Discussion in 'Browning Semi-Auto 22 Rifle' started by Billythekid, Mar 20, 2011.
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Review: Browning Semi-Auto 22; Grade I
As far as rifles go, the rimfire .22 is the runt of the litter. Often dismissed as a "first gun" for adolescents, they don't get a lot of respect from some more serious
rifle aficionados. I think that's a shame because the .22 is a very versatile rifle, whether it will be used for plinking soda cans or for shooting varmints and upland game. It may not have the knockdown power of a .30 cal carbine, but they are small, light, quick, and accurate.
Browning's Semi-Auto 22 Grade I is a handsome, reliable rimfire rifle. It is roughly 5 pounds and 38 inches long with a 19.25 inch barrel. The beautiful, tight-grained walnut stock and forend are lacquered to a ultra-high gloss, and have finely detailed checkering. The receiver has an intricately engraved design right above the trigger housing and safety.
The blue-finished barrel has adjustable rear sights with a gold-beaded front sight, and is drilled and tapped to accept the optional scope. The automatic front-loaded, tubular magazine holds eleven rounds, which are ejected at the bottom of the receiver. The safety is located just before the trigger assembly on the right. The barrel release, just ahead of the trigger housing, easily releases the barrel without tools so it can be broken down for easy cleaning.
The SA-22 is very comfortable to hold and shoot. The walnut stock is contoured to fit comfortably against the shoulder and the grip in the right hand. The trigger pull is is rather light, and can be pulled quickly and repeatedly. It is an extremely accurate rifle; I can easily hit a bullseye with it from 10 yards without a scope, and the rifle never jammed on me once, even after a rapid-fire session made it very hot.
This isn't an ordinary .22; it retails for about $557.00. This is a hunter's rifle, mostly for small game and varmints. My only complaint about it is the smaller magazine capacity (most .22 semi-autos hold 17
rounds or more). It's feels great and is deadly accurate, but the Browning SA-22 Grade I is, in my opinion, rather expensive for a .22 rimfire rifle. My old Marlin and Springfield M-187N rifles are just as accurate, even if they sometimes jam after running semi-auto for extended periods.
Personally, I consider this rifle to be for the more serious collector (there are even higher grades of this rifle available from Browning, with such superfluous details as gold inlays and exquisitely detailed artwork. These .22 rifles can cost upwards of a thousand dollars easy!). I don't recommend this as a starter rifle for youth, only because there are much more inexpensive .22's on the market that are plenty safe and accurate enough for the young novice marksman. It would be like buying Junior a brand new Corvette as his first car!
In the end, if you have the money and do a lot of small game and target shooting with rifles, the Browning SA-22 is a good investment. Otherwise, there are many other rim-fire semi-automatic .22's out there, which are every bit as accurate, ranging from $150 to $300. It pays to shop around and actually put any firearm to the test before you buy!
My first rifle is the Browning Semi-Auto 22.
It is a 1968 vintage. Has less than 2000 rounds through, but that is a guess. It hasn't been shot much. It probably has less than 1000 but I don't remember for sure.
The low round count is because I value the rifle as my first. It shoots great. I get it out and shoot nice and slow, taking my time, and enjoying the rifle and its accuracy. It has never been rapid fired. It is a queen and I am glad it is.
That day back when I was a little boy my Dad brought home three Brownings. A .30-06 for himself and two .22 rifles. My other brother picked first. He got the lever action. Wow, a little cowboy rifle is what us two little boys saw. I was saddened to be stuck with this strange looking semi-auto. I soon learned I was the lucky one that day!
I don't know if the "first gun" moniker applies anymore. In my safe there are 11 rifles and 5 of those are .22s. I recently bought a Browning SA-22 just because it's so damn pretty and the tiny receiver reminds me of the very first rifle I shot as a child, a Remington Model 12 in .22s,l&lr with a 23" hexagonal barrel. I believe it was made in 1922 and I told my father that when he passed I hoped it was when his money was all spent, all I wanted was the Model 12.
Currently my favorite .22 is a Tactical Solutions X-Ring with a Boyd's stock, Timney trigger and the best part, a TacSol SB-X barrel with shroud that allows me to install my YHM suppressor and still maintain a 17" barrel length. With 4 AR's in the safe, that TacSol is still my favorite plinking partner. A 525 round box of ammo and no hearing protection required makes for a great day at the range. Being retired means I can go when everyone else is at work and just blast away. Makes me wish I could find threaded barrels for my SA-22 and the old Remington, I'd hate to ruin their values having the stock barrels threaded.
I might be mistaken but I think Browning makes a version of the SA-22 with a threaded barrel which I'll have to buy if it exists.
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