While the Base class in NRL22 has a combined budget limit of $1200 MSRP for the rifle and optics, Open Class has no such regulation. For the competitive shooter, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities including the chance to build an incredible target rifle to their personal specifications. Want to use the ultimate, customized rim-fire to fit your particular needs? If so, Open Class is for you!
For NRL22 Open Class, the sky is the limit! Rifle setups start out at an MSRP of $1200. Great rifle brands include CZ, Anschutz, Volquartsen, and Vudoo. Great scope brands include Bushnell, Vortex, Trijicon, Leica, and Leupold.
People who are just starting out or those on a tight budget for a rifle and scope will be more at home competing in Base Class. There is a similar article on Backfire that has seven great options for NRL22 rifles and scopes under $1200, I encourage people on a budget to check it out!
While the sky might be the limit, this article will have a rifle setup at five different levels starting at $1500 and going up in $1500 increments, topping out at $7500. The combined MSRP price will be in the ballpark of the different levels but won’t be exact. For instance, at the $1500 level the rifle and scope have a combined total of $1,538.99.
|Total||Rifle (MSRP)||Scope (MSRP)|
|$1539||CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis 24″ ($1,039.00)||Bushnell Match Pro 6-24×50 ($499.99)|
|$3075||Anschutz 1761D HB 20″ Classic ($1,775.00)||Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 FFP ($1,299.99)|
|$4619||Volquartsen Firearms VF-ORYX ($1,944.00)||Trijicon Tenmile 4.5-30×56 FFP MRAD/MOA ($2,675.00)|
|$5894||Anschutz 1710 Competition HB 20″ SS ($3,195.00)||Leica PRS 5-30x56i PRB ($2,699.00)|
|$7500+||Vudoo V-22 Three-60 Barreled Action ($1,920.00)*||Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F2 MIL-C F2 ($3,100.00)|
The two main components of a competition set up are the rifle and the scope, but there are other items which are crucial to complete the build. First, every scope will need matching scope rings, preferably a set that are high quality and durable. A sling and a detachable bi-pod are another couple of accessories which will be needed in NRL22 matches.
A quick note on customization
All the rifles in this article can also be upgraded with better triggers, custom stocks, new barrels, and plenty of small details. Heck, people have started making their own 3D printable parts to fill various niche roles! Clearly, there is room to improve on all these rifles to make them into semi-custom shooting machines.
Speaking of customizing, the Vudoo V-22, consists of the action and barrel. This is the only rifle on the list that needs additional parts to operate, a Remington 700 SA compatible stock and trigger. Also, Vudoo will build a rifle to order. Either route can easily push the rifle cost to $4000 or more.
CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis 24″ and Bushnell Match Pro 6-24×50
Combined MSRP: $1538.99
This set up is a great option for the shooter who is coming from Base Class and is looking for a bit of an upgrade. The Bushnell Match Pro 6-24×50 is a very popular scope with NRL22 members while the CZ 457 has a large following of people who swear by the platform. Both products work well together to make a solid first rifle for open class.
The CZ 457 comes in many variants, but the precision chassis is on a whole new level. The chassis is CZ’s own design with a Luth-AR stock and grip and the rifle features a 60 degree (not 90) bolt throw as well as an adjustable trigger. The best part of this rifle is that it uses the same magazines, barrels, and other parts as the 455 so its possible to share parts between two different rifles, one set up for Base Class, and this one set up for Open Class.
The Bushnell Match Pro is a great scope for the money and its quality matches or exceeds other direct competitors. At the end of the day, what scope a person uses is dependent more on personal feel than any objective measure, but the popularity of this scope in NRL22 matches shows that many people have a use for this particular scope.
The Match Pro has a first focal plane (FFP) etched glass reticle, side focus parallax adjustment, locking turrets, 30mm main tube, and an illuminated option for the reticle. Bushnell packs a lot of scope into this budget option. While it may not be the ideal scope for competing in open class, it is good enough to be carried over from a Base Class platform and used until the shooter has enough money for a higher-end option.
While no one is going to argue that the CZ 457 Varmint Precision and Bushnell Match Pro are bad products, Open Class is a tough field to excel in. A lot of shooters not only have large wallets, they also have the skills to justify their purchases. This combination is great for starting out, but most people will yearn for something a bit higher up the ladder. Fortunately, Anschutz and Vortex are here to give people a boost!
