Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its rich history, the extensive array of unique firearms, as well as its fun and enjoyable shooting sports that are accessible to virtually everyone on the globe. Last week we talked about the extremely obscure, rare, and quite honestly pretty cool M6 Scout Rifle. This takedown, folding combination gun is one that many of us seem to have a massive affinity for, even if the concept itself isn’t all that great on paper. I think most of us might rather have a dedicated semi-auto, bolt-action takedown, or SBR 22LR rifle than an M6 as a general-purpose 22LR rifle. So today we’ll be going over the advantages and disadvantages of both, to see what the general consensus is among you, readers, as well as a few of the TFB staff that I’ve asked about the concept.
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The Rimfire Report: The Eternal Debate – SBR or Takedown 22LR Rifle?
Before we get started, let’s see what some of the TFB crew had to say if they had to choose between a takedown rifle and an SBR when it came to selecting a “general purpose” 22LR rifle that could be used as a hunting or survival rifle.
Takedown, 50 state legal. Don’t have to ask ATF’s permission to take it across state lines.”
“Take down. Especially with the 10/22 and Magpul stock. Also I like the SBX barrel that tucks the can so OAL is like an SBR with can but no stupid tax.”
“Takedown. You can get good accuracy from some of them, and you can get anything from classic pumps or the SA22 to modern semi autos. In every price range (Savage 64 to high grade Browning). Something for everyone”
Time Honored-Tradition: The Takedown Rifle
Classic takedown firearm designs like the Stevens Pocket rifle, Armalite/Henry AR-7, the FN Browning SA22, Marlin 70PSS, and of course the Ruger 10/22 Takedown are all perfect embodiments of the takedown 22LR concept and give users a great many advantages when it comes to remaining easy to stow.
The single greatest advantage that these rifles have is that they maintain and therefore take advantage of the longer barrel length of the 22LR cartridge. 22LR ammunition is usually loaded to and velocity tested out of barrels longer than 16-inches. Oftentimes velocity testing is done out of 20″ or 22″ barrels Coincidentally, this is also where most supersonic (around the 1200 fps mark) 22LR loads start seeing diminishing returns in terms of muzzle velocity. This increase in velocity should provide the shooter with a flatter trajectory, which should in turn lead to less time needed when taking shots, as well as greater terminal velocity for taking down small game effectively.
While takedown-style rifles are generally much easier to stow easily, they do have a couple of disadvantages that they take on to gain that ability. One example is in the accuracy department. Many models of takedown rifles feature weaker lockups than others and thus, suffer when it comes to accuracy, even between shots. Higher-end takedown models, especially modern examples are much better in this department but still suffer from one of the other major disadvantages, which is the time it takes to assemble the firearm from its stored/stowed configuration. The time it takes to assemble the rifle might make you miss out on the one edible animal you’ve seen for the day, or put you in a generally worse situation should you find yourself being attacked by a wild animal.
Going the NFA Route – The SBR 22LR
This is something that I never even considered until recently for use as a general-purpose rifle. Since the 10/22 is both the most popular, and I happen to have both configurations, we’ll use it as an example. This year I finally received my OpenTop 11/22 SBR stamp back from the ATF. While I initially would have never considered a short-barreled 10/22, the 10/22 Charger I bought some years back came along with a 1913 Picatinny adapter which then allowed me to attach a pistol stabilizing brace to it – which has now become a stock.
This configuration still gives the 11/22 an overall length of 18″ but drastically reduces the time it takes to get it up and running from a stored position. Not only do you not have to assemble the rifle after taking it out of the back, but if you’re confident enough to, you could theoretically leave the rifle loaded and on safe with an optic attached that isn’t zeroed independently of its barrel. This should theoretically give you better overall accuracy (something a couple of writers above mentioned they don’t really look for in this type of rifle), and give you a much more streamlined process when it comes to deployment – saving possibly minutes.
This option might be a bit more popular with the Rimfire community were it not for a particular three-letter agency charging you $200 for the privilege. On top of spending an additional $200 on what is already probably an expensive setup, you’ll also have to go through the hassle of filing the paperwork, and then waiting months to hear back from the ATF. While I’ve already gone through this process with my OpenTop 11/22, it is one that I wouldn’t wish on most people, as well as one that most people probably don’t want to go through just for the slight bit of convenience the configuration might add over a takedown rifle.
Which Way Rifle Man?
While I’m currently enjoying my Short Barrel (10″) 11/22, I haven’t exactly had enough time behind it to tell whether or not I like it enough over the more comfortable, more traditional takedown like the 11/22 Takedown we checked out a few weeks ago. Furthermore, some of my testing might actually demonstrate that with the right components and assembly, a takedown rifle might be just as accurate, while still maintaining a more compact overall profile for storage.
Obviously, we’d like to hear your opinions on this subject. If you were to opt for either an SBR or a Takedown-style 22LR rifle to ensure both accuracy and portability, which choice would best accommodate your need for comfortable handling, ease of use, and easy carry? Let us know below and as always thanks for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report, we’ll see you again next time!
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