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The 10+1 capacity .22 LR Browning SA-22 semi-automatic rimfire forces you to notice its great classic looks that include a slender forearm, open sights and receiver engraving. But there is also the invisible and intangible you can’t see, such as the buttstock tube magazine or the gun’s quality, accuracy and durability. Let your eye ponder the craftmanship, the walnut the detailed attention to fit and finish and more. The SA-22 (SA stands for Semi-Auto) was designed by John Browning himself.

There are four current production models. These include the Semi-Auto 22 Grade I, Semi-Auto 22 Grade II Octagon, the Semi-Auto 22 Grade VI Blued and the Semi-Auto 22 Grade VI Grayed. Browning’s naming convention is excellent and kind of gives away their differences, which we’ll get to in a second.

The architecture and engineering are well thought out, which is just one reason the gun has remained so popular for so long. The magazine tube is rear-loading, and the shells eject from the bottom rather than to the side.

It has many great features such as a forged steel receiver, a slender 1:16” twist rate 19 3/8” light sporter barrel (except on the Grade II Octagon, which has an octagonal profile) and more. You’ll enjoy the high visibility gold bead front sight. It’s paired with an adjustable folding leaf rear sight. Browning also sells 22-style grooved cantilever scope mounts.

The barrel is noteworthy because it, and not the receiver, is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. This facilitates takedown. Browning designed the gun for easy take down into two roughly half-length units. And it’s all done without any tools. It also features a manual trigger-blocking safety on the trigger guard.

SA-22s feature splendid receiver engraving, but on the Grade VI walnut models, it is particularly exquisite with 24-karat gold-plated animals gracing each flank. Depending on model, wood ranges from Grade I to Grade VI walnut. All are 20 LPI checkered with a polished gloss finish. All look good, though it must be said the Grade VI walnut is simply breathtaking. Similarly, the Grade I walnut models feature a blued trigger while Grade VI walnut models feature a gold-plated trigger. All four feature the trademark Browning gold buck mark under the trigger guard.

The guns feature a 10-round capacity .22 LR tube magazine hidden in the buttstock. Loading is by first turning 90-degrees what Browning terms a magazine tab at the buttpad. Next one pulls back the magazine follower and then drops rounds into the magazine loading port in the stock’s right side.

The SA-22s share general dimensions including a 13 3/4” length of pull, 1 3/16” drop at comb, 2 5/8” drop at heel and 5-pound, 3-ounce weight.

Let’s come back to the four models, which are the Semi-Auto 22 Grade I, Semi-Auto 22 Grade II Octagon, the Semi-Auto 22 Grade VI Blued and Semi-Auto 22 Grade VI Grayed. The “grades” indicate the quality of their black walnut wood forends and stocks. The first and third models have blued receivers, while the Grade II’s is satin nickel and the last one has a satin gray finish. The Grade II Octagon is actually Grade II/III black walnut, and its barrel has the octagonal profile that was the hallmark of over-strengthened barrels in the 19th Century.

Like other Browning firearms, SA-22s ship new with a free locking device for safer storage.

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