Anschutz 1761D HB 20″ Classic and Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 FFP
Combined MSRP: $3,074.99
Double the money, double the quality. For people who have the budget and the shooting skills to use a great rifle and scope to their full potential, this set up should go toe-to-toe against just about anyone in the Open Class matches. Both Anschutz and Vortex are known for making quality products, so it makes sense to pair them up for a killer combo.
Anschutz is well known for making incredibly accurate rifles. Heck, they are even the gold standard for Olympic shooting sports! The 1761D HB is a mid-priced platform that hovers around the $2000 area and is excellent value for money. To start with, this particular rifle is offered in both left and right handed models. A thick, 20 inch barrel provides heft and stability for bullets.
Then there are the trigger options. The 1761D is offers both single-stage and two-stage triggers depending on shooter preference. The whole package is dressed up with a nice wooden stock for a classic sporter feel. Overall, the gun is as beautiful as it is accurate. Such a gun deserves a really good scope to help bring out its potential.
That is where the Vortex Viper PST Gen II comes in. The 5-25×50 FFP scope is made in the Philippines, a step up from the Chinese-made scopes seen in Base Class and budget Open Class set-ups. The 5x magnification range is more than enough to handle any NRL22 course. The illuminated EBR-7C reticle is available with either MOA or MRAD markings so shooters who are used to one or the other can have their pick.
Finally, the parallax adjustment is good down to 25 yards, about the minimum distance those small NRL22 targets can be found at in a match. Pairing this rifle and scope together will yield great results in the hands of a competent shooter and will provide a lot of room to learn and grow in competitive shooting. For folks with enough money, this sort of setup is a real winner for starting in NRL22 Open Class.
Volquartsen Firearms VF-ORYX and Trijicon Tenmile 4.5-30×56 FFP
Combined MSRP: $4,619.00
Want an American made set up for Open Class? Then take a look at this one! Volquartsen and Trijicon might be two words I still don’t know how to say properly, but both companies hail from Iowa and Michigan, respectively. If there’s one thing I do know, its that both of these companies produce outstanding products, so it makes sense to combine them into a rifle setup that will hold its own against anything Europe or Asia has to offer.
For starters, Volquartsen’s website banner boldly proclaims, “Engineering the world’s finest rimfire rifles, pistols, and parts.” While such a statement is sure to start an argument, it can’t be far from the truth because the VF-ORYX is oozing with quality. Starting with the chassis, the ORYX from MDT is a single piece aluminum design with ambidextrous ergonomics.
The receiver and bolt are stainless steel that has been CNC machined to a perfect fit while the firing pin is titanium. As for the barrel, its quite unique. 18.5 inches of matte black stainless steel with “snake” flutes. The wavy pattern supposedly lets heat dissipate quickly, which is good because this rifle is also semi-automatic! Other features include a TG2000 trigger, adjustable LOP, adjustable cheek weld, pistol grip, anda muzzle break.
The VF-ORYX is a tough-as-nails rifle, but it’s main drawback is the 9lb 3oz weight. It’s not ridiculously heavy, but it is a fair-bit heavier than most 22LR’s. The Trijicon Tenmile 4.5-30×56 FFP scope doesn’t help much in the weight department, but this massive scope brings some great features to this American love-fest.
The magnification range is over 6x which is quite impressive on it’s own, but this scope also has an illuminated reticle, a must-have feature on a Trijicon scope. The windage turret is capped, but the “Christmas tree” reticle makes up for it. The elevation turret is exposed though, and it has the option for a custom dial tuned to a specific load’s trajectory. A handy feature when shooting 10 shots on the clock.
The 56mm objective and the 34mm tube allow for a lot of light and adjustment to be made. This scope is available for either MRAD or MOA, depending on whichever the shooter is familiar with. Putting both of these great products together makes a rifle that can only be described as “distinctly American”. Heavy and long, but also rugged and dependable.
Anschutz 1710 Competition HB 20″ SS and Leica PRS 5-30x56i PRB
Combined MSRP: $5894.00
While the previous combination was about some of the best America has to offer, this combination is about the best of German firearms and their legendary engineering. Anschutz of Ulm and Leica of Wetzlar have reputations for making incredible products. To put it simply, combining these two together shows what a rimfire rifle can do.
