Slide- or pump-action 22 rimfire rifles pack a lot of fun into a Saturday-afternoon plinking session. They also make handy small-game hunting rifles for squirrels and rabbits. A few generations ago, pump-action 22s were used at shooting galleries and arcades. Traveling fairs and carnivals would set up the range with small cast-iron targets, and anyone who paid the cost to play could plink away for bragging rights or to win a prize for their sweethearts. Many of those rifles were Winchesters loaded with 22 Short ammo. They had minimal recoil and noise. Since those days, the rifle and ammo have been replaced by BB and water guns at fairs and carnivals.
Finding new pump-action 22s wasn’t exactly easy, even though pump-action 22 rimfires are a long-standing American tradition. Rossi recently introduced the Gallery 22 in two models, a classic hardwood-stock model and a modernized polymer model (RP22181SY). We opted for the polymer pump. Henry offers a new Pump Action Octagon (H003T) with classic wood-and-steel construction that looks vaguely reminiscent of Winchester pumps of yore. For our third rifle we found a used, but like new, Taurus Model M62R, which is a Brazilian clone of the American-made Winchester Model 62. Close your eyes and handle the Taurus, and you will think it is a Winchester.
These rifles uses a manual slide- or pump-action to fire, eject, and reload the chamber, same as a pump-action shotgun. One big difference, however, is the external hammer. On the rearward pump, the bolt slides out the rear of the receiver to cock the hammer. If you have your grip close to the hammer, you may whack your thumb on the bolt during the rearward stroke of the pump. That’s the reason why exposed-hammer shotguns are called “thumb busters.” The bolt movement on a pump-action 22 is less than a 12-gauge shotgun, but still be warned. We were reminded of this when we tried to open the bolt using the slide release when the Rossi was cocked. Because the trigger guard is oversized, some of us choked up on the grip when we cleared the action and whacked our thumb. With the Rossi and Henry rifles, you can only operate the pump when the hammer is fully forward in the fired position or at quarter or half cock. You need to use the slide release when the hammer is cocked to cycle the action. On the Taurus, you can operate the slide if the hammer is cocked or not.
In addition to the exposed hammer, other common features of these three rifles are open sights, straight-grip stocks, and tube magazines. The Rossi and Henry both have 3⁄8-inch grooved receivers, making them optics ready. They also spit out empties from the side. The Taurus is old-school with top ejection and no easily way to mount a scope. To keep the playing field level, we opted to test the rifles using open sights, and we can say that at 20 yards, these rifles are capable of shooting one ragged hole if you do your part. In addition to accuracy, we looked at ease of use, such as the slickness of the pump and balance of the rifle. We also looked at safety features and compatibility with other 22 rimfire ammo. All of the rifles were fed a diet of 22 LR shells, and we gave bonus points to Henry and Rossi because they cycled 22 Short ammo. Note that Rossi does not indicate the Gallery 22 functions with 22 Short ammo, but we tried them anyway in limited use. In reality, nearly any 22 LR rifle is compatible with 22 Long and 22 Short ammo. The question is whether the shorter ammo will cycle in the rifle. Your pump action may turn into a single shot with 22 Shorts, as did the Taurus. Another note we have mentioned before with 22 LR guns, continuous use of 22 Shorts will build up carbon in the chamber and may cause extraction problems when switching to 22 Long Rifle. Best practice is to clean the chamber and bore after use. The downside with a pump action is they are not easy to clean, unless the rifle is a takedown like the Taurus.
To load the tubular magazines, you twist the end of the inner magazine tube and pull it out the just enough to access the loading port. No need to pull it out all the way since oils from your hands can corrode the inner tube, and you do not want to get debris or dust on it. The loading ports on all of the rifles are cut in the shape of a cartridge, so we knew which way the cartridge dropped in. We mixed up LR ammo in the magazines to see if we could choke any of these pumps, but all ran strong eventually. The Rossi jammed a few times initially, and we’ll get into it more detail later.
