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If you're in the market for a .22LR, you have many options. You can buy semi-automatic, bolt-action, lever-action and even pump-action rifles, or you can buy semi-automatic and revolving magazine handguns.

Semi-auto rifle

Without question, the Ruger 10-22 is the most popular semi-automatic .22LR rifle available today. It is accurate and dependable out of the box, but owners love to customize it with a vast array of after-market accessories. The Remington 552 Speedmaster is also a very popular, elegant rifle. The old Remington Nylon 66, long discontinued, is an old standby that has achieved cult status despite its well-earned "Jam-A-Matic" nickname.

The Browning ATD-22 is a takedown-style rifle that is very popular with hunters because it is compact and handles so nimbly.

Bolt-Action rifle

These rifles load and eject a round into the chamber by manually turning a bolt. They are available in cheap, spartan Marlin models all the way up to Weatherby and Anschutz rifles that cost more than $1,000. These are heirloom quality rifles with premium quality walnut stocks and deep, lustrous bluing.

CZ's .22LR rifles are overlooked masterpieces, with miniature Mauser-style bolts and astonishing accuracy.

Lever-Action rifle

The Model 39 Marlin is the exemplar of this genre, but the Henry Golden Boy has eclipsed it in recent years. They hold their bullets in a long tube beneath the barrel, and you cycle rounds by operating a lever.

Semi-automatic pistol

Again, Ruger makes the most popular and versatile .22LR autoloading pistols. You can buy them threaded for a suppressor along with a Picatinny rail to mount a scope or dot sight. These guns are in their fourth incarnation. I have a Mk.II with a target bull barrel that I bought in 1988. I love breaking stationary clay targets with it at 100 yards, but I have taken many squirrels with it, as well. It is also the gun I use when the time comes to requalify for my concealed carry handgun permit.

The Browning Buckmark is also very popular and equally as versatile as are various Smith & Wesson models.

Revolver

The great thing about a revolver is that it will never jam. The Ruger Single-Six, a single-action model, is the most popular, but there are many inexpensive obscure brands that are quite serviceable as utility guns.

Double-action revolvers fire with each pull of the trigger without having to manually retract the hammer. Smith & Wesson makes some fantastic .22 pistols that are of comparable quality to their big centerfire revolvers, as does Ruger. They are usually stainless steel, and they are extremely accurate and durable. They are ideal for target shooting, plinking and squirrel hunting.

My choice is the Taurus Tracker, which also comes with a separate cylinder for .22 Winchester Magnum Rifle cartridges. Its long barrel and high-quality sights make it ideal for target shooting, plinking and squirrel hunting. You can get them in matte stainless or matte black.

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