Take a German rifle and add a German scope and the result is more like a precision instrument than a gun. How well that instrument performs is totally dependent on the user, as it should be. Starting with the 1710 Competition, this chassis rifle is a significant upgrade over the 1761 from earlier. The action is a match 54 bolt-action repeater while the barrel is a 20 inch, heavy contour, stainless steel beauty capped with a recessed target crown.
The Chassis is an XLR-Element, featuring a single aluminum piece, fully adjustable stock with a Limbsaver recoil pad, M-LOK attachment points, and even a 1.5 inch Arca-Swiss dovetail for mounting to camera tripods and monopods. Also, the grip is interchangeable. The whole package weighs 8lbs 13oz, a half-pound lighter than the Volquartsen.
Complementing the rifle, Leica’s PRS 5-30x56i PRB is a wonderfully good scope, even being called the “long-range specialist” by Leica in their product line. It is certainly well-equipped for long range shooting with a 6x magnification range and a 56mm front objective. The 34mm tube, like other scopes, allows for a large range of travel. The reticle is a large Christmas tree and is offered with illuminated and non-illuminated options.
Parallax is adjustable down to 20 meters. That is the only downside of this scope for people in the US, all the measurements are going to be Metric, not English. It’s not hard to learn, but the Metric system can be an issue to someone who is used to inches, feet, and yards. But then again, this is a European style rifle for precision shooting.
Almost certainly this setup will turn heads at Open Class matches. While both products are available in the US, they aren’t as accessible as domestic companies.
Vudoo V-22 Three-60 Barreled Action and Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F2 MIL-C F2
Combined MSRP: $5020.00 + $2000 for custom stock and trigger group
Finally we arrive at the top of the pile for precision rimfire rifles, or at least near enough. At this price point and up the number of factory rifle options are limited. Anschutz and a few other manufacturers certainly make 22LR rifles that top $5000, but not that many. From here on money is best spent on customized solutions. For $6000-8000 its possible to buy top tier products and build the precision rifle that most people only ever dream about.
Starting with the rifle, the Vudoo V-22 action is widely regarded to be one of the best money can buy. The three-lug, control feed bolt is very secure and stable. In this example, the V-22 is Vudoo’s barreled action option. For $1920, the customer gets an excellent barrel mated to the V-22 action. Adding custom barrels is certainly an option too, but the barreled action saves a lot of time when building a rifle.
Buyers need to be aware that going this route means a stock and trigger group is needed to complete the rifle. Thankfully, the V-22 will fit in Remington 700 short action stocks. This opens the door to a ton of aftermarket parts, which makes buying a great chassis a breeze. Excellent chassis options run in the $800-1200 range, but custom options can cost more. Expect to spend $200-400 on a trigger.
With all the parts together, it’s just a matter of turning a few screws, checking that everything fits, and tuning it for maximum accuracy. A decent rifle can be built this way for $3000 or less, but a top quality build will run somewhere around $4000 for the barreled action, stock, and trigger.
This build requires an excellent scope to bring out the potential of the rifle, so we turn to Nightforce with their ATACR 7-35×56 F2 MIL-C F2 scope. It’s unlikely that a 22LR shooter will require the full 35x magnification, but 7x on the low end is about right for tiny targets at 25 yards. Besides, it’s nice to have some extra range built in on the off chance such a shot is required.
The parallax adjustment is from 11yds to infinity, covering every possible range a precision rimfire shooter will encounter. But the most impressive features of this scope is the optical clarity and the adjustment ranges for wind and elevation. Optical quality is about as clear and crisp as it can be. Exactly how clear and crisp will vary from shooter to shooter, so some folks (like myself) might prefer a different option.
The adjustment ranges are objectively good, though. 100MOA/29MRAD of elevation and 60MOA/17MRAD of windage. This is on par with other top quality scopes. There is a 5-25x option that has 120MOA/35MRAD and 80MOA/24MRAD but it’s parallax adjustment is only from 45 yards to infinity, so there is a tradeoff between those two options. Personally, I’d rather have the extra magnification and precise parallax adjustment.
There is a lesson to be learned with the V-22. Often, finding top-shelf products and building a rifle is money better spent than going to a store and picking up a factory rifle. It doesn’t have to cost $7500 to build such a gun, but it can if the shooter prefers the highest possible quality optics and ergonomics. Custom precision rifles are an investment, not just a purchase.