For accuracy testing, we aimed at 3-inch bullseye Splatter Targets at 20 yards. The black open sights on the rifles were fairly easy to see on these targets because the bullseye is black with a red center. Our range bag doubled as a rest. The 22 LR ammunition started with our plinking go-to round, Remington Thunderbolts with 40-grain lead-roundnose bullets. For hunting ammo, we fed the pumps Winchester Xpert HV with 36-grain HP bullets and CCI Velocitor with 40-grain copper-plated hollowpoint bullet. Our 22 Short ammo was CCI Target loaded with a 29-grain LRN bullet. The factory muzzle velocity of the CCI ammo shows the difference between the LR and Short cartridges, 1435 fps and 830 fps, respectively. Our speed-checking chronograph, however, told the real story. Muzzle velocity was slower than the factory stated.
We used an 8-inch paper plate set at 20 yards for our fast-shooting test. We pumped and pressed the trigger as fast as we could. With all three rifles, it was easy to keep shots on the plate. We also found the Taurus is mechanically similar to the Winchester in that we could slam-fire the rifle, which we’ll get into.
With five-shot groups measuring less than an inch at 20 yards, accuracy was super. In fact we channeled our trick-shooting mojo and sliced playing cards with all three rifles. It was easier with the Taurus and Henry than with the Rossi due to the heavy sights on the Gallery 22.
We liked all of these rifles and would happily plink away our life savings with any of them, but the devil is in the details. Here’s the bottom line from our test team on these fast-shooting pump actions 22s.
Gun Tests Grade: A
The other Brazilian-made rifle is a used Taurus M62R, which is a copy of the iconic Winchester Model 62. Winchester made the Model 62 from 1932 to 1958. A variant of this model was called the Gallery Rifle, which was chambered in 22 Short. Our Taurus was second hand, but looked like it had little use. Taurus produced the M62 knockoff from 1999 to 2007 in both a carbine and rifle version. In hand, it feels like the Winchester, but only a hard-core Winchester collector would know the subtle differences between the two. The obvious clue is the manual firing-pin-block safety on top of the bolt and integral Taurus Security System built into the rear of the hammer. This system requires a key, which the user can turn to make the rifle inoperable. The manual safety looked like a wart on the otherwise beautiful Taurus. Rotate it to expose a red F and the rifle is ready to Fire. There is also a half-cock safety built into the manual hammer. The fine serrations on the hammer spur gave us confidence to cock and decock the hammer without worrying about it slipping under our thumb.
|Action Type||Pump/slide action, hammer-fired|
|Overall Length||39.0 in.|
|Overall Length Disassembled||26.5 in.|
|Overall Height||7.6 in.|
|Weight Unloaded||4.9 lbs.|
|Weight Loaded||5.0 lbs.|
|Barrel Length/Twist Rate||16.1 in.; 1:16 RH twist|
|Buttstock||Smooth hardwood, straight pistol grip, serrated plastic buttpad|
|Buttstock Length of Pull||13.0 in.|
|Fore End||Ribbed hardwood|
|Magazine||Tube, 14 rounds (22 LR)|
|Front Sight||Steel post|
|Rear Sight||U notch, fully adjustable|
|Sight Radius||18.5 in.|
|Trigger Pull Weight||2.1 lbs.|
|Safety||Manual safety lever, half cock hammer|
Our M62R had a traditional blued finish on all metal surfaces, which we thought was well executed. The hardwood stock and fore end had a satin stained finish. The straight-grip stock was fitted with a serrated plastic buttpad that was nicely attached, with no overlap. Wood-to-metal fit was very good, with no gaps. The corn-cob fore end is ribbed for a sure grip and is flat on the bottom for more steady aiming when using a rest. The Taurus felt skinny in hand, yet lively, even though the overall length was 39 inches, the longest rifle tested. The metal trigger guard was small compared to the Rossi’s but true to Winchester style. In fact, the entire M62R was devoid of polymer, save for the buttpad. It’s nice to see an all-metal-blued rifle.
The barrel length measured 23 inches, which is far longer than the Rossi (18 inches) and the Henry (20 inches). This also gave the Taurus the longest sight radius, too, which was 18.5 inches. Sights were a traditional front post dovetailed into the barrel. The rear was a fully adjustable plain notch. Use a brass hammer and punch to adjust windage, and use the stepped ladder to adjust elevation. The sights were dead on, so we didn’t fuss with them.
