Video: The Savage Rascal .22LR boys rifle is affordable, reliable, and safe.
by Scott Mayer
A brand spanking new .22 Rimfire is a rite of passage for many American kids and getting the right .22 is perhaps the most important decision a parent can make. Of all the variables a parent has to consider, safety is probably at the top of their list. Parents need to think about safe places to shoot, eye and ear protection, how to safely store the gun and more. One thing they shouldn’t have to consider is having a gun that is safe, and safe to shoot—those ought to just be givens.
When we get our kids their first gun, it’s natural to want to get them something like what we had as kids, and a popular feature of “boys” guns “back in the day” was a cocking knob. It seems simple and safe enough to open a bolt, chamber a round, and pull back the cocking piece to shoot. I’ve even heard many parents insist on that type of action because they can easily see if the gun is cocked or not. They see the cocking knob as a safety feature.
Well, I’m not so sure about that anymore after seeing the new Savage Rascal at Media Day. Its action is specifically made without a cocking knob—for safety reasons!
You see, when you have a gun with a manual cocking piece and you cock it, you might want to unload it. On the range, for example, a ceasefire might be called. On guns with the cocking piece, you have only two choices to make it unloaded: fire the shot, or pull the trigger while lowering the cocking piece. It’s that lowering the cocking piece where things can get dicey. In hot weather, your hands may be slippery with sweat. In cold weather, your hands might be sluggish and numb. If the child tries to lower the cocking piece, do they have the finger strength to always do it safely? When you think about it, that cocking piece can just as easily be seen as a “not safe” feature as it can a safety feature.
For that reason, Savage opted to have the Rascal cock on opening with a manual thumb safety on the side. That arrangement eliminates the possibility of a cocking piece slippage causing the gun to unintentionally fire.
Like a normal bolt rifle, you simply open the bolt to unload. After giving it some thought, I’m going to have to agree with Savage. There are still going to be those parents who want the visual status feedback that the cocking piece provided. For them, the universally recognized red dot indicating “fire” on the Rascal’s thumb safety should do the trick, and if not, the Rascal also has a cocking indicator on the tail of the bolt.
With a gun that is safe, and safe to shoot, the next thing a parent has to consider is how it fits. Kids grow so quickly that it’s tempting to get a gun they can “grow into”—believe me, I’ve raised four kids and look for shortcuts everywhere I can. But gun fit isn’t a good shortcut. Kids will get tired holding up a gun that is too heavy, and will never develop good shooting form with a stock that is too long. The Rascal has a positively tiny stock that’s just right for your average 7-ish-year-old. And don’t let that tiny stock fool you, plenty of full-grown adults shot the Rascal just fine at Media Day, though I’m not for one second recommending such a tiny stock for full-size people. I’m just saying that there’s probably a lot more growing room in a Rascal than the stock suggests at first blush.
The final consideration, in my opinion, is quality, even in a first gun. New shooters need to enjoy a gun that is going to last and that isn’t going to give them problems. With a gun like that, they have a better chance of developing into happy and successful shooters, and also to develop an attachment to guns that American shooters are known for. The Savage Rascal gets high marks from me on quality—and particularly traditional quality. Its sights are surprisingly excellent. In fact, I think they’re much better than what you find on a lot of full-size and more expensive guns.
The Rascal’s rear peep is a delightful steel piece reminiscent of quality “boys” guns from the good old days. It’s matched with a simple steel bead on post front sight that’s no less nostalgic and sturdy. The only thing plastic I found on the Rascal is the feed ramp. It’s specially designed so that you simply drop the cartridge into the action and close the bolt to get it to feed properly. There is no need to try and pre-feed the nose into the chamber. If you’ve ever shot a .22 on which you do have to feed the nose into the chamber, you know that .22 cartridges can be quite slippery on warm days as their outside lubrication melts.
The Savage Rascal is going to make a lot of little kids happy, and also start them off right in the shooting sports. There are wood- and synthetic-stocked versions and with either one I think you’re looking at a gun that a couple of generations from now will still be in use.
