Beretta ARX 160 Carbine Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
July 26, 2015

Some of my favorite firearms to review are those chambered in .22LR because they represent extremely cost effective platforms, which, in the end, equal more shots down range and more fun.  Nearly every manufacturer makes some type of .22LR handgun or rifle and the styles range from plinking, hunting, target, competition, training, replicas and more.  This gives us a tremendous selection to choose from and making a selection can sometimes be mind boggling when deciding on your next .22LR firearm.  Recently the selection got even harder with another platform being added to the mix with Beretta's offering of the ARX 160 .22LR Carbine and Pistol.  Although these products are branded Beretta, they are actually manufactured by Walther as part of their Tactical Rimfire Replicas.  You can see both the Carbine and Pistol models below.

I first started taking a look at this platform when one of my shooting buddies was looking at the Beretta ARX 160 Pistol version.  As I studied the rifle, a couple of things came to mind which led me to purchasing one for this review.  The first was that the ARX 160 is a very unique looking rifle.  It is intended to be a replica of the Beretta ARX 160 modular assault rifle which was developed for the Italian Armed Forces in 2008.  Thus the ARX 160 .22LR version is a replica of a proven fielded weapon system.  This brings a level of uniqueness to this .22LR platform, but it gets better.  This year Beretta has started offering their ARX 100 which is the commercial version of their military version ARX 160.  This effectively makes the ARX 160 .22LR version a training carbine for those who purchase the ARX 100 5.56 NATO version.

Another thought that came to mind when deciding to review this rifle was that I haven't had a chance to take a close look at Walther's replica firearms and reviewing the Beretta ARX 160 Carbine would make the perfect opportunity. 

 

The last thing I considered was the price point on the Beretta ARX 160 .22LR Carbine.  I found there to be a huge range of prices on this rifle which range from around $500 down to just over $300 which is a pretty wide spread.  I ended up getting the rifle for this review from CheaperThanDirt.com for $305 which was the best price anywhere.  I cannot say they will have the same price today, but they are worth checking out.  I had the rifle sent to my local gun store Hi Caliber Firearms and it arrived 3 days after it was ordered.  Since the rifle comes with a single 20-round magazine, I also ordered a 10-round and 30-round magazine from CheaperThanDirt.com which I will discuss further in this review.

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Beretta website on 7/3/15 and the Instruction Manual and gives an Overview, Key Features and Specifications for the Beretta ARX 160 .22LR Carbine.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.

Overview

  • The ARX160 is a rimfire version of the ARX100, Beretta’s celebrated .223 Rem tactical rifle. But aside from the caliber, this .22 LR rifle is virtually identical to the centerfire version as far as operations, controls, accessorization and customization options. A training rifle that will never let you down, the ARX160 is an extra-durable piece of gear that will satisfy even the most demanding tactical shooter.
  • Ambidextrous Controls: ­ A serious training rifle should always mirror the “real thing” in the way its controls work. This is why the ARX160 features ambidextrous two-position safety, magazine release and cocking handle. With this rifle, you can easily train and shoot with either hand dominant and improve your skills without breaking the bank.
  • Limitless Accessorization, Customization Options: ­ This training rifle is a great base for building the tactical system of your dreams. It comes out of the box with four Picatinny rails: on top, a full rail enables you to easily attach your favorite sighting or optics system, while on either side and on the bottom of the fore-end additional rails let you add other accessories such as tactical lighting. Other customization options include the telescopic folding stock: you can adjust the length of pull at the touch of a button, while the stock can be folded partially or all the way to accommodate most firing situations.
  • Durable, Easy to Shoot and Maintain: ­ The ARX160 is built to be durable and super-tough, being constructed of superior steel and techno-polymer. Its flip-up sights are just like those on the full-caliber rifle—super-light but rugged, and featuring a rear diopter for quick and accurate target acquisition. Maintenance is easy thanks to the simple way in which it comes apart and is reassembled without any tools. Whether you use it on its own as a rimfire tactical rifle, or as a training tool to improve your handling of the full-power counterpart, the ARX160 will always turn heads at the range and will never let you down.

