Weatherby Mark XXII Rifle Review

This sleek little .22 LR autoloader looks really good and shoots even better.

Weatherby Mark XXII Rifle Review
The vintage Weatherby Mark XXII autoloader is the best-looking rimfire Joseph has ever owned, and it shoots as good as a match-grade bolt action.

According to Weatherby, The Man. The Gun. The Legend. by Grits and Tom Gresham, Roy Weatherby started the Weatherby rimfire ball rolling in 1960. It had a long and angst-filled history. Based loosely on a Beretta design with several Weatherby-guided enhancements, the Mark XXII—as it was cleverly called—was initially built by Beretta in Italy.

Introduced at tradeshows during the winter of 1961–62, the Mark XXII garnered several thousand orders. Unfortunately, manufacturing never caught up, and the rifles that did make it to the United States had issues with function and finish. Eventually, the contract with Beretta was filled but not renewed.

Over the coming decades, manufacturing of the Mark XXII was variously contracted to KGT and Nikko in Japan (1967–80), then in the United States to Mossberg (1979–82), then back to Japan to Howa (1984–88). According to its serial number, the rifle shown here was made by Howa in 1988. Eventually, the Mark XXII was discontinued in 1989, but it was then resurrected in 2007 as a bolt action.

Two versions of the original Mark XXII autoloader were available. One fed via a tubular magazine; the other used a box-type, detachable magazine that held 10 rounds. The rifle reviewed here is of the latter type.


One of the hang-ups in producing the Mark XXII was that Weatherby refused to accept anything less than premium quality. Highly polished barrels featured the same rich, deep bluing as Weatherby’s premium big-game rifles. Stocks were of quality walnut glowing beneath a gloss finish. Makers just weren’t accustomed to holding rimfire rifles to such standards. Manufacturing costs continually climbed, and the profitability margins of the rifle suffered.


According to the Blue Book of Gun Values, only about 100,000 made it to market. Buyers typically regarded them as something special, and so they are often found in splendid condition. The one shown here is like new. Only the fact that the scope is sighted-in indicates that it was ever fired.

Weatherby also marketed a scope created specifically for the Mark XXII. Made in Japan, it’s a sleek little optic with an integral base that clamps directly to the dovetail rail atop the Mark XXII receiver, eliminating the need for scope rings. It’s a fixed 4X with a relative brightness of 50—according to some scale used at the time. It’s sleek, bright, and clear, and it works quite well.

Mechanicals

Of blowback design, the Mark XXII autoloader features a round bolt in an alloy receiver. It operates much the same as others of its type, with a couple of exceptions. Most notably, there’s a lever at the right rear of the action that switches function from semiauto to single shot. The rearward position is semiauto. When switched forward, the lever stands straight up and activates an internal bolt catch. Pressing it forward releases the bolt, enabling it to feed a fresh cartridge from the magazine into the chamber, after which the rifle may be fired.

The safety is housed in the action tang and falls comfortably beneath the firing-hand thumb.


Provenance

I found the rifle featured here on the used-gun rack at Gunnies in Orem, Utah. In like-new condition, the rifle was traded from a customer, so nothing is known about it aside from what can be deciphered from the rifle itself. Clearly, it was fired very little.

Rangetime

To my delight, the Mark XXII proved to be superbly accurate. Five-shot groups at 25 yards consistently clustered into ragged, dime-size holes. Even better, the rifle isn’t picky about ammo. Even high-velocity CCI 32-grain Stingers grouped beautifully.

Additionally, point of impact changed little between loads. I made a half-inch left correction to the scope, and after that, every load fired impacted close enough to the crosswire for head shots on cottontails destined for the stew pot.


Reliability, too, was good, although Winchester’s Super-X 40-grain HP cartridges tended to hang up on the feedramp when the 10-round magazine was loaded with more than seven rounds. Other brands ran flawlessly throughout.

While slightly spongy, the trigger pull was a light 2 pounds, 8 ounces.

With formal accuracy testing completed, my son William, who is nine and a passionate rifleman, put a couple of boxes through the Mark XXII. Shooting from standing-height sticks, he never missed his 6-inch steel gong from 50 yards. An old, shot-up 55-gallon drum on the far hillside berm beckoned from somewhere past 200 yards, but William held high and dinged it with his first shot.

Roy Weatherby clearly intended his Mark XXII rifles to be heirloom-quality firearms that look wonderful, shoot superbly, and run reliably. There’s no doubt it’s the best-looking rimfire I’ve ever owned, and I’ll be darned if it doesn’t shoot like a bolt-action match rifle.

Weatherby Mark XXII
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of 15 rounds measured at the gun’s muzzle.

Weatherby Mark XXII

  • Type: Blowback autoloader
  • Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
  • Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
  • Barrel: 24 in.
  • Overall Length: 42.5 in.
  • Weight, Empty: 7.25 lbs. with scope and sling
  • Stock: Walnut with rosewood fore-end tip
  • Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
  • Finish: Polished blued metal, gloss wood
  • Sights: Folding, adjustable U-notch rear; brass bead front
  • Trigger: 2.5-lb. pull (as tested)
  • Safety: Two position
  • Manufacturer: Weatherby

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

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.

The Glock 21

The Glock 21

Frank and Tony from Gallery of Guns spice up the Glock test using their non-dominant hands.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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

Accuracy: It's All Relative

Terry Wieland - May 09, 2019

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

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270 caliber (6.8mm) rifle cartridges  have not been introduced. Ammo

5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270...

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable, ergonomic, accurate, and priced right. Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

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

How can a shorter-barrel revolver have higher velocities than a longer-barrel semiauto pistol? Here's why. Handguns

Revolver vs. Semiauto Pistol: A Ballistic Oddity

Allan Jones - May 15, 2019

How can a shorter-barrel revolver have higher velocities than a longer-barrel semiauto pistol?...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifles

When you need parts for your next AR build, AERO Precision offers top-quality products at affordable prices. Rifles

AERO Precision AR Build

D. Faubion - May 28, 2020

When you need parts for your next AR build, AERO Precision offers top-quality products at...

If there's a trend in new rifles for 2020, it is surely toward .22 rimfires, with a nod to the continuing popularity of Rifles

22 New Rifles for 2020

Steve Gash - July 01, 2020

If there's a trend in new rifles for 2020, it is surely toward .22 rimfires, with a nod to the...

History was made when Winchester introduced the classic Model 70 bolt-action repeater in 1934. Rifles

Pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 .300 H&H Review

Joseph von Benedikt - January 06, 2020

History was made when Winchester introduced the classic Model 70 bolt-action repeater in 1934.

Christensen has announced the Ranger 22, a rimfire rifle with a carbon fiber tension barrel built for competition shooters and small game hunters alike. Rifles

Christensen Arms Ranger 22 Rimfire Rifle – First Look

Shooting Times Digital Staff - January 24, 2020

Christensen has announced the Ranger 22, a rimfire rifle with a carbon fiber tension barrel...

See More Rifles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now