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Best .22 Guns For New Gun Owners

Pistols and Rifles for Inexperienced Shooters

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A .22 caliber gun is generally lightweight, easy to use, has little recoil, and the ammunition is cheap. For those reasons, it is a good choice for new and inexperienced shooters. The primary complaint about .22s is that they lack the stopping power of larger caliber guns. Therefore, you aren’t going to want to use your .22 to hunt big game or for long-term self-defense. For small game, target practice, and as a learning gun, though, it just can’t be beat.

So if you are in the market for a .22, where do you begin? The first question is, what will the gun be used for? If you want a gun for hunting small game or to practice your marksmanship skills, a .22 caliber rifle is ideal. If you need a gun for range shooting or to get comfortable with a handgun, a .22 caliber pistol is a good choice. Whichever you need, I always recommend that new shooters start with a used gun. This allows for minimal investment while you learn more about guns and what you want in one.

Ready to find a gun? Here are my recommendations for both .22 pistols and rifles:

Pistols

  • Ruger Single-Six -- The Ruger Single-Six is something of a classic and for good reason. This single-action revolver is known for accuracy, ease of use, and dependability. A used single-six can often be found for as little as $250, making it a pretty small investment.
  • Heritage Rough Rider -- The Heritage Rough Rider looks and sounds like a gun straight out of the Old West. Nevertheless, this single-action .22 is a modern gun with a timeless feel and proven reliability. These cowboy-esque weapons can be found used for under $200.
  • Walther P22 -- The Walther P22 is a semi-automatic pistol that offers tactical styling, three safeties, and other features. Fans of the P22 swear by its smooth shooting and accuracy. You can pick up a used model for around $350 but try to find one manufactured in the last few years as these were improved by a few design changes.
  • Ruger Mark I, II, or III -- Ruger’s Mark series of pistols has evolved over the years but has retained remarkable accuracy and dependability through each design change. Many folks swear that the Mark I’s and II’s are superior, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. A used Ruger Mark will cost somewhere in the $400 range.

Rifles

  • Ruger 10/22 -- The Ruger 10/22 has been around since the middle of the 20th century and for good reason—it is fully-customizable, well-built, and tough enough to handle rugged conditions. It comes in several different styles and can be picked up used for around $250.
  • Marlin Model 795 -- The Marlin Model 795 is accurate and dependable but surprisingly lightweight at only 4.5 pounds. It comes in either blued or stainless steel finishes and has a 10 round magazine. It is a great deal economically as you can pick up a used 795 for around $100.
  • Anschutz -- This German gun is arguably one of the most accurate factory-produced .22 rifles available. It also has a long history of dependability. A number of major shooting competitions have been won with an Anschutz but this accuracy comes with a price; even used, an Anschutz will easily set you back $1,000.
  • Savage M 64F -- The Savage Model 64 F is an economical choice for a first gun. Used, these guns can be found for under $100. Even brand new, they run less than $200. Nevertheless, these semi-auto rifles are appreciated for their accuracy and reliability.
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