Magnum Lite rifles get American black walnut for 2015

Magnum Lite MLR22BW and MLR22WMBW

The new Magnum Lite MLR22BW at the 2015 NRAAM. (Photo: Max Slowik)

Magnum Research Inc. launched two updated Magnum Lite rifles at this year’s National Rifle Associations annual convention with new, satin-finish American black walnut thumbhole stocks. Both the .22 Long Rifle Magnum Lite MLR22BW and the .22 Magnum MLR22WMBW are getting the walnut treatment.

The Magnum Lite series is an offshoot of the Ruger 10/22. While it shares some parts commonality, including magazines and trigger groups, it’s been designed for more demanding shooters, whether they’re looking for a competition or small game hunting rifle. These updated models sport all the features that set the Magnum Lite series apart, they’ve just been tweaked for that great classic look.

Not only are the walnut stocks handsome in a traditional way but they’re also lighter. The black walnut stocks are replacing three models with dense laminate stocks, the Barracuda Pepper, Nutmeg and Forest Camo editions.

The black walnut stocks feature and integral comb designed for use with optics as the Magnum Lite receiver is railed for scopes. These rifles don’t come with iron sights, rather, they’ve been accuratized for precision shooting and longer range. Additionally the stock is contoured to include subtle palmswells and fit with a rubber buttplate.

What makes these Magnum Research rifles so accurate is the barrel design. The barrel features an inner steel sleeve that’s supported by a stronger-than-steel graphite sleeve. The sleeve uses long graphite fibers that are aligned with the bore axis for added strength and superior barrel harmonics.

Not only that but the barrel is lighter than a similar-profile steel barrel. These barrels weigh only 13 ounces in .22 LR and 16 ounces in .22 Mag. On top of that the graphite is a better thermal conductor and dissipates heat more quickly. This means less point of impact shift at the range, even after long strings of fire.

These rifles have Bentz match chambers designed specifically for semi-automatics, free-floating barrels and the receivers are precision-machined receiver 6061-T6 alloy aluminum from forgings with a hard-anodized finish and the bolts are 4140 steel for a lifetime of use. The .22 LR weighs 4.3 pounds and the .22 Mag. 4.4 and they measure in at 35.5 and 37.5 inches in length, respectively.

The Magnum Lite series is popular with people who simply need more out of their semi-automatic rimfire rifles than what any vanilla 10/22 can produce, and with the new — old — look, will appeal to shooter who want their guns to have the timeless style that a nicely-grained, polished wood stock provides.

Magnum Research has set the MSRP at $824 for the .22 LR and $941 for the magnum and of course real-world prices will be lower. Like the rest of the Magnum Lite series, these rifles are 100 percent made in the USA.