Several years ago, Nick and I accepted an invite from a friend of the Kee family to check out his extensive gun collection. As two young pups, neither of us have amassed anything that could really be called a “collection.” Weirdly, of all the very interesting rifles he had in his collection, the one we were both drawn to was a very old Schuetzen rifle in .22 LR. Given Nick’s background shooting Olympic smallbore, it’s no surprise that he started to drool over a positional shooting rifle. Without a competition background to speak of, I just found it oddly overbuilt and heavy for a .22. It felt exactly like a big boy rifle, and that was part of the charm for me. I hadn’t thought about it for at least two years until I visited my fellow Texans at Stiller Precision during the 2016 SHOT show, and saw their very modern .22 LR action . . .
As I’d mentioned in my review of the AI AT, several precision rifle competitors have identical .308 trainers built up to compliment their competition 6.5 guns. That’s a great situation if you still have a couple hundred yards to play around with, but if you’re limited on distance, a .22 trainer makes a ton of sense. Recognizing that market, CZ makes a dedicated training rifle built up to look and feel very close to a precision rifle. But if you need your rifle to be exact, right down to having the same trigger you use in your competition rifle, Stiller has the action for you.
The Stiller 2500 XR uses the same pattern as a Remington 700 so your various chassis systems and stocks from Manners and McMillan will fit up perfectly. Their trigger hanger allows the use of most Remington 700 compatible triggers and is tunable for firing pin fall. As you’d expect from the diminutive .22 LR cartridge, elevation adjustment becomes a bit of an issue at extended ranges, so Stiller offers the ability to attach a 25 MOA rail to help wring a bit of extra range out of the system.
Feeding is handled from a Savage magazine. Replacements and additional mags can usually be found for <$20, and Stiller reports that feeding is excellent out of this system. As you can see from the pictures, the magazine system is attached to the action, so there’s no need to attach the stock to the mag system like in the short action cartridges.
The market for something like this has to be incredibly small. I didn’t bother to ask the very nice team at Stiller how many they sell, but it looks like they’ve sold at least 100. Either way, I appreciate a company willing to build something this precise for such a small target market. Over at the Manners stocks booth, they had one of these actions barreled, and sitting in a T4 Elite. I took the opportunity to cycle the action a few times, and damned if it doesn’t feel exactly like a true precision Remington 700 with a very short bolt travel. The action will set you back $1375 with one magazine. An extra $75 gets you the 25 MOA rail, and $50 will get you the tool necessary to pull the bolt apart. Find a gunsmith to fit your barrel, trigger, and bed it in a stock, and you’ll be good to go.