In today’s world of ultra-long range precision, the reach and power of the ageless .22 Long Rifle can often go ignored. Savvy shooters know better, touting the rimfire caliber’s exceptional accuracy, nonexistent recoil, superb training value, and its status as the all-time bang for your buck champion as keys to its immortality. As such, quite a few firearms manufacturers make .22LR handguns and rifles. Amongst them is the Steyr 22 lineup and its three most recent rimfire offerings, which shouldn’t be ignored.
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During the recent Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Gateway, Colo., I had the privilege to see and shoot the Steyr Arms RFP pistol, the legendary the Zephyr II — a rimfire rifle built with beauty and brains — and the Steyr Scout RFR, which is a rimfire version of the clever Steyr Scout Rifle.
Let’s take a closer look at each firearm.
Steyr Arms RFP Pistol
Handguns are popular across the United States, so a .22 LR pistol makes sense. What Steyr did, however, is take its successful A-1 pistol series and give us a rimfire version.
During my time with the spunky pistol, I could grip, fire and engage the pistol effortlessly with a good trigger, low bore axis and good grip geometry. If I worked with or carried a Steyr A-1 series pistol, then the RFP is the perfect low-cost training platform — and a helluva lot of fun.
The good folks at Steyr give us the following description of their new pistol: The Steyr RFP is a .22 LR rimfire pistol with a 10-round magazine capacity. It has a single-action trigger and a synthetic grip frame. The RFP has a trigger safety, magazine safety, and drop safety (firing-pin safety). It also has a limited trigger access lock and a manual safety with a decocking function. The action is a recoil-operated blow-back system, and the pistol is fed by a 10-round detatchable box magazine. The RFP weighs 1.33 pounds, and it has a 4-inch barrel with an overall length just under 7 inches.
MSRP on the RFP is $425.
Steyr Zephyr II
Next up for Steyr is a runway model beautiful rifle: The Zephyr II. The classic rimfire rifle is a no-brainer for the woods and available in .22 LR, .22 WMR and 17 HMR.
It’s the Zephyr II because from 1955 though 1971, Steyr built the original Zephyr. Time has done this rimfire rifle some good. The “take me hunting now” rifle has a classic European walnut stock with a Bavarian cheek piece and fish-scale-pattern checkering on the grips and handguard. It also has the typical Steyr Mannlicher bolt handle and a tang safety.
The Zephyr II has a cold-hammer-forged, 19.7-inch barrel with an overall length of 35.2 inches. The rifle weighs 5.8 pounds, including a five-round detatchable box magazine.
MSRP on the Zephyr II is $995. Shooters can add $25 for a 1/2 X 28 threaded barrel.
While many new shooters may consider the rimfire rifle an entry-level gun, there’s nothing entry level about the build quality, functionality or precision of the Zephyr II. It shot silky smooth at Rendezvous. It was form-fitting and my eye-to-optic line of sight worked well for the kind of rifle it is.
A lot of manufacturers make rimfire rifles that work, but few make one that works as well at the range as this one does on your eyes. Frankly, this is the kind of rifle you buy for your child when he or she is born and they hand down to their child, and so on. I don’t know how else to give this rifle the praise it deserves.
Steyr 22 Scout RFR
Last, but far from least, in Steyr’s rimfire lineup is the clever and ultra utilitarian Steyr Scout RFR. For most who know about the Steyr Scout — a .308 caliber go anywhere, do anything kind of thing firearm — it’s logical to build a similar platform for rimfire lovers.
“The Scout RFR may not be exactly what Col. Cooper envisioned with his center-fire scout-rifle concept, but this rimfire rifle makes the idea as accessible to everyone as easy as it makes taking squirrels in your back yard or gaining a merit badge,” said Mike Nischalke, spokesman for Steyr Arms.
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The Steyr Scout RFR, at least to me, is an even more creative firearm than the .30 caliber big brother. Based on the proven, biathlon-inspired straight-pull action built by fellow Austrian firearms manufacturer ISSC, the Steyr Scout RFR was designed from the ground up as an economical, minimal-recoil scout rifle trainer.
Speaking from my experience at Rendezvous, the straight-pull action is fast, smooth and a lot of fun.
As an added functional bonus, an optional knife tucks away neatly into the stock. The standard Steyr SBS/Scout buttplate spacers can be swapped in or out to adjust length-of-pull. If you’re a fan of the Scout Rifle, then this rimfire version is a no-brainer. If you’re new to scout rifles, what better way to learn than with the ageless, forgiving and inexpensive rimfire platform?
MSRP on the Scout RFR is $599.
For more information on the Steyr .22 lineup, please visit SteyrArms.com.