What’s the best .22-caliber rifle ever produced?

In my coronavirus quarantine-inspired boredom over the weekend, I was reading an article about the best .22 rifles on the market. But I think they left out the very best one ever made.

I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on lately, because, well, I seem to have time for that suddenly. Even though my day job does keep me busy during the week, and I’m very thankful to be employed right now, I’m working from home. That alone gives me back an hour and a half of each day that I would otherwise be using to drive to and from work.

Among the articles I have read recently was one claiming to list the six best .22 rifles on the market. I was in complete agreement with the author at the beginning of the story, when he said everyone should have a .22 rifle. In fact, everyone should have several .22 rifles.

He also pointed out that for most of us, the first rifle we owned was a .22. Technically, my dad owned the .22 I grew up with, but he bought it specifically for me to use, and for all intents and purposes, it was basically my rifle while I was growing up. I learned to shoot very well with that rifle, and when I visit my parents, I can still drive tacks with that old rifle.

The article lost me quickly when it started rating the best .22s on the market, though. Yes, all six of the rifles it mentioned are very good .22s, but they’re not, in my opinion, the best. It listed the Ruger 10/22, the Henry Lever Action, the Marlin Model 60, the Mossberg 802, the Browning Buck Mark Rifle and the Savage B22 Precision. Yes, all great .22s – though the Browning is really just a long pistol with a stock.

But the best .22 rifle? The very best .22 rifle ever made? That’s the one you grew up with. It doesn’t matter who built it or what name it carries. The one you had growing up is without a doubt the best .22.