Are you looking for a rifle that is inexpensive, easy to use, and useful for a variety of roles? You may be tempted to get yourself a rifle in 22 LR and you are far from alone. The 22 LR round is a low powered round that is generally inexpensive compared to other calibers and is a great game getter and plinker. The round’s low noise and no recoil makes a great round to train a new shooter even at a young age. But on the other side of the coin, the 22 LR out of a rifle barrel has put down many two-legged predators. I have been shooting since age six and had been given too much gun. It was not until ten years later that I went and bought my first 22 LR rifle. I have had a love affair with the round and guns chambered in it ever since.
A few years ago, my mobility was very impaired by injury and I decided my current 22 LR rifle was too heavy to carry into the field so I walked into my local gun store and picked up a Keystone Arms 22 LR rifle. Keystone Arms makes a variety of youth orientated rimfire firearms and their most common model is the Crickett. With a light 2.5 pound weight and a handy 16 1/4 inch barrel, I needed it. It turned out to be a wise decision and while many guns have come and gone through my collection since then, the little Cricket sticks around.
Features and Specs
My Crickett rifle features a 16 1/4 inch tapered blued barrel and a khaki composite stock (other barrel and stock options are available) and have a fixed blade front sight and a stamped steel rear aperture sight mounted on the receiver. The rifle is a bolt action that does not have a cocking mechanism on the bolt and there are options for sling studs and telescopic sights (I never used these options, but they are available as extras). The rifle is single shot and can fire any 22 LR ammunition and can shoot the shorter .22 Long and .22 Short rounds too. This simple 2.5 pound package is extremely inexpensive and retails for about $100 for basic models like mine with plenty of robustness to last a lifetime.
Loading and Shooting
The Crickett rifle is easy to load and shoot despite that the rifle’s small size is more at home with a child than a full grown adult like myself.
To load the rifle:
Push the bolt handle up from its down position and bring the bolt back to expose the chamber. Shove a cartridge into the chamber and close the bolt and turn it back down. Now your gun is loaded but it cannot be fired. When you are ready to fire, pull back the cocking piece at the end of the bolt and give fire.
I have shot the Crickett rifle at numerous targets up to 100 yards distance with thousands of rounds down range, one coyote, and several rabbits. Given it is a bolt action rifle, it can digest just about any ammunition you wish to use without failure and to do date it has given me no malfunctions of any kind. The short stock takes some getting used to but it actually helps to get the eye close to the aperture sight for a better sight picture on the target. Despite that it is a single shot weapon that must be manually cock, its not hard for me to get off fifteen rounds in one minute. My typical performance with the Crickett amounts to a 10 shot group of about 1/2 inch at 50 yards and about 4 inches at 100 yards. This result can be bettered with a scoped rifle, but I prefer plain iron sights for my purposes.
Given that the 22 LR has no recoil, the gun can be shot all day long. After the fun is over, cleaning is easy. All you have to do is pull the bolt back, press the trigger and it comes right out exposing the breech and barrel for cleaning. I like the simplicity of the Crickett to the point of considering it a survival weapon. While it does not hold a bucket of bullets, its so simple that for the long term, I would chose this over a more complicated firearm with more parts to wear out, lose, or break .
In conclusion the Crickett 22 rifle from Keystone Arms is my sort of weapon. Inexpensive, utilitarian, and reliable. It is not tactical nor is it rapid fire, but I rely on it to work and its handy length and light weight means it is a go anywhere, do anything sort of weapon that I would not be caught without.