The Taurus is a take-down rifle, a feature we like. On the left side of the receiver was a captured takedown knob. The knurled knob is also slotted to take a standard screwdriver or coin if it is gorilla-ed too tight. To take down the rifle, place the hammer on half cock, loosen the knurled knob until it rotates freely, then pull the buttstock and the rear of the receiver from the barrel and fore end. We like the take-down feature mostly for ease in cleaning the rifle. With the Henry and Rossi, you need to pull a brush from the ejection port out the muzzle or go from the muzzle to the chamber. Residue can get trapped inside the receiver of both of these rifles. Take down also allows for easier storage, but make sure the ends that mate together are covered so debris does not get in the action or chamber.
The single-stage trigger is smooth-faced and made of steel. It broke at a crisp 2.1 pounds, which, in our opinion, helped us shoot tiny groups.
Loading the Taurus, we noticed the inner magazine tube was steel. The Rossi and Henry use brass inner magazine tubes. The Taurus inner magazine tube also did not use a rubber O-ring to keep it from loosening or rattling. It twisted closed with a click.
Shouldering the 5-pound rifle, we found it to be very comfortable, with excellent balance and its weight just in front of our shooting hand. It is lively in hand, and the 13-inch length of pull allowed us to manage the pump easily. We worked the pump vigorously and slowly and found the Taurus ran well, no matter how we tried to trip it up. Initially, the pump was stiff but loosened up with use. Our best group with 22 LR measured 0.31 inch with the Remington Thunderbolt ammo. The next best was the CCI Velocitor, which measured 0.53 inch. The Winchester Xpert HV had a best group of 0.72 inch. A few groups were one ragged hole. On average, the M62R shot from 0.35 to 0.72 inch across all 22 LR ammo. When we loaded 22 Short ammo in the tube, we found the Taurus jammed, so we needed our EDC folding knife to extricate the jammed cartridges. It did function perfectly when loading one 22 Short cartridge at a time. Best group with the CCI Target 22 Short measured 0.53 inch.
In the speed shooting with 22 LR ammo, the rifle ran smooth and fast. Like the Winchester the Taurus is based on, there is no trigger disconnect, so you can slam-fire the M62R. We held back the trigger and pumped, and on the forward pump, the rifle fired. This characteristic can be a safety issue, especially with users inexperienced with pump-action rifles. Best practice is to keep your finger off the trigger unless you are ready to shoot. Also the trigger guard is small, and if using heavy gloves, the trigger may inadvertently be pressed. Keep your finger off the trigger when cycling the pump.
We nicked playing cards using the inexpensive Remington ammo and think the thin, fine sights, nice trigger break, and balance contributed to us slicing the “10 of diamonds” playing card.
Our Team Said: The Taurus is an excellent copy of the fabled Winchester, and we would not hesitate picking up a gently used model. It shouldered and handled well, and the pump action ran smooth. Plus, accuracy was very good. We liked the take-down feature for ease of cleaning. This is the rifle to buy if you want a classic Gallery Rifle.
22 LR Range DataTo collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest. Distance: 20 yards with open sights. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle.
|Remington Thunderbolt 40-grain LRN||Rossi Gallery||Taurus M62R||Henry Pump Action|
|Average Velocity||1188 fps||1203 fps||1116 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||125 ft.-lbs.||129 ft.-lbs.||111 ft.-lbs.|
|Smallest Group||0.80 in.||0.31 in.||0.33 in.|
|Average Group||0.83 in.||0.35 in.||0.39 in.|
|Winchester Xpert HV 36-grain HP||Rossi Gallery||Taurus M62R||Henry Pump Action|
|Average Velocity||1252 fps||1249 fps||1198 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||125 ft.-lbs.||125 ft.-lbs.||115 ft.-lbs.|
|Smallest Group||0.45 in.||0.70 in.||0.24 in.|
|Average Group||0.55 in.||0.72 in.||0.30 in.|
|CCI Velocitor 40-grain CPHP||Rossi Gallery||Taurus M62R||Henry Pump Action|
|Average Velocity||1323 fps||1203 fps||1358 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||155 ft.-lbs.||164 ft.-lbs.||164 ft.-lbs.|
|Smallest Group||0.66 in.||0.53 in.||0.48 in.|
|Average Group||0.79 in.||0.57 in.||0.52 in.|
22 Short Range DataTo collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest. Distance: 20 yards with open sights. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle.
