April 2006

Rimfire Carbines: Ruger’s Handy 10/22CRR Is Our First Choice

The Ruger was accurate, versatile, and fun, and we’d buy it ahead of Marlin’s 70PSS and Armscor’s AK22 — but the latter two guns have a lot of affordable appeal, too.

In September 2005, Sturm Ruger announced production of a compact version of its prolific 10/22 semi-automatic rifle, $275. Christened the 10/22CRR, we ordered one immediately. When it arrived, our first impression was that this carbine was not merely shorter; it, in fact, seemed scaled down from the original design.

We couldn’t help but smile at the compact 10/22’s size, but the real fun began when we went shopping for additional rimfire semi-automatic carbines to fill out a test roster. We acquired a Marlin 70PSS with composite stock, $318. The Marlin carbine differed from the Ruger in several ways, not the least of which was that it can be broken down by removing the barrel for transport. Marlin refers to this model as the Papoose. Our third gun was the Armscor AK 22, $220. The AK22 closely resembles an AK47, down to the replica magazine.

All three guns arrived with a single magazine. Further, each carbine could be viewed as a youth model, a training device, or both. But would the reduction of size compromise the time-proven 10/22 design? Would the Armscor AK22’s big-gun appearance interfere with function or reliability? Would the integrity of lockup between barrel and receiver of the Marlin show signs of failure after repeated applications? Could three conceptually different models produce the same level of accuracy?

To find out, we shot the guns at 50 yards using a Caldwell Tack Driver ($33 unfilled from ). The Tack Driver is a sand-filled support with a left- and right-side chamber that forms an 11-inch-long channel to grip the forend. Our selection of test ammunition included the Federal Classic 40-grain solid copper-plated rounds and two Remington products. They were the Remington High Velocity 36-grain HP and the Remington Eley Target Rifle 40-grain LRN ammunition.

Here’s what we found when we tested the guns head to head:

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