Magnum Research “Magnum Lite” 22 Magnum Semi-Automatic Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 23rd, 2012


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Stainless/graphite barrel.



Hogue OverMolded synthetic stock.



Crossbolt safety.



Manual bolt hold-open catch.



Gas block bleeds off a small amount of powder gas as needed, to enhance reliability and accuracy with various ammunition.







About five weeks ago, I reviewed the Magnum Research MLR22-AT semi-automatic rifle. It is a lightweight, reliable, and superbly accurate carbine that is chambered for the 22 Long Rifle cartridge. Here, we are looking at a very similar rifle that is chambered for the 22 Magnum cartridge. The 22 Magnum is one of my all-time favorite cartridges, whether chambered in a handgun or a rifle. The Magnum has much more power than its little brother, and seems to be effective all out of proportion to its diminutive size. Bullet weights are available from 30 to 50 grains, but my favorites are the 40 grain hollow point loads, available from several different manufacturers.

Like the 22 Long Rifle version, this new 22 Magnum from Magnum Research has a stiff but lightweight stainless/graphite barrel. The graphite sleeve around the stainless tube adds stiffness, while adding very little weight. Mated to the CNC-machined aluminum receiver and Hogue OverMolded stock, the result is a handy little carbine that weighs in at a half-ounce under five pounds. The overall length measures 37.625 inches. The length-of-pull is 13.75 inches. The synthetic stock has a somewhat tacky surface for a very secure hold in any weather. The pebbled surface in the gripping areas of the stock aid in keeping a secure grip also. Thankfully, the stock is fitted with sling studs, as should be any hunting rifle. The barrel measures nineteen inches in length and .920 inch diameter from end to end. The Magnum Research 22 Magnum rifle uses the slick and reliable Ruger 10/22M nine-shot rotary magazine, and also uses the Ruger trigger group. The trigger released crisply at three and three-quarters pounds of resistance. The blowback action utilizes a small gas block to bleed off a slight amount of powder gas when needed, to regulate the opening of the bolt upon firing. I shoot a rifle from my left shoulder, and sometimes, a semi-auto blowback rifle will pepper my face with powder residue. The Magnum Research Magnum Lite rifle did not, even when shooting the hot Armscor ammunition.

The receiver wears an integral scope base that is compatible with any Weaver style scope rings.

I tested the Magnum Research 22 Magnum rifle with a few of my favorite types of 22 Magnum ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. Magnum Research advises against using 30 grain ammunition in the rifle, so none of that bullet weight is listed in the chart below. HP is a hollow point bullet, and all ammo tested used hollow points, as I find them to be my favorite bullet type in the 22 Magnum cartridge. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of seventy-one degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the forty-two percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the rifle. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
PMC Predator HP 40 1701
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 1550
Winchester HP 34 2020
Armscor HP 40 1843
Federal HP 50 1476

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold Mark 4 Tactical/Target scope with variable 4.5 to 14 power magnification and an illuminated reticle for use in low light conditions. I mounted the scope atop the Magnum Lite receiver using an Accu-Shot one-piece scope mount. After bore-sighting the scope with a LaserLyte laser bore-sighter, I tested for accuracy by firing five-shot groups on target at one hundred yards. Weather conditions for the accuracy testing was the same as listed above. There was no breeze, and the Sun was at my back. It was a perfect day for target shooting. Accuracy results varied from groups as small as five-eighths of an inch with the Winchester DynaPoint ammo to as large as one and one-half inches using CCI TNT ammo. The best groups fired are pictured, and are representative of the groups fired with each type of ammo shown. The rifle was very consistent in its grouping, and the Leupold scope made seeing the bullet holes easy.

Reliability was perfect with every type of ammo tested. Every round fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. As mentioned above, even firing left-handed, there was no indication at all that the bolt was opening prematurely. The gas block system employed by Magnum Research on this rifle seems to work perfectly at assuring reliability and accuracy, using a variety of ammunition.

The 22 Magnum cartridge is a good choice for a short to medium range varmint and predator cartridge. I usually limit my use of the cartridge to about 200 yards for such work, and reach for a center fire for hunting at longer distances. In an accurate rifle, the 22 Magnum cartridge delivers plenty of power for cleanly taking vermin and small predators, and the Magnum Lite rifle certainly has plenty of accuracy to deliver the bullet on target.

The Magnum Lite 22 Magnum semi-automatic rifles are available in a variety of configurations, with either the stainless/graphite or all-stainless barrels, and with synthetic or laminated wood stocks.

Check out the entire line of Magnum Research firearms and accessories at

For the location of a Magnum Research dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the Magnum Research 22 Magnum rifle online, go to

To order quality rimfire ammunition online, go to

For a look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Leupold Illuminated 4.5-14x Mark 4 scope.



Accuracy was tested at 100 yards using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest.