The Best .22 LR Rifle on a Budget: The Rossi RB 22 (Rule Beater)

What should you expect from a rifle retailing for around $150? Maybe not much. Then again, you may just get more than your money’s worth. I picked up the Rossi RB 22 .22 LR rifle illustrated for a song. Retail today is a little less than $160, while mine was a bit less (two years ago).

I really have not used it often. However, I realized I owned a ridiculous number of .22 rimfire rifles and should cut down a little. This meant firing each and evaluating their usefulness.

Rossi RB 22 .22 LR rifle, right profile
The Rossi RB 22 (Rule Beater) .22 LR rifle is affordable, but that is not code for cheap. Instead, it is full of features.

Rossi RB 22 Features

The Rossi RB 22 Compact Rifle is a neat little bolt-action rifle with many good features. It is lightweight and will digest a wide range of .22 Long Rifle ammunition. It will also use CB Long and .22 Short as a single shot. You may be able to convince .22 Short to feed — if you are careful.

The barrel and magazine are marked ‘Long Rifle only.’ So, don’t complain. Just the same, most .22 Short and certain CB Long will be used in single-shot fashion. .22 Short feeds just fine in my model.

The rifle is a good choice for informal target shooting, plinking, and teaching new shooters how to fire a rifle. The Rossi is lightweight and may be a youth rifle. It works well for anyone needing an ultra-light .22 rimfire.

The rifle is manufactured in Brazil. It is way shy of a yard at a mere 32.6 inches. Weight is under four pounds and balance was good. The stock has a European look that I find attractive. The stock is smooth, save for a web-type abrasion around the semi pistol grip and forend.

The trigger guard is plenty large for gloved hand use. There is a push button safety in front of the trigger guard. This bolt-type safety is positive in operation. The safety may only be applied when the rifle is in the cocked position.

Magazine and mag release wit the disconnect in between
Note easy access to the magazine release. The bolt-type safety is positive in operation.

The steel magazine holds 10 .22 LR cartridges. The magazine release is large and easily manipulated. Someone designed this rifle with ergonomic operation in mind, and it becomes apparent the more the rifle is used. The receiver is grooved for the typical inexpensive rimfire scope. I found no need to mount optics at this point.

The sights are excellent, no matter what price rifle you are dealing with. The rear sight features twin fiber-optics in green. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. No tiny screws here. Instead, the Rossi RB 22 features two large knobs with excellent gripping surface.

Why such complex sights on an inexpensive rifle? The Rossi RB 22 is accurate enough to demand good sights. The front sight is protected by a robust hood. The front sight is a red fiber-optic enclosed in a robust post. These sights offer a good sight picture that is easily picked up quickly.

Green glowing rear sight on the Rossi RB 22 in low light
The author took this image in dim light. The green fiber-optic is highly visible.

I found that precise shooting and fast, snap shooting was easily carried out. These sights invite firing with both eyes open. I improved the trigger by cleaning grease from the action and dry firing with a snap cap in place. The result was a fairly clean 4.0-pound trigger on the RCBS scale. Overall, a recipe for decent accuracy was inherent in the sights, trigger, and nicely shaped stock. Let’s look at the specifications before we continue.

RB 22 Specifications

  • Barrel length: 16.50 inches
  • Length: 31.20 inches
  • Height: 7.30 inches
  • Width: 1.70 inches
  • Weight: 52.00 ounces
  • Rate: 1:16-inch RH Twist
  • Grooves: 6

Firing the rifle was a joy. The steel magazine was easily loaded. Topped off, the magazine locked in place easily. The bolt is smooth with a short, light bolt throw. You will be able to fire and work the bolt quickly for a follow-up shot if needed. This is fine practice for hunting game, and the bolt-action rifle is certainly accurate enough for small game hunting.

During the test, I found myself wondering what it would do with an optic mounted. There are small rails for mounting a traditional, low-power, rimfire scope. But then, I have scoped rifles. This little gun is destined for other chores.

CB .22 Short ammunition and 5-shot group in one ragged hole
Loaded one at a time, CCI .22 Short cartridges provided good accuracy.

Most of the shots were offhand while firing at stationary targets at known and unknown ranges. I also settled down and fired a few shots over the benchrest to test accuracy. I chronographed several cartridges for velocity as it is an interesting pursuit.

Velocity was good to very good for a 16-inch barrel rifle. There is also an 18-inch barrel version you may find interesting. Current production includes a threaded barrel… hint-hint.

I fired for accuracy from a bench rest at 25 yards. At this range, accuracy was very good. With an optical sight, the rifle should easily stay in 2 inches for three shots at 50 yards. That is surprising accuracy for this type of rifle.

Then again, a bolt-action rifle with a well-cut chamber should be accurate. I had a great deal of fun with the Rossi during the test program. As for whittling down the rack of .22s, no, the Rossi RB wasn’t one of them. It is too good and too inexpensive to part with.

Accuracy and Chronograph Testing

Velocity was tested at 15 feet. Groups were fired at 25 yards — three-shot groups from an MTM Case-Gard shooting rest.


Velocity (FPS)

Group (inches)

CCI Stinger 1,409 1.25
CCI Mini Mag 1,230 .75
CCI Mini Mag Segmented 1,224 1.0
CCI Suppressor 929 .8
CCI Velociter 1,350 .9
*CCI Quiet 660 1.3
Federal Game Shock 1,131 1.2

*A joy to fire! Very low DCB, shoots low compared to others due to the low velocity.

I fired a few ‘rat shot’ cartridges with good results but did not run them over the chrono. I was concerned an errant pellet may impact my not inexpensive chronograph.

At the price, with plenty of accuracy, and given the fact the Rossi RB 22 is chock full of features, it’s hard to beat, but you be the final judge. What’s your opinion of the RB 22? Would it have a home in your gun safe? Share your answers in the Comment section.

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