I’m assuming we’re talking about the rifle now…
Just bought one today, to replace a Keystone Cricket. I got tired of my daughter setting the Keystone down on the sandbags and activating that bolt block safety every 3rd or 4th shot. (If I don’t want to worry about her fussing with the bolt for any reason, I take it out & put it in my pocket for my own peace of mind. I can secure the bolt just as easily as I can another key for a cable lock.) Plus, the trigger was rough. Maybe I got a bad one; I don’t mean to insult Keystone, I just saw advantages to trading off for the Savage and this was one of them. I also disfavor the cocking piece, and the inability to unload the gun once cocked without having to either fire the shot, or pull the trigger to coast the cocking piece forward with the safety off.
My favorite features on this rifle:
– Bolt can be manipulated with the safety on. You can unload it while on safe. This, to me, is a game-changer for guns in this class.
– Cock-on-opening feature doesn’t make my daughter feel like she has to slam the bolt forward.
– AccuTrigger: Adjustable, and requires pretty much a deliberate, straight-back pull to release. Those who knock it, really ought to try it, and I mean on something more than milk jugs at 25 yards. The stock trigger on my Model 10FP enables me to get very scary results out to 600 yards. This is the same trigger, just scaled down a bit.
– Stock wrist is not only thinner than competitors, but actually has a good, natural angle. The angle on the Keystone was closer to horizontal, like a k98. Fine for a round-bodied shotgun, not great for a .22 youth rifle.
– Receiver is tapped to accept 2, 2-screw Weaver bases, unlike the 3-screw design of the Keystone that only accepted a raised dovetail base that just sat too high to actually accommodate a good cheek weld.
– Steel sling swivels installed. My daughter isn’t going to carry it at sling arms on the range, but it’s handy having a place to attach a knock-off Harris-type bipod, or a carrying sling for when she’s ready to introduce her to the squirrel woods.
– Availability of stock colors. To each his/her own, but my wife in particular didn’t want my daughter to have a pink stock. She wants no potential for confusion as to whether a gun is a distinctly different recreational asset than the Lalaloopsy dolls she collects. I don’t believe the color of the stock has as much to do with that as the quality of the instruction, supervision, and security measures we take, but I nonetheless chose black for household-wide peace of mind. (My wife is no hypocrite; she doesn’t have any pink stocks on her AR, Mossy 500, several handguns, or Encore .50ML either.) The wood stock has slightly thicker dimensions, but the price difference was more than I was willing to part with for plain birch.
– The feed ramp. Just a great idea. Makes positive chambering a breeze with action proving dummies, should do the same with live ammo next weekend. Most review videos show firers just clicking along – open bolt, drop in a cartridge, close bolt, fire. No superfine motor skill drills involved in getting a round to chamber. And with .22LR in such low general retail availability, anything that helps avoid mashing or dropping a cartridge is a good thing.
– Gun comes with a big red chamber flag, with about 5″ of chamber/barrel insert. Also comes with the cable-type action lock, but again, I just lock up the bolt separately from the rifle and have one less key to worry about losing. I know they’re required, but it’s still a nice touch.
– Rear sight is rather rudimentary, though more robust than some competitors’ designs. Small issue for us, as it’s coming off to clear the Redfield 2-7x28mm that’s going on as soon as the bases get here.
– Front sight: Black post with black round beaded top. Either give a contrasting bead, or square off the top of the post. I’m taking it off of my daughter’s rifle and putting a piece of dovetail blank in its place.
– No discussion yet of longer-LOP stocks as accessories. Keystone offers adult-length stocks. I think this Rascal will sell like mad, and whoever comes up with a longer-LOP stock with a thicker wrist will be ahead of the game. I’m calling Boyd’s tomorrow, in fact. If the number of retailers listing the scope bases as out-of-stock is any indication, there will be a lot of these rifles out there, with a lot of kids wishing the guns could grow with them.
