Re: Which .22 caliber rifle?
Stratcat - I suggest you hit the range with some friends and try a few. I have a lot of different .22 rifles and like them all for different reasons.
The Ruger 10/22 is the best all around for play and plinking. I just bought my kids a new 22" stainless version. We went to the range today and with open sights put 100 rounds in a 2" circle shooting rapid fire. These things are the bomb and a lot of fun. Plus, like an old chevy, there are hundreds of cheap add-on parts you can get for them. We do a lot of trigger upgrades and stuff like that.
I have several Marlin 880SQ. This is a bull barrel, bolt action with a 10-round magazine. I've added a tripod and 6-22x zoom scopes to each. When I want to just think things out, I take this to the range and put a few clay pigeons out at 125 yards. Then I shoot each one dead center splitting it into 4 pieces, then I shoot each quarter into eigths, each eighth into sixteenths and so on until there isn't anything bigger than a nickel out there. The concentration and focus relaxes me and helps clear my head.
I started my kids on a Savage Mark II bolt action. We found it on sale somewhere for less than $80. We keep it open sighted and use it in the indoor range when it is too cold to shoot outside. My kids can wear out the center of any type of target at 50 yards. We make varmit targets too and they really enjoy that.
Again, it really boils down to what you want to do with it. Try a bunch and then pick up the one you have the most fun with.