For a few years now, the Rogue Rifle Company
in Lewiston, Idaho has been producing a great little .22 rimfire
that is sized for use by youngsters. Youth model rifles
have always been available from manufacturers of .22 rifles, but
they have mostly been standard sized guns with shorter stocks
and barrels, with all other dimensions being the same as for
their full-size rifles. While these youth rifles are better than
trying to teach a youngster to shoot with an adult sized rifle,
they are still, for the most part, too long and heavy.
Rogue Rifles has taken a better approach with
their Chipmunk rifle. This rifle was designed from the ground up
with the younger shooter in mind. The rifle is smaller in nearly
every dimension, not just the stock and barrel, but the lock
also. The gun is made with a trim little receiver and bolt that
has been sized perfectly to the .22 rimfire family of
We recently received for testing two rifles from
Rogue. Both rifles have good looking laminated stocks, and
polished blued barrels and receivers. One rifle is chambered for
the .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges, and has a ramp
front sight and an aperture rear sight, along with a trim barrel
profile. The other rifle has a heavier barrel, no sights, a
scope base, and is chambered for the .22 Magnum cartridge.
Both rifles have barrels of sixteen inches in length, an overall
length of 30 inches, and an eleven and three-quarters inch
length of pull. Both rifles exhibited excellent fit and finish,
with no visible tool marks or gaps between the wood and metal.
The length of pull is a very important
measurement in a youth rifle, and the little Chipmunk has enough
stock that it can be trimmed if necessary, and still be long
enough to serve an early teenager as well. Before shortening a
buttstock for a smaller shooter, it is a good idea to first
remove the butt plate and drill the stock for two wooden dowel
rods so that the piece that is removed can be easily and
accurately reattached as the young shooter grows. The
length of pull on the Chipmunk need not be changed for most
young shooters. Only the smallest percentage shooters will find
the stock to be a bit long.
After shooting both rifles to check for
function, I enlisted the aid of two fine young men to help in
the testing and shooting of the guns from a kid's point of
view. Casey and Evan Williams were good enough to
volunteer to bring their dad along for an informal
shooting session involving shooting at a swinging steel plate. I
have found that kids bore quickly shooting at paper, and greatly
prefer, as I do, the fun of shooting at reactive targets. A
swinging steel plate gives the shooter instant feedback, and is
just more fun than shooting holes in a piece of paper.
The two young shooters both had experience
with a BB gun, and learned quickly to hit with the little
Chipmunk rifles. Casey, who is nine years old, really took to
the .22 Long Rifle chambered Chipmunk, hitting the steel target
with amazing regularity. The stock proved to be a little long
for his brother Evan, who is only five years old. Also,
while Casey could cock the action, Evan lacked the strength to
pull the cocking knob back, needing assistance from his father.
This is a good safety feature of the rifle, preventing a
too-small youngster from firing the rifle without adult
supervision. Both kids also fired the .22 Magnum, which I had
fitted with a small four-power scope sight, but seemed to do
better with the peep-sighted Long Rifle gun. These Chipmunk
rifles are single-shot bolt actions, and are the ideal action
type with which to teach a new shooter. The design requires that
the bolt be opened, a round inserted into the breech, the bolt
closed, and the action manually cocked before firing.
The little Chipmunks exhibited great accuracy
during the plinking session, and later in accuracy testing. As
can be seen from the photos, the little rifles are plenty
accurate enough to serve as squirrel guns for young
hunters. The squirrel was shot through the head at about forty
yards with the peep-sighted .22 LR Chipmunk.
Both rifles functioned perfectly, firing and
ejecting the cases with no problems. The trigger pulls on both
rifles were very good, letting go at a bit over three pounds
after an initial lighter travel of about one-quarter inch, much
like a military two-stage trigger.
Many youth rifles on the market exhibit poor
finish and quality. I believe that this is unfair to a young
shooter. A youngster who is learning the fundamentals of
shooting needs a quality firearm as much or more than an
experienced shooter does. Rogue Rifles supplies a quality
product with the size, safety, and accuracy needed by a
Check out the complete line of Chipmunk rifles
online at: http://www.roguerifle.com
If you have a young marksman in your household,
I recommend the little Chipmunk as a great first rifle. It has
the quality to serve the shooter for many years, and then be
passed on to another little rifleman.
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