– Speaking of Weaver scope bases, I believe at this price point, Savage could afford to jack up the MSRP by $5 and throw a pair of their $7 bases in every Rascal box.
– Buttplate: Add some molded-in checkering, a layer of rubber overmolding… SOMETHING to keep it from sliding off of my daughter’s nylon jacket, or slipping out of the vertical rack on the firing line. It’s just plain, flat, smooth plastic, with a raccoon face on it. I’m pulling it off and spraying it with some truck bed liner repair-in-a-can to give it some grip when racked muzzle-up. Hey – maybe a way to lengthen the stock would be to mold a long buttplate replacement – snap in, replace sling swivel, and now you have a longer LOP and slightly larger buttplate surface. Just a thought, Savage.
And that’s about all I can find to offer as areas for improvement! For $170, I believe I got my money’s worth in improvements over what the Keystone rifle offered.
I was in a small local gun shop last night doing a little paperwork on another item (there is a subject, if y’all really want something to complain about!) when I saw a Rascal sitting in the rack. I asked to look at it and was very impressed at the quality for a youth rifle, or any rifle for that matter. I do, however, like the idea of the guy that mentioned the “V” notch sight option as most kids move up from something like a BB gun and they usually have these. I bought it and I am fairly sure it will serve ALL of the grandchildren well for many years to come. I have always considered Savage an “okay” gun manufacturer but having shot some of their other offerings recently, I think that they have really upped their game. Certainly much more impressive than anything I have seen come out of the Remington/Marlin camp lately! Congratulations Savage. Well done.
ok that being said i recently bought one for my son,he loves it i did my research and this rifle had the features i wanted . i actually prefer to have him use a rifle with a dedicated safety rather than the cocking knob. this is what he will be using later. p.s I called a good friend to tell him and he had just bought one for his daughter, she had told him at the store ” I dont like the pink stock it looks to girly” go figure…………
would everybody either get over the politically correct crap and move on to a discussion of the rifle . if you need a group hug then just move on.
I thought this site was about guns, but I see it is now about sociopsychology.
My daughters, all now wonderful grown women, would have felt degraded had I given them a pink rifle. Talk about chauvinistic. Here boys, you get black or brown. Girls, you get pink.
Great starter rifle for kids. Bought the pink synthetic for my daughters partly due to this review – took the oldest two – 9 & 10 yrs old shooting for the first time today.
Taught them how to use the sights the day before and went over all safety rules.
They both put 3 straight shots through a pop can at apx 30′ – prone after a few warm up rounds.
Neither had even shot a BB gun prior. Accurate little rifle.
Is there a girls Rascal or is the boys Rascal unisex?
There is a pink one.
I like the Rascal for a number of reasons:
1) I like a nice bolt action to teach my son how to shot aimed shots, not how to pull a trigger and empty a magazine like I see many kids do with a semi-automatic 22
2) The Boy Scouts and my School system rifle team only use single shot 22’s, so this is a great rifle to get him started with for both
3) The composite stock should last through all the beatings my son, and hopefully his son, will ever give it
4) The size is great for starting out
But, I would like to know if Savage will have any of the following this year or by 2013
A V-notch rear sigh that can use the tapped holes for the scope mounts
A larger stock for when my son get some more growth.
Thanks for the Accu-Trigger and the “peep” sight! Great little rifle! Suggestion – military blade front sight and adustable length of pull.
I am in the market to buy this rifle for my daughter. However, I can not find it for sale anywhere. Can you please point me in the direction I need to go to find this? Your help is much appreciated. Thanks
Guns & Ammo is a magazine dedicated to firearms, hunting, competition shooting, reloading, and other shooting-related activities in the United States.
….. It has a readership of 5.8 million per month and is published on a monthly basis.
Yea, 5.8 million lol. Wikipedia is always right dontcha know.
My daughter just saw the Rascal in the new Guns and Ammo magazine. She wants one! Hope it comes in pink or purple. She is nearly three years and is very keen to buy a rifle.
Wow she is one of 6 people who actually read that thing.
