out of the box. I used one for years shooting smallbore silhouette leagues. I do not know what their new replacement model is, but I know many of them have threaded barrels.

If cost is does not matter, I would buy the Anschutz 1712.

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Post by SteveT 5/6/2022, 8:22 am

You can shoot sporter match with a bolt action, but it's easier with a semi-auto. You can't go wrong with a Ruger 10-22. I've used my AR22 in a couple of sporter matches, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone new unless they really wanted an AR. Most work fine, but feeding can be a problem. The 10-22 is extremely reliable and if there are any problems every gunsmith knows how to fix them, of you can watch a few Youtube videos and hack on it yourself.

CZ and Anschutz are awesome guns. If you want to shoot a bolt action, go for it. The learning curve will be a little longer since you will have to break position each shot. That could be good of bad, you will have to learn more to improve scores.

My main recommendation is to just shoot whatever is available. Most of the matches around here, someone will loan you a gun if you don't have one. Talk to the organizer or go watch a match.
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Post by zanemoseley 5/6/2022, 8:58 am

If its single timed shots you won't have issues "breaking position" any more than 3P smallbore where precision bolt guns are the norm. Learn to use a sling properly and wear extra clothing and/or a shooting coat if allowed to isolate pulse and tighten up for standing.

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Post by WesG 5/6/2022, 9:10 am

Not sure what combination sets are available, but the latest CZ 457 has interchangeable barrels to switch from LR to 17 HMR. Presumably 22 mag as well. Threaded barrels on some models, Manners stocks on some, chassis stocks ...

Biggest trick is finding the one you want right now.

I bought one of the last 452 LH models for a 'project, which is sort of pointless now that they aren't made anymore. I pillar bedded it and installed a Timney trigger. Excellent shooter, nicely balanced for offhand.

Things I liked about it are/were the barrel is threaded in. The 455 and 457 are slip fit with lock or clamp screws of some sort.

The 457 has the safety working in the 'proper' direction now. I've seen an English rifle shop that is using them for their rimfire precision rifle builds.

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Post by SteveT 5/6/2022, 9:34 am

zanemoseley wrote:If its single timed shots you won't have issues "breaking position" any more than 3P smallbore where precision bolt guns are the norm. Learn to use a sling properly and wear extra clothing and/or a shooting coat if allowed to isolate pulse and tighten up for standing.
It isn't single shot. Sporter shoots 5 shots in 25 or 30 seconds depending on if shooters are using semi-auto or manual rifles, so you get 5 extra seconds, but I stand by my statement that semi-auto is easier for new shooters to learn.

Shooting coats are not allowed in sporter.
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Post by zanemoseley 5/6/2022, 9:43 am

Yes in that case I would go semi-auto too.

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Post by jglenn21 5/6/2022, 9:55 am

I've built myself and nephews several 10-22s.  As long as you use good barrels they will shoot expremely well out to 50yds. I have rifles with Kidd and Fedderson barrels that will shoot under 3/4" with certain lots of eley target or club. We also have a ksa barreled rifle that we're still working to find what it likes best. Those barrels are.micro groove like the old Marlins.. triggers have all been upgraded to kidd conversions for the plastic receivers and are very nice and tunable for weight. Stocks vary from one wood example to Magpul and Titan stocks. Simple rifles that are easy to upgrade.


Last edited by jglenn21 on 5/16/2022, 4:11 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by CO1Mtn 5/6/2022, 5:51 pm

Thank you very much! I am definitely going to get into this sport.

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Post by Kp321 5/9/2022, 4:48 am

CMP Sporter Rimfire is my favorite rifle match. The rules eliminate many match style rifles due to the weight limit. I have built a 10-22 with a Shaw sporter weight barrel that fits the Ruger carbine barrel channel. If I do my part, it will easily hold the X ring at 50 yards. Fortunately, the rules allow seniors to be in position before the time begins. I would be out of time before I got into prone position! (74 years old with two replaced knees)
If you choose a semi-auto, make sure your magazines will all feed properly with the ammo of choice.

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Post by tovaert 5/10/2022, 5:39 am

I won high senior in '19 in O-division with Jon Snow. It's my own "bastard" design... 10/22 receiver, Green Mtn. 26" barrel, and EABCO Silhouette pistol sights, giving me about a 33" sight radius, all on a painted "faux" carbon fiber stock (birch, actually) with the characteristic wolfs head and dragon stickers. My front sight is a declining 1 mm red fiber optic strand, nested in a post. Rear sight is an open notch. I had it built per my specs up in K'Zoo, MI. Very accurate with SK+. I also have a Weaver rimfire scope that mounts right over the rear pistol sight for T-class. I have to learn to practice more before showing up at Perry.
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Post by NuJudge 5/15/2022, 7:29 pm

CMP .22 Sporter rules:  https://thecmp.org/wp-content/uploads/Rimfire.pdf?ver=082921  
CMP rules need to be studied carefully.  For O and T class, they want something that looks like a Sporter.  

I have shot the match with an out-of-the-box Ruger 10/22, and it does not shoot well enough.  The Ruger 10/22 rifles that are intended to meet the accuracy needs of CMP .22 Sporter will have trouble meeting the rifle weight spec.  

