.22lr AR-15 style rifle?

I am looking for a starting rifle, styled after an AR-15 and would appreciate suggestions. I am looking for a rifle chambered in .22lr, CA legal, and with good durability.


To August: the reason that I want a .22lr is because I am only 16 years old. My parents agreed to let me own a rifle (even though I can't buy it). The .22 ammo is very cheep and will help me home my skills so that when I get a .556 AR-15 I will already be familiar with layout, cleaning, and function of the gun.

11 Answers

  • E C
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Best Answer

    Okay, first I guess it's a great thing that you're developing a healthy interest in the hobby of sport shooting. Not enough of us here in California think like you do.

    August did mention that California is looking to pass new restrictive laws on firearms, even more restrictive than they are now. He is correct about that (well technically they already passed, just haven't been signed into law or ignored into law yet). So I'll try to answer your question based on what the laws are now, and also what they might be a month from now.


    A .22LR "AR-15" style semi-automatic rifle with a 10 round detachable magazine is perfectly legal to own and purchase in California. California Penal Code 30515 (one of our "assault weapon" laws) currently exempts rimfire weapons from the other legal requirements that plague centerfire AR-15s. There is no law (yet) that bans .22LR semi-automatic rifles that simply look like AR-15s. You may have some issues with purchasing ammunition as a minor, but that's the extent to which the laws might affect you.

    Rooster's suggestion of the S&W 15-22 is a good one, as it is a good compromise between cost and reliability. Mr.357's suggestion of a CCMG version is probably the "best" in terms of coming close to how an actual AR-15 operates (the M&P 15-22 lacks a functional forward assist), but will cost more. The Ruger and Mossberg offerings aren't really AR-15s but just other firearms made to look like AR-15s.


    So in the future if the worst bills become laws, then even suggestions of getting a traditional wood-stocked Ruger 10/22 won't save you. SB 374 would ban any semi-automatic rifle that can take detachable magazines. And prior to some amendments, it would have even banned the Marlin Model 60s. Supposedly we would all have to register our firearms, and no new firearms of that type could be imported. Which would suck.

    Here's to hoping that the courts come in and clear up all this insanity!

  • august
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    That "CA legal" part is the real kicker.

    Now, first off, let me explain clearly that I do not like the idea of an AR-style .22LR. I consider it a waste, for most people. For you, because you want a CA-legal rifle, I consider it almost pointless. That's especially true since CA is poised to pass even more idiotic gun laws.

    I'd suggest you buy a Marlin 60 or Savage Mark II instead, so that the CA government will have a hard time finding a reason to steal your rifle under the guise of "public safety."

    EDIT: Again, the legality issue is one I would take very seriously. If you live in California, your rifle may be subject to confiscation pending new laws which are on the table. There is very little difference in how you would clean a Marlin 60 or Savage Mark II and how you would clean an AR-15, and there are no AR-type .22LR rifles that are exactly like an AR-15. You would have to purchase an AR-15 and then purchase a conversion kit to get a true .22LR AR-15, so there's really no point in you spending twice as much (or possibly five times as much) on an AR-styled .22LR as you would for a rifle that will be more appropriate for California for the foreseeable future.

    • Berkeley6 years agoReport

      There is no confiscation law planned or on the books. Using insurance sales tactics only shows your bias/prejudice.

  • pinel
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Best 22 Ar Rifle

  • Mr.357
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The Colt and Mossberg are just regular semi-auto .22 lrs with a bunch of plastic crap screwed and clamped to them. The only .22 lr that I am aware of that is close (it is blow back instead of gas operated) is the CMMG. You would be better off getting a Ruger 10/22, or being in CA, if you get a semi-auto .22 lr with a tubular magazine, it can hold more than 10 rounds. If you want an AR-15, you probably might as well get it. I purchased a AR-15 and gave it to my then 16 year old son. He was into collecting WWI and WW II vintage military rifles before he got bit by the AR (EBR) bug. Then he got a DPMS LR-243 a short while after that.

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  • 6 years ago

    The Smith&Wesson 15-22 is a great ar-style 22lr. It is durable, accurate, and most important it functions identical to a standard 5.56 ar. Which is your reason for getting one so you can practice when your ready, which is very smart by the way. You can find one for around $400 and although they are plastic they are very durable. The only real difference you will find from a 5.56 ar is the weight but other than that it is a great rifle.

  • 7 years ago

    1 in California, any weapon "designed to cosmetically resemble an AK 47, M-16 or M-14 is strictly illegai to import, sell or possess." Good luck finding a legal ".22lr AR-15 style rifle."

    #2 Good luck getting a5.56mm AR-15 in California, they, again, are illegal to import, sell or possess.

    #3) .22 LR is a good choice for a first rifle, The Savage and Marlin are good choices, so is th ruger 10-22. go for the stainless barrel. But if there is a legal loop hole for the .22 the S&W M&P 15-22 is your best bet.

  • Jeff
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The Smith and Wesson 15-22 seems to be the best of the breed.

    Umarex is building the "branded" colt, HK and other clones... Mossberg has a AR type 22 out that seems junky to me also

  • 7 years ago

    .223 is a good round and i believe that is the actual round that gun is chambered in. Very light kick. But not as cheap. If your just starting get a marlin or something for less than $200 at big 5 or something. They work and are accurate. Trust me you don't need very long to get used to the lay out how it functions or disassembly for cleaning. Just my thoughts though.

  • john
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I'm real happy with my S&W 15-22.

  • 7 years ago

    Sounds like a good rifle, but try to get a decent priced one, because the cheap ones tents to jam a lot, i have one and its perfect

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