In my opinion, many folks overlook .22 Long Rifle carbines. That is a shame as there is a lot to be said about them. Even with .22 LR ammunition being a bit scarce nowadays, it can still be had and is cheaper to shoot than many centerfire rifles. When you include minimum recoil and muzzle report in the package this makes such rifles excellent trainers for new and seasoned shooters. Keeping that in mind you would want to be sure your rifle was reliable and accurate, to avoid frustration with misfeeds or inaccurate hits which can put a damper on a fun day at the range. The fun factor of the .22 LR is high on my list from target shooting to informal plinking.
I became a fan of the .22 LR when my father introduced me to shooting cans off the rails in a dilapidated tobacco barn when I was a youngun. Being a fan of the little cartridge, when I had the opportunity to review the Magnum Research Magnum Lite in .22 LR I took the task serious. Now this is not your typical .22 rifle, geared a bit more to precision shooting but light enough not to be the dreaded companion when having to carry the rifle for a day. With the adjustable stock it can be fit to all sizes of folks. The carbine does not ship with sights, nor does it have provisions for an iron sight at the muzzle.
Made in the USA engraved on the aluminum receiver. A nice touch of American Pride. You will notice the large knob on the charging handle.
Though the carbine ships sans sights, it has an integral weaver rail machined into the receiver. Notice the cross bolt safety in front of the trigger and the manual magazine lock in front of the safety. Just after that was the magazine release, large enough to release the Ruger 10/22 rotary ten round magazine. Using the 10/22 magazine was a smart move as they fit flush, are reliable, inexpensive, and there are plenty of higher capacity aftermarket magazines that are also reliable.
We ran the gun with a red dot as well as optics, with the optics being a bit more precise while the red dot a bit quicker to acquire and more fun when ringing steel.
Notice the graphite barrel with the stainless steel sleeve. That saved a great deal of weight and allowed the outside of the barrel to stay cool even after a few magazines through the gun.
Initial Range Trip
To begin the review, I attached a Redfield Accelerator red dot sight, sighted it in, and backed off to twenty five yards and begin ringing steel on my RSR steel target. I prefer iron sights myself but I was able to acquire the target fast and stay on point. Setting up some smaller steel circle swinging targets, me and several of my friends ran through two hundred rounds with the quickness. There is a great deal of satisfaction in smacking steel targets with a little .22 and being an autoloader and a red dot, we were really able to step on the gas so to speak.
Then off to the 100 yard line to get some well aimed groups from a rest with the Riton Mod 5 4x16x40 scope, as reviewed here.
Second Range Trip
After all the rounds were fired, smoked cleared, and brass policed we went through about 500 rounds of .22 LR of all sorts. Using the factory Ruger magazine as well as some aftermarket thirty round magazines I had on hand there were no failures. With the way this rifle is set up, it would do well as a hunting rifle and it is equally suited for serious target shooting. The .22 Magnum Lite has a very unique look, and there are about sixteen variations of this model that can be had in .22 LR and .22 WMR. For me the most fun was had chasing an empty cat food can around the yard with the red dot sight, so there is a great deal of fun factor and accuracy built into the carbine. Adding some optics can really get you dialed in at longer distances with the little .22 LR being plenty accurate at 100 yards. One thing that required a bit of getting used to was to manipulate the bolt lock back. The bolt did not lock back on an empty magazine, but there is a bolt hold open in front of the trigger guard. Normally on any rifle I, at least, like to be able to add iron sights but I do get why this rifle ships this way. It really shines with a red dot above all else. All in all I am satisfied with how the rifle ran and accuracy.
Caliber : .22 Long Rifle
Weight 4 1/4 pounds
Length 35 1/2″ overall
Sight: Weaver style rail for mount.