Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Inexpensive .22 rifles with Threaded Barrels - Surprisingly Good Values

Rossi RS22 with threaded barrel, top; Rock Island 14Y, bottom

If you have ever thought you might want, need, or find useful, a suppressed firearm, there is good news. .22 rifles with threaded barrels are available for very little money.

Many years ago, in a land far, far away, a close friend and poacher (hunting was forbidden altogether) obtained a .22 single shot rifle. The rifle had been smuggled into the country by someone, and had ended up in the hands of my friend. He showed me how to make an improvised suppressor in about 30 minutes, which worked surprisingly well.

The tricky part was lining up the hole in the suppressor with the bore of the rifle. This was done by eye, by centering the hole while looking through the suppressor, down the bore, and tightening the hose clamp which held the suppressor to the barrel.  It worked well, but had to be checked frequently.

The most difficult part of making an effective, improvised suppressor, is making sure the bore and suppressor are aligned.

The easiest way to make sure the bore and suppressor are aligned is to have the muzzle of the firearm properly threaded. Anyone with a modest amount of mechanical ability, access to a lathe, and a few specialized tools can do this minor machining. This correspondent has done it. The time, energy, and tooling it cost to do so was easily the equivalent of purchasing two of the three rifles to be discussed in this article. The end result worked satisfactorily. What is a minuscule extra effort in the manufacturing process takes much more to do as an add-on by a hobbyist.

Threaded muzzles are used to attach a variety of accessories. Muzzle brakes and flash hiders are common. It is not a good idea to fire .22 shot cartridges through a suppressor, but a reverse paradox tube doubles or triples the effective range of these minuscule shotshells. Bloop tubes can extend the sight radius.

A thread converter is handy for attaching homemade reverse paradox tubes, and are currently available for about $5-10. They are highly recommended. They make good thread protectors.

The bad news is: to legally own a suppressor in the United States, you are required to be fingerprinted, photographed, fill out copious numbers of forms, go through months of waiting, and pay a $200 tax. This is a worthwhile endeavor. I suggest people do it now, before the desire for a suppressed firearm becomes an urgent need. The process to make your own, legally, has become more complicated under the Biden administration.

Procrastination is difficult to overcome. Spending money on a nice little rifle you would like to have, anyway, is easy.

The two least expensive .22 rifles this correspondent has seen on the market are the Rossi RS22 with the threaded barrel, model RS22L1811TH, and the Rock Island Armory YTA, which comes with a threaded barrel. The Rossi is a semi-auto with a 10 shot magazine. The Rock Island is a bolt action which also has a 10 shot magazine. When firing subsonic ammunition, through a modest suppressor, both are very quiet, but the Rock Island has the edge. The Rossi produces a little action noise with each shot.

This correspondent picked up the previous version of the Rock Island YTA, the 14Y (with a wood stock) for $110, as recalled from a couple of years ago. A Rossi  RS22L1811TH was picked up on sale, a few months ago, for about $140, out the door.   The Rossi weighs less than five lbs with scope and suppressor installed. The Rock Island is a little more at five lbs, ten ounces, with the same scope and suppressor.

A close also ran for an inexpensive .22 rifle with a threaded barrel is the Savage Rascal with heavy barrel and threaded muzzle. It was spotted at a local Cal-Ranch store on sale for $199.  It looks to be a delightful little single shot with the famous Savage AccuTrigger, weighing only 3.5 lbs. (without sights, scope, or suppressor).

All three of the rifles allow for easy removal of the action and barrel from the stock. This makes the two groups short enough to pack into common luggage.

Opinion: Having shot .22 rimfire rifles and pistols with and without suppressors, this correspondent would require significant reasons to acquire a .22 that did not have the barrel threaded. When done at the factory, the additional cost is lost in the noise of manufacturing. Unless one is a skilled machinist, with the tools readily available, the cost of threading a barrel, in time and effort, will easily pay for one of these rifles. The most basic and inexpensive of commercial suppressors or legally home made suppressors, do a decent job when mounted on a .22 rifle using subsonic ammunition. .22 pistols require much more to reduce the noise level to where they can be fired without a threat to the shooters hearing.

How to videos to improve the trigger are available. Put a fraction of the hours of work required to thread a barrel (competent machinists excepted), into improving the trigger of a factory rifle with a threaded barrel. The end result will be a delight to carry in the woods and shoot.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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