Shooting a rimfire rifle can be a lot of fun and will almost always find a way to put a smile on your face. For the majority, rimfire rifles are something which are passed from generation to generation and are typically considered for short range use. But what if I told you that dynamic is changing? At least, the short range part is.
For the past several years precision rimfire matches have been growing, which provides shooters the opportunity to engage targets that are typically neither paper—nor at standard distances. We’ve been successfully hitting our marks under time constraints on appropriately-sized steel targets from 10 to 300 yards. Often, this shooting is not in comfortably-prone positions.
So the question arises: Without going full custom, what five products will amplify your rimfire rifle so that those precision shots, often at distance, will become reality?
1) An optic rail. So you might be thinking—well, duh! But it’s what the rail provides you that makes the difference. Look for these features: Built-in cant (20 to 30 MOA is optimal to still keep a 50-yard zero), secure attachment to the rifle and one that works with your rings. Everything else is a bonus.
My rifle wears a CZ 455 rail from Area 419—30 MOA of cant, solid attachment that won’t move on you, bubble level and integrated recoil lug. The 30 MOA of cant allows for both a 50-yard zero and a large portion of the scope elevation travel to be available so you can dial for those long shots. It has made a difference.
2) An optic with plenty of travel on the first turret revolution. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen guys get lost in their turret rev’s when shooting rimfire targets, at distances near to extreme. Keep in mind, you may have a 100-yard target which takes you about two MILs of elevation, and then a 273-yard target which requires somewhere around 9.6 MILs; when you’re engaging targets back and forth, you can get lost quickly.
I’ve been running a Kahles K624i with great success because of the dense elevation turret among all its other great features. I also love hearing that turret go “ziiiipp” when I dial for that long shot real quick. As a matter of fact, I haven’t had to go outside of the first revolution in a match yet, which really helps to keep it simple.
3) Kestrel 5700. It’s all about the marriage of real-time environmentals and a ballistics solver that allows you to have consistent data to make random shots with a rimfire out past your zero, to extreme distances (for a rimfire).
Put good data into it and you will get good data back out. When you start making consistent hits out at 300 yards, you’ll thank me for it.
4) A stock or chassis that mimics your centerfire rifle. These products come down to consistency, comfort and features. If you don’t already have one on your centerfire, now’s the time to also look into them. The additional cost is typically seen in areas of rigidity and the finer details like carbon fiber, adjustable cheek, length of pull, palm swells and accessory attachment points. In the end, it’s all about getting behind something you’re used to and not having to make adjustments to your style.
We try really hard to mimic our centerfire rifles so we’re consistent; in our case that means a Manners stock. Several other options are available from other manufacturers.
5) A good trigger. What is a good trigger? For me, it’s one that is reliable, consistent, safe, and capable of being set somewhere around 1½ to 2 pounds of pull. If you can find one for your rifle that matches this criteria, you’re golden.
Right now I’m using a Timney Trigger for my CZ 455. Currently, supply is limited and demand is high. My hope is more manufacturers will step up to the plate, now that there’s a real demand for match-grade rimfire triggers.
Editor’s note: Team Area 419 is made up of shooters and firearms enthusiasts from across the U.S.—focused primarily on PRS-style competition. When I met Jeremy Kisner, I quickly learned the scope of his precision shooting knowledge, which is only matched by his 419 teammates. Want to learn more? Visit them on Facebook and Instagram or send them an email at [email protected]