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Vudoo Gun Works V-22M Review: Not Your Granddad’s .22 Magnum

Over the past several years, interest in rimfire shooting has soared, especially in the precision rifle world. With the evolution of the NRL22 series, and now with the Precision Rifle Series introducing its own precision rimfire series, the demand for top-tier rimfire rifles is growing. But not just in the competition world — the 22 Magnum was introduced by Winchester in 1959, and for many years, the 22 Magnum cartridge has remained a favorite of sportsmen. This cartridge is similar to the 22 LR, but has a longer case and more propellant, meaning it hits with more “oomph” than its little brother. This makes the cartridge perfect for hunting all sorts of small game, even coyotes, at shorter ranges. The 22 Magnum is even used by some for self- and home-defense, so it’s a bit more versatile than you might think. For bolt-action precision, we took a look at the Vudoo Gun Works V-22M.

vudoo gun works v-22m

Until you see the magazine, you’d assume this was a full-size caliber.

The Vudoo Gun Works V-22M is more than your typical 22 Magnum bolt-action rifle. Most 22s are on the cheaper end of the spectrum; rifles that were pulled out of the closet, loaded with whatever ammo was laying around, and taken on a walk through the woods to shoot random sh*t. The Vudoo Gun Works rifles absolutely break that mold.

In 2018, at the Precision Rifle Expo at Arena Training Facility in Georgia, Vudoo Gun Works rifles were on display for folks to get their grubbies on. Vudoo brought several rifles for expo goers to try out at various ranges out to 200 yards, setting up a little side competition where spectators could shoot at a KYL (Know Your Limits) target rack placed at 50 yards for the chance to win a Vudoo Gun Works rifle. Not one to say no to a little friendly competition (or a free rifle), I gave it a shot and was blown away.

For those who don’t know, a KYL rack is set up to be shot beginning with the largest target first and then moving on to the next gradually smaller target until you miss. One miss and you’re out of the game, losing all previous points. In this case, the smallest target was .22 inch in diameter — the same size as the bullet we were shooting. That was the first indicator that the Vudoo isn’t a typical .22; these rifles are leveled up so far that they might as well be in a class of their own. We had to take a closer look at this gun.

ALL IN THE DETAILS

Vudoo Gun Works paid attention to every detail of this rifle. The Gen 2 V-22M action is smooth and effortless, but what’s really interesting is the unique engineering and design. First, in order to make the action compatible with the 22 Magnum cartridge, Vudoo redesigned its side bolt release, a small but important change. Next, and maybe the most notable feature, is the way that the bolt locks into the receiver. It ensures concentric alignment between the shroud, bolt body, and bolt nose, including the new crescent firing pin tip in the design and achieving optimal performance from the bolt assembly.

Vudoo Gun Works v-22m

Nothing out of the ordinary so far as the breakdown.

The receiver includes an anti-rotation feature, a simple device that maintains axial alignment of the bolt nose. So, as the bolt handle is lifted and rotated, there’s no rotation in the bolt, maintaining the bolt nose’s position as the bolt is opened and closed. Most manufacturers rely on the use of lugs for this, but the Vudoo Gun Works V22M has no lug ways in its receiver forward of the locking abutments.

Another important role is played by the clever magazine design. The 10-round magazine has the outer form of an AICS mag, but the inside is adapted for the 22 Magnum cartridge. The mags are easy to take apart, easy to load, and feed every round. As a bonus, the AICS form factor is familiar to shooters and allows the mags to fit in standard soft-shell mag carriers, eliminating the need for a special pouch to tote a spare V22 mag.

The rifle features a Timney Hit trigger, which pairs with the Vudoo Gun Works V-22M action perfectly. The Timney trigger is single-stage with an adjustable pull weight of 8 ounces to 2 pounds. Set at around 1 pound, the trigger had a crisp break and zero creep.

V-22m Action

The Gen 2 V-22M action is smooth and effortless.

The 20-inch Vudoo Gun Works Ace barrel sports a unique twist rate. When Vudoo Gun Works was designing the barrel, they did a lot of research and development, ultimately landing on a 12:1 twist rate. Mike Bush, the rifle’s lead designer, said, “I’ve done a lot of testing and built a number of really fast twist rifles in 22 LR. After looking at the 22 LR results, I dug more deeply into the accuracy issues with 22 WMR and found that the typical 16:1 twist rate was part of the problem. So, I built rifles with faster twist rates until I eventually landed on the 12 twist. Accuracy improved considerably with the various ammo brands and bullet types.”

