@ 11:10 pm (GMT)
Nathan FosterAnother interesting discussion.
The primary point that we need to take into consideration is that you cannot hand load a .22 and tune loads to the barrel.
Options include testing a range of ammo- which can be a pain if you are a culler / commercial hunter and need to focus on only a few brands of budget ammo or those that kill the best as apposed to small hollow point types.
Or as suggested (and a great idea), weight sort your ammo.
Beyond this, you have little control besides the usual bedding and trigger work.
So should you buy the most expensive rifle? Well this is again tough because all rifles like different ammo. A small game culler could for example buy a high end rifle, only to find that the rifle only likes x brand of ammo which he doesn't want to use due to costs or difficulty obtaining a decent supply. The same can happen with cheaper rifles too of course. My point is, without being able to control the ammo, you are at the mercy of factory components. There is no guarantee that your rifle will shoot much less than 1" at 50 yards with the ammo you want to use. Its a fingers crossed game.
I have had a good run with Anschutz in the past but also a good run with CZ, though I do prefer the former for reasons others have outlined. I have found Anschutz to be the least finicky with a variety of loads- but then I have seen some CZ's shoot (winchester subs) into 1 ragged hole at 50 yards. You have all answered this topic with valid points.
From my own perspective, fast handling and a high magazine capacity are a must so I tend to work with the Ruger 10/22. Furthermore, Steph is a lefty and she has in the past also used the .22 for commercial work. The 10/22 can be a pain to work through but once all the work is done, it serves our purpose.
Marty's QC points should be taken into due consideration, some very good points throughout this thread.
This is something that Helmut and I regularly discuss at length as we have and do use the .22 commercially. Commercial work really puts rifles to the test, right down to such factors as using a blued barrel in the evening / dark when moisture / rust is a concern, fur in the action, carbon build up, bedding, shot to kill ratio from night to night and week to week, shot to kill ratio versus us (our skill on the night) versus the performance of the ammo versus the inherent accuracy of the rifle. And the big one- cost of rifle versus the "chance" of the rifle shooting our preferred ammo accurately.
In summary, if you can't alter the loads, you may have to alter the rifle whether that means accurizing, rebarreling or trading.