Key Features

  • Sling Swivel: Tactical sling swivels on this rifle enable shooting and carrying in a variety of positions.
  • Picatinny Rail: The ARX160 comes out of the box with a variety of Picatinny rails, enabling you to attach your favorite tactical accessories.
  • Ambidextrous Cocking Handle: Depending on your dominant hand or tactical situation, you may use the cocking handle on either side of the ARX160.
  • Ambidextrous Mag Release: Like most controls on the ARX160, the mag release is ambidextrous, making it easy to train and shoot with either hand dominant.
  • Ambidextrous Two-Position Safety: Easily use the safety with either hand dominant. The AR-15 style safety will be instantly familiar to those accustomed to the standard issue US military rifle.
  • Flip-Up Sights: Unlike the afterthought you get on most rifles, the sights on the ARX160 are perfectly engineered for quick target acquisition and are adjustable for a variety of distances.
  • Telescopic Folding Stock: The stock may be fully folded, and it is adjustable for length of pull at the touch of a button.

Specifications

  • Model Code: JXR21800
  • Model Name: ARX 160 22 LR Rifle 18"
  • Action: Single odd way to denote semi-auto for a rifle
  • Barrel length (in) 18.11 review rifle measured 18.16"
  • Caliber .22 LR
  • Magazine 5
  • Overall height (in) 11.4 with the 20-round magazine installed
  • Overall length (in) 36.2 review rifle measured 36.6 with the buttstock fully extended
  • Overall width (in) 3.15
  • Weight unloaded (OZ) 105.82 review rifle weighed in at 97.5 ounces with the magazine
  • Sight Radius (in) 13 review rifle measured 16.8"
  • Trigger Pull 5.5 - 7.7 lbs review rifle measured 7.6 pounds
  • MSRP $575

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • Attractive tactical 22LR rifle
  • Rifle can function as a training rifle for the Beretta ARX 100 5.56/.223 REM version rifle
  • Overall I was really impressed with the build quality of the Beretta ARX 160 .22LR Carbine
  • Even though the rifle has a very polymer look, it appears that they included metallic components at the critical locations
  • Proved to be 100% reliable with a wide range of ammunition.
  • Near one MOA accuracy with certain standard velocity ammunition
  • Disassembly and reassembly of the Beretta ARX 160 Carbine is very quick and simple.  These two tasks can be done together in less than 60 seconds so there shouldn't be any excuse for not keeping your rifle clean.

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • I would in no way brag on the 7.6 pound trigger pull, but I found it to be livable for this style rifle and didn't have any issues shooting my rimfire dueling trees freehand.
  • Since the front and rear sights are not intended to be removable, you will need to use clamp style mounts that don't require you sliding them on the rail from an end.
  • It seems that the price for this rifle varies significantly.  If you can get one in the lower $300 range, this seems to be a great value rifle.

Cons:

  • I didn't like the way the telescoping feature of the buttstock seemed to stick and was difficult to adjust.  Some spray silicone seemed to help this issue.
  • The rear sight seemed to block my field of view.

 

Bottom Line:

The Beretta ARX 160 22R Carbine has quickly become one of my favorite rimfire rifles.  It has proven to be reliable and accurate and I have been pleased with the overall quality of the rifle.  So far it has proven to be 100% reliable with all the ammunition I have put through it and my round count is well over 1000.  Will it prove to be as reliable as a Ruger 10/22 or S&W 15-22?  Only time will tell.  Since the action is extremely simple, I have a hard time believing reliability will ever become an issue.  I feel me getting this rifle for $305 was an extreme value and I'm anticipating these low prices at certain retailers will become a thing of the past.  If you are looking for a tactical styled rimfire rifle that is different from the standard AR styled models, then the Beretta ARX 160 is definitely something you should consider.


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