Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle Review

By Bob Shell
Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle Review

Cameron shooting the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.
Cameron shooting the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.
Bob Shell
Bob Shell

Apache Junction, AZ -( Magnum Research produces a nice line of guns many of them based on novel ideas. One of them is a 22-rim fire magnum auto-loading rifle.

This one has a thumbhole stock and the barrel is made from a special composite material. That makes it very light which is a big plus in my book. The thumbhole stock aids in bench shooting and gives the gun a unique look.

In both looks and functioning it definitely isn’t your grandfather’s gun.

According to the pamphlet, it states that 30-grain loads are not recommended. I checked into the reason on why they do not recommend 30-grain loads. The 30 grain bullet is lighter than standard and may not have enough inertia to operate the bolt. We tried some 30 grain and they did not perform well, so based on that I would not recommend using them.

There are no sights, but a picatinny rail has been provided and I put a Hawke scope on it for accuracy testing. Magnum Research produces a line of high quality guns and for more info you can go to Like any firearm they have their ammo preferences and you’ll need to find the ammo that your gun likes. Once that is accomplished, you will have a fine accurate gun that will be reliable. The 19” barrel has an 11 degree crown which aids in accuracy. The graphite barrel aids in accuracy and keeps the weight down.

The chamber is specially cut for accuracy known as a Benz Chamber. It helps to line up the bullet with the barrel which would be an asset in obtaining accuracy. There may be some cheap ammo that may not shoot well but that is why we try various brands. It has a patented gas system with a block under the barrel which lets out a small amount of gas through a small orifice. They have a variety of 22 RF and 22 RFM rifles with various finishes including stainless steel barrels. The receivers are CNC machined from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy. I haven’t seen any tool marks indicating some time was taken to produce a nice finish. Both the cocking handle and magazine release are large and prominent which makes them easy to use.

That feature is really nice especially in cold weather where your hands may be a bit numb.

Hawke scope works nice with this 22 mag
Hawke scope works nice with this 22 mag, Shown with a Hawke Endurance Scope

To complement the rifle a Hawke Endurance 30 1.5 to 4 X 24 scope was installed. Since the 22 magnum isn’t a long range round it is pointless to use a larger scope. In addition, the reticle is capable of being lit with either red or green. That will cover all of the lighting situations that you are likely to encounter. The battery will last a long time. And there are various adjustments in the lighting as well for brightness. The scope performs well in all lighting situations. Hawke makes a fine line of scopes and I have used a number of them for my T & E work. For info you can go to

Closeup of the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle
Closeup of the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle

Between the 22 rimfire and the 22 Hornet lies the 22 rim fire magnum. Since its inception, it has been moderately popular. There are various handguns and rifles available. A Ruger single six graces my collection with both the 22 RF and 22 RFM cylinders and it is interesting to compare its performance with the rifle.

Comments on Ammo

Although reloading 22 rimfire is possible, we have skipped it as isn’t practical or safe.

I have heard of some people who pulled the bullets and increased the powder charge. For a couple of reasons it is an insane idea. First if you attempt to pull the bullet with an inertia bullet puller it may go off which will light you up.

Then if you survive that and add powder, pressures will increase to a dangerous level. It is a relatively warm round and the rimfire case isn’t as strong as most centerfire brass. When the round is fired, a dent is put in the rim. That can weaken it causing hot gas to be expelled into your face. Reloading a rimfire you will have the previous dent to deal with. Though things are improving, some 22 rimfire ammo is still sometimes hard to get and the price has risen dramatically. The 22 magnum has the same problem though it always has been fairly expensive to buy. Unfortunately there are price gougers out there who have taken advantage of the situation.

If you want more power, I suggest a 22 centerfire. There is a good verity of them from the Hornet to the Swift.

Side view of the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.
Side view of the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.

It may be less expensive to reload your 22 Hornet then buy 22-magnum ammo. For example if you have a 22 Hornet and cast bullets then you can shoot that cheaper then a 22 mag. Of course you have to have the time and setup for the Hornet and cast bullets can really try your patience in any 22 centerfire.

Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle

For some reason none of the ammo was consistent in either this gun or the Ruger SA. Also tried a Savage bolt action and the ammo wasn’t consistent there either. As expected, the handgun was 3-400 FPS slower then either rifle. The CCI 30 grain was very poor in the rifle. We had readings from 900 FPS to 1900+.

The low ones stove piped as they lacked the power to eject. The higher readings did ok as far as functioning. Therefore I do not recommend the 30 grain loads in this rifle. If you think about a 40 or 45 grain will carry further in spite of slightly less velocity. That is due to the higher sectional density and ballistic coefficient of the heavier bullets. I tried the same 30-grain ammo in a Ruger single six and it was much more consistent. That would tend to eliminate the ammo as the culprit in this instance. The lightweight makes it desirable to carry even in rough terrain which is an important feature for me..

View of magazine for Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle
View of magazine for Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle

LOAD                                   BULLET                         VELOCITY           COMMENT

CCI                                       45 grain                          1865                     high ES

Western                                40 grain                          1820                     high ES

Winchester                           40 grain HP                    1774                    high ES

CCI Maxi mag                      30 grain   HP                  1912                    very poor

Due to its lightweight and low recoil, it finds favor with young and female shooters. As per my practice, I get other shooters to try it and one is going to buy this sample when I am finished with it.

For small game, this rifle is perfect especially if some walking is needed. Most bullets will work well without destroying a lot of meat. A hollow point would be more destructive and better for pests that are not eaten.

The cartridge has enough power to harvest game out to about 125 yards depending on the shooter’s skill. It should not be used on large game as it lacks power. It has been said that Eskimos use the 22 magnum for polar bear hunting, a practice I would not recommend. One youth that is recovering from a broken wrist had no problem handling it due to its lightweight and low recoil. Actually, he likes the gun so much he is going to buy one. He especially liked the stock. For my use I would consider it a good walking gun because of its weight and my limited mobility.

The shooting scene with the MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.
The shooting scene with the MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.

For the quality of the gun the price is very reasonable. For someone looking for a 22-magnum rifle I would recommend it based on the testing we conducted.

Model MLR22WMH
Caliber .22 Win Mag
Barrel 19″
Weight 4.45 lbs
Length 38″ overall
Sight Rail for Weaver Style Rings on Receiver
Stock Hogue OverMolded Stock
Magazine One 9 Round
* Spe
Ammo used with the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.
Ammo used with the Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle.
New Walnut Stock for Magnum Research .22 Semi-Auto Rifles
New Walnut Stock for Magnum Research .22 Semi-Auto Rifles

Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle Resources:

Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle Tips
Magnum Research MagnumLite Rimfire Rifle Tips

About Bob Shell:

A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. For more information, visit:

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William M Butler MSG USA ret

Just got my first one. 18 inch stainless barrel with Hogue overmolded stock. It uses Ruger magazines that fit the 77/22 and a BX-25 trigger fits perfectly. The trigger is a definite upgrade. First time out was today. Mounted a 3-9×40 Barska, just to see what it would do. Got the rifle on paper and zeroed at 25 yards. The scope didn’t allow parallax adjustment, so any targets were blurry out to 100 yards. Wow! Using CCI 40 grain “plinking” FMC ammo listed at 1875 fps, fired inch to inch and a half 10 shot groups, repeatedly, off a supported… Read more »