Recently, I’ve done two ammo tests using my faithful Marlin 880 SQ .22 rifle, and while the gun is still more accurate than I can shoot it, I’m not happy with the trigger. The fact is that lately I’ve been spoiled by shooting some rifles with incredible triggers, and by comparison, the 880’s trigger is crap: lots of creep, inconsistent take-up, and sometimes a little grit when it releases. I’ve taken the trigger group apart and cleaned it thoroughly, so it’s not that: it’s just not a good trigger, and the gun isn’t worth spending money with a gunsmith who may or may not be able to improve it.

So I think I’m going to put the 880SQ into honorable retirement, and look out for a decent .22 rifle over the next year or so. I have a couple rifles on the short list — unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on a match-grade one, nor do I actually want to get into that arena again — but my standards are nevertheless quite high and I do have some idea what I’m looking for.

My #1 choice is probably the Savage Mark II BV, and it has good reviews (like this one). It is kinda ugly, though it does have Savage’s sublime AccuTrigger:

My #1a choice might just be the slightly more expensive CZ 455 Lux model, because even though it doesn’t have a set trigger or heavy barrel, it is so beautiful I want it to bear my children:

I also like that it has iron sights for those “Oh shit, I just broke my scope!” situations.

As for a scope, I’m not too bothered; I have several I could use, but if I have enough room in the budget to buy a new one, I’ll probably get a Weaver RV9 3-9x32mm (+/- $250) or my old favorite, the Leupold VX-I 4x28mm (+/- $200). I’ve owned both in my time, and they’re excellent.

All suggestions and personal experiences on the above topic in Comments. Please don’t suggest any of the super-premium rifles like Anschutz because as I said, I don’t want to bench-rest it and I’m not going to drop over a grand on a plinker.


  1. I have a Savage Mark II (without bull barrel), it came with iron sights and accutrigger and I mounted a Bushnell (IIRC) 3-9 scope. It’s boringly accurate, I can honestly say if I put a round outside the 10 ring it’s my fault.

  2. Ruger American gets pretty high marks. I shot a savage at Boy Scout camp and it was good. peep sight systems and was getting a quarter sized group at 25 yards with the crap ammo they had. Would like to get one for the safe, but I am heavy on 22’s right now.

    I have a browning bolt action 22 I like for plinking and sever 10-22 rugers that do well.

  3. Kim, we were at the same Appleseed event about a dozen years ago. Same one where a certain .45-70 found it’s way into your hands.

    In that training, I’d expended my supply of 6.5×55 Swede, and had to resort to using my CZ-452 Lux for some later stages of the training.

    Iron sights, and it produced a very thoroughly witnessed, one-inch, twenty-five shot group at 125 yards with CCI MiniMag ammo. Of course, the groups fell apart when attempted at 150 yards, so at least I learned the maximum effective range for that particular .22 rifle.

    So, my vote is for the CZ, though the Savage will certainly do the deed. Also, Remington made a .22 clone of the vaunted 700 BDL (but I forget the model nomenclature), and Ruger has the sublime 77/22, both of which are full sized, adult .22s patterned on their centerfire siblings.

    I’d think some “window shopping” on Gunbroker would be advisable, and then some real shoe leather work at some upcoming gun shows to (hopefully) score the deal. Cash in hand is *such* a fine negotiating tool in that arena.

    But back to that CZ. Damn but they make a fine rifle. I don’t regret one penny of the cost of mine.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  4. Absolutely no doubt about it: the CZ has some of the sexiest lines ever wrought from wood and steel. Perhaps I will buy one some fine day, if I ever dig myself out of the financial hole a divorce and an unrepentant repair-hog Subaru put me in. Ahhh, to be on the cusp of 58 and have about as much financial wherewithal as I did at 21, but hope springs eternal.

  5. While I WOULD NEVER dissuade anyone from buying another firearm, I agree with the above post on a replacement trigger. Quick search shows EA Brown has drop in Marlin triggers for around 85 bucks. I be voting for this as a first option. If it solves the problem you have a revitalized old friend to take to the range and disposable income for ammo. Hell blow some on a box of Eley Red or Black just for the hell of it !

  6. I once had a Marlin with that sort of trigger problem. A boring evening with an Arkansas fine stone didn’t create perfection, but it became acceptable. 🙂

  7. The idea was for me to buy a CZ for the wife. I bought it for her and the damned salesman sold one to me too. Then I went and bought another one in 6.5×55.

    Buy the CZ, Kim. Function is nothing without form, and the triggers on CZ’s is a non-issue. Do a trigger job on them and the only thing that’ll compete with them is an Anschutz.

  8. Loving my Savage FV-SR after the obligatory swap of the crap plastic stock for Boyds replacement. Great trigger, short, handy bull barrel threaded for a suppressor some day. It will stick CCI subsonic HPs into a ragged hole at 50 yds all day.

  9. Another vote for the CZ. My 452 American is a pleasure to behold and a treat to shoot. It prefers the zippier 22’s.

  10. I have two almost perfect 50 yo Remy Speedmaster .22s right now. Can send one to you for a very nominal fee. Such a perfect plinker — keeping the other one for personal use of course . . .

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