If there is any firearm I enjoy shooting, it is the humble .22 caliber rifle. The first shots I fired as a child were with a single-shot .22, and I fired quite a few of the classic rifles growing up. They were well made and while different from rifles on the shelf today modern rifles are more accurate on average and offer excellent value for the money. I grew up hunting with average affordable rifles.
Today, I still enjoy affordable .22 rifles. For hunting, I am happiest with a manually-operated rifle such as a lever-action or bolt-action. I recently added a pump-action .22 to the mix. The Rossi Gallery rifle has standard features that older rifles just didn’t have.
Rossi Gallery Features
The best of these are features are fiber-optic contrast sights, front and rear. The rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. This pump-action rifle features black synthetic stocks. The front stock has three cutouts that may be used to stabilize the grip. The forend is well designed for gripping and leverage.
An under-the-barrel magazine tube holds 15 rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammunition. I really like the green rear, and red front, contrasting fiber-optic sights. Just the same, if I wish to mount a scope it is simple enough with the rifle’s 3/8-inch scope dovetail.
The barrel is 18 inches long — plenty for maximum velocity and accuracy for small game. As an example, the CCI Mini Mag 40-grain load clocks just over 1,240 fps. The superbly accurate Federal Hunter Match 40-grain load breaks 1,202 fps.
I rely on the hammer for safety, with an exposed hammer, pump-action or lever-action rifle. The Rossi Gallery also features a cross-bolt safety near the trigger. A lever in the trigger guard may be pressed to unlock the bolt when the rifle is cocked and loaded.
The receiver is finished in some type of epoxy finish. It is evenly applied and should prove durable. The trigger guard is generous. If you are hunting with gloves, this trigger guard should accommodate all but the bulkiest gloves.
The trigger is consistent and breaks at 6 pounds and six ounces. It is heavier than I like but par for the course in an economy rifle. It did not impede accuracy overly much.
The movement of the bolt is very short. It doesn’t have to travel much to cycle a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. This means the effort to operate the rifle is slight. If you are familiar with a pump-action shotgun, this may seem odd at first. The action moves with very little effort. A lever in front of the trigger guard is pressed to unlock the action. In dry fire, I learned to manipulate the action quickly. The pump action uses a single-action bar.
Accuracy and Handling
Firing the rifle is a joy. After testing many rifles — which if not hard kickers, kick harder than a .22, and paying for centerfire ammunition — it was nice to dip into the .22 cache and have some fun. Loading the cartridges was simple enough. Open the action for safety, and then unscrew the inner magazine tube. You don’t have to remove the tube simply move it to a position that clears the loading port.
Drop 15 cartridges into the loading port (base first), and you are ready to go. Moving the action forward loads a cartridge. Press the trigger to fire and rack the action to fire again. When hunting, you may wish to simply lower the hammer by carefully grasping the hammer with the thumb and lowering the hammer as you press the trigger.
The rifle is great fun when plinking. Tin cans and reactional targets are its natural prey. The rifle proved reliable with a wide range of ammunition including standard velocity, high velocity, shotshell, and target loads. I didn’t have any .22 Short to test.
Rossi Gallery .22 Specifications
- Manufacturer: Rossi USA
- Type: Pump-action repeater
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Magazine capacity: 15 rounds
- Barrel: 18 in.
- Overall length: 36 in.
- Weight, empty: 5.3 lbs.
- Stock: Synthetic
- Length of pull: 13.5 in.
- Finish: Polished blued barrel, black epoxy coat receiver
- Sights: Green fiber-optic rear, red fiber-optic front
The rifle is plenty accurate for hunting small game. The front sight is a bit thick, which is fine for most uses as the fiber-optic front sight is easily picked up quickly by the eye. Firing for accuracy, I used a solid rest and took my time, firing three-shot groups at 20 yards.
CCI Mini Mag and CCI Stinger produced several three-shot 1.6-inch groups. The Federal Hunter Match went into 1.5 inches. The rifle is best suited to informal target practice and teaching young people to shoot. It will take game. I think a bedded rabbit or a squirrel in a tree would be easy game.
I like something with more energy for coyote but a .22 caliber Stinger, between wind and water, would anchor a coyote with good shot placement. As I said, I am used to using the hammer for safety on a lever-action rifle. I like the Rossi safety system and may adopt a different safety mode. When the cross-bolt safety is applied, both the trigger and hammer are locked. With the hammer cocked, it may seem ideal to sit while waiting for game to appear and moving the cross-bolt to fire rather than cocking the hammer. The cross-bolt isn’t silent, but the sound of the hammer cocking is slightly louder.
I like the Gallery rifle. It has proven reliable and useful, costs but little, and provides solid recreation and utility.
For plinking, few guns are as fun or cool as a pump-action .22 LR, and the Rossi Gallery is no exception. What’s your favorite .22 LR and which action type does it sport? Share your answers in the comment section.