On the Rimfire Central forum, there are a lot of discussions about how to get a 10/22 to shoot well enough, yet meet the rifle weight and trigger pull specs.  The general advise is to have the rear of the barrel faced off .200", and rechambered with a pistol match reamer, and reinstalled with a spacer in the clamp that holds it in place.  The trigger needs to be reworked to have a higher quality break, but still meet the CMP weight requirement.  In order to get reliability with much more accurate SV ammo, I needed the rear/bottom of my bolt chamfered and a pin inserted over my firing pin.  There is only one vendor I have seen advertising this work, and that is Connecticut Precision Chambering.  

New match quality trigger groups are available from several vendors, but mind the minimum weight.  

The rifle needs a sling swivel at the front, but I have not found benefit from floating the barrel.  I arranged a sling swivel by buying a spud that inserts into the front barrel band, getting it at Midway.  

I have shot Ruger 10/22 factory open sights and won a gold medal, but it took a lot of work.  I am much more successful with semi-auto 10/22 rifles than I am with CZ bolt actions, even though the CZ rifles are accurate out of the box.

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Post by tovaert 5/16/2022, 9:06 am

I have been shooting this model out-of-the-box 10/22 since 2016:

https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/ruger-10-22-tactical-semi-automatic-22lr-rimfire-1612-heavy-barrel-with-bipod-101-rounds-101?a=1791675. The bipod detaches, so you can attach a sling. It is discontinued but they come up for sale used.

Mine is all stock...except for a Hornet Products 3-1/4# ("CMP") trigger, since the stock Ruger trigger was pretty sloppy. I have a Leupold VX-2 Rimfire 3-9X scope on it (set at 5X), and it all weighs-in a few oz below the 7-1/2# limit. The stock Ruger hammer-forged 16" barrel is plenty accurate for the RS target, with good quality ammo (SK Std. +, Center-X, etc.). Some of my slow prone scores at Perry in T-class with this rifle: 2016 (100-7X), 2019 (100-9X). It won't be the cause of a low score, in any stage. A fine crosshair reticle works great, bisecting the center of the "aiming white" on the RS target.  

Tacsol sells a similar rifle with a 16" heavy barrel. With a lightweight scope you can expect it to weigh-in the same. Note that IMHO, it's better to have a rifle that weighs-in as close to the 7-1/2# limit as possible...much more "stable" during rapid fire stages. 

Beware of semi-auto barrels cut with a tight Bentz or match chamber. The rifle I built (above) was cut tight and I had problems with cycling (extraction) when it was new. I had to open it up a bit (w/polishing compound) because it was too tight. A tight chamber is fine for a smallbore bolt rifle, but IMHO risky for RS with a semi-auto. At least that was my experience. I realize that others may not have experienced the same issue. 

I used to own a CZ 452 Trainer. It was very good for O-Class. I sold it because I wanted a semi-auto for O-class, and I wanted to build a custom rifle of my design.

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Post by aub1957 5/18/2022, 1:54 pm

Rimfire sporter is a fun match. I love that the kids are so competitive in this match. I have shot a number of different rifles for rimfire sporter, including the above mentioned CZ 452 trainer and a 452 American. Due to the rapid series shots, I think the Ruger 10/22 is the best rifle for this match. Ruger used to make the 10/22 Light Varmint Target rifle, which was an excellent off the shelf rifle for this match, but it looks like they discontinued it. 

I was using the LVT, but I built a rimfire sporter special two years ago. I picked up the cheapest, new 10/22 rifle I could get at the LGS. I put a Kidd 16" heavy barrel on, a Kidd 3.25 lb trigger group, a Kidd bolt and put it in a laminate stock I found online. The 16" Kidd barrel is bullseye accurate and there isn't too much out front waving around. The barrel attaches by two Allen screws, so it is an easy change. Kidd and Volquartsen 10/22 bolts have a different design that captures the firing pin, and I like them better than the stock Ruger bolt. I am using a Leupold 3-9 scope, taped on 6 power. Any points dropped with this rig is my fault. If you go 10/22, pick up about six or eight magazines as you shoot in groups of 5. The CMP Eley ammo is plenty accurate for this match. They haven't had it for a while, unfortunately. If I am not shooting that, I am shooting SK Standard Plus.

You can't wear a shooting jacket, but a leather bomber style jacket in cooler weather helps. I wear a military style mechanix glove on my left hand. You can use a regular military web sling for prone and sitting, attached to the front sling post with a wider sling swivel.

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Post by CO1Mtn 5/19/2022, 5:07 pm

I like the concept of smallbore because it gives me almost the same competition opportunity as high power rifle, except I don't have to shoot at 600 yards. There is no good rifle range within two hours of me. We have a rifle range that goes out to 300 meters and that's it. It's set up in meters instead of yards, so I always have to bring my own cardboard box to put targets on, and a rangefinder. Once I get set up with a good rifle and get it zeroed at 50 and 100 it's going to be a lot easier practicing (and cheaper too) than it is with HPR.

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