Choosing a Kids 22 Rifle

I get asked all the time what type of .22 parents should get when purchasing that first kids 22 rifle, so I did a little research and here you go.

For my kids’ first gun, we went with a cheap bb gun. Nothing fancy, just something so they could learn the mechanics of loading, cocking, aiming and firing. It didn’t take my son long and he wanted to “graduate”, so we looked at air rifles first, but then decided on a .22 rifle (I almost went with a .17, but that was more for me, for rockchuck hunting so I restrained myself).

Basically, there are a few different kinds of rifle available for kids first rifle: the single-shot bolt action, the bolt action repeater, the lever action repeater, the pump-action repeater, and the the semi-auto repeater.

I’m a fan of single-shot bolt action rifles for your kids 22 rifle. This is mainly because shooting them requires several steps for loading, time to think about each shot. The whole process is suitable for teaching gun safety and getting kids comfortable with the rifle.

I already have 3 or 4 .22′s around the house, but they were all too long for my son and not the right gun for him. So here are some good choices for your kids.

Keystone Arms’ – Crickett kids 22 rifle

For smaller-statured kids, there’s probably no better than Keystone Arms’ Crickett, which comes in several kid-pleasing colors. The little Cricketts are just over two feet in total length, weigh pretty much nothing, and are excellent “starter” rifles.

Keystone Arms’ Crickett comes in several kid-pleasing colors

Savage Cub 22 rifle for kids

If you’d like something a little more classy, then the Savage Cub is a pretty little thing:

The Savage Cub is a pretty little thing

Marlin 915Y is another good kids 22 rifle

…the Marlin 915Y isn’t a bad choice either:

The Marlin915 aint bad either.

The Stevens Favorite is a good 22 rifle for older kids

If your kids are older, and close to adult size, you may want to look at the Stevens Favorite:

Try the Stevens Favorite for older kids

The H&H Sportster is an inexpensive kids 22 rifle

If the budget’s an issue, which it is for me, then a cheaper option is the H&R Sportster:

The H&R’s 5lb weight makes it a natural for kids.

The Marlin 981T is an accurate bolt action 22 for kids

When it comes to affordable bolt-action repeating rifles, my pick is the Marlin 981T. It holds 14 rounds, the action is smooth, and the trigger is good.

A very accurate rifle

The Savage MK II is a good left handed 22 for kids

For about the same money, you could look at the Savage Mk II series (the only budget .22 rifle available left-hand):

The Savage also has the excellent “Accu-Trigger”, and has a removable 10-round magazine

Lever actions tend to be more expensive

Probably the most common is the Marlin 39A.

the action of the “39” has had the longest uninterrupted production run (since 1891) of any rifle type in existence

Speaking of old-timers, one of the oldest names in rifles is “Henry”, and the Henry Repeating Arms Company makes a very pretty (but quite spendy) lever-action .22 rifle, the Golden Boy:

A good lookin' gun, but I'm not sure it's a great choice for kids.

Pump action 22 rifles for kids

When I was a kid, I had a pump-action repeater, but sadly, the market for them is not big—and I can’t understand why because pump-action .22 rifles are a blast (pardon the pun) to shoot. Winchester no longer makes their ancient Model 62, and even Taurus’s faithful copy, also called Model 62, seems to be getting hard to find. Here’s the Taurus 62R:

Pump action .22s are my favorites

Henry also makes a pump-action rifle, and it has a cool looking octagonal barrel, but it’s more expensive.

And finally, there’s the Remington Mod 572 Fieldmaster.

This is what I had as a kid. I loved this gun.

Now, the only category left is the semi-auto repeater. In my humble opinion, these aren’t the right choice for a first kids 222 rifle, so I’m not going to list my picks here.

I hope this helps, and I know I’m probably going to get some argument from you. Let me know what you think.

We would love to know what you think...


  1. Linda Rosa says

    Great article! I agree with your assessment that a semi-auto is inappropriate for a beginner child. The bolt action establishes the forethought of actions making them a SAFER hunter.

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