Magnum Research MLR22AT Review

Magnum Research MLR22AT Review


You've probably already read Layne Simpson's exclusive report on Kimber's new flyweight Mountain Ascent rifle elsewhere on this website. Well, we have another brand-new featherweight rifle to report on. It's Magnum Research, Inc.'s (MRI) new MLR22AT semi-automatic rimfire rifle. And like the Kimber centerfire rifle, the MRI flyweight is outstanding in the accuracy department. More on that in a minute.

Also like the Kimber rifle, the MRI gun weighs less than 5 pounds. Actually, the MLR22AT is rated at 4.25 pounds, unloaded and without an optic. With the Burris SpeedDot electronic sight I installed on it, the nifty, little rifle weighs in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces on my postage scale.

That just seems incredible to me. When I was a younger man, I didn't mind hefting a heavy rifle around. I used to tote my Springfield Armory M1 Garand (9+ pounds) around the family farm and along the creek banks for what must have been days at a time back then and it didn't bother me a bit. Nowadays, I much prefer to walk the fields and fencerows with my 6-pound 28-gauge Ruger Red Label. I guess age has its "advantages." Anyway, this new MRI rimfire weighs even less than my Red Label!


MRI has accomplished the weight reduction with this gun through the use of an aluminum alloy receiver, a graphite barrel, and a synthetic thumbhole-style stock. The rifle is patterned after the Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic, and in fact, it uses Ruger's famous 10-round rotary magazine and Ruger's 10/22 trigger group.

Starting at the forward end, the MLR22AT features MRI's proprietary Magnum Lite barrel that is constructed of a steel liner with "uni-directional" graphite fibers running parallel to the bore's axis. The result is a lightweight yet stiff barrel. The company says the combination is six times stiffer than the equivalent weight of steel and that it dissipates heat 43 percent faster than steel. Typically, MRI's Magnum Lite barrels weigh less than a pound, yet they resemble bull barrels in profile. My sample gun's barrel measured 0.93 inch in diameter at the muzzle and 17 inches in length. It's a straight barrel with no taper, and it has a recessed muzzle crown. The barrel's Benz target chamber is designed specifically for semiautomatics. The Benz chamber has been described as being "tight" in the throat area to enhance accuracy, but "loose" enough in the mouth area to facilitate reliable feeding and extracting in blowback-operated autoloaders.

The receiver is CNC-machined from a 6061-T6 aluminum forging, and it features an integral Weaver-style optics rail. As I alluded to above, I installed a Burris SpeedDot red-dot optic on my sample MLR22AT, and it was easy. All it took was a few minutes to line up the rings with the slots and tighten the screws.

The MLR22AT's lightweight, composite, thumbhole-style stock has a raised comb that's nearly perfect for use with a scope. The stock also has slight palmswells on both sides of the pistol grip, and as such MRI is calling it an ambidextrous stock. Obviously, it's a right-handed gun because the bolt and ejection port are on the right-hand side. Speaking of the bolt, the MLR22AT comes with an oversize bolt handle, which makes charging the carbine quick and easy.

Two more things about the stock: It has a molded-to-fit rubber buttplate, and it is built so as to allow the barrel to fully free-float.


I put eight .22 Long Rifle loads through the MLR22AT, and as I said earlier, it was tremendously accurate. Its best single five-shot group measured a mere 0.25 inch. That's at 50 yards. Four out of the eight loads averaged 0.75 or less, and overall average for all eight loads was 0.88. The consistent 3.75-pound trigger pull and the finely crafted, free-floated graphite barrel contributed to my gun's top-notch accuracy. The enclosed chart summarizes my results.

After putting the MLR22AT through my accuracy shooting session from the bench, I just had to walk the woods in search of trophy treetop whitetails (a.k.a. fox squirrels). Unfortunately, the woodland wildlife was on high alert and though I saw or heard crows, redheaded woodpeckers, yellow-shafted flickers and three species of sparrows, I didn't see a single squirrel. No matter, any day traipsing through the timber — even without getting the game you're after — is a good day. Rest assured this won't be the last time I hunt with MRI's little gem.

The new MRI MLR22AT is wonderfully accurate, 100-percent reliable (I didn't have a single misfeed or failure to eject in the firing of almost 400 rounds), and incredibly lightweight — just right for wandering the woods with.

Recommended for You


Review: Stoeger STR-9

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...


Burris Veracity RFP Riflescopes

Jake Edmondson - June 04, 2019

Burris has expanded its top-of-the-line Veracity hunting riflescope line with new 2-10X 42mm...


The Key to Shooting Far: Improving Ballistics

Rick Jamison - April 17, 2019

Improved ballistic coefficients lead to greater performance downrange without upping blast and...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Big bore semiauto or a lever gun? We look at the futuristic .450 Bushmaster and how it compares to the tried and true .45-70. ISS Prop House gives us the rundown on the guns used in Enemy at the Gate. We ping steel with a .300 WinMag at over a mile.

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


FNH USA Announces 5th Annual FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships

Shooting Times Staff - September 23, 2010

The FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships kicks off at 8 am on Friday, May 21.


Review: Stoeger STR-9

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...


Accuracy: It's All Relative

Terry Wieland - May 09, 2019

Like situational ethics, standards of accuracy vary according to circumstances.

See More Stories

More Rifles


Review: Rock River Arms Predator HP

Steve Gash - April 22, 2019

Steve Gash says the Rock River Arms Predator HP is a coyote's worst nightmare.


Review: Remington Model 700 PCR

Sam Wolfenberger - April 15, 2019

The Model 700 PCR is a long-range rig built for punching paper, ringing steel, and hammering...


Yugoslavian M24/47 Mauser-Pattern Rifle

Joseph von Benedikt - May 13, 2019

These cheap postwar variants offer perhaps the best value on the vintage-Mauser market.

See More Rifles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.