I wish they had put a useful and repeatably adjustable rear sight on it.
They made a feeble attempt and tried to shine us one with a peep but it’s useless
Why would a young person need to repeatably adjust their sight? And how is this rear aperture worthless? Seems functional to me.
sorry , didn’t watch the video.. now I did. and the Pricepoint is the Top of the food chain$$$ almost double to the Other 2 choices that have been on the market for Years… Sorry but the Acutrigger does not make the rifle worth that.
I think with other starter/youth .22 rifles on the market (naming no names) having something different along with the deal breaker THE PRICEPOINT… is essential. Does the front sight come with fiber optic? and what is the pricepoint? …forget the boy/girl thing I have a young Grandaughter to buy for and she’ll get what Grandpa gives her and she’ll love it
I just showed this video to my two children my daughter who is 5 and my son who is 3. BOTH of them really want this little rifle. I asked my daughter if having someone call the gun a boy’s rifle upset her or if she would not like shooting it. She said NO!!! As I am typing this she is asking when we can go to the gun store and get one. I like all of the aspects that this little rascal gives to the shooter and trainer. Shooting with mom and dad is a treat and something that each of my children will be exposed to, so that they can decide for themselves if its something they want to continue. No pressure as I will be shooting until they plant me in the ground!
It is really great to see a quality rifle hit the market for young shooters just learning. I have 5 girls and 1 boy, and each of them like to go shoot with me. Now i can get a rifle that my younger children can control and comfortably hold in a fashion to make an accurate shot. Savage has been a household name in my home for years and i look forward to passing that tradition on. By the way, if you were to come out with a ladies gun and call it “the fluffmaster” or some obviously feminine name, yet offer it in mens platform also, id still buy and use it and im sure the same will apply for the rascal.
Geeze, I thought about buying one for my doughter after reading the artical and the “B” word
never came to mind untill reading the comments….. Cmon people, grow up.
This rifle isn’t just for boys!!!
It comes in so many different colours that would be suitable for boys AND girls!!!
It comes in black, pink, blue, green, red, yellow, orange and wood!
It’s a pretty nice youth rifle. Probably one of the best on the market for creativity, accuracy and safety!
Perhaps they should re-name it the “Little Rug-Rat Rascal Rifle” to be more “PC”.
Savage, make these like the cricket with a pink synthetic stock, I’ve got two young shooters that would love it. Price point is also a consideration. I’ll be looking for two in the next year. Another option to consider is making it available as a two stock set, one youth sized and the second full size. That way it can grow with the shooter.
I’ll definitely look for these when the time comes. Thanks for the decent write up and thanks to Savage for continuing the tradition of firearms for the younger shooters!
Hello all. I’m the one who wrote the article and first I want to thank you for taking the time to read it and for commenting. That said, I want to be abundantly clear that “boys” rifle is the term I used, not Savage, and I used it in quotes for a reason. They really were called “boys” rifles “back in the day,” and I had hoped that using the quote would convey that I was making a historical reference, not a sexist one. I have two little girls back home who both shoot and I’d never discourage them or any other young lady from taking up the sport. Thanks again!
Real nice little rifle, I’m sure any youngster would be tickled to death to have one. I know my three granddaughters and grandson would like one and I will see to it that we add one to our battery of youth
and boys rifles that I have for them. I feel the rifles name is fine and most folks know what it means and
will have no problem, could some folks lighen up a little, we’re all on the same side,aren’t we?
I am a certain customer for the Rascal as I have three grandsons and the oldest will be seven next year. Ironically, when their mother was a kid I took her and her sister out with a single shot .22 Remington and they absolutely refused to touch it, much less fire it. That was about 17 years ago. But people do grow, learn and mature. Last year my daughter came to me and asked “Dad, when the boys are old enough, would teach them how to shoot?” That was a wonderful moment.
Oh, and our youngest daughter who also refused to touch that .22? She learned to shoot as an adult and is the proud owner of a Colt Cobra.
I agree with Robert. “I wish you would have used a tru-glow front sight.” Is that an option?
