In the week leading up to a prairie dog shoot that I attended in South Dakota this summer, JJ Reich, Communications Manager for Vista Outdoor, hinted that I’d have the opportunity to test out a brand new rifle, not yet released or mentioned to the public. As if shooting prairie dogs with a rifle and ammo manufacturer, who were by the way supplying the rifles and ammo, wasn’t good enough, this did add the icing on the cake. As the South Dakota sun baked us in the treeless prairie, JJ pulled the new rifle from the gun case. It was the newest member of Savage’s A-Series of semi-auto rimfire rifles — the A22.

The A-Series was launched at the 2015 SHOT Show when Savage released the highly-popular A17, which reliably fired and fed the .17 HMR round from the semi-auto rifle. The very next year Savage debuted the A22 Magnum, which fires the .22 WMR (.22 Mag) round semi-auto style.

The A22 features the same black synthetic stock as its siblings, and uses a straight-blowback design to reliably feed a variety of .22 LR rounds. During the prairie dog shoot in South Dakota we fired CCI’s Mini-Mag .22 LR hollow points. The 36-grain copper-plated hollow points worked flawless in the smooth A22 action. The 22-inch button-rifled carbon-steel barrel was extremely accurate on dogs within 100 yards, too. I would say the AccuTrigger helped with accuracy when lining up on 90 and 100-yard prairie dogs.

The A22 receiver is machined from a single billet of case-hardened steel and accepts the company’s proprietary, 10-round, flush-fitting rotary magazine. Savage also partnered with shooting accessories supplier Butler Creek to increase the rifle’s ammo capacity by creating an equally reliable 25-round, spring-fed aftermarket magazine.

The rifle is easy to handle and shoulder at 41½ inches long and only weighing 5.63 pounds. The best part is that the rifle carries an MSRP of $281. The new A22 is shipping now and would make a great plinking gun or a tack-driving squirrel or varmint rifle.