When a lot of you see the Performance Center TCR22, one of the first thoughts that may come to mind is “Oh great, another 10/22 clone!”. I was certainly not immune from thinking this when I saw this rifle for the first time at SHOT Show, but I’ve learned you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, the TCR22 does it right by mixing in some great features that you have to pay extra for from other brands.
The Performance Center offers two trim levels of the TCR22, one has a black Hogue stock with a stainless finish version and this model with its laminated stock and matte black finish. The laminated thumbhole stock is from Altamont Company, a prolific OEM provider to stocks and grips that most shooters have never heard of. Now, I’ve never really enjoyed shooting thumbhole stocks in the traditional sense, instead, I keep my thumb along the outside of the stock for better trigger control. The contour of the Altamont stock makes using this technique feel very natural so that my finger falls perfectly on the trigger.
Many rimfire stocks also have a drop at the comb that is optimized for iron sights but thankfully the comb height on this stock is perfect for use with a scope. The sloped side of the cheekpiece is reminiscent of a Monte Carlo-type stock so it’s very comfortable as you get behind the glass.
Nestled into the stock is a receiver machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and anodized in a flat black finish that matches the barrel almost perfectly.
When the receiver is removed from the stock the first thing that is immediately noticeable is the notch in the side of the action. This notch corresponds to a lever on the 10-round magazine that operates the last round bolt hold open feature.
Around the back of the action, there is an extra hole that seems to be out of place until you go to clean the barrel for the first time. That hole is in line with the bore so that you can use a one-piece cleaning rod to clean from the breech end, instead of trying to do it from the muzzle end where you could damage the crown.
All of the great features that have been packed into this rifle are somewhat let down by one thing though, the trigger pull weight. Out of the box, the average trigger pull came in at a stout 4 lbs. 12 oz. with some significant creep and grittiness to it. That being said, I do appreciate that the trigger pack included an auto-bolt release, which makes releasing the bolt from the locked position a snap. Enlarged controls for the safety button and magazine release are also standard here.
|Magazine Capacity:||10 Rounds|
|Weight:||7 lbs. 0.6 oz.|
|Length of Pull:||14.0”|
Magazines and Ammunition
Rimfire rifles can be notoriously picky when it comes to ammunition and what works well in one rifle isn’t guaranteed to do so in another. With that in mind, I bought a diverse mix of options to use in this review that included both plinking and match grade varieties of ammunition from SK, Federal, CCI, and Aguila. I felt that the quantity of ammunition and diverse mix would give me the best chance to test the overall accuracy and reliability of the rifle. Although not formally tested for accuracy I did use some Winchester bulk box target ammunition that utilized a 36 gr hollow point copper plated bullet. Otherwise, the rest of the ammunition used some form of a 40 gr. lead round nose bullet.
The TCR22 comes with a 10-round rotary magazine that is similar to the standard 10/22 magazine but with one noticeable difference. A lever on the side of the magazine needs to be depressed in order to load the first round. After the first round is loaded though, the rest of the rounds can be loaded just as you would any other 10/22-style magazine.
My first range trip was not as productive as I had hoped it would be due to some pretty strong winds that were blowing across the range that day. If the target wasn’t getting blown over then dust devils were getting kicked up in the shooting bay but I pressed on and tried to at least get a feel for the rifle. I ended up shooting only two types of ammunition and at just shy of 50 yards, the CCI Mini-Mags showed the rifle had some real potential with a 50 round average group size of 1.31″. The Winchester bulk box ammunition shot about how you would expect $.04/round ammo to shoot with a single 10-shot group coming in at 2” center to center. It was still good fodder for ringing the pistol plates that were still in bay and having some fun doing things that didn’t demand a lot of accuracy.
The next range trip went much better and I was able to test the accuracy of seven different types of ammunition from the 50-yard bench. The rifle really showed off its accuracy chops from the more stable position and put up some very respectable groups for a factory semi-auto .22LR rifle.
|SK Standard Plus||40 gr. LRN||.66″||.34″||1063 fps|
|SK Long Range||40 gr. LRN||.70″||.50″||1088 fps|
| Federal Gold Medal |
|40 gr. LRN||.72″||.63″||1088 fps|
|Aguila Super Extra||40 gr. CPRN||.81″||.56″||1216 fps|
|SK Biathlon||40 gr. LRN||.95″||.56″||1072 fps|
|CCI MiniMag||40 gr. CPRN||1.03″ *||1.00″||1211 fps|
|Federal Auto Match||40 gr. LRN||1.27″||.94″||1204 fps|
|Aguila .22 Target||40 gr. LRN||1.33″||.94″||1014 fps|
Looking over the targets I have to say that I was pretty impressed, the accuracy on display out of the box was more than sufficient for most anything you’d use a .22 rifle for.
Towards the end of the day, I had the good fortune of having the range almost all to myself so I used the opportunity to stretch the TCR22’s legs out to the 200- and 300-yard steel plates. I grabbed the box of Federal Auto Match because all I really wanted to do was ring some steel for fun out at those distances rather than do any serious accuracy testing. At both ranges, the smallest steel plate is an 8 ½” wide diamond and at 200 yards the TCR22 made consistently hitting this plate a cakewalk. Going out further to the 300-yard plate the scope ran out of elevation at 12 mils, just 0.7 mils shy of what I needed so I used the excellent EBR-2C reticle in the scope to hold over the rest. I suspect that inconsistencies in the velocity of the ammunition caused some rounds to go a few inches high or low of the plate but I was still able to connect about 50% of the time on that 8 ½” diamond. Considering that the Auto Match was one of the poorer performing options that I tested, I think that its hit ratio at that distance is pretty good for the target size.
I shot approximately 600 rounds through this rifle over the course of testing and honestly not each and every round was perfect, as sometimes happens with .22’s. In all, I had eight incidents that were, I believe, the result of the ammunition quality rather than the rifle itself. Winchester bulk box hollow points exhibited the most issues with four failures to feed on the last round. This was an issue I couldn’t replicate with any other type of ammunition using the same mag or when using a different magazine. The other incidents were two failures to fire and one failure to eject with Federal Auto Match and one failure to fire with SK Biathlon at the 300-yard range. Other than those few incidents the rifle was trouble-free and a joy to shoot.
I believe the Performance Center TCR22 to be one of the best bangs for the buck in terms of semi-auto .22’s that is currently out on the market. Of course, that trigger pull weight would be something I’d have to remedy but luckily it appears there are trigger spring kits available to help improve the trigger feel considerable. These options are pretty inexpensive and easy to install at home without having to buy a whole new trigger pack or send it off for work. The Performance Center TCR22 has the right features and quality to make it a great option for a .22 trainer, use at NRL22 matches, or to take it varmint hunting. Don’t let the MSRP scare you off either, I’ve seen them for just over $500 at some dealers, which makes this rifle a heck of a deal in my opinion.
For more information about the Performance Center TCR22 visit: website.