Rimfire Resurgence: Savage’s A22 & B22 — Full Review

There are few more iconic rifles than those chambered in .22 Long Rifle (LR). Many of us have spent our youth plinking at targets and eradicating the tin-can population with a trusty bolt action in .22 LR. If you are like me, you have probably had the same .22-caliber rifle for a very long time. Not a lot has changed in the rimfire world, and I have never seriously considered investing in another .22 that is accurate enough for grown-man training until now. I use my .22 to cull prairie dogs and occasionally train youth shooters. Well, we’ve got good news. Savage has stepped the game up this year with the A and B series rifles — they’re out of the box tack drivers at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Both the Savage A22 and the B22-FV SR shot well, printing a .75-inch group at 50 meters.

A22

The Savage A22 features iron sights and Weaver mounts for attaching an optic. The integral iron sights and light recoil make this rifle an ideal choice for training a new shooter on iron sights. Photo Courtesy: Savage Arms

SPECS

The Savage A22’s detachable rotary magazines house 10 rounds and fed reliably during testing.

  • Type: Semiautomatic repeater
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10+1 rds.
  • Magazine: Detachable rotary
  • Trigger: 3 lbs. (tested); AccuTrigger (adj.)
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 21 in.; 1:16-in. twist
  • Sights: Iron sights
  • Weight: 5.63 lbs.
  • Overall Length:  40.5 in.
  • MSRP: $281
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms

The older I get, the less use I have for a semiautomatic rifle chambered in .22. However, I am happy Savage decided to get into this arena. I’ve used a semiautomatic on prairie dogs and whistle pigs. In my home state of Idaho, the area runs thick with them, and you can get multiple shots per dog, if needed. My reasoning for not caring about semiauto rifles as much comes strictly from a training value perspective. I don’t compete in Steel Challenge anymore, and there is so little recoil from a .22 that it takes multi-shot drills off the table if you are trying to replicate a centerfire rifle. Also, after having recently taught some youngsters on the rifle, I support the old mindset that a semiauto makes them waste rounds. Kids don’t seem to take the round in the chamber seriously if they know the machine will load another one for them instantly. It makes the conveying the lesson of making every shot count a challenge.

The Savage A22 and B22-FV-SR feature the AccuTrigger, which is user adjustable. The author found both test rifles to have clean-breaking triggers.

If you are in the market for a semiauto the Savage A22 is a good choice. The new stock Savage introduced on this model makes the rifle feel like a real rifle, not a toy. It has quality iron sights that are made of metal. The front blade is quite narrow. The action, in .22 terms, is smooth and reliable. And the accuracy is on point. The A22 will run circles around your old tin can plinker. It features the Savage AccuTrigger, though the semiauto model is a bit different than the bolt. It broke at 3 pounds, so there is that.  It isn’t bad, but there is a tiny bit of takeup and creep. It’s worth noting that it is better than any other off the shelf semiauto .22 I have shot, but don’t expect a miracle here either. Still, this model delivered the accuracy as promised. I had to work for it a little more, but it produced a ¾-inch group at 50 meters. Out of the box, that is pretty impressive. It makes my Ruger 10/22 look like a musket. The A22 comes with a Weaver style base for scope attachments, but there are aftermarket Picatinny bases if you have scope rings that weren’t made in the ’60s.

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B22-FV SR

The Savage B22 FV-SR features an integral Picatinny rail, user-adjustable AccuTrigger, threaded 16.25-inch barrel and sling swivel mounts. Photo Courtesy: Savage Arms

SPECS

  • Type: Bolt-action repeater
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10+1 rds.
  • Magazine: Detachable rotary
  • Trigger: 2 lbs., 8 oz. (tested); AccuTrigger (adj.)
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 16.25 in.; 1:16-in. twist
  • Sights: N/a
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • Overall Length:  35.25 in.
  • MSRP: $344
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms

The Savage B22 FV-SR comes with a thread protector and offers users the ability to attach a can right out of the box.

This little guy stole my heart. The A22 is fine and dandy, but the B22 is a marvel of engineering. The full name of the model I tested is the B22-FV SR (suppressor ready), and it has everything a growing boy needs. The trigger was perfect. It was a crisp 2½ pounds out of the gate with no creep. It’s not as light as a centerfire precision rifle, but it was extremely impressive for a rimfire. The bolt is extremely smooth. The center tang safety is large enough that you aren’t going to miss it, and it’s stiff enough to be useful. Young hands should still be able to engage or disengage it, but they are going to have to try, which I count as a positive.

The 16¼-inch barrel on a rimfire action makes this an extremely sweet handling gun, and the bull contour provides excellent balance. As the SR name suggests, the barrel is threaded from the factory and ships with a nice knurled thread protector. There are no iron sights on this model, just a big chunk of Picatinny rail on top waiting for the optic of your choice. The rail is removable, on the off chance you want to put a 20 MOA or something in its place. How this gun squeaked out a group exactly the same size as the A22, I have no idea. From the way it felt, I thought it would be tighter for sure. Still, ¾ inches at 50 meters is nothing to sneeze at, and we always assume the shooter is the weak link in that chain. This rifle is absolutely fantastic and is now my .22 LR rifle of choice.

The tang safety on the B22 FV-SR was easy to actuate.

Lasting Impressions

With all that good, I do have one minor complaint. Other places have waxed eloquent about the stock, and how the straight grip is target esque, etc. The stock is synthetic, and a little chunky, which I liked. Again, it makes it feel like a grown-up rifle. And it is a far cry from some of the plastic garbage I have seen shipped on a .22. It’s not bad, but it’s not perfect. I am 6 foot 2 inches, so maybe this is a stupid complaint, but I do wish the option of stock spacers existed. It was fine shooting from standing, but in the prone I wanted the stock to be a little longer. I don’t expect miracles on a $350 rifle, but the length of pull (LOP) is the hardest one to slap some McGuyver on. I also needed a taller cheek piece, but that is an easy fix. Riggers tape and some foam and problem solved. Lengthwise, I will have to get back to you on.

The new rotary magazines for the A22 and B22 ran flawlessly, and are interchangeable. I found them easier to load than other rimfire rotaries as an added bonus. I was very impressed with the entire package from the rifles. Half of the accuracy game is ammunition though, and it was well met this time. For testing ammo, I used the new Federal Hunter Match. This is a hybrid bullet, providing a longer range terminal effect and match grade accuracy. For the accuracy part, I am all in. I was very impressed with the group sizes these returned, as well as the fact that all of them worked. This stuff is amazing, and it’s not that much more than regular 22LR. At 12 cents per round, it is absolutely worth it for certain applications.

The author used 40-grain .22 LR Federal Hunter Match during testing.

For more information about the Savage A22 & B22, click http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/?page=2.

For more information about Federal .22 LR ammo, click https://www.federalpremium.com/ammunition/rimfire/caliber/22-long-rifle.

To purchase a Savage rifle on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Savage.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • John L September 14, 2017, 11:26 am

    I recently bought the Savage B22, and I love it. It’s really a great gun. My biggest complaint is that it only came with one 10 round rotary magazine. The magazine works perfectly, but one 10 round magazine is not enough for me. I can’t find them anywhere, not even at my LGS. I hope they will be available soon. Has anyone else been able to find any for sale?

  • Lloyd Dumas July 31, 2017, 5:47 am

    All my friends kid me about my 22 arsenal and I do own a few but not too many for me. I’ve always loved them since I first pulled the trigger at about eight yrs old, I was a late bloomer. The review on this rifle has tempted my thirst, especially the grouping out the gate, usually I have to work awhile before I get 3/4 group. I have one ol girl that will place the second shot in the first hole consecutively. Oh well here I go again presuming my very first love keeping searching for the better mouse trap.

    • survivor50 July 31, 2017, 8:29 am

      Impress your friends that tease you about your .22 arsenal… put a coconut up at 100 yards, and tap it once with your favorite .22 …watch the look on their face when they realize what that TINY 40 grain pill did… Then sit back and smile while they enjoy their CROW.

  • Mark N. July 29, 2017, 2:15 am

    I have a Savage .22 bolt rifle that I bought probably 14 years ago. The rifle is exceedingly accurate with its preferred Remington Goldens. The down side is that it does not have the accu-trigger, and according to Savage, cannot be retrofitted to have one either. the stock trigger is crisp but too heavy for my tastes. Also, the old Savage mags were sheet metal, and with the ten rounder in particular, the bottom of the mag would scrape your arm if you weren’t shooting off a bipod. This new rotary mag is the bees’ knees to me. since I was finally able to buy some Remington ammo last weekend, maybe it is time for a new Savage too.

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