Spinning the bullet faster improves stabilization, leading to improved accuracy. As size goes, the barrel was just heavy enough to add a little stability but still light enough to tote around in the field and short enough to easily carry in a backpack or under the seat of a pickup truck. It’s set in a Foundation Revelation stock. Vudoo took a “no shortcuts” approach to the design of this rifle, and it shows — both in the gun and the price tag. Our additions were a Harris bipod and a Tangent Theta TT525P scope. This isn’t your pawpaw’s 22 Mag.

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?

Currently, no match-grade ammunition is available in 22 WMR or 17 HMR, but there’s still a good selection of quality ammo out there. Here’s what was available for us to test — 45-grain Hornady Critical Defense FTX, 40-grain Maxi-Mag HP, 30-grain CCI 22 VNT Polymer Tip, 30-grain CCI V-Max, and 40-grain Aguila Silver Eagle. After zeroing the Vudoo Gun Works V-22M at 100 yards, we shot 5-round groups with each type of ammo and used the Ballistic-X app to map impacts. While the rifle clearly loved the V-Max bullets, with the exception of the heavier Critical Defense bullets, it shot all of the ammo well.

When shooting this rifle, you immediately notice how easily the bolt cycles — it’s very smooth. The same goes for the way the magazine feeds rounds into the chamber. 22 Magnum rifles have a reputation for being finicky about what type of ammo they’ll cycle, but this rifle ate all the ammo we fed it, which can be attributed to the chamber design. The chamber is pure SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc.) spec, specifically designed to function with all of the different ammo on the market.

AT THE RANGE

Though the 22 Magnum isn’t currently permitted for use in precision rimfire competition, putting a rifle through the paces on a few props is a great way to test its performance and balance. We set up a barricade, along with a 4-inch popper target at 50 yards and a 6-inch disc at 100 yards. Using different levels of the barricade for support, multiple impacts were made on both targets. Next, using a 55-gallon drum flipped onto its side and a rusty tractor wheel that had no doubt seen better days, the same targets were engaged again. Time after time, the sweet sound of ringing steel confirmed successful hits.

vudoo gun works v-22m live

22 WMR isn’t permitted in PRS, but it makes for a good trainer.

Time to stretch it out a bit. We placed an 8-inch disc at 200 yards and dropped into prone. Using a Wiebad Mini Fortune Cookie bag for rear support, the rifle found its mark and continued to find it over and over again. My 7-year-old son even got a first-round impact on the 8-inch disc at 200 yards.

LOOSE ROUNDS

Without a doubt, this rifle would make a killer choice as a varmint hunting stick (pun intended). It proved over and over again that it could successfully make shots on targets the size of small game and varmints like squirrels, groundhogs, prairie dogs, or rabbits. With the proper ammunition, it certainly has the power to take down larger varmints such as coyotes within the appropriate range.

Bush at Vudoo Gun Works spoke to us about this rifle, saying, “My favorite feature about this platform, in both the 22 Long Rifle and the 22 Magnum, is that it’s a true-to-scale rimfire rifle, meaning that it’s the same physical size and weight of a comparable centerfire rifle. And because it is the same footprint as a Remington 700, it will drop into any stock or chassis that will accept that platform.”

vudoo gun works v-22m

The barrel is a 20-inch Vudoo Gun Works Ace barrel, with a unique twist rate.

He’s right — there’s such a wide variety of components and aftermarket support available for the Remington 700 footprint platform, and most all of them are compatible with the V22 actions. A Vudoo Gun Works rimfire rifle can be set up just like a centerfire rifle.

After spending some time with this rifle, we have to agree with Bush. Aside from being very quiet and having no recoil, of course, nothing about this rifle feels like a rimfire platform. It looks and handles as well as a high-end, custom-built, centerfire rifle. Look beneath its obvious aesthetic qualities, and you’ll find a truly capable work of engineering art. You’ll find 22 Magnum magic.

[Editor's Note: This article first appeared in RECOIL #51]


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