|CCI Target 29-grain LRN||Rossi Gallery||Taurus M62R||Henry Pump Action|
|Average Velocity||843 fps||870 fps||817 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||46 ft.-lbs.||49 ft.-lbs.||43 ft.-lbs.|
|Smallest Group||0.71 in.||0.53 in.||0.45 in.|
|Average Group||0.76 in.||0.58 in.||0.50 in.|
Value Guide: 22 Rifle Rankings (Various Actions)
|Bergara B14R 22 LR, $950||June 2022||A||Our Pick. The Bergara was ready to perform right out of the box. Heaviest, most accurate, most expensive.|
|Christensen Ranger 22 22 LR, $830||June 2022||A||Were we to grade this quartet strictly for hunting, the Christensen would win running away.|
|Tikka T1X 22 LR, $519||June 2022||B+||Best Buy. The most pedestrian of the rifles tested in this group, the Tikka would be suited for hunting afield.|
|Ruger Precision Rimfire 8401 22 LR, $480||June 2022||B||Lots of features that should bring a smile to the face of competitive shooters. Would like to see more accuracy.|
|Henry Golden Boy Model H004 22 S/L/LR, $500||Feb. 2022||A||Our Pick. The Golden Boy Henry shines. It is heavy and has a very smooth operating lever.|
|Rossi Rio Bravo RL22181WD 22 LR, $300||Feb. 2022||A||Best Buy. Bravo to the Rio Bravo. The test rifle was accurate, lightweight, and had a smooth-cycling lever.|
|Chiappa LA322 Standard Carbine 920.383 22 LR, $290||Feb. 2022||D||The LA322 had several failures to feed and showed some soft firing-pin hits.|
|Browning BL-22 Grade I 024100103 22 S/L/LR, $700||Sep. 2021||A-||Our Pick. The fit and finish were superb, and that is reflected in the cost. Accuracy was the best of the three.|
|Henry Classic Lever Action 22 H001 22 S/L/LR, $386||Sep. 2021||A-||Best Buy. The Classic 22 Lever Henry is well made, fun to shoot and inexpensive. Accuracy was good.|
|Taylor’s & Co. Scout RIF/2045 22 LR, $594||Sep. 2021||A-||Styled after a resized Winchester Model 1873. We liked the option of adding an optic. Silver finish is striking.|
|Savage Model 64 Takedown 40207 22 LR, $212||Sep. 2020||A||Best Buy. Basically a Model 64 barrel and action attached to an abbreviated polymer stock.|
|Ruger 10/22 Takedown 11100 22 LR, $372||Sep. 2020||A||Our Pick. This has all the performance the iconic 10/22 is known for in a compact package.|
|KelTec Model SU22CA 22 LR, $373||Sep. 2020||A-||While not a true takedown rifle, the folding stock on the SU-22CA makes it easy to stow and go.|
|Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 22 LR, $500||Mar. 2020||A||Best Buy. The Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 operated as we wanted and shot well. It won’t break the bank.|
|Walther Arms HK416 D145RS 578.03.01 22 LR, $583||Mar. 2020||B||If you’re looking for an M27 clone, this one is worth thinking about.|
|Anschütz MSR RX22 22 LR, $900||Mar. 2020||C||The Anschütz RX22’s trigger wasn’t the best, its buttpad fell off repeatedly, and no one liked its open sights.|
|ISSC MK22 ISSC211000 22 LR, $270||Mar. 2020||F||Showed ongoing failures to feed and extract. The blems on the sides of the receiver put us off.|
|German Sport Guns GSG-StG44 GERGSTG44 22 LR, $330||Feb. 2020||A||Our Pick. The action had very similar stampings to what you would find on the historical firearm.|
|Walther Arms Colt M4 Carbine 5760300 22 LR, $350||Feb. 2020||B||The Walther Arms Colt 22 LR M4 looks almost identical to the standard-issue Colt centerfire rifle.|
|Walther Arms HK MP5 A5 5780310 22 LR, $390||Feb. 2020||C||As tested, the stock limited the enjoyment of the firearm and was completely unacceptable for the price.|
|Chiappa Citadel CIR22M1W 22 LR, $300 (Two guns)||Feb. 2020||F, C||While the Chiappa looks very similar to a classic M1 Carbine, too many of the parts were made of plastic.|
|TPS M6 M6-100 22 LR/410 Bore, $487||Jan. 2020||A||Our Pick. The M6 follows in the footsteps of the previous M6 design and does it better.|