These days, too many people would rather use sarcasm and smart ass remarks to demean, rather than suggest an alternative in a positive way. Men who do these kinds of things, usually have inferiority complexes, or what some might call small penis syndrome (SPS). Then you have people who want to call somebody’s mistake, racially or sexually bias. If you’re going to do that, at least spell the names you call people correctly. It is fairly simple to just say to Savage, that some may find the title “boy’s rifle”, insulting. So maybe you could introduce a girls rifle and a lady’s rifle. Pretty simple, without having to make an ass of yourself.
Ok Savage, it’s time for some common sense here. You have produced what looks to be a fine rife and you’ve properly named it. We all know what a boy’s or youth model gun is. The unfortunate problem lies in the segment of our male population which has been conditioned/feminized by the anti-male element within our society. I have seven children (4 girls, 3 boys) and each of them are/will be educated in firearm use to the point of being comfortable with both a rifle and a handgun. After that, they can opt to/not to ever shoot again but certainly not due to ignorance or fear. That being said, every one of my 3 girls which are of shooting age would love to have one of these rifles due to its quality, not because of its name. This is because they are being raised to be ‘comfortable in their own skin,’ and to appreciate the difference between things which are well made and that which is junk!
Exactly. The only people that name would offend are feminists with big egos or metrosexual “males” with little weenies.
I wish you would have used a tru-glow front sight. This way the shooters eye would be drawn to the target for better sight alignment. It seems this would help in teaching young shooters proper sight alignment. Thank you
Have we not become a little to sensitive about simple things, like calling the Savage .22 a “boys rifle?” My daughter kind of wears it as a badge of honor when she gets to do “boy” stuff like riding shooting, hunting, riding dirt bikes, and so on. IMHO, Savage should market a version of the Rascal as a “girls rifle.”
It does come in pink!! 🙂
Why are some people so politically correct sensitive in the 21st Century? Seems some are just hanging around ready to pounce when someone make a small blunder. Geeez – it’s irritating. Let’s talk about the rifle.
I don’t think anyone is being “politically correct sensitive,” just noting that calling something a “boys rifle” leaves out half the population. Call it a “young shooters rifle.” I want to take my grandchildren to the range when they visit us in Florida this summer, and last I checked at least half of them were girls. 🙂
Lightin’ up folks, I wasn’t happy with Lady Smith engraved on the side of my Model 60LS but I bought it anyway because it suited my taste. Get over it and take the PC BS somewhere else!
I raised two girls shooting and to my knowledge neither were harmed in any way that all the guns they used belonged to a “man”. My wife even earned a US Army “sharp shooters” rating using an M16 and she turned out alright also. And I can assure you it wasn’t pink. 🙂
Joe is right, at a time when we’re trying to add women to the shooting sports, this a grave oversight.
And the word is “Chauvinistic”.
A man would have known how to spell it correctly
Boys rifle? Really? Welcome to the 21st century, Savage—I know some young ladies who would be happy to get a gun like this if it weren’t called something so asinine as a “boys rifle.”
LOL you are absolutely right. That is just the traditional name for them in our male centric, shovanistic world. Sorry we didn’t catch that.
Yeah, my 7yo daughter caught that, too, when I showed her the YouTube video. She asked, “Dad, why do they call that a ‘boys’ rifle? Can’t girls shoot it, too?” Honestly, this was the first time I had to explain to her that she will frequently be told that things she likes to do with me are “boy” things (shooting, Muay Thai, ATVs, etc.), when in fact, they are just fun things to do with Dad.
The Rascal is appropriately called a “Youth” model in the Savage catalog, so it would be nice to change references here and in the YouTube description to reflect that. We need more girls interested in shooting and hunting, and something as simple as word choice can create a real hurdle for Dads like me to overcome with our daughters.
Thanks for the nice review!
You are absolutely right… I had to purchase two. One is dark green and one in pink… well done Savage!!
Great looking gun for young and up coming hunters/target shooters!